Sunday, March 30, 2008

Here's to all my Herbert's!

I have finally finished reading the Novel, Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. What a fabulous book- I loved it! In fact, I find myself thinking about the characters all the time. Many believe this novel to have a message of the destructive nature of wealth, the tragedy of betrayal, or the cankering effects of seeking revenge. While this may be so, I found these themes minute in comparison to the message of the beauty and elevating effects of friendship, loyalty and love. Specifically Pip is fortunate to have several meaningful relationships, one of whom is his dear friend Herbert. Herbert has no incentive to befriend Pip, but sincerely cares for him and is loyal to him from beginning to end, when Pip is at his best as well as his worst. Herbert has significant influence on Pip, and I believe is a big reason for Pip's happiness and success.

I've spent a lot of time reflecting on the many HERBERTs I've been blessed with in my life. I am fortunate enough to have family who are especially dear friends, and friends who are as though they were family! I know much of the happiness and success I experience is directly related to my dear dear "friends" who have loved me at my worst and best, from the beginning to the end. How blessed I've been and how grateful I am.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Love planes

Creative, thoughtful Justin at work, again.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Friday Home school

Clark and Emily McCauley home schooled with us today. We've been studying about the Egyptians and the first type of writings used around 3200BC. We made Cuneiform plaques (like the Sumerian's made before papyrus was used). They each wrote their name and a message using the Cuneiform symbols. This is a picture of Justin's clay plaque.
Then I gave the kids a gingerbread kit and left them alone to figure it out.
After working on it together for about an hour they produced this gingerbread wonder! They had so much fun! I was impressed with their creativity and teamwork.

Then we went to the Wright's home for some more creative building. The kids made a very cool marble maze.
It was a fun day spent with good friends and fun activities.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

In Grandma's Attic

In Grandma's Attic
by Arleta Richardson

This is the book Justin and I are reading together right now. It is absolutely adorable! We often re-read the chapters and laugh and laugh. Then we laugh again when we tell Geoff about it at dinner time. I highly recommend it.

Children and letters holding hands

Justin is learning the Song "There are children, Holding hands around the World" on the piano. He picks out the notes by sound, and then memorizes the song. He gets so excited when he masters a song. He loves playing. He loves being like his dad!

In school this week we are spelling the shapes. He finished the sheet, held up the paper for me to see, and said, "Look Mom, my letters are holding hands!"

Cute! You can't say you aren't affected by the music you listen to!

Justin's Star Wars Gift

Justin was invited to a Colton Wright's "Star Wars" Birthday party. He wanted the gift wrap to fit the theme as well, so he made his present into a Star fighter. Colton liked the gift wrapping as much as the present itself, so Justin has made another star fighter with an empty box so Colton can keep it.

I wish I had even 1/100 of Justin's creativity. He's ALWAYS creating something wonderful in that little mind of his.

A Peaceful ending to another wonderful Day!

We love the Brookwood Development. It is a lot like our previous neighborhood...streams, lakes, trees, creatures about, greenbelts, etc. Almost always before Max goes down to bed, we take a stroll about and enjoy the sounds of nature. Max especially loves this part of our day, and is most always so calm for the ride.

ICF Training

I love taking pictures when the "victims" are unsuspecting! I love this picture of Geoff and Justin watching the instructional video of how to build a house using ICF Forms (Insulated concrete forms) -the material we will use to build our home. You may have thought this was the movie Cars or Magic School Bus considering Justin's interest level, but no, make no mistake, it is a long and detailed instructional video.

Have no doubt, when we build our home, Justin will be Geoff's BEST right hand man! He'll know the process inside and out.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Park

We spent over 3 hours at the park today. We saw old friends, made new ones and enjoyed the playground, the waterfall, and the river. I love the parks here...they are so beautiful and so peaceful.

Watch out Buddy Rich, Justin is comin to town!

We went to the music store just to look around at all the instruments. Justin and Max both LOVED the experience. The clerk was so cute and took us on a tour of all the many different "sound makers" they had...which was a lot. From the drums, maracas and bells to guitars, horns & pianos, we saw it all. Justin informed me that he wants to learn how to play ALL of the instruments, but is especially intrigued by the trumpet and the drums. (Mental note: space in garage for drum set)

It may not be long before Justin joins Geoff in the band he's apart of called..."The Daddios". Geoff plays the keyboard, and apparently will be singing as well. I'm sure we'll see more in the blog about the band. Geoff really enjoys it.

Stand and Deliver

For Stand and Deliver, Justin showed our home schoolers how to make 3 different kinds of paper airplanes. He was such a good instructor and took great care in giving clear and simple instructions so all the kids could participate. He was so encouraging to any who needed help. He did a great job--I loved watching him! The kids loved making the planes, and Justin was amazingly confident and really seemed to enjoy sharing this hobby with his friends.

Where do you belong on the tree?

This morning for scripture study, Justin was reading in Jacob 2 about the "righteous branch of Israel". After reading these words, he stopped, looked out the window for a bit, then thoughtfully said, "It's sort of like the Kingdoms...the Telestial Kingdom is the top branch of the tree, the Terrestial in the middle and the Celestial is on the bottom branch. You want to be in the Celestial Kingdom so you'll be closer to the if you fall out, you won't get hurt. If you fall from the Terrestial Kingdom, you'll get medium hurt, and if you fall from the Telestial Kingdom, you'll really get hurt. If you're in outer darkness, you're hurt no matter what!"

Monday, March 24, 2008

Justin's lesson on the Plan of Salvation

Yesterday Justin prepared to give our FHE lesson. He made Plan of Salvation airplanes. It made for a very fast lesson! And of course he gave a great discourse why he attached certain parts of the "plan" to specific parts of the planes. What a creative mind he has!

FHE games; Easter Eggs and Etc...

Justin said, "Look, I'm an egg head!"

We colored eggs while Geoff reenacted The Phantom of the Opera.

The eggs were too fat for these wraps,
so now we have sport bananas...yum!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Big Boy Max

Today Max decided he is TOO big & mature for his high chair, and demanded a "big boy" chair. Oh boy! I'm really asking for trouble now!

New Easter Tradition

I asked Justin what he thought we should have for a traditional Easter dinner. He immediately replied, "Easter Eggrolls!!!...get it?" I loved the idea, thus our new Easter Dinner tradition! I LOVE egg rolls and am excited for Justin's choice! (You'll be able to find my recipes on my "Culinary Creations" blog that I'm just now getting up--the link can be found on this blog)

Long Curly hair

Justin really LOVES long curly hair! Yesterday, he saw a lady with hair something like this and said with much emphasis, "Mom, she has the prettiest hair ever! Can you do your hair like that?" So, this morning we spent a good 30 minutes with the curling iron trying to reproduce the image he had in his head. He loved the result, but I felt like an over-enthused poodle! Needless to say, I DIDN'T look like the girl in the picture!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

To the Mall

Our family has lived here in Eagle for over 2 years and have been to "the mall" ONE TIME. Geoff and I both share the same sentiments about the mall...we greatly dislike shopping there. We went today in hopes of finding some great bargains at Mervin's 75% off sale. We were a bit disappointed, and agreed, we have no reason to ever return, thank goodness.

Friday, March 21, 2008

New Green Organic Blogger

Ok, so I am now officially a blogger. Yep, first time ever. JaNae has been "gently suggesting" that I become a contributing blogger for the past month or so. She has also assigned me a topic... BIODIESEL.
After a bit of research we just bought a biodiesel fuel processor so we can process fuel for any diesel engine out of vegetable oil. We set up a sort of coop with 3 partners and we will be distributors of the processors as well. So we are making our own clean fuel... Yahoo!! One of the partners owns all the local Baja Fresh restaurants so that's were the oil comes from. Al Gore would love us... especially since we are probably doing better than he is to be "green".

We will probably be getting rid of our gas vehicles in the next few months. I am picking up a 1985 Mercedes that will run on PURE vegetable oil and we'll probably get JaNae a 7.3L Excursion so she can drive the whole neighborhood around town. We can also run our advertising truck on the fuel. So think of us every time you're at the pump paying $3+/gal. hehe.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Teething Madness

For the last 2-3 days Max has had a fever and has been drooling like a blood hound--Teething! I haven't been able to do a darn thing during this time as Max has wanted to be held every moment of every day and all night long!

Needless to say, Geoff and I didn't fare so well either. The scenario, although drastically different, had too many similarities to Oakley. While one of us stayed with Max throughout the night, the other stewed about him--then we switched places, and finally the sun would appear to announce another day without any sleep.

But we are recovered now, and can say with much gratitude that Max has endured his fever and is back to his normal happy self.
Justin was a GEM through it all. On Tuesday after spending the entire morning with Max, I went downstairs to see what he was up to. It was 1pm and we hadn't done any schooling. I told Justin he was going to have to do school by himself and went back to tend to Max. At dinner time Justin, showed me his work --he did all 8 subjects superbly. In fact, I think he did better without my help! He is such a GOOD GOOD boy. He always comes to the rescue when we need him too. I love him so much!

Gratefully in love

Geoff and I spent a bit of time with some good friends who are surprisingly considering a divorce. The sorrow felt and the heavy burdens being carried by the family is immense! We left their home feeling so badly about the situation. When we arrived to our home, Geoff took the boys outside to play while I fixed dinner. I could hear them a-hootin and a-hollerin and looked out the window to watch the fun (this picture was taken from the window). As I watched them interact with each other, I couldn't help but tear up and say a silent prayer of gratitude for 2 wonderful boys and the best husband ever that I am so in love with. What a blessing to be apart of a family where love, respect and goodness abounds. I couldn't be more grateful for my wonderful life.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Happy St. Patricks Day

Here are my feeble attempts to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. The Lucky 4-leaf clover for breakfast with green glob in center (mixture of green, pear, avacado & pineapple. Geoff and I thought it was tasty, but too spicy for Justin's likings), and a three-leaf clover for FHE pizza--with green veggies of course! FHE pizza is ALWAYS yummy!

I wish I would have taken a picture of the green outfits we all chose to wear. We were all VERY green today and had fun celebrating St. Patrick's goodness!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Stake Conference

We've had such a memorable weekend. Saturday evening we attended the adult session of conference where Elder Hammond of the 70's presided. He is an amazing leader in the church. His knowledge of the scriptures and ability to use them to instruct us was amazing and inspiring. He is an incredible example of one who constantly has the spirit with him and uses that influence for good. What a spirit he exuded!!

Then we had quite a treat for Sunday Conference...Karen watched Max for us while he slept, and Geoff, Justin and myself enjoyed a very peaceful and relaxing meeting. What a treat to be able to actually listen the entire meeting. The service was powerful and so inspiring. The messages centered on the life and mission of Jesus Christ. I came away with a strengthen desire to know Him better personally and to strive more earnestly to be like Him.

A Sunday well spent with Friends

We had our much loved DeMordaunt's Family (Reed, Gayann, Meredith, Ben, Olivia, Matthew & NaeNae) and our good friends Brandon Juarez and his son Weston and Evonne and her son Elijah to our home for dinner and Nertz. Dinner was a yummy potluck collection of Artichoke heart sandwhiches, "Trail Mix" green salad (a recent invention of the DeMordaunt's), Brandon's favorite Brazilian Soda Pop, and Olivia's specially made Orange/Cinnamon Cinnamon rolls. This was a delicious meal, and WHAT FUN we all had together--Geoff even had a little mercy tonight and let someone else win at Nertz!!! The kids had a hoot.

I can't help but ask myself, "Why we don't do this more often?"

New Callings for Geoff

Geoff received two new callings last week. He was called to be the Stake Priesthood Organist and a 4th Ward Elders Quorum Instructor. I think I'm safe in saying he's happy for these callings.

Today we had Stake Conference. Before the meeting began, a family Geoff had never met before asked Geoff, "Why are you sitting here--is somebody else playing the organ?" Geoff answered in the affirmative. Then the husband said, "Bummer!! I love to sing when you play! You make the hymns come alive." So it is...Everyone loves when Geoff plays the organ. They are equally complimentary when he speaks. Geoff has a great way about teaching the doctrines of the Gospel in a way people can relate. I wish I could go to Priesthood class!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Place mats for Seniors

Today our little co-op group of four talked about how special it is to have a family. Each shared a meal time tradition they do in their home and some of the foods they eat. Then I asked them what it would be like to always eat alone. They didn't think it would be too much fun. So they each thought of a person they knew that is currently living alone, and we made a place mat for them, so each time they sit down to eat, they will know they are cared for and loved.

Somewhere on the place mat was their picture and this poem we made up:
Every time you sit to eat
This for you will be a treat
Look upon this mat to know,
You are loved and cherished so!

We also made a perler bead coaster to go with the place mat. Here is Justin's place mat and coaster which he immediately took over to Karen's home. She LOVED it, and we LOVED giving it to her!

Capturing the moment