Saturday, August 30, 2008

Susan

We received an email today from my cousin Susan informing us that the doctors have found in her several brain tumors. She has been years in and out of radiation and chemotherapy for breast cancer. This is quite a shock and such a devastating analysis. Susan is the same age as I am, and has a wonderful husband and 3 sweet adorable girls. Susan is beautiful in every way. She is so optimistic and elevates everyone in her company. If you didn't know her situation, you'd never guess it.
I never do great with news like this as it pulls at my heart strings in the strongest fashion.

Justin and I were talking about Susan's diagnosis, and what she must endure again. I asked him what he would do if I received the same diagnosis. He said, "Mom, the most important thing in life is not when or if you're going to die, but that you live a good life. Having Legos doesn't even matter. Just living a good life."

Amazing how children are able to put things into perspective for us adults. I love Justin. His heart is empathetic and he understands heartache. But he also has a very amazing eternal perspective.

We will be fasting for Susan and her family tomorrow. We love them so much.

The Swimming Pool

We've been having lots of fun at our community pools and play grounds. The Pools will close in a week, so we've been going as often as weather has permitted.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Every Thursday from 9 - 3 we have our K12 Co-op. This year there are about 60 students from nursery to 6th Grade. This is Justin's 2nd Grade Art class. The classes are nice and small, and are taught by the most qualified people I've yet met...the mom's! At this age especially, the qualification comes in having an interest in the kids and loving what you teach. These mom's are amazing! On these days we study art, science, music and PE. We love it! Max partially loves nursery, and really loves terrorizing me and Justin.
In art class, they each drew a self portrait. Here is Justin's. I was totally amazed at his drawing. He, like his Nanna, really loves art.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

I stayed up till 2am crying my eyeballs out as I finished the book, Les Miserables. I've been reading this book for 3 months now and it has had a strong impact on me! I think I will try and read the first section about the Bishop every year. He is my hero. I feel more gratitude for life and have a greater desire to BE the kind of person Jean Valjean inspires you to be, ... more like Jesus Christ.

I also absolutely adored the little gumin, Garavoche, who is also my hero. I want to reread the book just to adore his character again.

Who can go through life without reading this book?????

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Justin's Proverb

We were creating rhyming couplets this morning. I began a couplet and Justin ended it. This was our favorite that made us laugh so hard...

JaNae: If you're unhappy on this day,

Justin: Be sure you're happy on the next day.

I think we'll write a book of wise proverbs!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Wheat Harvesting 101

This morning, Justin yelled for me to come fast and look out his window. Right behind our back yard, some farmers were harvesting their wheat. We had never seen this process so it was so fun to watch so close. The boys were glued to the window off and on all day.


For FHE games, we went to the brand new swimming pool in our subdivision which has a kiddie pool! We were so excited to have Max try it out. It ends up he wanted nothing to do with it. We were there for only 30 minutes when a CRAZY and WILD wind and sand storm caught us by surprise. We quickly left.

When we arrived home, Justin found the package we had been waiting for all day long....THE MOTHERSHIP!
Justin has worked so hard all summer to finish 2nd Grade Math. He's done so well! Geoff and I decided to help him pay for 1/2 of the Lego Mars Mission he's been saving up for by selling his scripture cards.Can you guess what we did for the rest of the evening?

video

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sunday Night Family Night

We've loved having our FHE lessons on Sunday Night. It seems they are more meaningful, and the games on Monday more fun. We have so much more time for both.

Tonight we continued our series on Testimony. Justin reviewed his 5 steps of gaining a testimony, then we went outside to talk about building and strengthening them. I explained that a testimony is like a fire. Justin wrote down his 5 steps on 5 pieces of cardboard, and we lit them on fire. "Wow! That's a great testimony isn't it mom!" We watched the fire burn until it went out, and asked, "What happened to your testimony? It was burning so bright a minute ago!" He answered that we needed more fuel. And we talked about how our testimonies need to receive fuel everyday to keep them strong and bright.

So we lit another fire and threw in little logs that said PRAYER, SCRIPTURE STUDY, OBEDIENCE, etc, and kept adding them to the fire. We had quite the fire going!

We shared our testimony with each other, and sang "Testimony" in the hymn book. It was a special evening. I love Family Nights. I love to see how much learning, loving and fun takes place.

We really miss Geoff! Can't wait till he gets back home!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Max the Busy Bee

Max's favorite thing to do lately (and he tries to get away with it every chance he gets!) is to get a Popsicle holder, take it to the pantry, pull out the honey bucket (which is pretty close to empty), and reach down with his "extended hand" and scrape out some honey. He's such a cute stinker!

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Black Banana reappears!

Tonight Geoff and I celebrated our 10 Year Anniversary. WOW!!! 10 Years. In a way, it seems like just yesterday that we were "hanging out" with each other in the Orem Young Adult Ward. In quite another way, I feel as though I have known no other life than with Geoff and our children.
Wedding Day: August 22, 1998

Geoff and I have a wedding mascot, something that adds to our anniversary festivities each year...the BLACK BANANA. It is to the black banana that we owe the beginning of our marriage and the last wonderful 10 years.

Here's the story...

Our first date was a spontaneous trip to St. George to visit the Anderson's, a family from my mission. During our 4 hour drive, Geoff offered to purchase a snack, and I requested 2 bananas (one for the next day). Geoff bought 3 and we each ate one that night and I saved the third for the next day. Unfortunately, I forgot to take it inside with me upon our arrival to the Anderson's home. Sitting there in the car in the blazing St. George heat produced horrific effects upon my banana. When I found it the next late morning, it was COMPLETELY black. Needless to say, I had no desire to eat a black banana. But Geoff insisted I eat it since I was so adamant about purchasing it the night before. When he wasn't paying attention, I shoved it under the seat to be dealt with later. At some point on our journey home, Geoff discovered the banana (he probably smelled it) and concealed it somewhere, so that I never saw or thought about it again on our trip.

We had a great time in St. George. We stayed up late and really enjoyed our time together. Geoff was a breath of fresh air for me. I absolutely loved being in his company, and was hopeful to spend more time with him.

A few days after we had returned from our St. George escapade, I got a bad cold and was home bound. Early in the evening, the door bell rang. I opened the door, but no one was there. On the door step was a blue construction mug filled with Echinacea and a horrific looking and smelling black banana. I picked up the note and read something to the effect of,

Follow this ancient Chinese remedy and you will return to full health in no time: '1 cup of Echinacea tea, followed immediately by a rotten black banana.'

I'll have to pull it out and read it again, but I'm sure he signed it romantically like, "yours always" or "affectionately" or "totally miserable until I can see you again,"
Geoff.

Of course that made my day, and NO I didn't eat the banana, but I drank the tea and soon felt much better. Geoff's birthday followed this incident by only a few days. I was anxious to return the attention and the banana! So I made him a beautiful cake, and stuck the now bleeding black banana on top and left it at his door. It was the grossest thing I've ever done. It was so very gross!

Well, that banana gave us quite a few good excuses to keep the flame a burnin. Eventually we laid the sorry banana to rest on one of the busy roads near BYU (so I thought).

Months later, after some serious dating ("hanging out" in Geoff's terminology), I got a little nervous and decided to call things off. It just so happened to be a few days before Valentine's day. Well, on the morning of the day we celebrate love, I received a note that lead me on a long and wild scavenger hunt. At the end of the hunt, I found a BLACK BANANA that Geoff had carved out of wood and this poem that he wrote:
Holy Hanna! A Black Banana!
It's come back from the dead!
Is this a dream? I heard it scream,
when a car ran over it's head.

Yes, it's back all right; he put up a fight,
From the grasp of the grave he darted;
Then hidden away, till he turned up today,
To remind us of how this all started.

So tell me Hanna, that black banana,
how'd it get that way?
It used to be yella; twas a gift from a fella,
but it sat in a car for a day.

Now it is trashy, it's gotten all mash,
I'd toss it if I had my druthers;
But hold on there Moses--try to smell the roses;
This banana is not like the others!

"To the trash!" It was sick, to one dude and a chick.
It was funn--but make no mistake;
For amazement did sore, it appeared on her door
Then made it's debut on his cake!

Well that old black banana, is nothing like manna,
and some folks may still say it's rotten;
But don't lay it to rest, 'cause it started the best...
Of times that will not be forgotten!"


(Here is the wooden banana & poem now carefully displayed in a shadow box)

Well, that little black banana won my heart. I quickly recognized how much I loved Geoff and how hard it was to be with out him, and he loved me as deeply too... and in only a few months we were engaged and married.

Now, 10 years later... The banana has reappeared. This time in a much more delicious form --fresh banana's with black fudge smothered all over it.

Here's our black banana celebration with this delicious banana cheesecake. The waiter really dressed it up for us--very fun!

Geoff so creatively wrote addendum 3650 to the original Black Banana Poem:

Holy Hanna, the black banana, ten years and still doing fine

A few more wrinkles and a little more squish, but nothing too out of line

That should be expected ten years is awhile’ to be tied to a ball and chain

That’s three thousand six hundred fifty long days; it would drive most bananas insane

But this one is different; it’s got class, it’s got grit; the bruises give it more style

This bananas the kind that gets better with age; It’ll still be around for awhile

That banana’s resurfaced again and again, you could say it’s become quite resilient

And that’s pretty important; it’s got to be tough since it stands for a marriage that’s brilliant

...(for JaNae's ears only)...

So when lemons are raining and going gets tough, step back and say, “holy Hanna”

Swing a few punches and take a few blows for that unsinkable banana

Feed it; water it; give it some love and keep the dialogue plenty

That will keep it happy for longer still. Heck, let’s try for another twenty.

Geoff is the best, literally. He is everything I could hope for in a husband He is supportive, fun, wise, exciting, humble, hardworking, creative, faithful to me and to the Lord. He is an amazing father, which adds to why I love him as a husband. He is a partner in the realest sense, he completes me and I love him dearly. Here's to another 2o years. Here's to eternity!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Mount Rushmore

I asked Justin if he knew What Mount Rushmore was. He answered, "Yea, it's the faces of all the Stake Presidents!"

So cute.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Boise State Fair at the Expo

We love going to the Boise Expo. Our boys have always loved all the activities and exciting shows. We keenly remember how much Oakley loved the Expo. Usually, they have Chinese acrobats performing at these events, but this year they had African acrobats that were very groovy. This was my favorite event.

Max couldn't get enough of the animals. He has NO fear! After he ran out of his alloted cup of food to feed the animals, he held out his hands to any stranger with food like a little beggar. It was so cute. He really loves the animals.

This was Oakley's favorite spot when he last came. He screamed when we had to pull him out. Fortunately, Max was a little more willing, but not much.

Here we have Geoff's favorite event. This was amazing to watch these jeeps climb these steep mountain walls. WOW!

We told Justin he could choose one ride to go on in the carnival section of the Expo. We already knew what he would choose...it's his favorite ride, and chooses the ferris wheel every time. I always take him because the ferris wheel makes Geoff sick!

"Splash Dogs" was new this year, and really fun to watch. We saw some pretty amazing jumps.

Justin laughed so hard at this juggler/comedian. He really was pretty funny. He had quite the variety show, from juggling to fire eating, to balancing acts.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Island of Warmth

As we were driving home from our camp out, Geoff and I were saying how great it would be to stop at the hot springs we found last time we went camping. Since none of us had had any showers during the camp out... hot springs sounded REALLY GOOD!

WELL, just a few minutes after expressing our wishes, we came upon this amazing place called the Island of Warmth. It is absolutely stunning!

The hot springs fall down the mountain into the Payette River, and people have built little pools with rocks to barricade the hot water.

The very cool thing is you are playing and soaking in warm hot spring water right next to the cold and rushing Payette River.

This is now officially my absolute favorite place in the world. These pictures do little justice to the beauty of the pools. We all had a blast, got clean, and even relaxed a bit.

After being in a place like this, you'll never doubt that Heavenly Father loves his children!!!! We can't wait to return.

Day 3- Sunday Service & the MIRACLE fish




Well we had actually planned on packing up and leaving camp last night, but just couldn't bring ourselves to leave. We decided to stay another day. We could have stayed even longer if the babies hadn't run out of diapers! It was the deciding factor for our departure time!
We love the Olsen's! They are so fun to camp with! Laura and Nathan both come from survivalist families and are so talented and skilled in the outdoors. It's simply the best to share a campsite with others who love the outdoors as much as we. They are all such great people and dear friends.
After cleaning and packing everything up, we gathered for a little Sunday Service. Nathan and Geoff read to us out of the Book of Mormon from Mormon chapter 9. Nathan asked, "have miracles ceased today?" Moroni reminds us that the greatest miracle is the redemption of mankind through Jesus Christ. Thus, with faith, we are witness to daily miracles! This was such a sweet testimony meeting where the spirit was felt strongly.

Just as we were about to get into our cars to leave, Nathan and Geoff spotted a HUGE fish in the creek. We all ran over and watched as Geoff with his net and Nathan with his shovel tried to stun and catch the fish. We all laughed our heads of as they scrambled through the creek determined to catch that darn fish. You would have thought Nathan had been with out food for days, the way he was smacking that shovel around in the water.

Needless to say, they caught the fish. We unpacked all the cooking gear and had the most perfect feast! It was so exciting and satisfying to eat that yummy brook trout. We couldn't have concluded our camping experience any better. Speaking of miracles!!!!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Day 2 Olsen/Neyman Campout - 4th of July Lake

This hike to 4th of July Lake was a lot longer than yesterday's trail (about 1 1/4 mile in), but it wasn't quite as steep. My favorite photo is Geoff carrying the 2 sleeping babies. We were all grateful they were able to get a nap in, and that Geoff was so willing to oblige.

A few braved the cold water in the lake, but most of the kids played in a little stream that cut right through the meadow that we were fishing from. It was dreamy, except for the annoying horseflies that seemed to multiply by the millions during our stay.

Max loved playing with Iyla Pearl, and in general loves the outdoors. It's not to hard to keep him happy in such an ideal setting. The boys fished, but only caught ONE very small fish.

Hanging around camp was always so fun. The kids were always "up to something!" They especially loved making traps for us. They kept busy digging holes and covering them up with twigs and leaves, so we would fall into them. They were amazingly good at this! They also had there own little camp site with their own fire and set up. Quite the little campers!

We did have a bear scare that night. Laura, Nathan & Geoff kept hearing grumbling noises up the creek from our campsite. Nathan grabbed his shovel and began the investigation. After a few minutes, he whispered... "I see it, I'm sure it's a bear!" and went with his trusty shovel toward the bear! Laura was scared spittless, even Geoff had his hair standin up on his back. It ends up, it was just the creek making some strange noises.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Day 1 - Campdown

It was so nice to come "home" after such an adventurous day. We ate a hodge podge of MORE left over tinfoil dinner, Top ramin, Scrambled eggs & Peach Cobbler...YUM!


Olsen's brought their Golden Retriever, Iyla Pearl, with them...kind of. They accidentally left her behind at one of the rest stops on their way into camp on the first night. First night they drove all the way back into Stanley to put word out that she was missing. Tonight, they left around 6pm to go back again and see if anyone found her. Around 10:30pm they pulled into the camp....WITH Iyla Pearl. It was a little miracle that made all the kids dance!