Saturday, August 10, 2013

23rd Anniversary get away

Hotel Roanoak
Getting away from home without the kids has not been something Bill and I have done much in our married life.  We are home bodies.  But it seems we have started a new tradition.  Three years ago Bill and I took a little anniversary weekend to Amish country, then last year we went to Natural Bridge.  This year we decided to go to Roanoak.   For some reason I am a small town kind of kid.  I'm not much for big cities or the bar scenes that take over the night life.  These kind of backwoods kind of places calm my nerves help me let down my hair and enjoy the man of my dreams.  So you can imagine that as we entered Roanoak at dusk that it was a little larger city then I had imagined.  I was thinking quaint country atmosphere.  So I was surprised to see a large city skyline.  However, my feelings changed as we came to our wonderful historic hotel.  It came from a scene from the alps. It was beautiful.  I loved reading about the history of the rail town and the history of the hotel itself.
   We actually had to cross the rail road tracks by going across this glass enclosed walkway.  As you crossed the walkway you could read all about the railroad town.
The walk way is behind the red car.
It was fun to people watch as we walked down town at night.  They had a movie playing on the green and families were gathered with blankets and chairs,  people we wondering about, and we enjoyed looking at all the shop windows smelling the smell of fried chicken, drinks and feeling the humid hot Virginia air.  Mostly we just loved holding hands, talking, and wandering at our own pace.
We couldn't pass up taking a
picture of Bill by Billy's
Waffles and Chicken, to me these two things don't really go together. but in the south they do.  Why?  I guess to confuse those of us who can't choose between breakfast and lunch.  They actually serve them together all day long at Thelma's Waffles and Chicken.  It was fun trying it out, but I still don't understand why you put them together.  Bill enjoyed one of his favorite breakfasts of omelets and hash browns while I took a stab at the house special of yes chicken and waffles.   
   The stands at the edge of the sidewalks were filled with produce, crafts and jewelry.  An outdoor market on Saturday morning.  The smell of fresh ripe peaches, and the sound of hagglers and sellers hung in the heavy humid air of the farmers market.  We enjoyed watching the crowd as we slithered our way through the maze of people, stopping at various little shops along the way.  

   Jelly Fish, Seahorses, and colorful ocean fish were found in a place called center on the square.  This place was so cool.  The size of the tanks were so huge.  We enjoyed watching them for some time.  This is a video of the Jelly Fish.

 A giant star guided the wise men but in Roanoak a giant star guides tourists to an awesome view of the city.  The view is spectacular from the lighted star,  you can see the downtown sector of the city and then the burbs.  Beyond the city you see the rolling blue ridge mountains.  Mountains that never seem to end peak after peak with valleys in between.  As the expanse of the view becomes less clear you see the greens become darker and darker.  The foliage continues as if  a sea of green surrounds this valley city.    

The front lobby of the hotel Roanoak
I loved being with my best friend.  I look back to when we got married and I remember thinking I love Bill so much.  There is no way I can love him more then this, but I was wrong I love him more today then I did then.  I think it's because of all the experiences you have along the way, the tears you've shed together, the work, the trials, the kids, the disappointments, and mostly the joy, the happy times, and the laughter that makes the heart grow fonder and fuses you together.   It's just so nice to hold hands walk down an unknown street and talk and talk and talk.  For us it's never about the where or what, it's always been about being together.   Thanks Bill for the most wonderful 23 years a girl could have ever asked for.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Summer Goal #1

No Training Wheels!  She loves going fast!

Competition from a little sister gives Austin incentive to ride his bike too!!
 On the first day of summer vacation, I told Austin and Lydia they would learn to ride their bikes this summer.  Austin said "Oh come on Mom I don't need to learn to ride a bike."  Lydia wasn't very happy about it either.  Each day for an half of an hour they had to get on their bikes and balance going down the driveway.  On the second week of doing this our neighbor Sonja saw Lydia trying and she showed her what to do next by that afternoon she was riding her bike on her own.  
    Not to be out done, Austin looked at me and said "I can do it too."  and he did.  I think he just had to have a reason to do it.  Once he realized and told himself he could ride the bike he just did it.  He rides pretty good but he needs to practice it to be able to ride it long distances.  However I can see it's not yet the mode of transportation that is his favorite.
     Lydia has practiced quite a bit.  She rides around our circle and around the next.  She even rides her bike to the park with Emily.   It brings her a lot of joy to ride!
   Today Lydia took a bike ride with her dad and left her bike at the bike shop to get a few minor adjustments made to her brakes, seat, and handlebars.  She is so excited to have her bike just right.
   I'm so happy that they have learned to do something they didn't think they could do.  They have both said on different occasions that it was so hard but now I can do it and it's fun.  Loving it!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Plants and Babies

My Big Tomato plants
Big zucchini Plant too 

We have had some interesting conversations with Lydia lately like today after dinner.  We were talking about our garden and how we started the tomato and Zucchini  plants from seeds in little containers in March and how we put them in the kitchen window.  We had to water them and move them so they would get even sunlight every day.  She made a wonderful connection about our plants and little babies.  She said that when babies are first born and they are new they need lots of care just like our plants when we first planted them.   As they grew they were easier to take care for and so are children.   I'd say that's an astute observation.  

The other day she asked an insightful but awkward question, however very age appropriate.  First she asked Bill on the way to the church for an activity and he responded with I think we better talk about this later when we have more time and when mom is here.  So here's her great question " Dad,  how does Jesus put babies in mom's tummies and how do mommies know they are there?"   In our family Bill is five for five for the the birds and bees questions. Remember it's the answer that counts and we have always given the answer together.  

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Starting to harvest

Only one thing is nicer than fresh picked ripe homegrown tomatoes and that is a beautiful rare 75 degree day in late July.  The windows are open the fans are on and the AC is off and it feels just right.  It was so awesome to take a run with Emily this morning.  As we came home we noticed how the front flower beds needed some attention.  The weeds have been ignored because of the heat, so we worked together to weed and trim back some over grown trees and bushes.  It felt so good to play in the dirt again.
    We have been enjoying zucchinis and summer squash for a week or so.  Lydia has been keeping an eye out for red tomatoes and she found these today.  There are so many green ones I'm sure I'll be making some salsa this year.  This is the first year I have ever attempted planting tomatoes from seed.  Lydia planted the seeds indoors in March.  I have wanted to teach her about the law of the harvest so I thought no better way then by experiencing the whole process.  I have learned so much and have tried to teach about patience and care, weeding, water, and more patience.  It takes along time for the plant to produce fully ripe tomatoes.   Once we planted the seedlings outside we visited them everyday.  In the life of an eight year old 4 months is a long time.  Now the harvest has started and it is fun to talk about all the fruit that is coming from one little seed.  There is so many lessons to learn and teach from watching our tomatoes grow.  So glad we started those seeds in the kitchen window so many months ago.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

So Long Farewell

It will be 18 months at least before we have dinner all together.
 Chillis was a fun place to give advice and say goodbye.
Saying goodbye is hard to do.   Chilis was the hot spot for our family farewell dinner.  We all took turns giving advise to Jessy about being a great missionary.  As we were all together I thought about how much our family is changing and growing.  I asked myself what will we look like next time we meet all together?  Will we meet together in 18 months or will Emily be out on a mission when Jessica gets home? We ate, chatted and sat on the veranda passing time. The weather was beautiful not too hot and sticky.  Lydia and Emily played a game following the different bricks.  And the silence grew a little awkward as we awaited going to President Dion's Home.

There are so many words of advice given at the time a missionary leaves.  President Dion shared a wonderful section in the Doctrine and Covenants that was given to Orson Hyde.  I loved the part that he read that said "Be of good cheer and fear not."  What wonderful advice given from the Lord through a prophet to our ancestor Orson Hyde and then read by a stake president to Jessica just as she is leaving on a mission.  She was set apart as a full time missionary for the church of Jesus Christ Of Latter-Day Saints.  A wonderful blessing was given to help and comfort her through out her mission and beyond.
                                                            THE NEXT DAY
3:30 AM comes pretty early no matter how late one stays up. We loaded up the car with her two big lime green suitcases a back pack and a purse.  All of our family gathered in the kitchen for our last family prayer with everyone before  leaving our home at 4:00 to get to the Baltimore airport by 5:30.  Getting there was smooth sailing.  It's good to have proper goodbyes before you get to the airport because you don't have much time at the curb as you unload the suitcases.  Tears flowed as we watched the back of our missionary dragging her two suitcases into the airport.  We climb into the car, shut the doors, found the Kleenex  and made our way home.
So Long Farewell our missionary.
 Can't wait to hug you again.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Willy Trekking On

Wily really enjoyed trek!   He loved his family at trek.  He had fun starting the camp fires, walking, and working.  Here's a few of the pictures his trek parents took.  I say thank you to all the leaders for their hard work in the heat of the summer.  I felt blessed to have witnessed the sharing of testimonies.  The spirit was strong and I felt that I had stepped onto higher ground, a holy place.  Thank you

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Sunday Wrap Up

I love Sunday afternoons.  I love sitting around the table after we have eaten our Sunday meal and chatting.  We seem to start talking about the talks in sacrament meeting.  Then about each of the classes that each of us attended.  It's so awesome as each recalls something about the church meetings.  I love how the others chime in about about the various topics and by the end it turns into laughing and teasing.  We tend to linger longer together then at any other meal during the week.
  Today Willy made some wonderful BBQ'd chicken breasts mashed potatoes and corn.  He really knows his way around the grill.    I think it's so awesome that he just stepped up and began lunch.

It was a day full of goodbyes for Jessy.  I loved hearing from others how excited they are to see Jessy leave on her mission.  I am grateful for the words of wisdom given to me especially that the next eighteen months will go by quickly and that the Lord will take good care of her.  We have packed and unpacked her suitcases so many times.  50 lbs is not that much stuff we have found out as we have weighed and weighed the luggage.  We'll have to keep working on this luckily we have two more days.  She will have a great flight early early from Baltimore and arrive in SLC about 10:00am and then catch a shuttle from there directly to the MTC in Provo.    She is still waiting for her visa to come and pray that it will come in a timely manner.

The next couple of days are full of happy events!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Less Than A Week

Jessy Beautiful Missionary 

New Family Picture 
It's a momentous occasion when your son or daughter give their farewell talk to leave on a mission.  It's a time of excitement, panic, questioning, and packing.   (and a new commitment to blog so that she can see what is going on in our family)   To be honest I think I've felt every emotion possible for a mother to feel towards and about her child.  I thought that sending her on her mission would feel the same as sending her to college, but it's more.  It goes from elation to depression and back.  I question myself about what we have and have not taught, what we have done and haven't done, and then I realize that she has made good choices and all that is good comes from God.  I feel reassured that Jessy is in his hands and she will make good decisions and she has so much to give.  At father's day Jessy made a plaque and gave it to us that says " A missionary leaves her family for a short time so that those she teaches may be with their family forever." That's what it's all about.  She will leave here bright and early July 24th arrive at SLC at 10:06am and report to the MTC about noon.  On Sept 3rd she will leave to Barcelona Spain, if all goes well with her visa.  


Here comes Willy!!! Trek is calling his name.  I think Willy is game for all types of activities and I think Willy would have made a great pioneer.  I think of all the types of youth conferences trek is the most difficult one to send your youth on.  I don't know if it's the heat or the hard work or the opportunities that Willy might have to stand up and deliver that makes me consider what he knows and what he will do .  Oh I know that he will be awesome but, it makes you wonder if each of us could of done what was done for us by our pioneer forefathers.
 I think about what the pioneers did and how the Lord used their experiences to help them turn to him.  He knows that when we are at the lowest or at the most difficult moment that we turn to Him with the most desire, need, want, and at that moment we are most willing to give Him everything, our heart soul, and actions.  I think that at that moment we let the spirit in and we connect with heaven in a way that speaks loudly to our heart.  The experience of trek is planned so that each participant can feel and connect with the spirit so they can receive the message Heavenly Father has for them.  So I pray for Willy and the other youth of our stake that each of them with there individual challenges and spiritual journeys that they will connect with heaven and feel the fire of the covenant and truly live.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Missionary Daughter

It's been an exciting experience...... waiting...... waiting........ and waiting..... for the missionary call but it finally arrived.  It's fun to see the guesses about where she would go so many places to go spread the gospel, so many cultures, languages people.  Jessica is going to Barcelona Spain.  She leaves the 24th of July to the MTC in Madrid Spain.  I  know I am a little slow in writing about this exciting news so everyone knows already but for posterity I needed to express my Joy, my gratefulness and my feelings.
   Jessy has wanted to go on a mission for as long as I can remember.  She has always had a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  In school she has stood for the right.  She always asked to be excused if a teacher was showing a R rated movie in class.  She found friends who had high standards.  She invited friends to youth activities and shared the gospel with them.  She loved that Virginia-Rose went on trek one summer.  Jessy has always had the light of Christ so many people would stop me and tell me what a special little girl I had and that there is something different about her.  This was told to me by her great grandma Ward at a few different occasions.   She will be a wonderful missionary.  I'm glad to be her mom!

Thursday, January 10, 2013


I know it's Thursday already and I haven't written here but I have had a week where I have seen the hand of God touch my life.  the problem is that I cannot remember what happened what days so I am going to write about all of them today.

On one day this week I think it was Monday I felt an impression to call a friend and take her to lunch, however my phone had had problems over the weekend so I didn't have any contact numbers for anyone let alone my friend Kelly.  I knew that she had been dealing with some unpleasant bug like creatures and in order to get rid of all of them there was tons of washing, vacuuming, and other unpleasant tasks.  It was enough to send someone into hysteria, of course I am speaking from experience, and from someone who went hysterically crazy in that situation.  I was not to be deterred not sure she'd be home I drove to her home to see if she was there so I could take her Chick-Fil-A.  She was in good spirits, but had had that hysterical crazy moment days before but everyone needs to eat lunch so we picked up Chicken sandwiches and nuggets for the kids and enjoyed lunch together.  It was so great to catch up on everything.  I think I need to invite myself to lunch with a friend more often it just lifts your spirits.  Hopefully it helped Kelly forget about those creatures if just for a little while.  By the way I did volunteer to help clean, she said she had it under control. Sometimes you just have to forget about it for a minute and it gives you strength to get through it.  

On Tuesday so many things happened, like usual I went to the gym for my swim class.  unfortunately left my active link devise in the bathroom stall where I changed.  When I got home to shower I noticed it was missing so I called the gym to see if they had had one turned in.  I didn't feel confident in this so I went back to the gym looked around the locker room and where I thought I had left it and it was no where to be found. I had a pleasant conversation with the man at the front desk.  He was so kind and even looked twice through the lost and found for me.  I left my name and number and hoped that it would show up.  Unknown to me one of my friends had picked it up for me and left me a message on my answering machine.  I guess she happened to use the same stall as me and picked it up thinking it was mine.  Small little miracles.  She returned it to me the next day!

Kelly and I had planned earlier in the week to surprise a friend by taking her lunch for her birthday.  I hurried home from the gym,  not having found my active link, to make my homemade chicken noodle soup.  All of the vegetables and chicken were boiling and the noodles were rolled out on the counter Kelly called and said that we weren't going to do the lunch thing but later we would take cupcakes over. Well this is kind of silly I made two pans of soup one for my family for dinner and one for lunch, so I had one to give away.  This was not a problem because earlier Janet called me and she had some coupons for me and I could just give her the soup for her lunch.  This is sounding kind of crazy but it really did happen this way.  After another phone call I took the soup to Janet and picked up the coupons she saved for me. and we enjoyed chatting for a few moments.  Then I picked up Kelly and we took cupcakes to Kerstie's to wish her a happy Birthday.  We chatted for a little while and wished her a happy Birthday.   I look at this part of the day and see how being part of the gospel of Christ made each of us think of each other.  Kelly thought of Kerstie's birthday and wanted me to be part of it.  Janet thought of me by saving her coupons I thought of Janet because I had soup.  Even my active link was found by Jen who I connected with at church.  I thought of all the love and thoughtfulness that occurs because we are connected as sisters in the gospel of Jesus Christ.  I am grateful for my sisters that have done so much for me through the years.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Changing feelings

Today I guess you could say that I woke up on the wrong side of the bed,  I'm not sure that's possible if your bed is pushed up against the wall, but that's the phrase my mom would have used .  I woke up feeling grumpy, out of sorts even a bit hostile towards the world.  The kitchen was a disaster, the dishes were dirty and all over the counter and when I opened up the dishwasher it hadn't cleaned the dishes so it was time to dig in, clean all the dishes out of the sink fill them up with water and get to work.  Oh did I say I was grouchy well this had only made it worse.  Now I became loud and began to command the kids around.  Usually doing the dishes calms me down but for some odd reason I began to fume.  If smoke really could come out of our ears and nose that is what you would have seen at that precise moment.  I knew this was so unlike me and I wanted to calm down so I took a deep breath and looked out the window at my kitchen sink.  My arms up to my elbows in suds and my mind racing with everything on my to do list I took a deep breath cleared my mind of all of it and watched a squirrel scampering along the back fence. I felt a clear message, sit down and work on your Sunday School lesson.  My first reaction was that's crazy but as the last dish was washed my legs took me to my Sunday bag and back to the kitchen table.  I sat there for a few moments thinking how come now with all the things I needed to do and my grouchiness.  Then clarity happened.  I stopped and prayed.  The feelings I had of needing to get everything done went away, my grouchiness dissipated and all of a sudden the house was quiet. My previous feelings were replaced with love peace and joy, feelings of the spirit.
  I had been preparing this lesson for Sunday School for weeks now but I had not been able to decide in which direction to take it.  As I calmed and feelings of the spirit entered into my heart I realized that the lesson I needed to give had just been given to me.  Given to me to teach me about how to learn from the Holy Ghost.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Friends Visit

It's a wonderful sunny but chili day and I'm waiting for Lydia's bus to drop her off from school, as the bus approaches I see for a brief second two people running towards me.  Lydia runs swiftly from the bus to me with her usual smiling happy face then from behind we are attacked by Jason and Kaitlyn.  What a wonderful surprise.  There were hugs and and chatter and more hugs.  We chat there on the corner for a while but then walk home together because it's cold.  Immediately Lydia asks them to play a game with her and they agree.  I watch as they play grateful for Emily's friends that they would stop and play a game with a friend's sister 11 years younger then them.   Grateful that they would chat with a mom that's been missing her own college girls and thankful that they have been here many times before and played games and eaten food and laughed and chatted and danced and played. Ibe too has been here this Christmas season and has brought these feelings of gratitude and love so much that I have been overcome with emotion.    I think sometimes there's a bond that develops over time and when you leave and then come back you long for that same feeling so you go back to the same place hoping to find it.  For me today I felt that feeling that my girls were home maybe it was the sound of Kaitlyn and Jason that brought back the sound of Emily's and Jessy's voice it filled me with peace and a sense of calm that they are okay.  Okay because I felt them as I hugged, talked to and saw their friends.  Thanks so much for your visit today and for all the other visits before. We are connected.  

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Breakfast, Lunches, Coupons, and Money

 Today as I'm fixing scrambled eggs with summer sausage and cheese, it dawned on me that the Lord is helping us in small financial to ways get ready to send out a missionary.  Over the last few months I have started getting up in the mornings and making eggs for Bill and the boys before they leave for work and school.  Bill has been added to the children as those who take cold lunch.  And for the first time in my life I actually study store adds and clip coupons and look for deals.  It's amazing that making these small changes can help in big ways.  Plus I am grateful for being able to spend time in the morning with Bill at breakfast and for the challenge of finding the best deals around the area.

PS.  If anyone in the Manassas area doesn't use the Sunday coupons I would love to pick them up from you.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

New Year, New Goals and Old Goals

This past few weeks have had time for some serious reflection about this past year, but it has also made me in-vision what the next 12 months will look like.  I want a better me, better relationships with people and with my Heavenly Father.

As I watched the video above I thought that this blog could help me as a way to share and a reason for me to look for how the hand of God reaches out to touch me and my family.  Because I am sure that Heavenly Father has some personal messages he will want to send to me to guide my life and my family.  I think this will help me to bring more meaning to my blog rather than just talk about what happened during the day, though it may contain some day to day experiences.  This is Goal #1 for the new year.
   ( I did write a little over 200 entries in 2012. Not a perfect record but much of the past year is recorded)

My Simple Stories about My Simple Life will be the title of my personal history.  I have been wondering what is the most valuable thing I can do in the area of my family history?  I feel it would be to write about my life.  The other day I heard a song called "I Was Here"    As the artist sang,  pictures of  people in different situations, ages and places panned on huge screens.  As I viewed this I saw in my mind the people who had touched my life and who's life I had touched.  It was so inspiring.  I need to let others know I was here by telling the little stories that make up my life, the ordinary, my fears, my joys, my silliness,  The things, the places and happenings that will let others know I was here.

Me Jan 2012
Me Dec 2012
At the beginning of 2012 this is how I looked.  I can see that I have changed and I am stronger and healthier so I choose to continue on with this goal.   In 2012 I moved from being extremely obese into only overweight.  In 2013 I want to move from the overweight category to the healthy range.

I have one more goal that will make me stretch so far beyond where I am comfortable that I am not sure that I can share it without feeling embarrassed that I have taken so long to decide to change in this area.  I am going to learn how to be more social.  I am not comfortable in social situations.  I much prefer to be home,  But I have this feeling that I am taking the easy road.  That I have more to learn from others and that I need to be able to carry on conversations with those I may not know.  I struggle so much with this that I have written very specific things to do, but I do not list them here.  I may share some of my accomplishments here, but they will be personal triumphs no matter how small they may seem to others.   This goal is to help me feel more comfortable in social situations no matter how big or small the crowd, or who is at the gathering.

Well there you have it!  My 2013 will be Exciting, Joyful and Full of Growth,  Stay tuned to see how the Lord touches my life daily.