Over Memorial Day, the kids and I went to Fern Canyon. I hadn’t ever been, even though we have lived here for more than 17 years now. The drive is about an hour. We packed up lunches and snacks so we could just spend the entire day out in the sun. It was breath-taking and beautiful! I have never seen anything like it! I guess it is even famous for being where they filmed a part of Jurassic Park—maybe part two or something. Anyway, we got all the way out there, then remembered that we hadn’t brought any cash with us—-they only accepted cash and checks…..bummer. So we had to go back out into the nearest town and get cash, then back into the park—-dirt roads in my mini-van.
Once we got there, we had a blast! Here are some of the photos!
After our beautiful day, we drove out and got back on the road, deciding to head to the beach for an hour or so before heading home. Instead, just as we hit the 101, our car broke down. The check engine light started flashing at me, the car was running super rough and there was a burning smell I didn’t recognize. Fabulous! I decided to pull the car over and call Drew. He suggested that I limp the car along until I was closer to civilization, which was only another 3 miles. When we got there, we called a tow truck.
My husband had a great day!! He decided that living for half of a century is actually a pretty cool accomplishment. He doesn’t feel old or bad about his age and he isn’t having any mid-life crises about hitting that 50 milestone. He really sees things differently than the rest of the world. He even told me that he was born about 1:30 a.m. And in the middle of the night of his birthday, he was awake then. He just thought is was so cool that he was awake when he hit the true hour of his 50th year on earth and then he stayed up for two more hours contemplating how amazing his life is. See? Just a strange man I am married to.
But I wanted to play it all up anyway. So the kids and I planned a wake. Here is his tombstone cake:
|Yes…..this angel did it!|
|copyright: Karen Larsen photography|
I don’t get them. At all. I am one. I should understand them. I don’t. Maybe it is because I have spent so long denying my feminine side because I felt it was a weakness. I don’t know. I don’t feel that way anymore, but it doesn’t mean that I understand my gender any better. Today was exhausting, and it is only 9:40 a.m.
I had an amazing seminary lesson planned–Isaiah 53, all about the Atonement. It was super important! I couldn’t get my little girlie out of bed today. I usually go in and wake her up once before it is time to leave. On the hard days, I have to do it twice. She gets up, puts her shoes on, throws on a sweater, grabs her scriptures and walks out the door. No bathroom stops, no hair or teeth brushing, none of it. Getting up and getting to seminary is all that she can manage at that time in the morning. Did I tell you that she is not a morning person? I am……not such a good combination.
I went in at 5:45 a.m. She wasn’t sleeping in her bed. She slept with Spike again. She does that sometimes because it is hard for him to sleep by himself. I don’t know why. I really like sleeping by myself! I roused her, pulled the covers off and said, “hey, it is time to go….get out of bed.” Then I left the room.
I came back in at 5:50 ish….she was in exactly the same place she was before I left—covers on. So I repeated the process. Back at 6:00 a.m. “Hey, get up!! It is time to leave!” This time before I left the room, she has grabbed the covers and pulled them up. At that point, I let it go. If I fight this any more, I will be late and she will be mad. ugh! So off to seminary without her.
Seminary was OK. The lesson was OK–not great! I had two boys on their phones the entire time, not paying attention, one boy sleeping (that was mine), and I was having trouble keeping the girls’ attention. Whatever. It ended OK. We finished with a nice video and my testimony was good, the Spirit was there—not in abundance, which I would like, but functional. I have learned that I cannot control how much of the Spirit is present. All of the students in my room play a role in that and what they are doing at the moment. I have brought this up to the class and taught them this principle. Anyway.
So when I got home, I wasn’t in the greatest of moods because my lesson didn’t fly the way I wanted it to and my daughter slept through it and when we arrived home, no one, except Drew, was awake. Which means, Shorty hadn’t made anyone breakfast, everyone was still in bed and sleeping. Mind you, when we arrive home from seminary, we have exactly 12 minutes to throw down some breakfast, put together a salad for Drew’s lunch, say prayers as a family and walk out the door in order to catch the bus. That obviously was not happening today. And it is even more significant since we are down to one car. The van has been in the shop for two weeks and will be another week at a different shop. Drama for another day.
Anyway, that is our timeline. It is super tight and obnoxious when you have to deal with as many attitudes as we do here in our house. I went to find Drew, and expressed how frustrated I was with our daughter.
His solution: She is overwhelmed. She needs consequences for not taking care of her responsibilities. She obviously has not had enough or any that mean anything to her. Take away her music. Take away her Chrome book (which belongs to the school, by the way). Take away her babysitting for her favorite person tonight. Take away her performing arts classes and performances. Take it all away and make sure she gets the message!!
Ok. I will think about that. I certainly do not give enough consequences. But that is how you deal with boys. When you do that with Sun, she shuts down more, and more and then does less and less. It is not a motivating scenario for her and then she stops doing everything and becomes more and more overwhelmed and she falls into this self-fulfilling prophesy where she really can’t do it. I have seen her do it over and over again to herself and then tried to help her dig out of the hole she puts herself into so she might be able to function and be successful. Ugh! That is an exhausting process in and of itself!! I do not want to do that!
I take Drew to work. On the way, I decide that I have to go back to the house and get Smiley before I take Speedy out to school or Smiley will be late.
I get home. Smiley is ready. He comes to the car. I take a minute to peak in on Sun. She is sitting in the family room eating a pear—appears ready for school. “What are you doing today?” I asked her. “Going to school I think,” she responds. “Are you ready?”
“Then go and get in the car.”
As we are getting into the car, Spike throws open the front door and screams, “Moooooommmmm!!!”
“I don’t want you to leave!!”
“I am sorry. I have to take people to school.”
“Don’t leave Mooooommm!”
I drive away with him screaming at the front door with Shorty.
We drop Smiley off. He isn’t late.
Driving away, I tell Sun, “Dear, we need to have a little talk.” The entire time I am praying because I don’t know what I need to do to have her respond the right way. If I say it wrong, I will tank the entire situation and she will crumble. And if I don’t give the right consequences, she will get off the hook and not take her responsibilities seriously. Did I mention that I am also driving the car and she is sitting behind me, so it isn’t like I can see her face except for occasional glances into the rear view mirror.
“Are you feeling overwhelmed?”
“I don’t think so. Maybe.” She also talks really quietly when she is insecure, like you can hardly hear her even sitting right behind you.
“Well, are you behind in school? Are you overwhelmed with your classes right now and school work?”
“Can you tell me what you are feeling right now?”
Three minutes up the road, I can see the tears welling up in her eyes through the rear view mirror.
After a few more requests for her to communicate her feelings with me and now with the tears streaming down her face, I pull the car over to the side of the road. Luckily we are at a place where there is space. There isn’t always space on the way to school.
Five more minutes of me asking her to please share her feelings with me.
Finally in a squeaky voice, she says, “I miss Sport!!”
Oh.my.goodness!!! Is that what this whole thing is about?! He left almost a month ago!! And just now this is coming out?! Holy cow! What have you been doing girl?!
I let her cry it out. Good thing Speedy didn’t have to be to school until 10. We talked about how each of us manages our sad and hurt emotions. Sun shuts down and only participates in behaviors that makes her feel happy, that soothe her aching heart. She reads books, listens to music, eats….just coping behaviors that help her to feel better all the while letting the world go on around her and the work just pile up because she is busy trying to soothe her sad feelings. I on the other hand, work myself to death. I am more productive when I am hurt or angry because I channel all of that emotional energy into work—the house is never cleaner than when I am ticked off! I have to make myself S.T.O.P. and feel. I have to think about why I am doing what I am doing and what I am really feeling. We are two girls who deal with our emotional drama at different ends of the spectrum. Sun stops the world and wallows, I ramp it up and squash the feelings. If only we could somehow blend both philosophies so we both have balance! That would be awesome!
Long story shorter—I let her know she would have consequences for missing seminary. She won’t get to babysit tonight. (Her brothers will fill in for her so we do not leave that other family hanging.) She will have to manage her school stuff and get caught up. She won’t get to sit around and listen to music with headphones in. But she feels loved, and heard, and validated. We were only 30 minutes late for school–30 minutes well spent.
Now I get to deal with the boy drama here at home. Lovely! Spike now screams at people when he is mad. So awesome! My favorite!
Maybe we’ll both eventually figure out how to manage these stinky emotions that make up so much of our personality!
This one is my favorite design so far! It was a pain in the rear end! But once I figured it out, it wasn’t too bad. But the other ones come together so much faster!
And yes, those are still Sport’s tubs waiting to be put up in the attic, until he returns from his mission.
This week, we actually had 80 degree weather! Just one day, of course. But I weeded the gardening area next to the deck, which I haven’t done for at least two years. And I transplanted the raspberries that were growing the grass of the back yard into that little patch of earth. Of course, my cat thought it was too hot. I thought it was hysterical that he was trying to keep his body in the shade of the basketball hoop!
Missionary #4 (#5 including Tams!!) is out the door!! Hip hip hooray!!! Super excited! This is the photo from Scuff and Tams dropping him at the MTC! His first week there and gets to have General Conference! Super cool!
I am really not sure what I want to say about it. Sport has put in more time and more effort getting himself prepared to serve his mission than any of those brothers before him. It has been a long road and we have had many struggles and set backs, but he is out! In three weeks, he will be in the field!
It has never ceased to amaze me how different each of us is from one another, even those who come from the same home. Yes, there are similarities. We have similar likes and dislikes. We can usually agree about food, books, and movies. But each of my children learns so very differently. Each has such a different view of themselves, others, and the world around them. The experiences each one needs to develop their character into the character God wants for them takes such a different path to growth. Sport is probably the most humble of all of my children to go out. His self-esteem the most fragile and yet he has had to work the hardest and put in the most time to be ready to serve. He has done it on his own time-table.
I am so very grateful that our loving Father in Heaven has a plan for each and every one of us!! That He knows us so completely and so totally values our agency that He patiently waits until each heart is prepared. He doesn’t push us. He will force no man or woman to heaven. It has to be our choice, to choose to make the sacrifices He is asking of us. He will take us when we are ready and not before.
It is me, the mortal woman, who gets so very frustrated with other people. I do not have that eternal perspective. I want people to make the choices I think they should and I want them to do it when I think they should. I am so grateful God does not operate that way!!! Especially concerning me……so shouldn’t I be a little more patient with others and their time-table? Shouldn’t I be a little more forgiving and willing to let others grow and learn on their time-table and God’s? Do I really not understand that spiritually learning really only takes place with a broken heart and a contrite spirit—a willing participant? If the heart is not given freely, it hasn’t really been given, and though the behavior may look right, the heart is not converted. If we want true conversion, it will only happen as the individual makes the sacrifice to give it freely. Only then do we approximate the ultimate sacrifice of our Savior Jesus Christ. His gift, was given willingly, to comply with the desires of the Father, but only because of His (Jesus Christ’s and the Father’s) great and eternal love for us—a love that would never violate our agency!!!
If we want our children to learn, really spiritually learn, we cannot violate their agency either. Teach them? Yes!! Train them? Yes!! Have expectations of them? Yes!! But we can never force their behavior—because if we are, as soon as they are in a place where they are no longer under our influence, or control, they will do what their heart truly desires, regardless of what we want or taught.
And that, I guess, is my rant for the day! I am glad that my Sport is out there!! That it is the desire of his heart to be there! And I will pray that he will have the strength he needs to stay there and overcome the challenges and difficulties that are yet to face him in the mission field!! You can do it Sport!! With the help of our Father in Heaven, you can do all things!!
since I have blogged!! I cannot believe it has been so long. Things have been super crazy at my house. For the last few weeks, we have been super, super busy.
Good news first, Sport received his mission call! He is going to Fort Collins Colorado! The crazy thing about that is Fort Collins is the same mission Scuff spent an entire year in while he awaited his visa to Brazil. Upon hearing the news, the mission president’s wife contacted Scuff via Facebook and said, ‘We get your brother!!’ That will be great for Sport! We are so grateful to know where he is going and that he won’t be too far away. Sport is suppose to report the to MTC at the end of March.
|copyright: Karen Larsen photography|
That being the case, we have been busting our rear ends trying to get things ready for him to go, which has played a part in our busyness.
On the crazy side of things, my sister had applied for a job here at the court where Drew works. We have had her visit during her interview and we have waited for three weeks to get the results. But alas, she did not get the job, which means she and her five daughters will not be moving in with us. It would only have been for a little while, but trying to figure out how we would manage all of that and then having those conversations with my sister took some time.
Also on the crazy side of life, it appeared that Drew was going to be getting another job. Out of nowhere, he was recommended to be the interim CEO for a neighboring court. The plan was for him to travel there twice a week and work here the other three days. We were suppose to do that through July. We even signed papers to that extent. That was at the end of January. Then things got super complicated and people changed their minds, after he attended a CEO conference for the state and was introduced as the interim CEO. Anyway, he ended up only traveling one day and not staying the night and later that week they had reconsidered and decided to go a different direction. Super crazy. In the same week, they reached out to him and asked him to apply for the job when they opened it. The announcement went out on Friday. Drew and I are not even sure we will apply. I don’t think we are going to. But we will see. I guess we have the right to change our minds too. So….that’s where that is.
On top of all of that life craziness, I have just been feeling overwhelmed with seminary and the rest of life. I have been on an emotional roller coaster. I think I am finally settling down. On a good note, I have not been eating my feelings, so that is a huge positive. And my relationship and communications with my husband are definitely improved. Through all of this chaos, Drew and I have had to communicate much more effectively in much shorter intervals, which has meant we had to clarify our positions and feelings.
While we were trying to figure out what our life was looking like, we rearranged Speedy’s schedule so that he could graduate early in case we actually moved. But now we aren’t moving, but are still graduating him early. That was more chaos and speaking with people and figuring out what that would look like and how it would work. Now we have to plan graduation and college attendance for Speedy. I think he is going to stay home this next year and finish at the junior college where he’s at and then apply for next summer (2017) at the Y.
And in the process of all of this, two computers have bit the dust. Yes, seriously.
|copyright: Karen Larsen photography|
Friday night I watched an Evening with Elder Ballard for the seminary and institute personnel. It was amazing and exactly what I needed to hear to help me feel like I can teach seminary and manage my life. Just so you know, he told us there are 11 essays on lds.org that we should all read, know and be familiar with so we can answer the questions of our students in accordance with the position of the church. They were a little hard for me to find but you click on ‘scriptures and study’ then under learn, click ‘gospel topics’ then click the link that says ‘explore the essays.’ Essays are the links on the right. Or just click here. I have read through three of them and am still working on the rest.
He also asked us to pay the price to know our scriptures and know the doctrine and to know the students, then we will be able to be the teachers inspired of the Lord needed to help this generation gain knowledge necessary to give them a testimony born of study and faith, and to become converted to the doctrine, to know it, participate in it, live it, and defend it—which is what I think every seminary teacher wants. I just want to be able to help my students gain a testimony that will help them withstand the trials of their mortality because they are willing to pay the price necessary for it. And that through their obedience as they exercise their faith unto repentance, their faith will be strengthened and enlarged. But those things don’t come because I force information into them. They do not even come because they read their scriptures or memorize scripture mastery. It only comes because they are willing to experiment upon the doctrines as they exercise their faith through their obedience–even unto repentance. That decision can only be made by each individual inside of their own heads and hearts. The goal then, becomes to do what inspires each individual to desire to do that for him or her self, for I cannot violate their agency in the process.
He also told us to hold a personal interview with ourselves periodically to assess where we are spiritually. Here are the scriptures he told us to use:
2nd Nephi 26:29-32
I have yet to do that. But here is my favorite line from the evening. “James didn’t say, ‘If any of you lack wisdom, let him Google.” Elder Ballard. He was trying to explain to us that we all have to pay the price to know the doctrines. That price is to learn by study and by faith, which requires experimenting upon the word, and enduring to the end. We don’t get that knowledge because we can find it on the internet. We get it because we are obedient to the principles and through our study and faith (which implies action—because faith is acting on the information) we receive the knowledge and testimony promised. Faith is hard work–more so, I think than the physical work necessary to have a great body or that ripped six pack. It requires bending our whole will to do what He asks of us, which will be what is hardest for each of us, because that is where the growth is necessary.
But instead of continuing on, I really do have to get people ready for church today and take care of the responsibilities I have at home. Poor Sport is feeling kind of sick. He had his flu shot on Wednesday. It is finally catching up with him……
|copyright: Karen Larsen photography|
Have a great Sabbath day! Enjoy leap day tomorrow! And I will try not to be such a stranger to the blog sphere. But no promises–until summer!
Today is Bug Bug’s 20th birthday!! Happy Birthday Buddy!! Drew has always called him Sport. I on the other hand, used to call him Tootlely Bug. It is from the days he looked like this:
This is my all time favorite little person photo. You can’t see it, but he has this blonde, blonde hair, with those bright blue eyes! Mmmmm, yummy!! Anyway, he used to suck his thumb and just kind of tootle around the house going from one thing to another. He has two swirlys on the top of his head that go different directions. His hair used to stand up in a mow-hawk down the middle of his head—just this fine wispy blonde mow-hawk. Anyway, he doesn’t tootle anymore and no more mow-hawk. He is big. So instead of Tootlely Bug, he is just Bug Bug. He is an amazing bright spot in my life, and he always has been.
I am so proud of you Bug! I am amazed at the young man you have become! You are so sensitive, thoughtful, and talented!! Your heart is so sincere and loyal!
I am so proud of you for the work you have done in preparing for your missionary service!! Your papers are in and we are just waiting for that giant white envelope to arrive in the mail and tell us where you will serve!! You are an amazing artist and super funny!!
|One of Sport’s works|
When I was pregnant with you, I just cried. Not because I didn’t want you, just because I was so overwhelmed with life and I didn’t have any idea how I could possibly do another little person. I told Heavenly Father that if He was serious about sending you, then I needed a happy baby, a fun baby, one who made me laugh, who wasn’t allergic to every thing under the sun and one who slept at night! You are that baby who I prayed for. You always, still, make me laugh. I know you are an answer to an overwhelmed mother’s prayer! Your spirit soothes my soul and you were so cute!! Oh my gosh! The cutest thing I ever saw!!! Blue eyes and blonde hair are my favorite on little people!!
Thank you for coming to my house, for being a part of our family, for loving us!! You are an amazing, talented person, who loves the Lord and does whatever He asks of you! What a gift that is in today’s day and age!!
I love you Sport!! Happy Birthday!
We attended my friend’s memorial service on Friday!! It was such a beautiful celebration of life!! It was wonderful to see friends from far away and to enjoy a few minutes of time together. Truth be told, we really only had time to give our dear friends a quick hug. Even though they had food and a gathering time, for more than an hour after the services, the church was so full and there were so many people who wanted to speak with my friend, she was thronged the entire night. I didn’t even see her sit down. She was mingling in and out of the people. She truly is a servant of Christ. She wanted everyone to feel loved and cherished and she spent the time circling the room when she was the one who we were gathered there to support.
It was beautiful to watch, but I knew she would be wiped out at the end. As I watched, I just decided that I would write her a little note to tell her of my love and support. I couldn’t find any paper so I just chose to write my note on a dessert plate. Then I found her stuff and tucked it into it. I just figured she would read it when she was about ready to go home and she could think and feel without worrying too much about everyone else.
I knew her plans were to leave the next morning and go to San Francisco and have another celebration of life with her friends there. And then they would be travelling back to their new home in Michigan. It was going to be a crazy week for her.
Anyway, after the celebration we went home. I didn’t bring everyone to the memorial because some of us are little and would have had difficulty sitting still and my van was in the shop, so we didn’t have enough seat belts to take everyone. So when I arrived home, I still had a house full of hungry people. We started making dinner.
We had been home for about two hours when the doorbell rang. “Who is that?” the kids asked. I didn’t have any idea.
As I opened the door, my dear friend who had just celebrated her dear companion’s life, held out her arms and said, “I got your plate!” and then we hugged and she came in and just sat and visited with our family for an hour. It was super sweet!! I will forever remember that…..I got your plate!
|NOT my note, just a web image…..|
At the little gathering afterward, my pediatrician approached me to say hello. We haven’t been into his office for a few years because Spike Spike is getting old enough and his asthma is under control enough that we have not needed to see him. It was wonderful to have him seek me out to visit with me outside of the office. I love that part of small town living. I really, really do!! It was obvious that he takes his job seriously. He is more about the whole person and less about his career and practice, though those things are important.
He actually expressed that he is postponing his retirement because he is the only one in his office that will take on-call time from the hospital!! I was dumb-founded! The younger docs won’t do it and some of the older ones won’t either. ‘I understand’ he said, ‘They want family time too. But I think our community expects that kind of service to be available.’ My heart melted!!
I was so grateful to him! I expect it too, but had no idea that one man is holding down the fort in that department here in our community and is willing to make that much of a sacrifice because ‘nobody else will do it.’
To be honest, that is who my friend is too. He was that kind of a man–Brian Craig.
One night, we had company over for family home evening. Things got a little wild with Spike. He was about two, I think. Anyway, he was spinning in circles in the family room like little kids do. Then he lost his balance, because he was dizzy, hit his head on the fireplace and gashed his head open. It was bleeding a lot!
We put on the pressure but I could tell he would need stitches. It was in the evening (8 p.m.). Urgent care was closed and I knew the emergency room would take about five hours before they would even see my baby. Great!! I called Dr. Craig’s house. His wife, my friend, answered the phone. I told her what had happened. She said bring him right over.
We got there and she opened up the door. Dr. Craig met us in the kitchen—in his bathrobe! They had cleaned off the kitchen table and told me to lay him on it. Brian looked at Spike’s head. Yep, he needed a couple of stitches. Dr. Craig fixed him up right there, in his bathrobe! We were done in 15 minutes! Yea for small towns and great friends!!
I will miss you my friend!! Thank you for your service—you and the rest of your ‘old guard’—the men and women who take their oath seriously and then practice the goodness and virtue that led them to that profession in the first place!!
I love my doctors!!
I feel like a super slacker! I didn’t even meet my goal of trying to post every Friday last year! And here it is the second Friday of 2016 and this is only my first post!! Oh well, that is where my life is right now.
Over the holidays, I also was able to print my family photos–thanks to my amazing mother-in-law! I dearly, dearly love her!! On her trip up here, she slipped in the car when Dad slammed on the brakes to avoid another vehicle. Mom wasn’t wearing her seat belt–shame on her. She hit that handle that you hold onto on the ceiling…….
Poor Mom! That was after two days. She is better now. Anyway, I was able to put the kids photos up on the wall: