Sunday, May 11, 2014

Life doesn't come with an instruction manual, it comes with a mother.

Nikki was filling out a family history worksheet the other day and one of the blanks was for something important to know about her mom's mom. It made me pause for a minute because I didn't know where to start. If there was one thing I want my children to know about my mother, what would it be? There are so many things! She loved Oreos and practical jokes and her family and so much more. And then I'm sure there is so much about her that I never knew or have forgotten. So what was it about her that made the biggest impact on me? Her hard work. Her fun. Her love. But I think the way I want to answer that question today is her faith. She was totally committed to the gospel of Jesus Christ. She lived what she knew to be true. Someone said that your children are the first to know if you are a hypocrite. She was no hypocrite. She did what she believed was what she should do. Her favorite scripture, or at least one of them, was Alma 57:21, where Helaman is speaking of the Stripling Warriors, "Yea, and they did obey and observe to perform every word of command with exactness; yea and even according to their faith it was done unto them; and I did remember the words which they said unto me that their mothers had taught them." She said she wanted to be that obedient, and it certainly seemed to me that she was. Thank you, Mom, for teaching me what it looks like to be faithful.

I reap the benefits of the mothering of Nate's mom every day. He is a great kitchen cleaner and laundry folder, and I attribute that to Juanita. But he is so much more than that. He is kind and sensitive, just like his mother. And by sensitive, I mean he readily notices my feelings and moods, and he cares deeply about how I feel. Perhaps empathy is the word I'm looking for. Along with that, I think he is sensitive to the whisperings of the Spirit, and I know his mother played a large role in shaping his spiritual life as well. Thank you, Juanita, for shaping the heart of my husband.

I remember one day before my senior year started I needed to call the high school about something simple, like maybe a parking pass. I hated making phone calls (still do) and I just dreaded making this easy, practical call. I remember sitting at the piano bench and half whining/half begging Eileen to do it for me. She wasn't about to do it, and so I had to. It was a great lesson for me. There have been many phone calls over the years I have had to make that I wished someone would make for me, but then I think about that experience and I just do it. So I appreciate that, but even more I wonder how she put up with me! She kept her cool so well, and I know my kids wish that I had learned that lesson a little better! Eileen brings sunshine to whatever task she is given, and it makes me happy just to think of her. I love her! Thank you, Eileen, for becoming a mother to me in such a way that I didn't even know I was asking so much from you and the whole family. I felt then, and still do, that I was just a part of you.

To my mothers, thank you.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Rolling through

I was leading the music in Relief Society today, and at the end of the third verse I thought we were through. Too bad there was a 4th verse! So, I only missed a couple of beats and we finished up the song. I was just kind of laughing to myself when I sat down. My friend beside me laughed with me and said I had handled it well. It made me think that this situation wasn't nearly as big of a deal as the time I started playing the wrong hymn on the organ during Sacrament meeting. Or the time when I was playing the organ and the lady leading the music leaned on the music stand and it fell over. She got up, brushed herself off, and said, "I'm okay," and kept on leading. I guess after enough situations like that you kind of learn to just roll with things. If you need to feel a little better about yourself, just follow me around for a couple of days and you'll be amazed at how graceful and well put-together you feel! We will have had plenty of laughs, too! I'm so glad I can laugh at myself. Sister Hinckley said something like -- sometimes you can either laugh or cry, and crying gives me a headache. I love that!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Beach in November

Yes, Natalie, that smile shows how I felt about our trip to see Emily, too.
My cousin moved to the beach a few months ago. Once she moved she no longer had a wall to hang a mirror that my mom and dad used to have hanging in their living room, so she offered it to us. I'm so glad I have a wall to hang it on, and I absolutely loved being able to visit with Emily for a little while last Thursday and Friday. She is so fun to be around!

We drove out to see the wild horses in Corolla, but they weren't cooperating that morning. The kids thought it was pretty cool to be driving on the beach, anyway, so it didn't matter that we didn't see any horses. Then we stopped at the Currituck lighthouse on the way back to the house. I have a picture of the last time I was there taken in this exact same spot in this exact same pose. In it I am holding Hannah who was just about this same age as Natalie. Now she's taller than me and there are three more people in our family! Wow!

 I think they tried really hard not to go swimming, but in the end they just couldn't resist the water. It was a beautiful day, but I was glad it wasn't my pants that were soaking wet! We even saw some dolphins.

The beach is so therapeutic for me. It seems so easy to feel God's presence standing on the shore listening to the waves, feeling the breeze and the cool sand. I love the beach in the fall when there are no swimmers. It's deserted and peaceful. Wonderful!

On the way home, we drove through Edenton and stopped for a tiny bit of time. We drove by the home I grew up in on Paradise Rd and Grandma and Granddaddy's house, and I showed them my piano teacher's house that was just a mile down the road. I still can't believe Mary passed away this past year. What a gift she gave me during all those years of piano! Then we drove to the cemetery and walked around for a while. I enjoyed telling family stories and wished I had paid better attention every time my grandparents would talk about family history. I was really surprised at how interested the kids were in the people whose graves we were visiting. Even Ryan paid really close attention and asked some questions. We also had a great discussion about death and resurrection. I was so happy to be able to tell my children that while my parents' bodies may be buried in that spot, their spirits are not there. Because of the atonement of Jesus Christ, one day they and all of us will be resurrected, and we will be reunited with them. What a beautiful doctrine! After the cemetery we drove to the waterfront and saw the cannons and the old courthouse and green and Barker House. We had been driving for a while, so I let them play on the playground that I used to play on as a little girl. It has been improved quite a bit over the years, though. The flat metal slide that got burning hot in the sun was thankfully replaced! Then we drove out of town past Grandma Bass's house. I wish we could have had more time to stop and see Aunt Ruth and more sites, but I was glad for what I got. It was a great trip, and I really enjoyed being able to share it with my children.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

1st Meet of the Season

Today was Nikki's first gymnastics meet of the season. All of the girls on the team did really well, and I'm so excited the season has started. I thought Nikki was beautiful as always. I never get tired of watching her, so I'll share my enjoyment with you. Here she is:

It seems like I always miss her mount on the beam when I try to video her. And the move she fell off on is a front walk-over twist that is really cool. She stuck it all through her warm-up! So, hopefully at her next meet we'll get a video with all of her greatness. :)

Monday, November 11, 2013

My kind of science lesson

Another way to eat an oreo ... or 8.

Friday, November 08, 2013


Before heading to Chimney Rock, we spent a day at the zoo. I'm just realizing that Nate must have a lot of pictures on his phone from our fall break because this is all I can find from the zoo. We love the playground they have.

This girl spends more time with her feet off of the ground than on it! :)

Isn't she beautiful?!
On the way to the zoo, Hannah mentioned that she was seeing spots. Sure enough a few minutes later she started to have a headache. We stopped at a gas station and got some medicine but she definitely had a migraine coming on. We pushed on and got everyone in the zoo and I sat with Hannah while she laid down on a bench with my jacket wrapped around her eyes to keep out the light. Nate took the other kids to see the animals and after about an hour Hannah perked up. I actually enjoyed the break because we were sitting on a bench where I could see the giraffes, ostriches, and zebras. It was really cool to be able to observe them for almost an hour. I wished I could have done that with several of the animals.

Chimney Rock

 Nate took a week off of work during October when we had our fall break, and we spent the week doing lots of great things together. We ended it with a trip to Chimney Rock in the western part of North Carolina. We were hoping to see the fall leaves in all their glory, but they didn't turn for another couple of weeks after our trip. It was beautiful anyway.

 The view from Chimney Rock.

 I think some of us were wondering if we were going to make it up there!

 He was a trooper on the hike up, but he didn't mind taking a rest on a bench when one was available.

 Even I made it!

 There was a neat little hike in the park that was geared towards kids and had spots along the way teaching about the wildlife that lives on the mountain. We all enjoyed it. Such a fun trip.

Halloween pics

Halloween is a month-long affair in this house, but somehow I didn't get a lot of pictures of the things we did this year. Maybe that's because most of it was squeezed into lunch breaks and weekends. I think Nikki was pretty frustrated that we didn't get to everything we had planned. But we had a great time with everything we did get around to accomplishing. Here's a snippet of it all.

 Ryan painting his pumpkin with a cute baby watching in the background.

 Hannah thinks cleaning out pumpkins is gross, so she found her own solution.

 Thanks for doing the hard part, Dad.

 I thought they each did a great job designing their pumpkins this year.

 Mummy pizzas. He patiently waited for me to take the picture so he could take off the olives!

 Well, since they wanted caramel apples, I decided we might as well do it right, and I used the recipe of a friend at church who sells these. They are really that good. Of course, hers are a lot prettier, but ours didn't hang around long enough to really look at them.

 This little pumpkin enjoyed trick-or-treating.

 Woody had a pretty great time, too.

 The girls got so many comments on how creative their paper doll costumes were. I had to laugh because the fact that they cost $0.50 each was the main reason I cheered this idea on. They did a great job designing and cutting them out all on their own. I wish I had a better picture of Hannah's dress -- the bodice was an intricately designed pattern that was really pretty.

Dinner on Halloween was Ghost's shepherd's pie and these apple bites. It was a lot of fun to have our friends come for dinner and then more friends came and added to the pack of trick-or-treaters. Lots of candy and lots of fun.

Sunday, October 13, 2013


I guess crawling isn't good enough for her. She's pulling up on things now, even the stairs.


She thought she was on the fast track to get those puzzles and didn't count on getting stuck on the chair! She is going places these days!