Monday, June 19, 2017

Family Fun

If you have children, you know what a treasure it is to have moments when no one is fighting and everyone is having fun ☺  I have been blessed to have a couple of those moments in the last few weeks and to capture parts of it on camera.

Here are a few of those pictures:

 Ok, so there are no  kids in these first 2 pictures but this is what they were working on with me.  We had to dig up the old ugly rocks, get all the weeds out, extend it out farther and dig up the grass, level it off the best we could, pick out the rocks and then assemble everything.  It took quite a few hours and there was not any fighting that took place during the whole process.  Despite the hard work, it was even a little fun ☺  It helps that they were making it for Michael as a Father's Day present.

Here they were cleaning out the pool and getting it ready to fill.  It took a lot of scrubbing and several hours to get it ready to fill but they all worked together, took turns and got it done.  This picture is of them "floating" in the empty pool.  It's really the only way they are able to float.  They haven't figured out how to do it on top of water yet!

These last few pictures are from our last visit with Maddi.  We took the kids swimming then out to eat.  Afterward we went to the park and they played tag.  It was a super fun day and there really was not fighting at all!  There were a few disagreements on tag rules, but Michael and I were the officials in the game and were able to end the disagreements quickly.  ☺ Everyone had fun.  Everyone participated and I loved watching them together.
I love these moments when we can all come together, work together and have fun.  With so many people and so many personalities it doesn't always happen, but when it does, it makes my heart happy!
This has nothing to do with anything but I had to add a picture of Dillon and his triple ham and cheese sandwich.  This boy can eat! This was part of his lunch after his basketball camp before he picked rock.  He ate it all and still wanted more.  

Saturday, May 27, 2017

First Days of Summer

I finally finished up my school work this week and the kids had their first full week of summer vacation.  It has been raining since last week but the last couple of days the sun came out and it finally felt like summer was here.  We got to enjoy a lot of time outside doing yard work and playing.  We also go some new animals to keep us busy.

We already had chickens, turkeys, a calf and horses.  Melissa and Dennis (some friends of ours) brought over two pigs and a miniature pony Thursday night.  Their kids are too big to ride the pony so they brought her over to us for the summer so our kids could ride her.  It's so funny to see them riding around the yard on this little bitty horse named Frannie!  Especially when we are used to riding thoroughbreds!  One day I'll have to get a picture of Frannie next to Nacho.  It's too cute!

Frannie loves to eat grass.  Constantly.

Zane even rode her down the driveway to check the mail.  The Pony Express is back!  Frannie almost made it back down the driveway before she had to stop and eat grass again.  Our pony express rider had to walk the rest of the way back to the house leading her.  Not the quickest way to get the mail!

Our pigs are named Bacon and Porkchop.  Bacon is the striped one and Porkchop is the white one.  The kids named them.  You can tell by their names what their future holds.
We still have our calf that has gone from being named Chocolate Chip to Lula.  Lula fits her.  Zeke and Olivia like to go in the pasture and play tag with her.  She'll chase them for a while and then they chase her.  It's funny to watch!

Today we took four of the kids fishing.  Dillon was with a friend so Makenna, Zane, Zeke and Olivia came with us.  We ended up with 9 trout.  They had a lot of fun and we were the only ones there fishing.  It was a beautiful afternoon.

Can't wait for a few more of these summer days and opportunities to share them with family and friends!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Olivia Turns 10!

Yesterday we got to celebrate Olivia's 10th birthday.  She was so excited for it!  We let her open one present the night before since Michael was going to be gone all day on her birthday so he wouldn't be home for the other gift. Monday morning she got up and opened her other one.  Olivia loves gymnastics and is always doing some sort of cartwheel, round off or hand stand.  For Christmas she got a mat so she could do her gymnastics inside during the winter.  She had been wanting a balance beam for a really long time and I finally found one on one of the rummage sale sites that was a good deal (they are usually quite expensive to buy). 

She loves it!  She has been on it constantly since Sunday night and is getting better at doing cartwheels on it and getting her feet on it when she lands.

Makenna made her birthday cake while I was at work and Olivia frosted it and put the sprinkles on.  Purple is her favorite color so we had purple frosting.  Then Olivia helped make her birthday supper.  She chose chicken taquitos.  They were really good!  It was rainy in the afternoon so she and I watched Liv and Maddie (one of her favorite TV shows) on Netflix for part of the afternoon.

She got a couple of phone calls from family in the evening and got to call Maddi that night too.  We ended the evening eating her purple cake with some cookie dough ice cream.

Olivia is such a blessing to us.  She is stubborn and likes to be right all the time but she is also helpful, happy and kind.  She loves to play games when she is not upside down in the middle of a handstand or cartwheel.  She likes to ride horses, play basketball and swim.  She loves to sing - especially High School Musical songs.  We love having her in our family!

Happy Birthday Princess O L I V I A (spell it, don't say it). ☺

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Last Day of School!

May 17th 2017 marks the end of the 2016-2017 school year.  What a year it has been!  To say it has been trying is an understatement.  This has, hands down, been the most difficult year of my life and I know that my children and Michael have also faced a lot of difficulty throughout the year.

However, there has been a lot of good too!  The kids have been successful in their schooling and other activities.  We have stuck together and made the most of each crazy and difficult situation.  We have been blessed with many wonderful friends who have stood by us offering prayers and hugs as needed (and the necessary Diet Coke or Dr. Pepper). 

Our days have been filled with school, sports, church, FFA, and singing.  Olivia played volleyball and basketball this year.  She also participated in an honors choir and our C25K program.  She finished 27th in the C25K.  Zeke participated in football and basketball.  He also did our C25K program coming in at 9th place.  Dillon participated in football, basketball and track.  Zane did basketball, track and FFA.  Makenna did cross country.  She and her team went to state this year!  She started basketball but her season was cut short with knee surgery.  She is getting her strength built up again for cross country season.  She sang the National Anthem at some of our home games for volleyball and football.  She also sang at some district and regional basketball games and ended with singing twice at the Boys Basketball State A finals.  She was in All State Chorus this year and also a Women's Choir at SDSU.  Maddi had to sit out cross country because of a track injury but was ready to play basketball this winter.  She also participated in FFA.  Maddi and Makenna also did early morning seminary throughout the school year.  The four youngest kids and I also ran a 5k for a church fundraiser. 

Now summer is here!  It will still be crazy busy but I look forward to some down time to clean, sort and recover.  Camps start in a couple of weeks.  Rock picking starts soon too.  We will see some family this summer, some of whom we haven't seen in four years.  We are really looking forward to that!  We will also hopefully fit in some trips to the pool, the lake and the fire pit ☺

Here are our last day of school pictures!
Just finished 4th grade

Just finished 5th grade

Just finished 7th grade (and got a haircut 10 minutes before we left for school this morning because he thought that would be easier than combing it)

Gets to do 8th grade again!  JK He passed ☺ and he can drive so watch out locals your safety cannot be guaranteed!

Just finished her freshman year

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Zane turns 14!

On April 13th Zane turned 14.  He got to celebrate by going to school ☺  That night we had BBQ chicken sandwiches (his choice) and then ice cream for desert.  I was sick so I didn't get his cake made until Friday so we celebrated him again that night too.

I can't believe this punk is old enough to drive now!  I took him in Friday to get his license but the DMV was closed so he will have to wait a little longer to get that (which I am ok with).

We are so thankful for Zane.  He is kind, funny, smart, caring, easy going and helpful.  He is such a blessing to our family!
Sue likes him too ☺


Sunday, April 16, 2017

Perfect Love

Today is Easter Sunday.  Today we remember and give thanks for our Savior, Jesus Christ, who after suffering beyond comprehension and dying for us all, rose from the grave.  Because of this, we too, shall live again.  He freed us from sin.  He freed us from the grave.  He opened the door for us to return to live with Him and our Father in Heaven again.

In church we were able to sing hymns of the Savior's victory over the grave.  We were able to listen to talks, scriptures and testimonies of the Savior's suffering, death and atonement - of His perfect love for us.  While I loved them all, one stood out to me and touched me. 

Christ was the one perfect person to walk the face of this earth.  He was the only one who could do what He did.  He lived a perfect life.  He had a perfect love for us and for Heavenly Father.  He had perfect humility, obedience and knowledge.  And now, He has the perfect understanding of us and all that we go through.

Christ did not just feel the pains of our sins when he suffered in Gethsemane.  He felt our sorrows and struggles, our heartache and fears.  This quote was shared in church today and I love it.  It puts things into better words than I can.  David A. Bednar said, "The Savior has suffered not just for our iniquities but also for the inequality, the unfairness, the pain, the anguish, and the emotional distresses that so frequently beset us. There is no physical pain, no anguish of soul, no suffering of spirit, no infirmity or weakness that you or I ever experience during our mortal journey that the Savior did not experience first. You and I in a moment of weakness may cry out, “No one understands. No one knows.” No human being, perhaps, knows. But the Son of God perfectly knows and understands, for He felt and bore our burdens before we ever did. And because He paid the ultimate price and bore that burden, He has perfect empathy and can extend to us His arm of mercy in so many phases of our life. He can reach out, touch, succor—literally run to us—and strengthen us to be more than we could ever be and help us to do that which we could never do through relying upon only our own power."

Christ knows exactly how I feel.  He knows and has felt my exact pain.  He knows the hurt that is in my heart.  He knows the sadness that I feel each day.  He understands completely because He has felt it, not something similar, but the exact pain.  That brings such peace to me. 

In Matthew 11:28-30, Christ invites us to come to Him.
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light”
He will give us rest.  He has already suffered.  He can and will ease our burdens so we don't have to suffer the pains He has already felt.  We just have to come to Him.
Today I took a picture of my kids all dressed up for church.  My heart hurts that only 5 of my 6 little Christiansens are in it.  However, through Christ, I have hope that all will be well.  He is there to lift us up, strengthen us and give us peace as we walk through this sometimes painful and treacherous life.  I know that He perfectly knows me, my heart and my circumstances.  He knows what I need and He is able to give it to me.  His love is stronger than any pain that can be felt.  It is stronger than any wrong that can be done.  It is stronger than any hurt that can be weighing us down.  His love can lift us above it. 
I am so grateful for my Savior, Jesus Christ.  I know He lives.  I know He loves me.  I know He will never leave me.  I know through Him, I can be saved.