Monday, June 28, 2010

We Have A Purple Ribbon!!



And a blue one...but the purple one brought a bigger smile because the purple means you qualified for state.  Makenna got to show a little miniature pony named Peanut in the 4-H horse show today. 

Her day started at 5:45 am and didn't end until about 3:30.  Her first show was halter and showmanship.  She had to be able to lead Peanut around the arena ad then bring him to a stop and get him lined up and square.  Front feet shoulder width apart, hind feet even. 

Then the judge would walk around the horse and check his quarters and Makenna would also have to move so that she could always see the judge and her horse. While she was moving, the horse couldn't.  The she had to trot her hose back to the line and wait while the other horses were judged.  She got a blue ribbon in that and she was very excited and pleased with herself. I was very impressed with her too.


Next up was the driving.  They got Peanut's mane and tail all pretty and got her hooked up to the cart. 


Then came the waiting.  She was ready to go when they called her in. 

Michael rode with her on the cart.  She did an excellent job and so did Peanut.  They had to walk the pony around the arena, then slow trot, work trot (a little faster) and then strong trot (even faster) the back to a walk, switch directions and do it again. 


Then they had to go to the middle of the arena.  Michael had to get off and Makenna had to make Peanut back the cart up, pull it forward and make him stop.  Once again she did an excellent job.  She got a purple ribbon for her driving!  I wish I could have captured the smile she had on her face when they gave her that ribbon!  I have never seen a smile so big!  She was so proud. 

Michael said seeing her face totally made his day and made all the work put into it worth it.  Now, with the two ribbons hanging proudly in the kitchen, we will begin work on the State Fair.  We have around a month to prepare.  There will be bumps in the road but hopefully the pride she felt today will carry her through.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Patience

Patience is a virtue, but it is not one that I seem to possess right now.  I have to give a lesson in church today on patience and I feel so unworthy and unprepared.  My lesson is prepared, but I am not.  I guess it's good that we are not expected to be perfect in the things that we teach!  Preparing for this lesson this week and having it constantly in the back of my mind and having the week that I had, has certainly made me aware of the fact that I am lacking.  I have felt guilt, sorrow and embarrasment over my lack of ability, even to the point of being extremely mad at myself.  One of the statements in this lesson when referring to patience and faith is that "Often deep valleys of our present will be understood only by looking back on them from the mountains of our future experience.  Often we can't see the Lord's hand in our lives until long after the trials have passed.  Often the most difficult times of our lives are essential building blocks that form the foundation of our character and pave the way to future opportunity, understanding and happiness."  Well, looking back over this week, I still don't understand all the happenings.  The "why's" and "how's" and "what the heck's?", and I think that I couldn't necessarily see the Lord's hand in things because He wanted nothing to do with how I was handling life over the past few days!  Seriously though, it has opened my eyes to one of my many weaknesses.  When I was called as a missionary to Ireland, I received a blessing before I left.  In that blessing, I was told that nothing would out weigh the joy, sorrow, hardships and pain I felt on my mission except motherhood.  I laughed inside because at the time I didn't know what all motherhood entailed.  I no longer laugh at that statement.  It is so true.  Motherhood is so involved and intense.  Every emotion in my body is wrapped up in it with such intensity that sometimes I don't even know the depth of it.  I guess that's why, when my patience is gone, my emotions are so readily available to take over.  And that's why, at the end of a long day or week, I am completely drained of all energy and abilities it seems.  My lesson goes on to say that "Patience is a godly attribute that can heal souls, unlock treasures of knowledge and understanding, and transform ordinary men and women into saints and angels."  That is so true,even in the simplest forms of patience.  My child spills the milk, I can react one of two ways.  If I get upset at his accident, pain is inflicted in his heart because mommy got mad at him.  If I react with love and patience, he knows he is okay and his eyes light up with the love that I offer.  His soul is healed.  If I am patient and teach my children about their actions or be patient with them as they ask questions and try to learn I am unlocking teasures of knowledge for them.  It's all so simple, yet so important and so eternal.  May I begin to practice more patience with my family, myself, my life situations and with all those around me.  If I do, I know I will find more peace and happiness in this life and my heart will be filled with the Spirit of God and as stated in my lesson, "Many around us will see it, and they will trust in the Lord."

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Saturday...Finally

This week is finally winding down to a close.  It has been such a crazy week.  We started out with a basketball clinic that Maddi and Makenna went to at Tri-Valley.  It was Monday - Wednesday from 9 am to 11am.  They had fun and worked hard.  Those mornings we had to be up and out by 8:25.  Not too early, but when all six kids are involved it takes some work.  After bball clinic there were chores to be done, games to be played and hot, hot afternoons spent at the barn.  Makenna has been getting ready for her 4-H state qualifying horse show that's on Monday so she has had to spend every afternoon up there.  All the kids love going up there so I usually take them and we spen several hours there.  They like interacting with the boys who are there and watching the draft horses and playing in the straw piles. 

Monay evening at the barn proved quite eventful.  Michael and Makenna had Peanut (Makenna'smini that she's driving for the fair) hooked up to his cart and they were utting air in the tires.  Well, Makenna was holding Peanuts head so he wouldn't run.  When Michael started putting the air in the tires, Peanut jumped which made Makenna scream, which made Peanut ake off running, which made Makenna scream more, which made Peanut run faster.  Makenna lost the reins and Peanut headed down a steep hill towards bleachrs and fences.  Michael ran after Peanut, dove for the cart and luckily caught the back rail of it.  Then he pulled himself up over the top (as they head over the edge of the hill) and grabbed the reins and got him stopped just before Peanut hit the fence.  Makenna is at the top of the hill crying.  All the kids are watching this take place, kind of scared I might add.  When Michael went over the top of the hill, I started running imaging more broken ribs and other injuries to him and the pony.  Luckily all was stopped before anything happened.  Michael brought Peanut back and I held the horse while he finished putting air in the tires.  Unfortunately, Makenna was emotionally done for the night so the driving session was not the best one she ever had.  We finished the night with  a marshmallow roast with the neighbors and an 11 o'clock bedtime. 

Tuesday it was back up and off to school.  I took the kids to the park until we got eaten by misquitoes and had to leave.  We went back to the school and watched the girls play ball.  Tuesday afternoon we headed to the gym to renew our family membership and then did a little shopping before we went to the barn.  Tuesday night Dillon had a baseball game.  I took him there while Michael stayed home with the kids.  We ate supper at 9pm that night.  Once again we had an 11pm bedtime.

Wednesday was the last day of camp.  I dropped the girls off and then we came back home and went to the barn (Olivia's favorite place).  Chores were done in the afternoon and then up to the barn.  It was really hot that day.  After we were done with the horses, I took all the kids to Dairy Queen for some ice cream.  That was around 5:30.  Then back home and back up to the barn.  Makenna wasn't able to work with Peanut taht day because she had lost control of herself and fought with me for hours and thew all sorts of fits filled with yelling, arguing, kicking, screaming and anything else she could think if.  It wore me out.  By the end of the day I was completely exhausted and drained of everything.  She has been doing a lot better with her fits, but I guess the combination of being tired, hot and nervous about the upcoming horse show was just too much for her.  That day was also the day that inspired my previous blog with the muddy shoes, knocked out front tooth, whining and tattling.  I was more than glad to go to bed that night!

Thursday was a fun day.  We met friends at the park and played.  Then we had a picnic lunch and went swimming until 3.  Then it was home and up to the barn.  We spent several hours there.  Dillon had a baseball game at 6pm.  Michael took him and the other kids to the game while I went to the gym to finish signing papers and then ran to the store for some fruit for supper.  It was another late night eating but we did get to bed by 10pm instead of 11!

Friday we were up and gone again by 8:30.  We headed to Garretson to Devils Gulc with some friends.  We had heard there was hiking around there so we decided to check it out.  When our friends got there, we realized she had a leaky tire so we loadd back up and went and found a tire shop.  Then we all loaded into our Expedition (9 kids, 2 adults and a dog) and went back to Devils Gulch.  Luckily it was a very short drive.  The hiking there ended up only being a 30 minute trail so we went to a park and the kids played until lunch time.  Then we had  picnic lunch and playe some more.  The longer they played the more the kids whined.  We dedcided it was time to leave when Olivia pooped her pants!  The bathrooms had to running water or paper towels.  I had to undress her from the waste down, wipe her up with some water and an old shirt we had in the back of the car load her up half naked and drive her the 30 minutes home.  It started ot interesting and ended interesting!  We got home, changed our clothes had a snack and then we were off to the barn again.  We spent a few hours up there, came home and ate and then went back up again.  Then Olivia had another accident (this time she just wet herself) and Zeke mis aimed when he was peeing in one of the stalls so he was wet too.  Back home we went to clena up again!  Michael camehome for a few minutes and then he left again.  We eventually went to find him. They were supposed toe welding Makenna's horse cart (it had gotten broken the day before) butg were waiting for a part to come.  So we went home, everyone bathed and we went down to the basement to watch a movie and eat popcorn.  Another exhausting day.

Today will be the same and so will tomorrow and Monday.  Michael was at work at 7am.  We ahve chores to do this morning.  After chores, we will go to the gym so I can exercise and then we will swim.  Makenna will have to do some driving some time today.  I also have to go shopping and make cookies (13 dozen) to take to the barn tomorrow.  We are also supposed to have a church potluck tonight but I'm not sure we will be able to make it. 

Tomorrow is church.  I have to teach the Relief Society lesson (that is for the adult women's Sunday School class).  That's my new calling.  Did I mention I had a new calling?  I do.  I teach Relief society.  I was sad to leave my little 10 year olds but I am glad to be with the women again.  Adult conversation is good!  After church we have to head up to the barn to get the horses ready for the show.  There is also a barrel racing here at the ranch.  It will be a busy, busy day.  Monday will start at 6am and I'm not sure when it will end, but I know it ends with me going to the dentist which I am not at all excited for!

So, that has been our week!  Sorry to go on and on like that, but I wanted you to feel the exhaustion the same way I felt it and the only way to do that was to give step by step details!  I do have pictures from our trip to Devils Gulch so at least you get to look at something fun at the end of my 20 page post!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Questioning

Do you ever have those days where you question life and all it's ups and downs?  Today was one of those days.  What happened?  I don't know for sure.  Is it better now?  I don't know that either!  Sometimes I get going through life thinking everything is all sweet smelling and full of daisies and then I get a face full of fresh fertilizer (if you know what I mean) and I am left standing there wondering what just happened and what do I do now!  It was just one of those days where the mommy needed chocolate and the kids needed to be able to run fast enough to get away from the chocolate deprived mommy :)  Then after a few hours the dust settles, emotions are back in check, and everyone is getting along full of hugs and kindness.  But it leaves me wondering, what happened?  Why did it happen?  What could I have done to prevent it or at least slow it down?  Unfortunately for me (and for my kids) I don't know.  I do, however, grasp and cling to the comforting quote that "children will be given strengths for their parents weaknesses."  I do hope that is true.  And if it is true, my children will have ALOT of strengths!  I also cling to the promises made to parents that if we do our very best, all will be okay in the end.  Some days my very best is great, other days, well, not so much.  Still, despite all the hope and comfort there is out there, I still end the day completely exhausted, emotionally, physically, spiritually and mentally.  I love my children but somedays they just wear me out!  There's tattling, arguing, crying, tattling, whining, ignoring, tattling, and tattling.  Shoes get stuck in the mud, front teeth get knocked out, little boys jump off the top bunk of the bed thinking that the blanket stretched out across the two bunkbeds will hold him up, a little pink princess wants kool-aid instead of a nap and no one knows who drew on the car with a stick. The summer is especially hard because all six are home and Michael is extremely busy.  He does as much as he can, but the majority of the time it is me without him.  Most days that is just fine, but some days...like today...I would like to find a hole filled with Cadbury's Dairy Milk Chocolate (just the straight stuff, no nuts or raisins or caramel) and crawl in and not come out until the storm passes.  These are the times where I become very grateful for the knowledge that I have.  I have said many times that if I did not know that this is for eternity, I would walk away and quit trying.  If I didn't know that my family has the ability to REALLY be together forever, some days it wouldn't be worth trying to teach them and help them grow.  That knowledge helps to lift me up.  Also, the knowledge that I can repent from the mistakes I have made throughout the day gives me hope for a better tomorrow.  I know it's not just my children that add to the frustrations of the day, it is also my own mistakes and weaknesses.  The fact that I can repent and start the next day fresh with my children is an amazing feeling after a day like today.  It not only helps me feel better about me, but it helps me with my children.  If my Heavenly Father can forgive me for my bad day and allow me to start over new shouldn't I do the same for my children?  Of course!  So as I plead for forgiveness for my mistakes, I also plead for the ability for me to forgive them of their mistakes.  And I continue to search for answers to someday know what happened, why it happened, and what could I have done to help prevent it or slow it down.
knocked out front tooth
Pretty pink princess trying to get out of a nap
Muddy shoes after a 4 year olds effort to clean them.
My 6 beautiful children who cause my heart to overflow with love, joy and gratitude no matter what the day.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Word from the Doctor

Well, I got a call from the nurse today.  So far all the tests have come back clear.  That's good and bad.  I'm glad everything seems fine, but that still leaves me without reasons or solutions.  I asked what the next step for me should be.  He said I could go to can endocrinologist and get a second opinion or I could try birth control pills to see if that will help regulate my system.  I guess I will try the pills.  It would be an easy fix if it works.  It has been years since I took birth control (I no longer need it) and I hated taking them.  Hopefully it will be different this time.  I will also start taking B complex vitamins along with regular vitamins.  Hopefully all of that combined will be what I need.  If not, I guess I will try the endocrinologist.  He wanted me to try the pills first.  So, the waiting is over for this part of the process.  Now it's on to the next part...

Fun at the Parade

Saturday we went with Michael and a few of the boys from the ranch to a parade in Canby, MN.  It was a beautiful day for a parade.  The boys got to ride in the ranch van with Michael and I followed later with the girls.  They took their fancy wagon that they used in Obama's inaugural parade.  It is really high up - the same dimensions as the Budweiser wagon.  Our friend, Orville came and rode too.  He is 92 years old now and still works 7 days a week.  He is such an amazing person and we have grown to love him over the years.  He loves seeing the kids and they love to see him.  He rode up top on the bench with Michael and the rest of us rode in the back and waved at everyone.  Olivia had lots of fun waving but would get upset when everyone wouldn't wave back!  At some points during the parade she would lay down and hang her feet over the edge of the wagon so all people would see were her two dirty little feet swinging back and forth over the edge.  Then she would sit up, wave a little and lay back down.  We had a good time.  My kids, as I've stated before, loe the boys here and the boys seem to like them too.  Dillon, especially, has bonded with a few of them.  We had a good time teasing and laughing in the back of the wagon and the boys watched out for the little kids and took care of them.  Hopefully we'll get to ride along again in another parade soon!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

My Dad, he is the greatest guy.
I’ll tell you all the reasons why.
He lets me sit up on his lap
And take a little afternoon nap.
When I’m thirsty, he shares his drink.
He likes me even when I stink!
He’ll go outside and we’ll play catch.
He’ll let me win a wrestling match.
He gives me hugs when I am sad.
He makes me laugh so I feel glad.
He’ll tuck me into bed at night.
He’ll give me kisses and squeeze me tight.
He helps me as I learn and grow.
He teaches me all I need to know.
He listens as I sing my favorite song.
When he does chores, I get to tag along.
We sit together and read a book.
He helps me put a worm on a hook.
He wipes my nose when it runs.
He wipes my eyes when my tears come.
He cleans my scrapes when they bleed.
When we’re on walks I get to lead.
He takes me for horse and wagon rides.
He cheers when across home plate I slide.
My daddy loves me all the time.
I think he’s cooler than a shiny new dime!
So now you know the reasons why
That my dad is the greatest guy!


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Oh, My Heck!!

Holy Cow!  I don't know if you have ever looked at the Pioneer Woman website or tried any of her recipes, but I do know that if you haven't, you should!  I have heard of her before and even been on her website, but I didn't think too much of it.  When I was in Idaho, Michael's mom let me look at her Pioneer Woman cookbook and I saw some amazing looking things that I wanted to try.  So, the other day I started exploring her website and saw some things to try.  I'll say it again - Oh My Heck!!  I tried the Tequilla- Lime Chicken (minus the tequilla) with the homemade tortillas (and yes, I used lard).  Then I also made the spanish rice, refried beans and pico de gallo, all from her website.  It was SOOOO good!  My kids think I should open a restaurant.  They think I am the best cook ever!  It was the most delicious meal I have made in a really long time.  It certainly beat the Cheeseburger Hamburger Helper dinner we had last night (of course stale cornflakes could beat that)!  Anyways, my suggestion to all of you is to check her out.  Not everything appeals to me, but there is a lot on her website to choose from so give it a try.  I am now a faithful follower for as long as she has something to follow!

Still Waiting...

Well, I finally heard from the nurse last night at 5pm.  Only a couple of the tests have come back and those came back clear.  There are 3 or 4 more specialized tests that they had to send off that have not come back yet.  Those could take a week to get the results so I will continue to wait and hope that some answers will come with the results...

Monday, June 14, 2010

Waiting

Today has been a long day for me.  I have spent it waiting for a call from the doctor's office with results from my latest blood tests.  I am not a very patient person so waiting is like pure torture for me.  I am hoping, though, with these last tests I will find some more answers to my messed up body.  For 3 years now I have been blaming myself for things that may have been out of my control.  I get angry with myself when I can't do the things I think I should be doing.  I have been to a couple of doctors and tried to find answers.  They didn't give me what I needed.  I did find my vitamin D deficiency, but the vitamins have not helped.  So last week I tried a 3rd doctor.  He hasn't given me any immediate answers but he did have more bloodwork done on different hormones hoping to find a reason behind all the differences I have been feeling in my body for the last 3 years.  They thought the results would be in today.  So far, no news.  I have paced and paced all day.  It is rainy today so we have been kept inside all day, except for a quick trip to the barn, which hasn't helped.  Thank goodness the house is pretty much void of chocolate otherwise I would've been sitting on the couch with sticky fingers and chocolate smears all around  my mouth, maybe even a little chocolate drool on my shirt!  As I said, patience is not my strongest virtue.  Never has been.  How funny that I have to teach a lesson on it in Reief Society in a couple weeks!   You think someone is trying to send me a message?   Anyways, I will continue to wait - I have no choice right?  Hopefully word will come soon so I can know the next steps to take...

Fishing

Friday evening we took the kids fishing.  They have a little Family Park here in town with a pond that they stock.  It is a great place to go and take the kids.  We didn't catch anything (not surprising with 7 little kids) but the kids all had fun trying and playing in the water.
Of course we had to dig for worms first (and yes, that's our garden)
Waiting for the fish to bite
This is where Zeke and Olivia spent most of their time.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Pools Are Open!

You know summer is officially here when trips to the pool begin.  That means it is official here.  We have made our summer debut to the kids favorite pools here in Sioux Falls.  We have even been swimming in the rain already (kids after my own heart - rain never stopped us from swimming when we were little, just lightening!)  Let the fun begin!  All the kids grabbed their swim goggles, towels and away we went.  I did have to stop the car on the way to the pool and get a picture of Zeke in the back seat.  He was so cute with the straps pulled down making his ears flap over.  Olivia, of course, had to have her picture taken too.  She loves her pink goggles.  Their goggles have come in handy for several occasions - swimmking being one of those.  But another one was in a parade.  Last weekend we got to ride in the wagon in a parade with the McCrossan boys.  It happened to start sprinkling a few times and the goggles were immediately put on to keep the rain out of their eyes.  They got all sorts of smiles and extra waves from people as we rode along with them sitting in the wagon waving to everyone with their goggles on!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Golf Clinic

The Sioux Falls YMCA put on a one day golf clinic with a pro from the LPGA and an announcer from ESPN.  It was free to kids of all ages so we went to check it out.  My kids have never been golfing, but I used to love it as a kid so I thought it would be fun for them to discover it.  They got to practice long dries, chipping and putting.  They seemed to enjoy it.  Makenna had a hard timne connecting the club to the ball at first but she finally got the hang of it.  Zeke was more of a chopper.  He got the ball though!  The others did pretty good and several of them want to go back and golf again.  Olivia just preferred to roll down the hill :)  Each kid got a t-shirt, a back pack, bottle of water, granola bar and a free ice ceam coupon to Culvers. 
Maddi chipping
Kenna putting
Zane chipping
Dillon chipping
Zeke practicing his putting
Olivia rolling down the hill during the putting portion!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Faster! Faster!

During the month of June, the city of Sioux Falls puts on free track meets for all ages.  There is the long jump, high jump, hurdles, softball throw, 50 meter dash, 100 meter dash, 400, 800, mile and 4x1 relay.  We decided to go check it out last week.  The kids really liked it and they gave out ribbons to those who placed.  Maddi and Makenna's relay team got second place ribbon, Maddi got 2nd in the 50 meter dash, and Zeke got 2nd in the 50 meter dash.  Here are some pictures from our night at the track. 
Olivia running the 50 meter
Zeke doing the long jump

Dillon running the 100 m
Zane doing the 4x1

Makenna running the 800

Maddi waiting for the 4x1 to start