Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Makenna's Essay

Makenna has discovered a talent for writing this year.  Earlier in the year she won an essay contest in her DARE class.  This last week she wrote another essay.  It was for the AARP Grandparent of the Year.  She decided to write about my dad.  She wrote everything by herself.  I did not help.  She did not win but I think she did a great job and I wanted to share what she wrote:

          My name is Makenna. My grandpa's name is William Wallace Cantrell III. We just call him Wally. He lives in Green River, Wyoming. He's handicapped, so he uses a wheelchair and crutches. He contracted polio when he was very young and it paralyzed him from the waist down. My grandpa never lets his handicap get in the way of what he wants to do. Growing up he played basketball and football with all the neighborhood kids.  In high school he was the manager for football, basketball, and track teams. He was also voted the most popular boy in high school. After high school, he played wheelchair basketball and track. He also liked to golf.

            I think he should be the AARP Grandparent of the Year because he's the world's best grandpa and teacher. He has the nicest personality and the best smile. He helps kids everyday. He teaches Special Education at Lincoln Middle School. He likes helping the students at Lincoln. Sometimes, he goes out and eats lunch with them and spends time talking to them. He also coaches cross country and track. He loves to work with kids and he loves his grandchildren. He is willing to help anybody who is in need of help.

            My grandpa helps me, my brothers and sisters, and my mom and her five other siblings. My dad's job took him up to North Dakota, so he was gone for two weeks at a time. My grandpa probably doesn't know this, but he helped me feel better when my dad was gone. He was there for me and if I had any problems, I could talk to Grandpa. He was the one who comforted me when I was sad. I love him so much for that.

            My grandpa helped me train for the Hershey Track Meet. He gave me good advice on how to train. He gives kids advice all the time. Sometimes he teases them and messes around for a little bit. A girl named Jodi Rae thought he was so amazing, she wanted to adopt my grandpa to make him hers! Lots of kids think he's awesome, but I think nobody could love him better than me! When I'm sad, he teases me and calls me the nickname he gave me, which is Macky Wacky, because I used to be so silly. He makes me happy. I'll always be proud to be his granddaughter! I'm glad to have such a great grandpa! This is why I think my grandpa, Wally, should be the AARP Grandparent of the Year!

I am proud of her efforts and the things that she wrote.  It is fun watching your children as they learn and discover about themselves and their abilities.  Makenna seems to have a knack for the artsy side of things.  She loves acting, singing, playing the piano, dancing, drawing, reading and writing.  She loves to do her hair and nails and tried to always look nice.  It will be funn to watch her grow and develop over the years and see what she decides to do with her life and talents!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


When we moved here, I knew it was the right thing to do.  I knew it was what we needed to do and we have received so many blessings since we have been here.  There are times though that I question things, I guess it is because of my lack of faith.  When money gets tight and we are trying make ends meet I wonder if we really thought things through all the way.  I ask Michael if we are going to be able to make it financially.  Trying to take care of a family of 8 sometimes requires more than what we have.  I won't lie.  I don't like going shopping.  Trying to get what we need with the money that we have is hard.  I am the one that makes the menus and gets the groceries.  Michael reminds me that if we are doing what we should as a family and living the best that we can that everything will be all right.  He is right.  It all works out.

When we decided to switch schools we were surprised by the reactions.  There have been several times that I have thought it would've been a lot easier if we would not have done that.  There are days when the kids struggle with friends or other issues.  There are times when the cost of gas to go to all the functions adds up to more than what we expected.  I pass some one on the street that used to be my friend, but now won't speak to me.  I wonder again if we thought this all through.  Then things settle down and again it all works out. 

I have to go back to the promptings and feelings I originally received.  I knew then that the decisions made were the right ones.  I draw on those feelings again and it brings peace to my mind to get through the rough times.  The other day I recevied this quote in my inbox.  It is from Pres. Thomas S. Monson.  It says;  "So much in life depends on our attitude. The way we choose to see things and respond to others makes all the difference. To do the best we can and then to choose to be happy about our circumstances, whatever they may be, can bring peace and contentment."

This really impacted me.  Our circumstances will never be perfect.  There will always be bumps in the road.  If we would have stayed in Wyoming, we would not have had Michael in our daily lives.  He has kept in contact with those he worked with there.  Not only would he have been gone, but the income would also have gone down and our financial situation would have been tighter than it is here.  Having Michael home every night has been such a huge blessing.  I have friends that will always be my friends no matter what school my kids go to.  They also have friends and opportunities that they would not have had had they stayed here and gone to school.

We have to look around us and see the blessings, be content with what we have and choose to be happy.  Promotions may or may not come, money may always be tight, friendships will change, bad days will happen.  During it all though, if we can look look for the good, keep our attitudes positive and choose to be happy, we will receive the peace and contentment that we need and want. 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Basketball, Injuries and Singing

Well, basketball season is in full swing.  We are at one school or other almost every night.  Maddi, Makenna, Zane and Dillon are all playing.  Most nights we have multiple practices in multiple places.  If we are not practicing we are either playing games or watching games.  I help coach the 5th grade girls.  It has been a lot of fun.  Michael helps the 3rd grade boys when he can and has also reffed a game here and there.  Not only are our weeknights filled with basketball but most of our Saturdays are too.  We go through a lot of gas and drive a lot of miles but it's fun.  The kids all seem to enjoy playing and I love to watch them.  We also enjoy going to the high school games.  Here are a few pictures of the kids playing...

Ok, so I don't have any of the girls actually playing yet.  I am always coaching when they are playing.  I'll try to get some later.  Here is Kenna in her jersey though after their first tournament.

Zane's in there in the middle of all the white jerseys.  He's in a maroon colored one though.

Here's Maddi after her first tournament.  They took 1st.

Here's Dillon taking the ball down.

We have had a few injuries too.  Kenna seems to always have a new bruise on her.  Maddi got her finger jammed in one of her tournaments.
Can you guess which one it is?
Dillon also broke his arm.  He jumped off a slide and slipped when he hit the ground.  That happened at the beginning of the week.  He told me his wrist hurt but I told him it was fine.  then he hurt it again on Friday.  I told him he was fine.  Saturday he had a ballgame.  I noticed he wasn't using his left hand to dribble or block.  I asked him about it afterwards and discovered it was not his wrist that hurt but his fore arm.  We took him in for xrays.  It was fractured.  I guess I'll listen to him from now on :)  It hasn't slowed him down though!
A fun basketball experience was the National Anthem.  Maddi and Makenna tried out for Honors Choir back in December and found out a few weeks ago that they made it!  They will be doing it in March.  There were seven girls all together that made it.  They got to sing the National Anthem before the girls varsity game earlier this week.  They were all so nervous but they did a great job!  Here is a picture of them singing.  You can barely see Maddi's face sticking out behind Makenna.  I think they were all so nervous that they huddled together so the girls in the back kind of got hidden :)
The kids are also all getting a chance to be Jr. Dolphins in the varsity games.  I don't have pictures of any of that.  They get to wear jerseys though and sit with the team.  They get their name called before the game when they are doing the line ups and get to go out on court and give the players high fives when they run out.  It's pretty cute to see the little elementary kids out there with the big kids! 
Ok, so I did have one :)  This is one that a friend took and posted to my facebook wall.  That's her son out there with Dillon.  I forgot about it.  I was right though, isn't it cute to see the little kids out there with the big kids?!
 We have had a fun, busy season so far.  Some nights I wish we could just stay home and do nothing but it is fun to go and watch the kids play and be involved with the school and their friends.


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Zeke Turns 7!

/div> On the 6th of this month we got to celebrate Zeke's 7th birthday.  He was so excited for it to come.  He loved looking at the presents on top of the piano and couldn't wait to get to open them.  One of the presents had been there since before Christmas so he had to wait for a long time!!  We did a little early celebration when I took him to Buffalo Wild Wings.  He had been wanting to go there so I took him over Christmas break for an ealry birthday lunch.  He loved it and got a Wing Nut hat to wear :)
Sunday he couldn't wait to open his presents so we let him have at it before church!  Of course then he wanted to take everything with him to church and was dissapointed when we said no!  His favorite thing was a dinosaur that you could take the skin off.  It's ugly as anything I have ever seen but he loves it!

For his birthday supper he wanted chicken wings, tator tots, green beans and baked beans.  Then he wanted a chocolate cake with zebra frosting.  This is as good as it gets for me making a zebra striped cake!  He thought it was great and that's all that matters :)

We are blessed to have Mr. Zeke in our lives.  He is a little fire cracker that always keeps us lauging.  He never sits still and almost always has a smile on his face.  He is very kind and sharing.  He loves his mommy (which his mommy loves) and tries his best to be a helper.  He has a wonderful knowledge of the gospel and a testimony of Jesus which sometimes takes me by surprise.  He tells wonderful stories and hass a great imagination.  I love him and love watching him grow and change.  Happy Birthday Zeke!  We love you!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Homesick... Thoughts from the past

This week I have been quite homesick.  I'm not exactly sure why or what brought it on.  Maybe it's the fact that summer is almost over and another school year is about to begin.  Maybe its the fact that Michael is back to work and I am single momming it again.  Maybe it's just the fact that I have discovered there are some very important things in life that can't be replaced with money or things or ice cream!  Of course I have always known that, but sometimes life has a way of reminding me.  For instance, one thing I am homesick for is a house that feels like a home.  I had that once, in Rupert.  It was just a simple little brick home on a dirt road, but I loved it.  I learned this last week that it is going up for sale.  How I would love to sit in that living room again, looking out the big huge window at the big huge yard, the trees, the fields.  It has made me homesick for a time long gone and memories that can't be replaced.  Another thing I am homesick for is friends.  Friends that have changed my life and my childrens' lives.  Friends that only come around once in a lifetime.  Friends like these

The world doesn't make any better than this.  I know.  I've lived a lot of places and met a lot of people.  They are some of the best and I have missed them terribly this week. 

This is a post I started before last school year when we still lived in Wyoming.  I remember when I wrote this and the struggle I was having.  Well, it's been over a year since I wrote this.  We now live in Minnesota and just bought our second house a few months ago.  Moving back was a dream come true for several reasons.  The first being that Michael would now be home to be a part of our family.  The second was that we were moving back to a place that we loved.  The third was that we were going to be near friends that are very dear to us.

I will say, as I've said before, that it did not all turn out as we planned.  That's okay though.  We have the important things - the little things.  Michael spending the evenings with us.  Friends that, even though we can go weeks without seeing each other, seem like we were together just yesterday.  You know what I mean?  We can go without seeing or talking to each other but when we do get together it's like we were never apart.  I love it :)  There's other little things - waving to everyone you pass and having them wave back, taking treats to the nice elderly lady next door and having her hug you and tell you that she loves you, going to school and knowing all the kids, getting to coach and be involved with the kids, being able to walk to the store and the park and the bakery, having hometown/school spirit that brings communities together, playing in the streets, making fires and roasting marshmallows - so many little things that add up to make a wonderful life.  I'm so thankful for our opportunity to be here again and for the many blessings we have as a result.