Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Lake Front Property

When we bought this little house on the east edge of town last summer we didn't realize what a deal we were getting!  We have a really big yard and it connects to a big grassy field.  The field is big enough to have a football field and a soccer field on it.  On the other side of the field is a grove of trees.  The kids love having all this space to play in.  We are also the only house on a dead end street so the kids play in the street too with no worries of traffic coming by.  Hendricks also has a beautiful lake on the west side of town.  Beautiful houses line the lake and they all get a beautiful view of the lake and access to it.  Of course, it costs to live there.  I would personally want more house and yard and less lake if I were spending that kind of money.  That's just my personal opinion though because of the size of my family and the need for outside room that my children have.  Anyways, we found this nice little house with a great big yard and got a really good deal on it.  The price was right, the location was right and so here we are.  What we didn't know though was that this too, was a lake front property!  This spring (if you can call it that) as the snow began to melt (only three days ago) we discovered that our yard borders a lake. The kids spend all their free time playing in the lake, splashing, running, wading and they get it pretty much all to themselves!  It doesn't get any better than that does it?  Here are a few pictures of the kids in the "lake."  And, in case you were wondering, yes the lake still had ice and snow and slush in it.  It didn't deter them though, in fact it lured them closer and made them stay and play even longer :)

The snow has melted now and the lake has grown even bigger.  The kids leave for school in the morning and can't wait to get back home to go play in it.  Their fear is that it will be all dried up before they get home :)  Our garage and front steps are lined with drying socks, shoes and mud boots and our laundry is filled with wet clothes from their adventures in the lake.  Each night they have to cover their legs in lotion because they are chapped from playing in the icy water.  But each day they go back wanting more.  Eventually it will dry up and then we will have the biggest mud pit around! The kids, unfortunately, will like that even more!  I guess (if you look at it through the kids' eyes) there was some good that came out of all the snow we had late in the season this year (besides the obvious moisture for the farmers)!

Monday, April 29, 2013

13 Years

The last 13 years have been filled with ups and downs, moving, jobs and all sorts of craziness.  I must say though, as I look back, each had it's purpose and everything ended up bringing us closer together.  I'll give you a little background...

I met Michael for the first time (officially) in November of 1999.  When we started working at the same place.  At the beginning of January 2000 we went on our first date.  From that night on we spent every day together.  We both knew that we wanted to be together. We started talking about marriage after the first week of being together and by the end of the month we had bought an engagement ring.  Towards the end of February he gave me that ring and we were officially engaged.  We had a  lot of opposition for the next few months because the situation was not "ideal" in their eyes.  People questioned and warned us about a huge mistake that we were making.  Through it all we hung on to each other and listened to the counsel from church leaders and did our best to follow it.  April 28, 2000 we were married in Acequia, Idaho at the church that Michael went to all his life.

For the first few months we lived in a little trailer that he had been renting.  Then we moved to a little house out of town.  I call it the brown house.  It was white on the oustide but the inside was all brown, brown walls, brown carpet, brown cupboards.  We lived there for almost a year.  Maddi was born in November of 2000. Times were tough then.  Michael's job was more of a seasonal job and it had slowed way down as the days got colder.  In February of 2001 he was finally able to find a different job that allowed us to earn more money and make ends meet. He did a lot of night shifts for a while and I hated that but was thankful for the job.  A few months after Maddi was born I learned I was pregnant with Makenna! Wow!

In May of 2001 Michael and I went to the Boise Temple and we were sealed together for time and all eternity.  I can't describe the peace that brought to us and our marriage.  To know that what we had would be forever and not just until death was overwhelming.  It brought  a new dimension to our marriage and brought us even closer together. 

During the summer of 2001 we moved to a beautiful brick home.  It was north out of town.  It put him much closer to work and I had a beautiful place to spend the day with Maddi and soon to be Makenna.  It had a huge yard and all the walls inside were white :)  I loved it.  To this day it is still my favorite place.  November of 2001 we welcomed Makenna into the world.  Nothing much changed over the next little while.  In August of 2002 I got pregnant with number 3.  We started looking for a little bit bigger house to be in with our growing family and ended up finding one just a few miles from where we were.  We moved there and in April of 2003 we brought Zane home from the hospital.

We had a lot of blessings through out this time but we also had a lot of struggles.  We were looking for something that we couldn't find where we were living.  We needed space to grow and become our own family.  We were surrounded by wonderful family and friends.  We lived in the area where Michael grew up and we felt part of that big church family.  However, we needed space and time to become our own family.  We found a job that led us to South Dakota so in September of 2003 we headed out.

Michael managed a race horse farm.  We lived out in the country in an old, charming farm house. We loved the area and the people.  The kids loved being on the farm.  In September of 2004 we welcomed Dillon to our family.  It was a good time for all of us.  We had grown so close as a family and had finally had the opportunity to become our own family.  As much as we loved it there, things weren't as promised and we did get quite homesick for Idaho.  So in April of 2005, after a year and a half we headed back to Idaho.  He had been offered a job at his previous work place and we moved back.  At first we lived on the ranch (it was a ranch for at risk youth) but eventually ended up moving into a big beautiful home further north.  We moved in January 2006, the day after Zeke was born.  It was a crazy time but it was a happy time.

In September of 2006 the owner of the horse farm contacted Michael and begged him to come back. We really missed South Dakota and the friends we had there.  After much debate, comversation, and prayer we decided to head back there. We got there in October of 2006.  In May of 2007 Olivia was born.  Our family was finally complete. 

We stayed at the horse farm for over 2 years.  Then things took a turn financially and we had to find something else.  We ended up in Sioux Falls, SD  at the end of December 2008.  We stayed there for another 2 years until once again, the financial end of things had to change. 

Right after Christmas in 2010 we loaded up and headed to Wyoming,  Michael took a job in the natural gas and oil fields.  It was a hard time.  Eventually he ended up being shipped out for two weeks at a time.  Then he would get a week off and head out again.  The kids missed him so much.  I missed him so much and he missed out on so much.  Makenna was in a play at the high school - he missed it. Olivia learned to ride a bike - he missed it.  Zeke lost his first tooth - he missed it.  Maddi played on the All Star team for baseball - he missed most of it.  I had to take Zeke to the emergency room - he had to head to work.  The little kids would go to bed at night crying because they missed him.  The older kids would break down when he would leave.  Nothing money could buy could take their pain away.  He missed their birthdays and ballgames, their concerts, everything.  It was the best we had ever been financially but the worst we had ever been as a family.

We knew that money was not worth the sacrifice of the family.  We once again began looking for something that would allow us to be together again as a family.  People told us we were crazy.  We went through a lot of oppostition again, but we knew what was best for our family and we did it.  In June of 2012 we loaded up and moved to Minnesota.  It was just a few miles from where we had lived in South Dakota.  We were back in an area that we loved with people that we loved.  Most importantly though, we were back together as a family.  Michael was home every night.  He was home most every weekend.  He got to go to the ballgames and celebrate birthdays.  He has been to all their concerts and got to see Olivia with her first missing tooth.  We took a huge pay cut and now we struggle with finances again but we are happy and we are together. 

What has the last 13 years with Michael taught me?  It has taught me that no matter what, I would rather be with him than anyone else, that he  being present in the home is much better than just having money, that I can always trust him and know that he will always be there for me, that through the ups and downs, the good and the bad, he will never leave me.  We have proved those wrong who in the beginning said we were making a huge mistake.  13 years, six kids and lots of moves later, we are still together and going strong.  The trials, the moves, the new experiences - they have brought us closer together, strengthened our bonds.  The countless family prayers, family scripture study, family home evenings, and Sundays spent at church have also strengthened us.  Through all of this we know that what we have is forever and that makes me happy :)

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Dear Tooth Fairy

The Tooth Fairy has been a regular visitor at our house during the last week.  Last Sunday Olivia lost her first tooth.
Then a day or two later she lost another tooth! She waited to pull it at school so she could get a tooth certificate from her teacher.

Makenna lost two teeth as well.  Zeke almost had one out on Thursday but just couldn't get the last root out.  Friday night we went to eat at Dickey's and while eating he announced that he lost a tooth!  It wasn't the one that was really loose though so he has another one coming soon.  We put his tooth in a napkin to save it but ended up throwing it away accidentally.  When we got home he wrote a note to the Tooth Fairy explaining everything and was excited to find his quarter from her the next morning.
Dear tooth fairy, I lost a tooth at Dickey's. I put it in a napkin but Mommy acedentley thuw it away. from Zeke

Oops!  Thank goodness the tooth fairy made it all better :)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Elvis Lives!!

I watched him in concert just last night! I even have pictures to prove it!  All these years people thought Elvis was dead.  I knew he wasn't, but I was confused as to who he was.  See, my younger brother Stephen was born on the day Elvis supposedly died.  I assumed that Stephen was Elvis.  He didn't have the same moves as the Elvis everyone knew, but I thought that was just part of his disguise :)  Last night though, I learned differently. 

I was at the Elementary school concert watching my six beautiful children perform when all of a sudden the announcer said that we had a special guest.  The King was going to perform for us! Then, dressed in jumpsuit and cape, Elvis comes running out on stage!

Of course there were cheers and clapping.  Who wouldn't cheer and clap for the King?!  Then he started singing with the elementary kids as back up.

He was a little shorter than I would have thought and a little more girly than it showed him on TV but there was no denying, the King was in the building!

Then I realized that the King looked an awful lot like Maddi :)  Who knew that all these years I was raising Elvis! 

The theme of the concert was Rock and Roll.  They took us through the history of Rock and Roll starting with the cave men.  It was fiun to watch.  The 6th graders got to do the acting and solos while the other grades sang and danced.  Maddi also got to be a nerd during the hippie stage and got to sing a solo.

All the kids did a great job and it was fun to watch.  And if anyone wants Elvis' autograph, I am selling them for $50 each.  If you want an autographed picture, it will be $100 ;)

Monday, April 22, 2013

April Showers

This winter has seemed to drag on forever!  We had so much snow.  It seemed like there was a new storm every week and every storm left 6 or more inches on the ground for us to shovel away.  The end of March came and things started melting a little.  By the first weekend in April the snow in our yard had finally all melted off.  Spring was on it's way! Then the storms started coming again.

April 9th brought snow and an early dissmissal followed by 2 more snow days and over a foot of snow.

We had a break for a couple of days and then on the 14th we were snowed/iced in again.  There was freezing rain and blowing snow.  I couldn't get out of my driveway until Monday evening after the ice had softened and I could finally shovel through it.
Thursday brought another storm with at least 6 inches of snow and another early out along with more shovelling.

Today, more of the same.  It is still snowing while I type!  The kids had yet another early out and we have 6 more inches of snow coming today.  This is what it looks like out my front door right now.

Nice, huh?  Now I realize we need moisture and all that stuff but I wish it would come in the form of 60 degree rain instead of 30 degree snow :)  Warmer weather is promised by the weekend.  I am keeping my fingers corssed!!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Zane Turns 10!

Last week we celebrated Zane's 10th birthday.  He was so excited for it to come.  I  must say, I felt bad.  We had a huge winter storm come through that week.  It started Tuesday and went through Thursday night.  School was called off and we were all stuck at home for two and a half days.  Friday the kids finally went back to school and I went to the store to get groceries and a few final things for Zane's birthday.  At the store I realized I had forgotten about treats to send to school with him.  I quickly bought some cupcakes to drop off on my way home.  I also forgot to ask him what kind of cake he wanted and what he wanted for his birthday supper.  I just guessed and hoped he wouldn't be dissappointed.  Saturday was his birthday.  Michael had to work in the morning and I had to take Maddi to a youth activity in the afternoon.  I felt like he was kind of pushed off to the side because of all the crazy things that went on that week!

It did all come together though.  Michael got the supper made while I was with Maddi.  Makenna made the cake and I decorated it when I got home. (I had to stop and buy ice cream on the way home because I forgot that too.)  He opened presents through out the day - some with me and some with Michael. 

He liked his supper and he wasn't dissappointed with the cake choice. 

We tried to make up for it by letting him have a friend over after school this week.  The weather even cooperated a little yesterday and he was able to take his new bow out (a week after he got it) and do some target shooting.

We are so thankful for Zane.  He adds so much to our family.  It has been fun to watch him grow and change.  This has been a hard year for him.  He seems to be a little lost, trying to find out where he fits in and exactly who he is and what he wants to do.  He keeps a good attitude though and looks for the fun in things.  He tried all the sports this year and has found a new interest in the bow.  He also joined the newspaper crew at school and seems to enjoy being involved in that.  He loves to learn new things - unless it involves math and he loves to be outside running free! We love Zane very much and can't imagine life without him!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Lion King

After months of waiting the big weekend finally arrived!  The girls and I packed our bags and headed out of town.  We grabbed a couple of friends along the way, loaded up with snacks, games and music and away we went!  We were headed to Omaha to watch the Lion King.  It was a Christmas present from Michael's mom and we were all excited that the day had finally arrived.  We invited the Olsen girls to come along with us and Michael's mom was also flying in for the special occasion.  Friday night it was just me, my girls and the oldest Olsen girls.  We got to the hotel after a little bit of confused driving in downtown Omaha.  Luckily I had several pairs of eyes looking for the hotel and we eventually found it, figured out how to park and successfully checked in and got all our luggage up to our room.  The first thing on the list was swimming.  We changed into our suits and off we went.

We swam for a while and then took a break to eat pizza and check out the fitness room :)  After we had digested we headed back to the pool and swam some more.

Then it was back up to the room for a little TV time, lots of giggling and some pretty good storytelling :)  We finally settled down around midnight but were back up and going by 7:15 Saturday morning.  After breakfast we headed back to the pool (that was the favorite place) and swam until lunchtime.  Then we got dressed for the day and headed to the mall while we waited for Pam, Ellie and Joyce to arrive.
When they got there we got all ready and headed to the Old World Market to check out the shops and restaurants before the play started.  It was a beautiful evening and everyone was so excited for the play to start.


The big moment finally arrived and we headed to the Theater.  It was beautiful inside and the play was amazing! It lasted almost three hours but it didn't seem like it.  Olivia made it through 3/4ths of it before she dozed off.  The rest of us lasted through the whole thing.


We got back to the hotel around 11pm and got ready to go swim (again) but the pool had been taken over by a big, mostly drunk frat party.  We ended up in the lobby eating popcorn and drinking pop.  Then we went back to our rooms and watched TV and played for a while.  We were in bed with lights out by 1am.  Sunday morning it was up and to the pool one last time before checking out.

After we left the hotel we went to the zoo for a few hours and had lunch.  The kids enjoyed the train ride around the zoo. 

They also had fun seeing the gorillas and the new lion cubs.  It was 70 degrees when we left Omaha and headed home.  By the time we got back to Hendricks it was rainy and 40.  Welcome home :) 
It was a great weekend and the kids had so much fun being together and hanging out.  From the sounds of things, Michael and the boys had fun too.  They went to the rodeo and the boys helped Michael at the feedlot.  Two of the boys ended up falling in the nasty mess out there but it didn't slow them down.  They got to stay up late and watch movies and sleep out in the living room. 
This morning was tough getting up and moving for everyone!  Just a sign that we all had a good time!