Monday, July 29, 2013

Basketball Camp and Baseball Games

This summer has been a busy one!  We have had three basketball camps, one kid in softball, on in t-ball, one in 8U baseball and 2 in 10U baseball.  Plus we took a trip to Wyoming and Idaho, we cleared rock out of the yard, made a new fire pit, painted the feedlot office, rode horses, four kids did a singing workshop, and we've exercised almost every weekday morning.

Well, last week we were finally able to end most of the activities and now we are hoping to have a few relaxing weeks of summer before school starts again.  Dillon had a basketball camp last week at SDSU in Brookings.  He had a lot of fun and is looking forward to doing it again next summer. They worked on skills, played games and finished off the camp with t-shirts that the basketball team autographed.

Last week also finished off the baseball season for Zane and Dillon.  We had tournament games Wednesday, Thursday and Friday before we were eliminated.  The boys learned a lot this season and had a lot of fun playing ball with their friends.  Zane got to be a pitcher in a lot of the games and Dillon was catcher. 

It was fun to get to watch all the games - I love going to ballgames, but I am glad for some free time and evenings at home around the fire pit :)  Soon we will start up again with one in cross country, one in volleyball and two in football. Gotta enjoy the slow days while we can!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Pioneer Day

Yesterday was Pioneer Day.  It is a day we celebrate in the LDS church for when the first group of pioneers entered the Utah valley after travelling so many miles from Nauvoo to escape the persecution they were experiencing in Nauvoo.  Every year we remember these saints of long ago that sacrificed so much to be able to find a place where they could worship God without fear of harm.  They were hungry, tired, sick, and poor.  Many died along the way yet their faith in God kept them strong and helped them through these hard times. 

I don't have ancestors that were pioneers.  But my family does have it's own pioneer story.  My parents were married 48 years ago this month.  Four or so years into their marriage they had a baby girl.  They named her Kathryn Anne and called her Katie.  She was a beautiful little girl.  However, she was born with a liver defect and her life here on this earth was short.  She and my mom were very close.  Katie never learned to talk but they communicated back and forth and understood each other completely.  My dad says he has never seen a relationship like the one Katie and my mom had.  It was very special.  As a result of her defect her body would fill up with fluid and the doctors would have to drain all the fluid off.  The fluid kept her body off balance so Katie was never able to learn to walk either.  One night when Katie was 2 years old, my mom said her prayers and released Katie into God's arms if He was ready to take her.  It was hard to do but she knew she needed to.  That night Katie sat in my dad's lap for a longer time than usual.  The next day as she and my mom were napping together, Katie passed away.  When my mom awoke, Katie was gone from this life. 

Losing Katie brought so many questions.  Where was she?  Why did she have to come here and then leave so quickly?  Will they ever get to see her again? They went from church to church searching for answers that spoke to their hearts and souls.  No one had the answers they so desperately needed.  My mom was pregnant again and along with the answers they were searching for they were looking for something to help them raise their future children.  They wanted them to grow up and be good people.  They remembered a group of LDS youth they had met years before in Yellowstone and West Thumb that had impressed them.  They were nice, respectful, ready to serve and had faith in God.  My parents wanted their children to be like that. 

They remembered about a Book of Mormon that these youth had given them so many years earlier.  (In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, we use the Book of Mormon along with the Bible.  We believe it is a record of people on the American continent.  It teaches us of Jesus Christ and His gospel just as the Bible does.)  Anyways, they got this book out and began to read.  As they read they began to find answers to their questions of Katie.  They knew that she was with God and that yes they would see her again.  They learned that our family could be together for eternity, not just for this life.  My dad finished reading the whole book in two weeks.  Then they called the missionaries, learned more about the church and asked to be baptized. 

My mom had cried every day since Katie had died.  She was baptized a year tot the day after Katie passed away and she never cried like that again.  Yes, she still missed her and yes she was still sad, but she had the answers she had been looking for and she knew she was on the right path to lead her back to Heavenly Father and to Katie. 

Just as the pioneers of old, my parents were first generation members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  While, they didn't have their lives and homes threatened and didn't have to flee from place to place, they did face persecution because of their faith.  They did face rejection.  I and my siblings, have also faced taunting and teasing because of our faith.  However, just as the pioneers of old, we used our faith in our Heavenly Father and in our Savior Jesus Christ to help us overcome and get through it. 

Our faith is who we are.  It is not just something that we do on Sundays.  We try to live it every day of our lives.  We try to follow the example of the Savior and live as if He were walking along with us every day. I fall short of this on a regular basis, but I repent and try to do better the next day.  I hope that when people know me, they can feel of my spirit and know of my love for the Savior.  I hope they can come to know Christ better because they have known me.  I hope I can teach  my children to do the same - to live as Christ would have us live.

As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, I am grateful for those early pioneers that suffered so much for their beliefs.  Their stories and faith strengthen my faith.  I am also grateful for modern day pioneers whose testimonies and faith do the same.  I am thankful now to live in a place where Christianity is so much a part of every one's life.  Friendships are built through faith. Children are taught with love and kindness.  Service is given to friends and strangers.  Prayers are a part of daily life.  We may all belong to different faiths but our belief in the Savior Jesus Christ brings us together and unites us as we try to raise our children to be good, honest, God-fearing people.  I have been blessed since moving here with so many wonderful friends.  My children have been blessed with the same.  As I remember and celebrate the history of my church and the blessings of the gospel in my life, I also remember and celebrate the wonderful people God has brought into my life of all different faiths and religions and the blessings they are in the lives of me and my family.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Road Trip!

At the end of June, the kids and I loaded up the car and headed to Wyoming.  Makenna was already there so I just had the other five kids.  One the way out we stopped at the Corn Palace in Mitchell.
Across the street from the Corn Palace was Uncle Zeke's Shop.  Zeke thought that was pretty cool!
After the Corn Palace we headed to Wall Drug.  The kids liked Wall Drug's Backyard.
My favorite part was the dinosaur.  It attempts to feed evdery 12 minutes.  Zeke loves dinosaurs and he was so excited to watch it feed. 
As soon as the lights came on and he started roaring Zeke started screaming.  It was hilarious!  This  is what the dinosaur looked like when it was roaring...
This is what Zeke looked like before he fell on the floor :)
After Wall Drug we headed to Rapid City and went to Dinosaur Park.  It was a ton of stairs up to the top.

The view from the top was pretty cool.  It looks out over Rapid City.  The kids couldn't believe how high up we were.
The dinosaurs weren't nearly as scary as the one at Wall Drug either!
After Dinosaur Park we headed to Mt. Rushmore.  We took pictures and hiked the trail that took us down to the studio and under the faces.  There were more stairs and we were really hot and tired but it was fun!
When all our fun was done we headed to the hotel, swam a little, ate salad, relaxed and went to bed.  The next day we finished our trip to Green River. It was a long ride but the kids did really good.  At one point on the drive I looked back and Dillon was sitting under his blanket like this:
The sun was shining in his window so he couldn't see his DS screen.  This solved his problem!  Naptime was a welcomed time in the car.  Zeke and Olivia had the way back so they could spread out a little more.  Olivia was kind and shared her Hello Kitty with Zeke :)

We got there in time to see Kenna do her Jungle Book for Kids play.  She did a good job and the play was really cute.

The kids had fun spending time with their cousins.  They got to spend the night with them every night and play with them all day.  We were so busy that I didn't get many pictures of this part of the trip.  The ones I did get were on my phone so they aren't as good quality.

We went to a parade with everyone on Saturday.  The kids got tons of candy and had a fun time!  The rest of the time was spent playing and eating.  It was so much fun to get to see them!
We left Monday July 1st and headed to Idaho.  We got to see more cousins and have more fun. Tuesday we went to see Grandma Great.  She wouldn't let me take any pictures of her with the kids but we had a good time seeing her.  The kids love to go to her house.  She always has treats for them and hugs and kisses when they come and go.  Dillon always tells me how nice she is and how much he loves her.  I am glad they do because she is a very special person! We also got to play at the splash park with Sarah's kids.  They all had fun there.  It was the perfect day to spend in the water.  Before we left I got a picture of all the kids together except one.  One of Sarah's girls had fallen and bumped her head and wasn't in the mood for posing for a picture.

This is me and "little" Emma :)  She is a cutie!  It was fun to get to spend time with Sarah and her girls for the afternoon.
The rest of our time in Idaho was busy too.  The kids got to sleep out in the tent a few nights.  One night it blew down on them so they had to come inside.  We went to another parade, ran a 5k, went to a family party and celebrated Munu's birthday before we left.  Michael's sister and her family came for a few days and we got to meet her little boy for the first time.  He is a cutie and the kids had fun plahying with him.  One of the days we went to the ditch to play in the water.  It was really cold!  Some of the kids were more brave than others and even put their heads under water.  They came up sputtering and gasping for air!  Here are a fwe pictures of the ditch:




Here are a few other pictures from Idaho:

Friday morning the 5th we got up and headed out.  The kids weren't ready to end the fun yet but we had to get back home.  The drive home was long because the excitement was gone but we made it!  We stopped in Douglas and spent the night.  We swam for a while and then relaxed some before going to bed.  Saturday we stopped at Mt. Rushmore again to get out and walk around.  This time Kenna was with us so we hiked the trail again and showed her all the things we had done.  This time they had the little teepee area open so we went there and checked out the native American things.

Then we had to get one more picture with Mt. Rushmore and one with Minnesota on the columns.

We stopped at Wall Drug again to show Makenna the back yard and then headed home as fast as we could!  It was a little warm in the van because the air was not working right so that made the day a little longer.  When we got home at 9:30 Michael had supper waiting for us.  It was good to be home.  We had a ton of fun and we are glad we got to go.  We will do it again in 2 years!