Thursday, May 19, 2016

Red Ants


The other day Scarlett and I were outside and she was riding her bike. I was sitting on the porch stairs watching her as she was zooming around squealing with delight at how fast she had learned to go. She stopped to take a break for a minute. Suddenly she looked down at her leg and then up at me, completely alarmed. She started riding towards me as fast as she could screaming, "A bug! A bug!" I hopped up just as she arrived in front of me. Her panic had increased as she was screaming that there was a bug on her leg. I looked down to see a red ant crawling up her leg. I quickly flicked it away before the ant was able to bite her, and all was well. As I thought about that quick little experience I couldn't help but compare it to life and to raising children. Scarlett didn't know that she could just reach down and brush the ant off her leg. She needed me to do it; to show her what to do. Next time she will probably be able to brush it off herself. Just like in life as children are learning and growing, they need to be shown through teaching and example, what to do. If I had not brushed the ant off, it would probably have bitten her. There are many things out there that will "bite" our children if we don't teach them how to push them away. I feel like there are so many things bombarding our kids each day, and Satan is having a hay day trying to lead people astray. We have been told over and over that what was sufficient in the past, will not longer be sufficient enough when teaching our kids the gospel. They will have to withstand so much more than we ever had to, and I feel like we had to withstand a lot! This terrifies me to no end. I am constantly wondering if I am doing enough to teach my kids, and to help them to develop their own testimonies of the gospel that they will be able to stand on. What a huge responsibility we have as parents to teach our kids the right way to go. Does that mean that things will always go perfectly and our kids will never make wrong choices or get "bitten"? No. That red ant could have bitten Scarlett before I was able to flick it away. Then I would have been there to comfort her and help to treat the bite. Our kids will make mistakes. They will feel hurt and pain from mistakes, and when that happens it is so important for us be there to help  to nurse the wounds and to help them through it. I try to always tell my kids that no matter what they do I will always be here for them; that they can always come to Brandon and I, and that they can always turn to prayer and to their Heavenly Father for comfort and counsel.  I hope and pray they know that is true. I hope and pray that Brandon and I are doing what we can to not only protect them from the "bites" in life, but to help them to know how to protect themselves. I love being a mom. I am going to school right now to further my education, and I love that too. But I know that my most important job is to be the kind of mom that my kids need; to help them to learn to stand on their own, and to know they are always loved, and that there is nothing that they can't do. 

Helamen 5:12 says, " And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall."

God Gave Us Families - free print - LDS conference printable - Gdesigned:

                                               It's never too early or too late to lead, guide, and walk beside our children because families are forever.  Bradley D. Foster, October 2015:

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Dear Grandma....

To my sweet grandmother.  Oh how I miss you. We laid you to rest on February 13th in Lewiston Idaho. You are now in heaven, free from the bounds of Alzheimers that held you for the past seven years. Even though I know that you are happy, I will miss you so much. I have missed you for the past several years as we have seen the disease slowly take you from us. At the beginning I remember thinking that you would never forget us, how could you? How was that even possible? That is the horrible reality of Alzheimers. I remember talking to my mom and talking about how even though you could not remember the conversation that we would have, minutes after it happened, in those few minutes that we were talking, it was you.  We treasured. those little moments.  Thank you for being such a wonderful grandmother and friend. I will cherish all of the memories that I have with you.

When I saw you in your casket at the funeral, you did not look like yourself. But then I noticed, that even though your face did not look the same, your hair looked perfect. I think if you had to choose, you would have chosen to have your hair perfect =)  You always took great care of your hair, and although we teased you about how much time you spent on it, it was a great lesson of the importance of always trying to look your best. 

A few days before you passed away I had a dream. I want to record it so I do not forget it. In the dream we were going to a large house. In this house we were able to see the spirits of our relatives who had passed away. They were all sitting in a row, waving at us, so happy to see us. As I looked down the line, I saw someone flickering in and out, like they were not completely there. I realized it was you. Sitting right next to you was your mother, exactly as I remember her when she was alive, but a little younger looking. You looked younger too. Your arms were linked and she was clasping your hand so tight. She was pointing to everyone and explaining to you what was happening. You both looked so happy.

The next morning my mom text me and told me that you had been placed in hospice care and only had a few more days to live. This was shocking. We knew that the disease would take you, but we had no idea that it would be so soon. I am grateful for the tender mercy that my dream was. I know that you were surrounded by angels in your last days, who were helping to prepare you to leave this earth. For the past several months, you had been asking for your mother everyday, I know as soon as she was able to grab a hold of you and hug you, she did. How hard it must have been to see you suffering and wanting her so badly. I know that you saw your dear daughter Kristin Joe, who passed away several years ago. I still remember her smile even though I was so young when she passed away. I was able to read her journals a few years back, and came to know the wonderful person she was . She loved you so much. I know she was there to welcome you into heaven and that, the reunion with her was glorious. 

I feel strongly that during your last days the veil was very thin. I think you were aware of what was happening and that your time on earth was coming to an end. I think you knew that grandpa, and your two daughters on earth were lovingly sitting by you, soaking up every last minute that they had with you. I like to think that for brief a moment the Alzheimers was gone, and you were very aware of who they were and remembered how much you loved them. I think that your heart would not be content leaving until you were able to let them how much you loved them and that you wanted them to know that you knew who they were. For a brief moment one morning you opened your eyes. Grandpa told you that my mom and aunt were there. You said, "I know they are". What a tender mercy and a gift. A gift that you were able to give them.

Speaking of grandpa. My mom has a quote in her home that says, "True Love Never Grows Old." From the moment I saw that, I thought of you and grandpa. Grandpa took such good care of you. Even though you may not have completely known who he was, he never forgot who you were, and how much he loved you. You were and will always be his sweetheart, and he treated you that way until your last day on earth. What I great example of selfless unconditional love. 

At your funeral I was reminded of some of the things you use to say such as, "It's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice."  And, "pretty is as pretty does." I was able to use one of those sayings with Alexis today. I want to keep your memory alive for my children. I want them to know the wonderful woman that you were, and how much you impacted me in my life. 

I know that I will see you again. I know that you are happy. I know that you are now watching over us, and that you are you again. For that I am so grateful.

I love you grandma,



Friday, February 19, 2016

January Re-Cap

My cousin did a monthly re-cap post, and I thought it was a great idea! I have been wanting to get back into blogging and it seemed like the perfect way. It may end up only being this one month, but one is better than none! So here is a look at January of 2016:

We were originally supposed to be back in Rexburg for New Years, but Alexis talked us into staying in Colorado so that she could go to the New Years Eve dance with her friends. It was her first stake dance, since they rarely have them in Rexburg, and she had so much fun. The theme was Star Wars.

I somehow didn't get a picture of the rest of us celebrating New Years, but we had a blast celebrating with the Beyerleins and Shaws. Oh how we miss our Colorado friends!

We were welcomed back to Rexburg with freezing cold temperatures.
But I guess it was much colder the two weeks we were gone, so we are glad we missed that! It has been very cold, and we have had a lot of snow. I really miss Colorado winters, where it can snow in the morning and melt by the afternoon. That's definitely not the case here. It snows, and stays there all winter long, turning a lovely muddy brown color.

We have a metal roof that slants downward. So this sight is a common occurrence when we walk out our front door:
The snow slides right off onto our walkway which is quite a pain and we are constantly dodging falling snow =)

The first Sunday in January Scarlett went to Sunbeams! She was so excited and loved it so much. Her excitement has faded as the weeks have gone on, but she still enjoys it for the most part. 

Brandon and I and the kids started back to school shortly after we arrived back in Rexburg. We have a pretty busy schedule during the week. Brandon and I worked our school schedules out so that one of us is always home with Scarlett. So there is a lot of shuffling around. Scarlett started back to preschool at the College and absolutely loves it. They have a two way mirror that the parents can watch through and there are two days a week where Brandon and I can watch her for about 20 minutes. We love it. Last semester she was a little more timid, but she is really opening up a lot this semester. Her teachers tell us that all of the little girls want to play with her. I didn't get a picture of the first day this semester but here is the first day of last semester. She is so cute and little. I love it! 

It took a few weeks after we got back to take down our Christmas tree, but it was nice to finally get it down.

Scarlett finally had her first hair cut. I was at school when I got a call from Brandon that he was taking her to get a hair cut. I was really sad because it was her first one! He assured me that he would take pictures, and get a lock of her hair. You can't even tell that it was cut, but at least we got the split ends off. We love her long hair!

 We had a really busy month with the kids' activities. Alexis's cheer season was in full swing. She had practice 4-5 mornings a week bright and early. She never complained. That's how you know they love what they are doing =)  

One Saturday we had so many things going on I didn't know how we would keep it all straight. I posted something on Facebook about all the things that we had going on and one of my friends made a comment that really affected the way I looked at it. She said that she used to have days like that with her kids, and now that they are grown she really misses it. She said to enjoy it before it is gone. Brandon and I really took her words to heart. When we are busy running here and there we are trying to be grateful for our busy days. 

On this particular day, Alexis and Tori both had cheer competitions, Levi had a basketball game, and then Tori had a Ballroom performance. 

Scarlett was such a trooper watching all of the performances that day. She only had a few meltdowns. But it was nothing that a candy bribe couldn't fix =)  As you can see, Scarlett is still in love with lip gloss (or in this case, lip stick)

Tori had two completely different hair styles and makeup to do that day. It was quite the challenge to get it switched over in between, but I think we managed okay =)

Alexis had  basketball games to cheer at at least 3 times a week. I loved going to watch her cheer when I could. I was able to snap a few pictures when when she wasn't looking =)

Most of our Sunday afternoons were spent at the Sardakowski's house watching the Broncos play. They were always so sweet to have us over since we don't have cable. Sadly these are the only two pictures I got, haha. We got more on Super Bowl Sunday, but I'll save that for next month's post =)

Like I mentioned, we had a lot of snow in January. It made for some fun days playing in the snow. Scarlett only lasted for a few minutes each time. Tori, a little longer, Lexi not at all,  and Levi the longest. He made some snow forts with his friends and spent many hours out there having snow ball fights. 

Elder Bednar came to BYU-Idaho in January and we had the pleasure of hearing him speak. It was so wonderful to hear his words, and we especially loved going to "Date night with the Bednars"  

I am finding that post-it notes help me to stay more organized with my school work. Alexis thought it would be funny to draw faces on the corners of a whole stack of them. It did make me smile when I pulled them  out of my backpack =)

It's still hard trying to find a good balance between school, and being a mom. Tori has been so great to step in with Scarlett and play with her when I am not able to. On this particular day they made monsters.

I recently got called into Cub Scouts at church. I would be lying if I said that I was excited about this calling. I was a little sad at first, especially since Levi was no longer in the age group that I was going to be over. But I quickly grew to love it. Levi has been able to come to some activities since his Weblos leader was sick for a while. On this particular activity we learned all about recycling, and the boys made creatures out of recyclable items. 

And that wraps up January. We are well into February and have had a busy month already. Hopefully I will be back next month to record about it =)

Thursday, January 14, 2016

My Yearly Post

Maybe I should change this blog's title to: "Cindy's Happy Birthday Blog" =) I have to do my yearly post! Cindy never forgets to do a birthday post for anyone in our family. Each parent, sibling, in law, niece and nephew gets a heartfelt message from Cindy on their birthday that I know we all look forward to.

Cindy has been through a lot the past few years as her and AJ have gone to all lengths to expand their family. Although it has been absolutely heartbreaking and devastating for both Cindy and AJ, I am constantly amazed at their strength and faith through it all. Cindy has a great talent for writing and is always able to put her thoughts into such eloquent words. I have always enjoyed reading what she writes. But there is just something different about the writing she does about the trials that she has endured. There is a special spirit that permeates from the page, and I know that her words are inspired and meant to reach, comfort, and help heal many people who find themselves in similar situations as her.  She may be my younger sister, but I look up to her so much. She is such a great example to me. She is a loving wife, mother, sister, daughter, and friend. We are so blessed to be able to live closer to Cindy and her sweet family. The hardest thing about being in Rexburg is being so far from family, and so having them closer is good for my soul.

Happy Birthday Cindy! I know you will be spoiled and showered with love from AJ, your girls  and all of your friends there. I can't wait to come see you in a few weeks. Thank you for being such a wonderful sister. I love you!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Happy Birthday Dear Cindy!!

Wow, a blog post?!? I am not sure many people check this anymore, but I had to write my traditional birthday post for my sister Cindy. She never EVER misses writing a birthday post for each member of our family. Each parent, brother, sister, brother in law, sister in law, niece and nephew always get a beautifully written, heart felt birthday post on their birthday, so it has become kind of a tradition for me to write one for her =) I decided to do things a little differently this year. Here are a few other sentiments to go with mine =)

I am so grateful for all the things you write about everyone on their birthday.  You are so thoughtful and observant of everyone’s talents and attributes.  Thanks for being such a great daughter to me and mother.  You are a great example to me and I am so proud of the wonderful Mother and wife you have become.  It is so much fun to watch you raise those beautiful little daughters.  You were very creative as a child and have carried that into your adult life.

Happy birthday, dear Cindy! I can't believe you are 31--where did all those years go??? What a blessing to be your mother, and to see the wonderful, caring, dedicated wife and mother you have become. You are a way better mother than I was, and I love being able to say that! Have a wonderful birthday! 
Love you forever, 

You have so many talents and strengths. Thank you for sharing of yourself so freely. You are truly an example of caring and listening to the spirit. I wish we lived closer so we could see each other more often! When we do get together it's so nice to catch up and chat. I hope your day is wonderful! Thanks for all you do in keeping our family close!

Happy Birthday! I hope it's a great day.

I hope on this birthday and always that you know and feel how much you are loved. You have so many wonderful qualities, and are such an example of faith, courage, perseverance, and unconditional love. You are an extraordinary mother, sister, wife daughter, aunt, and friend. You know me so well and I know you will always be there for me whenever I need a listening ear, or just to tell a silly story about something that happened, because I know you will "get it". I hope this year is a wonderful one for you and that all of your dreams come true =) 

On your birthday I wanted to tell you how much I appreciated you for always being such a great and fun person to be around. I also wanted to say thank you for being such a great example to my kids and I am so grateful that they have such a wonderful aunt to look up to. 

Thank you for being a great example of faith and charity. W hope you have a great birthday and an even better year!
Daniel and Charbel

Happy Birthday Cindy! I'm very grateful for you and the example you are. I am constantly strengthened by the things you share on your blog about different experiences in your life- you are so in tune with the spirit, and it makes me want to be better. You are such a wonderful sister, mom and wife, and I hope you know that you are so appreciated in everything you do. I hope you have a wonderful day, you deserve it!
Love, Katie 

Happy Birthday Cindy. I hope you have a wonderful birthday and we look forward to seeing you soon. You are a great sister.

Happy Birthday Cindy! You never forget anyone's birthday, and I always look forward to my birthday post each year! I still have a card from when i was little that you handmade for my birthday, haha! I hope you have a fantastic birthday and I hope you know how much I look up to you!

Happy Birthday Cindy! You are so loved, and so appreciated by so many!! Our family would not be complete without you. May you feel our love and our prayers for you as you start out this year. We love you so much!!!