...and they all lived happily ever after...

...and they all lived happily ever after...

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A bit of a bread debacle

This is my oldest daughter.
(I think she is lovely.)


The other day I pulled out my jr high yearbook to look up a person I had run into during my day.  Just for fun, I looked at my 7th grade picture and found that, despite what I had thought, this little pixie actually looks a lot like me...or at least the 7th grade version of me.  

Beside her looks she also got her love of reading, sometimes snarky attitude, and love of horses from me.  

However, sadly, she also inherited some not so fabulous traits from her mother as well.  One of those reared its ugly head this weekend.

I had a group of five overripe bananas and thought they would make a lovely batch of banana bread.  Aubrey loves baking so I asked if she would like the chance to make the bread.  She was thrilled with the plan.  

So, while I ran a few errands with the boys, she followed our favorite recipe, put together three yummy pans of batter, and popped them in the oven to cook.

When I came home about 90 minutes later, I was assaulted by a strong, char-like odor as I walked through the door.  I scuttled to the kitchen where I found three very very very well done loaves of bread basking in the continued heat of the sweltering oven.  

Very very very well done loaves of bread.
 Upon  further investigation, I found Aubrey downstairs in her bedroom listening to a book on tape completely oblivious to the scorching truth that was happening upstairs.  She had set the timer, headed off to do something else while the bread cooked, and gotten engrossed in other things entirely forgetting her obligation to her trio of banana bread friends.

And that is probably exactly what I would have done.  I am notorious in my family for blistering baked goods because I get too involved in something else and their pastrified needs slip my mind.

Like mother, like daughter I guess.

I'll take that.


Monday, November 10, 2014

Getting crafty

We've been rather crafty around here lately.  

No, I don't mean "clever at achieving one's aims by indirect or deceitful methods" but instead in I mean "of, involving, or relating to the making of decorative objects and other thing by hand."

Yup, our hands have been crafty.

Anyway, to start things off, we have two chess sets made by Josh's grandmother which are ceramic and lovely but have been sitting in a couple of boxes because #1 our children were small and likely to break them and #2 we didn't have chess board large enough to accommodate the pieces.

Well, Gavin decided to get his craft on by making an appropriately sized chess board.  He scavenged a lonely piece of wood from the scraps in the shed, measured the chess pieces, carefully laid out the lines, cut the board to size (thanks for the help Josh) and then painted the squares.  He did the project almost entirely on his own (busy little beaver, that child).  
  


And now, our children have started playing chess pretty regularly at the living room table.  

FYI, it's pretty fabulous to watch and 7 and 9 year old battle it out on a chess board...and actually know what they are doing.  I think almost everyone in this house could wallop me at this game.  Smarty pantses (??).


Next, our living room window has had a set of vertical blinds hanging over it since the day we moved in.  I have hated said vertical blinds since the day we moved in.  They were old and worn and stained and ugly and lots of other nasty stuff.  

Obviously I have been uber motivated to change that window covering since it is now only 12 years later and I finally got around to tearing the ugly things off the wall and then installing something new.  (I probably might not have done it even now but several of the hanging plastic strips have been cracked and broken lately so action had to be taken).  Hence,  I schlepped to the Walmart fabric counter, meandered my way through the clearance fabrics and clipped, stitched, ironed, hemmed, and hung these babies.  Not too shabby if I do say so myself.  


But, without question, my favorite bit of craftiness that has happened around here lately has been the tray that Josh built for his Dad.  

Josh's dad had a stroke last year so life has been a bit different for him since then.  One struggle has been eating.  It is hard for Dad balance in a kitchen chair so he takes most meals in his trusty recliner.  However, regular dinner trays are a little precarious when placed over his lap on the chair.

So, Josh set about making a tray that would be more snug and stable on the chair to make eating easier for his dad.

Josh took a bunch of measurements, bought some wood and set to work.  He cut things out and then he and Gavin sanded the pieces and he and Parker put it all together.  Bryce and Aubrey decided on ways to decorate the tray and then I stained and varnished the finished product.  It turned out to be fun for the whole family.  Everyone was involved, although Josh really did the bulk of the planning and labor.

And viola!  A tray that will hopefully fit the bill.  I love it.  I hope it does a good job.  We will see.  What a great chance to try to do something to help our dad and grandpa when he has done so much for us all these years.  It was a fabulous project.  



Monday, November 3, 2014

A little story about a wet pant leg

Hmmmm.  Well now, this seems even more strange than normal.  Why in the world would this mild mannered, fairly down to earth, relatively clear thinking mother of six blogger take a picture of the wet back of her pant leg?

Well, I'll tell you.


It is an intriguing story. 

Once upon a time a I took the kids out in the back yard to play.  While out there, I went over to chat with our dog, Finn, who is pretty well behaved if a bit mischievous.  Whilst conversing, I noticed that his 5 gallon bucket-o-water was incredibly murky and looked a bit soiled.  So, being the sweet and loving owner that I am, I decided to fix that.

I let Finn out of the dog run to traipse around the yard for a while, hauled the heavy water bucket onto the grass and dumped it out.

I found, at the bottom of the bucket, these two rope toys.  They are favorites of our dog.  He likes to bury them in his little dirt patch and then dig them up again later.  Weird.  But ok.  Well, he had taken these muddy, crusted rope toys and deposited them in his previously pristine drinking water the combination of the two creating the filthy, clotted mess I mentioned before.


Soooooo, I dumped out the water, grabbed a rag, bent over and proceeded to wipe out the soiled bucket.  I noticed the dog hanging out behind me, but figured he was just hoping for some rear end sniffing while I was hunched over.

Nope.

Next thing I know, Bowser behind me lifts his fat canine leg and pees all over the back of MY leg.

HE PEED ON ME!!!

WHAT THE...!..!...!

Stupid dog.

Notice the nice, clean bucket of water and the dog who won't even look at me because he
knows I'm mad at him.  Josh suggest that I pee on him next time.  I don't find that helpful.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Bishops

As you know, my husband is serving as the bishop of our ward at the moment (to learn a bit more about what a bishop does click here).

This calling has put Josh in a position to try to help many people in our area to grow.  Sometimes he is called on to help them spiritually, sometimes physically, and sometimes in other ways.  He has a very deep love for the members of the church in our ward.  He honestly wants to help them in any way that he can.

Over the past 15 months as he has served in this capacity I have gained a more complete understanding of why they call bishops "the father of the ward."  His concern and care for these wonderful people can only be compared to fatherly love.  He worries about them.  He prays for them. He loves them.

Sometimes Josh gets a distant look while we are driving in the car or sitting on the couch and I know that he is in "bishop mode."  He is pondering over a problem or a family and is searching for ways to help them progress.  He wants to support and aid people as they grow closer to their Heavenly Father.

And those efforts take time.

Those beautiful functions require Josh to attend meetings, hold interviews, make visits, spend hours on the phone and seek regular guidance and training.  He gives blessings, gives instruction, gives comfort, gives counsel, gives hugs and everything in between. He tries to attend youth meetings each week, does interviews at least one night a week, and spends all day Sunday at church.  He often locks himself in our bedroom for extended periods so that he can talk to members who need him.

And we knew that would happen when he was called.  We had a very frank discussion with our children about the fact that our dad was going to need to share his time with not just our family, but also our ward family.   Overall, they (the kids) have been great about it, especially since most of them are quite young.  We just say, "Dad is bishoping tonight," and they (mostly) accept that answer and move on.

This last few weeks has been particularly rough on Josh as a bishop.  I don't know exactly what is going on, but I know there are some issues that are causing him struggle and heartache for the families involved (whoever they are).  I know there is a great weight on his shoulders as he tries to help them move forward.  I know he is greatly concerned about their welfare and wants to succor and support them in any way he can.

And that translates to many meetings, many phone calls, lots of texts, and much prayer.  He is heartily worried about these particular families for whatever reason.  He knows their needs and wants to guide them in a good direction, but it isn't easy.  

Which means that even though last night was Halloween, Josh was in the midst of receiving texts and calls about some issues.  So we ended up deciding to leave him at home to hand out candy to trick-or-treaters rather than having him take the youngest kids out into the neighborhood as we had planned.  That way he would be available to answer questions and give comfort and advice. Sometimes it gets hard when the bishop is needed and that means our dad can't be with us as much as we would like.

However, I am forever grateful for the chance he has to learn and grow and rejoice as he watches from the front row of the cheering section as families rely more fully on their Heavenly Father and begin to receive the blessings of obedience and faith.  We all, as a family,  feel the peace and love of our Savior as our dad tries to help further His precious work.

I guess mostly what I want to say today is whoever you are, wherever you are, member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or not, you have a bishop who loves and cares for you.  You have a bishop who prays and hopes for the best for you.  You have a bishop who wants to help and serve you.  (If you don't know who your bishop is, click here to find him.)

I hope that we will all give our bishop respect for the love and dedication he shows through hours of selfless service.  I hope we will reverence his time and value the guidance he receives through the Holy Ghost.  I hope we will remember that our bishop is a person, that he isn't always perfect, that he doesn't always know the answer, but that he is doing his best and that his desire is to do the will of God.  I hope we will give kind regard to his responsibilities as a husband and father and realize that that means sometimes he can't be available right at this moment.

I am grateful for my bishop.  He is a good man.  I know because I have a front row seat in his cheering section.  He makes mistakes, he has struggles, but he earnestly desires to do what is right and to bless the lives of the people he serves.

I am also grateful for my husband.  He is a good man.  In fact, a great man.  In fact, the best man I have ever known.  I'm forever thankful that he didn't give up on me when we were dating and I wasn't particularly interested in him.  He was persistent, and I am reaping the benefits of that.  I love that guy, best of all.




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