Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Check It Out

For those of you who may be struggling with this particular trial, my cousin Jana has created a new blog called Fertility Stumpers. She tells her story of the difficult and long process of the inability to have children and is a way for other women to share their own stories as well. I just wanted to make this available to any of you who are in need of help or comfort that might have the same difficult challenge. Hopefully this will give you some inspiration!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Angel Oak Tree

This past weekend one of Lance's old mission companions came to visit us (see post below). We had such a great time together, especially Lance and Greg. It was awesome catching up and feeling a little nostalgic. We went to visit the Angel Oak Tree on John's Island which is exactly that, an oak tree. It's ginormous in width, with a huge canopy of limbs that just go on forever. The historians say its 1500+ years old and 65 feet high. I know, words don't do it justice so I'll just get on with it and post the pictures.

These limbs go on forever! The experts (if there are any) put up these poles and posts to help support the limbs to prevent breaking.This is called Resurrection Fern. We were very lucky to find it blossom, it gets its name because it can survive long periods of drought by curling up and appearing dead. When just a little water is present, the fern will uncurl and reopen, appearing to resurrect.

Elder Young and Elder Cox

This was then, Greg and Lance as mission companions in Charleston, 2003. Don't they look like little boys?
This is now. Greg came to visit us this past weekend and reminisce like old times.

Recent Crafts

I'm a little behind posting a few crafts that I've recently worked on. Since I'm in the Young Women's presidency I have a lot of opportunities to try and be creative with handouts and various things. Because I'm tired of typing I won't go into the whole object lesson but I made these easy little spider cookies that I put into a cellophane bag with a quote by Elder Richard G. Scott and a spider ring hanging off the ribbon tie. The girls loved them, I guess they were a hit which works for me because they were so easy!When I went home to visit at the beginning of the month my mom and sisters all got together for a mini craft day. My mom wanted help inspiring the Relief Society to get a little more creative and crafty so I used my cousin Jana's (June 11 post) idea and embellished some clip boards to use as the pass around/sign up/thingamajig. They were super easy to make, I just decoupaged some scrap book paper and used coordinating ribbon to tie around the clip. Jana used hers as a recipe holder and has SO many cute embellishments with brads, clips, flowers, etc.! I've also heard of these being used as a picture frame, it gives it more originality than a traditional frame, and you can decorate it to coordinate with your particular picture or theme. Thanks for the idea Jana!After we made the clip boards we made a fairy skirt for all my little nieces (not all pictured). I wish I had a more detailed picture than this, but you take a strand of elastic or ribbon, cut pieces of tulle in 5" strands and tie it onto the elastic. Super easy! We used the elastic and put a bow in the first five knots to add a more completed look. However, my mom didn't get that idea until after we took the pictures. The girls loved them and it only took about 45 minutes to complete, depends I guess on your degree of perfectionism. We used 5-7 different colors but I think if I did it all over again, we'd only use 2 coordinating colors. Also if you use brighter colors, it won't be so see through. Thanks to Katie for the idea! (I know, I have no originality I have to steal ideas from everyone around me)!

The Proposal

Did you see it, did you see Jim's proposal??? They had me totally off guard, I thought the writers were going to make us wait until the end of the season. What did you think!?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The High Kings

Being in a city larger than Twin Falls' 40,000, Lance and I have had many opportunities to attend a lot of concerts, plays, and variety shows. It has been one of my goals to go to at least one more concert and play before we move back home. Last night I met that goal half way as we attended the High Kings concert. It was absolutely fantastic! In case you have not seen them perform on PBS, they are the male version of Celtic Women who have also performed on PBS. Anyway, they're Irish and sing all sorts of different Irish folk songs. It was so amazing, I loved it, and we were so fortunate to somehow obtain a discount through some friends in our ward (thanks guys!) therefore we had great seats. They had an Irish tap dancer (river dancer), the percussionist (is that even a word?) was amazing on the drums and I especially loved the face off between the two that was also somehow synchronized - SO TALENTED!! Because I'm too tired and exhausted to figure out how to post a video (even though I've done it before) here's a link to listen to one of their songs on Youtube.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

How Did I Not Already Know About This?

I happened to stumble upon a blog last night and I think its absolutely divine! It's called Tip Junkie and she's so inspiring! She basically showcases her own and others ideas about womanhood, beautifying the home, and helping out the "little guy" (as she says it). If you need help on anything, she's got it from organizing to parties, from gift ideas to traditions, from crafts to food, from holidays to kids. Each one has directions and tutorials to help the utterly helpless such as myself. Check out her blog, its fabulous!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Living in the Moment

I've off and on entertained the idea of starting our family this past year, feeling so excited and anxious to have a baby and feeling exhaustion and a "what did I get myself into" thought all at the same time. I've come upon the conclusion to be happy with my life and to live in the moment and in the here and now. I think so many times as a society, we see other people and are envious of what they are or of what they have. But like I said, I've come to be happy and content with my life and to live in the moment. I remember a talk given by Elder Ballard this year, as he quoted:

Author Anna Quindlen reminds us not to rush past the fleeting moments. She said: “The biggest mistake I made [as a parent] is the one that most of us make. … I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of [my three children] sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages six, four, and one. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less” (Loud and Clear [2004], 10–11).

I really appreciate this and though I'm not speaking just to mothers, that aspect of life has been on my mind lately. I've come to really appreciate the time I have with my husband. We've been married 3.5 years, the recent 2.5 we've been in Charleston. I'm so thankful for the time we've had to be away from family, it has made us rely and depend so much on each other and grow inseparable. I'm grateful that even though we don't have kids yet, if we want to go to the beach at midnight, we can simply put our swim suits on and leave without further preparation. I'm grateful for the one-on-one time. I think I'm a little selfish in this regard, when a baby comes along I'll have to share Lance and that will be an adjustment for me.

My good friend Crystal has a poem that has also had a profound impact on me that she keeps on her fridge:

"Cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow,
for babies grow up I've learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down cob webs and dust go to sleep.
I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep."

I encourage you young mothers not to worry so much about the spills and stains and the things kids don't do quite right. I encourage you to find joy and happiness and fulfillment in each moment. Even the moments that are a little frustrating and upsetting, there's always something to learn and laugh at. If you long to have kids (like me), if you've had all you can handle with your kids, if your kids are teenagers or out of the house; treasure each moment for those moments will pass and you'll never regain time. For now, I'm happy and content to live with my best friend, to be married to a man who treats me like a queen. We have this small window of time to be adventurous and spontaneous without having to find a babysitter. I love this time together, just Lance and I. I'm treasuring it because never in our lives will it ever be like this. Our lives will become more rich and full as we have kids and grand kids, but for now while he is all I know, my life is richly blessed. (In case you are wondering, no this is not my attempt to announce that we're expecting).

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Middleton Plantation

Today we went to the Middleton Place, a plantation that was established early in the life of the Carolina colony and was home to an African-American slave community. It began in 1741 by Henry Middleton, President of the First Continental Congress and Henry's son, Arthur Middleton, one of the four SC signers of the Declaration of Independence.

The Middleton's owned 60 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens.

This is where the prominent members of the Middleton family are buried on their property within the gardens.

We had a great time!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Halloween Humor

This picture made me laugh SO hard! This is Elder Yap from AZ. He's now home from his mission but he served here in Charleston back in 2006 as a greeny when Lance and I first moved here. I thought this picture was so hilarious and I know if these pumpkin people were ever displayed on a lawn somewhere out west, the neighbors would definitely have something to say about it. Only in the South...

Falling All Around

I love the fall season. Even though summer doesn't really end until the end of October here, I still notice subtle hints that autumn is upon us. True, it's still hot and sticky. But the days become darker earlier, the leaves turn their beautiful red, gold, and orange colors, and the heat is a little more bearable with the air a little more crisp. I found THIS (go to Sept. 15 post) really cute pumpkin craft and wish I had a sewing machine to make them. If any of you would like to make them with me, just let me know I think they're absolutely darling!

Lance and I went grocery shopping last night and had to buy a sack full of the tiny little pumpkins that come 5 for $3. Yeah, way expensive compared to how many we could have grown ourselves but due to being in a townhouse, we splurged. I'm way excited to go home and get all of my fall decor out of storage and decorate the house. Alright, so I only have enough fall decor for one shelf (I've got to start somewhere don't I)?

I love the look of the leaves turning colors. All the richness and color just adds so much tranquility to the air. I love to drive through subdivisions and see huge piles of leaves raked up in the yards. Dads throwing the kids into the piles and kids throwing the dogs into the piles while moms lovingly watch from the living room window. I love to see the leaves delicately fall from their lively limbs and hear the crunching under my feet.

I love the smell of freshly home made pecan and pumpkin pie - the cinnamon, nutmeg, and cream all mixed together......mmmmm!
I love the feel of warmth. I love to be wrapped up in thick, soft sweaters sipping a cup of hot cocoa in hand. There's something so comforting about the fall and winter seasons. Perhaps it's the relief of cooler temperatures. Perhaps it's the preparation of being indoors for the following months. Perhaps its the anxiety of the holidays where family and friends gather with yummy food. Whatever the reason, I love it!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Home Sweet Home

Don't get me wrong, I had an awesome time going back to Idaho to visit. I loved seeing my family and Lance's family, I loved being an aunt again to my nieces and nephews, I loved catching up on new happenings, I loved seeing the new Twin Falls temple, and I loved having a break from work. At the same time I cannot tell you how much I loved feeling that sticky, miserable humidity coming off the plane and the dread of knowing that I'm still in the worst part of summer in the south.

I had a red eye flight scheduled Thursday night which means I now have severe jet lag. When I walked in the door to our home, I noticed the beautiful bouquet of pink, fuchsia, and purple carnations that welcomed me with a sweet note from Lance. I was so tired, queasy (I don't take too well to flying), starving, stinky, and completely exhausted. Lance wanted me to go to bed straightaway but I just couldn't, I missed him too much. I drove downtown to surprise him at work and astonished myself that all the things I previously found annoying and painful like the narrow roads and stupid one ways, simply became a charm of downtown that I fell in love with all over again.

Like Dorothy said, "There's no place like home." I truly believe that. There really is nothing better than being within the walls and comfort and serenity of your own home. Even though my "home" is in Idaho where I grew up with mine and Lance's families, our home is Charleston. We love it here beyond any comprehension. We've been so blessed and have learned so many things during the past 2.5 years. I missed our Charleston friends, our ward family, and the green, green trees (as opposed to the ugly brown desert). I love it here, I love being a homebody, and I love my quaint little home with my dear husband who completes it.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Catch Up

I've been way too busy the last several days to blog about the rest of my Twin Falls trip. I'll do the best I can but because I'm extremely exhausted and trying to get over jet lag, I will probably post mostly pictures.

Tuesday I had a sleep over with my nieces and nephews over two years old. There were four altogether and we had so much fun! Honestly, I couldn't have stayed sane with more than four. Alright I'll admit, my mom helped me out A LOT!

When they all got there we played outside on the swing set, dug in the dirt, and jumped on the trampoline.

Once it was dark we went inside to make chocolate chip cookies.

After they each had a cookie, it was beyond time for bed. They all slept together in the front room and I read several stories to them as they fell asleep. Unfortunately, the only picture I had of story time somehow got deleted, I was so upset! The last one finally went to sleep at 11:30.

The next morning I made them all waffles for breakfast and we made a Halloween craft. I didn't get any pictures of this either because my mom and I were too busy helping the kids. They each had a colored plastic bucket and a Halloween face of foam stickers (Frankenstein, a pumpkin, a cat, a pirate, Dracula, etc.) that they put together on the bucket. (We found the bucket and the Halloween faces at Michael's for a $1 each. Super cheap craft that the kids LOVED)! Then they went on a treasure hunt throughout the house as we hid a piece of candy for each one in six different rooms and they got to use their buckets to hold their treasure. Also at Michael's we found a tube of 15 glow in the dark bracelets for $1 that we gave the kids. They loved those too and we had a blast! A HUGE thanks to my mom for all her help. And by the way Christine, each one proclaimed that I am now their bestest and favoritest aunt. (Just a little friendly competition).

Monday, September 8, 2008

Past Few Days

My nephew Devin turned 2 years old today. He was so cute opening presents and of course his big sister Charity had to help!

His favorite gift was Buzz Lightyear.

I also went to visit Jessica (Bench) Prudent, a very good friend of mine from high school that I haven't seen in at least three or more years. After finding out she's now in one my brothers ward, I just kind of popped in and surprised her. It was so fun and I was so happy to see her new house and her darling little boy. Oh isn't he just a doll!

I went to eat a wonderful dinner with Lance's family last night. (Sorry you weren't there Lance, but I promise the food was excellent and I ate enough for you!) His mom and dad were Charity's sunbeam teachers so Charity wanted to come with me to Brother and Sister Cox's house. Charity was so shy the entire time, I don't even think she really enjoyed anything but the ice cream cake. Anyway, right before we left I finally got her to open up and although she wouldn't face the camera, I got a little part of her singing Love is Spoken Here on video. It's so precious!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Time Out For Women

I am in Twin Falls for the next week for a girls trip. Lance stayed home to work while I came to play with the girls. My mom had planned for us girls (my mom, sister, and three sister in laws) to go to Time Out For Women in Boise, which she's had planned for well over a year. First of all, I do not care for air planes at all. Lance loves them. He gets a thrill out of them and would fly a plane to work everyday if he could. But I don't care for them at all they make me queasy, uncomfortable, and I turn into a germaphobe. As you can imagine, when I finally arrived in Boise I was very nauseous, had no appetite whatsoever, and the fact that I hadn't seen my family in over a year made my nerves fly through the roof. Yes, I was nervous seeing my family. I'm still not sure why, after all they're my family. The best way I can explain it, is it feels how I would imagine going home from a mission is like. I've been in a complete different world for the past 2.5 years and all of a sudden I come back to the place where I grew up expecting everything to still be the same as when I left. So I was nervous but after some shopping, my nerves settled quite a bit. Ok, I'm still a tiny bit nervous but I'm so excited to be here and most all to have some time off work!

Anyway, today we went to Time Out For Women which I think most of you know what that is but in case you don't, it's a day long seminar type thing specifically for women. There are several speakers and singers who talk about living more virtuous, living to our fullest potential, and growing closer to the Savior. Here are a few pictures of us girls with a few of the youngest babies.

My mom and I.

My Mom and her two girls. This is Christine, my younger sister who's 20. I know we look nothing alike, she takes after my dad and I take more after my mom.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Long Anticipated Call

I just received the official call from my family: Scott, my youngest sibling of us seven, just received his mission call and he's going to Zurich, Switzerland! He will be speaking German and leaves December 3rd. Yeah!!!! Congratulations Scottie Boy!!

"The big initial task is first to find interested investigators. So many of us look upon missionary work as simply tracting. Everyone who is familiar with this work knows there is a better way. That way is through the members of the Church. Whenever there is a member who introduces an investigator, there is an immediate support system. The member bears testimony of the truth of the work. He is anxious for the happiness of his investigator friend. He becomes excited as that friend makes progress in learning the gospel. The full-time missionaries may do the actual teaching, but the member, wherever possible, will back up that teaching with the offering of his home to carry on this missionary service. He will bear sincere testimony of the divinity of the work. He will be there to answer questions when the missionaries are not around. He will be a friend to the convert who is making a big and often difficult change. The gospel is nothing to be ashamed of. It is something to be proud of. “Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord,” wrote Paul to Timothy (2 Timothy 1:8). Opportunities for sharing the gospel are everywhere."
- President Gordon B. Hinckley

I Can't Wait

I have been going through The Office withdrawals all summer, I LOVE this show! I need to find out what happens with these two, come on, they had better end up getting married this season or I think I might just die. Notice, I have a ticker on the left, only 21 days left and counting...

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Call Me Crazy

This is a newspaper clip of hurricane Hugo, a category 5 storm, that hit Charleston in 1989. I have mixed feelings about the recent trio of storms that have a possibility of hitting Charleston. I am going home to Twin Falls for a weeks vacation and I fly out this Friday at 5:45am. That's about the time the meteorologist predicts the storm will hit. So on one hand I don't want to shorten my trip, but on the other hand I want to be here to witness a hurricane. There's never any exciting weather in Twin, the wind blows constantly and that's about it. I don't necessarily want to be caught in the middle of a category 5 hurricane or in the eye of a tornado or crushed by an earthquake. But I still want the experience of a very small hurricane or a tiny tornado, just to see what it's like. That's about as spontaneous and brave as I get. I guess we'll see what happens, maybe the hurricane will turn at the last minute and bypass Charleston altogether. Time will tell.