Sunday, July 29, 2012

High On A Mountain Top

We had the privilege of spending a few days "high on a mountain top" at my sister's cabin in the LaSal Mountains a few weeks ago.  Every time I am there it is reaffirmed to me why the prophets of old went to the mountain tops to pray and commune with God.  It is always a sacred experience for me to be so far away from civilization and so close to nature.
                    The cabin is located at over 11,000 ft.  It is high!!  It is definitely on top of the world.  
                                         The base of Mt Peale is just a short ride from the cabin.
The cabin is only accessible with a 4 wheel drive vehicle.  Some people describe their second homes as cabins, but this is a true cabin----a rustic cabin which gives the experience its charm and mystic.  It is heated with a wood burning stove where all the cooking is also done.  There are propane lanterns for light in the evening.  My dear brother in law has discovered a way for water from a stream to come into the cabin so there are flush toilets for the women (the men are still banished to the outhouses), running water into the kitchen sink, and a shower and tub.
Amy and Jessi claim that this is their favorite vacation so I'm so glad that they were both able to come.  Jessi had to return early to go back to work (Isn't it nice someone is responsible in our family?) but I'm thankful she could spend a couple of days there.
It was Cheryl's birthday while we were there so we celebrated with decorations and a pink lemonade cake made in the woodburning stove. 
 Jeff hadn't been able to come to the cabin for a few years but this time he came and spent a couple of days!!How great it was to see 'My Jeff' again.  He was more relaxed and at ease than I had seen him in years.  Being out in nature again with no responsibilities or cell phone for a few days was soooo good for him.  Welcome back Jeff!!!!!
                                               He taught Zip to ride on the back of his 4 wheeler.

Luke was the hero of the trip.  Cheryl had her 4 and 6 year old grandsons, Joe and John, staying at the cabin with us.  Luke built them a BMX bike trail to ride on.
                         He took them fishing and helped them catch fish, clean fish and cook fish.  

 It was so fun for Blake to have someone to play with while she was there.
 One of our favorite activities is our nightly "Animal Run".  We form a line of 4 wheelers slowly traveling the trails in the evening to see the wildlife.  We try to leave just before dusk.  This year we saw wild turkeys and deer (both bucks and does), but no elk.  Such a fun tradition!!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Breakfast--The Most Important Meal of the Day

I grew up in a family where either my mom or dad would get up each morning and fix me a hot breakfast before I left for school each day.  It was great even if it was the exact same thing every morning.  I had a broken yolk fried egg (I do not do runny yellow stuff) and toast with homemade jam with a glass of milk and orange juice.  Done and Done.  The amazing part is that I really enjoyed it and I still enjoy that same menu.  On Saturdays and Sundays we did change it up a bit and have pancakes or french toast.
Fast forward until I was a mom and I started the same tradition of a hot breakfast each morning before school and then my kids demanded a day of cold cereal on Saturday and then German Pancakes on Sunday because they could be cooking in the oven while everyone scrambled to get ready for church.  My school breakfasts did vary from the original fried egg menu and I would do cooked cereal, muffins, french toast, waffles, or eggs fixed in a variety of ways.  I tried to be somewhat original.
What I didn't know is that I became famous for fixing breakfast. I would have comments from mothers like "I thought I was being so great and fixed heart  pancakes for my son for breakfast on Valentines Day and my son just looked at me and said that Ben Crosland's mom fixes breakfast everyday."  I was requested by my daughter to fix breakfast for all of her friends on the days they had "Morningsides" (Church firesides or devotionals held early in the morning) between the Morningside and school starting.  I even served breakfasts to boyfriends that would stop by on their way to college.
THEN Jessi came along and she didn't like hot breakfast food in the morning and she was my last one so I resorted to letting her have cold cereal in the morning if it wasn't sugar cereal etc etc.  Soon I wasn't feeling great about this decision because I truly believe that kids do better in school with a complete breakfast.  So I had to change my thinking a bit and I began making smoothies in the morning and Jessi would drink those.  I had to finally realize that there is more nutrition in my smoothies than there ever was in my hot breakfasts.  They are the way to go I believe.  I not only put fruit in them, but I fill them with green vegetables (especially spinach or kale or cabbage or any veggies I happen to have in my fridge)  I found that if I put blueberries or blackberries in them it hides the green color and Jessi would drink them lots better.  I put ground flax in or protein powder.  They are delicious and so full of nutrition that now I have a hard time making anything else for breakfast.  If we are craving breakfast food I will make it, but I seem to need a smoothie sometime during the day.  It is amazing to learn, both to ourselves and to our children, but we do get wiser with age.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

2000 Stripling Warriors

Last Friday in the Bountiful Handcart Days Parade the final entry was an incredible sight.  A local Stake President had decided to reenact the Book of Mormon Story of Helaman and the 2000 Stripling Warriors.  (See here to read the story).  He asked each stake and ward to provide young men and young adults to portray these heroic young warriors.  Our singles ward was asked to choose 10 of our men.  What an impressive sight.  I have grown up reading and hearing the story about these young soldiers defending their freedoms and families in great battles.  2000 sounds like a large number of young men, but until you literally see 2000 young men walk in front of you the enormous amount does not really register.  At least it didn't for me.  They had the young men in rows of 10 walking and costumed in the dress of the time and keeping cadence with their sticks.  They ranged in age from young teenagers to men in their late 20's.  Helaman was leading the entire group and they seemed to have other sub-leaders that were over smaller groups.  There wasn't any laughing, teasing or messing around that you would expect when you get over 2000 young men together.  Their roles were taken seriously.  They actually had 2200 young men because that number is referred to in the scriptures.
It was almost completely silent as the spectators stood while 220 rows of these wonderful young men strode by.  It literally took several minutes for them to pass.

As Helaman was later recounting in a letter to his commander the story of these brave young men, he mentioned that they had fought courageously and miraculously not one of them had been killed though they had all received injuries.  What a miracle to think about as we watched all of these boys march by.  There were so many and they all were so blessed.  The amazing thing about them is that they gave credit to their mothers for their faith and safety.

47 Now they never had fought, yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the aliberty of their bfathers than they did upon their lives; yea, they had been taught by their cmothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them.
 48 And they rehearsed unto me the words of their amothers, saying: We bdo not doubt our mothers knew it

What an incredible tribute.  It does make me wonder if my children KNOW of my faith.  Have I taught them and maybe more importantly have I been an example of a true believer?  Am I an example now?  Something to ponder and always something to work towards.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Thoughts for Parents of Young Children

We have had the incredible privilege of spending a great deal of time with our grandchildren in the past month.  As I have watched and listened to my kids and spouses as they have been caring for these awesome grandkids it has brought back many thoughts and memories of when our children were young.

This week we went to my sister's cabin with Amy and her two children.  Callie reminded me so much of Jessi when I use to bring her to the same cabin. It was almost haunting to watch her.  I felt like I was reliving my life,  Oh how difficult it is to have a one year old toddler around the hot wood burning stove inside and all of the dirt, rocks and sticks outdoors.  A CONSTANT surveillance is required.  It is exhausting.
I was in awe to think that Callie is the same age as Jessi was when Cheryl first built her cabin and we began our yearly treks to visit and now Jessi is 18 and has grown to be a beautiful responsible young woman.  Oh how quickly the years pass.
 Now with that background of why I feel inclined to write this I will get to the point of this blog!  I remember going to my mom when I had 4 small children under the age of 8 and asking her why she didn't tell me it was so hard to be a mother.  My wise mother quickly responded;  "Because then you wouldn't of done it"  My mom was a wonderful mother, but she just said things like they were.  She didn't sugar coat it at all, but with that comment she made me realize she was probably right.  If I would of known the sleep I would miss, the activities I would forgo, the monotony of feeding, cleaning, diapering, and trying to console screaming children maybe I wouldn't of done it.  BUT knowing now what I know I am so thankful I did sacrifice all that I did for those four children and then even one more.  I'm glad my mom didn't warn me and I know she didn't because she would never want me to miss out on the joys, happiness, smiles, and love that these wonderful children can bring.

I remember thinking I would never see light at the end of the tunnel again.  I recall feeling I would never be feminine again because there was always spit up, dirt or some gross item down the front of my shirt.  There were years that my food was never warm to eat after I had served, cut and helped the little ones with their meal.  This sounds stupid, but I remember thinking that all I wanted to do was lounge by the side of the swimming pool and read a book instead of being in the water with my kids so they wouldn't drown.  Now, how thankful I am for small grandkids so I can get in the pool and play and not look ridiculous as a grandma splashing around in the water alone.

My thoughts to you are this.  Your children will grow up.  They will become self sufficient and it will happen faster that you ever can imagine.  There is life at the end of the tunnel and how you will regret wishing these moments away.  Many of your concerns now are whether your children are eating their vegetables or are their hands and face dirty or if they choose clothes that don't match or aren't stylish.  Soon, too soon,  your concerns will be whether they are taking harmful substances into their bodies, are their spirits being covered with dirt and smut, and are the clothes they are choosing to wear immodest and and not representative of a Child of God.

Enjoy each moment and cherish each day.  Love these little ones and protect their innocence and vulnerability.  I remember being so frustrated that I know I said things that hurt my children's  little spirits and I do so regret it.  I was a tough mom and didn't want my kids to be wimps or throw temper tantrums.  I didn't allow it.  Now as I watch children act out I realize that they are frustrated and they have thoughts and desires that need to be expressed and recognized.  Go to them and talk to them and see what is bothering them.

Support each other as parents.  Children need both of you and they need you to love each other.  They don't understand when you argue so DO NOT under any circumstances have a fight in front of them.  Wait until they have gone to bed or are away playing before you discuss your disagreements.  If one of you disciplines or sets conditions and you disagree have enough respect for each other to uphold it and decide later what your course will be the next time the issue comes up.

Sing to them, dance with them, and play in the rain.  Let them be kids and be dirty and messy.  These small little ones have so much to teach us.  Snuggle with them, read and read and read to them.  Fill their minds with good thoughts and ideas.  Your time will come to do what you want, but now is the time to be with your children.  Life is not easy, but then that is not the plan.  Life isn't supposed to be easy.  We don't grow when life is all fun and games.  Elder Packer (Go here to read article) was right when he told us that we learn more about what is important from our children than they will ever learn from us.  It took me lots of years to understand that.  Be smarter than I was.  Be more patient, be more willing to listen, and definitely be more compassionate.  I do know that whatever time and love you invest in your children you will receive a hundredfold more in return.  They will love you and cherish you unconditionally!!  That is their gift.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


After spending the past three mornings weeding our vegetable garden boxes I have some thoughts about weeds.  The boxes had obviously been neglected and the weeds were overtaking the vegetables. Three mornings of weeding is insane, but totally worth it when I look at the boxes.  I should of taken some before pics.

 I realize that most men could of weeded these 8 boxes in an hour or two and it took me six.  I spent from 7 a.m.--9 a.m. each morning for three days.  Since weeding is usually a solitary experience, (mainly because no one wants to get near me in case I ask them to help) I had lots of time to think.  I realized that I was completely obsessed to get the root out with every weed I pulled.  I had to dig and pull and dig some more to completely get out each root.  I knew from experience that if a male person was weeding, as long as the weed top was gone it was sufficient.  I have observed this frequently.  It looks great, but soon, very soon, the weed has grown again.  I was pondering why I was so determined to get every root out with the weed and it came to me.  As a mother and homemaker I spend each day washing the same dishes over and over again.  All the dishes can be totally done and clean and I need a drink of water and then Yup I have dirty dishes again that need to be washed.  Laundry is exactly the same way.  The same clothes are washed week after week and there is just a short minute when ALL the clothes are clean.  Yes, weeding does need to be done over and over again through out the summer, but I refuse, absolutely refuse, to pull the same weed over and over again.  If I pull it once, it had better be gone for good.  So it took me three days to weed 8 small boxes and I'm sure I will need to do it again soon.

As I was spending this time in my garden I began to reflect on the weeds in my life.  Was I as intent on removing the roots from my soul as I was from the garden?  I find myself repenting of the same thing night after night.  Obviously I'm not removing them completely or the same problems wouldn't keep reappearing.  I'm resolving to do better.  If I can totally remove a weed from my life then I can work on the next one and then the next one so I won't become totally overwhelmed with weeds entangled in my life.  How grateful I am for repentance and the opportunity to clear out the noxious weeds.  Hopefully I will be diligent and dig deep in my soul and completely remove the roots of all the sins and shortcomings that I have.  I recognize that daily repentance is necessary, it will never end, but hopefully I can be better each day.
Tomorrow morning----- I will move on to the raspberry patch!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

55!! 55??

55?  Are you kidding me?  I'm really that old?  Since we have been attending a Young Single Adult ward for the past four years the majority of my friends are under the age 30.  I love it and I love them and they make me feel like I'm 30 something not 50 something.  Oh well.  It is what it is.
I have never struggled with age before, but yesterday as I turned the big 55 something hit.  Life has been so hectic since Jessi graduated that it took until yesterday to realize that yes I'm older, but I'm also no longer responsible for a school age child.  I've done it.  I've been able to be a stay at home mom for all of my children for all of their years.  How incredibly grateful I am for that and I wouldn't trade one moment of it.  BUT NOW WHAT?????
I've visited with several moms who are at the same place as I am and most of them have been there for several years and they are still asking that same question.  We have given it all and worried, cared about, and helped meet all the needs and desires of our kids that we have forgotten what our own needs and desires are.  Truly the world is before us with many options and opportunities but which ones should we take or do we desire to take.  There is volunteer work available, education possibilities and even employment choices.  What do I do and where can I best serve?  Hopefully I will be led and directed in the way that the Lord desires for me to go.  He obviously knows I am willing and ready to move forward with MY life now.  I guess we'll see where it takes me.  It should be an interesting ride.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Papa's Perfect Place

As we contemplated having all the grandchildren in town for the month of June, Papa Jeff jumped into action.
He decided to replace the playground that was decimated in the December wind storm.  First a new load of fine sand was delivered and spread in the sandbox and then he bought a "Lifetime" playground.  I guess we will see if it lasts a "lifetime" or only one year like the last one.  The kids refer to the playground as the "Park at the Farm".
Then not to stop with just a mere playground, He totally outdid himself and he showed one day with a new pony.  He always said he would not get a pony because they are usually so irritable and stubborn.  I guess the thought of children's smiles on a small horse won because this darling pony now lives at the farm.  Jeff did an incredible job of shopping because she is a sweet even-tempered pony.  She is a keeper and obviously a great hit with the grandkids.
The day "Rio" (Blake named her) came to the farm.
 Macey waiting for her turn on Rio decided to sit on Kona
 The Three Cowboys
 Blake and Papa.  
This picture explains everyday life at the farm.  Blake follows her papa everywhere he goes.  This is her domain and she had a difficult time when all those other kids showed up and wanted to share part of her life.

Lucy on the tractor, another favorite farm activity.   
 I mentioned to Jeff that it wasn't fair that our house was lacking in fun grandchildren activities.  I needed something also so we got this airplane for our home yard.  Obviously not as fun as the farm but at least it is something.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Whirlwind Summer

Years ago when all of my school age children were attending year round school we had our turn at having the track where you have only a three week summer.  I love summer and I decided that we would try to incorporate an entire summer into those three weeks.  We ran, played, swam, and  everything else that I had determined to put into that summer.  I can't remember all that we did, but I do remember being totally exhausted as the kids went out the door for the first day of school in July.
This past month I have had some of those same feelings, especially the exhaustion part.  Since all of the kids were here for several weeks in June we have truly tried to put an entire summer's worth of activities into this month.
Besides our week long trip to Lake Powell we have been to the zoo.

We have spent the day at Lagoon with 7 grandchildren.  We were there when it opened at 11 and still there when it closed at 10.  If you are going to spend that much money you have to get every bit of entertainment out of it.  The kids were incredible.

Papa was definitely the Hero of the Day.  He was "Hands On" standing in line and keeping the kids together all day!
Our brigade of strollers
                                                       We also made it to Surf n' Swim.
The cute pregnant mom in the middle is Melissa, Carly's sister in law.  The little boy belongs to her.  We don't do boys, we only do girls.  

                         There is a great new fountain and playground at Farmington Crossing.

Of course we have had numerous family dinners and play time at Grandma's.  It is always a fight to see who gets to sit by Cody.
 The little girls
 The big girls
 The only testosterone in the group
We spent a day at the Park City Outlets shopping
Hours were spent at the farm, but that deserves its own post so it will be coming soon.
Ben and Carrie and kids left last week and Tyler and Carly in a few days then life will slow down and I know I will miss everyone immensely.  We still have the 4th of July to celebrate with them and then after that--- maybe I won't even get out of bed!!