Monday, November 29, 2010

Thy will be done...On Earth as it is in Heaven

Tonight I watched a youtube video of Andre Bocelli singing "The Lord's Prayer" with The Mormon Tabernacle Choir. You can watch it here and now, if you'd like!

I will start by saying that it wasn't until I was about 9 or 10 that I even learned the words of The Lord's Prayer, found in the New Testament (Matthew 6: 9-13). Oddly enough, my friends and I would recit it while standing in the dughout of the Harkers Island Elementary School ballfield, of all places! We'd recite it before most every game I participated in, while in my youth. I'm no expert now on all things related to this passage of scripture, I admit... But I will say - I don't think I understood, or had a respect for, most of the words then, quite like I do today.

Might I take just a moment to express my thoughts on one small part of this text, tonight. As you can probably guess by the title of this post, I have chosen the words "Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven." I am particularly moved by these words tonight, as something happened only days ago that caused me to be even prouder than before of my intimate relationship with my Heavenly Father. In short, I was judged. Judged as both a Mormon, and as a Christian. You see, I feel quite strongly that what motivates me to be the best Mormon I can be, and what motivates you to be the best Catholic or Methodist you can be is exactly the same thing - Faith. Faith that what you've chosen to believe in IS the truth. I make no apologies in admitting that I wish I could share my strong testimony and convictions with anyone with ears to hear! I wish that God would place directly in my path - SOMEONE (or even better - MANY someones!) who is ready to listen to what I have to say about God's Plan of Happiness! I feel that way because IT. IS. THE. REASON. I. AM. HAPPY! It is the reason that I delight in being a wife and mother, and why I know that everything I do here on this Earth is to PREPARE me for a great reward - Eternal Life. And by Eternal Life, I mean a lot more than just "living forever!" I mean living with God as my Father, Jesus as my elder brother and friend, and my Earthly family as my Eternal Family! Yes - that's what I mean. No apologies.

The incident was brief, and to the other person, probably fairly inconsequential. I was having a conversation with this person about our congregation (known as a "ward"), and how the ward boundaries have recently changed. This means that a map of the greater Raleigh area, which had been cut into oddly shaped pieces to define a sort of district, had lines erased and redrawn, so as to accomodate a new "ward." The reply from my friend was, "You mean they TELL you where you are to go to CHURCH!?" "Yes," I said. "I am happy to do it, too - because I know that the leaders who have made such plans have done so, BECAUSE of their duty to God, to do as He would have them do. I have FAITH in the organization that is our Church. Yes." But here's what I didn't say...

I believe - that in the year 1820, with a backdrop of great religious excitement in upstate New York, Joseph Smith prayed to know which church to join. That he was visited by God and Jesus Christ in a grove of trees and was told to join none of them...

I believe that in due time, he would restore the true church as a Prophet of God. Fast forward 80 years... I know that when the Mormon Missionaries healed my great-grandmother Bertha, it was through the power of the priesthood of God, which had been restored through Joseph Smith, and then had been passed on through other worthy men, through the laying on of hands.

I know that in last 180 years, a "Marvellous work and a wonder," as spoken by the Old Testament Prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 29:14, has come forth, and is sweeping the whole Earth... And with one solitary goal in mind - to DO on Earth - as it is DONE in Heaven. My brothers were once those missionaries knocking on doors, and I know that one day, so will be my 3 sons. No apologies.

Think of those who have died - whose bodies have expired, and whose spirits have moved on to another place. Those people are not vanished into a twilight of eternal nothingness! It is my belief that the veil between this life and the next is a great deal thinner than most of us realize!!! And those spirits are in fact STILL with us - urging us onward to always do what is right, so that we may be reunited one day.

I say all this because - when I sustain my local church leaders as men of God, I do not do so lightly. Oh, I really hate this word, just because the connotation is SO extremely offensive - but I am NOT BRAINWASHED into following people who have an ulterior motive. My Bishop, my Stake President, my Prophet - they are men of God - who serve Him - and who wish for nothing less than the salvation of souls. They do not seek for pride, riches, glory, or any other worldly fame or acknowledgment. Salvation of souls, friends.

"Thy will be done" ... In other words, "God's wishes for us"... I hope and pray that my example of a Mormon and as a Christian is forever firm and immovable, and that no one can ever say that I acted in a way that would cause my Savior any shame for my being His sister, and His servant. I wish to do God's will, and if that makes you laugh at me, then so be it. No apologies.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

*~* THANK (to the) FUL *~*

so thanksgiving is only days away. this makes me happy.
i'm up way too late - caffeine to blame, i do believe.
aaaand - i apologize to anyone who is disturbed by the all-lower-case typing that i usually do when i'm feeling lazy.

this thanksgiving will be a "first," in two ways actually; the first time i'm not at harkers island on thanksgiving day... AND the first time i'll be preparing a thanksgiving dinner as the "hostess with the mostest." that's right - ma & pa & at least a couple others (hopefully) will be coming up to rolesville on wednesday, and dine with the steelman family on thanksgiving day! i'm jealous of me right now. honestly. 

so, aside from the excitement that comes along with such a not-*really*-that-big-a-deal-but-still-rather-monumentous occasion, i wanted to give a little thanks...

i'm thankful for my loving husband & my 3 absolutely-positively perfect children...
i'm thankful for my near-perfect parents, my wonderful siblings, my darling nieces, & my future-missionary nephews...
i'm thankful for my kind and loving grandparents, and the role that they played in the earlier years of my life...
i'm thankful for my siblings' dear husbands and wives...
i'm thankful for my my aunts, my uncles, & my cousins...
i'm thankful for good friends and neighbors, who treat me like family...
i'm thankful for my good health, and a body that does what i need it to do; arms that can pick up my boys to cuddle, hands that can prepare yummy dinners and apply bandages to skint up knees, eyes that can see, and more importantly- appreciate the beauties of the earth, legs that can get me where i need to be, whether it be in the other room, or on the other side of town...
i'm thankful for my imperfections, and the knowledge that we are given weaknesses, as a means for us to become humble, and rely on Jesus Christ... Ether, Chapter 12, Verse 27, From The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ
 i'm thankful for my daily bread, and for having never known hunger, not even for a minute...
i'm thankful for my home, which keeps my family safe from the ills of the world...
i'm thankful for the world wide web, and i'm not even kidding...
i'm thankful for music, which excites me right down to the core in ways that i could only wish it would do for everyone on the face of the earth...
i'm thankful for God's beatiful creation - from the sweet{a}pricot tree all the way to the friendly {z}ebra, and everything in between...
i'm thankful to be born and raised a mormon, and the peace that it brings into my life, especially the knowledge that families can be together forever...
i'm thankful to be an american, and for those who, past and present, have fought for and preserved my freedom...
i'm thankful for laughter, and how my children, especially, work it out of me each and every day...
i'm thankful for for a steady income, and the blessing that is ours for rodney to have a job that he loves, and for me to have the part time work i do as a piano teacher, that i also enjoy...
i'm thankful for a heart that i can be proud of... if i ever grow cold and cynical, somebody just shoot me...
i'm thankful for the nice little getaway that rodney & i just experienced in cancun, mexico for 8 days, and how we were able to share some really special days together, especially at isla mujeres and at xcaret - memories that will last the rest of our lives...
i'm thankful for so many other blessings that are too many to add to this list...
lastly, i'm thankful for this video...


Monday, October 11, 2010

The countdown is ON!

No kidding. My boys have a Christmas-like anticipation in their bones for Halloween this year! Jackson keeps asking when we are going to decorate our house scary like a few of the other neighbors. He's even made it clear that "fall" decorations are not what he's talking about. Pumpkins, even jack-o-lanters are for sissies. The scarier and creepier, the better!

So today, I decided I was up for the challenge and bought a couple of neat things at Target and Walmart.  I hope they're happy when we pull back in the driveway in a few minutes, after school. Frankly there's no point in posting this, except to have the memory years down the road, of how my three boys have me wrapped around their little fingers. That's all. :)
This big blue guy is on our porch now...
...hanging on a lot of this...
...along with a couple of these littler guys...
and the two center headstones seen here...
Not quite this... But as good as it's going to get this year. ;)

 Happy October, y'all!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

General Conference

And by General, I mean Awesome.
And by Conference, I mean even Awesomer.

Each April and October, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints from all over the world stop in our tracks for a very special weekend of uplifting messages from our church leaders. You see, we believe that the heavens are indeed open; that there is a prophet on the Earth today, just as in the days of Noah or Moses. That man today, October 3rd, 2010, is President Thomas S. Monson.

I shook his hand once, President Monson. It was a little while before he became the President of the church back in February of 2008. It was when the family took a trip out to Salt Lake City, Utah back in 1998, I believe it was. We were in the main church office building, touring around like star-struck North Carolinians, and standing at an elevator, when out he walked. At the time, he was the First Counselor in the First Presidency, and was most certainly the greatest Mormon "celebrity" that I'd ever gotten that close to. Maybe if anyone in my family digs up a picture from that day, they'll post it. Ahem, Pa. :)

So this weekend, we listen to a Prophet's voice. We sustain him as the one person on the earth who is literally the mouthpiece of God. We ponder on the things that we need to do to be a more successful family unit.
We follow his charge to be better children of God. We grow in love for our fellow man. We declare, through our works, that we believe. We sing hymns that direct our hearts to our Savior, Jesus Christ. We join with over 13 million from all over the world who also love this gospel.

I am thankful to live in a land that is free to worship how I see fit, and in a time that allows me to do so. I am thankful for the Mormon Pioneers who paved a way for me. I am thankful for my Mormon heritage; that my great-grandmother Bertha invited the missionaries into her home, where she was immediately healed of her infirmities, through faith in their priesthood. I am enormously thankful for parents who raised our family, holding tight to gospel principles, and never waivering in their willingness to serve in the Lord's kingdom upon the earth. I am thankful for temples that dot the earth, especially for one in the Raleigh area. In that temple, I married my sweetheart for all eternity. I believe with everything I am, that we are entitled to such a blessing, if we but live in a manner to be worthy of His reward - Eternal Families. I'll do my part - and I know that Heavenly Father will look out for me in all I do. I ask for His blessings to be over my family each and every day - that we will be protected from the storms of life, and that I will continue to walk faithfully in His footsteps.

Mama, Pa, Mike & Shiann @ General Conference 10/2/2010
In October, 2009, I heard a conference address that I don't think I'll ever forget. If you'd like to give it a listen, or a read, you can click here. The speaker was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Elder David A. Bednar. In this talk, "More Diligent and Concerned at Home," I felt inspired to be a better wife and mother. I still read it on occasion when I need a little more "power" on that front. Fortunately, there are another thousand and one talks that I can study to help me when the cares of life seem too heavy of a load. Today, I know that I will be edified as a daughter of God. I am so very, very thankful. You have no idea...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Just "wrong"

#1. Jackson has learned a new word; a word that I suspect I learned when I was about 14! *Cannibalism* HAHA!

see 30-second clip of Johnny Depp in "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory": Link

#2. Brady has come home from school today with some news; news that this mama is rather ill about... He is being bullied by a classmate and his posse. There are three boys, apparently, and each of them like to call him "Ro-Baby." Also, he has some skint up knees from where the head bully pushed him down on the play ground today.

 #3. If I were in the mood to enforce gospel principles, I'd make sure Brady knows that two wrongs don't make a right, and that he needs to kill the bullies with kindness. BUT, I'm not.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Old Food *meets* Prophetic Vision :)

Last week, the impending doom of Hurricane Earl (or, not so much, thank goodness!) caused me to study out or family's 72 hour kits. I recalled that about 5 years ago not too long ago, my mama I worked tirelessly to prepare one for each member of our family. It was a well thought out, thorough, tasty supply of food and just-in-case essentials (like flashlights, tarps, washcloths, matches, hammer, a little cash). Should we find ourselves quickly escaping harms way, with no certainties of a place to stay, even a safe hotel room, it would be just what the doctor ordered. Picture Hurricane Katrina-like worst-case-scenario. A family's got needs - but most of all, food and water to throw in the back of a car in an especially urgent evacuation.

Anyway, I found our stash in the garage just where I knew it would be. I had to start by dusting off each of the 4 containers (2 are dedicated to bottled water only, while the other 2 were: "Leah & Brady's box" and "Rodney & Jackson's box). There was no Carter man at the time. That's kinda sad to think about, isn't it?! After getting the large plastic boxes clean enough to bring into the house, I did so, and began to unpack the forgotten, edible and expired treasures. Examples of tasty favorites are:

*instant oatmeal packets
*individually packaged snacks like chex mix or graham cracker stick
*even dog food (God bless Saydee Doo)
*beef jerkey
*peanut butter

So, days went by, and I naturally did nothing else with the stash except leave it right where it was initially unearthed. It's actually still there. Gonna tackle that little problem sometime in the next couple of days. At least that's what I keep telling Rodney From time to time, the boys have gone and glanced at the piles, and wish I would let them eat it, but time after time, I've have to remind them that unfortunately, the food had expired.

Well, in the last two days, Carter has eyed the delectible pile. He not only eyes it, but grabs what looks good to him. When he approaches me with any packet of "old" food, he asks me if he can eat it with this question, "Mom - can I eat this food, or is it inspired?"

And did you know that September is "National Preparedness Month!?" For more fabulous resources on Emergency Preparedness, look no further, I gotcha covered:

American Red Cross "Prepare Your Home and Family"

And a little something truly "inspired."

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Yardwork in September

So, I'm rather sore today. Yesterday was yard day. As in - we-haven't-lifted-a-finger-out-here-for-about-16-months-so-let's-get-it-lookin'-good -again-day. Who knew that pickin' some weeds, trimmin' a few bushes (all flowering bushes - that's September for ya), and spreading 5 cubic yards of triple-shredded hardwood much could be so taxing?! (Translation: FIVE trips to the mulch yard, FIVE times Rodney UN-loaded the mulch onto the driveway to add to growing pile, and FIVE THOUSAND (ish?!) wheelbarrows full spread ever so carefully around our front and side yards... Just sayin.')

Before and after pics are always nice, yes?

8-26-10 Mulch was practically dead. No better way to describe it.
8-26-10 Flowers in full bloom, but unfortunately on their last leg.

And the AFTER PIX! (*WHY WHY WHY did I forget to get a "During" shot? Not gonna lie - Mr. Steelman doing yardwork has always made my heart go pitter patter.)

9-4-10 New Mulch!!!

Just for reference - 5 cubic yards (in one heap) are about the size of a 2000 Toyota Tacoma. In case you were ... wondering. ;)

Poor Lantana - I bet they feel like they've been neutered.
Hard to tell from this picture, but the bush pictured here at the base of one of our crape myrtles is a loropetalum. I'm so proud that we've finally planted a few of those that lived - I've tried and tried, and finally succeeded!

Not my pic - but the variety of Lorotetalum I believe I have - It's called "Razzleberry!" How cool is that?! Makes me think of the a certain feel good song from the movie Pete's Dragon. Oh, why not? Here's the link below:

Brazzle Dazzle Day

Last pic. Thanks for stoppin' by. Come back soon. :)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

In the kitchen

So this week, we've tried two new recipes, and will definitely be doing both again soon! The first is has a little too much *kick* for the average child, to be honest, but Rodney & I really enjoyed it!

The first was a Mexican rice bowl, topped with black beans, and grilled chicken.

Rodney's Mexican Rice Bowl
(Makes 4-6 adult portions)

~1 pouch of McCormick Grill Mates "Mojito Lime" Marinade
 (It was either this flavor, or maybe the "Baja Citrus" ... Oh, gosh, now I think it could have been "Southwest." I have no idea, now.)
~water and vinegar to mix with marinade, as instructed on the pouch
~1 can Bush's Grillin' Beans - "Black Bean Fiesta" flavor. Oh, these are so good....
~2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips before marinading
~Cooked rice - enough to serve your family, prepared as usual (but not for long)
~1 Package of refrigerated "Wholly Guacamole" (that's the brand) guacamole

1. Marinade chicken for a few hours
2. Prepare rice as you typically do, but just before serving, mix in some guacamole. For us, I started with about 1.5 cups of dry rice, 1.5 cups of water, and when it was done, added about the same amount (little over 1 cup) of guac.
3. Grill chicken strips.
4. Heat baked beans on the stovetop, or in the microwave.
5. Ready to serve - It can be served either by letting each of the three (chicken, rice, beans) stand alone on a plate, or like we did - We started with a nice helping of rice in a bowl, then topped with the black beans and chicken. :) Very, very yummy!


Leah's Spaghetti Bake (makes 8 adult portions)
Not my picture, but still very accurate. :)

1.5 lb spaghetti
3 eggs
8 oz. cottage cheese (1 cup)
12 oz. shredded mozarella cheese (1.5 cup)
8 oz. grated parmesan cheese (1 cup)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 10 oz. jar spaghetti sauce (reserving about 1/4 jar as a topping, before baking)
2 medium green peppers
1 large onion
5 cloves garlic
Final topping - An additional 2 cups any shredded cheese (I used mozarella)

1. Prepare spaghetti noodles as usual.
2. In 13x9 glass dish, mix all ingredients, except for 1/4 jar of spaghetti sauce, and the final 2 cups of shredded cheese.
3. When noodles have been strained and rinsed, combine them with the mixture that is already in the baking dish. Press into pan, to prepare for final toppings.
4. Optional step: Finely chop 1 medium onion, 2 medium green peppers, and saute (along with minced garlic) in 1 TBS. vegetable oil for about 5 minutes. Spread over spaghetti mixture.
5. Spread remaining sauce over spaghetti. Cover with aluminum foil.
6.  Bake at 350 for about 40 minutes. Remove from oven.

7. Top with remaining 2 cups shredded cheese, and bake an additional 10 minutes, uncovered, or until cheese is melted.
8. Let cool for about 10 minutes, and serve.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Very Chocolate Cherry Optimism

Sir Optimist

Before I go on with this post - let me take a second to acknowledge and thank my mom and dad for producing this lovely little girl in the blue sweater over to the left. 
 The reason I say this is, because of them, Rodney & I have been lucky enough to produce *this* undeniably gorgeous little mini-me.  Scary, even!!! bahahah!
Yesterday, while Jackson and Brady were off increasing in knowledge in late July, (thank you year round schools!) Carter and I enjoyed a most delicious mid-morning snack - ice cream cones! If it weren't for some friends bringing this flavor to my house and leaving it, I would never have thought to try it, but I'm glad they did. My waistline now has a new nemesis; It is called Very Chocolate Cherry Overload. mmmmmm. *looky here, only if you are up for the temptation*  Weird how overnight I go from not liking cherries to freely indulging in them even when I'm not hungry.

But, rather than continue a random rave review on a newly-discovered flavor of ice cream, I come to tell a tale of a little sweetums. His name is Carter "Optimist" Steelman.

Sir Optimist likes this flavor too - can't you tell by the beaming smile?! He began by sitting at his seat, holding his freshly prepared cone, waiting patiently for me to also fix one for myself (*winkage goes here*). Then when I sat down next to him with mine, Sir Optimist exclaimed joyfully, "I'm beating you, I'm beating you!" And indeed he was. I congratulated him on being such a super-duper-ice cream-eating-machine! More smiles followed. So did more licking and munching on both of our parts. 

When I was nearly done with mine, only about 1 inch of cone left, (while almost all of his remained) his song's message changed, but not the excitement with which it was delivered. This time, Sir Optimist observed another truth of the matter. This time, he managed to remain the winner, even when he was clearly NOT beating me. The reasoning skills of a 16 year old girl, that child! This time, he cheered proudly, "Mine's bigger than yours!! Mine's bigger than yours!!!"

I think I'll keep him.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


President Gordon B. Hinckley's 6 Be's Talk from 2000, which I still LOVE

I do believe my recent cross country road trip deserves a post of its own. So, know that's coming next. Like next month, cause there's much to tell. I'm honest like that.

Instead, I'm here to recount an experience I had in the Atlanta airport...

The setting: Tuesday, June 15, 2010. 9:00 pm. DELAYED/CANCELED CITY! Bad weather. Anxious workers and travelers. I had actually been scheduled to leave Denver for Raleigh the day before, but that flight, too, was canceled. I'm already delayed over 3 hours, as my flight OUT of Atlanta should have left at 6:11 pm, but bad weather had kept us from landing on time, so we detoured south to Macon, where we got some fuel, and sat on a tarmac for about 2 hours.

I had a dead cell phone (DOH!), so upon arriving at my gate, my eyes were peeled for a charging station/counter. Immediate, among the chaos and clutter, one jumped out at me. All the seats at the bar built for 5 were obviously taken, but I did spot one outlet - which was on an end, and that was fine, for I could place my phone right at the end of the bar, and actually just camp out with my bags on the floor. All was well.

It didn't take much time to for a conversation to start with the gentleman at the end of that bar. He was closely studying his own phone and laptop, and I was practically sitting underneath him, so as to not take up too much space down an isle of seats. We quickly gathered from one another that we did have a final destination in common. RDU. But that's about where the "in common" ends.

I never got his name - so let's call him John. John was a 30-something year old businessman. He shared with me that his employer is a DNA testing company (Labcorp)... In fact - it is the company that has done extensive DNA testing in Eldorado, Texas at the Yearning for Zion Polygamist Compound (Need a memory jogger - Spring 2008 - Warren Jeffs - 400 kids removed from their home). Anyway - that's his business. He even tried to sell me on it very quickly in the conversation. I told him that I was one of six kids, and he quickly insinuated that I could have DNA testing done on myself and my siblings to make sure we were all "really" full siblings. HAH! Oh, he had no idea... HAH! Oh yeah, THAT'S EXACTLY how religion was brought up. I had almost forgotten! I told him that I came from a very religious family, and I didn't see it necessary to take him up on that offer. Naturally, he asked, "What religion?" and I naturally replied, "I'm a Mormon."

John immediately had a smirk look on his face. He not only wanted to laugh out loud (and did) - but additionally - he continued to make sure I knew that HE knew so much more about Mormonism than I did. Oh my.

Early on, I asked John what it was that he did know about Mormons. His first response was, "You are polygamists." Fortunately (for me, but not so much for him), I had plenty of reason and facts to share with him why he was wrong. Most importantly, that Mormons have not practiced polygamy since the late 1800's, and our religion does not allow it. If he hears of an LDS church which does practice polygamy (namely the FLDS Church - or Fundamentalist LDS, or the RLDS Church - Reorganized LDS) then that is a sect which branched off from the church in its infancy. Let me now just say that this conversation is not a "fun" one to have. I really love to talk about my church, and the "Good News" of the Gospel. BUT, when topics which can be somewhat argumentative come up, I generally just wish they would be over already. I'm happy to share what I know to be true, but when the person on the other end of the line insists they know better than I do, the anti-confrontational person that I am gets more than a little uneasy. Thankfully - the conversation that continued with John was less "confrontational" than it was "informative and friendly." But, there is no doubt in my mind - John thought Leah was one big dummy.

Jokes were John's forte. At least HE thought so. His favorites were the ol' "What did Brigham Young say about women?" and more than a few insinuations that I was brainwashed, and even "glazed over", just like the leaders of my church like.

I don't know much, but what I knew at the time that our conversation was coming to an end was, I was glad I had had this very conversation with John. I was glad that for that hour or so, I had gotten to hopefully dispel any inaccurate notions that he had regarding the religion of Mormonism, which is obviously dear to me. Just in time, we said our goodbyes, as I quickly grabbed a bite to eat before finally boarding the plane at around 11:15.

When it was time to board, sections 1-5 were called first. My section was 7. I stood in line and said a last goodbye to my new "friend," and told him to have a great time in Ireland, which he had told me he was leaving for the very next day. We compared tickets as we knew we needed to check for sections, and his was 6. Section 6 was called.

Just then, I heard someone say my name from behind. It was a familiar face. The face of a middle aged man who had been sitting just beside John all along. He knew my name, since it had briefly come up earlier, as I sometimes foolishly refer to myself in 3rd person - oh well. I turned to him, and he approached me with his arm outstretched to shake my hand. His eyes were a little apologetic, and for a split second, I thought, "What in the world is he about to reveal to me?" He spoke. "Leah. I'm a Bishop in Florida. You. Were. Brilliant." Then, he smiled from ear to ear. I nearly cried with relief, for some reason - and exclaimed a time or two, "Are you SERIOUS?!"

Now, only God knows why he never spoke up. If I had to guess, he was just being cautious. From where he sat - what if he had spoken up earlier, and "helped me out?" What if Leah then started being a lunatic, an ugly impression of what Mormonism is, and then his name/face/reputation were tarnished. I don't have any idea if that is the reason, but in general, I think that he thought it was the right thing to do. Looking back - I think that "I" think it was the right thing to do too. Don't ask me why. It's just one of those things.

I was happy. I was very tired, but happy. Happy that the "judge" in this small window of time saw me for who I really am. I gladly shared what "good news" I could with John, and to be honest, quite possibly with at least another 10 people within listening range. I come away from this reminded that we never know who is watching us. Whether we're standing for what is right, or even standing for what is not, there are eyes on us. Be it here on Earth or otherwise, someone is always watching. :) So be good. You'll be glad you did.

Monday, May 31, 2010

The car ride...

There are many reasons to dread a 3 hour car ride with your kids...

But even more reasons to love it..

What they say, for instance...

Leah: Guys, look out the window. Do you see how the flags are flying? What's different about them?
Jackson (Eeyore hum-drum tone of voice): They're not up hight, because somebody died.
Leah: Yes, that's right. Who died?
Carter: JESUS!

The boys were watching "The Empire Strikes Back." A conversation stroke up between Rodney, Jackson & Brady about just exactly how big the Millenium Falcon is (Hans Solo's spaceship, for lack of a more Star-Wars junkie explanation).

Rodney: It's probably about as tall as our house.
Brady (excited, 'cause he had THE right answer): It's *PROBABLY* about as tall as *TWO* of our houses!
Jackson (Eeyore hum-drum tone of voice, again): Brady, that's just not reasonable.

Carter's excitement over the "Fantastic 4" movie. Lots of "It's FING" and "He got 'em!"

Leah: Look boys! We're driving into our neighborhood!
Jackson: Yeah, we've probably only got ONE MILE left!
Brady: No, I think we've got TWO MILES left!
Jackson: Brady! You always have to double everything! (See post #2 above)
Leah: Oh yeah, Jackson? Well, do you think Brady knows what double 25 is?
Jackson (interjecting in a know-it-all-way): Easy! That's 50.
Leah: How about double 50?
Jackson (interjecting again): ONE HUNDRED!
Rodney: Brady - Do you know what 100 plus 100 is?
Brady: Eight thousand, Eight hundred and eighty five, thousand.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

An old video

And by old, I mean, it is from April, 2006. :)
Jackson, Brady & Carter sure enjoyed watching it. I hope you will too...

Jackson, age 2 1/2... Brady, age 11 months

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Not quite tomorrow

Tonight, Carter was my only child. He fell asleep laying next to me. His little almost-3-year-old hand gripped my neck. His larger-than-life eyelashes could have hit me on the nose. His 3T little boy body was dressed in a pair of blue Mickey Mouse jammies he got for Christmas. His golden locks smelled like Johnson's Bath Wash. He won't be able to recount this, as he was asleep, but just before I got up, I kissed him square on the lips, then the cheek that's losing more baby fat every day, and then right under his right ear. For the understatement of the year, I loved every second.

As I breathe up moments such as this, I can't help but realize that "today" is my (our) only "today." No matter how sweet "tomorrow" may reveal itself to be, it simply can not take the place of "today."

So, I decided to take a few picture of him, in all his toddler glory. Can you tell his turning three in about six weeks is turning into a hard pill to swallow?

Oh, almost forgot one of the best parts, it was on Harkers Island.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Taste the Rainbow

There will SURELY come a day when my little family will not be so completely and utterly reliant on bright, colorful, plastic.

...Today is not that day.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Boo - Hoo

As in "Brady Boo-Hoo."

To anyone who hasn't ever quite understood why we call him "Brady Boo-Hoo" and/or "Brady Boo," I'll tell you, it was Aunty Aly's fault. She gave him that name when he was only weeks old... Not for the "boo-hoo'ing" that he always did (which he did not - he was such a pleasant and sweet baby!), but after Cindy Loo Hoo, from "The Grinch!" Isn't it something how some nicknames just stick?! I love it, though. Brady is even known to answer to the simple "Boo!" Good times.

Brady has started doing the sweetest thing at bed time. He takes a stuffed toy to bed, be it Pablo from the Backyardigans, or a stuffed horsey. Then he, himself, becomes the caregiver extraordinaire. He explains to me how his little friend is sick, how it needs medicine and a warm blanket, and then he holds it close next to him while he drifts off to sleep. Don't quote me on this, but I have a feeling Brady is a little more "in touch" than the average almost-5-year-old boy. Speaking of birthday, I asked him today about how he'd like to celebrate his birthday; As in, what type of party he would like. The only thing I got out of him, for sure, is that he wants a Triceratops Xtractaur. He has most of them already, so only missing a few, he's in "hunter and gatherer" mode! I have a feeling the party will be at Chuck-E-Cheese, though. ;)

Brady helped me plant some seeds earlier this week. Carter and I had shopped together during the morning, and found some neat little organic pots at Lowe's. We even had a go with the Burpee Concentrated Seed Starting Mix, which I had never heard of before. It's this brick of dry soil that you place in a container, just add a gallon of water, and voila - you have yourself a nice ready-ready-to use soil, whose intended use is starting seeds. How about those veggies!?

As for what we planted - here goes ...

Watermelon, Cucumber, Zuchinni, Carrots, Basil, and Pumpkins!
*Already in the ground are Strawberries, Chives, Broccoli, Tomatoes, and one more thing that I can't think of right now! ha!

Brady was such a great helper during this "chore." He carefully placed the soil in each pot, followed by a seed, and finished it with just the right amount of soil on top. He is not afraid of getting his hands dirty. Ask the frog. And the earthworm. And the crickets that we found in the yard on Saturday! :)

Enjoying the harvesting...

Friday, March 19, 2010

"S" is for...

SQUIRREL. We've been spending quite a bit more time outside lately, thanks to the much awaited return of Spring-like weather!!! Oh, how excited I am to officially welcome Spring back into our lives tomorrow, March 20, 2010, at 1:32 pm! Not only IS it Spring, but mother nature is in complete and utter agreement!!! Friday (today) - Sunny - Highs around 73! Saturday - Sunny - Highs around 78! Sunday - Partly Cloudy - Highs around 75! Can you hear that?! That's the sound of my painfully mild grin widening to a full smile! After such a LONG, COLD, NEVER-ENDING STORY of WINTER, this Spring could not get here soon enough!

Back to the squirrels. Yesterday, Carter and I were walking along a path in the park, when we noticed squirrel after squirrel along the way. I asked him what he thought the squirrels were hungry for... His answer was, "burgers... and m&m's." Today, at a different park, I just had to ask him again, to see if he'd answer it the same way... His answer, "fruit loops."

"S" is also for "sweet tooth." Ya think? I know this much, he got it honest.

Since I have a few extra minutes to journal here before heading out to carpool, I'll take this time to tell a little about the highlights of this week...

Wednesday was the first day of T-ball practice for Jackson and Brady's team. Rodney is their coach this year! In the Rolesville City league, there are 18 teams, with over 200 kids! He's the team's only coach at this point (recruiting in progress), and with 12 kids, aged 4, 5, & 6, (plus Carter) he's got his hands full! Unfortunately, I was tied up during the first practice, teaching piano at home. Fortunately, the next several practices and games are going to be on Monday and Saturday nights, when I can come and help shoulder the load of coaching, and also keep Carter happy...

Thursday, Jackson's 1st Grade class went on a field trip to Durant Nature Park in Raleigh. Brady was at preschool that morning, so Carter and I naturally tagged along. (I had also signed a waiver that I'd be willing to be a chaperone, and since it was a park, I had no hesitations about bringing Carter with me.) It was a beautiful morning, filled with a visually exciting lesson by a park "ranger" (I guess that's her title?), during which she helped the class understand some basic outdoor terms and concepts, like "habitat," "food chain" and "metamorphosis." The kids were then given little nets on sticks to use at the edge of a huge lake, where they could find all kinds of critters and grossey-thingys. Jackson caught two teeny-tiny baby crayfish. Another couple of classmates caught bullfrogs that were still metamorphing (I don't think that's the right word, but if not, it's close). I had never seen such a thing! It was big and fat, almost like a full grown frog, but still had a big ol' tadpole tail! Unbelievable! The only sour point of the morning was when Jackson's teacher apologetically informed me that the Wake County PSS's policy is that siblings are not welcome on field trips. Darn it! We left soon thereafter, me feeling like I will one day get all my ducks in a nice, straight row. Just not this day. "S" is for someday.

Friday (today) was Brady's field trip with his Preschool class from Hope Lutheran Preschool. I fondly remember Jackson taking the same trip to Kazoom two years ago, and with the same teachers, Ms. Lydia and Ms. Judie. I love how they present to their class ideas of exciting activities that I would have otherwise not considered, or even known about. :) Kazoom is a comedy club where puppets are the name of the game, for clean and timeless family entertainment. Brady sat right next to Ms. Judie, in a perfectly "criss-cross-apple-sauce" manner. I think he really likes her... And judging by the way she glanced down at him, at the first mention of dinosaurs, I believe she thinks fondly of him too. His plaid shorts and brown leather flip flops (which didn't get photographed, "s" is for SHOOT!) reminded me of his daddy. "S" is for sweet.

STAKE CONFERENCE - is this weekend. On Saturday night, I'll be going to the Stake Center on Six Forks Road to sing with the Stake Choir, which I absolutely love doing. I just said "Stake" 3 times! Now I'm feeling hungry.

SUNSHINE - where the boys and I will now go eagerly await daddy's return home from work. He just called and said he was leaving a few minutes early. Balls, bikes, and SIDEWALK CHALK ~ HELLO!