Sunday, March 30

Ending game

March is coming to an end tomorrow, and what a busy month we have had! 
After track and having visitors, we also were able to go to a stars game, parks galore, hiking and biking and out to dinner a lot as I have felt too busy to even cook ever. Whoops. Mom of the year goes to me. 

Brian and his newest employee/partner... They are so awesome they even matched outfits when meeting up to exchange something Mid Saturday. Haha what are the chances. I thought it was cute. 

I think I'm lame for not taking many pictures this month, I'm gonna try and be better, especially with my nice camera that takes such great pictures! 
The general women's broadcast was last night and it was great hearing from our leaders. What's nuts is that next year Natalie will be old enough to come with me! Can't believe that sweet girl will be 8 this year! 
  I can't wait for this weekend coming up to have conference for 2 full days of nourishment! 

Monday, March 17

Faith is like a little seed

Tonight for family home evening, we learned about faith. The kids had a hard time explaining what faith was. So after we explained it to them we decided to go and plant our own seeds and watch them grow just like our faith can grow. We went up to Lowes and the kids each chose their own seeds. Boots chose carrots, Courtney chose some purple flowers, and Natalie took 10 minutes to decide on hers. She is the most indecisive girl I know, she does not want to make the wrong choice. If she is picking a candy or a gift or even seeds she will take forever to pick just the right one. She ended up choosing a kind of flower. 
We went home and planted the flowers and vegetables in little Potts, covered them with soil, and watered them. Now we will watch them grow. I am not so sure that it will work because I know they will temper with them in the day! But I warned them that they cannot touch them and they need to leave them to grow on their own. So we shall see!!

Sunday, March 16

Trek 2014

There is Joy in the Journey. This year for our Frisco Stake youth Trek, the theme was Joy in the Journey. This was my second opportunity to get to attend trek as an adult. Last time 4 years ago Brian and I were a Ma and Pa and had a great time together with our family, the Gardner's.

This year was a little bit different. Brian was in charge of a preparatory program called trail of faith, which was getting youth and adults ready spiritually and physically for trek. So he has been on the kids for many months working with the wards on this. It wasn't as successful as he had hoped as only 33 kids of the 400 completed it, but I told him it is because it is new and no one knows why it is so beneficial. Next time they will get more participation in the program for sure. So then on trek it self, Brian jumped on the logistics train. He attended all week being the helpful hand and working so hard everywhere. He was a stand in pa when one dislocated his knee, then the next day was a stand in "ma" for a family on the women's pull. Then he was just about everywhere. The best part about it was that he was building handcarts the Saturday prior to trek and was working with a chisel. He ended up chiseling his hand and needing 6 stitches right across his thumb. He is so lucky it didn't go deeper. Sean fixed him up with a pink cast for trek so that he wouldn't be held back from helping and yet protecting his stitches and injury. I cant say much about his experience although he says it was awesome...

What I can say though it how amazing my experience was at trek this year. I have been in the Stake Young Women's Presidency for 3.5 years now and so we had the chance to go as a presidency. At first, I was surprised at the amount of people that asked us prior to trek if we were going, if we were sleeping there, and if we were walking with the youth?!? WHAT??? Of course we are doing all of the above! We are the youth leaders and what an example we would be to not be there, to ride on a 4 wheeler all week or to drive home and sleep at home? I work with some amazing women and I love them so much. We have bonded in our time together as a presidency and I have grown to love these women so much. So although we didn't have a role like a ma and pa, and we weren't the cooks, or the medical team, we weren't the planners of the program, and we were not the amazing brains behind it all. Those roles were taken by the most incredible people in our stake. Thanks to every minute that the Argyles, and everyone else, put into this amazing experience!

So what was my role? At times it felt like no role at all, however I knew that as a Stake Leader I was there to make sure there was no drama, I was there to minister to the youth, and to help out ANYWHERE that needed help. This was the best role I could have had this time around. We walked along side stopping with all of the youth along the way. They had us split up to eat with a certain family the whole week and I lucked out and got to eat with the Jones, who I already know and love! I got to chat with their kids and spend meals with them. We were able to help on the women's pull day as there were girls who needed extra help. I pushed hard that day and am so proud of those young women for the hard work they did. They did not complain at all and I think they were excited to do it without the men, knowing that we can do hard things!

We got to walk the whole way, which I heard ended up being about 9 miles day 1, 7 miles day 2, and 4 miles day 3(about 20). We were up late and up early. We got to pray with and for the youth at and before the trek. We got to be with the amazing adult leaders for this and get to know these youth even better. So aside from the logistics of it all and the incredible time I had ministering and bonding with those around me, there is more to trek than this.

This was a Pioneer trek, so we were wearing what they wore (with our modern take obviously... I wore my Nike Free's which obviously they didn't have!) and I began to think about the shoes that they wore, if they even had them. I am sure some went without. The holes that they got and the tears and blisters. We got to know how it felt to work and walk long distance in a long skirt. Thank goodness for those aprons out there! I used mine to carry my cell phone just in case and my sun glasses. The Pioneers on the other hand used them as everything! I was thinking about the modern luxuries that we have and the things they didn't have then. I think that their apron because a all use towel and everything-er. We got to hear a story from one of the leaders about her ancestor who had a 2 year old little girl who was sick and the mother herself was pregnant with another. She carried her 2 year old in an apron while they walked for about 6 weeks straight. THAT is the way to use an apron! They probably had one set of clothing and maybe one set of underwear. I got to change into something new each day and new underwear every night and morning. I brought my deodorant, disposable toothbrushes, and dry shampoo.. they had none of those. They were probably so smelly and sickness was brewing all over the camps. I thought of the diapers they used and how they would clean them, and the different feminine problems and the way they would handle that. How about the lack of blankets when it was cold. I had a sleeping bag and a tent, and a pad to sleep on. I was freezing cold the first night and complained when I woke up and my ear plug had fallen out. That is ridiculous.

As I said before I got to eat with a family. They had 2 dutch ovens per family of about 8-10 people. They made chili and baked potatoes the first night and then funnel cakes for dessert. Potatoes and bacon with biscuits for breakfast the next day. Bread and honey with an apple and cookies for lunch on the trail, and soup with homemade bread for dinner. Breakfast the next day was cinnamon biscuits and eggs with sausage. It was all delicious. So when the food was made and the kids were served, I could see in their eyes that they were still hungry. I felt so bad that I was there to eat their food. There was this one boy who was a twin 16 year old in the group. I couldn't ever remember his name, and I like nicknames... so I called him hungry boy. He always wanted more and more but was too polite to say anything. He wouldn't ask I could just tell. I felt myself being so hungry from all the walking, but knowing that he was this hard working hungry teenage boy, I would rather him eat than me. I started to think about the pioneers along the trail  and their severe lack of food. The flour that they would ration out to the families and how they didn't have much to make with it or from it. They would occasionally add water to make a paste. I began to put myself in the shoe of the pioneer mothers and decided that I would be a very hungry mom in real pioneer times. I didn't even know those kids but I wanted them to be fed and full. I would do the same for my real children. I would risk going hungry for them all day long. There was a pioneer story shared about this where they found an old hard small sea biscuit in a pocket that was too hard to even break off. The mother put it in a dutch oven and covered it with water. She knew that is Christ could make loaves and fishes for thousands that she could do something. She prayed and after cooking for a while she lifted the lid to find the dutch over was full of food for everyone there. What a miracle.

Like I was saying above, we got to play a different role this time around... well I loved every single minute of it. I didn't know the schedule or the time. I didn't now what was for dinner or what was happening on the trail. I knew that we were together and that we were moving together as a stake. We were split into 6 company's with about 9/10 wagons in each company. We had 56 wagons and families on the trails! Instead of always being worried about my family and what was for dinner and if we were on track for the right timing for the next event... I was able to sit back and "relax". I was able to observe trek and notice the sweet families. The service that happened and the love between ma's and their daughter, sons and their pa's and the sister and brothers. They all grew to love each other and to work together as a team. After coming into camp the second night we sat back on a little hill watching the families hustle around setting up tents, prepare dinner, and play in the river. They made up games of baseball with sticks and a ball made out of duct tape and an old sock I think. They played pioneer games and sang and walked together. They were not allowed cell phones at all and so they learned to talk to each other and look at each other! It was an amazing sight to sit back and watch as they all walked and ran around camp. I envisioned what the real scene would have looked like and what they would have been doing. I think all very similar. Some nights they must have been too exhausted to do much but I think they all helped out and where they could and made it fun when and where they could.

The last day as we were walking in and getting close, I think we were about 15 minutes from Zion, one of the handcarts completely broke down. The spindles on one of the wheels had broken off completely and the wheel wasn't able to work any more. The family picked up the cart finally after trying to push through, and moved it to the side. They happily and quickly unloaded. They didn't stand there angry or frustrated, They didn't murmur and complain, they simply picked everything up and quickly moved on. a few other families asked if they could put some things on their carts, but the family all had 2 arms fulls of stuff and happily continued on to Zion. As they walked away my eyes welled up with tears for them. To watch this abandoned cart on the side of the path it almost looked staged. I thought how hard it must have been to leave broken carts, or worn through clothing, oxen or horses that couldn't make it and of course what so many had to deal with was leaving a dead or dying loved on behind. I did cry thinking of the emotions. We get sad to loose something small like a wallet or sunglasses. I get sad to move or to give away some of my shirts or shoes I haven't worn in a year. How silly that I get sad and attached to those things when everything they owned was on those carts. Maybe it fell overboard at the river crossing and was washed away or maybe it was destroyed by the elements. Maybe your belongings were just too heavy a thing to carry and had to be left behind. There was no choice involved for them. They didn't have anything. They had each other, and they had their faith to get them through those challenging times. So I stood there for moral support for the families coming up the hill. I stood there and told them how to be grateful as their cart didn't break down. That there was hope and if you walk you are 10 minutes away from camp. Keep going you can do it!

Another beautiful and relatable story was told of a man who couldn't walk another step. He was so worn down and tired that he looked ahead at the mud or small hill and would tell himself he just had to make it to that puddle. Well he got to the puddle and just felt like he couldn't make it another step, the cart was too heavy and he just couldn't do it. It was then that he was able to push. It became easy and he says it wasn't him pulling the cart any longer but the cart was pulling him along. He looked back several times to see who was pushing his cart, and each time he looked he would see nothing. He knew that there were angels pushing their cart and helping him move on ahead. We may not feel the pushes in our life as obvious as that, but I know that there are angels looking out for us and helping us along our path. I know for me, I need to be more aware of this and more thankful for the times that I have been pushed through, when I am about to give up.

I had a wonderful experience at trek. I hope that I can go next time and the next and the next. It is so amazing and those youth need to know that they can do hard things and that there is Joy in the Journey, it is learning how to find it and share it.

Wednesday, March 12

The friends

We love the Butler's, and now that they have moved to Texas we get to see them so much more. As couples we get along great, and the kids all get along fantastic as well. How blessed we are to have such great friends and it is especially cool to know that the friendship started back in the mission with Brian and John! 

They came up for a visit this weekend and totally ruined my diet. We went to PF Changs, taco Bueno cheesecake chimichangas several times, whiskey cake(which was very trendy and very tasty),uncle Julio's, and I can't even remember what else we ate. But I am very bloated still!! 

While we were in the midst of eating to our hearts delight, we decided to make a pact that until we get together again we would eat less when we were out.   We decided that we would order an appetizer and share an entrée every time we go out for Brian tonight. This is going to be very hard for me because I love to get my own food, and Brian and I can usually not decide on the same dish. 

They came to church with us on Sunday, the kids had sleepovers every night, and they had lots of outdoor playing time. Of course, I got no pictures of the kids this time! Bah!  Our kids just get along so great. I am so grateful that we have such great friends in our lives! 

Sunday, March 9

80 is great!!

Great grandma Rawlins tunred 80 yesterday and we are so glad we got to celebrate with her! She is beautiful and we love her so much! It was fun to spend the day with her, letting the kids love on her! The boys were as silly and crazy as always! 
Love you grandma! 

Tuesday, March 4

Spaghetti nights

The rest of feb in another nutshell... 

New restaurant we discovered : Lekka. Delish South African with very cool decor. 

Elder christopherson came to out ward in Sunday for a baby blessing and I told him how we were related to his niece and nephew... He then requested a picture since we are basically family! I felt silly but was excited for the kids! They all got to shake his hand and say hello. Boots was ecstatic about meeting a general authority! The rest if the day was restful as we all got naps, then our ward split that night... That's not the only thing that split that night!! Brian had the kids in the bathtub late around 9 PM, and Courtney slipped and split her chin open. Lucky for us we have a great dr uncle who helped us out and stitched her up! 3 stitches later and lots of blood and tears and she was good To go! 

Courtney also discovered how fun it is so color on walls and floors....
Lastly, we had family movie night and did lady and the tramp theme. Eric Kathleen and their girls and Garrett and Natalie all came over to enjoy the evening with us. We made spaghetti for dinner and I made these cute cupcakes for the desert to look like spaghetti and meatballs. I was so proud at the cute layout and eating by candlelight. I forgot to check if we had lady and the tramp. When I went to put on the movie, I could not find it so we have to watch something else. Winner mom!! But seriously these cupcakes were adorbs. 

H Town

For valentine weekend we loaded up the van and headed in our first road trip in the new van to Houston. John and Emma just moved there and we had to see their new sweet baby. We also stopped to see jake and Kelly and I even worked! It was a productive fast trip! 
Can I just start by saying how much I love Texas! It is such an awesome state. The views, the cities and towns, the people, the weather. I love it!! 
We had to hit up "the chocolate bar" which has become my favorite dessert place ever. Why they don't have them everywhere baffles me!! But we all indulged in way too much dessert!! 

And yes, the weather was pretty enough to be able to pool and lay out for a few hours! It was dreamy! It made me so excited for summer to hurry up an come! 

With the new baby around down there, Courtney quickly learned how babies eat. I am not one to sheild my kids from that, nor does it embarrass me. Soo Courtney came home after watching Emma nurse, very into nursing her babies. Some might think that is strange, I actually think it is really cute. Haha the best is that she says her babies are eating from her ankles... Ha!

Feb in march

February is kind of a blur. We did a lot and had a lot of fun, but we also were so busy. Brian and I again just passed in the night I felt like, so we planned lots of date nights to make up for it. Unfortunately my waistline suffered. I have been working so hard to get back to the weight I want to be, and January was great- I was down 4 lbs and on my way... February ruined it! I gained some back. But now it's march and I am back in track again. I hate worrying about weight and food. I love food so much I just wish I could eat all day long and never worry about it! 

Ok onto February.  Date nights at put put, and sprinkles cupcakes who has a cupcake ATM! What?! I know. Right up Beth's alley! We tried out this chocolate place called dude, sweet! It's a sample anything type of truffle and chocolate store. Very interesting but unique and yummy. It was down in the bishops art district which was so fun to go check out. 

I pulled the kids out of school for a day and we went to the perot museum downtown. They had a cool animals inside out exhibit which was awesome to go check out. Over priced but still interesting! After we got there and the fighting and complaining started was about the time I wondered why I took the kids out of school for this!! 

Sweet stephen had his 100th day of school and he was the cutest 100 year old man ever! He had a cane and grey hair and everything. He loved it. Good thing the suspenders are multiuse for trek coming up for Brian! 
Shopping, after school treats, and date nights with daddy. Mooma came into town for valentines day and it was so fun to have her visit! I "hired" out help with valentines day... My friend made my kids valentines I just gave her the stuff, she made them! Best idea ever!! They were darlin valentines! 

Next up.... The other half if February!!