Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Cub Scouters

Now that our boys are 8 they get to join Cub Scouts. Last night was their first pack meeting! They were incredibly excited to wear their uniforms for the first time--they scootered down the street to show off for their friends.



Coming home after parading around the neighborhood.

Harrison earned his soccer belt loop!

And so did Cameron.

Cam is such a ham.

Check out his face after the Scout leader said the boys were going to serve dinner at the fundraiser!

The boys took a bow after receiving their awards.
Afterwards there were popsicles and lots of running around.

Harrison says that the Cub Scout motto is "Do Your Best". I hope they they enjoy their years as Cubs doing just that.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Update on Harrison

The doctor called me with the lab results and Harrison actually looks really good. He still shows signs of having the illness, of course, but no drug treatment is needed right now and he doesn't need a liver biopsy. That really is a relief. There is still a very small sliver of hope that his body could spontaneously clear the virus on its own; that would truly be a miracle and so that is what I will pray for. A miracle.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Seminary So Far

I love it. One huge change from last year is that I can sleep through the night!!!! I don't know why but my anxiety was through the roof before and every single night I taught I would get only a few hours of very poor sleep. If you've ever suffered from insomnia you know how it is: checking the clock every hour, telling yourself you'd better get to sleep or you'll be miserable. It's a self-fulfilling prophesy. For whatever reason I've been  back to normal and it has made a world of difference.

As far as the students go, these kids are some of my favorites. One of them is my very own Tyce. He has been really helpful when I need something set up and always participates. We have a great class all around--I've known many of the kids since they were only 6 years old (the age Tyce was when we moved to Nevada). I am enjoying getting to know the other ones as well. As I had hoped, this age group is a million times more mature than the 9th graders I had last year. And I really do think it's age because when these kids were freshmen, they put their veteran teacher through the wringer.

We have three visitors who attend, friends of class members. How awesome is that? What a great year to come and study the life and teachings of Christ in the New Testament.

Today we read Matthew 4 about Jesus being tempted of Satan. I brought a whole orange and put it in a vase of water; it floated. I told the students that it floated because of its protective peel. I said that the water was like temptations and the peel was their resolve to rise above them. Then I took another orange, completely peeled. When I dropped it into the vase it sunk straight to the bottom. This represented what happens when they stop being vigilant--temptations engulf them and literally drag them down.

As recounted in Matthew 4, Jesus was tempted in every way by the devil himself. To withstand the buffetings Jesus fasted, sought to be with God, quoted truths from the scriptures, and finally just LEFT. As a class we discussed how to use the Savior's example in some modern-day scenarios, including:

1. A new cute guy invites you to a party with his friends. At first people are talking and having fun but then someone says they have some pills to share. Before you know it the party takes a very different turn. 

("Does this really happen?" some of the students scoffed. Others replied that it did, and it happened to them. All agreed that the right thing to do was leave. Some kids said their parents allow them to use them (the parents) as scapegoats to get out of tricky situations by saying, "My mom just called and says I have to go." Others said they would tell the party goers they were dumb before leaving. Taylor D. cheekily said that he'd host a rival party without pills to see which was more popular.)

2. While you do have the desire to keep the commandments there is one you are really tempted to break. It seems like you are on a slippery slope and that it's getting harder and harder to resist giving in.

(The students related to this one. They suggested fasting for strength, going to the temple, surrounding themselves with positive people, reading scriptures that reminded them of the blessings they would receive from staying strong, and changing scenery when those thoughts came as ways to deal with it.)

3. At lunch everyone is huddled around a cell phone, laughing and talking. Suddenly someone passes the phone to you and says, "Watch this!" It is a pornographic video. You didn't enter the website address yourself but you find it hard to look away.

("Break their phone!" someone yelled. "No, you'd get sent to the dean," the class reminded him. The kids agreed that leaving immediately was the best and really only thing to do.)

4. A classmate tells you that you are ugly and people would like you better if you got a tattoo. You start to wonder if they are right.

(This was read by one of the prettiest girls in the class so it was funny. "Don't believe it, Lynsie, you are a beautiful child of God!" Tyce called out. The kids agreed that remembering who they were as children of our Heavenly Father empowered them to feel good about themselves. "My mama thinks I'm pretty the way I am!" Azia said dramatically.)

5. You are watching a movie with your friends when an inappropriate scene comes on. You feel uncomfortable and ask what the movie is rated. Your friends ask you why you are so sensitive and judgmental. 

("You need better friends!" was the rally call of the class. But some suggested going to the kitchen for snacks for the rest of the movie, asking to switch to a Disney movie, or just going outside to do something else. Autumn said that as a teen, one of her Young Women leaders did just that and the entire group followed her! What she started doing was more fun than sitting on a couch anyway.)

And that took us to the end of class. I ended with my testimony that because Jesus endured temptation He KNOWS how we feel and how we struggle. As our Savior and Redeemer He will help us because He loves us and He knows us better than we know ourselves. When we fall short He is the way back.

And that's how Seminary is going so far.

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Waters of Baptism

What a great weekend! Both sets of grandparents came, as well as the Prices (Bryce's sister's family) for the baptism of Cameron and Harrison on September 15th. Those boys sure are loved by family who were here as well as those who couldn't come.

All this week we've been talking about baptism. For Family Home Evening we watched a powerful video depicting Christ teaching Nicodemus what it means to be born again. It's one thing to read the scriptures but quite another to see them come to life; how would it have been to have been taught face to face by the Savior Himself? We also watched the video of Jesus being baptized by John. After that Bryce and the boys practiced how it would be for the big day. We sang one of my favorite Primary songs, "When I Am Baptized".

I like to look for rainbows when ever there is rain
and ponder on the beauty of an earth made clean again.

I want my life to be as clean as Earth right after rain
I want to be the best I can,
and live with God again.

I know when I am baptized my wrongs are washed away,
and I can be forgiven and improve myself each day.



On Saturday, right before we left for the church, Cameron's new motorcycle guy mysteriously lost a leg. I quietly confronted Harrison and said, "Harrison, you are about to make sacred covenants at your baptism. After today when you make a mistake it really counts." Citing our FHE song he replied, "Yes, but today when I am baptized all my wrongs are washed away." I guess he was getting one last naughty act in while he could!

Harrison, Bryce, and Cameron before the baptism.

The boys had the pleasure of sharing their special day with two friends, Johnathan and Cash. Our four boys were the only ones in the stake to be baptized that day, so we had a ward event instead of a stake one. When Brother Hafen called the kids up to be introduced the boys stood solemn and reverent except for Cam, who did a little "I'm awesome" dance.

Bryce performed both baptisms but Harrison requested that Grandpa Al do his confirmation. Both grandpas and Uncle Andy stood in the circle, as well as dear friends Jim Shapiro, Shane Osborne, and Kevin Hilyard.

Every guest was invited to write a note or draw a picture for the children. There were letters of congratulations in various forms but my favorite was from 10-year-old cousin Kess:

Dear Cameron,

It is wonderful that you are now baptized. I bet it felt good to be baptized. You are now a full member of the church. Your baptism was one of the best I have seen.


The Price family: Andy, Kira (6), Kess (10), Betsie, and Natasha (2).

Grandma Judy and Grandpa Al with the boys. They gave them new scriptures for their birthday/baptism gift and Cameron is particularly enamored with them, carrying them everywhere and sleeping with them by his pillow.

Mopsie and Grandpa Jim with the boys. Grandpa Jim was incredibly sweet to Harrison which I know made him feel special. Harrison really needs one-on-one time; Cam will get in your face for it but Harrison needs someone to seek him out.

Our family: Mary (12), Rebecca, Harrison (8), Bryce, Cameron (8), and Tyce (16).
I am very proud of our boys for their decision to enter the waters of baptism. They looked so happy that day and I hope that they remember that special, good feeling that comes from doing what's right.

On Sunday night Bryce gathered the family and asked each grandparent to share their favorite verses so that Cameron and Harrison could mark them in their new scriptures. All the kids participated and I think that will be a treasure to discover again and again as they study the gospel throughout the years.

Pat Cook (Mopsie): Psalms 91:4--She told of a picture she had seen of an eagle literally stretching its wing to cover the eaglets and she loved that symbolism.
Jim Cook (Grandpa Jim): Moroni 8:2-3--He read that every day when David was on his mission and now applies this to his grandchildren.
Judy Jones (Grandma Judy): Alma 1:25-28--We can have faith and do good works, even amidst trials and persecutions.
Al Jones (Granpa Al): Alma 5:14-15--Questions to ask ourselves daily.

Mary shared that her favorite story was of Esther in the Old Testament. Tyce's favorite was the 2000 Stripling Warriors in the Book of Mormon. Harrison liked a verse in Samuel that spoke of kindness. Cameron liked the story of Ammon (aka "the guy who cut off the bad guys' arms").

Like I said, it was a great weekend. I am sorry to see everyone go but it sure was a pleasure having them here. Bryce remarked how awesome it is for our kids to have wonderful grandparents to look up to and I must agree--we are indeed blessed.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Doctor News

When I take my kids to a doctor, any doctor, I have an issue with privacy. I feel that they plow through the kids' medical and birth history without sensitivity or regard for feelings. Yes, facts are facts but a young person can only process and handle so much information. For example, yesterday I took Harrison to the gastroenterologist, a new one we hadn't seen before.

Doctor: So he was born with [a condition]. And his biological mother had that too, and also [another condition]. Anything else in his birth history?

Me: Ah, yes, well . . . um, Harrison? Can you come get my phone and play a game? Great. {Whispering} He also had, uh, [******] in his system.

Doctor: I see. He was in the NICU for 4 weeks, is that correct?

Me: Well, yes, but mostly because there was no place for him and his twin to go. They stayed in the hospital until a foster home was found.

Doctor: And the biological mother, she is now . . . deceased?

Me: Yes.

Harrison: Mom, does deceased mean dead?

Me: Hey buddy, did you download that car game to my phone yet?

It's like this everywhere I go. I even talked the nurse privately in the hallway to avoid what happened and it still happened. I'm not trying to lie or keep my kids from the truth but an 8-year-old (or a 16-year-old) is not prepared for certain things, especially when revealed in front of a stranger. 

To wit, on the eve of his doctor's appointment I told Harrison what it meant to live with his illness long term. He doesn't currently suffer from it or even need meds for it, so to tell him this before would have been pointless. He went through extensive testing when he was 2 but he doesn't remember. However, it was time to see the specialist again and he needed to know what was going on.

So the sobering part of my day was re-realizing that his condition is life-long and that if he does require treatment, it's a year-long round of heavy-duty meds that give him flu-like symptoms the entire time. Really, how horrible is that, to have the flu for a year when most of us can barely survive a week. It's one of those things that really isn't fair but I have to have faith that God knows him and loves him even more than I do. To that end, He will give him what he needs make it through this life (mentally, emotionally, spiritually) and I hope He does the same for me. Because I'd much rather be dealing with the disease myself; I don't think there's anything worse for a parent than to know your child is or will be suffering a cross that is hard to bear. If I could do anything to take away that burden from my boy, Lord knows I would.

Harrison had 15 vials of blood drawn yesterday. When the lab results come in we'll schedule an ultrasound and maybe even another biopsy. Perhaps I've been in denial since his last round of testing came back with the result of "wait and see". I guess I mentally interpreted that as "everything's fine". And while I sincerely hope that his blood work shows a similar result to the first round, the reality is that his condition will never go away and that "fine" will always, always be relative.

Yesterday I was reminded of how precious every life is and how much I love each of my kids.

Monday, September 10, 2012

It was WICKED!

Last week we got to see the play everyone had been buzzing about for months: Wicked. It was everything we'd hoped it would be and more: the sets! the costumes! the singing!!!! It was fabulous. I'd see it 20 more times before it leaves if I could.

Bryce got tickets for the big kids and ourselves but Mary was being Mary and refused to go at the last minute. So Tyce knew exactly who to invite: his friend Johnnie who had said earlier in choir, "Tyce, I hate you so much for going to Wicked without me." Half an hour before we had to leave Tyce called him and said, "Well, Johnnie, this is your lucky day." I think Johnnie may have fainted.

Outside the Smith Center before it started.

The boys.

Not only were we treated to an amazing performance but the company was top notch as well. I would have preferred for Mary to come but Johnnie was truly delightful--so appreciative and so excited that it was a joy to have him along. Both he and Tyce picked apart the musical scene by scene on the way home, singing their favorite parts and vowing to make everyone jealous at school the next day.

Mary had a lovely night herself. She stayed with our evening's babysitter, Chelsea, and the two of them had a wonderful time playing Mario Kart.

For all of us the night was awesome, it was magical, it was memorable, it was . . . wicked.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Twins are 8

Cameron and Harrison's birthdays were on Labor Day, September 3rd. No work and no school meant we could spend the whole day partying it up, and we did--first by eating out, then by bowling, and finally having a family party!

The boys wanted their own birthday cakes and although they requested outlandish designs adorned with toys, they happily accepted the traditional round-with-sprinkles variety I made. 

The boys got new scooters which they've loved riding to school. They also received a Lego set (Harrison) and Spiderman web-shooters (Cam). Cards from family and cash to go shopping!

Bowling was fun. Even I used the bumpers this time and let me say, it's a good thing I did.

You know Cam--everything he does, he does full-body.

Lunch buddies Harrison and Tyce.

Cam and Mare.

One great thing about being 8 is that the boys are being baptized later this month. How cute are these little dudes before their interview with the Bishop?

Who knew these boys would bring so much fun and craziness to our family? They are full of life and spunk and we can't imagine what life would've been like without them. Happy Birthday, Cameron and Harrison!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Food for Thought

From the devotional Brad Wilcox gave on Sunday night:

"You are on the lifeboat. But some want to swim back to the Titanic because 'it's fun' and 'they play music.' You know what they're playing? 'Nearer My God to Thee' because they're going to DIE! Now tell me, why would you leave the safety of the lifeboat to swim back to a sinking ship?"

Why, indeed.