September 11, 2014

Super Duper Rascal Baby . . .

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He’s back in school and he’s up to his usual making of cute and rascally faces! We have felt the confirmation of our decision to keep Owlie in Preschool for one more year time and time again this Summer. I was very happy when I picked him up from school yesterday and he said, “Momma, school was great today!”

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He’s in a good place. We’re working every day on numbers, letters and general good behavior skills. I am happy to have this little guy as my buddy every day.

Look at that face. How can I help it? He is such a goofball. His personality is hilarious and I do enjoy him immensely.

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September 9, 2014

Capturing Scripture Power …

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What does this picture say to you? To me it says, “Stop. Just stop what you are doing and take time to read the scriptures to your smallest child. He will be still and listen. Even the smallest can understand the words of God.”

It also says, “Time to get your roots done, Samantha!” Seriously.

A few weeks ago we had a photographer come to our house. He is serving a mission for our Church. His mission is to take photographs for use by the Church in publications, on multi-media platforms, in advertising – basically for use to spread the Gospel with positive messages.

He came to capture some moments with me and the children reading our scriptures. I love these pictures so much! I am thinking about having them printed to put in the kids rooms. We can all use reminders to read our scriptures! My RedDog has a tender heart and loves the scriptures. He already has a better habit with them than I ever did at his age.

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We are doing very well with reading the scriptures together every day as a family right now using the yearly schedule and questions found on Instagram  at BofM365. I think the kids like that we are using technology to assist us in our study. The questions are thought provoking and always tie what the day’s reading passage to solving problems in our day.

Hannie B. is our habitual scripture reader. She read the Book of Mormon with me in thirty days last year. She finds scriptures all the time to use on her mormon_gurl Instagram account to motivate and uplift others. And when her Seminary teacher came to meet her a few weeks before school started, she challenged Hannie B. to read the scriptures every day for one hundred days straight. My girl hasn’t missed a day yet! She also has a better habit of scripture study than I did at her age.

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Here is Big C. reading the scriptures on an iPhone. It is so convenient today to take your scriptures with you any and everywhere! God is finding ways to make His word known and accessible to His children all over the world. It is one of my favorite things about technology these days!

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In case you’re interested in knowing, here are my favorite platforms for spiritual insight lately:

Instagram: @BofM365, @mormonnewsroom, @LDSCHURCH, @mormon_gurl

Facebook: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints page

Internet: mormon.org, LDS.org

You Tube: Mormon Messages, Mormon Channel

Pandora: Mormon Tabernacle Choir station

And hey, if you’re wondering why there are so many Mormon suggestions, it’s because I’m a Mormon! Also, my church puts out some very beautiful, thought provoking, spiritually uplifting material for all the world to watch, enjoy, and feel the love of God and the Savior, Jesus Christ! Go check it out!

All photos by Shane Hintze. Thanks, Shane!

September 8, 2014

What Running Has Done For My Kids …

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It was a big surprise to us when Big C joined Cross Country his Freshman year. It was an even bigger surprise when he ended up with a Varsity letter. Turns out he’s kind of fast. We were excited when Hannie B. decided to run on the team this year as well. She had only ever run a mile or two at a time and never consistently, so we didn’t know how it would go for her, but I’m happy to report that she is enjoying it and doing well!

I am so impressed with the Cross Country community and have already seen so many benefits for both my kids. Here they are in no particular order:

  • Cross Country starts a month before school does, so a month ago my kids were already getting up early to run! They also had a chance to get to know one hundred and twenty other kids before school started! Why so many kids? Because at our school they don’t cut kids from the Cross Country team. This means its is a very inclusive sport with kids from every walk of life and every fitness level.
  • Cross Country is a Varsity sport at the school. The kids with the fastest times will run in all meets and invitationals. But every team member gets to run in the mid-week meets regardless of their time. There are some kids on the team who come in last EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. But the entire team waits at the finish line to cheer them on and it is awesome. I love that my kids are learning how to support their peers!

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  • Hannie B. sleeps better at night. When the running (of sometimes up to 6 or 7 miles) is combined with her early morning wake up time due to Seminary, the girl is tired with a capial T! On the days she doesn’t have CC, I have seen her going for a run because she knows her body needs to expend the energy.

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  • The last but best thing to come from my kids running Cross Country is that they have something in common with one another! Big C has become somewhat of a mentor to Hannie B., introducing her to the sport, explaining the races to her and gently pushing her to give her all and improve her running each and every week. It has made such a gigantic difference in their relationship and it makes my mother heart swell with joy!

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If your kids are looking for something athletic to do when they enter High School, but maybe aren’t athletic enough for some of the other teams, really, truly, give Cross Country a chance. It has made a great difference to our kids, their schooling and their relationship with each other!

September 4, 2014

A Best Friend Photo Shoot …

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The very day school got out this Summer Hannie B. approached me with an idea. She wanted to do a fun photo shoot with her best friend Nicole with my help. I told her we could definitely do that.

Then Summer happened in full force and were were overwhelmed with camps, vacations and other random things. I inadvertently let the idea slip my mind.

Fast forward to just a few weeks before school was starting and she came to me again so sad that her plan hadn’t materialized. I told her if she wanted it to happen, she and Nicole had to put a plan together: color scheme, props, location, hair and makeup ideas and any poses they wanted for the shoot. I would provide a camera and my faker photographer skillz.

Then the weather became our enemy. Too sunny. Too rainy. Too windy. You name it.

Finally, a perfect day presented itself. Actualy, it was really hot and midafternoon, which isn’t ideal because the sun is high and leaves harsh shadows on faces, but we came up with a solution that would leave most of our shooting locations in shade.

The girls brought an iPad with tons of poses they’d found on Pinterest. I helped them do their hair. Hannie B. provided the flower headbands. And the gorgeousness? Well, they just brought that all by themselves.

Enjoy Hannah and Nicole’s Best Friend Photo Shoot.

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September 3, 2014

First Day 2014

Yesterday marked the end of the fastest Summer ever with three of my kids heading back to school. I’m not going to lie, it is nice to have a little quiet in the house and not feel like all I do is pick up after large people and feed large people all day. But I actually miss them something terrible. Here are my big three and some of what is in store for them this year:

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Big C is a Junior! He’s got an incredibly tough course load this year. He’s driving to and from school as his sister’s chauffeur and running up a storm on the Cross Country team. If my calculations are correct, he ran almost 500 miles this Summer. That is not normal.

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Hannie B. had her first day of both High School and early morning Seminary (church scripture study class) yesterday. Her anxiety has been mostly quiet this summer, but reared its lovely head this week as she worried about everything High School. Getting up at 5:30 for seminary is a sleep anxiety ridden person’s nightmare. Love her. She’s also running Cross Country and has surprised us with her determination and athleticism. Four days before school she chopped off all her hair. She’s cute, sassy and super organized. (need someone to color coordinate your binders with washi tape?)

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RedDog has left the safety of the Elementary School halls behind him and entered into the realm of the Middle Schoolers. He got lost once yesterday looking for the gym, but I think he is going to be okay. Hannie B. convinced him that these ombre glasses were super hip and I agree. In my mind he’s still very little, but in this picture I can see that he is not. I can also see that he for sure has red hair and it makes my heart SING!!!!

The Owlie doesn’t start Preschool until next week so we are enjoying some alone time together. Stay tuned for a picture of him next week!

August 21, 2014

I Believe In The Power Of Prayer …

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{Photo by Shane Hintze}

Life can be hard. Really hard. There have been some hard things in my life. I’ve had multiple miscarriages. Both of my father and my father-in-law have had cancer. I’ve had children with medical and emotional illnesses. My husband has been without work. I could go on. And you could add to the list with the hard things you’ve had to deal with in your life because not one of us will ever be exempt from hardship or trials. It is part of life.

During the hardest times of my life, I always seem to end up in the same place. It’s the one place I know I can go to find peace.

I go to my knees.

I believe in the power of prayer. I believe that God is a personal God who knows me as an individual. I believe that I can talk to him in an unscripted, intimate manner and that He hears me and will help me. He will give me comfort through the Holy Spirit. He will shoulder my burdens when they feel too great. He will give me inspiration to know what to do in hard situations. He will whisper truth to me and send me service in the form of other human beings who are His children and want me to know of His love for me.

Simply put, I believe that He is the Father of my spirit. I am His child. And when I pray to Him, I am a child sharing in conversation with Him because I need Him.

OH HOW I NEED HIM.

I have had too many experiences with prayer to ever say it doesn’t work. I have been given answers to my questions. I have watched as the uniting of people in prayer has lifted individuals from the darkest of abysses into a place of light and peace. I have uttered the most heart wrenching, spur of the moment pleas to God and had Him immediately succor me in my time of desperation.

Prayer is a lifeline for me to Divinity. It is my communication with a parent I know I will see again someday.

How grateful I am for prayer. How thankful I am for the knowledge that God wants to hear from me. Little old me. He really does love me.

Would you do me a favor? My family could use your prayers this weekend. I can’t go into details, but I know that the more people who pray, the more God will hear and answer. Your prayers matter to Him. And they matter to me.

{enjoy the picture of Ollie praying over our lunch today taken by a new photographer friend. My boy has the sweetest, most sincere little prayers!}