Saturday, November 07, 2009

Once upon a time, a long time ago.... Ok well it was about 6 years ago I think.... When Kristina was a freshman and playing in North Eugene's band. She was so excited about it and they were so busy doing stuff in the community. Her excitement was contagious and I tried to be there for every concert and every competition. One day, they were at LCC doing some kind of workshop that included some scholarships. I came to the auditorium to listen to North's band when it was their turn to play and be judged. I don't remember if the bands combined or if I was just listening to Jazz band. And maybe Kristina was a sophomore by then. However it came to be, there I was listening to the most amazing solo trumpet! A curly headed blone haired boy stood in the front and played the most wonderful lead I'd ever heard. I remember the judges' comments about how he'd never heard a rock song jazzed up like that. He took a song we hear alot on the radio and made it jazzy and soul and it was just amazing. He ended up getting a scholarship from that workshop! I don't know if he ever did anything with his talent but forever afterward, I held that performance as the epitamy of school bands. The sort of goal or level you could reach if you REALLY love band and work hard. I always had a little hope or wish or goal in my heart that maybe one of my kids will have an opportunity like that. And Yea Kristina had her BIG solo at her graduation plus the fame of the saxaphone girls in Jazz band. And Amber had her big night too playing a duet with Kristina as they led the band into a song. And Nicholas has had bunches of the most amazing solos since he started playing the Trumpet.

But this last Thursday, IT HAPPENED!! I couldn't believe it! I knew Nicholas had a big solo coming up and he'd been practicing that song. But I never understood what it was REALLY going to be. Until I saw him being brought to the front!!! And then that soulful sound of "Someone to Watch Over Me" coming out of his trumpet!! Oh my gosh! This was it! The epitamy, the goal!! What I considered one of the highest levels... the highest honor! He was playing the melody of the entire song while the band played the background stuff. In fact, once the lights came on and I could see the program, he was the FEATURED player in that song! WOW! I couldn't help myself. As dumb as it may seem, I absolutely burst into tears!! Unbelievably, my little wish, my little hope for my children, one that I'd never even told a single solitary soul, came true. AND IT WAS BEAUTIFUL!!!! I mean... really amazing!!! I put the video on my facebook if you want to see/listen to it. Just amazing! I can't believe he got to do that. Just incredible!

That same night we also had a concert at Madison to be at. Heather and her friend are the new and upcoming saxaphone girls! They were just beautiful!!

And Ryan is our newest trumpet player! This was his first concert and he did really well!! He was very inspired and excited about his accomplishments that night!
Anyway, just had to share! I love band in the schools. I know they're cutting programs everywhere but the kids will lose out on sooo much if they ever got rid of any band program!! Look at how far they could go. This stuff even could result in scholarships for college! Wow.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Road Trip With Nicholas

Nicholas was so great during our whole trip to Idaho and back. He was so strong and reliable and NEVER complained. He loaded the car like it was a puzzle to be figured out.

Check out all that self-confidence. I really could not have done this without him!

Everyone took turns driving, even Nicholas. By the end of the trip, he’d wracked up 8 hours of driving. Only 25 more hours before he gets his license now!

He was just as happy as the rest of us to finally get to Rexburg and have a real meal! What a treat!

He and I made 5 trips to Kristina’s shed and he hauled up all the heaviest boxes to the second floor. We were sure grateful that they didn’t live on the 3rd floor. With all the trips up and down those stairs, he never complained. I told him later I knew he was just as tired as me but I admired him for not complaining. He said “What would be the point of complaining? It wouldn’t do any good.” Man, I wish I could be more like him!

We took one chilly evening to walk around the Rexburg Temple. I’m so glad we did this cause in the end, this was the only chance we had to go see it. We had our church clothes with us though, just in case we had the chance to go in but it never happened.

On the way home, we stopped at the top of this huge hill/mountain. If you look closely you can see how the road twists and turns ahead of us, finally coming off the hill in a long straight road. The scenery was beautiful but 6 miles of a 6% downgrade was very hard on my breaks. I insisted on driving this part of the trip. Nicholas didn’t mind.

When we got to the Columbia River, we stopped to admire the view. Nicholas couldn’t believe the great reception he got when trying to send his sisters a picture that he took of the river. I love this picture. What kind of caption would you put on this? "E.T. where are you?" "Can you hear me now?" "Beam me up Scotty!" LOL

The day after we got home, Heather and Ryan went for their first day of school but his wasn’t till the next day. So we took the opportunity to visit the auto-wrecking yard, a trip he’d been bugging me to make for some time. He was a like a kid in a candy store, looking at all the wrecked vehicles. I just tried not to get broken glass in my flip-flops. LOL

The trip with Nicholas was so much fun. I enjoyed the time I got to spend with him and I appreciate more than ever his strong and steady personality with a bit of humor thrown in. What a great guy he is!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Traveling to College

Hurray! We made it to Idaho! I never thought we'd get out of Oregon. Let me tell you! A long trip is made longer by trying to travel through the night! I was so glad when morning found us in Idaho!

College girls with the Snake River behind them. We made many stops along the way. Our car was packed to overflowing so cramped legs and sore bottoms and sleepy eyes had us stopping just about every 2 hours to stretch and switch drivers. I'll never drive during the night again! But this part of the trip really was very beautiful!

When we finally made it to Rexburg, we were so happy to easily find the apartment complex they were moving in to. It's right across the street from the stadium. This pic looks like an ad for the place. LOL But they probably won't stay there for their next semester. They need more storage space for 6 girls in the apartment. There was only one drawer in the kitchen and hardly any cabinet space. They're going to look around to see if there are any other apartments they'd rather have that has more storage for 6 girls.

A quick and easy check in and we were moving into the apartment very quickly. It was pretty exciting to settle into a new place.

This mess was after 5 trips to the storage unit where Kristina and her friends stored their stuff. Compared to the other college students emptying out their storage unit, the girls did a very good job packing it into boxes and organizing it..... even though it DOES look like a mess in this picture. LOL Amber only had her suitcases to unpack. She had it all put away very quickly. It took the other girls a little longer. :-)

An unbelievable crowd at the welcome assembly. The welcome had just started and there were still people streaming in, trying to find a seat. In the end there was standing room only. In this pic, Kristina and Heather are sitting with Kathy and some other girls. Section F, right under the F. Unless you were there, you really can hardly see them! But isn't that an amazing crowd? Wow!
It's good to have them at school now and settled in. It's alittle quiet at home but we're going to adjust ok.

The last one in Contacts

How interesting that all of my children ended up wearing glasses like me. I got my first pair of glasses when I was 5 years old and my bad vision progressed till I was a -9 in both eyes by the time I became an adult. And now the kids all have bad eye sight too. And all of them were able to get contacts by the time they were 12 or 13. Now Ryan is the last one to get his contacts. Good thing too cause he's such a handsome kid!

This picture is when he was trying to put them in for the first time. I love his eye. Click on it to see the larger picture! It's great!

The next one is what I consider the perfect ad for contacts. He just got them both in for the first time and was really excited about it.

And here he is walking around the store, excited about what he now can see sooo clearly. Really, his glasses were just so bad and insurance would only cover new glasses or contacts every 2 years. I couldn't afford to get him new ones with the right prescription so being able to truly see with contacts was like a miracle!

Friday, June 05, 2009

Another Graduate

So Amber is graduating too and will go to BYU-Idaho also. How exciting. I missed getting the girls into a dorm so Amber will be sharing an apartment with Kristina and her friends, living off campus across the street from the school! What a thrill! I've been having such a good time planning for graduation. I can't wait to see my mom.
and thrill upon thrill - Amber won another scholarship! how incredible!! She has her Peace Health Mentorship scholarship which will be very large. Now she's added another $1000 to the pot. PLUS the Pell grant and the Award of Excellence she got from the school! What a relief! I also have talked to the nursing department to make sure we are planning the correct classes for her to take so she can apply for the nursing program by next March! I'm so excited and sooo NERVOUS for her. she has to keep her GPA up to AT LEAST a 3.7!! which I KNOW she can. But still.......
Anyway, here is my other most beautiful girl, all grown up. How does this happen? It seems like it was just yesterday she was clutching her little dolls and singing at the top of her voice while standing on the couch! And now look at her! No more dolls. Off to experience the big world out there!

A Glimpse of College Life

Kristina and I have been having fun with the webcams at school. It's been such a treat for me to see just a tiny part of her life there. To stretch across the miles and see a glimpse of normal everyday life for her has been so much fun. I've been teased alot about stalking her or not letting go or whatever. No one seems to understand how teeny of a glimpse it really is or how important that connection is to us. When kids are so far from home, isn't it normal to crave some kind of connection, no matter how small? Surely it must be. We talk on the phone nearly everyday. She either has some new excitement going on or a worry to talk over with me. And more often than not, somehow I come up with just the right thing to say to her about whatever her worries are. We're just talking about it all... mostly she just needs to vent... and suddenly, I've said exactly the thing she needed to hear. It's so amazing! I never knew I was so wise! LOL

Well the top picture is of her at the testing center today. She had 2 tests today that she really worried about. One she said would be fairly easy. But the science one, she was pretty nervous about. She prayed and prayed over these tests and educated her roommate about the subject, giving her a unique (to her) way to study and then called me to tell me all about how food breaks down in the body and all the long scientific names. Amazing! The girl could be a nutritionist! LOL I suggested she study for another hour and DON'T rush! And she did. Then she texted me that she was just walking in and when she got there, look at the beautiful smile she flashed at the camera! LOL Funny girl!

The second and third pictures are at the MC - I can't remember what MC stands for but it's the cafeteria. With some urging from me, she's splurging regularly on a fruity drink or a snack and taking it easy between classes. So the second one is her about to get something to eat - but oh wait. She has to text her mother to come see her on the webcam first! LOL That's what she's doing there... texting me. LOL

and the last one is actually the first one we set up. she was afraid of being to obvious by standing in front of the camera and waving or something. See the drink in her hand? While she was sitting down and slurping on it, she had been on the phone with me. I asked her if she could see the webcam that was there. she looked around and said "Oh yes, I see it". I told her, "go stand in front of it." So she said yes she would after she finished her drink. LOL She was there for like 2 seconds and I was lucky to even see her. LOL It really is impossible to "stalk" someone on the school webcams!

So we're just silly girls. One of us at college and having a blast and the other, wishing sooo much that I could do something fun and exciting like that too!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Off to school again!

Well she's gone... again! And this time it'll be long. Well, not really because she'll be home in July for 7 weeks. But ONLY 7 weeks. And when she leaves again in September, she takes Amber with her. I think it's time I finally begin to accept that my children are leaving.... well.... kinda.

This time I put her on a plane. We made the 2 hour drive to Portland talking nearly the whole way. We were up till 11pm the night before, both of us sitting on her suitcase, struggling to get it zipped.

Then we were up at 2:30am to load it all in the car. Oh if only Nicholas could have been with us because we needed his strength. By 3:15am, we'd had our last family prayer all together and we got in the car to go. By 3:30am, we were on the road and making our way to the airport in Portland.

We talked about everything! It felt like a late night talk! It was so great! We didn't get to have nearly as many of those while she was home that we should have. We caught up on everything! EVERYTHING!! The 2 hour drive just flew by. It seemed unreal that she was really leaving.

We got to the airport in the nic of time though. Dragging the big suitcase we sat on was VERY difficult. It turned out that the pull out handle had gotten stuck on her way home but we forgot. The suitcase lay hidden away under Nicholas' bed for the entire 3 months she was home. Now I had to drag it. We managed to get to the check in counter and thank goodness that heavy thing was under 50lbs. It sure didn't feel like it. Then we had to drag it over to the guys who open things and look at what you've got. When I handed it over, I told him how difficult it would be to close it. He assured me he'd opened and closed MANY suitcases. As I walked away, I thought... "yea, but none like THIS one, surely!"

Then we got in line for the security gate. After the first little check point, I couldn't go any further and had to stand off to the side to watch her unpack her backpack. So much stuff had to come out to go through the security. All the insulin, the laptop... of course shoes had to come off... just amazing how much you have to unpack to go through. And she managed to get through. But the last I saw of her was her trying to gather it all up in her arms to get out of the way of the next group of people. It's so frustrating not to be able to help. And not even a last wave. they have it so blocked that you just barely get a last view of the loved one you're sending off.

From there, it was lots of text messages until the plane took off. I just got out to the highway when it took off. It was an exhausting drive home. When I got to the Coburg Hills, she texted me and said she'd landed! ALREADY! How amazing. It was 9:30am her time and she was scheduled to take the noon shuttle from Salt Lake to Rexburg. she said she was going to try to make it to the 10am shuttle if she could. I don't know... half an hour to get your stuff and get outside to catch the shuttle? Oh it was going to be close! I raced the rest of the way home, hoping I could get home in time to help her somehow.

Just as I walked in my front door, she phoned me... she got her stuff and it was quarter to ten! What relief! What a miracle!! If she could catch the 10am shuttle, she could get to school well before the housing office closed, unlike the noon shuttle which would get her there at 4:30. I told her to get out the door and find that shuttle and I would change her reservation for her. She found a group waiting and I called the shuttle people. they were sooooo nice! OF COURSE she could change her reservation. Oh, and by the way, the shuttle is stuck in traffic in Salt Lake. It's late! whew.... wow! She made it! What a relief!

Just as I'm climbing into bed, completely exhausted, she texted me to tell me Jaelyn's bus in Salt Lake is also late but it's just arriving at 10am for her. A few minutes later, another text... Jaelyn's bus is now headed to the airport! They will be on the SAME shuttle!!!!

I burst into tears! Must have been exhaustion! But of all the prayers I said for her safety and ease of travel, I never even guessed that the Lord had such a blessing in store! It's such a little thing but it meant everything to me to know that the 2 best friends would be together for the longest, hardest part of the trip! I imagined their reunion and just sobbed with joy for them! I heard very little after that text message as the shuttle arrived at the airport and the girls found eachother. They talked for an hour and then fell asleep against eachother. What better way is there for returning to school!

But the Lord was not done with his blessings. Dear Audrey met the girls when the shuttle arrived at school. In her little car she helped them with all their luggage and THEN..... took them to their storage unit! It took 3 trips in her little car but they got all their stuff THAT DAY!! I thought for sure she wouldn't be able to get her stuff till the next day but thanks to Audrey and a tremendous effort, both girls were able to get all their things moved into their new dorm!

The Lord truely looks out for the kids at BYU-Idaho! He knows their needs even better than I do and can help them with everything. I had no idea I was as worried as I was until I heard Jaelyn would be traveling with her. The load that was lifted off my shoulders was incredible! it still makes me tear up just to think of that tiny blessing. To me, it meant everything!!

Sunday, March 08, 2009

One more picture

In addition to the below post, I also have this current picture of us all taken at the temple on January 17, 2009. This was such a special day. It was Ryan's first time inside the temple and the only time Kristina would have a chance to go with us till about this same time next year. So this was a very special day for us. First, how amazing it was for us to make a goal of going to the temple together to do family names and actually accomplishing it. And of course, just being there all together. Our whole family. It was just a brief glimpse into the celestial kingdom that I will treasure till the next time we can all do that together again.

The kids all chose one of the people who I'd been working on to especially do the work for. We all went to the family history library and they set every one of us on a computer to enter information. I had so much that I could give a different family to each one of them. They began to feel a personal connection with these people. It was so wonderful to see that they were feeling the same way I was about genealogy. Then I told stories about some of the people and they picked their favorites. Some of the kids did their dad's side and some did my side. My great Aunt Mable was even done and I just cried for her. How I loved her. We only knew her as Mabe when we were kids. It wasn't till I was an adult that I fully understood who she was. When I was little, I only knew that she brought us a LOT of presents every time she came to see us. Turned out she was my grandfather's sister - the grandfather who had died before I was born. How amazing.

Something else I realized tonight... both of my boys are presidents of the quorum they're in. The bishop said that only 4 men in the ward hold the keys of the priesthood!! 2 of them are my boys! I'm floored. How well I remember the days when I cried because there was no priesthood in our home. How wonderful it has been to be in Oregon and know so many good men who would help fill that roll for us. Brother Davis especially. It's been a healing balm to my heart all this time. The kids should know what a good priesthood holder is, and what he does. I thank the Lord all the time for helping us to find Brother Davis. Anyway, now the Lord has blessed our family sooo incredibly! Now both my boys are honorable priesthood holders. Can a mother be any more proud and humbled and touched than me.

And again I'm asking myself tonight... knowing all the messes I've made in my life... remembering a time when I truely thought I'd never enter a temple again... WHAT have I done to make the Lord want to bless ME so much! The only answer that even comes to mind is so simple that it seems like it's not enough to warrant such blessings. And that is that I loved my kids more than myself. I stopped thinking about ME and started thinking always of them. I've seen alot of ME TIME type commercials on TV lately. And sure I know everyone needs some ME TIME. But ME TIME for me means being with the kids and just talking about everything. or snuggling together on the couch. I watched Extreme Home Makeover on TV tonight and watched those kids walk into their new rooms. And I swear... if that had been me, it would not have been nearly so joyous an occassion unless all 6 of us walked into each room together to explore.

Well anyway, I'm counting my blessings and wondering how in the world did I earn this. It must be so much more than just what comes naturally for me. How grateful I am.

Friday, March 06, 2009

It's been 7 years!!

Yesterday, March 5th, was our 7 year anniversary of being in Oregon. 7 years of a new life. 7 years since the Lord practically dragged me here. 7 years of incredible blessings! 7 years of such happiness! How we have changed. I was thinking this morning of how the kids have grown and how wonderful it's been that they could grow in Oregon. So I've been looking at pictures of how they've grown....

This was taken in Austin, TX the summer of 2001, about 8 months before we moved to Oregon. We were into Diabetes Awareness and went to help lobby the house for some bill they were working on. It was a fun trip!

The next one I have of all of us was from the summer of 2005 when we went to camp at Beverly Beach just north of Newport for 9 days! What a camping trip! The Davis' came to camp with us for a few days that year too. What a great trip it was!!

This was our first official photo shoot at Hendricks Park with a friend of mine from work. This was the summer of 2006. This was really fun. We felt like models! LOL

The summer of 2007 we went camping at Sunset Bay near Coos Bay. The Davis' met us there again. It's so much fun to camp out with them. This time we only spent a week there and every night we read outloud from the 7th Harry Potter book. The rangers had to come talk to us about how loud we got after 10pm the night we finished the book. LOL

Summer of 2008! How they have grown. In this picture, Kristina is graduated from high school and about to leave for college. Look at how Nicholas sprouted upwards, just like those pine trees behind them. Amazing how children grow!
So 7 years of Oregon! We love Oregon so much!