Monday, August 25, 2008

Day 2

We conquered the rock wall!
Somewhere it hits you... this is no ordinary cruise!! :)

We have had a blast today hanging out all day at the rock wall and the "Flowrider". I was a little nervous climbing the wall as it was my first time, but I made it all the way to the top and had fun doing it! Martin looked as if he had done it for years! Now on the the Flowrider. What it is, is a constant flow of water that shoots up an incline allowing you to ride the wave for as long as you can stay up. We boogey-boarded first and then Martin tried surfing for a while. I was kind of a chicken, and wasn't going to try but then decided to. I actually liked it better than boogey-boarding. I even stayed up for a few seconds!
Martin took some semi-private lessons tonight and kicked tail! Here are a few pics. We also have video that I will post when we get home. It will take too long to download on the ship.

Tomorrow we plan on hitting the flowrider early to avoid the lines and then it is off to San Juan. We will be bringing our water camera so we will not be able to post from our day trip. We are going ATVing and we are excited! I am not sure if I will be able to post tomorrow, but check back in the evening just in case. Our love to all of you and thanks for the compliments!

Day 1

Have we died and gone to heaven yet???? To even try and describe to you the experience we are having would be a feat. The ship is humongous! I guess it is the biggest one out at the moment. We got on the ship no problem and found our room.
I couldn't have asked for a better one. We took some pictures out on our balcony and found out, much to our chagrin, the people next to us smoke... :( Oh well... This was while we were still in the port of Miami.
The first day was a whirlwind. It felt like time and slowed down, and just didn't matter anymore. We could do whatever we wanted. We strolled the huge indoor mall and got acquainted with the ship. That night we got dressed in our "smart casual" dress and went to the only night of the mystery dinner at their 5 star restaurant on board. It was good fun and we even guessed "who done it" :) .

Sunday, August 24, 2008

We finally made it!

This is a look of parents who CANNOT believe they are going away for a week to recoup and regroup. We love, love, love our children dearly. So much, that we are willing to take time for ourselves and reconnect to each other. It seems like we can be much better parents and partners when we take some alone time... BUT FOR A WHOLE WEEK??!! Woo-HOO!!! Somebody pinch me! :) We took the above picture on the train in Denver and the below picture before we boarded to Texas.

It was in the wee hours of the morning when we finally checked into our hotel.... 3:30 am!! Overall, we really didn't care that we were 2 1/2 hours delayed in Texas because of a crazy thunderstorm. We enjoyed every minute of just being able to be together. It was as if we were newlyweds, making silly jokes, flirting, snuggling,
chatting with other adults. What a strange phenomenon for me to be able to sit and do NOTHING!!! It was fabulous! At the Fort Worth Texas airport we both got a chicken salad at TGI Friday's and I must say it was delicious! It had grilled chicken with strawberries, candied pecans, raspberry vinaigrette and real lettuce, not that nasty iceberg stuff! Mmmmm....

After the thunderstorm we were treated to a gorgeous Texas sunset.
So after we snuggled in for the night we were awoken at 8:30 am by someone trying to come into our room! I think it was housekeeping, but it is still a little unnerving! We slowly got ready this morning and I made this comment to Martin. "Isn't it nice just to be able to focus on ourselves and get ready? I haven't done that for so long. I am usually getting the kids ready first and then try to do something with myself with whatever little time I have remaining." I saw a look on his face, the same time I had the realization... "Oh," I said, "you do that every day, huh." He looked at me sheepishly and said, "Yeah, I thought that. I just didn't want to say it out loud." Oh well. I am still really enjoying myself! This picture is us on the balcony in our hotel room.

Right now, we are waiting for the shuttle to come and pick us up to go to the pier. I will probably blog tomorrow so check back! We love you all!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

A quick hello

All right ladies and gents... the countdown is almost complete! We are officially leaving on Saturday rather then Sunday like the counter suggests. I haven't had time to change it, let alone take a picture of my new haircut. You will just have to wait and see what it looks like when I post some pictures from our trip. Suffice it to say, this is what Emily said when I walked through the door. "Oh mom! You look like Willy Wonka!" Umm... thanks? I guess she may have a point. It's about that short! :)
Anyhoo, I have been eat, sleeping, and breathing the cruise and cannot wait to finally go on it! The kids are totally ramped up and can't wait for us to go either! Hopefully they will behave themselves while we are gone. Otherwise, we just might not come back :). Sorry DeeDee... :) We are planning on posting on our blog while we are on our cruise so check back daily. We leave Saturday for Miami and leave on the cruise late afternoon Sunday. Wish us some "no hurricane" luck okay?!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Doing some experimentin'

Aaron decided to make some cupcakes. His own little specialty. We even tried to cook them! Basically, I let him have a somewhat free range of my baking cabinet... generous, huh! He had so much fun though. He added a variety of ingredients and had fun when he added vinegar to the mixture that already had baking soda in it. He was so excited when it exploded! Of course he didn't understand why the cupcakes didn't firm up at all in the oven. Well, maybe next time he will add some flour!

I was thinking about his "experiment" and it made me think about life. I am doing much better this week, thanks to a lot of support from various people in different capacities. I came to realize that there is a reason why I needed to feel that complete loneliness. I realized that it is wrong for me to expect people to understand all the time of what it feels like to lose a child, and expect them to pick up my pieces. No one knows, unless you have experienced it yourself, and then no words are needed. You just know.

So back to my experiment. I decided to enjoy the little things more this week. I took joy in watching Aaron and Emily in their imaginative play. I gave lots of piggy-backs and loved hearing Hyrum saying over and over, iggy back. I took the whole family to Target to get some of my cruise shopping done when I could have easily left them home with Martin. My point is, I am trying to take away the focus from me, and putting it on the family. It's been great.

Another ingredient that I added to the mix is that I have been reading my scriptures daily. What a difference! I don't know what it is about the calm that comes after reading them. It's not like there is some huge revelation after I read them, but there are some little insights that I ponder as I go through my day. It helps me do what the late President Hinckley asked: "Let us all try to stand a little taller, rise a little higher, be a little better. Make the extra effort. You will be happier. You will know a new satisfaction, a new gladness in your heart." I do feel happier. I am grateful for a new glimmer of happiness in my heart.

I added another ingredient. I realized last week that I was doing to much on my own. My kids (husband included:) ) have the capabilites to help me more in the home. We brainstormed and came up with a plan. It has really helped this week in taking some of the load of me, AND it has helped with the Spirit in our home. It's amazing what a little bit of family teamwork can do.

The final ingredient I have added is learning how to rely more on the experience of my Father in Heaven. I know that he has experienced every sorrow and happiness that I feel. If only I can latch on to Him and not my grief, it would be a lot easier. I have to come realize a little bit more of how I can use the atonement in a different way. It's a whole other side that I have never explored before. I am grateful for the new mysteries that are starting to unfold.

I know that I will have more bad days. I hope that I will be able to handle them just a little better in the future.... we'll see. Even though Aaron's cupcakes didn't turn out very good, his intentions were pure. He wanted to give them to the neighbors. Clean hands and a pure heart, with maybe it little bit of sugar on it. I want hands like yours Aaron.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

This is why I blog...

I had just walked away from my computer from finishing the school posting when I hear the sound of water. This is what happens when I am not watching my sweet 1 year old ALL THE TIME.... enjoy. I have to go and clean up now. But really, who could get mad at him?!? And remember to CHEESE the next time you get in trouble.

Don't you hate it?

Don't you hate it when you are checking out at the store and you are waiting to pay when the person behind you stands right beside you, as if they are going to pay for it? I think there is an unwritten rule that when you are checking out, keep at least a cart length's away from the person in front of you! Have you ever been still putting up groceries and the person behind you has come up so close that you have to practically hug to get the rest up?

Last night, I was in Safeway, my last of three stores. I turned around to put some groceries in my cart and I turn back to the little pay station thingy and a dad and his teenager came and took my spot as if they were going to pay. When it came time to, I kind of shoved myself in front of them to pay. Am I the only one that gets slightly annoyed? Has this ever happened to you?

The blessed, blessed day finally arrived!

You could physically feel the excitement in the air when the first day of school rolled around. Aaron realized that getting ready for Kindergarten is a little bit earlier in the morning than preschool. He was still thrilled and here is how the day unfolded. We always walk with our neighbor across the street. Through the years we have added quite the procession!

At school, I was fortunate enough to have the kids contain their excitement for a brief moment to take a picture. Don't they look great?! My babies are growing up!

We followed everyone to their classrooms where I was able to take some candid shots.

Aaron was able to do some fun things in his classroom. I have a picture of Ammon and Tyler doing the same thing in the same classroom when they were in Kindergarten.

Aaron is a very fun loving, mischief making ready for school little 5 year-old. He is an independent thinker but loves to do what brothers do. He is a bright kid that will do really well in school!

Of course, if wouldn't be true to the nature of the up and coming student to not make their presence known. Hyrum enjoyed all the new school supplies.

Isn't he a handsome guy? Tyler is a very social guy. He loves to make friends and always tries to find someone who needs one. He especially likes to make friends with the female side. His "ups" of the day usually consists of his interactions with his lady friends.
He always has been a charmer!
Our school does this really cool thing where you pay a certain amount and they will compile and have your kids school supplies ready for them on the first day of school! I didn't have to go to four different stores to find all of

the specific items on the list. In a way, this was like Christmas morning for Ammon!

The kids had a great day, and I got a lot done! Here's to a new year!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Not sure what to title this one!

Agghh.... I have started and restarted this post over and over again. I have so much material that I could be posting since you probably have noticed it has been a while since I have posted. I fear that if I keep posting all of these happy-go-lucky posts that I have somewhat covered up the turmoil that still comes and goes in my heart. I promise my blog will not become a pessimistic, down-feeling blog! I will post all the material that has backed up while I was on my blog strike! Please just bear with me.

I had a really tough week. I still appreciate any prayers you can send my way. As much as I want to say that I am really making progress to having complete acceptance I get knocked back down so quickly! I know life isn't easy for everyone and that I am not the exception to the rule. I am sorry that this continues to be the common thread throughout my blog. Thank you for staying with me and all of your encouraging comments. It does my heart well when I hear your continued support.

A special thanks to Kristy and Linda for the selfless service in taking my children last week. You have no idea how much that was needed and appreciated. Even on the "bonus" day that I didn't expect to get on Friday was a blessing. I was able to take a quiet moment while I was sweeping the floor for the millionth time, listening to my most favorite CD right now, "The Sum of All Grace" by Mindy Gledhill and thoughts just started pouring into me.

I realized that throughout my life, I have used the Atonement of Jesus Christ to repent of the things that I have done wrong. I know that that power is real. I have felt the power of forgiveness. I haven't taken advantage of the power of the atonement in a different way. And that way is that of taking my sorrow. Whenever I think of the atonement I think of repentance, not because of a circumstance out of my control. I am still trying to figure out how I can utilize it to the fullest, but it gave me something to work towards. It gave me a light at the end of the tunnel, when before I was swirling around in darkness, not knowing when I was going to be spun out of the ever encircling grief. I am grateful for the stepping stones that Heavenly Father puts out for me when I calm myself to see them.