Vlog Vednesday #1? (It's Thursday. I know.)

So, here's an idea...

What do you think? Would you join in? What shall we vlog about?

P.S. Thought I'd share my favorite daily vlogs. All hilarious and family friendly!

Rhett and Link
Wheezy Waiter


I Miss School

I've been doing a lot of studying this week which has led me to realize a few things:

#1. I miss school and want to go back someday. (Four plus years of college and all I have to show for it is a lot of student loans.)

#2. I would be a terrible student seeing as how Evelyn + sitting still + reading = ZZZZZZZZ

#3. I've gotten really dumb over the last ten years. (And I used to be kind of smart. Dangit.)

#4.  I really need to do this more often.

I also realize there is a time and season for everything. Right now I am in the season of young(ish) motherhood. I am busy raising these four little ones; changing diapers, helping with homework, supervising  vigilantly, struggling to create control out of chaos, shuffling non-stop around a semi-clean house, bleary-eyed and plastered in mystery stains. But one day...one day I will get my chance to get my homework on again. And then I'll complain about how hard life is then and how I long for these "simpler" days now. Ha!

While my studies have been of a more personal and spiritual nature, I did want to share this one gem that I found while "studying" Facebook.

"Be strong enough to be gentle. Too many parents equate being gentle with being weak or passive when nothing could be further from the truth. Gentleness requires great control, active connection, and intense calm. So, when your child needs discipline, remember that an iron grip isn’t the only way to go. You can accomplish great things by being the calm voice of authority and reason in your home." ~Hal Runkel

Good one, huh?

At this rate, I have a feeling that I'll have motherhood figured out the day Cee walks out the door to go to college.

Hey! Maybe we'll go to college together! That is...if I can stay awake.


Keep Happy

Someone has been posting propaganda around our house. On every door upstairs you will find one of these signs...

"Keep Happy"

An uplifting reminder, lovingly created and posted by 6 year old Jeigh.

Also lovingly graffiti-ed by 8 year old Dee. His propaganda? The kid loves his Skylanders. The world should know.

Speaking of happy...

This is how we had fun on Saturday after being inspired by THIS video...


Sharing a Giveaway: Altra Torin Giveaway!

Sometimes a blog is for recording memories and sometimes it's for shamelessly hoping you'll win a giveaway.

Today it's THIS giveaway that I really want to win!

Free Altra Torins?! Yes! Oh yes!

This girl could always use some new running shoes, especially Altras, which I've heard soooo many good things about.

I've got my fingers crossed!

Now to go get my 12 miles in for today in my old, worn out shoes. (C'mon new shoes!)


Define: "Freedom"

(Two definitions in a row? Yes. Because don't I love a good definition.)

Define: "Freedom"

According to the dictionary...



1. the state of being free or at liberty rather than in confinement or under physical restraint.2. exemption from external control, interference, regulation, etc.
3. the power to determine action without restraint.

And I'm submitting a fourth definition.

4. a two-year old, buck naked, jumping on her Mommy's bed, singing "Jingle Bells" at the top of her lungs.

Doesn't get any more freedom-y than that.


Define: "Sexy"

The other day my son asked me what "sexy" means.

After retrieving my jaw from my lap, I sputtered out some jargon about how it means "beautiful" but not in a very nice way and that it really isn't something we should be saying. By the time I reached the end of my muddled definition, his attention had already wandered and he was crawling around on the floor in search of the perfect Lego piece to add to his ship.

I don't know if he even gave it any further thought, but I sure did.

Hmm...What does sexy mean?

I mean there's the obvious definition that the world gives us in every song, picture, movie, TV commercial, magazine, billboard, etc.

Big boobs. Big booties. Big hair.
Big big big and tiny tiny tiny.
Tiny waists. Tiny eyebrows. Tiny clothes. Tiny appetites.
Rippling pecs. Ripping bodices.
Fast. Fast cars. Fast relationships. Fast money.
Bright colors and shades of grey.
And everything in between.


According to the dictionary...


1. concerned predominantly or excessively with sex; risqué: a sexy novel.
2. sexually interesting or exciting; radiating sexuality: the sexiest professor on campus.
3. excitingly appealing; glamorous: a sexy new car.



None of the above is how I would define "sexy" because this is what I found to be "sexy" last week....

I went searching for my missing husband to find him in the cold garage, in his coveralls, covered in grease and oil, devoting his Saturday, his one free day, to fixing our one working vehicle.

Using his hands, time, knowledge, and skills to save us money and keep our old minivan going a few more miles.

Now that's sexy.

Eat your heart out, Channing Tatum.


Jar Love #7: Cream of Something (Gluten-Free!)

When it comes to good, old-fashioned home cooking, there is a standby ingredient that millions of home have sitting in their pantry or cupboards. Millions of homes including my own.

Campbell's Cream of Mushroom/Chicken/Celery/Potato/Broccoli Soup

Only in my home, those cans are collecting dust and have been since Fall of 2011. Well, more like Summer 2005.

Campbell's soup may be convenient and tasty and a key part of great recipes, but they're also full of dairy and gluten; two things two of my little ones can't eat with a dairy allergy and celiac disease. I really try to avoid the chaos of preparing three different meals for my family--life is crazy enough as it is--so Campbell's Cream of Whatever hasn't been on my shopping list for awhile. And the recipes that call for it have been off the table too.

No Cheesy Potatoes.
No Chicken and Rice.
No...Uhhh...It really has been so long since I've cooked any of those recipes that I can't even remember what they are.

Forget about the gluten and dairy! Those classic red and white cans are full of sodium, fat, and a bunch of other unhealthy junk. AND they're just so darn expensive. Was it really so bad that my children's food issues prevented me from using any Campbell's Cream Soups? Probably not.

But come on. What really goes better with ham than Cheesy Potatoes?

Well, thanks to Pinterest and this "Cream of Something" recipe we can have Cheesy Potatoes again! AND I have a way to use some of the non-fat dry milk that's been sitting in my food storage for who knows how long! AND I get to use my jars for easy mixing and storing! *happy tears flood eyes*

Cream of Something Recipe (slightly adapted from THIS recipe):

1 cup non-fat dried milk
3/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup beef/chicken/veggie bouillon (granules or powder, NOT cubes)
4 TBSP dried minced onions
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt

Pour all ingredients into jar. Screw on lid and shake jar to mix thoroughly. Label lid with preparation instructions (For the equivalent of one can of condensed cream soup: mix 1/3 cup dry mix with 1 1/4 cup water. Heat in sauce pan on medium until thick.) Store in pantry.

I was rather skeptical the first time I tried this recipe. Could this really taste that good? Will this mix actually thicken? It worked perfectly! It does NOT taste exactly like Campbell's soup, but it is delicious nonetheless in it's own way. And it has to be healthier than the canned stuff. Less preservatives, salt, and fat. And most importantly for us, it's GLUTEN FREE!

So what did I use it for? Well, Cheesy Potatoes of course! Even though it's gluten-free, it's not dairy-free, so Dee had to eat the shredded potatoes minus the delicious, creamy sauce, but he's used to it. He was pretty pleased with his plain potatoes. (Say that three times fast!)

So, just to reiterate why this Cream of Something mix is so fantastic...
...gluten free!
...no mystery ingredients!
...lower in sodium and fat!
...uses up some of that Non-Fat Dried Milk you have sitting in your food storage!
...less expensive!
...can be stored in a jar! Feelin' the Jar Love on this one for sure!


A Dark Shade of Grey

For the most part I am a positive person.

At least I try to be.

At least I hope I am.

(A-ha! "Hope"! See? Positive!)

But today I'm having a very hard time finding the positive in anything. Wait. No. That's not true. I can see the positive. I just don't want to have much to do with it. In fact, I'd kind of like to gag it, shove it in a closet, and pretend it doesn't exist.

I blog about the great days. Why not the rough ones too?

My husband is out of town again.
I slept on my back funny and can hardly move without being in lots of pain.
When I weighed myself in this morning, I discovered the See's chocolate had found it's final resting place.
Cee has decided she's ready to potty train.
After cleaning up multiple pee accidents, I've decided I'm not.
For some asinine reason we decided it was time to take down the crib. This means Cee isn't sleeping which means no one else is either.
I'm trying to rededicate myself to eating healthy and avoiding sugar. My mood and behavior could be likened to a smoker who's trying to quit. Not pretty.
The house is trashed and despite my efforts to clean and get the kids to clean, it doesn't appear to be getting any better.
Everything is getting on my nerves, which seem to be a little closer to the surface than normal.

And it goes on and on and on.

And what makes it worse is that today is President's Day which means my kiddos are off of school. It's not worse because they're home. I actually really love having my children home. What's worse is that I can't seem to rally myself enough to be a good, fun mom on their day off of school. And that just makes my dark shade of grey mood even blacker.

We could have gone for a drive or out for a treat or played at McDonald's or played with cousins or baked cookies or gone swimming or watched movies together or pulled out board games or danced in the living room or had a cleaning party or walked around the neighborhood or had friends over or gone to the movies or to the Dollar Store or on a scavenger hunt or...or...or...

But for every fun thing, I had an excuse.

I don't want to spend any money. I'm trying to eat healthy: no treats for anybody since I can't avoid the temptation. No swimming; it's that time of the month. My back hurts. My head hurts. My patience is worn thin. The house is a mess. The kids aren't dressed. Cousins are sick. It's too cold. It's too wet. It takes too much energy.

Ugh. Today was a failure. A missed opportunity. And it's all my fault. Blah.

I keep considering putting a positive spin on this blog post (there's always something that can be gleaned even from rotten days such as these) but I'm just going to let it lie. You can't know the good, if you don't know the bad. Here's to better days in the future...as they will inevitably come.

(Dang that positivity sneaking in there!)


My Yummy Valentine

I've noticed a developing trend in our home on Valentine's Day. In fact, I might even be bold enough to say we have a true "Day of Love" tradition! Ooo! I'm a sucker for a good tradition. Especially a tradition that involves food.

For the past several years we have skipped the romantic dinner out for two and opted instead for a fun family dinner at home. Sure, this means more work for me as the primary food preparer in our home, but I find I quite enjoy it, especially as I feel this culinary contribution is my own special valentine to the ones I love the most. The way to your family's hearts are through their stomachs, right?

Don't you love my fancy china?
Last year my yummy valentine was mini-meatloaves (with ketchup on top shaped in a heart), mashed potatoes (with heart-shaped pieces of cheese on top), and kiwi and strawberry slices (which almost look like hearts if you really use your imagination).

This year I stepped it up a notch and I'm not sure if I'll ever be able to top it (even with heart-shaped cheese).

My Yummy Valentine 2013 Menu:

Personal choice (everyone was thrilled to be allowed to drink soda)

Caesar salad (and regular salad for Dee)

Main course:
New York Steak with a garlic/parsley compound butter
Steamed Snow King Crab legs (so sweet and salty already, no butter necessary)
Creamy Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Roasted Asparagus
Garlic Cheddar Biscuits (made from scratch)

Valentine's candy

Not to toot my own horn, but the food was DELICIOUS! Joe prepared the steak perfectly--it was tender and tasty--and I made everything else. This was the first time I've ever made garlic mashed potatoes or prepared crab legs. If I had known how easy both of these are to make...I would've been doing this for years! I'm a big fan of crab meat, but because of the expense rarely eat it at a restaurant. This was our children's first experience with crab and they really liked it too. I do believe we will be having more crab legs at home in the future.

The kids trying to figure out how to get the crab meat out of the shells.

The flan was so-so. I used the recipe out of my Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. It was underwhelming and almost tasteless. I'll have to try a different recipe next time. Or find a sweet little old Mexican lady to make it for me.

While everyone really liked the food, it was the table that was the highlight for my children. I spread out a tablecloth (a true rarity at our house) and used some special square paper plates I found at the dollar store. I gathered a few candles for the middle and spread some valentine candy down the length of the table. Not incredibly fancy, but something out of the ordinary.

But the crowning touch was the goblets. The kids were over-the-moon about them. And that's exactly why I bought them for our dinner. How often do you get to drink out of a goblet? I remember being pretty thrilled with the chance to swig out of stemware when I was a kid too. It's the little things that are magical. (And thank you, Dollar Store, for relieving any anxiety over possibly broken goblets. "No worries. It was only a dollar.")

The fancy table inspired the womenfolk to get gussied up. All the girls put on their dresses and "jewels".

It was a lovely dinner for a perfectly lovely way to spend an evening of love with the love of my life and the four little loves that are a result of our love! LOVE! LOVE! LOVE!


Love is...

At 17 years old I knew what love was.

Turns out, I was wrong.

Then at 22, as a newlywed, I just KNEW what love was.

Wrong again.

Now, I'm 31, still married with four children, and I certainly know what love is.

Love is...

...tag teaming bath night.
...listening to country music even though you hate country music.
...saving the biggest piece of meat/peanut butter candy/Milano cookie for him.
...watching your husband dance with another girl...your daughter.
...going to Stake Conference with four young children.
...eating sushi when you'd rather have "real food".
...sitting through Les Miserables/Twilight/Pride and Prejudice.
...saying "no".
...saying "yes".
...laughing during *cough* loooove-making *cough*.
...calling to check-in every night.
...siding with your spouse.
...driving a beat-up mini-van instead of a brand new Ford pickup.
...staying home.
...shaving your legs even though it isn't Sunday.
...not having to shave your legs.
...emptying the dishwasher.
...TWO boxes of chocolate just to make sure she gets the kind she really likes.
...making chocolate chip pancakes for the kids while she goes for a run.
...knowing when to let the stupid, little things slide.
...giving your wife, who is applying mascara, a warning BEFORE stopping the car.
...looking past stretch marks and saggy, deflated, post-baby breasts.
...knowing when to keep it to yourself.
...cutting your shower short so there's enough hot water left for someone else.
...replacing the toilet paper roll the "right" way.
...leaving tomatoes off half of the dinner.
...knowing lost wedding bands don't really matter in the long run.
...not using the "D" word.
...bringing in the mail, pumping gas, and shoveling snow.
...trying to replicate his mother's recipe.
...telling your children how wonderful their mother/father is.
...leftovers and Netflix.
...not cutting your hair because he likes it long.
...clearing the table after dinner.
...never, ever, ever giving up, even when the rest of the world seems to be.

That's what I think love is. But maybe when I'm 83, I'll really know.


No Bake Cookies (Dairy and Gluten Free!)

No Bake Cookies. Cow Pie Cookies. Gorilla Poop.

Call them what you will, these little treats are too yummy and too easy to whip up. And yes, I do say "too easy" as in "too easy to completely destroy my healthy eating plans". They're packed full of sugar and peanut butter and that's probably why they taste so darn good.

I hear there is a healthier--yet still delicious--recipe out there disguised under the name "Energy Bites". I intend to give them a try on a day when I have a little more willpower. But today we're making No Bakes and I'm wandering down Memory Lane as this was one of the first recipes I remember making on my own as a kid.

Now that I have kids of my own, things are a tad more complicated. With one that can't have milk and another that can't have gluten, I look for ways to make my old favorite recipes work. With a little butter-flavored shortening, some almond milk, and a lot of gluten-free oats this one WORKS!

Gluten Free/Dairy Free No Bake Cookies:
(Adapted from Six Sisters' Stuff No Bake Cookies recipe)

In a medium saucepan, mix and bring to a boil for one minute:
2 Cups sugar
2 TBSP shortening (or butter)
2 TBSP cocoa
1/2 cup almond milk (or soy milk or cow's milk)

Remove from stove top and add:
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup peanut butter (crunchy or creamy)

Mix ingredients until most of peanut butter is combined.

Add 2 cups of Quick Rolled Oats (Gluten Free) and mix until all is evenly incorporated. Drop by spoonfuls onto wax paper on counter top. Cookies will "set up" as they cool.  

I don't understand how this works, but these cookies taste even better the day after they are made. My advice? Make a double batch so you have more for tomorrow. ;)

P.S. Make sure to visit my weight loss blog for the healthier Energy Bites recipe.


Bald is Beautiful?

They say "Bald is beautiful!" And the menfolk in my house whole-heartedly agree. My husband does not shed tears over a rapidly receding hairline. In fact, he embraces it. He cuts his own hair short short short and is looking forward to the day when it's all gone. Which, honestly, isn't too far off.

But the man is 31 years old. It's the time and season. While I don't care for his military length, I admire his positive outlook on what most of the world bemoans as a curse.

I just wish he would stop sharing his "bald is beautiful" mantra with our eight year old son. Bald is NOT beautiful when you are eight.

Dee has been begging and begging to go bald for a few months. At first I flat out refused. But he still pleaded. So I resorted to bargaining. If he would at least wait until after his baptism, then I would shave his head. I had hoped with time he would forget his "cue-ball quest", but it only seemed to intensify the burning desire within.

He was pretty excited about his baptism date, but I think 37.2% of that excitement could be contributed to it being the preliminary event to Mission: Hair Be Gone. Even the morning of his baptism he asked if we could cut his hair as soon as we got home from the church. Luckily, a luncheon and a household full of people was a fairly valid excuse even for an eight year old boy with passionate pursuits. The chaos of that and a Superbowl party and the oncoming week of school stalled him for another week, but today he walked in the door from school. With hardly a breath he asked yet again, "Can I go bald now?!"

With resignation, I got my clippers out and began to remove his handsome head of hair. I even used my own pink razor and shaving cream to take every last stray follicle from his sweet little head. Throughout the entire process he cackled and screeched with delight. "No one's going to recognize me! They are going to be SO surprised! This. is. so. AWESOME!"

Seeing how happy it made him, I couldn't help but get into the spirit of things. He may have a (now painfully obvious) odd-shaped head, but with that huge happy grin on his face...bald IS beautiful. It's fun to have a change every once in awhile. Hair grows back. No harm done.

Unfortunately, his sisters don't see it the same way...


We Owe a DEBT of Gratitude to Dave Ramsey

***Note: This is a rather sensitive post. It's embarrassing to admit a problem, but my hope is that instead of opening up my family to judgement that this might help someone else who has shared the same struggles we have.

My husband and I have been married for almost ten years and have struggled with debt for probably 9.5 of 10 of those years.

I'm just going to put it plainly.


Not stupid people. Just stupid about money.

I can tell you from personal experience that debt places a heavy, stifling burden on a marriage. It's just ugly and so so unnecessary with all the other junk a marriage has to endure to survive.

Without going into too great of detail, my husband and I have finally decided that ENOUGH IS ENOUGH and we are putting an end to the viciousness that is "debt". 2013 is our year! And I'm happy to report that for the first time in ten years, good things, at least concerning debt, are happening.

We are working TOGETHER. In the past, we have both tried to dig our way out, only we each tried to do it our own ways. The result was two people standing in a hole, sweating furiously, and just throwing a lot of dirt on top of each other. All that ensued was anger, frustration, despair, and even more debt.

This time we are doing it Dave Ramsey's way. We have been reading his book, "Total Money Makeover", at night before we go to bed. Not only are we learning how to handle our money, but we have a chance to spend time together and communicate. Sans four little ones. I am loving this for so many reasons.

We are following Dave's "Baby Steps". We have promised each other that we will not borrow money EVER AGAIN. We even shook on it. We saved up a $1000 emergency fund so we have something to use in case of an emergency instead of going further into debt. (You can't get out of a hole by digging more.) And now we are pushing our "Debt Snowball" down the hill. We are paying off our debts from smallest to largest, building steam with each paid debt.

And guess what?! IT'S WORKING!!! I find myself checking our bank account multiple times a day now, not because I'm scared that there's not going to be enough money there to cover all the bills, but because the bills are covered and then there's still money leftover to pay debt!

We budget now! GASP! And I actually like it!! DOUBLE GASP!! We go over our budget a couple of times a month and I print it out and hang it on our bathroom mirror so that we can look at it every day. I'm a rather visual person. I am most successful with weight loss when I make a plan and hang it somewhere I can see it constantly. This has proven just as successful with budgeting and debt. In fact, I find myself standing in our bathroom often, just staring at the budget sheets. I'm kind of obsessed. It's true that I do have an obsessive personality. For the past couple of years I have obsessed over weight loss. Now I've set my sights on debt. This isn't a bad thing if it's working.

I'm not ready to divulge just how much debt we have to pay off. Maybe I will when it's all paid off and we are ready to declare just as so many other Dave Ramsey fans have, "WE'RE DEBT FREE!". It doesn't really matter what size the debt is, it makes us slaves. Unhappy, frustrated, paranoid slaves. And we are ready to break the bonds that bind us.

That being said, please understand if we aren't as generous this year. If we don't send gifts or Christmas cards or meet up for dinner or go on trips, it's not because we don't love and cherish you. We're just trying to work with "gazelle speed" to "live like no one else NOW so we can live like no one else later". Sometimes it's embarrassing and rather painful, but our hope is someday it will all be worth it and then we can be more generous than we ever dreamed.


Jar Love #6: Fruit Fly Pest Control

Jars are pretty. They hold pretty, pretty things. And pretty nutritious things. And then sometimes, they hold not so pretty things, yet they prove for the millionth time to be pretty darn useful.

Check this out.

For the past several months we've had a problem with flies. Tiny, red, pesky flies. Just buzzing around our house, particularly the kitchen and the bathroom. They were irritating to say the least, but they made me paranoid too. Is my house dirty? Are my cleaning skills not up to par? Do I have a problem?

Finally one day I got so fed up I went online and researched the little buggers. Turns out I did have a problem and that problem was called "fruit flies". Fruit flies are attracted to produce that is sitting on your counter. So I put the produce away.

But the flies didn't go away. So I did some more research. Fruit flies can be attracted to food remaining in your garbage disposal. So I was extra diligent in making sure the disposal was clean. And the counter was clean. And the kitchen in it's entirety was clean.

But the fruit flies remained. In my bathroom too. Which was void of produce and garbage disposals anyway.


Finally I read that cider vinegar in jars placed in areas that are fruit-fly-infested will do the trick.

Jars, you say?

I prepared my jars, placed one in the bathroom and one in the kitchen, and in one week's time my home was fruit-fly-less! And still is!

In case you have the same problem, you will need:

cider vinegar
aluminum foil

Pour cider vinegar (and it must be cider vinegar! Apparently the smell resembles rotting fruit, aka fruit fly crack) into jar. You don't need much. Just enough to drown the little buggers.

Place aluminum foil over jar opening. 

Poke ONE hole into foil. (When I first did this I poked several holes and soon realized the flies were just coming and going as they pleased. My husband had the insight to change the foil and poke ONE hole. This way the flies go in, but can't quite figure how to get back out.  Not the smartest link on the food chain.)

Place jars in kitchen and bathroom.

Change out cider vinegar every couple of days.

After a week you ought to be free of your fruit-loving pests! 

Jars save the day again!


Jar Love #5: Brown Rice

Just a little more jar love...

I've been dry packing again, using THIS method.

This time it's not leftover Easter candy. (Rats!) Nutritious, gluten-free brown rice that I purchased in bulk from my local Costco will be saved nicely in smaller portions for my food storage.

Candy or rice, it all looks so pretty to me sitting in clean canning jars. My inner Little Red Hen is preening.

Helpful hint: I cut out the nutrition and preparation information from the bag and stuck it in my recipe book for future reference.


Jar Love #4: Money, Money, Money!

Later on this week, I'm going to work up the guts to share a post about money...or more specifically, debt. Until then I wanted to share this very cool idea that was floating around on Facebook at the beginning of the new year.

Undoubtedly we all have similar resolutions on New Years Day. "Save money" is always on my list, whether I'm willing to write it down or not; whether I'm willing to stick to it or not. When I saw this clever little method for saving money, I was convinced that "save money" was one resolution I could keep this year.

And it didn't hurt that a jar was involved. We all know how much I love my jars.

Here's the idea...

Print off a copy of this 52 Week Money Challenge page...

And glue or tape it to a jar.
Now, add money.

Make sure to put your jar in a highly visible place so you remember to add to it weekly. If you follow the paper exactly, you will add $1 on Week 1, $2 on Week 2, etc, etc, etc.

Or you could do the opposite. Work backwards. Add $52 on Week 1, $51 on Week 2, etc, etc, etc.

OR you could even add as you are able. Week 1, I can spare $1 for my jar, but Week 2, I can afford more and add $30 to my jar. Brilliant, no?

By Christmas time you should have a spare $1,378.00 sitting in a jar! What would you do with $1,378.00???


Dee's Baptism

On February 2, 2013, our oldest child and only son was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I can't deny that we, as his parents, probably had a profound effect on this event taking place, but it truly was his decision to do so. For several months we have been talking with our children, particularly Dee, about why and how we are baptized. We asked him if he wanted to be baptized, making it clear that we were not forcing him to do it, and he responded with a resounding "Yes!"...as long as Daddy wouldn't let him drown. :)

I am so proud of Dee for making this choice. By being baptized he has followed the example of the Savior, he has proven his willingness to try to choose the right, and he has become a member of the LDS church, the church we believe to be the true church of Jesus Christ. My hope is that this is the first of many choices he will make in his life that will bring him closer to Heavenly Father and happiness in this life and the next.

Saturday was such a great day! Lots of our family came to support Dee and our family. The baptism was held at our stake center. Brother Sessions from our ward's bishopric conducted. Dee's sister, Jeigh, proudly led the music, beginning with an opening song of "I am a Child of God". Grandpa R. gave the opening prayer.

Grandpa P. gave a talk on baptism, wherein he shared the experience of his own baptism which was done in his local high school swimming pool. Another kid that was being baptized that day had to be rescued from the deep end. He reminded Dee to find something memorable that would mark this day in his mind.

Grandma R. gave a talk on the Holy Ghost. She had many objects to help Dee know how to recognize the Spirit, one of them being his favorite fuzzy blanket that was given to him as a brand new baby. Dee listened attentively to the talks. I'm not sure if he was nervous or excited or probably both. He slightly bounced in his chair with a huge grin on his face through the entire meeting.

After the talks, Aunt Erin and I sang a special musical number, "Baptism". It has been a long time since I've had the chance to sing with my sister; we used to do it all the time. It was my way of sharing in and contributing to Dee's big day.

After the musical number, Dee and his dad stepped into the font and Dee was baptized by immersion with both of his grandfathers acting as witnesses. All the little cousins and children who had come to the baptism sat near the glass surrounding the font to watch. Jeigh started cackling as Dee was submerged in the water and that set several of the children off. However irreverent, they were just voicing the excitement and energy that could be felt in the room.

While Dee and Joe changed into dry clothes, the primary president, Sister Garside, passed out papers for people to write notes of congratulation, advice, or love for Dee. When they reappeared, dried and dressed, the confirmation took place. Nine men (Joe, Grandpa R., Grandpa P., Uncle Kip, Uncle Colin, Cousin Brandon, Paula (friend), Bishop Phillips, and Brother Sessions) who hold the power of the priesthood placed their hands on Dee's head and gave him the gift of the Holy Ghost. My husband, Joe, is a humble man who gives powerful blessings. I'm always amazed at the words that come from his mouth when he is acting as the mouthpiece of God. I know they are not his own. Among many other things, he blessed Dee to do well in school, to serve as a full-time missionary someday, and reminded him how much his earthly and heavenly parents love him. Dee gave awkward, yet happy handshakes and hugs to all the men in the circle after the confirmation.

Dee and his sweet Primary teacher, Sister Spears

Brother Sessions turned some time over to Bishop Phillips and then closed the meeting. The closing song, "I'm Trying to be Like Jesus" was led again by Jeigh and the closing prayer was given by Dee's five year old cousin, Kashus. We were slightly nervous when Dee wanted to ask Kash to give the closing prayer. Kash's prayers are often...creative...and always long. This one wasn't any different, but it was a great prayer. It was obvious that Kash had been listening closely to the baptism and confirmation when he repeatedly asked that things be blessed "by the holy authority". At one point, even he got tired during his long prayer and yawned a big, loud yawn. That was the point that Dee and I lost it. I had to clamp my hand over my mouth to stop from giggling out loud. It was a memorable prayer from one fantastic kid!

Once the meeting was over we made our way to our home where we served a luncheon. Dee had requested Chicken Noodle and Minestrone Soup. Aunt Erin made a Cheese Broccoli Soup for those who CAN have milk. With about 45 people, the house was full to the brim with family and friends. Just the way we like it!

This boy is blessed to have such great friends and family in his life. He is so loved! What a special day!

Grandpa and Grandma P.

Grandpa and Grandma R. (and cousin London)

Three generations

These girls sure are lucky to have such a great older brother!



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