Monday, October 17, 2016

Cultural Celebration and Dedication

This past weekend has been one to remember.

Twenty some-odd years ago, I lived in southern California when the San Diego temple was dedicated. I remember helping with the open house, putting shoe coverings on people's feet. And I remember the dedication itself, sitting in the cafeteria of the actual temple, and President Hinkley passing through on his way to the Celestial Room, and being within a few feet of him. That was an awesome event, and ever since then, the San Diego temple has held a special place in my heart. That was where I received my endowment before I left on my mission. I was able to serve there as an ordinance worker following my mission. That was also where I was married. The San Diego temple will always be "my" temple.

I hope that the Fort Collins temple will hold a similar place in my children's hearts. I was able to take them on a tour of the temple during the open house. The oldest three were able to return to help but on shoe coverings for the open house. The last couple months have been filled with rehearsals for the cultural celebration which took place Saturday evening.

Hannah, John and Joshua spent the entire day in Fort Collins rehearsing. Steven, Peter and I drove up in the evening just in time for the performance. President Uchtdorf attended, and it was fun to see the excitement of the youth to see him. Different groups of youth performed dances depicting a different part of Colorado's history and heritage. Behind them was a structure that began as a fort, but became a temple. The theme for the night was  "A Fortress of Faith". Between the dances, there were video clips shown on a big screen where youth shared their testimonies and faith building experiences.

Our children celebrated the days of the Native Americans. I'm afraid I spent too much time trying to figure out where my children were in the crowd (I think I saw Hannah, but not either of the boys at the time), and didn't enjoy the overall dance as much as I should have, but their dance was still my favorite.

John is one of the Indians in this picture... can you find him?
Hannah, as a deer, is in this picture.
Josh is not pictured, but he was helping hold one of the blue "river" cloths.
Following them came settlers, ranchers, army men, helping hands, and others.

After the celebration, it took us a little while to find the kids and get everyone rounded up to go home. Hannah had lost her bag, containing her phone as well as her shoes. (She performed barefoot!) Eventually she did find them in the Lost and Found, and we were able to go home.

Yesterday was the actual dedication of the Fort Collins temple. We were not able to be in the temple itself, but our meetinghouse became an extension of the temple and we had to present a recommend to enter and watch the proceedings projected on a screen in the chapel. We attended the second of the three dedicatory sessions. I enjoyed the talks; they helped me see temple work in a little different way than I had pictured it in the past. I had tears running down my cheeks as we joined the choir in singing "The Spirit of God".

I'm grateful that our family had the experience of seeing a new temple built and dedicated. I hope my children always remember the events of the last few months in regards to the temple, and that they feel that the Fort Collins temple is theirs.

For more on the Fort Collins Temple in general, see:
and, for information on the dedication and Cultural Celebration, see:

Also, the entire cultural celebration (all 75 minutes of it!) is available on YouTube!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Ishmael's Ordeal

I think we first came to our attention almost a week ago. We woke up in the morning, and as usual, Ishmael was lying on our bed. At some point, Steven reached over to pet him and suddenly, "Sssssss!" Ishmael hissed at him.

Now, you have to understand that Ishmael doesn't hiss. He doesn't scratch. He doesn't bite. (People anyway, apparently.) We realized that he had a sore on his side that he didn't want people touching. We assumed he'd been out and gotten into a fight with a neighborhood cat. At the time, the injured area was covered in fur so we couldn't get a good look at it, but he was eating and acting normally, so we respected Ishmael's desires and avoided petting the offending side.

A few days later, Thursday evening, was when we noticed the balding spot. He had an ugly sore on his side, as though a claw or fangs had sunk deeply into his side. The fur around it was disappearing, although whether it was due to him licking it or the sore becoming infected, or whatever, I didn't know. I resolved to take him to the vet.

Accordingly, on Friday morning, I took him to the vet. The trip to the vet was less eventful than I had feared it might be. I showed Ishmael the cat carrier, and he entered promptly, of his own free will. I carried the carrier to the car, and Ishmael seemed to enjoy the short ride to the animal hospital a mile or so down the street. I carried him, still in the carrier, into the building and checked in, then we settled ourselves in the "cat waiting area". Ishmael was content to be in his carrier, watching what he could, a little wary of the dogs that were passing by and occasionally barking. Eventually we were called back to an examination room. When I opened the door to the carrier, Ishmael exited readily, anxious to explore his new surroundings. He allowed the technician to weigh him and look at him. Then he returned to the safety of his carrier.

The sore spot on Saturday
When the vet came in to take a look, we had to tip him out of the carrier; he was less willing to leave. The vet looked at the sore, and asked several questions, then took Ishmael to the back room to shave the area and clean it so she could get a better look. When she returned, the verdict wasn't good. Whatever had caused the wound hadn't been clean, and a lot of the skin cells were dying. He had a hole in his side behind the marks, where the flesh was dead.

When I left the vet's office that day, I had three medications - a pain killer, an antibiotic, and a topical antibacterial cream. I also had a "cone of shame" to keep him from licking the wound. I also had a return appointment to check it again in a few days (today).

Ishmael has been pretty good about taking his medications. He had become resigned to wearing his bonnet, although he enjoys the times when we take it off him so he can wash and eat more comfortably. He wishes we would let him go outside, but in the interest of keeping his wound area clean, we have kept him in.

The sore spot today
This morning, I took him to the vet again to get it checked. It was red, and started bleeding when she washed it out, but the good news is that it seems to be healing. The hole inside is shrinking, and the skin is looking healthier. We are to continue with the cream and bring him back to be checked again on Friday.

Through it all, Ishmael has remained the sweet cat he has always been. With all the poking and prodding, all the smearing cream on his sore spot and taking the bonnet off and putting it back on, he has never scratched or bitten anyone, and since that first day, I haven't heard him hiss. He still stands up on me wanting to be held, to bury his head in my hair, to drool. He still loves to be pet. He wishes he could get into his cozy carrier with his bonnet on, but it's too wide to fit in the door. Poor thing. I hope he continues to heal.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Say What?

I sometimes wonder what is going on inside my children's heads. 
For example:

This morning as we were walking to school in a drizzly rain, Peter said, "Do you know what you could do when you are feeling lonely?"

Curious, I replied, "No, what?"

"You could turn off all the lights and watch a scary movie." He paused, then continued. "After a while, you won't feel like you are alone anymore!"

And feeling like there are ghosts or stalkers or creepy clowns or something around would be a good thing?

Where does he get these ideas???

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Powder Puff Football

Last night, I attended my first high school football game. (That I can remember. I may have been to one before, but I can't remember it if I did.) I haven't even watched football since I was in college and my college was playing - but then I watched it on TV, not in the stadium. I'm not generally a sports fan. But last night's game kept me entertained.
She wanted her jersey to say "Hanana Bread" but they got it wrong.
When Hannah told me last month that she wanted to play powder puff football, my first response was probably, "Really? Whatever for?" And then when I signed the permission forms that mentioned that there was a risk of serious injury, and possibly even death, I wondered why on earth I was letting her play! But I signed them anyway, grateful that we at least have health insurance.

Practices began, and kept her busy after school almost every day. I'm not sure how she juggled football practice with play practices, but somehow she managed.

Because there was a cultural celebration practice last night as well, only Peter and I were able to attend the game. Neither of us really understood what was going on as far as downs and the like, but we knew that when a player on the team with the gold jerseys (seniors) had the ball and was running like crazy towards the goal posts with everyone else on the field chasing behind, that something good was happening. And it wasn't such a good thing when it was someone in a red jersey (juniors) running towards the other goal posts.

There were over a hundred girls on each team, and they were divided up into smaller groups of eleven that would play at a time - some defensive and others offensive. Hannah played cornerback on a defensive team. One girl on the junior's team was in a wheelchair. She got to be on the field for the starting coin toss, and then she came out later when the junior team was only a few yards from their goalpost, and she was able to carry the ball over the line to make a touchdown.

The cheerleaders (the young men from the football team) added some entertainment to the game. When the opposing team made a touchdown, their team's cheerleaders jogged around the track and did a push up for each point the scoring team had on the scoreboard. The junior's team's cheerleaders got really tired and ended up doing crunches instead after the seniors scored their final touchdown. The halftime show they put on was fun. They started out with several acting like Pokemon and the others coming out and pelting them with red and white beach balls. They did some cheers, and then they did some cool gymnastics, forming pyramids and jumping over each other.

The seniors won the game, 54 to 28. When the game ended, a ton of people rushed onto the field in a mob, and it looked like a mosh pit. When I asked Hannah about it later, she said that was kind of scary. It sounded like she enjoyed the game and had fun. She's probably in better physical shape now than she's been in a long time, too.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Joseph Medley

I mentioned a couple days ago (if you watched my video from Monday) that I performed my Joseph Medley in Sacrament Meeting on Sunday. This is a medley that I have been working on - off and on - for a few years. It is a mashup of a bunch of songs relating to Joseph Smith. I had been working on it over the last few weeks, and finally felt like it was just about finished when I received an email from our ward music chairperson asking if I would perform a piano solo for Sacrament Meeting in a little over a week. This was the only thing that I felt I was close enough to being able to play well enough to perform with only a week's notice. I kept tweaking it over the next several days. (I think I printed out my final version on Friday!) But, with lots of practice, playing it several times a day (as you can see from the video) it turned out pretty well. I was happy with it, anyway.

Just in case you are interested, the .pdf of the sheet music is here. I also attempted to produce a midi file of it in MuseScore, but the tempo and dynamics are a bit off, and I couldn't figure out how to fix them. (It slows way down, and then speeds up later, and there is nothing I can see that tells it to do that... so I can't speed up the too slow part! And the dynamics changes are a bit more sudden than I would do if I were playing it myself.) You can get a general idea of the way it is supposed to sound, anyway. The midi file is here.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

FHE Activity

Monday evening, our family trekked outside with a watermelon and some rubber bands for a wholesome recreational activity, and to see if what Steven said was true: If you wrap enough rubber bands around a watermelon, it will explode.

7:00 pm

 7:06 pm

 7:17 pm
 7:36 pm
 7:44 pm
 8:00:23 pm
 8:00:27 pm
Note: Do NOT try this indoors!!!!!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Are My Days Crazy?

A few months ago, a couple of my sisters began a facebook group to help us be motivated to be more creative. The idea was that each month they would post a new challenge, and then we were invited to participate in that challenge. I usually have enough creative stuff going on (between knitting, crocheting, jewelry making, sketching, Photoshopping, sewing, etc.) that I didn't feel like I really needed a challenge to be creative, but I joined anyway.

The most recent challenge is called "Crazy Days" and the challenge was: "Show us what you've been working on now that school is in session again!! We've all been crazy busy, I know, so share with us a glimpse of your craziness!!" 

The challenge was posted on Monday, September 12th. I read the challenge, and then thought, Yes, I agree that life seems crazy... but what makes it so crazy? What is it that I do each day that makes it seem that way? All my kids are in school, so it's not like I'm chasing after toddlers all day like a lot of my sisters are. And then I looked back on the day I was having. Yes, life was definitely crazy.

Here's my Monday:

5:25 get up, have family scripture reading

5:50 do aerobics

6:20 shower

6:35 read scriptures

7:00 wake boys, eat breakfast, straighten house

7:45 walk boys to school

(So far, pretty normal for me...)

8:00 my friend (and RS counselor) picks me up, gives me a ride to where Hannah parked my van. (Hannah takes my van to seminary, and then parks in front of another friend's house across the street from the high school. Normally I walk to pick it up so I'll have a car during the day.)

8:15 my friend and I return to my house and discuss RS stuff.

9:30 I realize I'm going to be late for my next appointment scheduled for 9:30. My friend leaves, and I head out for my appointment. It is a Visiting Teaching PPI. They usually take between 30 minutes to an hour. The sister I was visiting ended up telling me about her children and grandchildren, and pretty much her entire life story. I enjoyed the chance to get to know her better.

12:30 I leave that appointment and return home for lunch.

1:00 I bake bread and prepare some food that I can bring to a ward member who is having surgery the next day. I also do the chores and stuff around the house that I need to do.

3:30 I pick up the boys from school.

4:00 I take John with me to drop off the food for the ward member. She tells me she doesn't have a ride home after her surgery the next day, and I suggest someone she can ask. After leaving there, John and I swing by a shoe store to get John some new shoelaces that he desperately needed.

5:00 I return home and start on dinner, but get a phone call from the ward member saying that the person I suggested can't give her a ride. We brainstorm for a few minutes. She tries calling someone else, I call another of my counselors for ideas of who else might be available... Eventually we figure it out. She has a ride.

6:30 Dinner is late.

7:30 We have Family Home Evening.

9:00 I am ready for bed.
Tuesday morning, I began documenting my day by taking pictures of everything I did with my phone. This has been my life for the last week: (Through Friday anyway. By Friday night the kids were sick of the *click* of my phone camera and I was literally sick.)