Thursday, October 22, 2015


Over the years I have become less and less in love with the autumn season. Not because I don't love what goes on around here every fall (namely football and volleyball season and the kids starting up school fresh again), but simply because of one thing: fall means winter is close behind. I actually love and appreciate the change of seasons Utah affords, but I absolutely hate to be cold. I also hate snowy road conditions. These two aspects of winter have led me to dread its arrival and pray for its early departure.

As a result of my disdain for winter to arrive, I usually find myself moaning and groaning when fall arrives and the evenings cool down. I simply can't seem to enjoy it when I know snow and freezing temperatures are right around the corner.

That is, until this year.

I decided instead of loathing an absolutely beautiful time of year I was going to breathe it in. Literally. So I started leaving my house for a brisk morning walk every day before my children left for school. And I made sure I took deep breaths, lots of them, just to really appreciate all that surrounded me. The results have been magnificent! Not only does it feel great to begin the day with a little exercise, but more importantly, it is wonderful to breathe the fresh crisp fall air and take in the beauty that surrounds me right here in Kaysville, Utah. 

Here is what it looked like yesterday morning as I rounded the corner near the elementary school.

So, maybe you aren't so in love with mountains and skies as I am, but seriously, aren't those clouds on top of the mountains beautiful? I absolutely love the mountains around here. They make me feel happy and safe and fulfilled every time I look at them. They are like therapy.

And this isn't actually the best picture of the amazing trees around here, but I love this row of them anyway. Very soon they will all be red and orange and flaming gold, and it will be stunning.

 This is the view I found when I rounded the corner just yesterday. Can you see the blanket of puffy cotton clouds resting on top of the mountains? It's so cool!

Here is another look just a ways down the street. The sun is just getting ready to make its debut and that blanket of fluffiness is sleeping on the tops of the mountains like a dream. Seriously! So stunning!

I haven't even shared all the amazing sunsets around here. God's masterpiece is truly splendid, and I am incredibly grateful for it! To be able to walk out my door and see such refreshing beauty all around me is a blessing I don't ever want to take for granted.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Interview

I always have this wonderful intention of interviewing each of my children on their perspective birthdays and recording it. We have copies of a few interviews my husband's mother gave to him as a child, and they are so fun to watch! It's absolutely incredible to see the growth, both physically and emotionally, from one interview to the next. Favorites, mottos, goals, and perspectives change so much as these children grow! I love it!

Unfortunately, I have not remembered to do this regularly (it's a major goal I have this go-around of birthdays). It is absolutely mind-boggling to see and hear my children's responses to questions and to see their individual personalities throughout the interview! It's one of those things that makes me smile clear to my toes and then thank God once again for these children of mine! Here is an example of what I'm talking about.

My dear, sweet, on-the-ball mother-in-law decided to interview each of her 20 grandchildren (ok, so a few are babies and cannot speak for themselves, but you get the point:) and record their answers. I'm honestly not sure how this woman makes so many wonderful things happen in her family, but I think it probably has something to do with her desire to raise a righteous posterity who knows she loves them, and I sure appreciate that in her. Anyway, she recently interviewed my children (not Berkley yet, but the oldest four). Here are a few of my favorite responses:

HALLEE: (ok, I must mention that Hallee is this amazing girl who DOES NOT like attention. She is happy to stand in the background and let others have the spotlight. Also, she is very goal-driven and works hard in school and volleyball. I do not have to tell her to do these things--she is self-motivated. You will see these traits come out in this interview--and I just have to smile).

Q: What would you do if you knew you could not fail and you could do anything you want?
A: Play college volleyball at Utah State University, go on a mission--not foreign.

Q: Regarding your responsibilities at home, what are you favorite and least favorite?
A: Prefer vacuuming, do not like cleaning bathrooms (What???? I have her clean bathrooms all the time, poor girl! Ha!)

Q: What is the most fun thing you have ever done?
A: Disney Cruise (She was 7 at the time--was the most fun she's ever had really 9 years ago? We've got to have some more fun around here!:)

Q: What took courage on your part? What made you stretch?
A: Talking in church--2 times! (This is where I wonder if this child is really mine. It was so incredibly hard for her to give a 4 minute talk in Sacrament Meeting, and yet I speak in front of hundreds all the time. Isn't it wonderful to notice traits your children did not get from you?)

Q: What do you look for in a guy?
A: How they treat their family (Love this! Let me note that she treats our family so sweetly almost always)

Q: What worries you the most?
A: Speaking in front of people (Ha! Again, she mentions this!)

Q: What is the best advice you've ever had?
A: Dead last is greater than "Did not Finish," which trumps "Did not start." (I'd like to say she got that golden nugget of inspiration from her mother, but I think she found it on the internet. Ha! At least it's comforting to know the internet really can provide positive info!)

NATE: (Ok, so now I must add a small explanation of personalities for all of my children:). Nate has a fabulous sense of humor. He also loves sports and works hard at being good at them. School work is not high on his list of priorities, although he gets good grades).

Q: What would you do if you knew you could not fail and could do anything you want?
A: Play sports in college, develop my own job in business or coaching, have a family

Q: What is your favorite subject in school?
A: History. But I hate school.

Q: Who is your best friend/s?
A: Dallen Burningham, Landon Brandt, My sister Hallee (Yep! I cried when I read this one, mostly because it is true and I love seeing my kids love each other!)

Q: What is the most fun thing you have ever done?
A: Disney Cruise (Ok, seriously, the kid was 5 years old! I'm getting the strong impression we need to go on another Disney Cruise!:)

Q: What are you looking forward to?
A: The end of the school year. I hate school. (Apparently, Nate hates school.:)

Q: What do you look for in a girl?
A: A girl who loves God more than me, is nice, attends church, wants 3 children.
Follow Up Question: What if she wants more children? Answer: We'll do rock, paper, scissors.
(I love it! I cried when he mentioned a girl who loves God more than him and I laughed out loud when he suggests rock, paper, scissors as a way to make important family decisions!)

Q: How old would you be if you could be any age?
A: 18--I could go on a mission--I'd like to go state-side, I'd be done with high school. (What is it with my kids that none of them want to go out of the country? )

Q: What inspires you?
A: My dad because he's a good example (Yep, tears again)

Q: What is the best advice you've ever had?
A: Never give up.

Q: What is your greatest joy in life?
A: Watching coaches work for something out of teams. In football, it's like 1-Don't stop until you've met the goal line, and 2- Life isn't easy--there is opposition.

REGYN: (This girl is so fun-loving! She loves the spotlight and loves to talk incessantly. She is sweet and kind and is still trying to figure out what she really wants to do, although she does love to act and sing)

Q: What would you choose to do in your free time (if you were alone)?
A: Make up a dance

Q: What is the best advice you've ever gotten?
A: Oh my! For acting I was told, "Do it in a dorky way so you won't be nervous." Also I'm told, "Don't police." (Ok, I love this! She is so honest!)

Q: What makes you happy?
A: When my mom says things like, "You are the best kid ever because you are always willing to help me." (A full range of emotions shot up when I read this, and it makes me realize all over again how important positive feedback is for kids)

Q: What are you goals for this year?
A: Stop policing. (Isn't this wonderful? It makes me smile clear to my toes. She was told she had a policing problem, so her goal is to stop it. Love it!) Also, have a better attitude, stop whining, learn my 12 times tables, say my prayers every morning, and close my eyes during the prayer. (Wow! This tells so much about this sweet girl's desire to be good)

Q: What is your worst job?
A: Cleaning bathrooms (What? None of my girls like to clean bathrooms apparently. I'm going to have to come up with a way to spice up this undesirable chore, I guess)

Q: What is your biggest worry?
A" My dad will lose his job (This shocked me. I had no idea. It makes me realize our children have concerns we absolutely don't know about)

Q: What makes you happy?
A: Having my mom tuck me in each night. I feel save when she is there, and also, going to church. (Feeling safe is so important for kids)

Q: Do you think you have felt the Spirit of the Holy Ghost? If so, when?
A: When Berkley was sealed to us in the temple. (That was such a special day! It's amazing to me how sensitive to the spirit our children really are. I love that she remembers feeling the Holy Ghost that day--she was only 7 years old).

BOSTON: (This kid constantly surprises me. I wonder sometimes if he is really "getting it" but then he will show remarkable maturity at times and I am humbled.)

Q: What super power would you want?
A: To fly--no, to see Jesus (What can I say? That answer is simply amazing to me)

Q: What is your favorite job?
A: That's hard--I don't like any. Probably dust. (This is so funny to me. Nate said he liked to dust best too and when I asked him why, he told me it's because he never really does it and I never seem to notice. Ha!)

Q: Who is your best friend?
A: Jesus (Again with the tears. I am so grateful for what Boston is teaching me)

Q: What is the most fun thing you've ever done?
A: Family reunion at Bear Lake (Keep in mind, he didn't go on the Disney Cruise:), but I think it is so telling that every child mentioned their funnest memory was something we've done as a family--not with friends).

Q: Do you want to go on a mission?
A: Yes--to Utah (Ha! I laughed out loud at this answer! My kids need to get out and see the world! I don't dare break it to Boston that he probably won't get called to serve in Utah since we live here)

Q: If you could do anything, what would it be?
A: Anything except die. (Ha! Who thinks of that? I love it!)

Q: What do you want to be when you grow up?
A: A ninja (What???!! I have no idea where this comes from, but it definitely seems like an answer an 8-year-old boy would give)

So, I'm sure these little interviews didn't mean as much to you as they did to me, but I'm telling you, my children's answers made me laugh and they made me cry, and most of all, they made me love my children even more deeply, which I didn't even think was possible. I just love how different each one of them is, and I love their honesty, and I love their perspectives! Sometimes I long to go back to a time in my life when I saw the world through the eyes and heart and mind of a child. I'm truly grateful I can still do that in a small way when I try to see things from my children's perspectives. I love these darn kids with all my heart!

And I can't wait for the next interviews!