Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Busy but Blessed

Does life ever slow down?   I thought once we finished building our home and were settled in, then I would have more time to catch up on so many missed blog posts.   Ha!  Life just keeps going and writing posts and publishing don't seem to happen.

This last month of our life has been very busy.  I don't know if I can say it's been the busiest it has ever been because I do remember other very busy times but it has been crazy and when I sat down and thought about all that happened in the last month I am amazed we made it though it all.

Where each of these probably deserve their own post, I will put it all into one.

More Change
On the first weekend of March (exactly one month from the day we moved into our new house)  Zeke and I were called into the Stake President's office.  After some causal talk with the Stake President and the first counselor, the stake president said to us  "Zeke the Lord wants your life to change".  For someone that resists change, I just about blurted out "IT ALREADY HAS!"  but I reframed myself and he proceeded to call Zeke to be the new bishop of the Mapleton 19th ward!

 The first few days after the call we were in a state of denial.  Luckily, we had 3 weeks to let this shock set in and for us to be able to finish unpacking our home.  Zeke also spent that time pouring over the ward directory trying to put a face with each name.  Our ward is very large with several new families moving in each month.  So even though we knew several people in our ward there were yet so many to know. 

It's been a month since he was sustained and he has been busy busy busy. 
*Has already spoke at 4 different meetings 
*Help two missionaries submit their papers
*Attend and carry out a ward youth conference 
*And all the other many things a bishop does
*Not to mention being busier than ever at work (when it rains it pours)

Now the question I get all the time is "How is single life?"  
He is gone lots more, but he is such a good man that still puts his family first and makes time for everyone of us.  As hard as this adjustment is, we feel blessed as a family and are grateful for this opportunity to serve the Lord. 

These pictures were taken right before we went to church on the day he was sustained.  Do I look nervous?  Well I was, and I thought I just might not ever stop shaking.  But once we went into the chapel it all went away and I felt the Lord sustain Zeke and our family in this calling.  I was even able to speak with out shaking. A true miracle!

We were so grateful for the love and support of many family and a few friends.  After church we hosted almost 40 people at our house for dinner.  It was the first dinner "party" at our new house.   Never thought our first dinner party would be for this type of event.  My parents even traveled down from Washington to be with us during this time.   Grateful my mom took these picture on this day, because it's all I have of the day our life changed again!


We love having visitors.  In the last month we have had visits from 3 different families who we hadn't seen in quit awhile.  We love visitors!  

1st came the Bliss's from California came for a weekend.  It was fun to spend sometime with them and get caught up.  

2nd came the Patterson Family from Washington.  It had been many many years since we had seen them even though they only moved 45min out of Auburn.  Our boys did preschool together and were good buddies back in the day, and Colleen was a great friend of mine.  Now their oldest is graduating and going on a mission.  It was fun to see them and spend time with their family.  

3rd came Zeke's brother Bill and his family from Nevada.  We hadn't seen their family for 2 years.  They spent a day with us and we enjoyed  hanging with them for day.  No matter how often my kids see their cousins, they are instant friends. 

On the Stage
In the last month 3 of our 4 kids have performed on stage....

Lydia had a dance recital where she danced a combo of ballet and jazz to "Dancing in the Rain".  
She did a great job and loved performing this dance.  We were glad Grandma and Grandpa were able to be here for the performance.  

Landon and Mason were also part of their Jr. High Musical this year.  
It was called "A Night on Broadway" where they sang several numbers from broadway shows.   It was truly enjoyable.  In fact opening night was on Jacob's birthday and he has said many times since.... 
"That was the best birthday ever, I loved that show!" and the funny thing is I don't think he knew any of the songs before going into the show.  

Landon and Mason had a duet from "Guys and Dolls" in the production.  Prior to the performance they would not practice or perform for us, as they wanted it to be surprise for our family.  We were a little nervous as they are at that age where voices are changing..... but oh my WOW!  
They can sing and they can sing low!   It was so fun to watch!   I loved it!     
Video coming in separate post soon (I hope). 

Hope of America
Lydia got to be part of an AMAZINGLY patriotic production this year for school.   It was called "Hope of America" and is sponsored by the Freedom Festival, who puts on the Stadium of Fire every 4th of July in Provo.  

All the 5th graders at her school learned several patriotic songs and met up with 3500 other 4th graders from the valley to sing them in the Marriott Center at BYU.  Together they made a large flag.  

With Zeke's new calling we had a conflict with the Stake President on the night of the performance, so we went during the day to the dress rehearsal.   Even though I heard the evening performance was even more amazing, the dress rehearsal was something else.  Watching this many kids sing songs about our country was spectacular.   I love our country and I am so blessed to be an American! 

We were grateful Grandma Evans came down from Centerville that night to take the boys and support Lydia for us.  

Lydia was in the bottom center of the flag.  Wearing a red shirt.  
She is on the bottom center red row, third from the isle.  

 Jacob turned 7! 
  Jacob is such a fun, loving, kind, smart boy!  We don't like the idea that he is getting older, but he loves celebrating his birthday and we love celebrating him too.  

Out of all our kids, it was probably hardest on Jacob to move from WA to UT.  He had several good friends, and a close cousin in Washington that he misses lots.  Plus he spent the first 6 months living here unable to really have friends over to play because we were living 15 minutes away from everyone we knew in our rental.  He is a social boy, and about a month before we moved into our house one day he said to me as we were driving home from school.  "Mom, I need to make friends in Spanish Fork, or I will not have anyone to invite to my birthday party."  I knew how hard this was for him, but I reassured him we would be living in Mapleton for his birthday and he would be just fine.  He would be able to invite the friends he had already made at school and church to his party.  

Jacob invited 4 of the closest friends he has made so far and we had a bowling party.  
Five 7 year olds bowling was the perfect amount.  

First we had pizza

Then we went bowling.  These boys loved it! 

Followed by cake, ice cream, presents and activity back at home.
Silly boys! 


We had a nice Easter this year.
The Evans' side of the family had a gathering the night before.  
It was a beautiful evening and we even had a BBQ outside. 

We brought a little bit of Lakeland to Mapleton for Easter this year too.  My two youngest asked if our neighborhood would have an Easter Egg hunt like Lakeland.  I told them we would find an egg hunt to go to, but when I asked around about egg hunts no one had any good suggestions.  So with the help from a friend we planned the first annual Mapleton Highlands Easter Egg hunt, and it was a hit!  Since many of us do not have grass in our yards yet we held it at the elementary school.  Everyone that was in town came and we decided it would become a neighborhood tradition.

And we couldn't leave out the teenagers so on the Friday night before Easter we had a teen flashlight hunt, just like Lakeland Hills always has.  These kids had a blast collecting soda, chips, candy and bags of cookies.  They can't wait till next year! 

Easter Sunday was special.  Our ward has a tradition to have mostly music on Easter Sunday.   Mason and Landon sang in church in a youth choir and Mason sang a solo.  Mason also played his violin for a piece the choir sang, and Zeke gave the talk.   It was truly wonderful! 

 After church we had a nice Easter dinner just our family.  We missed our family in Washington that we spent many Easters with, but it was nice for us to have a quiet relaxing afternoon at home after a busy weekend.  

Spring Break! 
The kids were out of school for a whole week in April.  We did a variety of activities. 

One day we drove up to Cache Valley to spend the day with my Grandparents.  How grateful we are that we get to spend time with them.  We love them very much.  

After visiting with them we went up to USU and to First Dam to feed the ducks.    It was a perfect weather day and Cache Valley was radiant.   The kids wanted to play football together at the Dam.  
Watching them enjoy being together warms my heart.

One day we ventured out to the Provo Beach resort and the kids enjoyed the ropes course there.  
For me I watched from the side with sweaty palms and weak knees. 

Our Yard! 
This month has also consisted of lots of yard work.  During Spring break our neighbors next door went out of town and offered for us to use his tractor while they were gone.   We had 3 large dirt piles that  were formed when they poured our driveway back in January.  Much of the dirt in these piles had been frozen dirt chunks but it had mostly thawed so we were anxious to get it spread.  We were so grateful for our neighbor's tractor.  Even with the tractor though it took a far amount of time.  
25 hours is what we put on this great little tractor.   

 Because there is never enough time in the day for Zeke, I learned how to drive the tractor and had a great time doing it.  I have always been a country girl at heart. 

It's sure nice to have level ground all around now.  Lydia and Jacob loved the hills though, they used them as sled hills, and according to them sledding in dirt is better than snow.

During this time we also planted 10 fruit trees, had a rock retaining wall put in around our walk out and our back patio poured.  Just a start to finishing  our  "overwhelming" yard. 

Soccer and Track
Lydia is playing spring soccer in Spanish Fork this spring.  Mapleton only plays soccer in the fall, and since she loves this sport so much we signed her up with the SF league.  She is having a good time and enjoying getting out on the field again.  She has two games a week.

Landon and Mason are also participating in track this season for their Jr. High. They have a meet every Friday afternoon and are enjoying being part of their school track team 
and with practice are getting to be pretty fast runners. 

We have failed to take any pictures yet of them at their meets.

As busy as life has been and continues to be, we feel truly blessed and wouldn't change a thing.  


Thursday, February 6, 2014


If only fall could last forever.......

Three Eagle Cousins 
We stated out the month celebrating Cameron's Eagle. 
The boys were excited that the first Eagle's nest they sat in was for their cousin!

Hiking the Y! 
Since we have moved to Utah, Lydia and Jacob have been fascinated with the letter Y painted on the side of the mountain.   One Saturday we couldn't resist the gorgeous 70 degree weather and decided to take a family hike up to see this painted Y.  Since it was fall we dressed in long pants, after starting up the mountain we were all wishing we had all worn shorts. 

Hiking 1.75 miles doesn't seem too far, unless it is up a steep mountain.  Who forgot the water??  Next time we won't forget;)  Thank goodness dad is willing and able to carry some of us the mountain.

US Capital Christmas Tree
I had read in our Spanish Fork cable bill that the capital Christmas tree was going to be a the city park.  We had a half hour to spare between basketball games so we thought we would go and see it.  For some reason I was thinking the tree was for the Utah capital.  When we got to the park, there was a huge diesel covered with a white tarp and people were writing their names on the tarp.  After we parked and walked over we realized this was the US capital Christmas tree, and it was making it's way across the country.  Stopping in selected cites.  Even more exciting was that the tree had been cut down in Washington!   We made sure to write our names on the tree's trap as it made it's way through Spanish Fork towards Washington D.C. 

5th grade Wax Museum
The 5th graders at Mapleton Elementary participate in a fun learning activity.  Instead of a typical report about someone from history they participate in what they call a Wax Museum.  They pick a person who is no longer alive and study about them, write a report, memorize a 30 second dialog about them, dress up as them and then share it during the day with students and in the evening with the parents when the school turns into a wax museum.  

No 5th grader can be the same person as another 5th grader.  Lydia picked her top 5 women in history and ended up with her first choice Laura Ingals Wilder.  Since Lydia already had a pioneer costume that she wore a few years ago for pioneer day we thought we were set.....until she tried it on.  Lydia had grown so much that it no longer fit, with the exception of the bonnet.  So we pulled the sewing machine out of our storage unit, made a trip to JoAnns and spent a Saturday sewing.  Now she was set.  She also insisted she needed a wagon.  So we went back pulled the wagon out of the storage unit and dad and her covered the wagon and even found the rocking horse to use to make it look even more real.   

She loved being Laura and she did pretty well reciting her 30 second dialog over and over.  
And she looked pretty darn cute doing it too. 

UCCU Family Fest
One Saturday our family (minus Landon and Mason) spent an afternoon on the UVU campus at the UCCU Family Fest.  This activity sponsored by the UCCU credit Union, was a free event that taught the kids the value of money.  Each child was given $5 when they entered the event.  Then they could make more if they wanted by doing activities and/or putting their $5 in the bank for 30 minutes.  With their money they could use it to buy treats, play games, jump in jump houses etc.  Lydia and Jacob first took advantage of earning money and earned about $25 each.  Then we participated in many activities until we were tiered and ended up giving our left over money to a family walking in the door.

Below are some pictures of some of the activities we participated in that Saturday.  

This was our first Thanksgiving in Utah for the past 13 years.  We were grateful we could spend it with Zeke's family in Centerville.

Lydia made her traditional turkey treat.  (This year just a little different version)
Jacob loved his turkey crown and is at such a fun age for holidays.  Love 1st graders! 

We loved Jacob's turkey.  You can see he is learning about adjectives, because he used them so well.  

"My cute mom"

Lydia is a little mom and she is always drawn to the little ones.  
She loved holding and playing with Luciana during Thanksgiving. 

Mason helped Grandpa bring the smoked turkey in.   

Day after Thanksgiving
We have always loved Thanksgiving weekend.  For the past 8 years we have spent the day after Thanksgiving going into Seattle and watching and catching the free Frangos at  the Macy's Santa Parade.  After the parade we would make a stop at Macy's and the kids would write a letter to Santa.  This Friday after Thanksgiving was a little different this year.  Zeke and I went out for a short (and useless) Black Friday shopping day.   Later in the afternoon, we make a trip into downtown SLC.  We did a little shopping and found that the Macy's in SLC has the same Santa letter writing area.  Lydia and Jacob were excited to write their letters, and we even picked up from Frangos while we were there. 

After a little shopping it was time for the Temple Square lights to be lit for the first time of the season.  
Surprising it was not as crowded as we had thought.  There was no specific time for the light to be turned on.  All we knew was that they would be turned on when it was dark.  The kids sat on a ledge with the Temple behind them and I got my camera ready.  I told them I was going to take a picture on the count of 3.  When I began to count they smiled and when I got to 3 all the lights around us turned on.  It was a magical moment as the timing could not have been better.  

Ogden Santa RUN
On the Saturday after Thanksgiving it really started to feel like Christmas.  Landon and Mason signed up to be in a Fun Run and this fun run was really FUN!  Everyone in the race had to wear a santa suit.
It was a hoot to see the boys dressed up like Santa.  Especially Mason who when he was little asked for a santa suit for Christmas for 4 years.

Ready to race! 

Santa's were everywhere! 

Even the little ones were given a beard and a hat!  Oh what fun!

And the race was on.....

It was a little hard to spot out our Santas

 The race course was a little different.  They runners ran up and down Washington Blvd two times.   With milk and cookie stops along the way.  Towards the end of the race the younger kids wanted to jump in and run some of the course.  I think they just wanted the milk and cookies.
 After the race was a Christmas light parade that went along the same race route.
 Followed by Christmas lighting and a fireworks show.

Rugby on the Court
Jacob loves balls, always has.  So he was excited we signed him up for his first basketball rec. team in Spanish Fork.  Since we live in Mapleton and sleep in Spanish Fork he didn't not know anyone on the team.  That was ok because this boy just loves to play.

This basketball league was not like anything we have experienced before.  Jacob was put on a team and they met at a local school two days a week.  The first half hour was ran by high school kids, and the kids pretty much just practiced shooting.  The second half hour was a scrimmage against another team.  Since these were all 1st graders and the instruction the first 1/2 was weak it was a free for all.  Nothing was called... a kid could foul, double dribble, go out of bounds, etc.

Jacob loved playing and didn't notice a thing.  He was a strong player but sometimes it was painful to watch all the rules not being followed.   

Zeke coaching Jacob during a break. 

Lydia loves BASKETBALL

For the last couple of years I have been trying to talk Lydia in to playing basketball.   This year when Mapleton City put up a banner announcing the upcoming girls basketball season, I again encouraged her to try it.  Since she had such a good experience playing soccer in Mapleton she gave into my request to get her signed up.    And after the first practice she was in love!

It also helped that her closest friend from school ended up on her team.  
Lydia's games were fun to watch and we loved seeing her improve over the season. 

And every time the buzzer sounded and the players left the court... 
this little guys ran down to shoot some hoops.