Monday, July 28, 2014

windshield luck


We bought a brand, spanking new car in February and McKayla and I drove it to a track meet in Idaho.  On the way home, we were hit by a rock and the windshield cracked badly.  We had owned the car less than a week.  Bummer!

My vote was to just leave it until right before inspection.  Last week Kevin decided he couldn't stand it anymore.  He took it in to be replaced and a couple hours and $300 later, it was as good as new.

Until today.  Kevin and I dropped Alec off at Camp K up Emigration Canyon. and on the way home, we were again hit by a rock.   The new windshield lasted all of 4 days this time.

Could we get any luckier?

Friday, July 25, 2014

how to change a flat tire

Disclaimer:  This is a proud-braggy-mom post.  If you dislike those, quit reading immediately.

Earlier this week, McKayla drove to the high school to meet a college teammate so they could run together.  As soon as she arrived, she called to tell me she had a flat tire.  She said there was a screw sticking out of the tire so it was going flat fast.  I told her I'd take care of it which translated means "I will call Dad as soon as he lands and have him take care of it."

I have learned how to change a flat tire and could probably do it if I had to;  however, I try to restrict all car knowledge to driving it and filling it with gas.  I am pretty good at those things.

Chandler woke up to head to cross-country practice and I told him about the flat tire so he hurried to get ready and informed me he'd change it.  I drove him to the high school extra early.  Sure enough, by the time practice started, Chandler had gotten out the spare, jacked the car up, and changed the tire.  One of his coaches noticed him and came over to help and found Chandler done.  He double-checked everything and said Chandler had done it perfectly.

Mind you, Chandler is 13 and a very scrawny-looking 13 at that.  I was super impressed!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

clothing Chandler

After having two clothes-amassing girls, you'd think it would be a relief to be back to clothing a teenage boy.  Not really.

Will Chandler wear any of the many jeans or jean shorts that have been given him from our neighbor that are all in wonderful shape?  Not on your life.

Will he wear the nice button-up shirts that I've stored for him?  Nope.

Will he even wear clean clothes?  Well, if they are there but he doesn't really care.

Chandler is all about the comfort factor - warm-ups, athletic shorts, t-shirts, etc.  If it can be worn running, on the field, or on a sport court then he'll wear it. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Sacrament Meeting talks

I have been attending A LOT of missionary farewells lately (2 or 3 each Sunday).  Last Sunday I listened to the first sentence by one of the young men and immediately thought, "this is one kid who knows how to give a talk."  Why did I think that?   Simply because he didn't start his talk with "I was asked to speak on..." or "The bishop asked me on Tuesday to..."  or "I really don't want to be doing this but...".  No, he just started speaking.  I loved it! 

After the meeting I told this young man that I was impressed that he knew how to give a talk and he told me it is all thanks to his dad.  This really got me thinking about how, in the church, we have children give primary talks, youth give 2 1/2 minute talks and ward members give talks but we NEVER have any classes or instruction on HOW to give a talk.

Now, I am one of those few who actually enjoy giving a talk.  I am not the best speaker but I feel like I do a pretty good job.  If I were ever asked to teach people how to give a talk (and that would be a pretty cool assignment), I know a few things I'd say.

1) Ask questions.  When someone calls to ask you to give a talk, by all means say yes but then ask them questions.  How long should my talk be?  Who else is speaking with me?  Will there be any musical numbers?  What order will I be in the program (must be more flexible if  you're last)?  Ask if all the speakers have the same topic or slight variations.

2)  Decide your focus.  The best topics have a very specific focus.  Look at the General Conference talk titles in the Ensign.  They don't say "Faith" but say "How Faith Helps You Endure Times of Trial". 

3)  Decide your type of talk.  Is it instructional or motivational?  Think about what you want to have happen as a result of your talk.  Do you want your audience to know different ways to study their scriptures or do you want them to feel inspired to feast upon their scriptures.  Write your talk with your end result in mind.

4)  Study, study, study.  Nothing beats good preparation.  Do not just show up and "let the Spirit guide you".  You have the sacred trust of the pulpit.  If you have 200 members in your congregation and you are speaking for 10 minutes that equates to 2000 minutes of people's time.  Time is a precious commodity.  Don't waste it by rambling incoherently.  Not much is worse than a speaker finishing the talk and having the audience wonder what the point/subject was.  I do believe that with a lot of prayer and faith, the Spirit will guide and direct you but only after you have done some serious preparation yourself.

5)  Write the talk.  Write it word for word or write a general outline - whatever works best for you.  Take into account your nerves.  You may think an outline will work but then you get nervous and can't remember what you planned to say.  On the other hand, if you write every word and then get nervous and read it, you will come off stiff and boring.

6)  Watch your introduction and conclusion.  Those will be what people remember most so especially take your time preparing these.  Do NOT start by telling people what you will be speaking on.  You will better engage your audience if they have to work to determine what your topic is (not to make it too obscure but get them actively listening as to where you are going with your starting quote or story or whatever).  Also, if you tell them what you are speaking on, they may tune you out as they mentally start thinking about what they would say on the subject.  Start your talk with a personal story or a powerful quote from a general authority or a scripture.  Just start right into the meat of the subject.

7)  Don't forget to testify.  Bear witness of what you are teaching.  It doesn't have to be at the conclusion.  You can testify anywhere in the talk.  Just make sure you do it!

8)  Practice.  With a timer.  Speak into the mirror or face a couch pretending it's your audience but make sure you speak it out loud.  Do it several times and time yourself each time so you can be certain you are taking your allotted time.  I don't care how engaging your talk is and how charismatic you are, if you go 10 minutes into Sunday School's time, you will have most of the congregation fidgeting in their seats and casting glances at the clock every 30 seconds.  The bishop will be wondering if he should stop you.  Every Primary and Sunday School teacher will be trying to determine what they can cut from their lessons to make them fit and they'll be mad at you because they spent hours on their preparation too!

9)  Look/listen for distracting mannerisms.  That's why I recommend practicing out loud in front of a mirror (or you could record yourself).  You need to know if you say "umm" every fourth word so you can try to stop that.  Or maybe you twirl your hair or run your hands back and forth along the pulpit.  These things are all very distracting and can take away from the message.  You are better off doing a death grip on either side of the pulpit and hanging on for dear life.  Practice removing those distracting elements from your talk.

10)  Relax.  Just remember you are speaking to a ward that already loves you.  No one is going to stone you for saying the wrong thing.  You won't be "fired" from your calling.    You most likely won't even have anyone come tell you didn't do a good job.  Pray for guidance and then trust in the Spirit.  Speak from the heart and people will be moved.  No one is expecting a professional public speaker. 

Friday, July 11, 2014

one sick kid

All of the late nights and long days during the week of the 4th must have caught up with Chandler.  By the time he raced on the 4th he wasn't feeling well at all.  He had a horrible cough.  He declined going to the Real game that night in favor of going to bed.  Saturday he did nothing all day except lay around.  The coughing continued.

About 9:30 that night he started moaning and ran into my bathroom.  He started throwing up repeatedly.  Then he stood up and ran into the doorframe cutting open his big toe before he passed out and hit his head on the toilet on the way down.

It was a bit scary.  He's never passed out before and even when he came to again, he couldn't stand or walk or sit.  Poor kid.  He got the chills and was shaking so badly and his face was devoid of any color.

Thursday, July 10, 2014


On July 2nd, the city of Oakley (small town really) invited Alec to participate in a Special Needs Rodeo. It was really more participation stations but Alec had a blast!

He got to ride the mechanical bull twice. He loved yelling "yee-haw" as he waved his hat around.

He learned how to rope and got to practice that. He actually roped the "steer" a couple of times and was thrilled with that!
Of course, Alec loved the pretty girls and couldn't pass up the chance to have his picture taken with the Oakley Queen attendants.
Alec also got to ride a horse which he really enjoyed!
Alec really got a great haul too! He got a t-shirt, bandana, baseball cap, cowboy hat, and a nice belt buckle for participating. Later, he caught one of the t-shirts they threw into the stands as well. After he participated in the rodeo events, they fed us pulled pork sandwiches, salads, cookies, and drinks. There were 9 of us (Me, Alec, McKayla, Shanley, Chandler, Brandon, Carson, Kelsie and Neal). They also gave all 9 of us tickets to the PRCA rodeo that night.

  I think Alec's favorite part was riding into and around the arena in the wagon. He loved this because everyone cheered and clapped. He LOVES being the center of attention!
We all enjoyed the rodeo and the fireworks afterwards. I had a hard time staying awake for the hour-long drive home. I did see a deer, though, and loved that!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

fun with Dawnette

Dawnette and 5 of her kids stayed with us for several days and nights.  This also meant that the Furnell kids were here as well a couple nights and a couple of Kelsie's friends from Texas also spent a  night.  So, we either had 12, 16, or 17 people sleeping here for 4 nights.  It was a bit chaotic but everyone had fun!

We played pretty hard.  Monday we went to the Church History Museum.  We did a picture scavenger hunt on Temple Square.  We visited the City Library and found Craig's name on the donor wall.  We went to Liberty Park and the kids played in the water.  We also toured Sweet's Candy Factory.

Tuesday the kids went to the temple, we had a picnic at BYU, and we went to the Orem Owlz baseball game.

Wednesday we did a historical scavenger hunt at Gardner Village, toured Mrs. Cavanaugh's Chocolate Factory, and went to Oakley for a Special Needs Rodeo followed by a PRCA rodeo and fireworks.

Thursday we went to a splash pad with Mom and Dad and with Jolyn's family.  Brakston and Whitney and Mason also joined us for that.  Then we went to the Riverton parade and then some of us went to "Frozen" in the park.

Friday Chandler raced a 5K.  Dawnette and her kids started their journey back to Texas.  Alec and I hung out at the Town Days celebration and then Alec and I went to the Real Salt Lake soccer game followed by fireworks.

Lots of fun!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


heigh-ho. it's off to work I go.
McKayla is still enjoying her job as a CNA at an assisted living center. One funny thing - she has now woken up twice in the middle of the night scared she fell asleep in a resident's room only to start down the hall and realize she is home. lol!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

family reunion

We held our family reunion at Heber Valley Camp where my parents are serving as missionaries. We were up there on Friday night and enjoyed dinner together and lots of visiting. Everyone was there except Spencer (Dawnette's oldest) and McKayla.

We experienced s'moritos (flour tortillas spread with peanut butter, sprinkled with marshmallows and chocolate chips, wrapped in tin foil, and roasted in the coals. We hiked. We saw deer and elk and chipmunks and some even saw a badger.

We ate well. We went canoeing and paddleboating on the lake. We roasted Starbursts and played the Skittles game. We also enjoyed the rope swings.

This is Whitney:
Even Alec went up on the swing:
Brakston took a turn:
Me on the swing:
Chandler liked it so much (and there was a bit of extra time) so he went twice:
My family left early Sunday morning in order to attend two mission farewells.