Saturday, July 31, 2010

July Trip Part 2

I am feeling a little boastful after raving about my family in my last post. They are great, but so are MANY other families. For example--Tom's family. They are a fun-loving, accepting, generous, accomplished group, and I couldn't ask for a better in-law family.

We spent the second part of our road trip visiting with some of them. It took many hours of driving to get there,

and back...

But it was worth it.

My kids got to spend time with their oldest cousin (whom they adore), before he leaves on his mission in a few months. We love this guy.

And Idaho is a perfect place to enjoy the great outdoors.

And a little time indoors, the "Goodnight Moon Room" Grandma created. It's a child-size closet/cubby hole, perfect for reading.

I can't think of many things better than a visit to Grandpa and Grandma's house. I have fond memories of these infrequent, but treasured visits as a child, and my kids are now logging their own. Lucky them.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Fillmore Reunion

We spent the first 12 days of July away, visiting family. The first chunk of that time was spent in Colorado with the Fabulous Fillmore family. We had a reunion which everyone was able to attend--all my siblings, their spouses, kids, etc. All 32 of us. It was awesome.

We packed a lot of fun into four days....too much to detail. I'll just let these photos give a glimpse.

I came away from this in awe of my family. The older I get, the more I appreciate just how wonderful they are.

There was a time when I didn't understand just how blessed I was to belong to the family I do. I had a happy childhood, no doubt. But as a somewhat self-centered and clueless adolescent, I also recognized how frustrating it was to share a tiny bathroom with four sisters (whose hand-me-downs I was always wearing); to have my (shared) bedroom (and Halloween candy stash) ransacked by three younger brothers; to be forced to weed our vast garden and push-mow our extensive yard on Saturdays....I could go on.

But as most of us do, I have matured a bit, and am now overwhelmed with gratitude for the family members I get to call mine. I am forever indebted to my parents for instilling solid values in me, and for filling our home and my life with love, and with faith in God. Each of my family members continue to inspire and uplift me. There is surely a reason we are put on this earth in families. And I surely love mine.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Think inside the box

Can you tell that these kids are having all kinds of fun?

They really aren't hiding it well.

Tom and I were also happy, that no one got dumped out of a box to land on their head.

Who needs commercial toys and such, when you've got a supply of cardboard boxes?

These are the happy images of my kids I want to remember--everyone smiling and getting along.

Hopefully they overshadow those "not-as-happy" sibling images in the end. Not that we have any of those. :)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

I love this land

Happy belated Fourth of July! I have strong feelings about this wonderful country I live in, and Independence Day always brings them to the surface.

I do not want to sound ethnocentric, but I feel incredibly grateful to call the United States my home. I can't even get through "God Bless the USA" without tearing up, as cheesy as that song is. I feel truly blessed to enjoy the freedoms and conveniences and opportunities this country affords.

Lately we've been watching our way through the "Little House on the Prairie" TV series, one episode at a time. (our library recently acquired the complete set--I am loving it!) Last month we saw one where Walnut Grove was planning a Centennial Celebration for the U.S., in 1876. Many of the townspeople were frustrated with tax increases and other hardships, and did not feel much like celebrating their country or their government at that time. A Russian immigrant in the town was faced with much difficulty as well, but in spite of that, reminded the rest of the town how blessed their lives were, especially compared to the life he had known in his homeland. Good stuff.

Again, I cried. But "Little House..." often has that effect on me. That Michael Landon...what a hero.

My father-in-law recently made me aware of the following quote by Harold B. Lee, that speaks a similar message.

"Men may fail in this country, earthquakes may come, seas may heave beyond their bounds, there may be great drought, disaster, and hardship, but this nation, founded on principles laid down by men whom God raised up, will never fail.

...This is the land of our forefathers. It is the nation that will stand despite whatever trials or crises it may yet have to pass through.."

I love that. This country is not perfect, but it is pretty incredible. And I feel grateful and indebted to all those who have suffered to make it that way.

Photo from July 4, last year...soon after Eden's nose met the sidewalk in a nasty spill.