Friday, October 12, 2012

Forgotten Video

I can’t remember the occasion, but daddy got me a kite and this is a video of its first flight. This is from when we still lived in Utah.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

O Canada (and Montana)

After daddy was done work at BYU we had some free time before he started his new job in Colorado. Because we hadn’t seen mommy’s home for a really long time, we decided to take a long vacation up to Canada and Montana. Our first stop was Calgary to see Uncle Mark, Auntie Laurel, Ashton, Nick and Beckham. We took two days to drive up and stayed over night in Great Falls on the first day. The drive was long but I was a good boy. I had lots of movies to watch and snacks to eat and I had fun keeping my brother happy too!

You can imagine how excited I was to get out of the car once we made it to our hotel after 9+ hours of driving to Great Falls.

The next day we had a shorter drive to Calgary. This was important because Daddy and Uncle Mark were planning to leave for a Man’s Trip that afternoon in Dutch Creek, Alberta. It involved a lot of quadding and a lot of eating with a group of over 20 guys. Unfortunately they experienced some pretty wet and cold weather conditions but daddy and Uncle Mark still had a blast.

Well while the men were out on their men’s trip, the moms and us boys had lots of fun too. We played outside on the trampoline and at the park, we went to Nick’s soccer game, and we even went to a cool indoor park. Every time we went out, we all piled into Auntie Laurel’s mini van which wasn’t the easiest task in the world.

The indoor park must have tired us out because mom found Nick and I lying at the bottom of a slide.

A few days after the men got home, we drove down to Mommy’s home town, Medicine Hat. Below are some pictures from our dinner visit with Great Grandma and Grandpa Campbell. Some high lights were eating a lot of water melon, listening to Grandpa play his saxophone and watching Grandpa fly his new helicopter.

Grandma Schlenker is really good at taking advantage of little time slots of waiting and turning them into fun. She understands that 2-yr-olds don’t really like to wait. This is one example that mom caught on tape. She thought it was so cute!

One other highlight of our Medicine Hat visit was going our to Papa’s farm land for a tractor ride. Mom just loves the endless horizon that you find in the prairies of Southern Alberta.

Damon sure liked when Auntie Deb came to visit. She made him laugh so much, he thought it was appropriate to mark his territory on her…baby style.

One afternoon, we had a chance to hang out with some of mommy’s friends and their kids at Echo Dale! It is pretty much a man-made beach with lots of fun stuff to do. Damon was a trooper and slept for a good chunk of the time. He slept longer on the ground under an umbrella than he does in his nice comfy crib.

That night, after mom and dad put us to bed at Grandma and Grandpa Schlenker’s, they were off to a welcome home party for mom’s friend, Eryn (she just completed dental school in California). It was another great chance to see lots of old friends.

Mom always loves going to church in Medicine Hat because she can see so many people that impacted her upbringing. Plus it gives mom and dad a chance to show off Damon and I. After church, we packed up and headed down south to Ashley Lake.

This was my first time at the lake and I definitely learned why everyone loves it so much! The first day we were there, the babies (Beckham and I) went with the women into town to by lots of food for the week. The men and boys stayed back and put the new docks in. It was a long day for everyone but each group had great success as well. Like usual, Ashton held me a lot and it seemed wherever I was, the boys followed. It is probably because I am so smiley and cute. Also while we were there, I learned how to roll over both ways. Not long now until I can keep up with my bother and cousins. A few days after we arrived, Great Grandma and Grandpa Campbell came too. Grandpa is always so fun to play with indoors and out and grandma loves holding and taking care of me.
Mom and dad were able to celebrate their 6th anniversary there. What a 6 years it has been!! They went on a romantic boat ride to the Ashley Lake island and buried a time capsule.
The pictures below show a lot of the other activities we did.

One evening, the ladies went out for dinner and a Musical at the Big Fork Play House.

This picture may need some explanation and was quite a memory. Uncle Mark and Auntie Laurel had some friends come visit us at the lake. They were a really nice family and we had lots of fun with them. Right as Auntie Laurel was finishing making a huge dinner for everyone, all the power in the cabin went out! Like I said, luckily we had dinner all made so we ate outside hoping the power would come back on for the night. No power meant no running water as well, so as much as the women hated it, the kitchen had to stay dirty and children couldn’t have baths. The best part of this whole ordeal was after dinner when we organized a mini baseball game out on the front lawn. Everyone participated (except ) and we enjoyed lots of laughs! After all the kids were in bed, the adults had a bon fire and enjoyed watching the neighbor’s fireworks. The power finally came back on in the wee hours of the morning. Mom and I got to experience it because I was being a stinker and she was trying to put me back to sleep.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The LONG Journey

MOM (read at your own risk)
As most of you know, on July 14th our little family headed 4 hours east of our home in Springville to our new home in Grand Junction, Colorado. In early June, Mickey accepted a job as an Athletic Trainer at Colorado Mesa University for their women’s volleyball team and men’s baseball team. The day before our departure, we filled a huge moving truck with all our stuff and cleaned our entire condo but not without a lot of help. Sometimes when I think about all the help we received from friends and family I get emotional because there was no way we could have done it on our own. My dear friend, Collette spent much of the day and night helping pack and clean and when she left to have a break, she took Houston to play with her daughter, Juliette, who Houston adores. Auntie Richelle, Uncle Deejay and Daria also spent much of the afternoon helping us. It gave us a chance to say good bye. We will miss living close to Smiths so much and we have loved the impact they have had in all our lives while in Utah. Another neighbor who has been like family to us, Judy Turnbow also helped me clean and worked miracles getting places clean that I thought had no hope. Her and her husband, Richard, let us sleep in their place the night before we left so that we could clean out everything. This turned out to be a HUGE blessing and allowed us to get to Grand Junction in good time the next day. The Turnbows took such good care of us in spite of going through their own trials with the poor health of Judy’s mother. Another huge thank you goes out to my visiting teacher and other men who came to help move the heavy stuff. You just never forget the kindness of people at times of need like this.
The next morning, mom and dad wok up early to finish up a couple of things and then we were off. Mickey drove the big moving truck with his Ford in tow behind him. I drove with the 2 boys and though I was in the little fast car, it took us longer. Damon was a little stinker and I had two lengthy stops trying to sooth him. I had called our new bishop earlier in the week to request some help with unloading our truck and we were, again, so grateful when we arrived and 5 men helped unload everything in about an hour and a half!
I have to say that there is nothing like the world wide community that makes up the church we belong to. I called a complete stranger who then simply asked 4 other men with only days notice to come take time out of their Saturday to unload boxes and heavy furniture for us. And they said yes, knowing they were getting nothing in return. There is no organization to compare to that. I don’t mean to brag, but simply express gratitude and awe for the love and charity that exists in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. A church made up of Saints who believe in a gospel that teaches how to live like Jesus Christ. All the charity we received through this move truly makes me want to be a better person.
Because this blog is mainly made up of my boys’ experiences, I never have directly shared my personal religious beliefs. However after this experience, I feel it is an appropriate time especially because they played such a huge role in directing our family to our new home. Obviously I will not share everything but I do want to record our journey to Colorado. It is also very long so please do not feel pressure to read it.
First thing I want to share is that Heavenly Father answers prayers and often, it is through the scriptures. The month of May was full of question. Mickey’s job at BYU was ending on June 15 and we had no other job prospects. Every prayer of mine included fervent questions about our family’s future (if you know me, you know I am a remarkable worrier). After one of these pleadings, I was reading the Book of Mormon. Alma 25:17 reads: “And now behold, Ammon, and Aaron, and Omner, and Himni, and their brethren did rejoice exceedingly, for the success which they had had among the Lamanites, seeing that the Lord had granted unto them according to their aprayers, and that he had also verified his word unto them in every particular.” The minute I read this scripture, I knew that Mickey would find and job and everything would be ok. This feeling came from the Holy Ghost bringing peace to my mind and heart. The only thing I had to worry about after this was where Heavenly Father was going to place us.
Knowing Mickey’s graduation was going to drastically change our living situation, I had the following moto for my life: “have courage to accept Thy will.” This motto comes from the lyrics from one of my favorite sacrament hymns, “As Now we Take the Sacrament.” The lyrics of this hymn are so beautiful and inspiring:
1. As now we take the sacrament,
Our thoughts are turned to thee,
Thou Son of God, who lived for us,
Then died on Calvary.
We contemplate thy lasting grace,
Thy boundless charity;
To us the gift of life was giv’n
For all eternity.
2. As now our minds review the past,
We know we must repent;
The way to thee is righteousness—
The way thy life was spent.
Forgiveness is a gift from thee
We seek with pure intent.
With hands now pledged to do thy work,
We take the sacrament.
3. As now we praise thy name with song,
The blessings of this day
Will linger in our thankful hearts,
And silently we pray
For courage to accept thy will,
To listen and obey.
We love thee, Lord; our hearts are full.
We’ll walk thy chosen way.

I chose this motto because I truly believe that Heavenly Father has a plan for our family and for me. I didn’t want my burning desire to live close to family skew my ability to listen and recognize what that plan was supposed to be right now. That is where the courage part came in and, believe me, this move has taken more courage than I thought it would take.

When we were trying to receive the answer as to whether this move was the right thing or not, I tried my best to keep God’s access to my heart open. I did this mostly through prayer, gospel study and talking to people I was close to. While speaking with my friend Collette, I definitely experienced what Spencer W Kimbal said: “God does notice us, and he watches over us. But it is usually through another person that he meets our needs.”
She lead me to a conference talk by Richard G Scott entitled, “How to Obtain Revelation and Inspiration for Your Personal Life.” Even from the title I knew it was going to be quite fitting for our situation. Here are some excerpts that really spoke to me:
“Our Heavenly Father did not put us on earth to fail but to succeed gloriously. It may seem paradoxical, but that is why recognizing answers to prayer can sometimes be very difficult. Sometimes we unwisely try to face life by depending on our own experience and capacity. It is much wiser for us to seek through prayer and divine inspiration to know what to do. Our obedience assures that when required, we can qualify for divine power to accomplish an inspired objective.
Like many of us, Oliver Cowdery did not recognize the evidence of answers to prayers already given by the Lord. To open his and our eyes, this revelation was given through Joseph Smith (D&C 6:14-15):
“Blessed art thou for what thou hast done; for thou hast inquired of me, and behold, as often as thou hast inquired thou hast received instruction of my Spirit. If it had not been so, thou wouldst not have come to the place where thou art at this time.
“Behold, thou knowest that thou hast inquired of me and I did enlighten thy mind; and now I tell thee these things that thou mayest know that thou hast been enlightened by the Spirit of truth.”4
If you feel that God has not answered your prayers, ponder these scriptures—then carefully look for evidence in your own life that He may have already answered you.
Two indicators that a feeling or prompting comes from God are that it produces peace in your heart and a quiet, warm feeling.
As you continue to live righteously, you will always be prompted to know what to do. Sometimes the discovery of what action to take may require significant effort and trust on your part.”

It was after reading this that I knew I had already received my answer, probably multiple times yet was too prideful to really listen and accept it. After realizing this and looking back, Heavenly Father made it quite clear and had really prepared me. To be honest, I actually fell in love with Colorado the first year Mickey and I were married when we traveled to Denver for a BYU football game. I even told Mickey that I could see myself living here some day. I probably even knew back then that out family could end up here for a period.

After a trip to the temple with Mickey for yet another confirmation, we made the decision to accept the job offer and move our family to Grand Junction, CO.

It may seem to some that I was too dramatic about this decision but this was one of the hardest decisions I have made in my life. Knowing that we were taking ourselves even further away from our beloved family members was heartbreaking and still is. But this is where we currently belong and I know if we continue to live good lives, everything will work out.

I know God is looking after me and my family. I am grateful for my knowledge of his love and his ability to guide my life if I simply ask and then look for the answer.