Monday, September 28, 2009

The Great Red Ruby

A couple of weeks ago Kit opened one of our kitchen drawers to see this:

What is it? Play-doh squished and squashed around a juicer.

According to Gavin, it is the Great Red Ruby, hidden by pirates...buried treasure...

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Becoming a Son of Thunder...

Written by Kit

My father-in-law uses this term for someone who has the fire of righteousness in them. He gets the reference from the New Testament which references the Apostles James and John who in the gospel of Mark 2:17 refers to them as “Sons of Thunder”. Also in Luke 9:52-54 there is a story about James and John, 52. And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him. 53. And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem. 54. And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did? I know that if the Lord had let them, they would have had faith the carry out the desire. My father-in-law, when working with others as a member of the Stake Presidency, asked that we have the “thunder” and I, as a missionary, I used the term “fire”, to please the Lord, to be a “son (or Daughter) of thunder”.

Over the last 6 months or so I have had the great privilege to witness the development of a “Son of Thunder”. As many of you might know, my brother-in-law, Mack, has been living with us. When he came to live with us he is what most would have call a typical 19 year old. Caught is his own world, where scuba diving, cars and the “where is the next fun thing for me” attitude centered his life. Don’t get me wrong, Mack has always been a good kid and I have always loved him. But over the last few months I have seen a visual and spiritual change. I have seen a boy become a man, and the words that I heard my father-in-law speak of solidified in my mind.

I was called as Elder Quorum President and one of the brothers in the ward had become blind among dealing with other health issues. I was asked by the bishop to find some one to help up keep his lawn. I asked Mack to do this. He smiled at me and said, “Yes Pres. Applegate, I’d love to,” and he did. Every week he would take his time and go to the brother’s home and mow his lawn. Every week when I ask who will help the Elders in our ward by going on splits he always raises his hand and helps out the servants of the Lord in doing His work. Just this last week another brother in the ward had his sewer pipe running by his house collapse. It was a last minute thing and late on Friday night I asked Mack if he could help the following Saturday morning bright and early. He said, ”No problem.” As we worked on the 20 ft of sewer, he was joking and laughing and working very hard. I heard comments from others on the work crew like “Mack the human Earth mover” and even the Bishop gave him the nickname Bobcat because he worked like one. At the end of the day when we were driving home, Mack and I were talking and he told me, “I felt that the Lord was with me, He (the Lord) had to have given me strength because I wasn’t tired and am not tired.” Most 19 year old boys would have said, “I’m the man” or “ yeah I’m a stud”, but this Son of Thunder laid his success at the feet of the Lord. My boys look up to Mack, they love him. He always takes time to play with them. He has told Lib and me to go on dates and he watches them. As I see their eyes light up when he talks to them and he wrestles them I can’t think of anybody else I would rather have them admire.
Over the last months I have seen his countenance change. I see light when I look at him. When he teaches in Elders Quorum I see light, when he plays with my boys I see light. To those who think that they know Mack and the phrase “Son of thunder” doesn’t come to mind, then they truly do not know him. Is he perfect? No, but this is why he and we are, becoming Sons of Thunder.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Addendum-Pitcher Plants

Pitcher plants are carnivorous plants whose prey-trapping mechanism features a deep cavity filled with liquid known as a pitfall trap....foraging, flying or crawling insects such as flies are attracted to the cavity formed by the cupped leaf, often by visual lures such as anthocyanin pigments, and nectar bribes. The sides of the pitcher are slippery and may be grooved in such a way so as to ensure that the insects cannot climb out. The small bodies of liquid contained within the pitcher traps are called phytotelmata. They drown the insect, and the body of it is gradually dissolved. This may occur by bacterial action (the bacteria being washed into the pitcher by rainfall) or by enzymes secreted by the plant itself. --Wikipedia

Belated Labor Day

I have been meaning to post this...but, you know how the time to post can get away from you like laundry duty, check-book balancing and child rearing.

We had a fun Labor Day despite canceled plans and inclement weather. Our plan was to go across the Bay to Foley and check out their old soda shop. We got the boys all excited just to be disappointed with darkened windows and a "Sorry we're closed" sign on the door. Bummer! Whatever shall we do?

Pizza to the rescue! We had passed a billboard sign advertising for Mellow Mushroom pizza on our way into town and Josiah has wanted to go there since, well, FOREVER. The decision soon turned sighs and moans into grins. Thank heavens-having 3 little boys mutinying is not a pretty sight! We were entertained by spying on the kitchen preparing the pizzas by stretching and tossing the dough into the air. We then devoured hot, stringy-cheesed, yummy pizza (not quite on par with Hideaway pizza despite its fabulousness).

Yes, my husband often looks like this
Josiah and Gunnison cheesing it
My brother Mack and the elusive Gavin
Captured, Gavin allowed us to get a picture of him

Noticing the blackening sky and almost drinkable, humidified air outside we decided to take a chance and see if we could squeeze in a couple of easy geo-caches. After a quick find, we headed to destination #2, a pitcher plant bog. It was a board-walked area above soggy ground filled with striking pitcher plants. Here and there we were able to spot beautiful swallowtail butterflies and delicate orchids. The threat of seeing a possible cotton-mouth kept my children securely on the board-walk, but encouraged much leaning over the edge and exclaims of imagined sightings. We made it back to the car as the first large drops began to fall (we have ginormous raindrops here). Perfect timing! We drove a more scenic route back to the Bay and then on towards home.

Family Pic
*Please excuse my bad hair-incredibly, ugly humid and my fat arm-I hope it really doesn't look so fat when I stand is an infamous belly-shot

It was one of those days where things don't go as planned, but is full of fun and relaxation. Simply getting away is out of the norm, so it was exactly what was needed by all of us.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Ode to Josiah

This is a post about all things Josiah-funny. While our oldest son supplies us with a lot of things to sigh over, he also makes us laugh over and over again. In general it isn't what he is intending, but that doesn't stop our chuckles from bursting forth. Josiah is a wonderful mixture of inquisitive thinking, imagination and knowledge. This makes for some interesting conversations.

The other day Josiah was rubbing his legs, which are quite hairy. He then leaned over and rubbed my arms. Looking closely at my arms he stated quite matter-of-factually, "We are mammals. You make milk for your babies and I am very furry. You even have some fur on your arms."

One of the things that drives me quite batty is whining. Lately Josiah has been whining in the ugliest voice imaginable! To combat this, every time he whines, he gets a red slip (a negative reinforcement, green slips are given as positive reinforcement). Jos came into the kitchen where Kit and I were getting dinner ready. He starts talking in a whine then catches my eye. He quickly follows up what he was whining about with, "You might think that sounded like a whine, but it wasn't. My voice just came out funny."

Earlier this past week, Josiah was having a drama morning. He was upset I hadn't set out his clothes for school the night before and I was expecting him to dress himself. Out of the back hallway a paper airplane comes sailing out to land near my feet. I ignore it and carry on with getting Josiah's snack ready for school. Eventually I make my way to open it just as Jos is coming into the dining room. I open it and see this:

With a panicked look, the first thing he blurts out is, "It's not's I dreamed of last night!" I must add here that Josiah often sends notes to me via paper airplane. Whether they are to tell me he loves me or that I'm mean, airplane is one of his favorite modes of communication. I had to laugh at this one, despite the obvious fact it was me, and not too pretty. I believe it is one of my favorite pictures...I'll keep it for blackmail when he is older.

Josiah has taken to sleeping without a shirt on "like his Uncle Mack". I came to give the two oldest good night kisses after having put Gunner to bed, and see Josiah rubbing his armpit very lightly. I ask what he's doing and he informs me he is just checking to see if his arm hair was growing in like Daddy's. I asked him what he thought and he thought maybe it was. "Soon," he said, "it'll be as much as Dad's." Despite how hairy our little orangutan is, I don't believe he is getting the beloved armpit hair yet. But, I think I'll keep that disappointing news to myself.

There are so many other things from talking about birth of babies to Star Wars that keep us laughing. Some of these incidents are probably "you had to be there", but I thought I'd share them with you anyway...if only to remind myself to chuckle when I'm sighing.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Gunnison's Terrible 2

*warning: lots of pictures*

Actually Gunner isn't a too bad terrible two...we've been in it for awhile now (he started the "symptoms" around 18 months...all my beasties get beast-like around 18 months). His birthday was a lot of fun, probably more so for the older two boys. They could hardly contain themselves as they counted down all week.

We started out the festivities the night before with the kids helping me make a birthday banner to hang in the morning. It started out as a secret, but was soon unmasked and Gunner helped decorate his own sign. Everyone woke nice and early, but none too happy. Gavin and Gunnison are generally grouchy in the morning and Josiah was quite put out that his brother's birthday was not a good enough reason for staying home from school. But-off he went with the promise we wouldn't do anything "birthday-kind-of-fun" while he was gone at school. Gavin and I tried to be sneaky as we wrapped presents in my room, but Gunner didn't like being left out, so he got to help tie on the ribbons. We had a fun day, playing with play-dough and just relaxing.

Play-dough play

Gunner showing off his "animal"

Once Josiah and Kit were home we commenced with the Present Opening. Gunner was grouchy again and wanted to play with whatever he opened. He wouldn't let go of the shoes his Aunt Ashlee gave him or move on to the next present after the "Spidy-man" fruitsnacks. He did get excited with the super-hero cape we gave him and he sped around the house. He then got VERY excited when we told him we were going to eat at McDonald's and play on the playland. That is, unfortunately, his favorite meal (Josiah tried to convince him he wanted Mexican food -Jos's fav-but to no avail). He was so excited to eat there and play, so it was a lot of fun.

After returning home we broke out the itty-bitty birthday cake he and the boys chose. It was between a gigantic one that would have fed our family for a month or the itty-bitty one. I couldn't interest them in the mid-sized the teeny-tiny one it was. Gunner blew out the candles as soon as they were lit a couple of times, but he couldn't help but grin while we were all singing to him. We then ended the evening with Family Movie Night (Friday night tradition), Pete's Dragon. All the children were making Elliott sounds the next day...well, they still are.

It really was fun and I LOVE celebrating birthdays. It doesn't have to be big, as long as the birthday person knows how much we love them. I truly am blessed to have Gunnison in our family. Despite times of grouchiness, he is a sweet, fun loving little man. He makes all of us smile with his prancing and dancing and singing of "Yoda" and "Anakin Guy" (Star Wars songs by Weird Al...yes, those are his favorites...). His older brothers adore him and we know our little warrior is destined for great things. We love you Gunnison Michael!!!

Gunner hiding behind his play house with the fruitsnacks

Tearing into a gift
Gun admiring the shoes from Aunt Ashlee

Gunner modeling his new super-hero cape

Reading the book Aunt Sydnee sent
The boys opening Grammy's gift
Play Land!

Cake and Ice cream

Saturday morning play with the new train set

Baby Talk

Thanks for all of your congrats and well wishes...and hopes for a girl. Kit was most distressed by those comments, he's sure you will upset the balance with all your wishes and might just jinx us...with a girl (quite the bad thing in his eyes).

We definitely were not "trying" for a girl (which a lot of random strangers ask me), though I would be very pleased if we were blessed with one. We both feel this will be our last (whew!!! a huge sigh of relief). I love being a mommy and I love my children, but I do not feel like I could be a mom of many children. In fact, we probably would have stopped at three if we did not feel like there was one more spirit waiting.

I already have a "bump". I start showing EARLY and with 3 previous baby bellies still there, this fourth is nice and large already. I don't believe I'll be showing pictures any too soon...maybe if Kit can catch one VERY flattering. I've been feeling pretty good lately, although still tired. I'm usually off to bed by nine...don't be surprised, of all my pregnancy symptoms, tiredness is always #1 and earlier I was falling asleep after sending the beasties off to bed at 7! I was more sick with this little one than I have been with the others, but still it isn't as bad as some women and it has recently passed. My basoomas are getting extremely large (sigh) it is probably due to the 15 lbs. I didn't lose from Gunner. Bleh! I will have to work very hard after this one 'cause I can't keep claiming baby weight forever...when is the cut off date for that sort of thing?

Things are going well and I'll have to post after my ultrasound October 1st! Can't wait to find out!!!