Thursday, April 21, 2011

Canadian Spring Break

We headed to the condo the first week of April looking forward to some spring skiing. You know when the sun is shining and you don't have to wear lots of layers. What we got instead was snow. . .lots and lots of snow. It snowed over two feet in the five days we were there !

We took our friends the Youngs whose 11 year old twins discovered skiing this year. Their other three kids had never tried it so we spent the first day on the magic carpet where the experienced kids "taught" the new skiers.

Not surprisingly, their kids caught on like pros! They were ready for the real chair lift in no time!

Sunday we tried to do some "churchy" things in the condo then we did some snowshoeing in the afternoon. The Easter bunny hopped by early at our house and brought Carter and Sydney some new snowshoes. I also borrowed a few pairs from a friend so we had almost enough for everyone (Garth gladly stayed in the condo with the two littlest).

Snowshoeing with kids involves lots of flopping in the snow and snowball fights.

Sydney was really in her element here. She loves hiking all around the trees and through the thick stuff. She lasted longer than the other kids and had a great time! It was fun to see her really enjoy something (skiing is not exactly her passion.)

The kids were gassed by the end and as you can see, I ended up carrying their shoes.
Monday and Tuesday were spent on the big hills.
I got to spend one afternoon with Cami and her older twins. We ended up spending quite a bit of time at the Telus terrain park. It seems like every time I go to Big White I get to do something new. This was a new one for me. I am not a dare devil and I like to keep my skis on the soft snow but we played around in the halfpipe and raced each other several times on the snow cross course. It was super fun and it was nice to do it with kids so if I wanted to throw in a snowplow or two to slow myself down, it just looked like I was sticking with my kids.

Carter was a lot more brave than usual. I think because Maci and Cooper (also twins) weren't afraid at all. They tackled a bunch of blue runs and went at moguls like they were no big deal. Carter stuck with them and surprised himself that he could do some runs he didn't know he could do.

Sydney had a hard time keeping up. She is super cautious and she snowplows so big she is almost in the middle splits. She would complain of her legs hurting after one run and she watched the backs of everyone skiing away from her the whole time. One day, we took a super long run across the mountain to another lift and it was full of tears and drama. When we got to the other lift, all the kids (including her best bud Preslie) headed for a blue run. Syd was devastated that nobody wanted to do the green with her and wanted to quit. I took her alone and started making our way back to the condo. When we were on the lift alone, I asked her why she was so upset when we were skiing with the group she said "Mom, I have lots of talents. . . but every time I share them with a friend, they are better than me at it." It seriously broke my heart for her.

We were quite the show with all of these kids. One lady asked my if we were some sort of ski school. Nope, just two families (minus two kids).The condo was bursting at the seams with all of us. It sleeps 10 people in rooms, 12 people if you use the futon by the living room. We had 13 people but Olivia is in a crib so everyone got a bed!
We were also a little short on seats at the table so Olivia sat in a booster seat on the floor for every meal.

Nothing beats a post-ski soak in the hot tub. . .
and a good movie.

The kids did great together. They played lots of wii, lots of games, and had a wonderful time together. I am afraid Garth and I created a monster for the Youngs. Their kids LOVED skiing and could not get enough. Mark might need a second job to pay for their new expensive hobby!

People I Admire #1

Shelli Abrams
(If you wonder why I am writing about Shelli, you can read this post)

When I first met Shelli, I was honestly a little intimidated. We worked together in the Young Women organization at church and she was a hard read for me. Although very friendly, she was pretty quiet and private. I would sit in meetings and wonder "does she love my ideas or hate them?" She had recently had her 4th baby and was super put-together all of the time it seemed.

For the last two and a half years, Shelli has been one of my counselors in the Primary presidency. She is just as put-together as I once thought she was, but I now know how warm and wonderful she is as well.

Shelli DOES so much. She is the mother of 4 boys and a beautiful baby girl. She has a vinyl lettering business and participates in a co-op preschool. I admire her incredible food storage, her couponing skills and the way she bakes her own bread.

What inspires me though, is the person she is. She knows and truly cares about each child in our Primary. She always seems to know what is going on in their lives but is the furthest thing from a busy body. I am impressed by how smart her children are, which she would never take credit for, but I know that she constantly teaches them about the gospel in her home. The thing that most inspires me about Shelli is her commitment to her family. The first time Garth and I went out to dinner with Shelli and her husband Conrad, we asked them what they do for fun. Their answer was "family." They spend so much quality time together and truly enjoy each other. Because I know Shelli, I want to be more loving, and I am striving to have the level of Christ-like life and Christ-centered home she creates.

Scripture Power

At the beginning of the year, we were challenged to read the whole Book of Mormon with our families. We decided to take on the challenge (with the older two. . .we usually lay the little ones down for bed before reading so we can actually hear what we are reading.) I truly believe that there are many blessings when we take the time as a family to read, study, pray and try to do what we are asked. There are the expected blessings of guidance and direction from prophets of old, closeness to your family, and increased spirituality. One of the benefits I didn't count on was significant improvements in Sydney's reading. We let her read one verse each night and it can be a struggle. She tries so hard to sound out words and I have seen her get better. The other night, there was a moment I have been waiting for. She read an entire verse without any help from me!

Here is what she read . . .

Mosiah 2:6 And they pitched their tents round about the temple, every man having his tent with the door thereof towards the temple, that thereby they might remain in their tents and hear the words which King Benjamin should speak unto them.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Changed Perspective

A few years ago when we moved up North, I went through a strange time. I met all these new and wonderful people but all it did was make me feel inadequate. I had lived in the same area my whole life (except for a couple of years of college). People knew me, knew my parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, they knew that I was a good gymnast back in the day, that I could sing, that I was someone. I fell into a habit of comparing myself to everyone around me. Of course, I usually compared their strengths to my weaknesses so not surprisingly, I never measured up. I felt like the epitome of a mediocre mother. I was mediocre at a lot of things but not great at anything. I scrapbooked, but not as well as my friend. I sing, but not as well as other amazing singers. I did triathlon, but only short distance ones. I didn't bake my own bread, or home school my kids, the list went on an on. So then to make myself feel better, I would see someone that was amazing at something and I would immediately find some fault of theirs, be it physical, social, or emotional. Guess what? The only person who suffered from my lapse in character was. . . yep, me. So I stopped comparing myself so much to the people around me (which is not very easy). I have tried to be inspired by people and what they do amazingly well and not feel like I am less of a person if I am not equally amazing at that certain thing.

We recently had the opportunity to hear General Conference where the leaders of our church speak to us. I had an amazing little personal prophetic epistle from this talk by Lynn G. Robbins. He talks about the difference between DO and BE. We are so concerned and focused on what we DO (our profession, our talents, hobbies, etc.) and we often forget to think about what kind of person we ought to BE (humble, kind, patient, loving, etc). I was so grateful for this message because I feel like I have more help and direction now in my efforts to BE a better person and to allow others to BE their own version of a great person. I DO lots of things but I don't want that to define me. I am really looking forward to working with my kids on this idea as well. I think it will make them happier and better adjusted as they focus on the Christlike attributes they want to emulate instead of focusing on what they DO.

Maybe this is all too personal but I have recently been thinking about some incredible people in my life. They have talents and faults just like the rest of us but of late, I have been able to admire what they are good at and allow them to inspire me to make little improvements in myself. I want to share some of these people on my blog in the next few months and I felt like I should share the back story.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

That's Just Crazy!

The day before Spring Break was CRAZY DAY at school. This is what my kids came up with. Sydney's outfit started crazier (with a green tank over the shirt and bright orange shorts instead of the jean skirt) but when we went into the bathroom to do her hair, she started to cry and said, "I don't look crazy, I look stupid!" So we did some adjustments to make her happy. Garth, not knowing it was crazy day saw Carter put his shirt on and said "Uh, did you know your shirt is on inside out AND backwards?" Why yes, yes I do!

It's a Love-Hate Relationship

No, not with my kids, or my husband, I'm talking about Spring Cleaning. We have Spring Cleaned every year since we moved into this house. It seems like each year it gets harder. More kid grime, more junk to sort through and more kids to try to entertain while I deep clean. But, I LOVE that there are no cobwebs in the corners.
I LOVE that there are no hand prints on my walls.

I LOVE that I know that there are no dust balls, food spills, or anything else behind my appliances (even if nobody will ever see back there).

I LOVE that there are no broken toys or toys with missing pieces cluttering the toy boxes.

I LOVE that my cupboards and closets are tidy and organized.

I LOVE that it forces me to replace things like old rugs or dingy towels.

I LOVE that it motivates me to do little projects like finally putting up this vinyl lettering in my mudroom.
I LOVE that my kids are learning about taking care of your stuff (even if they spent more time watching than doing).
I just HATE doing it!