(Our family tradition: during the birthday dinner I record everyone present talking about what they love about the birthday person.)
Rock: "Fred, Fred, Fred....it's hard to choose only one thing I love about her because like.... you know..... I like Fred's calmness. Well like she gets really stressed out at times, but like when she is calm she is really calm back, laid out, and ready to listen to people and stuff. I've seen that a lot like sitting on the bus with her listening to hearing how easily she can talk to her friends. Yeah she's just a really good person."
Tank: "What I love about Fred is her sense of humor and how sometimes she does that Nacho Libre thing. How she goes, "Ha.... ha...."
Loaf: "What I love about Fred is that she's nice and sensitive. I don't know what sensitive means, but she is. And I think..... she's crazy sometimes too."
John: "One of the many things I like about Fred happened last night as she was having her party outside and it was clear when Fred was laughing. She has this laugh that is so beautiful. She makes other people feel good and welcome and included. She is a good friend."
Grandpa: "One of the things I love about Fred is that she loves to go to the temple. Lots of temples."
Grandma: "Fred has a very contagious smile and she's very good about putting people at ease and making them feel comfortable. And besides she is a really cute Mexican cleaning lady." (EDITORS NOTE: One day when Whitney went over to Grandma's house she noticed this really cute little Mexican lady there cleaning. Turned out to be Fred.)
Whitney: "One thing I love about Fred is how.... I was watching her the other day bustle around the kitchen making her immense platter of cookies with her perfectly curled hair and her cute little outfit and I don't even really know how to put that into words. She's always has things put together and she's making these platters of cookies on top of all the other things she's doing. She always looks adorable. (She's the next Martha Stewart, but without the prison.)"
Gus: "One thing I love about you Fred is that although you are very quick to anger it never lasts long. Your this quickest person to turn you anger into laughter because you did something dumb. I don't know... you are so quick to forgive. It's really good because sometimes I'm not, then you just make me laugh and it's all good so... I love that about you."
Dash: "I love about Fred is that she's nice to us. I like her laugh!"
Samantha: "One thing I love about Fred is that she wears her heart on her sleeve. She's a very passionate person and.... like the whole range of passions. So... like sometimes it can get you into trouble, but I think it's good that you are so sensitive and without guile in that sense."
Brick: "One thing I love about Fred is that she shares a lot and lets us have sleepovers once in a while. Well, she used to. No offense but ...."
Allison: "So I was thinking about the day we had our very first ultrasound of Fred. We had several, but the first one..... you know with Gus, she just sucked her thumb and tried to hide. She did not want to have pictures taken of her, but Fred came right up... I don't know how she knew, but she came right up to the little wand thing, what is that thing called. Transducer. Whatever it's called, Fred would put her face right up to the camera and she was smiling..."
Fred, "Can I interject real quick?
Allison: "You were in the womb."
Fred, "I found a picture of those ultrasounds and they are creepy as all get out! I look like demon spawn. They are so creepy."
(At this point I wish you could hear the laughter from the little people.)
Allison: "But it was so cute, this little person smiling and every ultrasound we had she would to that. The technician would flip her over to check her spin and Fred would flip back and smile. She's been smiling ever since. That's been fun. I don't think we knew how much you would love your life and scream it from...."
John: "Yeah, that's another great memory going down the Alpine slide with Fred yelling, 'I LOVE MY LIFE!'"
Allison: "I love you Fred. You've been a joy."
I can see why Fred would not think there is anything cute about these images. They are fading and do actually look a little creepy, but all those years ago it was a wonder to see a smiles on the ultrasound. Even the technician commented about how happy she was.
I am NOT a genealogist.
Genealogy is for old people (my grandparents) and although my children consider me old (Dash asked me just yesterday if I would still be alive when he has children.... eek) I am still quite young. I have never felt a push to do genealogy in a traditional sense. I still don't... I think.
So how did RootsTech change me?
1. I learned I am doing genealogy. As I tell our family stories I am my part in preserving the records and filling in holes not only for our ancestors, but my descendants. I am linking the generations.
"Memories, the heart turning, the emotional side will engage many, many more people than the clerical side. We could continue on with family history and be very healthy if we stayed in the very valid, academic: names, dates, and places preservation, clerical side. It would continue to be a fabulous industry. But as we look to engage those that don't have that propensity and start using it with the stories and the emotions that connection can bring to them and then teach them to do the very valid and necessary clerical, but attract and engage them first with the emotional. That is one key way that we are going to grow." (Steve Rockwood, CEO FamilySearch, meeting from 11.23.2015)
2. By learning about my past, I find I am making more conscious choices about the future. I find myself thinking more about what I want to leave future generations and what is important for them to know.
3. Interestingly, I want to live more simply the more I learn about my ancestors. I want less stuff and more meaningful relationships. After the last conversation with one of my children about the latest gadget they had to have I am planning on a few more "getting to know" your ancestors conversations and see if the same holds true for them.
4. I am more passionate about telling our stories, although from the lack of posting here you might wonder. eeek.
I have been able to go out and teach, hopefully inspiring someone to start documenting what they know, not only about their own lives, but the memories or stories of their ancestors. I also can't help, but share the things I learn with my children. I want them to have the same connections and love for the sacrifices made for each of us.
5. I learned in a most amazing class taught by familysearch.org (I wish I could remember the teacher's name) that the simple information you find death certificates, ships manifests, etc coupled with a little geographic and historic research can create a wonderfully detailed picture of who a person was and how they lived.
6. I learned that our lives are not very different today than our ancestors. We often face similar challenges and circumstances. I was surprised by this. For example, I was looking at one of our lines and noticed that one ancestor was adopted and I immediately wanted to know more. As I looked at the relationships and dates I learned that the adopted daughter was adopted by her grandparents. Her birth mother was her oldest sister. As this realization sank in, it made me realize that social issues that we often think are unique to our lives are as old as time. We can learn from and gain strength from the lives and experiences by those who came before me.
"Children who know their family history, who have shared in these stories, develop a send of self embedded in a larger familiar and intergenerational context, and this sense of self provokes strength and security." (From The Intergenerational Self: Subjective Perspective and Family History, )
I am so thankful to be involved with an organization, in just a small way but the benefits will effect generations to come. I can't wait to learn more this next year. If you would like to join me you can register for RootsTech here. I will be giving away a free pass for RootsTech in a couple of weeks so watch for more details.
"Suddenly all my ancestors are behind me. Be still, they say. Watch and listen. You are the result of the love of thousands.”
― Linda Hogan
Over the summer while John, Whitney, and Samantha were in Europe I took the children to the familydiscovery center in the familysearch library. One of the beautiful things about the exhibit is how each child was able to see how they fit into a larger family picture.
"When you're a kid, you think you're the most important, you're the only person out there, the world revolves around you, and this is just one way to show them no, you are part of this massive world. You are just one link in the chain."
It reminded me again for the study conducted by Emery University that found "Family stories provide a sense of identity through time, and help children understand who they are in the world."
How could I not want children who are better adjusted, more resilient in the face of challenges with the higher their self-esteem and better able to deal with the effects of stress? I certainly need this in my life.
One of the things the children learned from this experience is how broad our family background is. How our ancestors come for many diverse places in the world. More questions were asked about what life might have been like, how and why they moved, and how interterconnected we all are. Of course with questions comes research and more knowledge building and adding to the rich legacy we all have.
They loved the mini ipads as well.
Technology for the win.
One of the children's favorite exhibit was the photo booth. They loved the period costumes and of course there was laughter as each of the boys added their face to a few of the women's apparel. They decide they would not make lovely woman.... they make me laugh.
My favorite part is the recording booth.
This is a tiny clip of our recording. I LOVE having this! I rarely remember to create video recordings of our family. Still photos, always. Videos not as much, so this is a treasure for me and the children. They love watching the few home videos we have. If you do nothing else, get your loved ones in and make a quick recording. It's wonderful!
We stopped for a quick photo at the familyhistory library and then headed upstairs for lunch.
How I love this diverse and beautiful group of people! How blessed I am to be their mother. I will treasure this day. The memories are priceless and heirloom. Researching family names will probably never be my strength but telling our stories and building our foundation comes easily, especially with such a great resource like the familydiscovery center.
“I believe we move and have our being in the presence of heavenly messengers and of heavenly beings. We are not separate from them. … We are closely related to our kindred, to our ancestors … who have preceded us into the spirit world. We can not forget them; we do not cease to love them; we always hold them in our hearts, in memory, and thus we are associated and united to them by ties that we can not break. … If this is the case with us in our finite condition, surrounded by our mortal weaknesses, … how much more certain it is … to believe that those who have been faithful, who have gone beyond … can see us better than we can see them; that they know us better than we know them. … We live in their presence, they see us, they are solicitous for our welfare, they love us now more than ever. For now they see the dangers that beset us; … their love for us and their desire for our well being must be greater than that which we feel for ourselves.” (Joseph F. Smith, in Conference Report, Apr. 1916, 2–3; see also Gospel Doctrine, 5th ed. (1939), 430–31.)
I have finally made some time to put together this Christmas album. I have vacillated about whether such an album is necessary, but in the end I decided to just go with it.
I started with a 12x12 chipboard American Crafts album that I cut off a few inches so that it would be accomodate 9x12 page protectors. When I worked within the scrapbooking industry I always created 8.5 x 11 inch pages. A square has always been difficult so when I saw someone online create this size (and now it's readily available) I knew I wanted to try it.
The wreath was a large tag from one of the gift bags that I cut away, added glitter and adhered. As I worked I remember how much I loved creating, reusing, and customizing.
It was strange starting again, or rather creating a regular scrapbook page and I found that it has taken me a while to get into the rhythm again.
I am intermixing pocket pages with regular pages and I am mixing up the sizes to suit my whims.
Along with using the products I have in my stash I am also using Ali Edwards December Daily kit and one by Kelly Purkey. I am slow letting the photos dictate the colors so you can find nearly every color of the rainbow in this Christmas album.
I saved some of the Christmas cards we received and used elements within the album.
Rock has been having some knee/leg pain and at his appointment we learned that he has a crazy range of motion with this legs. Thankfully he will not have to have surgery to correct the problems. In his latest appointment we found that his body is naturally correcting itself. What a great blessing for him... all of us.
Most of the pictures I had printed at Persnickety Prints. They have wonderful customer service and the quality is great. I appreciate being able to unusual sizes.
Some layouts require very little words. They are favorite traditions and the photos speak for themselves.
Others are filled with sentiment and additional stories need to be told.
In the past I have always sewn my page protectors, but I decided to give the Fuse Tool a try. I have not been disappointed. It has enabled me to add pockets in places I had not considered and it has save my sewing machine needles, although I have still sewn on plenty of these pages.
to be continued....
I come from two very strong families. My parents were raised by good, amazing people (my grandparents) who sacrificed, taught, and loved for the good of their family and posterity. I would not be who I am if it were not for them.
Of course then there is the other side. The side where there are expectations about who you are and who you will become because are part of these great families. I can't tell you how many times someone has nodded their head and said, "OOOOHHHH, you are a .... (insert one of the family names)" or "You're C and M's daughter" as if that immediately tells them who I am.
Perhaps it does.
I have made plenty of decisions based on up holding the family name. I have always wanted my parents and my grandparents to be proud of who I am and the choices I was making. Now, don't get me wrong, I made plenty of wrong choices all of which were purely selfish and thoughtless. But knowing who I am, where I came from and where I was going gave me a foundation that helped me when I struggled.
As I watched my children laughing and eating dinner last night, I wondered if they felt the same way about us as parents and grandparents. I worried that my expectations were too high for them. I don't want or expect them to be perfect. I do want them to work hard and do the best they can in the circumstances they are in. I reflected to the conversation we had had a few days prior. It had been a rough morning filled with unkind words and general disobedience. I was struggling to be a good parent and the children were seeing the hypocrisy of my actions and words.
In a heap of tears I sat everyone down and apologized for the difficult morning. I begged for their forgiveness as I told them I was doing the best that I could, but I knew that it was not enough. I assured them that I loved them and that I would always love them, but that I would continue to make mistakes because I was learning right along side of them.
Then I said, "I won't be able to be the perfect kind of mother that you can use as an example of marvelous control and example, but I hope that I will always be the kind of mother that can admit her mistakes and try again. That is the only kind of person I know how to be and I'm not giving up on you or myself."
See that is the kind of person I learned to be from my parents and my grandparents. I can't think of specific things that they have done wrong, but the very nature of life on earth is about overcoming our weaknesses and mistakes. I see in their examples the strength to work hard and overcome challenges as they come. Their lives and examples give me hope to start again, to put one step in front of the other and cling to the rod. Their words and voices echo in my mind to stand firm and love.
One night, while the boys were camping we were sitting and visiting while we waited for a couple of the girls dates to show up. It started so innocently with a little girl showing off by jumping on her sister.
Slowly it progressed to elbows being throwing and squished people. Laughter abound as these best friends teased and giggled.
They would settle down for a second while someone remembered something they had to tell another sister, but the silliness would not be contained and soon the tickling began.
"Mom! Quit taking pictures!"
I couldn't stop. The delight, the friendship. These are the moments that I want to always remember. It was a quick 20 minutes together after a long week. It would be another day before we were back together again and I'm trying to savor these precious moments.
I have been so slow at editing our photos the past few months. Other projects have taken most of my free time and I have started (November 2014) or rather intensified my workout program. Somedays I feel like I live at the gym, but I am determined to become healthy.
More about that later, but for now I am resolved to get caught up and get all the 2014 photos added to the blog. I would like to order a blog book. If you have tried a service that you love please let me know. I've done some research, but I'm still not firm on one company over another.
I have finally ordered all the Christmas photos so I will have to put together the December Daily album soon as well.
I have another post like this coming with a few of our fall and summer activities that I never got around to blogging. It's been fun to remember than think about those times together. Catching up! It feels great.
John and I came home from a meeting one fall date to find Samantha leading the children (and cousins that were visiting) in a fabulous game called "sushi tag". She had played it at a party and knew that the children would love this active game.
The game rules or guidelines as we play (I'm not sure there are official rules, at least not any that I could find online)
1. Everyone starts in a circle paired with another person. One person sits in front of their partner.
2. One person who is "it" and stands in the middle of the circle.
3. The object of the game is for the person sitting behind to prevent the person sitting in front to be the first to go and touch the person in the middle.
4. The middle person chooses or points to two sets of pairs and the wrestle begins.
5. When someone successfully gets to the person in the middle they become the middle person or "it".
6. The old "it" (thankfully I don't write instructions for board games for a living) or the person that was in the middle goes into the pair that the toucher came from, but is in back.
When the children played there seemed to be more pair switching that was allowed with each round and sometimes the pairing is quite unequal in size and strength. However the laughter and fun was fantastic. This was the perfect game for our family!
One thing I did notice was that if the front person in the pair managed to get away, but had still not touched the person in them middle the back person of the pair was still able to wrestle them back into the game. At least that is what I saw over and over again. I'm not sure how they didn't quickly touch the person in the middle? We played out on our back lawn where there would be plenty of room to run around so the circle was pretty big.
Loaf wanted to be in the middle of everything, but she primarily stayed close to Whitney as this particular game happened shortly after Whitney got home from her mission. Loaf wasn't letting Whitney out of her sight.
It was fun to see the things she found most exciting. Gus' torn pajama pants were quite exciting.
The best match up was between Brick and Dash. They loved going up against one another and I loved seeing their strength as they tried to wrestled one another. It was the perfect game for them.
One of my favorite parts of my calling is the testimonies shared over at ReadingScriptures.org. My heart is always filled with the sweet tender witness that is given not only by the adults, but the youth in our area. To help in the gathering process we had a couple of tortilla/testimony nights at our home. Fred and Gus are the current tortilla experts in our home so they graciously consented to roll and feed the youth that joined us. Both nights were a success and I am so thankful for the wonderful leaders and kids with whom my children associate with.
If you would like to make your own tortillas the recipe is here.
Below are just few of the photos taken....
The little people loved running through the room trying to get the girls to play.
We had boys everywhere! The took full advantage of the court outside, the man-cave downstairs... it was wonderful. Rock was very worried about the evening and before everyone arrived kept helping us try to make the event spectacular. He said it would either break or make his coolness factor. I'm happy to report that it was a success and he is officially more cool.
Man I love these boys!
Our bishop jumped right in and rolled tortillas for most of the night. We were more prepared for the boys than we were for the girls, but still those boys can eat quite a bit.