"So Frequently we mistakenly believe that our children need more things, when in reality their silent pleadings are simply for more of our time."
***President Thomas S. Monson (Ensign May 1994)

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Chad Update.......

Chad's been having trouble with his shoulder for almost a year now. After talking/working with 3 different doctors over the last 6 months, they've finally decided to do surgery on his shoulder. He's at the point right now, that he can't even put on his shirt without it causing him serious pain. It's been hard to watch him suffer through, trying to find/workout a solution. I never wanted Chad to have to have surgery, but if it will relieve the pain I know that he's dealing with, I think it's the right choice.

So, when Chad went to talk to the doctor on Tuesday, I knew they would schedule his surgery. I just didn't expect it to be so soon or to have such a long recovery. They're doing the surgery August 15. He'll have to stay the night in the hospital, so that they can monitor his pain. Then he'll have to be in a sling for 5 weeks! They've requested 3 weeks of convalescent leave. We don't know if he's get the full 3 weeks yet, though. The doctor told him that the recovery is really painful, but once it's over, he shouldn't have any pain at all. That's good and that's the outcome we want, but it still makes me worry about him.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Family Home Evening...............

Monday we decided to go back to the Cathance River and have our family home evening there. There's a calm spot in the river, just after the falls that we let the kids swim in. I guess you could call it swimming, the water wasn't very deep at all. It was very quiet there, except for the kids laughter. Chad and I really had a nice time, visiting with each other and watching them in the water. It was so nice to see them getting along and having fun together. After they played, we had a family meeting and discussed some things that we need to work on in our home. We also discussed our trip to the temple that we'll be taking this Friday. (They're having a youth temple trip Friday afternoon. Chad and I decided that we'd take the whole family down there Friday morning, get a hotel for the night and spend some time checking out some touristy spots. Then go to the temple that afternoon. They'll probably need Chad to help with the youth, so McKaylie, Noah and I will check out the grounds, and the visitor's center. After they're done, we'll take the kid's back to the hotel [it's so nice having older children to babysit] and Chad and I will go back and do a session in the temple that night and hopefully another one Saturday morning before we leave.) It was such a quiet, peaceful atmosphere. I think that helped us have a better spirit while we talked. We sang "I Love to See the Temple" (Vance's favorite primary song). It was so neat to listen to our voices carry through the stillness and trees. We had a very reverent, spiritual closing prayer. It was really such a nice family home evening. I wish they all could be like that!

Cathance River Nature Preserve

Saturday afternoon we went for a hike on the Cathance River Nature Preserve trails. Myshel was babysitting, so, she wasn't with us. We missed her, but we still had lots of fun. The weather was great, too. The kids had a great time looking and catching frogs. (Vance is in the picture above, can you see him?) Here's 2 of the many frogs they caught. McKaylie and Noah were very disappointed that we wouldn't let them bring the frogs home. Chad and I enjoyed watching them, talking and the beautiful nature, of course. I love having peaceful, enjoyable moments like these.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Chad took Vance Fishing........

And look who caught the fish!!!!Chad said this was probably the biggest fish he's ever caught! It's a striper and they he caught it on the Androscroggin River. Vance didn't even get a bite.....

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Pretty in Pink!

Myshel thought Vanilla needed a make-over!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

There ARE Moose in Maine!

Chad and I joke around about how there really aren't any moose in Maine. That it's just a tourist scheme to get people to come here. We say that because we've have lived in Maine for 4 years now, and have never seen a moose here......

That is until now!!!! That's right, I was driving to Portland to pick Chad up from the airport last Saturday night and while I was driving I saw a moose on the side of the road! Oh, of all the times I've wished that I had my camera with me!!!!!! It was just a juvenile moose, nowhere near as big as the one in the picture, but it was still a moose.....in Maine....and I saw it! I guess having Chad's plane delayed twice and having to be at the airport at 9PM had it's hidden blessings!

So, I can tell you all, that there really are moose in Maine, well.....at least one.... young one!

(Just as a note, we've never actually gone looking
for the moose. We've been told many, many times to go up north and we'll see more than our fair share, but obviously it's just not that important to us.)

Mmmmmm Blueberries!

There's 3 main things I love about Maine, the rocky coast lines, the lobsters, and the wild blueberries! When we lived in Winter Harbor, we could find the blueberries growing wild everywhere we went. We could stop just about anywhere on the the side of the road and pick them. It was great. You can't find them that easily down here. So when a lady from my ward told me where I could go and pick them...for FREE....I was so excited! The field she sent me to was loaded with them. I kept forgetting to take my camera with me, though, or I'd have a picture of them growing wild. I might have to take a drive out them, just for a picture. We've been out there 3 times picking them and we've had enough to make jam, freeze some and can some. We ended up with a lot of leaves and some not-so-ripe berries, but that's what you get when a 5 year old helps, right?! The kids probably won't admit it, but they had a good time out there and so did I! And, now we have yummy blueberries!!!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

My 20th.......

Here's a picture of my 20th High School Reunion, which I did not attend. It was held over the 4th of July this year. I actually had absolutely no desire to attend it, either. Some of my friends around here were surprised when I told them that and I got the typical question, "why!?!?" So, I decided that I'd kill several birds with one stone and post about it. First of all, I'm not one of those people who would go back to high school if I was given the chance, too much drama for me and not really all that enjoyable. I did meet my husband there, so I suppose that's one good thing about high school, but for me there's little else to "celebrate" about it. I had a few good friends, but most were older and graduated before I did. I had some really great friends who lived in different towns than I did. Some just made choices I wasn't ok with, and others, I guess just weren't as good of friends as I thought they were. I wasn't popular, but I didn't ever mind that either. I guess in the end, high school was just a stage in my life I needed to get through to move on with the rest of my life. That sounds a little cold, doesn't it, but I think that's fairly accurate.

Just after high school was a hard time for me, too. I had a friend who I thought was a great friend, one who really knew me. It turned out in the end that she was much more willing to believe anything bad about me from some one else than she was to believe me. That hurt, a lot. Obviously, she didn't know me at all or she wouldn't have believed those things. Even when I reached out to her years later, she came across very snobby, with that sort of "high and mighty" kind of attitude. It was hurtful all over again. I think that was my final straw with high school and all that/who came with it. It was just easier to cut all "ties" than to have to be hurt again. Which is really silly, because I don't think that she hurt me intentionally, and I don't think that anyone else I went to high school with would try to hurt me, or have any reason to, either. Maybe it's just a self-defense mechanism that kicked in, that I didn't even know I had.

Anyway, long story short (It's too late for that isn't it?) high school was not my favorite time in life. It reminds me of being alone on a lot of Friday nights and of hurtful times. I'm not scarred from it, but that doesn't mean I want to go back and "dig up old bones" either. Besides, it's a running joke in our house that if we ever did go to my reunion, there would probably be more people that recognized Chad, than me!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Yesterday the kids and I went to see the movie Wall-E. The medical clinic here that deals with the military gave out free tickets and $5 gift cards for refreshments. So, we got 5 free tickets and $25 worth of gift cards. (If Chad had been here, we would have gotten 6 tickets and $30) The movie was suppose to start at 3PM. So we arrived at about 2:20PM, knowing that we would have to register first and then buy popcorn. We wanted to try and avoid the lines. We didn't have to wait in line too long to register, but, they told us that the movie wouldn't be starting until 3:30PM. We had about an hour to kill............We decided that we would still get our popcorn and soda and that would help entertain the kids until the movie started and since we got free refills on both, we could/would still have some during the movie, too. At about 3:10 I took Noah and McKaylie to the bathroom and Vance got a refill on the popcorn. (That big tub didn't last very long with 5 bored people eating out of it) I knew that we'd have to make a couple of trips to the bathroom, so I was trying to get one out of the way before the movie started. It started shortly after we got back.

I don't think that trip helped much, though. About 30 minutes into the movie, Noah had to use the bathroom again. I asked McKaylie if she needed to, but she said no. We were back about 10 minutes when McKaylie said she had to go......like that 10 minutes really made a difference, right! Myshel took McKaylie...........Vance took Noah again..............I took Noah again................Myshel took McKaylie again............and they both went when the movie was over! Seriously, next time, we do without the soda!!!!!

The movie was cute, but I'm glad that I didn't pay for everyone to go, especially since none of us actually saw it from start to finish! It was actaully longer than I thought it would be. The kids liked it, too, even Myshel and Vance.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Raspberry Jam............Yum!

Saturday, Chad took the kids on a "hike" on a trail that's right be our house. They came home telling me that there were wild raspberries everywhere! I was so excited, but didn't know if I could pick them or not. I asked around and found out that I could.So, the kid's and I went and picked raspberries Monday morning. We were rained on for about 10-15 minutes.......a nice, refreshing drench! We were soaking wet and I told the kids we should leave and come back the next morning, but they wanted to stay. I was glad that we did. We were wet, but we got lots of raspberries and we wouldn't have to come back! They were so yummy, too!

We came home and made jam. I even got more from them than I thought I would! I love it when that happens. I made some canned jam and freezer jam. (That way if there's any left when we move, the movers will pack the canned jam!---military wife---always have to be thinking about that next move---otherwise, it would have been all freezer jam) We didn't have enough to freeze any berries, which I would have loved to have done, but maybe next year!

But, the news gets better and better, there are blackberry bushes all over the place there, too! So, in a couple more weeks, we'll be back over there picking blackberries! That means we'll have blackberry jam and hopefully some frozen berries! The jam is so good and I am so grateful for this little surprise blessing!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Picnics, Parties, Parting, Talks, and New Callings.....Oh My!

Friday night was our ward picnic. It was at a local park here in Topsham. There's lots of food and games and lots of people. We had a good time. McKaylie and Noah came home covered in dirt and had to get a quick bath before bed.

Saturday night I was invited to a girl's night out at a friend's house. It was a lots of fun, too. We made fruit pizzas and laughed A LOT! I came home a little earlier than I wanted, though, because......

Chad left for a school in Florida at 4AM Sunday morning. Yikes, that's early. He arrived there just fine, but our house felt especially quiet and lonely without him, this time. He'll be back Saturday night. I think we'll pick him up at the airport in Portland.

Myshel gave a talk in sacrament meeting Sunday. I thought she did an especially good job this time. I was really proud of her, but then, I usually am.

I was released from my calling on Sunday, also. I was surprised, because I've only had it for about 5 months. I was teaching in Relief Society and I really enjoyed it. I had several ladies come up to me and tell me how disappointed they were that I was released, because they really enjoyed it when I taught. That made me feel soo good, I can't even tell you! I was glad that I was able to teach one last time, yesterday, even though, I was "officially" released. (I did think it was my best lesson....frustrating that it turned out that way.....)

I don't get to rest for long, though. I was released from being a RS teacher and then sustained as the Primary Secretary. I haven't worked in Primary (officially) since Vance was in nursery! I'm excited, though, because I love, love, love the primary president! She is such a wonderful lady and she has some great counselors, too. So, this will be a big change for me, but I'm looking forward to it. I think that I will really love it and if I don't, I'll learn to love it, but I think that I'm going to love it!

Mary Engelbreit Monday

Laughter is the musical workout of the soul.
---Gerry Hopman

Friday, July 11, 2008

Ahhhh, Meditation............

My life has been, uhhhh shall we say.....stressful this last year. I also don't seem to be handling that stress very well. So, I decided that I was going to try meditating to try and relieve some of the stress and "mellow" (for lack of a better word) myself. It's probably not meditation in the traditional sense, but meditation that works for me. Meditation is something that I never thought would be for me. In fact, I was somewhat skeptical about whether it would help when I started. However, it has. It's helped to calm me down and help me to find peace within myself. I find peace through prayer, but this is a different kind of peace. Meditation is maybe more like a physical peace. I don't know exactly how to describe it, but to be completely still and empty my mind and just let my body release the stress is such an amazing feeling.

The first time I tried meditation, I found it easier than I thought it would be. I found myself crying....tears just rolling down my cheeks crying. I tend to cry a lot anyway, but I was surprised that I was crying during the meditation. It was like I was just completely letting go and my body and mind were just so grateful.

I honestly don't know that much about meditation, but I do know that is has helped me to deal with things a little better each day. It doesn't take away all the stresses that I deal with, but I am really amazed at how healing it really seems to be.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Vanilla Makes Life Sweeter................

Our dogs are such a part of our family. They mine as well be kids, because they're spoiled like they are. They're each a little rotten, too.

This post is obvisouly about Vanilla. She's still a puppy and just makes us laugh most of the time. Vanilla is a mama's girl, even more than Nutmeg ever was/is. Vanilla sleeps at my feet, follows me from room to room and doesn't rest or quiet down when I come home until I pick her up and give her a love. She also shreds rolls of toilet paper, when she gets a hole of them, into little tiny pieces. She's even been known to pull paper out of the trash and shred it.

Chad and I have a very tall bed (which is where our dogs sleep--actually Nutmeg sleeps with the kids a lot) Nutmeg can jump up on our bed, but Vanilla can't. Chad takes them out in the morning when he gets up and then Vanilla will come and jump up and down next to the bed until I pick her up and put her on the bed. She then lays down and goes back to sleep. We've talked about getting her some steps, but the only ones we ever see are just too small. So I had a brilliant idea to stack some of my small storage tubs together and make steps out of them. We showed Vanilla how to get up them onto the bed and she's been using them ever since. I think she loves that she can get up there by herself. Even Nutmeg uses them and I don't get woken up by a bouncing dog ever morning!

Like I said, she follows me from room to room, even into the bathroom. She'll lay by the door until I leave. If she knows I'm in the bathroom, she'll lay outside the door and wait for me to come out. It's like when your kids are little and they have to follow you everywhere, even into the bathroom...Yeah, just like that. She took it to a whole new level this week, though. I got up from the computer, she was sleeping at me feet, and started walking down the hall to the bathroom. Just as I turned to go into the bathroom, Vanilla ran past me into the bathroom and laid down on the rug. She ran down the hall, so that I wouldn't be in the bathroom without her. I don't know if I should think it's sweet and endearing, or a tad disturbing!

Chad and I have also been taking her on our walks, so that she'll learn to behave when other people walk by. She loves it and is really good on her leash. She walks right next to me without touching my legs at all, until she gets tired and hot (after about a mile or so). Then I start to feel her cold little nose on my leg. When I look down at her she gives me those big, brown, puppy-dog eyes. So, I make Chad carry her! After all, she is still a puppy! Chad complains about it, but I don't think he really minds that much. Besides, it's a better workout with an extra 20 pounds of resistance, right! When he's carrying her, Vanilla has to be turned around so that she can be looking at me or she'll crane her neck around trying to watch me, which Chad tells her is completely pathetic, that is until she licks his chin. Which I think is her way of saying thank you!!

If nothing else, our dogs are entertaining! The kids love them like nothing else and they're learning to be responsible for another living creature. On any given day, I can give you 100 things to complain about them, but we do love them and they do bless our family!

The Bugs Like Myshel........

And Vance.......and McKaylie.......and Noah......and ME!
This is a picture of Myshel's leg. She got all of these walking home from school, which is about a 10 minute walk at most. Her other leg looked the exact same. I think she said that she counted 53 bug bites on her legs. They definitely seem to like her! When Vance came home from scout camp, his legs looked a whole lot like this, too, and he was using bug spray!

At least these are just mosquitoes or no-see-ums (yes, there are actually bugs that are called that!!!!). The black flies like Myshel too. I'm afraid she must get that from me, because they seem to like me, too. Unfortunately, Myshel also inherited my bad reaction to them. The bite swells up, to about a 4 inch diameter, sticks out about an inch, turns red, is very warm to the touch, and basically looks and feels horrible. The school nurse called me one day to say that Myshel had two black fly bites right next to each other and her whole arm was just a big swollen mess. I ended up talking to the nurse 3 more times that day while we decided whether Myshel needed to go to the doctor.

The black fly season is pretty much over now, but McKaylie came to me just the other night showing me the back of her leg. It must have been a black fly, because it was swollen, red, warm to touch, all the "black fly bite" symptoms. Her bite didn't react as quickly to the Benadryl as Myshel's did, but by the next morning it was looking much better.

In my head, I keep a little mental list of all the pros and cons on moving to Maine. The bugs are definitely a con!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Popham Beach....

On Monday we went to Popham Beach. It's past Bath, past Phippsburg, down to the end of the peninsula. It's a nice beach with SAND!!!!

Maybe I should first tell you, that my kids are spoiled!!!! They really are, and just don't know it. They are used to going to the beach and having warm water! By this time of year in Virginia, the ocean water is pretty warm, by August, it's in the 70's! And, all the beaches in Virginia are sandy. That's not the case in Maine! There are a lot of rocky beaches and pebbly beaches, but not a lot of sandy beaches. In fact most sandy beaches in Maine you have to pay to get to. So, we decided that we'd pay to go to Popham Beach (They charge per person, I might add, not by the car!!!! Maine sure knows how to make money, I guess) Anyway, the kids were so excited to go. We kept telling them that the water would be really cold, but they didn't seem to care...............until they got in it!
McKaylie and Noah played in the water for awhile with Chad, but were pretty content to come play in the sand with me for the majority of the time that we were there. (And yes, I know that McKaylie's swim suit is a two-piece and I should be teaching her that it's not modest......I agree with you......the fact is, when we bought that suit for her, it didn't show her tummy and we didn't realize she'd grown so much until it was too late to do anything about it. So, I let her wear an immodest swim suit to the beach that day! It might be hard to believe, but I have many moments of bad mothering!)
This is a picture of Vance. He's the person below the wave, that you can only see his head and shoulders. He stayed out in the water the entire time we were there. He didn't care that it was cold. He had such a great time in the waves. Myshel's the one standing up in the white shirt. It took her awhile to get out there, but once she ventured out, she stayed out there with Vance the rest of the time.

This is a great beach. It had some great waves coming in, but it was really shallow for quite a ways out. So even though it doesn't look like it, the water wasn't even up to their waists when they stood up.
This is my favorite picture of the day! Myshel's first "taste" of the cold water. She's in the white shirt with the look of shock on her face! Love it!

Here's McKaylie with her fairy house. This is what she worked on after getting out of the water. Fairy houses can only be made with things found in nature. The tunnel leads to the other side which is covered by wood and seaweed. She was really proud of it and I was proud of her! She did a great job!

Scout Camp

Vance and Chad got home from scout camp on Friday, July 4th around 6PM. Vance had a great week, which from the sounds of it, was non-stop fun. He was covered in bug bites, though and had a bruise on the inside of his arm at his elbow that was about 4 inches in diameter. It looked terrible! He said it was from archery and thought that it was pretty cool. Boys!!!! I'm just glad that he had a good week and he did come and give me a big hug and told me that he missed me. We were glad that he was home, too. Even Myshel said that it just wasn't the same around our house without him! We went to see fireworks later that night, too. He was exhausted when he hit his bed that night.

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