Friday, August 31, 2012

My Cousin the Missionary

This week, my cousin Zack left Henderson.  He doesn't plan on coming home for 2 years and his family is so proud of him.  He is currently in the MTC in Provo, Utah and after that will be off to the Philippines, serving his Lord and doing His work.  I am so proud of his decision to serve and so very grateful for his righteous example to my kids.  They just adore Zack and I know he is going to be severely missed at Sunday dinners but it'll be so awesome and the blessings will be great for his service.

These are some of the pictures I took for him before he left.  My family moved to Henderson months before he was born and lived with his family.  I loved on him as a baby every chance I got.  I still remember one morning before school where I had been holding him and he spit up ALL over me and I had to hurry and change so I wasn't late.  Our families have always been pretty close and I've seen this kid grow and somewhat mature over the years and I'm just so excited for him.  He gave an amazing farewell talk in his ward and I was so impressed by his unshakable foundation and testimony.  He is going to be a very hardworking and inspirational missionary.  I hope one day to see my boys shine like Zack did that day.

The Monday before he left, he was set apart and the family gathered together one last time.  His mom made for us our traditional Christmas morning breakfast since Zack would be missing a couple.  We had the kids take pictures with Zack and I'm looking forward to comparing the ones we take when he gets home to see how much they've all grown, including Zack.

Return with honor, Elder Gainey!

Monday, August 27, 2012

4th, 2nd, and kindergarten

Today was the first day of school.  With today comes a new stage in our lives.  All three kids are in school this year.  I'm not quite sure how I'm this happened and I really don't like  it but I'm on my own for 2 and a half hours every day now.  We had a great stress-free morning and I'm hopeful that this will be a great year for the kids.  

Stryder was actually really excited to start school after a month of dreading it.  It helped that he learned that his class would be filled with friends.  

Shelby has been excited for school to start since school got out.  She already loves her teacher and couldn't stop talking about all the fun she had today.

This little dude was awesome!  In the car before I dropped him off, he was very concerned about me being alone.  He said "Mom are you going to be ok?  You will have the dogs for company so you don't have to be alone right?"  He is such a sweetheart and was only concerned about me.  He got in line and walked in like a champ.  It was me that turned and walked away with tears in my eyes.

 Shelby's star hair for the first day of school.

Hot and sweaty faces at the end of the day.  Everyone survived and wants to go back tomorrow.

As I reach this new stage in my life, I'm sad.  My babies are growing up and my role is changing.  I actually miss those days of no sleep, endless diapers, and little babies.  Now it's video games, endless homework, and big kids.  I'm not ready for this...but I guess here goes nothing.


The Saturday before school started, our ward's Young Women put together and ran in a 5K.  Two other wards joined in and we had a great time.  Our fearless leader set it all up and did a great job.  We had been training all summer for this and it felt awesome to finally complete it.  My training was lacking the couple weeks before we ran but I finished in 56 mins.  Not a great time to most but I was pretty proud of myself for finishing in under an hour.  It just gave me a push to try harder and finish faster on the next race.  I'm looking forward to next year.

Here is the back of the pack as we started out.  It was around 6AM and the sun hadn't even come up yet.  We started at Colt and Foothill and ran down to Magic.  Then Magic over to Newport.  Newport down to Milan and Milan over to Burkholder and onward to the church building.  I felt really good starting out and ran almost all of the first mile.  It was a run/walk for the rest.
There's the whole group that ran.  Some of the leaders' kids ran and one certain boy was my finishing buddy and I sure was grateful he stuck with me and encouraged me to the end.
Here's me with all of our Young Women leaders who ran.  We each decorated our own shirts.  Off behind me you can see my kiddos in the background.  Ben surprised me and got the kids out of bed and came to cheer me on.  They were first waiting along Magic where I was feeling my lowest.  It was a slight uphill and I was in the back, last by myself.  Then I looked up and noticed a little group cheering and realized it was my family.  You would not believe the lift I received as I continued to run to them.  Then they drove to the finish line and cheered me again.  They were all so proud of me and I loved having them there supporting me.  My muscles are still achy but my spirit is dying to run some more.  Hopefully with the kids back in school, I can get back out there and improve on that time.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

It's Almost the End

I can't believe it's almost time to go back to school.  In less than a week, all three of my kids will be going to school.  This summer has just flown by and I'm kind of bummed.  We were so busy back in June but now I can't believe it was part of this same summer.  August has been the opposite of June.  We have done nothing!  In some ways it's been good but in others I'm sad we haven't had as many adventures, like I dreamed we would.  Now with school starting, life will take us on new different adventures, I guess.  September is shaping up to be a pretty busy month, then we'll have a bit of a break before the holidays.  Oh I can't wait for the cozy weather of winter.  For now we'll just soak up these last few days of summer break.

Monday, August 13, 2012

God Save The Queen

Another amazing Olympic experience has come and gone.  London was an extraordinary host for the 2012 Summer Games of the 30th Olympiad.  I have spent the past 2 weeks glued to my TV at all hours laughing and crying and cheering for Team USA.  There were so many amazing stories and I wish I could remember and share them all but that would take forever, so here's a few of my favorites.
I loved the cauldron that housed the Olympic flame for the 2 weeks.  It was so neat seeing the petals all come together and being lifted up.  Of course the swimmers were some of my favorites.  I streamed in live Michael Phelps' last races and may have shed a few tears watching this amazing man wrap up his phenomenal career with 22 medals, 18 of them gold.  Missy Franklin is a ball of sunshine and another amazing swimmer.  I can't wait to see her do great things in Rio in 2016.  I, too, fell in love with the Fab5 and was so excited for them as they won gold. Oscar Pistorius, from South Africa, was an inspiration to so many as he was allowed to run in the normal Olympics with no feet.  I was blown away by his humility and heart.  There were so many track stars that have risen above horrible circumstances and gone on to compete and win medals in the Olympics.  I cheered my heart out for the Women's Soccer Team.  So great!  I loved every header goal and come from behind win.  Those women are awesome.  Speaking of the women of the Olympic games, the US women earned 29 of the 46 golds!  They kicked butt!  I was so excited for David Boudia to beat the Chinese and win gold in 10m platform diving.  Beach Volleyball was a thrill as 2 American teams went head to head for the gold medal match.  Of course, Misty and Kerri threepeat but it was a great game.  It was so rewarding watching some countries earn there first medal ever in an Olympic game or certain event.  So many athletes are religious and hearing them praise God for their wins was really cool too.  But I think my favorite moments, were watching the athletes crying while listening to our National Anthem play from atop the podium and seeing their parents.  Those parents were so proud and humble and I just loved watching them cry and cheer with and for their kids.  Oh I can hardly wait for the next Olympic games in 2014.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

No Place Like Home after a week at Girls Camp

This past July, I got the chance to leave my kids and husband and real life behind for a week, and go to girls camp.  It was ward camp this year so we got to choose where we wanted to go.  Thankfully, a family in our ward let us "camp" at their cabin.  I got the chance to join with another leader and leave early.  We left the afternoon before everyone else so we could prep and decorate the cabin before the girls showed up.  It was a great drive up to Panguitch with beautiful scenery and long conversations.  We enjoyed a cool, quiet morning creating a rainbow in the kitchen.  Our theme for camp was "There's No Place Like Home" and we had a whole Wizard of Oz theme to go along with it. 

This was the rainbow that just made me smile all week long.  Each day was a different theme to go along with our main over-all theme.  Tuesday was Scarecrow/Knowledge day and we had Hawaiian haystacks for dinner.  Wednesday was Tin Man/Heart day and we had tin foil dinners.  Thursday was Cowardly Lion/Courage day and we had beefy tacos for dinner.  Each day we had a devotional to go with that days' theme and throughout the week the girls displayed these characteristics beautifully.

This was my favorite of all the animals hanging from the wall, I just had to share a picture of him.

That's me in the polka dot pajamas.  I spent A LOT of time braiding.

Thursday, courage day, was hike day.  We hiked mammoth caves.  I was so proud of myself, fitting through that little space in the bars and hiking in the pitch black with only a little flashlight.  I also really fell in love with that other leader in the picture with me, we discovered we have so much in common as we cried together.

Along with the caves, we hiked Cascade Falls.  It was a beautiful hike with gorgeous scenic views.  I was so proud of all the girls for finishing it.

We had so much fun that week.  There was games, crafts, hikes, campfires, smores, late night spotlighting in the back of a truck, dance parties, laughing til you cried, no sleep, uplifting spiritual moments, bed-time stories, and a million memories made.  I'm so grateful for those that planned and put so much time and effort into making girls camp what it was.  I'm also super grateful to my mom, sister, and husband for all their hard work watching my kids while I was gone.

And for those who want to know why we choose our theme...
Life is a lot like The Wizard of Oz...picture yourself as Dorothy.  She comes to a new world and is told to follow the yellow brick road.  The yellow brick road will help her find the way to Oz just like holding tight to the Iron Rod will help us get back home.  Along the journey, Dorothy meets the Scarecrow, who needed a brain.  We need knowledge and wisdom as we travel through this life, reading out of the best books and going to school and gaining all the insight and knowledge that we can.  Next, Dorothy meets the Tin Man who needed a heart.  We need charity and love towards everyone, even if they are different from us.  We've been told to "love one another".  Lastly, Dorothy meets the Cowardly Lion who needed courage.  It takes a lot of courage to go through this life, standing up for what you believe in.  We need courage to not judge and be friends and love one another.  All along her journey, Dorothy has Toto as her constant companion.  If we are doing what we are supposed to we can have a constant companion in the Holy Ghost, who can also pull back the curtain and reveal the truth to us.  Unfortunately, Dorothy had someone trying to prevent her from getting to Oz, the Wicked Witch of the West.  Satan is actively trying to pull us off the Iron Rod by making sin beautiful and easier.  Sadly, I don't think Satan is as easily defeated like the Wicked Witch but we can constantly be trying to throw water on him and do better.  At the end of her journey, Dorothy is told by Glinda, that she had the means to get home all along, but she needed all of those experiences to get to that point.  Her ruby red slippers are like our faith and testimony and the gospel, things we have that can help us get back home to our Heavenly Father.  Glinda, like our Savior, Jesus Christ, showed the way.  There really is no place like home, whether it's our earthly home, the temple, or our heavenly home.  And I hope our young women will always remember this.