Friday, August 27, 2010

Kian's Purple Belt

Tonight was Kian's belt promotion at Bobby Lawrence Karate.  He  has been working SO hard and he has now earned his PURPLE belt!
He is on his way to BLACK belt :-)
It was a packed house tonight so I got the best pictures possible.
Working with his partner on his self-defense.
Bowing to Miki after his showtime kicks.
Running by the bleachers waving his new belt!
The Fourth Student creed:
What are we?
We are a Black Belt School!
We are dedicated!
We are motivated!
We're on a quest to be our best!
We are AWESOME!!!

Miki actually tied on his purple belt after a pretty cool belt ceremony.

I think it's time to move on to Leadership!!
Way to go Kian! We are SO proud of you and all of your practicing. You ROCK!!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

First Day of First Grade

Today was Kian's first day of school. Thankfully, it was only a part day (out at 1:30) so he can ease into all day school :-)
When it was time to wake up he shot his sleepy head up and with drool still on his lip said, "Do I have Karate today?!"
"Nope, school"
Eyes widen a little bit from scrunched up sleep, "Yay!!! First day of school!!"  Still he needed a few more  minutes in bed to fully be ready (who can blame him?)
Reese's Puffs for breakfast--I know, so nutritional...and then getting dressed.  Of course he was ready about 15 minutes before he needed to be, we'll see how long that lasts.
So handsome!
I'd like to go to the beach every day!
At his desk...he sits next to Grace and across from Robbie
He seemed over whelmed when I got t here to pick him up, but happy overall. We are looking forward to a great year and I am hoping to get many things done while he is away.This is the FIRST time ever that I have been alone during a school day.  When Mackenzie started first grade and we didn't have Kian yet, Doug worked from home so most of the time even though he had an office,  he was there. It will be a little strange!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Happy Anniversary!

The week before our 25th anniversary was one of the "downs" in the "ups and downs" of marriage. I felt like Doug was still a little cranky from the "staycation" and I may have mentioned a few things. I was having quite the Pity Party when on Thursday Doug suggested we go to dinner on Friday. I said OK and we kind of talked about where we might go.  I was feeling slightly better about things and trying to keep a positive attitude about our relationship.
I had to take Mackenzie to a counselling appointment and so I called to let him know we got her schedule worked out. He said "Why don't you just come and get me now"
It was a little early. When I got there he said he had to go home to change before we went out. I decided to do something with my hair and while in the bathroom I noticed my make-up basket was completely empty. I asked Mackenzie if she knew where my make-up was.  It didn't make sense for her to have it, but it was gone so...After several minutes her and Doug come to the door and Doug says "We're going to Park City for the weekend!"
"We're going to Park City, you're all packed...let's go"
I was FLOORED!!  I couldn't believe how he had planned it has been forever since that happened.  He said he had church all taken care of and we'd be gone two nights.  He said he decided to tell me so I could say goodbye to the kids.  When we asked Kian if he remembered where we were going Kian said "Hawaii!"
  I assumed it would be the Hampton Inn since he has a card there so I didn't even ask. But on the drive up he mentioned there was a fireplace in the room and so I asked where we were staying??
The Waldorf-Astoria!
We walked into the lobby and it smelled like HEAVEN...or at least what I think heaven will smell like.

Our room was beautiful and there were flowers waiting for me :-)

And there were Chocolates on the bed...

On Saturday I had an amazing Bindi spa treatment at the Golden Door Spa at the hotel. You'll be relieved to know that my "doshas" are all fairly balanced :0)
We went into "town" and walked a little bit of Main Street. We ate at The Eating Establishment which wasn't all that great.  I miss Red's! But Park City is a beautiful place...
We had an awesome time and I am thrilled that Doug had such a surprise planned out...all the time and energy that it took.  I love that he was willing to do that and even though it's not Italy, I know that will come some day.  We've had a rough past 5 years and I am so grateful that we were able to do this and know that the next 25 years will be even better!!
I love you Big Daddy and I always will, I'm still "Crazy For You" :0)
August 22, 1985....Best decision I ever made.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

One of Our Many Moves...1977

Sometime between June 28 and July 15 my parents decided to move back to Michigan from Incline Village, Nevada.  My BFF, Beth had come to stay with us from Michigan so instead of flying home, she got to "road trip" with us! It was one of the best trips for us, but had to be the worst for my parents. The following is from my journal as well as a letter that Beth was writing to Tim, a "friend" she met while staying with us in Incline :-)
Obviously she never sent it and it ended up in my journal papers.

The first day, July 25, we made it to Carson City. Then leaving Carson City, the car stopped in the middle of the road so Mom and Beth and I had to push it off the road. Some guy stopped and looked at it and got it going, but 20 minutes later it stalled again.  Somehow we made it to Lovelock and took it to a garage for work.  Now I know my parents did not have credit cards or savings. Dad bought a used tire for $20 and on the highway, we lost that tire.  We were going to put on the spare that had virtually no tread, but we didn't have a tire jack.  I cannot imagine how discouraged my Mom must have been! Some people stopped and helped us and we ended up getting a new good tire.
Wednesday the 26th, we made it to Salt Lake City and went to Temple Square. We pulled into the campground that night but it started to rain so we drove to the Scotty motel.
Thursday July 27, we got an early start and we found the U-Haul in the parking lot and the windshield and passenger window smashed. There were things thrown around and everything that had been loaded in the (Yes, CONVERTIBLE) Mustang was missing.
Dad went to call the police and us kids decided to look around to see if we could find any of our stuff. We found a whole bunch of things behind this house and we went and looked in the yard and saw more of our things in the backyard. The lady who owned the restaurant next door--The Red Iguana--
came over to see what was going on so I told her. She went into her place and came back out and said that someone had broken into her restaurant too.
The police came and while they were talking to Mom and Dad, Dad noticed our ice chest inside the house where we had found our things in the yard. So the policeman went into the house with his gun drawn and found all of our missing things along with food from the restaurant. Inside the house there was a lady with a baby and some other kids. She said they went out last night and weren't even home. The cop asked her what she did with the baby and she said she didn't remember! The cops got fingerprints and we got our stuff back and then we had to wait for U-Haul to come out and fix the windows.
We drove onto Rawlins, Wyoming and stayed in another motel and the next morning we went out to the truck and the windshield was smashed again!! Nothing was missing this time. However, by the time we reached Michigan I think my parents felt more like this...
And without a house we ended up "camping" (or homeless) for several weeks until we got the money to get a house. The house was across the ally from a strip joint, but I'll save that for another entry!
The rest of the trip was uneventful and Beth and I spent a lot of time writing notes, writing our "new" last names and listening to great 70's music!!

When we were making our desperate move out this way last summer, I thought a lot about this trip and how things seemed to go so wrong for my parents and how I don't remember them ever losing their cool. They took it in stride and did what they had to do, somehow.  I was SO grateful our journey was NOT eventful or costly and just as grateful that I had such good examples of hard-working humble parents.
Thank you Mom and Dad...I love you.

Salt lake City~Our Staycation

We had some car troubles this past week and so we had to postpone out trip to California. We were all bummed, but Doug and Vanessa still had the time off so we decided to do a little trip to Salt Lake instead.
We left Thursday afternoon and stopped at a REAL movie theater to see Toy Story 3!
Kian did pretty good, but he did ask several times if it was almost over :-) It was a great and really expensive way to start our staycation...I thought it was funny (in a sad way) that the popcorn cost more than the tickets to see the movie. I had just talked to Calah and then the movie is all about moving out and moving on and saying goodbye to childhood.  Needless to say I bawled...
Then we were on our way to The Red Iguana.

This is a place that was on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives so we had to try it. As we pulled into the parking lot I said,
"This looks like the parking lot where our moving van got broken to the Scotty Motel".
Don't ask me how I remember these things but as we waited outside I wondered down the sidewalk a little and lo and behold...

Can you see the roof tiles? For the complete and exciting story, check out the next blog entry. The food was good, but there was no empanadas which I really wanted and I'm not sure if I would make it a point to go back. I did try the Mole Negro which is what Guy went crazy for.

We went to the hotel and Kian could not wait to get to the pool. I loved that it was open 24 hours so we did a late swim in the hopes that he would have a dreamy night's sleep.

That next morning Kian woke up and barfed. Great! Welcome to vacation :-) We kind of took it easy since we didn't have a lot planned for this day. Doug was sure that it was just too much sugar and excitement.
We left later in the day for the Gateway where the Children's Museum is.
We paid 8 bucks a piece and Kian only wanted to stay in the first exhibit which was all BALLS!
It had all of these colored balls and tubes and ways to make the balls move through the tubes.  We finally convinced him to look at some other things, but he kept wanting to go back there. It was a pretty cool museum, though not nearly as big as Indianapolis.
He then made a friend outside...
That night we ate at Buca di Beppo which was divine because now they have gnocchi!
Saturday we got up and drove to Park City where we played Putt Putt golf and went to the outlet mall. Some good deals there, some not so good. But it is huge and we were whipped.  Doug was grumpy for most of the trip and I was just glad to be going home.  Kian was still having some tummy trouble and Mackenzie  had a dance to go to Saturday night.
Hopefully we had enough fun to make some good memories and we are now planning our trip to Cali for Fall break. However, I am glad that we have been able to get out there once and Aunt Judi came out here so it is way better than when we lived in Indiana.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Where Were You On That Day?

Some people remember exactly where they were when John Lennon was shot or when Princess Diana  died or when Donny Osmond was married (yep, May 1978~I read about it in the Lansing State Journal...let's have a moment of silence...)
However, I also remember this day: June 8, 1978

Mostly, I remember how it changed my Dad's views of Blacks.  He was not racist, but he enjoyed an off-colored joke. And though we were NEVER allowed to use the "n word", my Dad and buddies often used other terms that were less than flattering.
That day my Dad, though he was NOT active in the church and had not been in a church building in years, knew that what President Kimball had said was momentous and that he would be accountable for his words against any child of God.
Many people ask why it took so long and question the motives of the prophet. To that I say,
"Ask an African-American member of the church. They know it was inspired and it was the right time."

We are truly blessed to have a living prophet.
This to me was more inspiring and humbling and important that the election of the first African-American president.
An amazing event in our history and I am proud to remember that day.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Sacrament

Today I have great appreciation for the blessed Sacrament and for the ordained young men who are prepared to administer it to me.
As I sat in the chapel today I was filled with a deep respect for the wonderful blessing we are given each week.
In Matthew chapter 26  Christ is anointed, keeps the passover and institutes the sacrament.
"And as they were eating, Jesus took the bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.
And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it."
And they sang a hymn and went into the Mount of Olives. Jesus went on to Gethsemane where he prayed and suffered for my sins. He was betrayed and was crucified as was Heavenly Father's plan.
I am humbled by this knowledge and I am awed that the Holy Ghost will testify of this to me and remind me of the greatness of the plan of salvation.

"As now we praise thy name with song,
The blessings of this day
Will linger in our thankful hearts,
And silently we pray
For courage to accept thy will,
To listen and obey.
We love thee, Lord; our hearts are full.
We'll walk thy chosen way."

I know that the young men (some as young as 12!) who bless and pass the sacrament are ordained by the Lord through the holy priesthood power. They take on this responsibility willingly. These are normal boys who make mistakes and don't always Choose The Right :0)
3 Nephi 18:5
"Behold there shall one be ordained among you, and to him will I give power that he shall break and bless it and give it unto the people of my church, unt all those who shall believe and be baptized in my name."

However, this is why we believe...we are not perfect, but Christ has shown us a way back to Him and our Father in heaven.
Christ's Church is here on the earth.  The same church he was head of in His time. The same rules apply, the same ideals, the same lessons He taught are taught to our children and youth and ourselves each Sunday.
3 Nephi 18:7
"And it shall be a testimony unto the Father that ye do always remember me ye shall have my Spirit to be with you."

The Gospel is true.
Joseph Smith saw Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and was chosen as the first prophet of this dispensation when the world was ready to know the truth.
Heavenly Father speaks to and through prophets today.  Why wouldn't He?
Jesus Christ walked on this earth and he was crucified and it was the plan.
He knows me and my joy and pain. He loves me. He blesses me. He tests me, refining me and helping me to know my strengths.
The Book of Mormon is a testimony of Christ in the Americas.  It is a history of sorts of the people who lived here on this continent before and after His death.
It was translated by the Holy Spirit through Joseph Smith and it is remarkable!
I am filled with awe when I read it.

3 Nephi 18:12
"And I give unto you a commandment that ye shall do these things. And if ye shall always do these things blessed are ye, for ye are built upon my rock."

Friday, August 6, 2010

Karate Camp

This week Kian has been going to Karate camp every day from 8:30--12:30.  Considering one class is usually 45 minutes, this was a new challenge and to be honest I wasn't sure if he was up for it.
Plus it was Sword Camp and that is completely new!
I expected by day three there would be some grumbling and whining, but I was wrong.  He was excited every day (maybe because he got to bring his lunch in a sack).
He did complain when I told  him he had to practice the sword and  he said he couldn't do it, it was too hard.

But today was the last day...test day. And he did it!
Then he had to do his Tykoku Shodon--all seven steps REALLY well in order to qualify for his orange belt. This is something he has struggled with for a couple of months.  It is a series of moves that change direction with every number and each step is kind of complicated. Kenzie has practiced quite a bit with him and we had him try it several times this week because when he gets his purple belt he gets a new Wii game!
I was holding my breath when his group got up there, but he did it PERFECTLY!! I'm not kidding...
I was so proud. And more importantly, so was he!
He was SO excited when he came off the mat shouting "Mom, I got it! I got my orange belt!"

Before they handed out the belts, Miki took them through a little drill that goes like this:

What is pain?
French bread sir!
What is fatigue?
Army pants, sir!
Will you quit?
NO! and they stomp one foot and say,
We want some more! We want some more! We want some more!!

It was great fun and well-worth the cost of camp.  Kian loves Karate and he is now on his way to that purple belt...and a new Wii game :0)