Carl’s birthday

Summertime is so fun! Not only do I feel like I can slack a little with the kids homeschooling but I also love getting up in the mountains and that’s not so enjoyable in Utah during the winter unless you like skiing or oh my, that word just left my mind,it’s like jet skiing in snow, why can I not think of that word?! Anyway you know what I mean. Neither of those things happen to be a current hobby of ours although we would like to try one day. So currently summertime is our mountain time! 

The day greeted us with these beautiful rainbow colored clouds

A close up 

Carl especially loves the mountains and so for his birthday we’ve gone camping in the past. Not an option this year since we don’t have a tent and we don’t trust our truck to get us up the canyon right now. He also loves 4 wheeling but we got rid of our side side and 4wheeler when we moved into our trailer and he didn’t want to rent. So we did his next favorite thing. We went shooting! 

My sister watched our 1 year old-Keegan and we brought the air soft guns and BB guns for the kids as well as plastic army men! 

Carl James loved this part! 

Truth be told so did the grown men! 

They enjoyed larger targets as well. 

Look at those handsome men! I especially like the one in the middle! 

When Uncle Carson wasn’t shooting with the men he was helping the kids get set up in their own shooting station. 

Like with the targets he brought. 

While he was doing that I was able to take the little ones for a walk.  By this point Keegan had joined us and was getting tired and ready for bed. 

They were not interested in the competition Dad and Joe had going on with shooting army men. 

Them going to see who got whose army men off the cups

Although I found their game and competitive attitudes quite entertaining! 

Carl and Joe

Carl and his brother Carson

My hott husband, just sayin’

We left at like 10 in the morning and didn’t get back until like 10 at night but when we got home Carl was all smiles and that was totally worth the effort! Happy birthday babe! 

P.S. Once again I failed to get a picture of myself in a blog post but just picture a mixture of superwoman and catwoman and you’ll be able to see what I look like holding a gun. Powerful and Sexy! Lol

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Spina Bifida and the BSA Ropes Course


My son was 30 feet in the air climbing on a tight rope and, he has Spina Bifida. This was a moment for him, me and his dad that we will never forget. Let me tell you the story…
We were are the BSA ropes course waiting in line when a gentleman approached us and said to me while pointing at my son “I bet we could get him up there if he wants to try it.” My son (Carl James) was a little reluctant but with the encouragment of the BSA leader, my husband, and myself, he decided he could try it out. 

We got him harnessed in and they developed a pulley system to pull him up. 
Basically for every 5 feet of rope they pulled he would go up 1 foot. It was incredible to see the team working together and heaving and hoeing to get him up there.

 The BSA team was determined that he was going to be able to try out this rope course.


 I apologize for the video being sideways. I think I turned the camera after I started recording. So it’s stuck that way.

Carl James was nervous at first but after a while he started to think it was pretty cool.

After a while he slipped away from the ladder which made him nervous at first but then he was ok

 I was actually very impressed because he tends to be my cautious child but that seems to be dwindling away the older he gets. They got him up to the top where he could walk on the tight rope and boy is that thing wobbly! I had gone with my friend only hours before, so I know!

I wanted my husband to try it,so he was the one that got to go up with Carl James and walk ahead of him and steady the two ropes that he would be holding onto to help him balance a little better. 

It was quite the scene to watch. Not only the people on the ground pulling my son up but to see my husband go for his first time and have to fidget with all of this stuff in his hands to help get things ready for Carl james to cross and then he waited for my son to get down and undid they puley system that they had hung just for my son. Most people it’s just a struggle to get up there and walk across the thing but Carl (my husband) got to get up there and work! Lol. I was very proud of him. Look how busy he stayed…

Our Monkeys

While Carl James and Carl were walking the tight rope our 3 girls had finished their turn in line and had started climbing the rock wall. So I got to bounce around from each of them trying to catch their moments of glory. The entire video is 8 minutes so I tried editing it to only catch Carl James, then Carl, then the girls. I also took pictures while recording the video. ​

It’s always been interesting to have kids on two ends of the extreme when it comes to physical capabilities. While Carl James struggles to walk because of his disability my girls will climb the playground equipment and put the other kids there in awe. It’s a hard balancing act. Making sure Carl James feels included yet the girls have every opportunity to excel where they want to excel. Hiking is our favorite family activity but one activity that really highlights these differences. 

The thing that is the same is that each and every one of my kids truly applies themselves to each task and challenge they face and I am incredibly proud of each of them. 

Morgan

Morgan tackled this rock wall like Spiderman!

Morgan


Jaidyn

Jaidyn stuck at the top cause she was too light

But Kylee climbed up and pulled on her foot and that have her a start down. She finished getting down on her own


Kylee

Superstar!

On her way to save Jaidyn


Everyone had a good time and left feeling like superstars! CarlJames told me several times “That guy told me that some people can’t do that and they don’t even have spina bifida and I did it!” Yes little man you did and I am so proud of you!

These people were so sweet and thoughtful though!

Look at all of them pulling!

It was one of those moments in life where your faith in humanity is restored again. Having a child with a disability can be trying and there are many struggles; but one thing that I do get to experience because of his disablity is to see others compassion and we always meet people who have a heart of Gold. I don’t know that everyone else gets the gift of seeing that side of other people and I am always grateful when people open up their hearts and resources to help my son and our family. People are incredible, with their generosity and their tenacity. My son faces alot of hard things everyday that no 10 year old should have to deal with but he has such a great sense of humor and a loving and observant heart. He watches over his siblings and is always eager to play with them and always remembers his siblings and keeps their wants in the forefront of his mind. Kind of like on this day. 

I always wonder if I seem grateful enough. I worry that maybe I am too overwhelmed or stressed to show my gratitude and other days I’m worried if I share too much gratitude I will spill over with tears. Other times I am worried that I will lose my “everything is fine” facade and I might spill out with all of my worries/concerns. So I say thank you, sometimes several times but I don’t always articulate why or how something was so helpful. I hope people can see the gratitude in my eyes and see the weight lifted off of me as they invite and include my son, as they encourage and help my son, as they have patience for him while he walks perhaps slowly in front of them, and especially as they listen to and enjoy him. For those of you that have done this…know that you are appreciated and I notice every bit. Even when you think I am not watching. Thank you for opening your hearts and for sharing your time, talents and resources and for allowing a little boy to feel some extra joy in a life that often has too many hardships. I love you and you hold a special place in my heart.

Birthday at BSA ropes course

Another reason I have amazing friends is because for my birthday my friend gave me the gift of time! Her and I have always had an adventurous spirit in our friendship and true to that spirit we went somewhere adventurous! We went to the BSA ropes course! 

She says we look nerdy in this picture. Haha.

Both of us had never been so it was a fun experience. We first went to the course that I thought looked easiest which was a ladder that is like a rope ladder but it’s made of cable so as you climb it the ladder twists and turns a little. It stayed relatively still on me while I climbed it however. I climbed it with relative ease except the higher I got the less sure my footing got. Sadly we didn’t get any pictures of this part. 

Next we decided to climb up to the caterpillar crawl. Its a telephone pole that’s about 30 feet high laid horizontally and you walk across it! The way up is an interesting climb. My harness kept getting stuck on the bolts holding the 4×4’s together and my shoes would just slip off of the part you are supposed to step on to climb. So it was mostly an upper body strength exercise for me at that point. 


The hardest part was climbing up and onto the pole. I was watching other people do this and it was the part I was least excited about. Well, that and then getting to a standing position on the pole! 

I did it though! Now to just stand! Don’t look down!

Yeah! Nailed that too! Now walk forward one foot in front of the other! Keep looking ahead. Keep your eyes on the goal Meg! That was straight ahead! Sounds like a good life lesson eh? “Look ahead! Keep your eye on the goal (which would imply you need a goal)”

If I hold onto the rope I’m safer, right?

So I may have treated that rope like a security blanket!

Look how freaking high I am!! Did i tell you I’m afraid of heights? Yeah, maybe it was implied. 
I made it to the wall!!! 

Now to walk out a few feet, do a 180 and then sit into mid-air! Yeah sure, whatever you say belay man! Actually I was sitting into my harness but it feels like the same thing at first, kinda. 

That’s my “I did it and I didn’t die”face! 

Yep still happy I didn’t die! 

After this we went over to the giant ladder. While we were waiting in line a gentleman asked us if we would like to try out the “trust fall”. The one thing I didn’t think I would do there! Their version of a trust fall is climbing a 20 ft telephone pole, standing on the top then turn 180 degrees and then count to 3 and jump! While harnessed in of course. Still, sounds kind of insane. I usually try to avoid falling, why would I jump? We told him we were thinking about it and he said “While you are thinking about it why don’t we get you hardnessed in?” I said “Oh gee. Thanks!” So we did it! It was just a scary as I sounds! I was terrified. Look and see….

I felt like a total hero when I got down. Then a total wimp when I watched the video. Lol. After that we climbed the giants ladder. 

Yes those are big ladder rungs!

I’m getting there!

Now it’s time to walk the “tightrope”

After all of this fun we worked up quite an appetite! So we headed to lunch at Costa Vida! 

Sweet pork salads! Yum!

I sure love being home and spending time with old and true friends! Thanks everyone for all the quality time and welcoming our family home so well! It’s also nice to be back where a pizza pie cafe is and costs Vida! Those were the first two places we went out to eat when we got home!

Rock on and dare to be bold!

What’s your favorite thing about your home town? 

Thirty and Thriving(my birthday)!

Can I just say I have the best friends?! First of all each one I surprise visited opened me with open arms. Second, even though they only found out I was home a few days before my birthday they totally celebrated with me. I also have an incredible husband. On the day of my birthday I wanted to spend it with my family. I chose to go to the dollar store and pick up items for outdoor fun and games, as well as hang my silks in the park. We forgot to attach the silks before the rig got too high. We could have taken it back down and then attached them but Carl decided to climb up instead. I thoroughly enjoyed watching him do so!

Once the silks were up I played on them and taught my brother a flip. He left his phone in his pocket and it broke the screen! Oops! I totally forgot to take pictures! In fact I didn’t take any pictures of myself at all that day! After silks we played games. 

Our supplies. This will be a whole summer of fun!

An improvised game

They deflated a beach ball and then stuck a tennis ball on top, hit the sides of the beach ball and up went the tennis ball. Really high too!

I tried this. He had to show me up. I did conquer it though!

He made his own shaker

Carl James and our many beach balls

Have you ever looked on Pinterest for games you can play with beach balls? There are a plethora of them. On this day we threw them through flying hula hoops and played a kid friendly croquet! 

Kylee and Jaidyn playing tea party

These cups were for a ping pong ball game but of course got used for a tea party afterwards!

Carl James playing ring toss and rocking it!

I saw the rings made with pool noodles but when I saw these foam wreath thingies I decided that would be easier. I wouldn’t have to even make them! I’m all for simple! 

Morgan trying to keep the balloons from blowing away

This was my favorite game by far. We used our pool noodles to hit the balloons into the laundry basket. It was a competition to see who could get the most in. It was a wild and crazy race! The balloons kept popping so we got a wopping one balloon in the basket and boy did we fight over that last balloon. I’m pretty sure it was my 16 year old brother who got the last say in that game! It was great day!! A way I loved spending it! 

A few days later my friend invited me and my kids to go to the park with her and her kids and have a shaving cream and baby powder fight! I was totally in! She surprised me and invited several mutual friends from my old neighborhood and they celebrated my birthday with me. What a sweetheart!! We had a blast and made quite the mess of ourselves! 

Afterwards we had a water fight to clean off! We basically had to bathe in the ice chests to get everything off! I knew Carl wouldn’t let us back in the truck if we didn’t clean off and dry off! 

That was such a fun day! Since my love language is quality time it really spoke to my heart! Thank you family and friends for making that a special day! 

Thanks especially to this special lady for putting it together!

In the next post I will tell you all about my friend and her quality time gift she gave me for my birthday celebration on Saturday! 

Love you all! It’s been so nice to be home and visiting with friends and family! Y’all spice up my life! 

What’s your love language and how has someone shown you they care recently?

Carl James’ birthday

We spent a good week surprising family and friends that we were home. In that week we celebrated Carl James’ birthday. My little man is 10! It makes me happy and sad at the same time! 

For his birthday he wanted to go to thanksgiving point. We had a great time at the farm petting the animals and the kids enjoyed riding the ponies. 

We went there because it is covered under our ASTC pass but since our drivers licenses state that we are less than 90 miles away they didn’t let us in the other exhibits. So I was sad about that. However I think the ice cream made up for it!

Birthdays are always more fun in Utah for my kids because they not only get presents but they get the gift of time from their grandparents. This year Carl James went out to breakfast with Grandma, had a birthday surprise at Papa and Nana’s work and, went and did laser tag with his 16 year old uncle and still had a birthday party with family at Grandma’s! What a lucky duck! His birthday lasted like 3days!

If you can’t tell birthdays are a big deal in this house! 

Later in the week we decided to go up to Pineview. Which I found kind of ironic because we have only gone to Pineview about 5x, or less, in our 10 years of marriage and for our entire time we were out of state we were surrounded by rivers and lakes and never went to any of those! Regardless, we went and boy is it full! Must be from all the snow Utah got while we were gone! 

I love how in this picture you can see snow on the mountain

I think this picture is a gem!!

Now that we are back in Utah we have had a ton of people to catch up with (and still have more) so we haven’t done any site seeing minus these two things I’m talking about. Hopefully soon I will get to show you the amazing things Utah has to offer. It really is an incredible place! 

What’s your favorite place to go to in Utah? We would love to hear your suggestions!

Our trek back home

We had so much fun in Branson and we were in a great RV resort but it just didn’t feel like we were in the place God wanted us to be. So after much prayer and contemplation we felt that it would be best to head home for the summer and do some recuperating! We are in dire need of a vacation from our vacation! Being home will help us feel a little more relaxed and comfortable and give us the added strength and wisdom we need to continue on our journey! Little did we know the trials we would encounter on the way home. We were headed home in the middle of Nebraska, on the freeway, on flat ground, and we were losing speed! Carl was driving the truck pulling the trailer and I was following behind. He had mentioned several times that the truck was lacking power. We stopped and he cleaned out the air filter. It seemed to help but not enough so we decided to stay for the night at this rest stop. As I sat at the rest stop waiting for the kids to get out of the restroom I had this funny thought and feeling come over me. “We are getting so used to being “homeless” that we are comfortable anywhere.” Let me explain. Throughout our journey there have been so many times that we have had either trailer problems or truck problems that forced us to be somewhere we didn’t necessarily want to be.We have learned to adapt to new and challenging circumstances and to be at ease wherever we land. It doesn’t come natural and I don’t love it but it’s getting easier to cope with things being disheveled. Sometimes I wonder if I’m learning anything on this journey and then moments like that will happen.

I’m sitting on the floor of a rest stop building, all of my belongings are being pulled behind a defective truck, we are in the middle of nowhere, in tornado alley during tornado season, and I don’t know if we can get home, yet I’m okay. I have my freak out moments for sure but then I have these moments where everything around me seems to be falling apart and I can say…”Everything will work out. I’m okay.” Now that is a priceless lesson! 

The next morning we get a move on. The truck does okay at first. We drive at about 70mph for a while. Later down the road I’m following behind Carl and I notice we are losing speed but fast and now we are only at 40mph. Carl exits the freeway and we pull into a gas station in very small town called Brule, Nebraska. At this point he’s had enough. Exasperated he says “I don’t know what to do. The truck won’t go. I don’t know where to stay.” I look across the road directly across from us and say to him “Uh…there’s a sign for an RV park pointing that way (to the left of us) and the RV park is right there.” This RV park was owned by the gas station we were parked in! Once again God was looking out for ! Surprised and relieved, he has got his game back on, he says “Okay. I’ll register and then I’ll look for an O’Reilly’s.” Not only was there an O’Reilly’s close by but they actually had the part we need! 

Amazingly the RV park actually let us do the work that we needed to do! 

Carl was amazing and got right to work with a little help from Keegan. I was able to make lunch and the kids were able to play. Since we were the only ones there they kinda ran wild and got their energy out from two long days driving! 

They loved running through the field and playing on the slide and merry go round. It was the perfect stopping place. We were there for 3 hours while Carl fixed the truck and we all ate lunch. 

I told Carl as we were packing up. “You know staying here really didn’t cost us anymore. Cause we could have spent $25 on lunch on the road and we were able to eat at home.” Then later when he went to check  they actually gave us a discount because we were only there for 3 hours so it was actually cheaper than lunch! As we were packing up to go Kylee rolled our spare tire towards the truck. As she did so a frog jumped out of the tire! The kids were all convinced it was one of their pet frogs from Branson, Missouri! If so it was probably happy to be free!

There was lots excitement over this little frog! It was a fresh burst of happy energy to get us back in good spirits and on our way home! On the way home we talked about why  were excited to head home and how we would surprise family and friends. When we saw the “Welcome to Utah” sign both Carl and I breathed a sigh of relief. Finally something familiar! 

Easter and celebration Sunday

Life in Branson has been so good but we are so exhausted that I feel that we haven’t enjoyed it as much as we could! I actually feel kinda guilty because the people in Branson have been so good to us and I’m worried that I haven’t been that responsive. We are kinda pooped! (Pardon my language) Traveling has been super fun and we feel very blessed to have been able to jump at this opportunity (I say jump because it took a huge leap of faith and it happened very quickly) however it has also been very nerve wracking and exhausting! Carl has just found a job wherever we went and for the first little while it worked out perfectly. Lately it’s been a bumpy road! 

He was out of a job for a while and at the same time we were fixing several truck problems that cost a total of about $3,000 and then we had the problem with our trailer tires. No matter what has happened though we have always been able to pull through. I’m just still learning to not bite my nails in the process of waiting to see how things turn out. In the end though they always turn out. Onto Easter! 

Easter wasn’t that long after we settled into Branson and so we didn’t have much time to plan for it as we were planning a move instead. But one day we bought some Easter baskets and eggs for the Easter bunny to stuff and we decided to have a last minute Easter egg hunt. 

I think the kids had a blast but I couldn’t help but notice it was quite a lonely Easter compared to what we are used to! We are normally surrounded by family for these holidays and it was weird for it to be just us. 

If you have been following our blog you know that we have been trying to eat healthier so we put stuff like Chex mix, and goldfish in our eggs. However some peanut M&Ms did slip in there as well! Hence the word “trying” although I gotta say compared to past attempts we are doing pretty superb!! 

Our loot from the Easter bunny

Flower suckers

The night before Easter we planted jelly beans and we woke up to suckers growing outside!! This only works the night before Easter though. Fair warning: If you share this tidbit with your children it will be a forever tradition from then on. Lol. Easter was simple but good. After all simple is what we signed up for when we moved into a trailer with a family of 7. Not simple in nature per say but simple in the fact that we own less stuff. 

Several weeks after Easter we got invited to go to a church activity by “Faith Life Church” called “Celebration Sunday”. It happens once a year. They set up large color coded tents with items inside of them and everyone gets a bracelet corresponding to a tent color with a time on it. When your time comes up you go to your color tent and get in line and get to go inside and pick out whatever you want for free. After you have sat through 3 hours of church service of course. The kids looked forward to this all week! I forgot to mention they also have carnival rides, carnival games, pony rides, face painting, and lots and lots of food. All for free! Were we lucky or what to have been in Branson at the time this was going on and to have been invited?! 

Oh he had a blast on this thing!

Kylee actually reached the leaves and pulled some down!

Morgan was the first to go and conquer a flip! She got a great applause!

Jaidyn got on and immediately started flipping and didn’t stop until she got off!

What a kind soul! That costume has to be hot!

He was such a big kid! He went straight to the ride operator when it was his turn and waited to be lifted up

Technically Jaidyn was a bit too tall for this ride but she was so excited he let her go

Kylee and Morgan at the bounce house race! 

The kids and Carl played a ton of carnival games while I waited in the super long line for the flipping contraption. They kept winning stuff over and over again. It was getting more and more embarrassing as our wagon filled with blow toys and stuffed animals! They were excited though! It was fun to see them succeed and come back with their treasures! We went home exhausted and with way more stuff than needed. 

So I haven’t told you about our move. A lady in our ward invited us over to dinner and while there her mom told us of a maintenance job at an RV resort in town. We checked it out, loved and Carl got hired. We moved the next day! So we are now at a place that has an indoor and outdoor swimming pool, a clubhouse, laundromat, bathhouses (which really convenient after the pool because we can all shower at once), a theater, an arcade room, a library, a ticket office, and a miniature golf course! To say the least we haven’t really left home! 

A snake slithered across the ground right after I took this picture. Gross.

A small section of their miniature golf course

Sadly I haven’t really gotten any pictures of our adventures here. I blame “Marco Polo”. I keep sending videos to family and I forget to take pictures! Speaking of videos though…Our first night there we went to a dance. Boy did the kids have fun!

Eventually Carl James got up and joined them. Everyone (Carl and I especially) was very proud of him! He got a few compliments and pats on the back! 

It a was a good experience for them! We were basically immediately known to a large majority of the RV park. Comments went like this when we had the kids with us  “Oh! It’s the dancing kids!”Then when they weren’t with us Carl or I got “Oh! You’re the one with all of the kids!” Carl heard from others “Oh! You’re the one with the loud car?!” After that Carl suggested I drive the truck around the park and he take the car to work. I laughed and consented. He works at the park but drives the car 3x in the day. On his way to work, back for lunch and on his way home. The kids and I go all over the park! We have had a blast! Especially when Carl had to empty the outside pool from the rain to get it ready for summer! There were a ton of tadpoles and frogs. Naturally we brought them home. We only kept the frogs for a little bit because they needed to eat so we let them go. The tadpoles would have died anyway and we could feed them! 

It’s been so cool to  the tadpoles grow legs! We went to the library and got books on frogs and tadpoles. While there I searched for books to learn Latin and actually found a Latin tutor! So I have been taking classes! 

Keegan in front of the Keeter Center, by the college

Carl drove me there the first time and let the kids play out in front of the college. It’s beautiful there! 

Missouri has been really good to us. Actually I take that back! The people have been really good to us, the RV resort has been great. Missouri has been a miserable. First of all we have removed several ticks from each kid….

Exhibit A: That is not a freckle above his ear

Second of all it’s super expensive. Third of all we had to gather into the theater room the other night at 1 a.m. because of a tornado! That being said, things could be worse! We were safe from the tornado and the flooding and although it is expensive we are not starving! Neither are the bugs! Ok. Sorry. I just had to say that. I’m itching like crazy! Where I have bug bites and where I don’t! We deal with them so much that I feel  they crawling on me even when they are not. Okay so gross story! I was picking up outside the other day and our camping chairs were laying on the ground so I picked one up  and like 20 plus cockroaches scattered around and ran away while like ten stayed on the chair! Yuck! Did I mention there are a lot of bugs here? It doesn’t help we parked under trees! 

Oh the fun we are having in so many unique ways! Speaking of that I couldn’t find Keegan for a minute the other day. I knew he was outside but I walked around the whole perimeter of the trailer and didn’t see him! I was getting worried. Then I found him here…

Keegan hiding under the trailer

He hiding under the trailer! The kids were playing hide and seek earlier and I he wanted to play again. He did a really good job because the whole family was looking for him and calling him and he remained perfectly silent! He keeps me on my toes! 

What crazy hiding place have you “lost” your kid in? We’d love to hear your funny stories in the comments below. 

A new discovery of mine. Have you tried lemon shake ups before?

I loved it! Cheers to you all!

Branson Flooding

I was at home one day when Carl called and told me he was coming home from work and he wanted me to load the kids up in the truck. So I did and when he got home we went for a drive. This is what we drove into….flooding! We were in Branson for an intriguing but very sad time. So much flooding!

Water never ceases to amaze me. How it can give life and yet it can also take it away! It can create healing but can also do so much damage! 

At the very back of this picture is a raging river that is normally a low creek but my phone couldn’t zoom in that far.

This was just coming out of the RV park. Later we did some driving to see more of the flooding in the area. 

These are the flood gates to the lake. They kept having to increase the flow coming out of them because the lake kept rising but that meant that more flooding was going to happen for the people below. Like for this RV park that is completely under water. We almost stayed here. So glad we didn’t! 

The entrance area and sign to the RV park

The road going into the RV park

Baby ducks just happily playing

We also drove to see “Branson Landing” the local outdoor mall.

There should be three tiered seating here with a platform stage on the bottom

These poor people are now without a home. The people around them have water literally 2 inches from the bottom of their houses. They are holding their breath I am sure!

You see things like this and you really want to help but it’s hard to know what to do. We went to the shelter but they were taken care of. The people who we knew went to bag sand got turned away cause they had more than enough help. We did get together with some families in our ward and we made care packages for the children who didn’t have homes anymore. I was glad we could do something but it just didn’t feel like enough. I looked for other organized efforts to help but I didn’t find much information. It got me thinking a lot. What do you say to someone who has lost everything? How can you do anything that would make any difference? What would I want someone to do if I was in that situation? P

It was a good opportunity for me to do some introspection and I realized, perhaps I would be timid in an emergency relief situation. I always thought I would be organized and super helpful in a situation like that. I guess I have some work to do if I want to be that kind of resourceful and comfortable person during a crisis. 

I am really sad for the people who are now homeless but I can appreciate what I have learned from that situation albeit an observable distance. One thing I felt strongly while I was mourning for those who lost their homes was that God was with them. He told me over and over again “I am in this.” He was helping and orchestrating clean up and healing for all. I hope they were able to feel His presence in it but I know often the case is we notice His presence afterwards. 

I hope to notice His guiding hand in the present more often. I hope you can too! 

Be safe and just keep moving!! 

Branson, Missouri touring 2

I forgot to tell you that the first place we went was a magic show! We weren’t able to get any pictures so I forgot about it. We went to “Hamner’s Unbelievable Variety Show.” The kids were riveted! One of their favorite parts was when one of the macaws flew right over their heads. Kylee actually tried to grab it! Carl’s favorite part was the man who performed on a cyr-wheel. It looked like it took incredible balance! We were all impressed! It was funny when the woman was performing silks and I heard Carl James exclaim “Mom! That looked like the star drop!” I was such a proud mom. It was in fact the star drop! I loved hearing all the oooh’s and aaaah’s of the kids but I mostly loved hearing Carl James. He seemed the most taken by all of the mystery and wonder. Perhaps it’s because I was sitting right next to him that I just noticed him more but while I was sitting there I was suddenly reminded how much he loves magic! He has always been intrigued by it! Throughout the whole show he kept saying “I wonder how they did that.” For the next few days Carl James told us all about the magic show (almost as if we weren’t there) and told us his ideas of how he thought they did things and how confused he was on others. I was so glad we went and now I have a birthday idea for him for his birthday that’s coming up the end of this month! (Why magic stuff of course)

We saved the best place for last. At least that’s how we see it because we love animals! The last place we went was Branson’s Wild World! I will get straight to the pictures because there are a ton! 

If you don’t know I love birds!! I could just talk to them all day while they cock their head to one side and listen! Birds are just funny creatures to me!

Jaidyn with a star fish!

Morgan with a crocodile. I think he is smiling!

Big open pool to sharks! We watched them feed them! Anyone up for a swim?

Baby alligators! So cute! As long as there is glass between us!

This guy was magnificent! I was in awe at his size!

Carl James looking into the shark tank!!

If there is anything I love more than birds it is monkeys! I can always get them to come up to the glass to visit. My dad says it’s because I’m their kind! 😜 He probably means I’m fun, funny, resourceful and agile!!

I was petting this cute bird and they snuck their way in and butted me out! Reminded me to get a picture though!

Look at all those colors!

This picture is just to show you how massive these wolves are!

Carl’s in love!!

Yep he still wants one!

The dingoes wanted to play! For $5 a person you could!

What is it about turtles that are so fun! I mean they just sit there yet we love seeing them!

Meet Finn a two year old joey!

He wanted my bracelet so I had to take it off.

Carl James loved Finn!

Morgan is obsessed with kangaroos so this was cool!

I now know what it feels like to be scratched and bit by a kangaroo.

Carl made friends with Finn the best. He left with scratches, I mean, love marks all over his arm!

The twins each have a stuffed kangaroo they love that they call “Kangy”. So this was right up Kylee’s alley!

Carl wanted to take him home!

I would say the best part about Branson’s Wild World was Finn! It was a little nerve wracking though because he quite strong and really wanted to pull himself up over the fence to play by pulling on your arm and lifting his feet off of the ground. Or he wanted to pull you over. Whichever would work he seemed content with! We stayed on our side the fence though! 

At the end of touring Branson’s Wild World went through this haunted clown house. I’m so glad it wasn’t actually open and it wasn’t dark. I would have freaked . They had all of this stuff that you could  tell was supposed jump out at you! Including a massive spider. Like I I was glad it wasn’t clown season! Haha

We had a fun time going through the big squeeze too! It’s an area that is like a large inflatable tunnel that you walk through but it’s a squeeze to get through! 

Branson, Missouri touring

Our drive from Rogers, Arkansas to Branson, Missouri was gorgeous! The last hour especially! The rolling hills are breathtaking! We got to Branson safely and got settled into a very nice RV park with a swimming pool and a lot of other amenities. We understood from their website that the kids were free. In the morning we found out that was apparently only in the summer months. It would cost us another $200 a month to stay there! That would total $700 a month. We left that day and found a really really cheap RV park. I thought the kids would be so disappointed since we wouldn’t have a swimming pool, playground, game room etc but lo and behold there was a pile of gravel rocks right next to our spot that they could climb on! They played out there every chance they got! The swimming pool was forgotten. I love kids!! 

Their gravel pile

Our view from our trailer

Once we got settled I wanted to go see some things! For those of you that don’t know, Branson is a tourist town. They have lots of shows and tourist attractions. The first thing we did was “Ride the ducks.” 

All of the kids got a chance to drive! 

Captain Carl James

Captain Kylee

Captain Morgan

Captain Jaidyn

From here you can see the lake as well as their military vehicle museum that we drove through

Ride the ducks was alright. It was definitely a unique vehicle that’s for sure! Next we went to “Hannah’s Maze of Mirrors” 

This is a witch in the maze that lights up and tells you that you are going the wrong way. We stuck our tongues out at her cause that’s how mature we are!

We also did the wax museum, miniature golfing (which I would NOT recommend with lots of young kids), and the castle of chaos ride there. The castle of chaos ride is a 3D video game. I didn’t know before hand that your seat wiggled underneath you. So I might have let out a little scream when cockroaches ran across the screen and my seat started wiggling like they were crawling underneath me! Keegan couldn’t do the ride so Carl rode with the three other kids and I rode with Jaidyn. Carl said the twins were burying their heads! Jaidyn on the other hand was laughing the entire time and wanted to to again!! 

I’m not sure what that face is about since she insisted on getting a picture with her!

They had no idea who these guys are but the costumes were fun!

This scene took me back to my junior high days! Lol

These two pictures we mostly took for my dad

This picture was solely for my brother. Carl might have cringed a little when he saw me having Carl James take a picture with him! 

Sadly they have no idea who he is. I made them take this picture! 

I think they thought she was wonder woman

Now this was a fun scene!!! Once again the kids had no idea who these people were or the movie.

And we come to my favorite picture of the day! It’s rare Carl is a good sport like this(although he is coming out of his shell more and more)! I think that’s why I love this photo so much! “Nailed it!”

Wow! I am lucky! I love these quirky people more than words can describe! So often I try to get the perfect picture but this “flaw filled” picture warms my heart to the core! There is so much personality in this one picture it blows my mind. Thank you  everyone  for being you! It makes my world a much dinner place to be! 

I often get told (especially outside of Utah) “your hands are full!” and I repeat what a wise mom once told me (in her book) “Yes, full of good things!” Now the more people that tell me that the more I get to affirm my love for my children and what I do for them. (I love Carl as well. It’s just no one comments “your hands are full” about him. If they only knew! Lol, I’m only kidding)

What small moments have you found to be able to affirm your love for your family?