Thursday, July 17, 2008

What if?

Have you ever found yourself pondering strange, abstract things? Ever since I was a little girl, I'd think of the funniest things and they'd stick in my head forever. Couple this tendency to spend time just pondering over things with a vivid imagination...and tada!!! Craziness begins! I can't say that I've outgrown these tendencies...actually, sometimes I stay awake at night thinking about the funniest, most obsurd things and I'll just burst out laughing. Poor Andy. Oh well, might as well accept that it's just a part of who I am, right? So...if you're ever around me and for no apparent reason at all I get a smirk on my face, or burst out in laughter, or frown, or scowl, etc....it most likely has nothing to do with what's going on around me...it's just that I'm having one of those moments. For example....

What if you lived inside the border of the central time zone, but commuted to work in the eastern time zone. So, you'd have to get up and leave an hour before you really had to leave in order to leave on time for the eastern time zone. Then on your way home from work even if you had to stay an extra hour catching up on stuff, theoretically, you could still get home on time. WHAT??

What if for one day the house was upside down and you had to step over the doorways and walk around the light fixtures. (a childhood favorite)

What if we switched to the way Europe does it, and drive on the left side of the road. Would the farmers in Idaho still drive down the middle?

What if when we're placed in a leadership position we make sure to say "thank you" twice as much as we say "will you."

What if for one week you could have everything you've ever wanted simply by saying "I wish"...at the end of the week, would you still want anything? Would you want to keep everything? Would you be more or less content than you were at the beginning of the week? Would you wish to go back to the way things were?

What if there were little beepers connected to the podium at church, and whenever anyone said anything that wasn't really doctrine they were beeped.

What if when you said "I'm not interested" to a salesperson, they actually listened to you.

What if you had the chance to change one thing in your life. Would you take it? Would you change anything? (Incidentally, I was asked this question during an onstage interview...I distinctly remember my answer and it still stands.)

What if Lady Catherine had never gone to Elizabeth and forbid her to marry Mr. Darcy...how long would it have taken Mr. Darcy to get the courage to ask her to marry him again?? Would they have gotten together at all, or just lived in regret? (confused? refer to Pride and Prejudice, J. Austen.)

What if Mozart lived in modern day. Would he still have been able to compose his first symphony at the age of 6, or would he have been labled as "ADD", put on meds, and sent to therapy?

What if you lived in a city where they don't have to incorporate a "Civility Act" and have little mini lessons on how to be "civil" on the monthly water bills in order to have a small percentage of the residents act kindly to one another?

What if there were a way to censor the internet for truth content. How many of the "true story" forwards would still be circulating...and how many of us would still be under the threat of having bad luck for 10 years if we don't forward the 'true story' on to 10 friends?

What if when we filled out an application for a scholarship, a grant, for school, or work we didn't have to put down whether we were male or female, black, white, hispanic, asian, native american...we didn't have to put down a religious preference...we simply filled out the application with our qualifications complete with resume and were chosen based purely on our merits rather than how we would best fit a status quo?

What if when we registered to vote, and when we actually do vote...our country ceased to keep track of who all the little groups voted for...and simply grouped us all as "AMERICANS"...and that the majority of us voted for the person who won. Would that help all the racial and social class tension? Would it change the way the candidates campaigned? Would we actually hear about issues rather than "interests"?

What if you had to go to a place every 6 months for an appointment to meet with people who were dishonest, prejudiced against you, rude and disrespectful to you...and you had a chance to tell them exactly how you felt about them without any repercussions...would you do it?

What if because of the rising gas prices we went to complete solar powered vehicles...would the cars in Cleveland have to be kept in a garage for 6 months of the year and everyone have to ride a bike or walk? Would employers have to give employees "overcast disability" benefits?

Okay...I could go on...now...if I ever have a glazed look on my face you'll all be wondering what crazy 'what if' I'm thinking about! What about you? Anyone what to add a "what if"? What do you wonder and think about?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Funny Things People Say

One of my favorite things to do with Andy, is to stay up late talking about our day. We usually laugh and laugh about things we've said...things we've wanted to say but didn't dare...things our kids have said...and things that have been said to us from people in general. This post is dedicated to all the funny things in life...feel free to add your own in the comments. :)

1. Ya'll are from Idaho? Man, I would'na believed it...ya jus feet right in heya. (hmm...take that one as you will...is that a good thing, or bad thing?)

2. You just hit the hammer right on the nail! (Yes, that is actually supposed to be "you hit the nail right on the head.")

3. Ya, I know where Idaho is. It's right below Minnesota. (Sherrie: Um...you might be thinking of IOWA...) Oh. So they're two different states? (just a lady I met in the grocery store who was buying Idaho potatoes.)

4. I'm sweat. (this is what Rachey says when she's sweaty.)

5. Salt doesn't make food colder, it makes it taste better!

6. Whales actually used to live on land, then they lived in water like they do now.

7. Most sharks won't hurt people, and the ones who do only eat people if they're provoked or hungry. (Taylor's wisdom...makes you feel real safe, doesn't it.)

8. You were Miss Idaho? So what did your husband do while you were competing? (Sherrie: Um....I wasn't married yet.) Okay DUH!!!! "MISS"

9. I've got celery. (this, for some very odd reason that we have yet to discover, is what our children say when they have diarrea.)

10. Your loans count as income. (Sherrie: um...how does a sum of money that you have to pay back plus xxx amount of interest on top of the original sum count as income?) Highly intelligent person responds: because it is income because you put it into your checking account. (Sherrie: Wow. I guess I didn't realize I was making so much money during dental school.)

11. You have FOUR kids? or How many kids do you have!?! or Are these ALL yours?

12. If you were as beautiful as me, you'd have 4 children too.

13. The incredible thing is NOT that I have 4 children. It's that they all have the same father, I'm happily married to him, and that both he and I are more than twice the age of our oldest child. Now, THAT is the incredible thing.

14. Decent people shouldn't live here.

15. Does that kid look like he's ever missed a meal?

16. Dang those noxious weeds! (courtesy of G.O. .com) (For family members...this is what Andy and I lovingly refer to grandma as when we are going over some of her funniest remarks... G.O. (a little pause) . (dot) com. She has her own little jingle.)

17. Oh, did I wake you up? You sound awful. (Sherrie's thoughts: so....what do you say to that? THANKS?)

18. Sherrie: Okay, you can go watch tv for 30 minutes. Brooklynn: But Mom...can't I watch a little longer? Sherrie: Fine, you can watch for a half an hour, but that's it. Brooklynn: Thanks!

19. If you really ate an apple a day, that would be 365 1/4 apples every year. (Thanks to Taylor's wisdom.)

20. My mom has a crown because she was royalty once, and my dad is learning how to make crowns at school. (overheard Tay explaining this to his best friend Nicholas once.)

21. The tooth fairy must have terrible teeth. (the kids) Sherrie: Why do you say that? Kids: Because why else would she want to pay for teeth that are falling out of kids' mouths?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Holiday Weekend Service

So...a while ago, Andy was asked to go help mow some lawns at the church-owned campground up in Hiram. Little did he know at the time of signing up, that it was for the 4th of July weekend. Oops. We had actually wanted to go camping this weekend...but when the reminder from the Elder's Quorum came about what he had been signed up to do...Andy isn't the type of person to back out of a commitment...so what other choice did we have but to go up as a family and try to make some fun of it? So, that's what we did.

We got up really early (especially considering the fact that we had all been up late the night before watching fireworks!) and made it up there at 8:30 am. It was a beautiful morning out in Hiram, I love it out there. This is totally off subject...but Hiram is one of my most favorite areas in our stake.

So, Andy introduced everyone to Bro. Pack, who is one of the men in charge of the maintenance of the camp...and Bro. Pack gave out assignments to everyone. They had to mow all of the grass that goes alongside the roads leading into the camp, mow each campsight, and mow this huge grass field by the camp parking lot. They also weed-whipped edges, and made everything look really nice.

Andy was given the assignment to tame this beast of a machine. It may look easy from where I was standing...but Andy said he pretty much had to use all of his strength and weight to get it to make the turns...and it rattled like crazy.


Okay. Yes. This was an Elder's Quorum assignment, but I am so proud of our little 8 year old boy. All of the MEN got to use riding lawn mowers or do the edging. My little boy volunteered to help, and was given the assignment to use this NON-PROPELLED push mower, and mow around a long fence-line of pine trees. And...mind...mowing around trees involves pushing forward and then pulling backward in order to get up under the tree. I would guess that the fence line was at least 300 meters long. He was a CHAMP! When he was done, he could barely push the mower back up to the shed, and his face was dripping with sweat. The look on his face in this picture is one of pure exhaustion...the poor little guy smiled at me, right after I clicked the picture...then went back to his work. I honestly didn't expect him to finish the entire line of trees...I thought if he just did about a third of it that that would be amazing...but he finished.
Nobody worked harder than Taylor that day.

After Tay returned the mower to the shed, he came back out to the field with me,the girls, and Matthew. He wasn't out there very long, when Bro. Pack came over to tell him Thank you for what he had done, and he also told Taylor that he had done the job better than anyone had ever done it. Taylor had a wide smile on his face for the rest of the day. We have a picture of this little conversation between Tay and Bro. Pack because Rachey had previously been complaining of boredom and I had given her the camera with the assignment to take pictures of "bugs and grass". She decided we were much more interesting than bugs. It's a good thing I have a memory card that holds 400 pictures...she took about 200.

While we were out in the field, Rachey found a lady bug. I picked it up on a little stem of grass, and was trying to show it to Matthew. But Matthew just wanted to eat it.

The girls were really intrigued by all of the bugs and moths and butterflies flying around. Oh, and trying to find a four-leaf clover.


We played frisbee and baseball out in the field for a while more, and then the kids discovered that the volleyball sand-court was the perfect wetness for sand-castles. So...they started building. And they played in the sand until the guys were done mowing.


After the work was done and everyone left, our family made a campfire and roasted hot dogs and marshmallows and enjoyed the afternoon. It really was a good experience for the whole family.

Sometimes, I think that people may think we're a little crazy because we try to involve our entire family in different assignments. But, with the callings that we have combined with school and work schedules...if we didn't involve the whole family...we wouldn't see each other very often at all.

There have been many stake YW functions where I've had Andy and our children there with me...setting up for modest prom each year, leadership mtgs, ward conferences, activities, etc...and each week the kids and I go with him to scouts. When it's our week to clean the church, we go as a family and give each of the kids something to do. Is it always fun? No! Is it easier that way? Nope! It would certainly be easier if we just left the spouse and kids home while we went out and did our assignment. But then...what would that teach?

This assignment with the Elders Quorum, which really did cut into our holiday weekend plans, actually turned into a good experience, especially for our son who was given an opportunity to serve alongside his dad and was made to feel important and appreciated for a job well done.

Each time we go as a family, I hope that our children will see Andy and I serving willingly even when it's not convenient, and develop a desire of their own to help and serve in whatever way they are capable.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Independence Day Celebrations!

What a fun 4th we had this year! We started off the day by going to our ward's pancake breakfast and eating with our friends. I really liked it because I didn't have to cook! That's always nice. :)

From there, we went to the Chesterland Parade, which is just a few minutes past our church building. We went with some friends, and saw a few other families from the ward on the parade route. Notice the plastic bags???Parades out here are crazy about candy. Seriously, there's not a lot of marching bands...rarely any horses...you get a few classic cars, some old tractors once in a while, a few cheerleading squads...and lots and lots of candy! So much, in fact, that kids come prepared with plastic grocery bags in which to store their loot. Here's some proof.
Brooklynn got a frisbee in addition to her sugar-high.
Rachel was excited to get a popcorn ball that looked like a baseball...and of course the rest of her sugar supply for the next couple of months.
And, it looks like Taylor already had some of his candy by the time I got his picture. I think it takes about 2 seconds for the candy to go from his hand to his bloodstream. Taylor also got a new frisbee.And Matthew was so darn cute sitting on daddy's lap, that he didn't need to run to the street for candy, several people just came over and gave him some...and he got a cool little flashlight too.
After the parade, we went home for a couple of hours before heading out to a bbq with some more friends from the ward. I made a potato salad...which is Andy's favorite, and I also had made a cherry/blueberry pie the night before. I had to take a picture of the pie because it turned out so cute. :) You know, cute is important. (But...it also tasted yummy! Audrey...I promise I'll make another one soon so you get a taste this time!!!)
This is a picture of Matthew and his little friend Brigham "Brig" Beck. They were so cute in their stripes and big bellies... So the guys started a mean game of bocce...and us girls had one going too, but of course, I had the camera so we didn't get documented. I think we were a lot prettier though. AND...we didn't break any of the bocce balls. Way to go guys!
So, after the bbq, we came home...had the kids take quick showers because of course while at the park they had to find the mud...and then we headed off again to see the Shaker Heights fireworks with some more friends from the ward and stake. We did our own little sparklers while waiting for the big show and it was lots of fun to just sit around and gab.
Hey! Here's a picture of me! I really was there that day! Matthew just snuggled right in and enjoyed the show. He kept saying "Ligh! Ligh!" Which translates to, "Wow Mommy! Look at those huge lights in the sky!"

Both of the girls snuggled in with Daddy...while Taylor lounged in a chair by himself.


They were great fireworks...but we really missed the background music that the Idaho Falls fireworks have! Wow, that really adds to the whole thing! But it was a great day from start to finish...we're so thankful for all of the great friends we have out here to spend our holidays with!!!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Taylor's Baptism

Last Saturday, the 28th, Taylor was baptized a member of our church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. When Jesus Christ was on the earth, he was baptized by John the Baptist in the River Jordan. Although Christ was perfect, he was baptized to be obedient to Heavenly Father, and also to be an example for all of us to follow. On Saturday, Taylor literally followed the Savior as he chose to be baptized, to take upon him the name of Christ, and to make covenants with our Heavenly Father.

Andy told Taylor during his talk at the baptism, that he had been thinking about what he would say to Taylor during this moment for 8 years...and that's truly how it's been for us as parents. I remember when Taylor was just a newborn baby, feeling that responsibility to teach him what was right, to teach him about faith, to teach him about his Savior, Jesus Christ and about our Heavenly Father. Through the years, we've tried to find the teaching moments to talk about the doctrines, and to express to him our feelings about what we believe. The first Family Home Evening of every month we have a testimony meeting...and it has been very humbling to listen to the pure and simple testimonies of our children. They recognize truth...and they know they are children of God.

Saturday, as he walked down the steps into the water...I felt overcome by many thoughts, and feelings. I knew that at that moment, our Father in Heaven was completely aware of my little boy and I felt His love for Taylor. What a tremendous moment.

I was so busy trying to make sure everything was ready...that I nearly forgot to take pictures beforehand. Thankfully, President Stacey asked if he could take some pictures for us. Thank you! And Dad...thank you for reminding me of the biblical story of Mary and Martha. I needed to be Martha right up until we started...but then I was able to be Mary and enjoy listening to and appreciating everything. :)

Here are my boys...


Here we are!!!

Andy entering the font.


And here is Taylor. He had been so nervous, he said he didn't want very many people there because he would be too nervous. But, we were thankful for the family members and friends who came...
He had his siblings Rachel, Brooklynn, and Matthew of course...grandpa Belnap was there as one of the witnesses, Aunt Emily, Aunt Gretchen, and cousins Isabel, Vaughn, Madalyn, Maryn, and McKay...and then some little friends from the ward. Brooklynn was so excited for him...she keeps telling us that in five years, she'll get baptized too.
And I just have to say thank you to our great friends from the ward and stake who came to support us! You came and helped with pictures, with the slideshow...you watched my little Matthew so I could just enjoy the day...but most of all you took time out of a busy Saturday to come and be a part of Taylor's special day. Thank you!

I put a few video clips of Taylor talking about different topics into the slideshow...I didn't feel like I could put his testimony on the blog...but here he is explaining about the covenants we make at baptism.

video

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Taylor Turns Eight!

It's so hard to believe, but our Taylor turned eight on the 23rd of June. He has grown so fast, and is such a fun little boy to have in our family. He is so extremely smart...and loves to learn new things. He does math workbooks for FUN, and loves his science books. Our librarians think he is awesome because he actually comes to the library to read and learn...not to play on the computers. He is an awesome baseball player, tree-climber, rough-houser, eater, and a great big brother. We love you Taylor!

Here is little Taylor...just a few hours old. He weighed in at 6 pounds, 10 ounces, and was 21 1/2 inches long. Such a cutie with all of his dark hair.And now, here is the big guy...at eight years old, he weighs nearly 80 pounds...is 4 feet, 7 1/2 inches tall...and has traded in handsome dark hair for handsome blond hair. :) Yes, even as a 2nd grader I've had to coach him on how to tell the girls at his school that he doesn't have girlfriends. Seriously!!!
Each year, I ask Taylor what he'd like his cake to look like. I've made rocket ship cakes, basketball cakes, solar system cakes...but this year he let me off easy and simply asked for a cake with a race car on it. Whew! This one was so fun and simple!
Here he is blowing out the candles. I think he got his wish.
Here are the four munchkins...excited to be munching on that yummy cake in a few minutes.
And in our house, the birthday boy or girl gets to cut the cake for everyone. Matthew was a big helper this year...and was doing a little cake sampling.
Of course, we serve the birthday boy first...but Matthew couldn't wait for his own plate, so Taylor gave him a taste off of his spoon.

After dinner and cake, we had Tay open his presents. During his baptism interview with Bishop Harmon, he had apparently asked Bishop if the ward was going to buy him some new scriptures. Bishop told him that he should ask his parents about that. :) Good thing Mom was one step ahead of him in that area. He was so excited to have his very own set. My favorite part, was that he opened up his new Bible...and says, "Wow! You guys got me the Holy Bible!" Okay...maybe it was a "have to be there moment", but it just struck me so funny. Yep. We got him the real thing, the Holy one, not just a regular one. Okay. Maybe that's only funny to me. But it has me laughing all over again.
And...he also got a new bat. His old one was way to small for him. He loves this thing, and hit some great hits at Saturday's game. On the side of the bat, it says "official brand of the Major Leagues." So...Taylor reads that, and says, "you know Mom... I think that while I'm in college I'll play for the major leagues." It was such a funny, casual thing...like "hey...I think I'll just be a major leaguer while I'm in college...and then I'll get on with real life"...like it would be a part time job at the snack bar or something. So funny.
And believe it or not...but his favorite birthday gift was his new Journal. He has written in it every single day since then, and keeps telling me how much he loves it. I'm so glad that he enjoys writing. I'm sure that years later, he'll really get a kick out of the things he's writing right now. What a great kid.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TAYLOR!!!