Sunday, September 21, 2014

What Goes Around Comes Around

Somewhere around 9 years ago, I decided I'd had enough of this little corner of the world. I was obviously in a funk and I couldn't seem to snap out of it. All I could see were the things that bothered me about living here and I wanted to move. This went on for quite a while as little and big things continued to fuel my dissatisfaction. 

One day, as I was driving on a back road to do some shopping in the next town, I remember feeling really overwhelmed and down when I saw something on the road. I slowed down enough to see that it was a turtle. A turtle was crossing the road. This may seem unremarkable to everyone but me, but that little turtle was my turning point. Seeing that turtle made me realize how much I love living here. Suddenly, I loved that quiet little country back road I was driving on with no traffic and no stop signs or traffic lights for 10 miles. I realized how much I love this small town we call home and all the little quirky things that go along with living here. I just couldn't fathom where else I could possibly live where I'd see a turtle crossing the road and that, for whatever reason, made me so happy! I guess you could say I was saved by a turtle. 

Fast forward to this morning.

The kids and I were in the van on our way to church. We left a few minutes early so Savannah would have plenty of time to play prelude music before church services started. (Savannah is the organist at church.) We were on the same quiet back road heading for the next town. So what did we see on the road? 

Yes, it was a turtle! A turtle was crossing the road! We drove on for a few seconds until I started to worry. The turtle hadn't gotten very far and wasn't moving very fast. It was, after all, a turtle. There isn't a ton of traffic on this particular road, but there is enough and I wanted Mr. Turtle to make it safely to the other side. So we turned around. Sterling got out and picked up Mr. Turtle (or maybe Mrs. Turtle...) and moved him safely to the grass on the other side of the road.

It was the least we could do.

Friday, September 19, 2014


I bought school pictures for everyone but Savannah this year. In fact, she asked me not to buy hers. She'll be getting senior pictures taken so her school picture won't show up in the yearbook. The only thing it will be on is her student ID and she never uses that so why not shake things up a little?

Wow. That is, um...well...I'm speechless. Thanks, Savannah, for the warning. We'll just keep last year's picture on the wall for now, if it's all the same to you! :)

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The MTC, by Soren

In honor of Sam's two month mark as a missionary, I'm sharing this sweet paper Soren wrote about dropping him off at the Missionary Training Center. Soren was given a school assignment to share a summer experience. His teacher marked him down a bit because she felt he could have tied things together with a little more information. I can see how someone who wasn't there might be kind of confused, but I was there and I think he got it just right! I'm pretty sure it will make you smile. And maybe it will leave you feeling just a little bit melancholy, too. {We've been missing Sam a lot lately!!}

The MTC, by Soren Stowell
   We drove up, Sam got out, a guy said, "Thanks for your child!" And we left. Yep. Go in, no hugs, go out. End of story. Good bye for 2 years. Headed to Mesa, Arizona.
   Okay, maybe that wasn't exactly how it happened. We gave hugs before we left from Denny's. Once we got to the MTC, Sam got out, with all the kids staring out windows crying, sat down, buckled up, and left.
   Sometimes we get an extra spoon because we forget he's gone. It's not the same not having an older brother to go nuts around. With Sam gone, it isn't the same.
   Sam's doing great on his mission. We e-mail him every Monday. We hear great things from him. We all feel better when we know he's OK.

{In case you're wondering, the "extra spoon" story happened right after we dropped Sam off. We headed to BYU campus and got ice cream at the Creamery. I grabbed eight spoons before realizing that there were only seven of us... It made me cry.}

Great job, Soren. :) And you're right. We really do feel better when we know Sam's OK.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Seventeen Years

Savannah out shopping with her girlfriends

This time next year, when Savannah is a big college student living far, far away, things are going to be pretty dull around here. It's hard to believe Savannah is seventeen years old today, but what a fun 17 years they've been!!

Savannah is very funny and pretty crazy. She sings like an angel and plays the piano like nobody's business. She loves hanging out with her girlfriends, but she's also quite satisfied to spend a quiet night at home. She loves stargazing and watching the sunset. She is in love with country music and says that almost every song she hears describes her life perfectly. Her life's ambition is to be a cowgirl, undoubtedly married to a handsome cowboy with a houseful of kids and a barn full of horses.

Savannah is beautiful inside and out. She includes others and makes everything fun. She does well in school, but can't wait to graduate! Savannah is trying to be patient with injuries that are making her cross country experience rather frustrating at times, but wishes she'd run all four years of high school. She loves her extended family and out west is her favorite place to be.

Savannah and her BFF, Bekah

Happy Birthday, Savannah! I hope seventeen is your best year so far!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Cross Country

I'm not a runner. That's not to say I haven't tried. But once that sandpaper-up-and-down-my-windpipe feeling kicks in, I always convince myself that running is not for me.

That's why I'm so impressed that my kids have taken up running. Savannah and Spencer joined the Cross Country team for the first time this year. Sometimes they come home from practice wondering what on earth they were thinking when they signed up for this! But those days are becoming fewer now that they are getting stronger and faster and have a couple of meets under their belt.

Spencer is in the front row, second from left.

Savannah is in the back, first girl on the left

At the first meet, each of them did better than they thought they would. At the second meet only four days later, they both realized a significant improvement.

As a mom, I've decided this is the best sport. Why? My two favorite reasons are 1) everyone cheers for everyone else, even runners and parents from other schools. Their teammates are encouraging and excited for every success. And 2) the coaches are always stressing enough sleep and a balanced diet. What mom wouldn't love that? My kids are getting fit and improving their endurance. They are learning they can do hard things.

I wish I was a runner...

Friday, September 12, 2014

A Class Act

The BYU vs. Houston game last night, September 11th, had me plenty nervous. I actually forgot they were playing until near the end of the second quarter. When I checked the score, we were up 23-0. Ah, my kind of game! But by halftime, roughly three minutes later, it was a different story entirely. 23-15 and still two grueling quarters to go!

I'll cut to the chase and say that we won 33-25 and I went to bed late but happy.

But that's not what this post is about.

Win or lose, I am so impressed by the effort BYU took to pay tribute to those who lost their lives on September 11th, thirteen years ago.

I thought it was fitting that the uniforms of both teams, with Houston in their red and white and BYU in their navy and white, made up the colors of our country. Both teams incorporated the American flag into their helmet design. And the stands were outfitted to make an impressive half-time display of "We Will Never Forget."

Well done, BYU.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Potato Duck

Spencer harvested the potatoes from his garden the other day. We'll definitely be eating potatoes for a while with an overflowing 5 gallon bucket full and then some. Yum!!

While most of the potatoes looked pretty normal, we got a kick out of this unusually shaped one. It looks like a duck swimming away with his tail feathers in the air, don't you think? :)

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Perfect For My Happy Blog

I love this! And for those who don't know, Santino Fontana is the voice of Hans (the fiance-turned-bad-guy) in Frozen.

In other news, there really are more happy things going on around here than I have led you to believe with my lack of posts this month. Jeff and I have been up to our ears in redecorating projects. Who would have thought that a simple little makeover in the boys' room would affect the entire upstairs? Well, it did and we're not done yet. Plus, I don't want to post pictures until all the finishing touches are, well, finished. And that sometimes takes a while. :(  But all the heavy lifting has been done and the rooms are just ready to be polished. I'm working on it.

Oh, and we bought a house. It's just a little thing in need of some TLC that will hopefully be ready to rent by Thanksgiving.

Life is good!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014


Because I'm in complete denial that Spencer went and turned FIFTEEN today, please excuse me while I reminisce. I may have posted this before, but we were remembering at dinner some of the funny things he used to say.

Age 5:
"I don't have any earwax anymore. My ears are just plain, plain, plain."

One day Spencer came home from Kindergarten and asked, "Are some markers pregnant?" We looked at him kind of funny so he repeated himself. "Are some markers pregnant?" Another strange look. "Wait, what does pregnant mean?" We explained it means you have a baby in your tummy. So he asked, "Does it also mean something that doesn't come off?" The light went on and we said, "Oh, you mean 'permanent.'" "Yeah. Mrs. Fleming has some markers that are permanent..."

Spencer still makes us laugh, plus he's super smart and responsible and kind and handsome and overall just a really great young man. In another day or two he'll have his permit so he can DRIVE! I mean, just slow down a little please!!

Happy Birthday, Spencer! I hope all your wishes come true and I hope fifteen is your best year so far!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Cool Weather Campout

Three weeks ago, with only two weeks left of our summer break, we had the most beautiful late July weather ever: Mid-70's during the day and mid-50's at night. Seriously unheard of in our little corner of the world! With Savannah at girls' camp for the week, the rest of us decided to head out on an overnight camping trip of our own.

*No bugs! I'm not sure where all the mosquitoes gathered for the evening, but they were not in our campsite. Hooray!! :)

*Good food. Fresh corn on the cob and dutch oven pizza for dinner. S'mores (of course) for dessert. Yum!

*Good company. I love hanging out with this bunch!!

*Hanging out around the campfire. We had some cool fire crystals that turned the fire different colors. 

*Beautiful surroundings. With such a mild summer and just enough rain, everything was still green and lush and beautiful! The picture below was taken when the smoke from our morning campfire highlighted the sun streams through the trees.

What a great way to start winding down our summer. :)