Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sunday Blog day...

Today is my day to blog... and I'm not quite sure what to blog about.
Menifee.... I do love where I live.  It may not be the beautiful countryside or the 100 degree weather... It has to be the people.  I love all of the friends we have made.  We have now lived here for 6 years and the people we have met have become like family.  My kids are growing up with some wonderful friends.  I'm grateful to all of their good parents who have their priorities where they need to be.  The gospel comes first and they know how to truly Choose the Right. 
I taught Relief Society today and as I looked out at the women I can honestly say I love all of them.  I didn't know 1/2 of them but there is a bond between women in the church.  We are all striving to live the gospel and improve each day.  We aren't perfect and we all have our weaknesses but I don't feel judged or that I'm not good enough for them.  They seem to all have the desire to reach out and serve.  I truly feel at home here. 
I read a comment on Facebook today that made me sad.  It read "I hate Sundays".  I'm the opposite.  I love them.  Our church starts at 8:30 and it is a tough morning to get everyone ready BUT I love the spirit that is felt.  I had the opportunity to play the organ today.  I get to do this once a month.  I made a few more mistakes that I wished I had but I like developing that new skill that Sister Jepson has so kindly tried teaching me.  There is a lady in our ward that started an organ training course and I happened to think it would be a good thing to learn.  Little did I know that I would be playing once a month.  BUT, I actually really have enjoyed it.  There is room to improve, but I figure a "smile" on my face goes a long way and helps people overlook or ignore those mistakes I make. 
Gotta go get my kids in bed... we are all happy and tummys are full thanks to Debbie Hyde who fed us a wonderful dinner. 
I love life.... (something my mother always says :)

Don't have any pics to share of my wonderful life in Menifee... But today in my lesson I got to talk about the Spirit World.  I got to share a little bit about my sweet niece Erin.  I share these pics with the ladies today.  Here are a few flower shots taken the day of her funeral.  Those cherry blossoms always bring me peace. 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

New Goal for this week....

So, for about 11 weeks now I have been setting weekly goals and for the most part I have stuck to them.  I confess... I belong to a group called "The Menifee Losers"!  We help each other lose weight, stay in shape, change habits, and hopefully for the most part, become better people.  So, every week I have three goals I stick to.  Almost every week 2 of them stay the same:  1.  Exercise everyday/ walk with family on Sunday.  2.  No eating after 7 (this one was really hard for the first 2 weeks... but now... it's just a good habit.  I still stick it on my list just because I know if its not... the temptation is much greater).  The third goal varies.

Read scriptures every night
Say morning and night prayers
100 jump squats
100 push ups
300 crunches
Go to bed with a clean kitchen
Blog every day

Well... I'm very excited for this next weeks goal that I actually started a day early.  It's going to be a hard one but a very much needed one!


For some of you that may not be a hard one.  But, me and my 6 kids aren't always the best at deep cleaning.  We think its a great day if every thing ends up in its place and the floors are vacuumed.  Deep cleaning needs to be more of a priority for me so I thought I should make it one of my goals.  Today I kept my tennis shoes on and started with my bedroom!  Lots of dusting needed to be done, a few cob webs, various books needed to be put where they belong after they have sat on my night stand for months... well, you get the picture.  It wasn't terrible... but there were things that needed to be done.  As I was cleaning I ran across a project I have been meaning to do for about 5 years.  (long time coming)
You see, about 5 years ago my sweet husband wrote me a poem.  Not just any poem... it was one he spent quite some time thinking about.  Its one I can't post on this public blog because I feel it is too special.... almost sacred.  He's such a wonderful husband, and today... I finally printed and framed it.  It is titled "meet me in the woods".  He framed a picture of my walking through the Redwood Forest looking up at the trees to go with this poem.  SO, now I have a new favorite spot in my bedroom!  Thanks again Cyrus, I sure love you, reading this poem today brought tears to my eyes again.  I'm now glad that I can see it every day.
So, here are some after pictures for you to enjoy of my "deep cleaned" retreat!

One of my favorite paintings from my husband.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Serving in the Church

Right now in my ward I get to teach the 9-10 year olds.  I really have enjoyed this because they are at a wonderful age where they want to learn and "do" what they are taught.  One week we had a lesson on service and so we decided to put our words into action.  We went and visited some of the widows in our ward.  We visited, sang songs, helped weed and most importantly, we helped them feel loved.  The kids we so good.  They would leave each house having felt the spirit.  I felt it as well and learned a lot that day.  I love my primary class!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Soccer Season!

My kids have never played soccer... BUT this year we thought it was time they all started.  SO, Marci, Chloe, Liam and Grant are all playing.  Cyrus and Garrett are coaching Liam and Grants team.  It is a huge time commitment but I love it.  It helps get our family out together. 

Liam and Grant are close enough together that they get to be on the same team.  And they love that thier daddy gets to be thier coach.  Their team is the "Blue Ninjas".  They are both still learning how to stay on their feet and to not trip as they run across the field. 

Chloe is a go getter on the Pink Pirate team.  She hustles and runs after the ball.  She hasn't quite figured out that if you're a defender you aren't suppose to run up and try and get the ball as a forward.  She hurries and runs where ever the ball goes.  Amy Handel is her coach.  She and John are doing a great job. 

Marci enjoys being a defender for the Liminators.  She wasn't quite sure about this whole soccer thing after the first week of practice but I think she is really enjoying it now.  She is lucky to have to of her church friends on the team and the cool thing is one of her team mates is getting baptized tomorrow.  Marci is learning alot and has a great attitude about things.  She is very anxious for volleyball to start in a month!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Love at Home!

Heart I found on Mt. Whitney

Yesterday the Wrey Family spoke about "Love at Home" and so I decided it was something we needed to work on.  Therefore, tonight we had a FHE lesson on that exact topic. 
About three weeks ago I read a paper that Garrett had written for one of his classes and he talked about how his dad is his hero and how we wants to be just like him.  This made me smile.  But as I read on, the next sentence said, "But I don't really get along with my siblings".  This made me sad.  As we hiked down Mt. Whitney I talked to him about this as asked why he felt that way.  He said he was tired of the little boys getting into his room and breaking his stuff.  I think all kids with younger siblings go through this frustration.  But it was then I decided that we need to change some things in our home.  I want my kids to go through this young years seeing the good in their siblings instead of always pointing out the bad.  So, tonight we all came up with a few things to help us have a better feel in our home. 
1.  No Yelling... I admitted to the kids that I am guilty of this... unfortunately they all agreed.  I said I needed their help with this.  I told them I will make a better effort not to yell IF they make a better effort to do things the first time mom asks.  They all thought that was a fair trade.  I know that the "mom" sets the tone for the home and if I am yelling less they will be too. 
2.  Chloe wanted to come up with some type of game.  So we ended up with a jar of marbles.  We decided that we would have a full one and as we do acts of kindness one to another we would get to put it in the kindness jar BUT if there were any unkind acts then one would get taken out.  I'm sure you all get the idea.  Grant liked this idea and said that his 1st grade teacher does the same thing.  Dad even told the kids that once it was full he would take the family to Knotts Berry Farm.  They all thought this would be a wonderful idea! 
3.  Marci said it would be good it we were not so "quick to anger".  We talked about how when we do get annoyed with each other we have to make a consious decision to "NOT" let it get to us. 
4.  Be Patient with each other
5.  Dad thought it would be a good idea if we all looked for the good in each other instead of the bad.  He said he wanted to start hearing some sincere compliments.  They can't always just be "hey, you are awesome!" 

I love my family and hope that this will change the way we feel about one another and as Grant said, "the Holy Ghost will be in our home if we have love."  I know this to be true. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Charly had a Birthday!

My goal for this week to is blog every day... SO... I thought I'd look back at some events that I had missed and start from there.  On August 29, Charlottte turned 4.  She loved her birthday and even told my friend Debbie that since she is now 4 she no longer has to "buckle up" in the car.  Hmmm... No I didn't tell her that, she has been know to make her own rules.  For her birthday she wanted to have her friend Kate come over and play, so we were lucky to have Kate Thomas over to help make the birthday cake.  I got this crazy idea that making a rainbow cake would be fun.  I copied it from Jill Landon's blog but couldn't seem to find the page to give her the credit... BUT anyway, I went to the store and bought three cake mixes, some food coloring and LOTS of frosting.  I believe the pictures show the fun the girls had:

 Finished product... Not quite the same as Jills.. But Charly loved it.  This was her favorite part of her birthday.  I was excited to cut this 20 pound cake open to see all the colors. 

Hadley and Charly

Everyone is always so excited for presents around our house!

Chloe made sure I put the colors in the right rainbow order.  Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue and Purple.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Mt. Whitney

I hiked to the top of Mt. Whitney yesterday.  
About a year ago I overheard Jeremy and Cyrus talking about how they wanted to hike to Mt. Whitney.  As soon as Jeremy left... I said, "I want to go!"  Cyrus was all for it.  So I was officially invited to hike the tallest mountain in the Continental United States.  It is 14,505 feet up.  I have been excited and training ever sense I knew we were going.  We met way back in January to discuss details and figure out what dates to go and who was able to go.  We ended up with a group of 11 and got picked from the lottery to go Sept 8-10.  We were thrilled.
List of things needed: (we started making this list about 6 months ago and every month we were so excited to purchase some cool item that had to go inside our packs)
Osprey backpack 
Down sleeping bag
sleeping pad
2 person tent
Hiking socks
Fleece jackets
Shell for wind
2 shirts
clean underware
1 Mountain house meal:  Beef Stroganouf
2 snicker bars
Tylenol pm
medical tape
head lamp
wag bag
water bottle
ear plugs

I went over this list many times... checked it more than twice and what do you think my pack ended up weighing?
23 pounds
My husband was very good to me... he ended up carrying 35 pounds.  He had to carry the bear box full of food.   Food for three people for three days had to fit into this little tiny bear proof container and then that had to fit inside his pack.  

We loaded the short bus on Wednesday (Sept 7) and left here at 3:00.  We got to the town of Loan Pine and ate some McDonalds then went up to Whitney Portal (8000 ft up).  We set up camp there that night to get use to the high altitude so that on our way up we could avoid getting sick.  I think for me, sleeping in a tent is worse than altitude sickness.  I have never done well in a tent.  We purchased ear plugs to mute the noises of nature that would keep us up... i.e. the creek below, the snores of our neighbors, any critter that might be lurking... BUT did they work?  NO!  Not a chance!  That creek kept me up all night.  Morning could not come soon enough.  We were all so excited.  It felt like Christmas.  We couldn't wait to get started on our 22 mile, 14,505 feet high trek. 

We approached the trail head, took some pictures and we were off.  I choose not to use my treking polls because they seemed to slow me down.  I have always been one that sees a challenge in front and me and just goes for it.  That is exactly how I felt Thursday morning.  I wanted to hike and I wanted to hike fast.  About a mile into it we realized that Jeremy had left the permit in the car so he had to turn around and go back and get it.  Horsley thinks he just wanted to be able to say that he hiked 24 miles instead of 22.  Poor guy... we probably would have been fine without it but he felt like it was the right thing to do.  Cyrus, Garrett, John, Kyle and I kept heading up.  We stopped at Lone Pine Lake to wait for them.  This is where we got to enjoy our first salami bagel.  It was delicious.  We were hungry at that point.  (I think we had only gone about 2 miles.  it sure felt like a lot more)  Soon everyone else arrived and we rested for a while.  The boys went down to the lake and filtered some water for our water bottles.  I was reprimanded by a few when they saw that I had only drank about an ounce of my water.  I've never been very good at drinking my water!  Anyway, the next part of the trail was soooo much fun.  The dirt trail turned had turned into a rock trail.  At points we were climbing stairs made of rocks.  I thought it was so much fun.  I couldn't stand it and had to dash ahead.  My adrenaline kicked in and I was off.  I couldn't wipe the smile off of my face.  I loved every hard step I took.  I felt so good as my legs would push me up those steps.  My muscles were ready for this hike and it felt good!  
We approached outpost camp (the meadow) and enjoyed the beauty there.  After that we stopped at Mirror Lake.  At this point I was off on my own.  I hoped no one was offended that I left the group but my body could not hold back... it had to go go go!  Cyrus said... "Well, Leanne, you do know that you are Jeanine Mickelsen's daughter right?"  I liked that comment.  

Next stop:  Trail side meadow.  A spot I will never forget, I felt my Saviors love here and will forever be grateful for that.  I arrived at the meadow about 45 minutes before anyone else and I sat on a rock in the middle of the creek, shoes off and just enjoyed the beauty that surrounded me.  It brings tears to my eyes just thinking about the spirit that I felt there.  I thanked my father in heaven for the gifts he has given me.  Mainly:  My husband, my children, this earth and all of his creations and the knowledge that I have a Savior who died for me and my family.  This was one of the highlights of my trip.  It was hard to keep my excitement and happiness in.  I was just giddy and I felt like a kid again. 

After that... I was off to Trail Camp.  (this was the end of our 6.3 mile hike for today)  I loved the terrain.  It was hard and it pushed me and I loved every minute of it.  I arrived there and found a few spots for our tents.  It was fun to see everyone arrive at camp.  I was excited to see Cyrus and Garrett because I knew what a hard trip it was and was so happy for their success.  

I arrived around 3:00.  We had an afternoon here and it was COLD... there were no fires nor chairs to lounge around on a visit.  We were all beat and wanted to go to bed. (although I dreaded the thought of sleeping in my tent another night.)  We fixed up our Mountain House meals and food had never tasted so good.  I ate fast and satisfied with the meal.  We were all tired and wanted to go to sleep.  Word spread that I had some Tylonal PM so I gave out some drugs and eventually we all hit the hay (well, rocks in this case).  The drug did weird things to all of us.  We had all retired by about 7:30 so some of us were waking up around 8:30 thinking it was morning, Cyrus woke up around 10 hoping for morning.  I woke up around 1:00 BUT still no morning yet.... Well, it finally came.  6:00 was here.  I heard some people up and so I poked my head out of my tent.  I was surprised to see everyone ready to go.  I wanted to depart with everyone so they were kind enough to wait 5 minutes for me so that I could leave with them.  At this point Cyrus' leg wasn't looking like it was going to be able to summit and Garrett had experienced altitude sickness so we had decided it was best if I left with out them.  We would decide later if they were going to try and summit or not.
Trail camp

 Well, the 5 of us were off... ready to hit the 98 switch backs at 6:30 that led to the other side of the mountain.  I was surprised to see that these switchbacks weren't near as bad as I thought it was going to be.  I stayed with the group for a good portion and then my body started tugging at me saying..... lets go!  This is where I enjoyed it the most.  So, I took off and was headed straight to the top.  The sight at the end of the switch backs was breath taking.  We could see into the Sequoia National Forest.  It was such a beautiful sight.
On the switch backs

more switch backs... Sandy, Jeremy, Robert and Dan

Beautiful views as we walked

Other side of the switch backs

Guitar lake

  I hiked and hiked and finally I could see the top of the Mountain I had been seeking.  The end was in view and I was anxious to arrive.  I kept pushing through the rocks... it would get cold and then it would get hot... it was a constant change of temperature.  I hiked through some snow and then the last stretch would put me at 14,505 feet!  Finally I arrived.  I pulled my phone out to see if I could get cell service.  Of course, I called my mother.  I was a little chocked up.... I didn't want to her to hear it in my voice but it was such a feeling of accomplishment.  I was so happy I could tell someone about it.  She was proud of me and enjoyed those few minutes with me.  Someone took a few pictures for me, I signed the book and since I didn't feel like freezing any longer... I was OFF!

  Down I go.  Going back was FUN... I wanted to return to Cyrus and Garrett.   I knew they were disappointed that they couldn't summit but I knew Cyrus would be so proud of me and would want to hear all about it.  I summited at 9:45 and arrived back to Cyrus at 12:15.  I was so happy to see him.  They were waiting for me at the bottom of the switch backs.  While we were summiting they we planning the next trip we would take to Whitney.  The one they would go all the way to the top!  It was still such an accomplishment for them to go 12000 feet up.  I was so proud of Garrett... I know he will make it next time.  He would have made it this time had he not gotten sick. 
Garrett above Mirror Lake (one of his favorite spots)
After waiting for the others for a while, Garrett and I decided to head down.  Cyrus told me to take it easy... He said he knew that would be hard for me but that I needed to "chill".  Well, I loved our decent.  I got to spend the next 4 hours with my son alone.  I will admit... I was in PAIN!  My ankles were killing me.  Garrett led me down the whole way.  We talked and talked.  He did such a great job.  He kept me going.  Most of my steps were followed by an "ouch, ouch, ouch".  He would ask me if I was ok and if we needed to take a break.  He took care of his mom on the way down and I will always cherish that time I got to spend with Garrett. 
This was the sight I saw as I followed Garrett down the mountain.  He was always quite a few steps ahead of me.  He did a wonderful job!

I will never forget the wonderful adventure it was as I hiked to the top of Mt. Whitney.  I'm grateful my husband let me go and experience this in the way I wanted it... I don't know if it was selfish or not.... but I sure loved every minute of it.  (well... the last 6 miles of "ouch"... I even loved those)