Thursday, June 19, 2014

our lasts of Summer in Ohio.

Sometimes when I'm sitting too still- little tears well up in my eyeballs.  That's why I'm trying to run myself ragged with tasks and friends and work!  How is it that time can move so quickly??  even when you feel like you've just had three of the hardest years of your life?!

Here is an overview of just a few of the things we've been doing.  I didn't even get any pics of the world cup USA game party we went to!  or kent's resident barbecue.

Ike has been begging for 's'mores at the millers' one more time before we head out.   These are those 'other millers' I'm always blogging about.  Such wonderful friends.  

It's amazing how living so far away from actual family can help you rely so heavily on other people to create a support system.  I have the MOST amazing group of friends that I consider family.  I would NOT have survived without them.  
 Metta is going to have MAJOR withdrawals when we move.  eek.  I'm sad for her.

Enjoying our favorite spots- and checking out all of the spots we never got around to!

This park in Beavercreek, OH- is pretty awesome.  Wax paper under your buns on this thing makes you go pretty insane fast!  even Kent had some fun!

Don't mind metta's ridiculous pig pants and tinkerbell top.  She's such a cat lady.


And some pics of the run from our house this past weekend.  Somehow there was a record LOW for temps on Saturday.  47 degrees when we started our run!  I REALLY wanted one last longish outdoor run before we left Ohio.  I have been running here for SEVEN years now.  I am going to miss the green and the rivers and the bridges SO MUCH.  these pics are just a couple miles from our house!
 We put in 11 miles while Kent used up his saturday morning watching seven crazy kids!  thanks, kent.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Creation Museum and Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives!

Since it opened its doors a couple of years ago I've been DYING to go the Creation museum.   I love science and I love God.  I like to consider myself an Intelligent design evolutionist.  I have no problem with the fact that my spiritual beliefs and scientific knowledge coexist happily.  I taught evolution from a strictly scientific perspective in a public school classroom and I was excited to see the opposite end of the spectrum.  The museum did NOT disappoint.

Just as you walk it- you are met with a life size diorama of this.  People mingling with dinosaurs!  It's pretty shocking right off the bat.  Even though I believe in the biblical creation- a lot of the information here was downright absurd to me.  Overall we had a great experience- but did some explaining to our kiddos!

I LOVED the insect exhibit! insects are some of my favorite of God's creatures and the displays were impressive.
everything in the museum is so detailed and new and impressive. the animatronic people were very life like!

Some of the exhibits actually made me chuckle out loud.  I mean no disrespect-  I just think the ideas are a real stretch.  This explanation that does away with the idea of Pangea was one of them.

Log rafts left over from 'the' flood that created barges for animals to cross oceans?!
and the ideas that dinosaurs WERE present on Noah's ark.  The displays explained that they were baby dinosaurs and easier to manage that way.  they became extinct later due to new conditions after the flood and being hunted by humans.

This is a diorama of people suffering during the flood.
I think the scientific evidence proving the geological time scale and dinosaur life is pretty solid.  Biblical history explaining dinosaurs- not so much.
Although our kiddos did love the dino exhibit.

there was an entire section of the museum devoted to 'calamity and confusion'.  It was kind of dark and pretty scary.  We rushed the kiddos through quickly.
The grounds of the museum were incredible.  There are botanical gardens, bridges, and a petting zoo.   Admission into the museum is REALLY pricey but the kids were free until the end of 2014- and Active Duty military are free- so I was the only person who had to pay!
we really enjoyed shaking the bridge while metta was on it :)  she dropped to the ground and screamed like a wild little monkey for us to stop!!
Metta thought the petting zoo was pretty stinky :)

that camel licked my hand and I was totally grossed out. metta was pretty nervous at first, too- but then loved it.
I'm really glad we made a visit to the museum!  I wish we could have been there a few weeks ago when Bill Nye was visiting for a 'friendly' debate on Evolution vs creationism!  that would have been amazing!

Our final stop was 'Terry's Turf Club'.  A small little bar/diner in Cincinnati.  Guy Fieri featured their burgers on 'Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives' so we HAD to stop.  Kent and I really love food :)

   the boys' faces in this picture are pretty amazing!! as were the burgers and fries.
although VERY difficult to eat.

we had a fabulous mini vacation!  I LOVE exploring the places we live.  That is the reason I am MOST excited for the move to Tokyo!! SO much to see and do and taste!!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

the talk I didn't give...

I prepared a talk for church today on 'The Importance of Fathers' that I didn't end up getting to share due to time constraints.  Strangely enough I love speaking in church- so I was disappointed! But over the past couple of weeks as I've been prepping- I thought several times that I wished my Dad could hear the talk.  And Since even Kent didn't get to hear it- I'll share some of it here as an Ode to the fathers in my life.  I will warn you- it may be a little long :) and since I don't write my talks word for word-this is only a version of what it might have been! 

Lately I've read several bits of commentary on how 'Mother's Day and Father's Day are overrated' - on how 'we don't need to spend a day celebrating what people should be doing anyway'. I couldn't DISAGREE more.  I definitely deserve a mother's day.  And I know that Kent deserves a father's day! 

When I had baby Metta- Kent met me at the hospital at 7AM- where he patiently waited the next 16 hours while I sat in boredom and stress and tears about not getting the leap day baby I wanted!  At 9PM- after a long day- he ordered Chinese food to the room and ate as I watched and cried some more :)  Luckily Metta made her debut with just a few minutes to spare on the 29th.  Around 3 am Metta was crying to be fed and I was crying in my bed because she wouldn't eat, I was in pain, and was so exhausted.  Kent was OUT COLD.  I yelled his name. and yelled it again. to no avail.  Finally I started throwing ice chips at his head until one made it into his ear and woke him up as it melted :)  He tried his best to help us- but we both kept crying! and he fell back asleep!

My point in telling the story was not to point out how easy fathers have it- but to share the dedication of Kent.  He had met me at the hospital after he worked a 30 HOUR SHIFT! with very little to eat during that time. and then stayed up another 20 hrs with me.  Two days later he dropped me off at home and went BACK to work. 

During those 2 days AND the next five- MY dad flew in from Utah and took care of my other two rugrats!

 Fatherhood is different than motherhood in so many ways- but can be equally as physically, emotionally, and spiritually difficult as motherhood.

As I thought about just 'why' fathers are so important I made a list the size of a mountain.  Here are two of the reasons I came up with while I was brainstorming!

* It was really important that I had a father back in college when late one night during an Idaho blizzard- driving a van full of friends home for Christmas break- we left the emergency brake on for over 60 miles on the freeway and melted the entire wheel to the axle. My dad drove ALL the way up to Idaho- arriving around 3AM- to turn around and drive us ALL back with him to Utah.

*it was pretty important that I had my dad last year when Kent was trimming bushes with an electric hedger and trimmed right THROUGH the extension cord-  blowing out the electricity to half of our house.  My dad is an electrical engineer and walked me through fixing the problem!

I still call my dad when I'm in trouble or have a question that needs years of experience or a handy man :)  But- those parts of dads are simply bonuses.

In my reading and study- I came up with three TRULY important reasons for dads!

FIRST.  Dads are important LEADERS in their homes.

L. Tom Perry (apostle) said:

“Fatherhood is leadership, the most important kind of leadership. It has always been so; it always will be so. Father, with the assistance and counsel and encouragement of your eternal companion, you preside in the home. It is not a matter of whether you are most worthy or best qualified, but it is a matter of [divine] appointment. When you become a father, God also divinely appoints you as a leader

As a leader in your home you plan and sacrifice to achieve the blessing of a unified and happy family. To do all of this requires that you live a family-centered life.” 8

I have been so lucky to have fathers in my life who were family centered leaders.  I remember when my dad gave up watching football on Sundays because it was important to my mom that the day be a family day. 

I know that it is our family that guides Kent's decisions.  Not work, not his hobbies, not his need for sleep or working out.  The sacrifices he makes to lead our family are enormous.  And not only does he lead our family- but he LOVES me and we lead as a team.  He leads our family with love and patience and kindness.  He is a great example of Howard W. Hunter's talk where he states: "Indeed one of the greatest things a father can do for his children is love their mother".

Every talk I read about fatherhood teaches the importance of fathers not being whole without mothers.  I found this quote by President Hinckley that defines the leadership in our home perfectly.

In this Church the man neither walks ahead of his wife nor behind his wife but at her side. They are coequals.” 10 Since the beginning, God has instructed mankind that marriage should unite husband and wife together in unity. 11 Therefore, there is not a president or a vice president in a family. The couple works together eternally for the good of the family. They are united together in word, in deed, and in action as they lead, guide, and direct their family unit. They are on equal footing. They plan and organize the affairs of the family jointly and unanimously as they move forward."

#2 Fathers are important TEACHERS

Joseph Fielding Smith stated:
“When you recognize the importance of teaching your children, you become humble, because at once you realize that this is accomplished by precept and example. You cannot be one thing and effectively teach another. You must live and study and pray for the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. You must purify and organize your life so that your example and leadership reflect the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Teaching your children is the MOST important thing you can do in your life.  Fathers teach their children by word AND action.

I remember growing up that we were a family that did NOT use foul language and did NOT watch bad movies.  I do not remember a SINGLE time my father ever sat me down and 'taught' me these things.  But in my life I cannot recall hearing my father use a swear word or watch an R rated movie even once.  He taught me in more ways than one.

Kent teaches our children wonderful things.  He reads them books aloud as they go to sleep (they just finished harry potter today!), he teaches them to appreciate classical music and how to identify composers and instruments.  At the age of two Zeb could recite and locate all major organs in his body- including his kidneys thanks to his dad :)

The dads in my life truly know that- ‘No other success in life can compensate for failure in the home’.

And #3. Fathers are important PROVIDERS.

The family proclamation states:  
By divine design- both parents- but especially fathers are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. 

Fathers have the important responsibility to provide for the physical, emotional, and spiritual well being of their families.

President Howard W. Hunter stated:

A righteous father provides his children with his time and presence in their social, educational, and spiritual activities and responsibilities. Tender expressions of love and affection toward children are as much the responsibility of the father as the mother. Tell your children you love them.

I was lucky enough to marry a man who has three sisters and a mom.  And so by default, kent is sensitive, observant, and loyal!   Luckily his father and mother also taught him about the importance of hard work and strong moral character.    He is the quintessential provider.   Kent works so hard to make me and our family happy and healthy.

Being a good 'provider' is not a matter of wealth or rank- but a matter of determination, diligence, and desire!

I am so grateful for all of my dads.  Gramps, Kent, my father in law, leaders, neighbors, friends, and any other male 'father' figure I've had.  My fathers have made me in part who I am.  and THAT deserves to be celebrated.

I had this quote to share in closing- as an example of the perfect father figure- My Father in Heaven.  Because it can also apply to mothers :)

As a father, I wonder if I and all other fathers could do more to build a sweeter, stronger relationship with our sons and daughters here on earth. Dads, is it too bold to hope that our children might have some small portion of the feeling for us that the Divine Son felt for His Father? Might we earn more of that love by trying to be more of what God was to His child? In any case, we do know that a young person’s developing concept of God centers on characteristics observed in that child’s earthly parents. 
-Jeffrey r Holland

Happy Father's Day!!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

the party continues...

I feel like I've just had six Saturdays in a row!  Non stop busyness and playing and getting important stuff done!  Kent had his last week of vacation and it couldn't have come at a better time!

First off- we took a mini vacation to Cincinnati/Kentucky.  To Zeb and Ike's favorite place ON EARTH. The Great Wolf Lodge.  Honestly, I don't love this place.  at all.  But since the kids (AND kent) love it SO much- I'd be a terrible person to rain on the family parade.  I put a smile on my face and off we went!

Metta is a water baby.  ALL of our kids are pretty amazing in the water considering we don't get in it that often. But metta is a whole new level of water lover.  
The girl has NO fears.  She went on all of the BIG slides with us.  including this crazy toilet bowl one.  it was NUTSO fast and had some pretty big drops.  
the wave pool and lazy river were two of her favorite things to do.  she'd jump the waves and laugh hysterically.  And in the lazy river she thought she was doing the swimming.  She's a natural.  And this trip is going to make watching her brothers' swim lessons from the side of the pool even more difficult than it was before.  

Before we let them jump in for the first time- we took a picture.  metta could barely contain herself.

The boys LOVE hotel time.  it signifies a 'true' vacation.  Although having them sleep in the same bed leads to late nights and giggle fits.

morning donuts.  also another indicator of a 'true' vacation!
this little picture of metta may be what led to our shirt cutting catastrophe of yesterday.  While the boys were playing a game of magiquest- metta and I checked out the kid activities in the lobby.  She sat and cut paper for 45 minutes.  and LOVED every second of it.  Look at her little tongue hanging out of her mouth :)

pictorial evidence of her cutting fiasco.  But honestly- I'm just glad it wasn't her hair.  I would have cried for sure.  and it my defense- it was a pair of kid scissors- out amongst other school supplies that were being packed!  She was reprimanded with a voice of serious disappointment and looked like this for at least five minutes.  we made her throw the shirt away.  let's hope she learned her lesson.  Although I have my doubts!  the real question is whether or not I learned MY lesson.

at every great wolf lodge- they have this strange game called magiquest that cost an additional arm and leg to play.  this is what the boys chose to do with the cracked piggy bank money.  You get this really great wand and you run around the hotel doing all sorts of quests and special things to earn coins and badges and whatnot.  Kent and Zeb and Ike loved it.  So much in fact- that they didn't get as much done as they wanted- so when they fell asleep at ten PM- Kent went back out to earn them a bunch more tokens so they could play more 'quests' in the morning! such a good dad.

I've got so much more to post!! and not nearly enough time to get it finished!!   but my next post is all about our adventures at the creation museum. and you don't want to miss that one!!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

party! party! party!

I'm in complete party mode.  I want to have play dates and barbecues and friends over and girls nights and every other party possible.  this past week has been a fabulous start!! and with kent on vacation this week (weird timing, huh? right before we go on 4 week leave!) we are going to PARTY IT UP.

We really are busier than EVER. here are just a few of our happenings.  

Zeb's first piano recital.  This kid is a pro.  He played three songs.  When he announced himself- he also announced that he'd be playing all three pieces with his EYES CLOSED.  totally an over achiever!  You can barely see his closed eyes and intense determination in this pic.

taking his final bow.  such a weirdo.

the after party :)  food with 'the other millers'.
I'm so glad we got him started in piano lessons.  He really enjoys it and has a talent for it!  Just today in church, Kent played an arrangement of "Because I Have Been Given Much" for a musical number during Sacrament meeting and I LOVED it.  It is such an amazing talent and I hope my kiddos get it from their dad.

This picture is on my phone from church.  My pal- Jackie- sits with us every Sunday and chases metta when she escapes.  She also holds metta and tickles her back to keep her still!  She is pretty much the best church buddy anybody could ever hope for.  There's already some serious discussion about who gets her when we move!!  we are trying to figure out how to get her to come to Japan!
and I had to document this momentous occasion.  Metta attended her very first princess party.  I think it's the girliest thing she's ever done!  and she really loved it.  She's learned the word 'pink' recently and actually uses it appropriately!  she still puts trains and cars to bed at night and pushes them around in strollers- but I think her inner princess is making it's way to the surface!!

and this last set of pictures is hilarious.  Awhile ago Kent bought me a piggy bank with no plug.  I'd always wanted one that I could actually break open- and Kent found it in Nicaragua back in med school when he went for a medical mission!  We've been adding coins to it SLOWLY.  and even though it wasn't actually full- we decided it was NOT worth moving around the world - so it was time to crack it open!!

We decided to let the boys go at it and use the money on our mini vacation this week!

They have been SO SO EXCITED.   you can see it in their faces :)
they each took about three whacks  -

and did the final big whack together.  
the insides were SUPER musty and stinky.  Our entire house smelled like metal and dirt.

The most exciting part was counting out the money!!  and I have to say- we did pretty well.
Just shy of $60 dollars!!  I'll have to take pics of our adventures this week!!

hopefully we have A LOT of them!!