Saturday, December 26, 2015

The Day After

We can't believe Christmas has come and gone. It is the day after Christmas. It is Saturday. Our hearts and bellies are full. The house is a mess. There are toys and games everywhere. There are a plethora of treats covering our counters.  We are all in sugar commas. We love Christmas. We loved the month of December. We loved the feelings of love and service we experienced this month.

With all of the hustle and bustle of the season, I knew I wanted to shift the focus of our activities and the feelings in our home.

There is a fairly new company called the Giving Manger. I was so excited to stumble upon their company on Instagram. We have had a similar tradition/story that we have read over the years. However, we did not have the manger, Baby Jesus or our story(which is different than theirs) in a bound book.  I loved THe Giving Manger story and that it came with a little manger, pieces of straw and baby Jesus. The idea is that each time you perform an act of service, you put a piece of straw into the manger. The goal is to fill the manger with lots of soft straw by Christmas so Baby Jesus has a soft place to lay his head. The boys were all over this!
Our month was spent serving each other and those around us. It added such a nice spirit to our season.

The other activity that added so much love to our December was the service project on behlaf of the John Still Elementarty school in Sacramento(just 45 minutes away from our home). John Still is a school that has some amazing teachers/employees who help provide the basic needs for alot of their students and their families. My freind Tracy was collecting clothing and food items for the school in late November. When she mentioned that there were about 50 children/families who were homeless and would be without food/meals during the holiday break, I could not sleep. There were even a few nights where I actually cried myself to sleep.  I felt like I needed/could do something to help.I decided to post about the school and their needs on my Facebook page and provided our PayPal account so friends and family could donate/participate. The response was overwheleming and brought me to tears many times. In 6 days, we collected over $500.00 and our our entire entry way was filled with donations from friends and families who wanted to help. Again, I was so the best possible way.

John, Garrett(he wanted to be pulled out of school to help) and I headed to Wal*Mart and Costco to purchase lots of food...the basics. It was so much fun shopping, all the while keeping these sweet children and their families in mind.
This was just day #1 after posting on FB.

We had it all organized and loaded into our cars. We headed down to John Still on the Wednesday before the students would be getting out for the Christmas break. Our car was loaded. Tracy's car was loaded.
While we were at the school, unloading all of the food and clothing, I held it together. I was doing a good job, holding it all together until I saw a group of 7 children (kindergarten/first grade age) who were shopping in their little store. Their teacher and a volunteer helped them shop, finding them some "new to them" clothes. They walked out of the little store with their brown paper bags clutched to their chests and huge smiles on their faces. I lost it right then and there and quickly put my shades back on. What a bunch a sweethearts. 

Their little set up was amazing and very humbling. My freind texted me later that day, letting me know that they were able to fill 150 bags of food to give away to famiies that needed it most. Again, I lost it.

i am looking into volunteering down there on a regular basis. If at anytime you would like to drop clothing/food items off at my house or donate via our PayPal account, I will make sure that it is taken to their school. It was so fun to do this service project together, as a family. It really did set the tone for our Deceber.
This quote by President Monson (the Prophet of our church) sums it all up perfectly.










Sunday, November 8, 2015


Ummmm...hello? Is anybody there/here? 
When I started this blog, 8 plus years ago, I swore I would always keep it up. I was not going to be one of those bloggers that stopped blogging. Here we are, a year and half later without a blog post and I am happy to report that I am back. There is no specific reason why the posting came to a halt other than the fact that life ran its course. It has been a busy course, but a happy course. 

Thought I would start simple and give a run down/update on my sweet family. 

John has been busy with work at Intel( 19 years strong), his church calling( EQ presidency) and watching all of the sports/games that the boys play. He seriously is their biggest fan. He will watch tapes/video of their opponents and give them tips for game day. He recently purchased a new bike for himself and has been getting some riding in. 

Tanner is 16 (2 months away from turning 17) and a junior. He continues to remain on the honor role and carries a 4.0 GPA. After he learned that he had a fractured vertebrae, he gave up his spot on the high school football team and tried out for the Varsity soccer team and made it. He had a phenomenal season and was happy to be back in the soccer field. Tanner got his drivers license and a car this year. We have slowly gotten used to the idea that we have a child old enough to drive. 

Carter is 14 and a freshman. He loves high school and all that accompanies being a teenager. He made the honor roll and continues to thrive and excel at all that he does.  He just finished his freshman season of football. He had an amazing season, playing corner and kicking/punting for the team. They finished the season 8-2. He is excited for basketball try outs that begin tomorrow. 

Garrett is 11 and started middle school this year. It is so crazy that he is in the 6th grade. This boy keeps us on our toes and does not miss a beat. He is very aware of his surroundings and everything that is going on. Garrett made the Woodcreek All Star team again. It was a summer filled with baseball, bleached hair, heat, practices, travel and games. It all paid off! Garrett and his team won the District, Section and State titles. Out of 297 teams, they won the whole thing. After baseball, he moved right onto football. It wasn't a winning season for his team but Garret worked hard and had fun! 

Brody is 8 years old and in the 3rd grade. It is all about Comp soccer, multiplication facts, baseball, basketball,Cub Scouts, toothless grins,  AR reading and keeping up with his brothers. Brody was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in May. We are proud of his choice to do so.  I just met with his teacher for parent/teacher conference and she had nothing but kind, wonderful things to say about him. She even said that he was one of her favorite students of all time. Made this mamas heart proud. 

As for myself, I am busy trying to stay one step ahead of all of them, at all times. This is no easy feat but I am trying.  I stay busy running boys to various sports activities, cheering at those very same sporting events. I still enjoy volunteering at the elementary school and in our Community. I have been serving as the Relief Society President( women's organization at church) for the last three years and love those ladies and all of the good that they stand for in this world. In my spare time I love to read, craft and get a pedicure here and there. Life is amazing!

*family photos by Meredith Carty 

We got a little crazy last year and adopted a kitty right before Christmas. Meet Maverick. AKA Mavers, Mav, and  Mavy Mav. We instantly fell in love with him and can't imagine our home without him. 

What have you been up to?