Tuesday, July 15, 2014

July in Full Swing

Just another July morning at our house!

It was actually a pretty slow and hot week for us here in AZ. Let's see...

It was the little girls' last week of swimming lessons. They have had such a great time, and it's been strange to have the house quiet in the mornings-- weird, huh? I don't think Eryn ever got her face wet, but they tried! Avalon did get brave, and went all the way under the water. I think it was a fun and exciting opportunity for them to have something that was all their own.

Displaying IMG_6212.JPG
The little girls at swimming lessons
Lliam spent a lot of this week at S---'s house. They are really working hard to get a band going, and I'm happy to have him spending time with a good family. He's helped them with dinner and even went to an extended family gathering with them.

Displaying 10498661_1512246332323312_4026719293863234794_o.jpg
Lliam and his friend, S--, making dinner

There's a lady in our ward here that I actually grew up with in good, ole Ammon! We went to girls camp and school together, though I didn't know her all that well. (I was close friends with her big sister. She was in Wade's high school class.) She ended up spending some time in Idaho this summer, and actually ran into Granna and Morganne at the humanitarian center in Idaho Falls, where they and Grandma Nielsen and Aunt Colleen and Uncle Jim work as missionaries. It was awesome to have her bring me back a picture of Granna and Morganne! :-) The Humanitarian center is such a special place-- I wish we had one here in AZ! 

Granna and Morganne working hard at the Humanitarian Center

I forgot to mention that last week Daddy and I went to a 40th anniversary production of Saturday's Warrior. I cried-- okay, ugly sobbed-- during the song "Didn't we love him?". I had forgotten how emotional that part was going to be for me. There is nothing more difficult than watching a child make choices that you know will harm their spirit!

Bonny has been working all week on redecorating her room. Actually, she's been working on it for weeks, but finally got paint to finish painting it this week. We moved Grayse into Bonny's room, and Eryn down to share a room with MacKenna. So far, it's been working great!

Bonny and Grayse in their beauteous room.
(All design and work done by Bonny!)

Bonny is so excited to be planning a trip to Europe with a homeschool group next Spring. She has started saving every penny she makes, and has worked hard teaching ballet and babysitting to earn what she needs. I am VERY excited for her to go, too! Lliam says he wants to go, but is still looking for a job. We'll see-- it would be so awesome for them to both go!

Everyone is doing well and Ronan's war wound has healed. Pa came down for his (kidney transplant) surgery, but they had to postpone it, because he's had a terrible sinus infection. This morning when he called, he told me they may not operate until the 21st! So Pa's just staying with Ann and Dan, and Lliam is on hold for being his caretaker until then, it sounds like. We'll keep you updated on that.

My 92 year old Grandma Nielsen with my cousin's daughter at her baptism

Earlier last week, sweet Grandma Nielsen had a pretty bad fall in the middle of the night, and spent the night on her knees, until her hospice caregiver came the next morning. :-( So, the family has all rallied around to call her every night to check on her. She has a strong testimony of the importance of missionary work, and so she is doing what she can, even for her great-grandchildren on missions, including keeping their pictures up on her refrigerator. I have a wonderful grandma and love her VERY much!!!

And now, for some more pictures of the precious people in our family!

Fun and happy Fiona

Davy likes cereal!

I love Eryn's toothless grin!

Silly Grayse

MacKenna has a contagious smile.

Ronan tinkering, as usual.

Lovely Dierdre is really growing up!

Love, Mama Rachel

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Happy Independence Day!

The view from our front yard, as a dust storm rolled in.

For now, due to the busy-ness of life, a new little baby to care for, and the chaos of summer, I will be posting my weekly letters to my missionaries here on my blog. Sometimes, a lady just has to be efficient in her life! Thanks for understanding. ~RK

This was a fun week, with lots of family time, some good food, a few tears, and even a BAPTISM! (More on that later...)

Dierdre got to go swimming with the F--- girls on Monday, and had a great time at the Me--- pool. It has water slides and a lazy river area. I'm glad she got to do something a little extra, since she's the one that helps me the most these days. :-)

We are so excited that MONSOON SEASON IS HERE! (Yay for weather!) So far, we have only had some light sprinkles, big clouds, some high wind, and a few dust storms-- but we are hoping for a few torrential rains with all that. We sure need the moisture. Last week we hovered around 111 degrees during the day, and the LOW at night was in the 90's. Welcome, Arizona summer!

Earlier in the week, K--- came over and watched "The Pirates of Penzance" with Bonny, Dierdre, Lliam, and Gavin. (And me!) We think she liked it, but she thought Maybelle sang way too much. LOL! The kids are determined to expose all our friends to our fun and crazy family culture, and I love it! :-) 

Dierdre cooking her yummy pancakes.
(Yes, that is a diaper box on my kitchen counter.
It was filled with canning jars, ready to go into storage.)

For Independence Day, Dierdre made us star-shaped, blueberry pancakes! Bonny made a strawberry syrup to go with them, and we had a wonderful, festive breakfast.

Daddy is on a diet, but he took Independence Day off, and made a yummy, big lunch for us. We had hot dogs on the grill, potato salad, chips, and my FAVORITE 5 cup salad. (You know, the fruit salad with marshmallows in it? Yum!)

A gorgeous, patriotic trifle, made by our Bonny.
Bonny made us a beautiful trifle for dessert, and we were so full, we didn't eat dinner that night! :-D

Then, we set off fireworks, of course, and especially had fun watching the big mortars in the neighborhood. We had a good time with the kids lighting ground blooms and fountains, and Daddy got the girls going with sparklers. I even read the Declaration of Independence out loud to everyone while the fireworks were going! :-)

Ooo! Awww!

All day, I had a nagging feeling that something would happen with the fireworks, but I didn't want to get worried over nothing. So I just prayed a lot that day, and then said a big prayer in my heart in the midst of the fireworks.

I came inside to feed Fiona, (And get out of the heat!) when we heard a big BOOM! Then I heard Daddy yelling, and after a brief silence, everyone came in the house, high on adrenaline. Ronan had bought a firework that was called a "California candle" that you light and then hold as a fountain of sparks pour out. Well, something must have malfunctioned, because it exploded in a blazing ball of green light, and burned right through Ronan's shirt. 
Ronan and his "war wound".
At first, he seemed fine, but as we were doctoring him up with lavender oil, the adrenaline wore off and the pain started. He was bleeding, but only topically-- thank goodness! He started to panic and cry, and so Daddy went and talked to him, and gave him a sweet, comforting priesthood blessing. I am so grateful for the righteous daddy you have and for the blessing that the priesthood is to our family!

Thanks to the blessing, Ronan was able to go to sleep, and rest through the night without problems. He is healing nicely (As you can see from the photo), and is just fine. And now he has a real "war wound," and an exciting story to tell. LOL! I feel that he was truly protected.

On Saturday, Ronan went to the baptism of his friend, A---! A--- is a fun boy who was in Ronan's homeschool class this last year, and because of the boys and leaders in our group, he decided to take the missionary lessons and get baptized! Ronan is being a missionary, too!

I want you all to know how much I love you, and how proud I am of the choice you have made to serve the Lord. You are setting a powerful, important example to your younger brothers and sisters, and I want you to know I REALLY appreciate it.

Our Fiona has learned how to SMILE!

I know that Jesus Christ lives, and that He loves each and every one of us. I know, through personal revelation, that President Monson is a living prophet, and that we have real, true, living apostles on the earth RIGHT NOW! That is so powerful and so wonderful!

The Lord loves us, and He is aware of all we are going through. I am so grateful for His amazing Atonement, and how it blesses my life every single day!

Love and hugs, 

Mama Rachel