Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Acorns and grubs

I've found with having 2 little boys I am learning something new each and every day. Today I learned that most acorns have a grub living inside of them. How did I learn that? Well yesterday when I was taking pictures of my friend Alecia's kids in the mountains Gabe gathered up a few acorns to take home. He had a little plastic container that he put them in when he got home. This morning when he got up he said, "Ew mom - there's something in with my acorns!!!" Sure enough - there was a grub wiggling around the container.

My first inclination was GET THAT OUT OF MY HOUSE! But quickly I decided to look up on the internet (so grateful for this invention - really - thank you Al Gore) and learned in a few minutes that it was a grub and had come out of the acorn. This is what I found:

It seems that inside most acorns there is a very tiny grub worm. After the acorn falls from the tree the worm eats its way out of the acorn. This little worm is a favorite food of flying squirrels, which are the most common squirrel in the Ozarks. You hardly ever see them in the wild because they are nocturnal, but there are millions of them around here. Anyway, you can tell that the worm has eaten his way out of the acorn when you pick one up because there will be a small hole in the acorn - that is where the grub came out of. And you can tell if a flying squirrel has had a little snack because the acorn will have been eaten into - the squirrel really doesn't eat the acorn itself, but rather chews into it until he finds the grub worm. Sometimes if you gather up a quantity of acorns and put them into a plastic bag or bucket and wait until the next day, you will see many of these little white worms in the bottom of the container - and many little holes in the acorns!

Anyway - my challenge to you is to go out and learn something new today. Something unique, maybe useless and silly - but learn some new little tid-bit. It's kind of fun :)

(These pictures and information were found on this website.)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Feelings of fall

So they say, "A picture's worth a thousand words" - but after looking at these pictures I don't know if that's really true. We went on a drive today to enjoy the fall leaves, and there is only one word to describe it - magical. And yet I look at these pictures and they don't even begin to capture the beauty we experienced. It makes me sad that I couldn't have packed all of you up and taken you with me so you could feel the breathtaking beauty we enjoyed.....

Anyway, yesterday afternoon Cory took the boys with him and our friends Jesse, Hayley and Mikell up into the mountains to see the fall leaves and have an outing. (Some of the pictures are from when he went up yesterday, and some of them are from today. Thanks sweetie for taking some great pictures yesterday!) He came back and told me he just had to take me up because it was so beautiful. So after church we packed up and headed up to enjoy the beauty. We debated back and forth about if we would take our truck, or ride in the ranger. Since it was Sunday we didn't plan to take the ranger at first, but when we decided that we'd be taking the same road/trail whether we had the truck or the ranger - we decided to go with the ranger. We made sure that it was a ranger "drive" instead of a ranger "ride" (a "ride" involves more horsing around, more 4 wheeling and off roading - a "drive" is more like what you would alraedy do in your car - in case you needed a description) - now I feel like I'm justifying our choice of vehicle......

We headed not very far from our house - really close - and as soon as we were in the mountains I could hardly stand the beauty. We kept saying - "Wow!" and "Oh my goodness!" and even the boys would let out a "woah" from time to time. Cory and I both agreed that this was the prettiest drive we had been on in this area. But as I thought about it I really felt like this was the prettiest I had seen fall leaves - ever.

I remembered one other time I felt overwhelmed with the beauty of the fall leaves - a Sunday in September back in 2001. On this particular Sunday I remember feeling overcome with the beauty of the mountains in Provo. It had been a hard week, a really hard week for all of the world really. September 11th had just happened, we were reeling and unsure of so many things. I remember sitting on the lawn of the Provo temple and gazing up to Rock Canyon. I remember feeling like those reds, oranges and firey hues were a message; a message that even through all of the horrible things that were happening - that Heavenly Father loved us. I felt his love, I knew he cared. I didn't understand why those things had happened - still don't completely - but I did know it would be ok, and that the Lord loved us. Looking at those leaves I didn't *think* he loved me - I *KNEW* he did!

Shift back to today - I looked at those leaves and it hit me. I hadn't seen or even felt of the beauty quite like that September in 2001 again - until today. I thought about this past year - this really tough past year - and realized that maybe this extravagant array of colors was meant to hit me that way and be set apart from the fall colors in most years. Maybe the colors of the fall leaves hadn't been that pretty in the years since September 11th, and maybe the beauty this year was extra beautiful. I think I needed that little bit of renewal, or reminder of our Heavenly Father's love.

So this is what I learned in those moments - when we have been through our hardest struggles we are not alone. After we have passed through difficult times there will always be brighter times - always. It might not be immediate, but we will turn the corner and get through it. There will always be golden yellows, fire like reds, and vibrant hues or orange to brighten our world. We might not see the beauty in the middle of the tests and trials - but if we will wait - it will come.

I also had many thoughts about seasons of our lives, and how we are all in different seasons of our lives, we're all at different stages and going through different experiences. I looked at trees that would be right in the same area, and they somehow seemed to be all different. There would be a tree with bright green leaves right next to a golden one, and the one behind it would have oranges and beautiful red shades. Even though those trees all had the same environment, and probably the same experiences - they were all reacting and experiencing it differently. That is how life is too - isn't it? There are people going through the same thing as we are, and are handling it better (or maybe even worse) - but we are all different. I don't know what was in the air - but I seemed to look around and find life lessons all over the place today :)

I felt so much love while we were driving through those beautiful mountains. I felt love from my boys as they snuggled up beside me. I felt love for my husband who took me out to see the leaves even though he had already been out to see them yesterday - because he knew how much they'd make me happy. Most of all though - I felt love from Heavenly Father. He might not have been there to tell me, but when I saw the masterpiece he had painted for us in the mountains it was if I had a whisper in my ear to tell me of His love. I could feel it all around me - surrounding me and my wonderful family.

So if you are blessed to live in an area filled with the beauty of fall be sure you take a few minutes to feel those whisperings. Look for a moment at the masterpiece that is found in the changing of seasons. If you don't live in an area filled with fall leaves, look around yourselves anyway - I know that Heavenly Father finds ways to remind us of his love, and I know He loves all of us.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

I'm So Glad When Daddy Comes Home!

One of Hunter's favorite songs to sing is "I'm So Glad When Daddy Comes Home". I had my camera out the other day and he wanted me to take pictures while he was singing. I wish I had video taped it - it was SOOOO cute!

I'm so glad when Daddy comes home
Glad as I can be

Clap my hands

and shout for joy

And climb up on his knee

Put my arms around his neck - hug him tight like this.

Pat his cheeks and give him WHAT? (Hunter's version of WHAT? is too cute!)

A great big KISS!

Bike Riding

Gabe got a little bike this year for his birthday and LOVES it! Everyday when he gets ready for preschool he insists on riding his bike down the road to pick up his buddy and ride down to his "school". I don't know quite what he'll do in a few weeks/months when it gets too chilly or even snowy....

One afternoon he told Cory that he wanted to take the training wheels off so he could ride without it....that didn't last very long....but I was glad he gave it a try at least :). Cory was so sure to tell us "I never had training wheels and I learned to ride my bike by the time I was 4!" No pressure for you Gabe....(sorry about that).

He's great at always getting his helmet and putting it on to be safe and is quite the speedy rider.

The 2009 County Fair

I am going to try to get a few pictures up from our summer/fall outings. I have been doing so much with scrapping and not as much with just keeping our blog up-to-date with pictures of what we've been doing. I'll regret that later on when I go to remember things because a lot of times I use my blog as a journal to help me record stuff.

Anyway - here's a little review of our trip to the fair.

Gabe was thrilled because at preschool they made a cute letter magnet to enter in the fair. His best friend Noah's mom was also taking some of her kids entries in the arts and crafts catagories and invited him to enter a few things. He ended up just giving her 2 little things he'd previously made - but it ended up paying off. He ended up with 3 blue ribbons - and he got $3.00 for each ribbon.

Since my mom and sister were passing through on their way up to BYU-Idaho that weekend we all went to the fair to look at his stuff. It was a small fair, and wasn't much to see - but we had fun. Gabe got to pick one ride and he decided on the barrel train (Hunter didn't want to ride). They also pet some animals in the petting zoo and had some treats.

We've already been planning on some fun things to make and enter in next year's fair - should be fun!