Saturday, October 31, 2015

October 2015 on FB

October 4: I loved watching and listening to General Conference today, but halfway through the prophet's talk, I felt so sad and worried that he would pass out. I'm grateful for a living prophet on the earth today!

October 9: Look what we found in the newspaper today! What a fun surprise for Josh & I:

October 9: I finally just passed my college class that I've been working on since August--to pass the class, there were two final projects that had to be completed. I got one done near the end of August, but didn't have time to work on the second project hardly at all the whole month of September due to our family's hectic schedule. I worked on it a lot this past week and submitted it yesterday, and it was approved today after some revisions I needed to make. I'm so glad to finally move past this class (which coincidentally was on classroom Engagement and Motivation)!

October 9: I'm so excited for tomorrow!!! Jonah will be playing his last football game of the year, Josh is taking Micah hunting for the first time (and Ammon is hunting too), and Kanyon and I will be selling pumpkins at the Sacajawea Center's Fall Frolic. It's going to be a great day!

October 10 [posted by Josh]: Whew. What a day in the Tolman household. Jonah started it off by getting up at 6am for a hard-fought football game in Idaho Falls. Ammon and I filled our deer tags 1st thing this morning. (Micah had a near miss) We unloaded 200 pumpkins to sell. Skinned and cut up this mornings 2 deer. Went back and picked up unsold pumpkins. Had fresh cut and grilled venison steak for dinner.(Nice farm raised, alfalfa fed venison) Shortly after dinner Jonah shot his first deer ever, getting the biggest one out of all of us so far. Cleaned, skinned, and cut up that deer. Had a fresh made raspberry smoothie straight from the garden, made by Kala. Now finally putting my feet up and watching a little football. If you didn't know any better, we would appear to be quite the homesteaders!

October 11 [posted by Josh]: Micah harvested the 4th deer in 2 days for the Tolman Fam. Grandma Kathy was especially happy that he shot the deer that had been eating her shrubs, and peeking in her windows. Now we have over 100 lbs. of deer meat cut up, ground up, and in the freezer. Great job boys. And congrats to Micah and Jonah on their first harvest.

October 16: It's been a fall project day. Josh has been blowing out the water in the sprinkler system at the golf course, the boys mowed the lawn, dug up all our potatoes, picked raspberries, and we've picked up and put away all the the hoses in the garden. I can't believe everything is still so green! Usually we're raking up leaves at this point, but most of the trees in the yard haven't even changed color yet!

October 17: I just loved today! Josh, Jonah, and Micah ran in a local 5K color run this morning. The weather was beautiful, and they did so well in the race! Josh took me on a motorcycle ride this afternoon to the new Amish store, and we loved perusing and purchasing some of the flavored foods they sell. This evening, we took a drive to North Fork to eat some our favorite "Vic's Special" pizza at Josephine's, and then we finished off the day with a soak in the Sharkey Hot Springs tonight.

October 18: Kanyon was the spotlighted child in primary at church today. He wrote his own answers on the questionnaire, and I knew the spotlight was about him when the answer to the question of "what's your biggest wish?" was answered with "that my uncles could live in salmon and stay with us forever"!

October 19: Today I started my 2-week South Beach cleansing diet. After trying for 2 months to lose weight before Josh and I go to Mexico (and only losing a lousy TWO pounds), this is my last-ditch effort to get it done so I can feel better about myself while sitting on a beach wearing a swimsuit!

October 20: The three younger boys and I painted mini pumpkins for FHE last night. I liked seeing their creativity!! After Kanyon had painted two, he wanted to keep going, so he painted this little squash, too!

October 21:

October 21 [posted by Josh]: Just another tough day at the office: 

October 23: I had a "treat myself" day today. I got my hair cut and bangs colored, got my toenails painted, went tanning, and bought myself new shoes which I used when I walked on the treadmill tonight and I LOVE them! 😍 I am feeling so good; I should do this more often!

October 24: Autumn is ever changing, which is one of the reasons I love it so! What a difference just one week makes:

October 24: Took Jonah on his monthly date tonight to the Mexican Restaurant. He had some enchiladas and tacos, I ate a delicious taco salad, and Josh had a huge plate of quesadillas and could only eat half! Then Jonah ordered Xongos for dessert (deep-fried cheesecake bites) and loved them!

October 24: Went dancing/singing karaoke tonight with Josh, John, and Amanda. Tonight's Highlights: singing "Angry All The Time" with John (in preparation for a special musical number at Salmon Idol on Tuesday), and dancing with Josh to the song "Love Me Like You Do". I love dancing with that man!!!

October 25: Went to Stake Conference with Josh today. We haven't gone to the Sunday morning session in maybe 5 or 6 years, but it was nice and I'm glad we went. We originally planned to go camping this weekend, but we found out mid-week that Josh would be getting a new stake calling on Sunday, so we felt a change in our plans was necessary. Josh is now a member of the Stake Young Men's Presidency!

October 26: I love the annual pumpkin carving night at our house! I really enjoy making creations with my boys!

October 27: Had so much fun singing with this girl in salmon idol tonight! It was an awesome show! I loved listening to and watching the amazing talent of the youth in our community. John always puts on a great show. 

October 29: What. A. DAY!!! I woke up at 5:00am this morning to finish my costume and get everything ready for the day's Halloween festivities. We had a party in our Kindergarten classroom this morning, then one on the Preschool classroom this afternoon. I made a quick trip back down to the school to watch the elementary's costume parade, and took food to Kanyon's classroom for his class party. Then after school, I took the 3 younger boys walking on Main Street for the Merchant's Trick-or-Treating (I love that the businesses in Salmon do this!!). Right after that, we went to the Halloween Carnival at the school for an hour. Kanyon played games as the twins helped me volunteer at the booth in his classroom. The directly after that, we went to the church Halloween party, with dinner and Trunk-or-Treating. It was a super fun, very full day!!

October 30 [posted by Josh]: My view for the evening (at the Coeur d'Alene resort for state XC):

October 30: Went to the theater with some girlfriends tonight to watch "The Intern" and absolutely loved it! It's a good-feeling, high-quality film and I really enjoyed watching it with my friends!

October 31 [posted by Josh]: This made my day. Such a thoughtful boy Kanyon is. He sorted through his Halloween candy, and set these aside for me. I have an early present to look forward to when I get home in the middle of the night!

Friday, October 30, 2015

A Total {Lunar} Eclipse of the Heart

When I was in the 3rd grade, I fell in love with the solar system. My fascination for the universe was a result of my teacher's passion for the planets, the stars, the moon, and all things outer space. She talked about them, decorated her room with solar system posters and objects, and her love seemed to rub off onto me. I became somewhat obsessed, and even declared that I wanted to be an astronaut when I grew up. I begged for a book that my teacher had that was my favorite, and my parents gave in and bought me the super nice hard-bound book called "The Universe" by the National Geographic Society. I perused it and poured over the pages so much that the binding began to break and most of the pages became loosened. I still have the book (and it even came in handy for one of my college science class projects this summer!). 

Right before 4th grade, our family moved to Tremonton, and it was after we moved that my astronaut aspirations became a thing of the past instead of a desire for the future. Before then, I lived in the euphoric state of childhood. I thought everyone's families were like mine, that our family was wealthy, and that everything was good in the world. None of these thoughts are actually true, but through my perceptions they were. I remember starting to experience real fears after we moved to Tremonton--not that there's any correlation, because there's not, but because I had reached the age that I understood more and could fully grasp deeper concepts. The only fears I can remember I had before then was the fear of getting kidnapped (because I almost was when I was in 2nd grade) and the fear of the dark (because I thought the kidnapper would come get me at night when no one could see him). In 4th grade, I remember I didn't get cast for a part I wanted in our class' spring production about mothers, and I suddenly experienced the fear of failure. In 4th grade, there was a presentation at the school done by a burned victim, and she talked about the pain she experienced after her body was burnt, and the excruciating experience of taking baths at the hospital. I instantly felt a fear of being burned. In 5th grade, I read some fiction books by an author who wrote about cancer patients. This caused me to be afraid of getting cancer. One book, in particular, had a traumatizing story of a child who's mother died of cancer, and I became afraid of death. I stopped reading that author's books after that specific book. It was when I became of death, that I suddenly feared the thought of living forever. I remember my whole body feeling cold when I thought about it. I was standing in the dining room, and I started crying. I told my mother about my fear of living forever, because I couldn't (and still can't) grasp the concept of eternity, and my mother told me how much she looked forward to it because she could be with her family forever instead of saying goodbye and knowing that she will never see her loved ones again. I felt ashamed for being so afraid, but I couldn't stop it. It was because of this fear of forever, that I suddenly hated the night sky. I no longer wanted to know more about it, because the solar system seemed infinite and eternal, and it represented something larger that I couldn't fully comprehend. 

I remember one night in the summer after 5th grade there was a meteor shower, and my mom wanted me to go out and watch it with her. There was a blanket and chairs set up in the backyard, and I remember a neighbor was there, too. But after just a few minutes of being outside, I couldn't bear it anymore, and I had to go back inside because I was so filled with fear; it was truly overwhelming me. 

I don't like to talk about this fear I have of forever, (which is more like a phobia to me), because every time I truly think about eternity, I get a coldness in my body, a panicked feeling in my chest, and fear overtakes me. I'm 35 for pete's sake, and it's time to deal with my fears! So this summer, when there was a big hype about the meteor shower in August, I decided that I would go out and watch it. I stayed up late that night, and after everyone was in bed, I went out on my front step and watched for about 1 minute. And I saw 5 meteors in those 60 seconds, which was pretty awesome. But the last meteor was huge, and I was suddenly filled with irrational fear again. I came inside, woke up Josh, and told him that I wanted him to come out and watch the meteor shower with me. But he was getting up early the next morning to drive the twins to the trailhead of the Bighorn Crags and had a full day of hiking ahead of him, and he declined my request, rolled over, and went back to sleep. I laid awake in bed for the next two hours, trying to convince myself to go back outside and watch the meteor shower, but my heart always overtook my head; my head wanted to watch the meteor shower, but my heart was afraid. I didn't know who to call at midnight to come watch it with me, and I finally fell asleep, but I woke up the next morning angry at myself and regretted that I hadn't gone out again.

So when the Super Moon/Harvest Moon/Blood Moon was happening on the night of September 27, I wanted to try again. I've always wanted to see a lunar eclipse, but never have. I tried to spot it from our house, but the big trees in our yard and Ed & Kathy's yard were blocking my view. I was getting frustrated with myself, and didn't want to have yet another regret from letting my fear take over, so I told Josh about how I really wanted to see the moon. Then I told him about why I wanted to see the meteor shower, and why I couldn't watch it alone, and how seeing the lunar eclipse was important to me. I was getting rather antsy, but didn't want to go somewhere else (in order to have a better view) alone. This time, Josh was more than willing to join me (since it was only like 8:00 instead of after 11:00!), and he suggested we drive up to Lover's Lookout. I couldn't believe it, and was so excited! We drove up in the truck, and parked at the top of the hill, and just watched the moon and talked for an hour. It was so awesome!!! I felt so happy to see the moon's eclipse, and even happier because I wasn't alone to experience it!

When we came back home, the kids were just finishing a TV show, and we told them was what taking place with the moon. They went outside, looked at it for a minute, said "cool", and walked back inside. It was such a simple thing for them, but so life-changing for me! I'm so glad Josh had the idea to drive somewhere else, and that he was patient to sit and wait for an hour while I took in the views of the ever-changing, eternal night sky.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Faith & Sunflowers

When Josh and I were newlyweds, we bought our first house together on a central street in Tremonton. It was a cute little starter home that previously belonged to the mother of a man that lived in Salmon (who Josh knew!). The home had recently had some upgrades like new carpet, windows, new paint (both in and out), and bathroom fixtures. But the home really lacked in the yard department; it was boring and uninspiring. There was one tree in the backyard, and that was it--no flowers or other trees or landscaping. Josh and I lived in that home for the first 2 1/2 years of our married lives, and we worked on improving the yard little by little in that time. We bought two trees for the front yard (which are now super tall and provide lots of shade), we pruned and shaped another tree that was a volunteer growth near the curb, we created a border around the perimeter of the fence in the backyard using red logs, we took off the railing along the front walkway and planted flowers and added yard decorations under the windows by the porch, we added dwarf spruces to the front curb, and we started adding a walkway from the back door of the garage to the back door of the house. I loved beautifying the yard little by little!
The house and front yard in 1998 after we bought it.

The house and front yard in 2000, when we were preparing to move.
Josh and I worked together on the projects to improve the yard, but there was one project I did all alone--trying to grow sunflowers. I wanted a long row of beautiful sunflowers to grow along the edge of the front/back yards that faced our neighbor to the north (on the right side of the above picture, you can see the chaink link fence which is where I wanted to the sunflowers to grow). We'd installed the redwood border along the fence, and the neighbor's yard was even worse off than ours and I was tired of looking at it, so I thought the beautiful, TALL, sunflowers would go perfect there. I planted the seeds, I watered them FAITHFULLY every day or every other day for WEEKS. Not a thing ever grew, except weeds of course. I became so discouraged from trying so hard to get them to grow, and wanting them so bad, and I was upset because I was hoping that I could do something on my own that looked good around the yard since I'd helped Josh with all the other projects and was trying to increase my confidence with outdoor projects as a young wife. When they never appeared from the dirt, I told myself that I NEVER wanted to grow sunflowers again, because it was such a devastation for me at that time, and attempting to grow sunflowers would surely just remind me of being a failure. 

Fast forward 16 years. One day at church at the beginning of May this past year, our primary chorister taught the kids the song "Faith". One of the phrases in the song is: "faith is like a little seed, when planted it will grow". She gave each of the kids a cup, they filled it with soil, planted two sunflower seeds, watered it, covered it, and took it home at the end of church. Since I had 3 kids in primary, 3 cups came home--with the potential for 6 flowers. They put their cups in the windowsill where the sun shines every morning, and the boys faithfully watered their plants every day (one of the cups always had water in it, and after a week we realized it would need a drain at the bottom or the seeds would just drown). After 10 days, there was amazing growth coming from each cup (the middle cup is the delayed one due to the week-long drowning).  

It was fun to see the daily growth in the sunflowers. Two weeks later, the drowned plant had surpassed the others--possibly because only one plant took growth instead of two from the potted soil. By June, one of the plants had died (on the left) because of mis-handling from the boys, but the others were getting so tall. .

It was around this time that the boys quit watering them--they didn't seem to care about them anymore, but I couldn't stop taking care of them; seeing the growth of the sunflowers was healing and brought me hope. I felt like if I did everything I could, that they would actually grow into what I'd so desperately hoped for when I planted them back in 1999!  I watered them in the windowsill until I knew that they would be safe to transplant outside. I picked a spot right between the dirt pile and the raspberry garden to permanently plant them because I watered the raspberries multiple times a week, and if they were near them, I wouldn't forget to water the sunflowers, too. 

One of the plants didn't grow straight, so I put a tomato wire around it, so it would help it to grow more vertical instead of horizontal. Then the deer started chewing on some of their leaves, so I added another tomato wire around another of the plants. I enjoyed looking at them multiple times a week as I watered them throughout the summer. It was a good year for sunflowers, and by the end of August, there were sunflowers blooming everywhere, seriously everywhere I looked there they were--well, everywhere it seemed but my yard. 

I was worried that they wouldn't have a chance to bloom before the first freeze, and I started feeling that same discouragement that I remember feeling so long ago regarding my ability to grow sunflowers. They're supposed to be easy to grow, so why was it so hard for ME?!! The second week of September, I saw a sign that perhaps my hope would be realized--a single flower was beginning to form! 
September 9

I have never been so excited for a flower to bloom! I inspected it every single day after that, waiting with anticipation for it to open up its pedals.
September 12

September 20
Finally, on Jonah and Micah's 12th birthday, a sunflower opened!!! It was so exciting! I told everyone in the family about it, but nobody was nearly as happy about it as me!
September 22
The very next day, I was so mad to see that a deer had chomped it--it had bitten off a few of the pedals and a leaf along the top. But I was glad to see that it was still there. I looked closely at the center of the flower as the seeds were developing.
September 23

Just two days later, the seeds in the center were increasing in their development and the core was half-way done poking out. Because we'd had such a nice fall, I thought there may be a chance after all that it would finish growing and that the seeds would fall and replant themselves next year, and I'd have a volunteer sunflower garden at last!!
September 25
But, tragically, two days later, this is all that remained of the beautiful sunflower:

A deer completely devoured it, along with one of the other plants that was beginning to grow two sunflowers on it. I was so devastated (and ready to have revenge on the deer on opening day less than two weeks away!). I can't believe that after babying these plants for 4 months I STILL never got to see any of them mature. But, watching that single sunflower grow did restore my faith in my ability to grow sunflowers, and next year I plan on planting a whole row of them between our backyard grass and the fence that separates our yard from the ditch.  So, although I'm sad I didn't see this particular sunflower grow to its final stages, it was a good experience for me to have these sunflowers this summer. They filled me with hope and returned my desire to have a yard lined with sunflowers. I'm not sure what the problem was 16 years ago, but I finally realize that I was not the problem--because I was the one who planted and watered them this year, and they still grew under my care (it's just the deer I have to contend with now, though!).

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

the birthday they've been waiting for

Jonah and Micah were so excited for their 12th birthday to come, because once they turned 12, they could graduate from primary and start going to Young Men's instead, and they've been ready to leave primary since January when half their church class had birthdays and moved on ahead of them. So it was with much anticipation that they FINALLY turned 12 on September 22! We ended up celebrating their birthday 3 times due to our crazy busy schedule in September. Our first celebration was a family dinner for them on Sunday, September 20. They both wanted steak with mashed potatoes for their birthday meal, so they shared the same birthday meal! We had Grandma and Grandpa T. and Uncle Tim & Barb over to join us for the delicious dinner. 
He'd already taken a bite when I told him I was taking his pic.
The boys take turns using the special red plate;
Jonah got to use it on the 20th. 

When I'd asked them a few days prior to the celebration what they'd like to have for their birthday dessert, they took the request pretty seriously and spent time looking through my recipe box and recipe books to see what looked most appealing to them because they weren't sure what they wanted, and they were interested in trying something new. They both picked similar things. Jonah picked a brownie cheesecake, and Micah picked a chocolate cream cheese pie. We ate Jonah's brownie cheesecake after the family dinner, and saved Micah's dessert for their actual birthday. 

After dinner, the boys opened their gifts. On their actual birthday (Tuesday), it was going to be hectic day, and they wouldn't have much time to open them, so we thought it would be better to do it at the family dinner even though that meant they would get to open all their gifts early.

I'd taken them shopping for a few of the things they needed, like shoes, clothes, and watches. And Grandma T. got them what they wanted most: new XBox controllers. Grandma P. got them new church pants (which was desperately needed because they'd grown out of their old ones), a game, a book, and a fun racquetball set. And Tim & Barb gave them candy and cash (both are always much appreciated with growing boys!). The big surprise came when they opened new rifles and ammo from dad. They had no idea what the large-wrapped gifts were. Josh came up with the idea of getting them all on his own, went shopping for months until he found the right ones, and he was so excited to get these guns for his boys!!

(Micah's not really THAT much shorter than Jonah,
he's just bending his body holding the weight of the new gun!)

This photo makes me laugh!!! They loved the new racquetball game from
Grandma P., and when I took a photo of them to send to her,
 they both made the same piggy face!!!

It was a beautiful Sunday, so after dinner, dessert, and gifts, the boys went outside to play with the new racquetball set as Josh and I laid in the hammocks watching them and enjoying the sunshine. 

On their actual birthday, I thought it would be fun to make breakfast for them. They make their own breakfast, and usually just eat cold cereal or yogurt or pop tarts for breakfast. So I told them I would make french toast for them because they both really like it, and we don't have it a lot. I am not a morning person and don't like to wake up any earlier than I have to to make it to school on time, so when I told them my plans of making them breakfast on their birthday, they didn't think it was actually going to happen. They truly didn't think that I could wake up early enough to make breakfast for them before they had to go to school!! What a bunch of disbelievers!! I surprised them, though, and woke up early enough to make their breakfast, and they said it felt like Christmas (the one day a year I usually make warm breakfast for everyone).
Micah got to use the red special plate on the 22nd. 

After school, Micah had Cross Country practice with Ammon until around 6, and Jonah had football practice from 6-7:30. So, after everyone was home after 8:00 that night, we had Micah's chocolate cream cheese pie. Out of the two pies I'd made for their birthday, they said they liked this one the best, so I'm glad we had it on their actual birthday!

We celebrate birthdays alternating each year between a family and a friend birthday party. This year, it was the twins' turn for a family party. They chose to go to iJump in Idaho Falls; an indoor trampoline park that we've heard about but never been to before. We had plans to go there the weekend right after their birthday, but that didn't work out because Micah, Ammon, and Josh had to go to Boise for a XC meet and Jonah had a home football game that weekend. Instead, we went the following weekend (the first Saturday in October) since Jonah already had a football game in Idaho Falls so we were driving there anyway. Ammon has wanted to go to iJump for a couple of years now, but he was unable to come with us because of an injury he sustained in XC practice a few days prior to us going (that's another story altogether). So Josh and I took the 3 boys after we watched Jonah's football game (that they won, btw!). They had fun jumping together for 2 hours. There was an open area, a dodgeball area, and a styrofoam pit they could jump into. They alternated between all 3 areas, but the dodgeball was their favorite!

Although they went into Young Men's on the Sunday following their birthday, they had to wait a few weeks to get set apart, because Josh's parents were gone on that Sunday (we wanted their grandpa to be part of their ordination) and then it was General Conference. So it wasn't until October 11 that they able to receive the priesthood from their dad at church. It was a happy moment for me to witness!

I'm so proud of these boys and for the young men that they are becoming. They are funny, responsible, smart, athletic, hard-working kids!

Jonah's favorites at age 12:
friends-Hunter, Kota, Erik
sport-football or basketball
t.v. show-Chicago Fire
video game-Smashy Road

Micah's favorites at age 12:
food-prime rib
friends-Erik, Hunter
sport-cross country
t.v. show-Duck Dynasty
video game-Smashy Road