Saturday, March 29, 2008

Recent thoughts from Ruth


A few days ago I was reading an article directed to people who are 50 years or older and don’t have a “nest egg” for retirement. The first line of the article indicated that those individuals who didn’t have a nest egg shouldn’t expect a luxurious retirement. (That’s obvious.) Then, the very first thing the author suggested was to go and buy a book about how to enjoy retirement and life on a small income—along with being content with what you have. Lee and I thought it was kind of funny. The first thing I would have suggested is to start saving/investing like crazy (and of course get out of debt if needs be). Overall I am shocked that there are people out there who haven’t started saving for retirement—especially when they’re already 50 years old! Lee opened a Roth IRA in 2004 and then opened one for me the next year. Granted we don’t have much in either, but we have time on our side for our money and the interest to compound and grow. When we do retire, we aren’t counting on Social Security monies being around either.


In January, after moving from North Carolina to Tennessee, we somehow misplaced our Ensigns of the October General Conference. I went ahead and purchased the DVDs of that conference. We have been watching them here and there, but I realized about a week ago, that conference is coming up again! We always try to review/read the previous conference at least once before the next begins. (Our church holds a world-wide semi-annual general conference in April and October. Through the internet, local tv/cable stations, or via satellite at church buildings, people worldwide listen to the Prophet and the apostles and other church leaders.)

For several evenings, including tonight, we’ve put a conference DVD in, listened to a hymn and a couple of speakers. It’s been great and we are getting so excited for conference next weekend! Conference is Saturday and Sunday (April 5th and 6th this year), with two sessions each day. Then the men have a Priesthood session on Saturday evening. I always enjoy Lee’s report about the Priesthood session.

Anyway, I just love spring and Easter and General Conference. The weather outside is more bright and sunny, and a comfortable, spring afternoon is so energizing and invigorating! And for conference, it’s great to be with my family and listen to a Prophet’s voice, and hear spiritual and temporal guidance that the Lord wants us to have at this time in our lives.

Thanks to Lena, we have a breakfast tradition on the Saturday morning of conference—French toast with strawberries and whipped cream. YUM! Enjoy General Conference everyone!

Eat your words, Ruth

I’ve been realizing lately that I am now doing things that I never said or thought I would do. My mom can chuckle at me on this one, because it would happen when I was at home too. So I thought I’d share a few of those things for all you people out there who want to delve into my brain.

First, I started taking all of my kids grocery shopping with me, myself and I. Of course I would go shopping when I had just two kids, but the thought of taking four was a bit overwhelming. Granted, when I initially had four kids, I was home from the hospital recovering from a c-section and didn’t feel good physically. As time went on and I felt better, Lee would come with me and we’d take two kids each. Or, he’d stay in the van with three and I’d take one in the store with me. (One kid is a piece of cake! But I would have never realized it unless I had more.) And for some Ruth trivia, once I did a week’s worth of grocery shopping in 10 minutes! Gotta love Aldi! So, to wind up this story, now I mainly go shopping with them all by myself because I can take my time during the day to complete this task. Then when Lee gets home at night we can enjoy being at home instead of juggling the whole shopping thing. And so you don’t feel bad for me, it’s pretty easy because there is only one kid to watch—Clark. I have a girl in a front pack carrier (thanks Ruth Whitemarsh!), a girl in the cart seat, and Cal in the main cart area. It will become tricky when the girls are too big to put in a front pack carrier. And when we go shopping, I try and make sure we all look gorgeous. I’m not ashamed that I have four kids, but I sure want to avoid any nasty comments. I love it when people tell me what a beautiful family I have—who doesn’t?! And people stop me all the time and look at my kids—mainly because of the twins. Frequently people ask if Clark and Cal are twins. Once they get a better look at them though, they realize they are different sizes.

The next thing I thought I would never do is exercise with my kids awake and around. I woke up early a few times and exercised and it sure is nice to do that all by myself. But I do not like to get out of bed at 5:45 am or 6:00 am. (And I don’t like exercising in the evening.) So, I made a trade-off with myself—exercise later in the morning, but with the kids around. It hasn’t been too bad. The girls are good, and the boys have fun dodging my kicks and punches, or looking at books. And when my cup runs out of water Clark will refill it for me!

And for the third item, when I was first married, the idea of having twins was intriguing. After having one child and later on a second child, that intrigue flew out the window, as some of you have heard me thus state. But, if you hadn’t noticed from previous posts, I absolutely love having twins—not that I had a choice—but I love my little girls! It is weird to think of just having Shanna and not Haley, or vise versa. And since I’ve had twins we’ve heard from multiple people how their sister-in-law or niece or themselves had two sets of twins or a set of twins and triplets, and so on and so forth. Lee tells me to be careful when I say I don’t want triplets…

We took some pictures of the kids, aren't you surprised, and of course, here they are!



Haley & Sienna

Haley & Shanna

Haley standing!

Haley again

Shanna has stood on her own too, but when we tried to get a picture of her last night, she wanted to walk, not stand still.

Haley & Nemo

Best Friends

The girls at our weekly shopping trip yesterday

Them again, AREN'T THEY SO CUTE?!!!!!!

Playing around


Shanna, Haley & Clark at the dishwasher

Haley giving a cute/silly grin


One more...

Clark and his sisters

The girls

I got Clark a cheap bubble blower in the Easter clearance section. He was so excited to use it!

Like I mentioned earlier, every time Cal gets an owie--which is very often--he says in a sad voice: "I need a monkey!" We had Curious George adhesive bandages, so that's where Cal got the, "I need a monkey!" thing. It's so cute. Since we ran out, you can see my attempt at a monkey on this bandage.

Clark again
Chasing Cal

Monday, March 24, 2008

Happy Easter!

We hope all you of had a wonderful weekend. We enjoyed Sacrament meeting very much. Lee and I were in the choir. In between choir pieces a few people had been asked beforehand to share a brief testimony on a certain topics pertaining to Christ and the Easter season. I thought it was a wonderful mix—our own little music, along with the spoken word.

We had a nice, normal week. I finally got my hair cut, which was nice. Clark can buckle his seat belt now! I knew he was able to do it, but never did it, and thus never had any practice. Since we started doing a sticker chart with him, he would get a sticker every time he buckled his seat belt. He’s caught on and now I only have to buckle in three kids. Now we just have to get Cal to wear flip-flops. And speaking of Cal, he is officially potty-trained! He has been for a few weeks, but thought I would share it with you all.

On Wednesday I was talking to my mom and about half-way through our conversation she asked if she and my dad and Sheldon could come visit us this past weekend. YEAH!!! They arrived Friday night and left Sunday morning. It was a short visit, but very fun. We kept them busy while they were here.

Saturday morning the guys, minus Cal, went to Lowe’s for a Build and Grow thing. Clark made this little windmill, like in miniature golf. He also got a wooden golf club and plastic golf ball so he can play with his windmill.

When they got home we took off for an Easter egg hunt at a church in another town. I thought it would be fun to try and get as much free candy as we could. If you haven’t guessed by now, I am all about candy on holidays! The boys grabbed a few eggs, but there were so many children that the eggs were all snatched up in about 3 minutes.

My dad treated us all to lunch and then we tried to find Davy Crockett’s birth place. We didn’t find it, but learned that he was apparently born in Greenville, Tennessee. We did go to the Tipton Haynes Historical place here in Johnson City. I don’t know who Tipton Haynes is, but we had fun exploring the property and going in the cave. Actually, we drive by this place every Sunday. And now we know what is there. Clark really liked the tractor, see pictures below.

We learned an interesting fact while at the Tipton Haynes place. There is a major street in Johnson City named State of Franklin. In the late 1800’s, a state was going to be formed named Franklin, but it lacked one vote for statehood.

Later that afternoon we went to the church for our 2nd Easter egg hunt that the Elder’s Quorum organized. The boys loved that too.

After cleaning up, talking, taking evening naps, bathing the kids, putting the kids to bed, Lee, Sheldon and I played some games. First, That’s Life, then Boggle—dad joined us, then Settlers of Catan. I won That’s Life and Boggle and Lee won Settlers of Catan. (We miss you Don & Teresa!) I was kind of annoyed that I wasn’t winning Settlers, and of course lost. But then when I was talking to Lois today, I realized I had won the other two. Silly me. I am glad Lee won though. I have beating him a lot lately at games. It’s funny because we’ll play a game and during the beginning and middle I will be frustrated because I think I’m loosing, and then almost always I win. I am glad Lee still likes to play games with me!

That’s about all from here. It was snowing here a little bit ago, and is probably still snowing. It’s funny because I looked at the weather and it’s supposed to be 70 on Friday. I hope it is!

A little story for all you shoppers…I haven’t bought the girls shoes yet—granted they really don’t need them because they are crawling, but during the winter it sure is nice to have them to make sure their toes stay warm. I am kind of picky with the shoes I buy and that doesn’t help either. I’ve seen a lot of shoes that I like, but I never could bring myself to pay for some little shoes that they’ll wear for a few months, plus I have to buy DOUBLE! So (yeah, I know, this is a really boring story) I went shopping a couple of times and just bought some shoes and socks and sandals and brought them home. The girls have 2 summer church dresses and I wanted to analyze the situation at home. I decided on the sandals.

Sunday morning we always try and race a particular family to church—I don’t think they know this—and it was time to go, so we rushed out the door and I was going to put the sandals on the girls in the van. Well, I did and they were too big! So, yeah, my girls had these cute Easter dresses on with no shoes, socks, nada. Their toe nails were painted though and they had cute bracelets on….so they weren’t totally neglected. I went to the store tonight and returned the bigger pairs and ordered the smaller ones. Plus I returned the socks and other two pairs of shoes I bought. They won’t have them for next Sunday because it will take about a week, week and a half to get them in. So they’ll wear socks again on Sunday. I do need to search around for some sneaker type shoes and sandals for summer. I definitely want them to be used to wearing shoes before they start walking…

Hi everybody! Happy Easter! And for anyone else (and Kelly) Happy Easter Monday in Canada!

We took a bunch of pictures this weekend and they are out of order, but I am not going to spend the time to put them in the right order (I am at the library right now with all four kids). My parents came Friday night and left Sunday morning. We took lots of pictures of our busy Saturday.

We went to the Tipton Haynes Historical place Sat. afternoon. Clark loved the tractor.

Sheldon & Shanna. I need Sheldon around more often. He helped out a lot with the babies!

Sheldon & Shanna coming out of a cave some early explorers stayed in

Sheldon and Lee and Clark and others at the hog house...I can't remember the real name, but it's like a pig pen, where they kept the pigs way back when.

Sheldon tired from all of the Easter egg hunts

The first Easter egg hunt of the day at a Baptist church. There were so many kids there that the eggs were gone in about 3 minutes.

Lee & Haley coming out of the cave

This is where Lee is currently doing eye exams M-F

Lee Ruth Haley inside the old barn at the Tipton Haynes place

Grandma and Grandpa B visited us on Saturday! Here they are with Shanna at the first Easter egg hunt.

We went to the Mountain Home cemetery. If you are ever downcast about our economy or the pending presidential elections, go to a veteran's cemetery. It's very humbling to think about those men and women who sacrificed their lives that we might live in this spectacular country!

Clark on the little hill....the cave is down below on the right

Clark on the prowl at the 2nd Easter egg hunt at our church

Clark, Zach & Kenzie Butler enjoying their spoils from the 2nd hunt

Grandpa B inside the cave at Tipton Haynes

Clark and Cal waiting for the 1st hunt to begin

Here they are again!

Clark and Cal entering the cave

Clark and Cal by the stream

Clark posing at the entrance

Cal at the 2nd hunt

Cal, Lee and Haley on the bridge at Tipton Haynes

Clark again at the 2nd hunt

Clark loved the tractor, like I wrote earlier

Ruth and Haley and Shanna after church yesterday

Ruth and the girls again

Cal and Clark were so excited for the 1st easter egg that I told them to hug each other for a picture and they willingly complied

Cal showing us his egg he found on the should have seen us parents, we were more into it than the kids--telling them to run fast and grab as many eggs as they could; it was funny.