Friday, September 30, 2011

Dark Hallow Falls

Well, it's official. We're Virginians! We have new vehicle plates, licenses, voter cards, paid our 1st utility bill for the house we are renting AND visited Shenandoah National Park.

Before we get to all the pictures, I have to tell you all that the copy machine at the school is AMAZING!  I would LOVE to have one at home.  But since it costs thousands of dollars it would just be a waste of money. (It seems they said it cost $30,000 or $70,000-big difference I know....) So, some of the cool features: it can take a piece of paper that has been printed on both sides already and split it into two separate copies. It can hole punch your copies AND staple them.  Say you have six pieces of paper that you want on three pieces of paper, then stapled and hole punched--25 copies of them.  As you can imagine the printer will make them into booklets, stapled and hole punched.  It of course even sorts them and staples them in the right order! (Given you feed the paper in the order you want.)

I have been volunteering at the school three times a week.  I love it!  It's also great because the teachers REALLY appreciate it--which makes it even more rewarding. And of course, I get to play with this AWESOME copy machine!!!

Okay, back to the park.  My sister Lois knows when the National Parks have free days.  She told us that there would be one on the 24th and we decided to go.  After we cleaned the church and had lunch we headed off to the park.  We're pretty lucky as the entrance is only seven miles from our house. 

We hiked to Dark Hollow Falls.  Of course they loved the ditch/canal that ran under the length of the road.  
Sept 24 2011 Shenandoah National Park Clark Elden Shanna Haley Cal

Yay, the Christmas photo is done!
Sept 24 2011 Shenandoah National Park Shanna Clark Cal Haley Ruth Lee Elden

Shanna picked out the outfit all on her own. When we go to certain places I am the mean mom and put my foot down on what she wears sometime.  Lately I haven't cared as much.  I thought it was very creative!
Sept 24 2011 Shenandoah National Park Shanna

Sept 24 2011 Shenandoah National Park Shanna Elden Haley Lee

Sept 24 2011 Shenandoah National Park Lee Haley

So pretty. Before we know it Lee will be the proud dad on the girls' wedding day.
Sept 24 2011 Shenandoah National Park Haley Lee Shanna

Elden was determined to walk the entire way. The hike wasn't long--about 1.2 miles.  He practically walked the entire way--at least a 3/4 of a mile!  The only times he didn't walk were when he wouldn't come with us and was stopping or wandering of, or at the very end when we had to go fast and he was going slow.  It sure was nice that we only had to carry him here and there!
Sept 24 2011 Shenandoah National Park Elden

Sept 24 2011 Shenandoah National Park Clark

Sept 24 2011 Shenandoah National Park Clark Cal

Cute running picture.
Sept 24 2011 Shenandoah National Park Elden (2)

Yep, those cheeks are so fun to kiss!  And they get kissed A LOT.  Elden knows how to give kisses now and I love it!
Sept 24 2011 Shenandoah National Park Elden (3)

Dark Hallow pretty!
Sept 24 2011 Shenandoah National Park Dark Hallow Falls

Sept 24 2011 Shenandoah National Park Lee

Sept 24 2011 Shenandoah National Park Elden (4)

Sept 24 2011 Shenandoah National Park Haley

Sept 24 2011 Shenandoah National Park Lee Ruth

Sept 24 2011 Shenandoah National Park Shanna Haley Elden Cal Clark Lee

Sept 24 2011 Shenandoah National Park Haley Shanna

Along Skyline Drive there were some gorgeous lookouts. Come and visit.  They look even better in real life.
Sept 24 2011 Shenandoah National Park (2)

That evening I headed down to the Stake Center for dinner and the Relief Society Broadcast.  It was a great night.  I met another lady in the ward and the new sister missionaries.  There were Elders here just a week or so ago, but now we have sister missionaries!  They seem great and it will be fun to work with them.

It was great being together with other sisters in the stake.  I met a few new people and saw my old roommate from Ricks, Alicia, which was really fun. The talks were really good, and of course Elder Uchtdorf's was superb.  He talked about the blue forget-me-not flower. The flower has five points, and he gave us five points to remember.

1. First, forget not to be patient with yourself.
2. Second, forget not the difference between a good sacrifice and a foolish sacrifice.
3. Third, forget not to be happy now.
4. Fourth, forget not the “why” of the gospel.
5. Fifth, forget not that the Lord loves you.

Read his address here: Forget Me Not, by Elder Uchtdorf.

I am really excited about conference tomorrow!  Lois and her family are coming down. Lois and I are going to go shopping around town before the first session and I am looking forwards to that.  It's going to be a great weekend!  I hope you all enjoy General Conference!  You can watch it at  It's a blessing to have a living Prophet, Thomas S. Monson, and hear what message God has for us today!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Cub Scout Fun Day

The first couple of pictures are for my friend Kathryn.  First off, Shanna in Henri's pjs.
Sept 17 2011 Shanna

And then some of Elden for you!
Sept 21 2011 Elden

Sept 11 2011 Elden

Cal told me: "Mom, I want you to take a picture of me here so I can remember this when I am a dad." Here you go Cal!
Sept 11 2011 Cal Shanna Haley

Sept 21 2011 Elden Cal Haley Shanna

A couple of weeks ago Lee, Clark and Cal went to a Cub Scout Fun Day. Clark has been in Cub Scouts for a few weeks now.  He and Cal LOVED it.  I am glad they could go.  It makes me excited for all the fun things my boys will do in Scouts.  (I ALWAYS wished I could have been in scouts when I was little...oh well.)
Sept 17 2011 Cub Scout Fun Day Clark

Sept 17 2011 Cub Scout Fun Day

Sept 17 2011 Cub Scout Fun Day Clark (2)

Sept 17 2011 Cub Scout Fun Day Cal

Here you go Roger and Britt!
Sept 17 2011 Cub Scout Fun Day Clark guns

Sept 17 2011 Cub Scout Fun Day Clark guns (2)

Sept 17 2011 Cub Scout Fun Day Clark and Cal

Sept 17 2011 Cub Scout Fun Day Clark Cal

Sept 17 2011 Cub Scout Fun Day Clark arrow

Sept 17 2011 Cub Scout Fun Day Cal arrow

Sept 17 2011 Cub Scout Fun Day bike ride

Sept 17 2011 Cub Scout Fun Day (2)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Conversation with kids....gotta love 'em

Lee visited Clark at lunch today. He had this conversation with one of Clark's peers. Boy: Who is Clark's babysitter?
Lee: Clark doesn't have a babysitter.
Boy: Well, what time do you get home from work?
Lee: 5:30, 6:00.
Boy: But then what does Clark do after school?
Lee: His mom stays at home.
Boy: She stays home all day?
Lee: Yes.
Boy: LUCKY! (Lee assumes the boy thinks Clark is lucky to have his mom home)
Boy: She gets to watch TV and drink coffee all day!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Happy Anniversary? What?

Ha ha ha...I can't believe Lee and myself. Only we would BOTH forget our 9th anniversary is today and guess who remembered two minutes ago? Lee. It's probably a good thing we forgot. We don't have money in the budget to go out to eat or for Lee to buy me flowers. We even had rice and beans for dinner! Too funny. Happy Anniversary Lee!

Saturday, September 17, 2011


There were a few things I forgot to mention in the last post. 

1.  I joined the PTA!  Unfortunately the general meetings are on Monday nights.  We have family night that night, so that won't work out too well.  But, I volunteered to take on a project--handing out bags to incoming kindergarteners when they come for a school tour and lunch.  I make sure there are enough bags for each kid, make sure they are stuff, and make sure they get handed out.  Sounds simple enough! In addition to now being on a committee (that happened when I volunteered for the project) I get to go to the "executive" meetings and they are on Thursday nights.  Perfect!

2. We don't have a disposal.  This is definitely one of the top things I miss from our old house.  Not to mention the trash gets smelly.  YUCK! 

3.  We have been eating a little more Ramen than normal; I am sure you are all shocked!  So far we had it one time too many anyway. [Can't decide if "time" should be "times", please pardon the grammar.  But I am not a good writer anyway!] Good thing it's cheap at Family Dollar!

4.  I guess there is a calling in the works for me.  The counselor was going to extend a calling to me on Sunday but then the Bishop told him not to tell me about it yet.  I am curious what it will be! 

Okay. That is all.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

It's Great to be 8!

This summer Clark turned 8!  He is our oldest and our first child to be baptized.  His baptism was wonderful! We planned my family reunion around his baptism.  All of my family was able to be there except for 4 people. (We missed you Roger, Britt, Lexie and Andy!) We had almost a room-full with my family alone; and some of our good friends from school, church, and the neighborhood came. 

In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints we believe that little children are innocent and need no baptism till the age of 8.  At that time (age 8) they have learned between right and wrong and can be responsible for their own actions.  What I love about this doctrine or teaching is that if a child dies before age 8, he or she will automatically go to heaven and will receive the fullest blessings from our Heavenly Father in the life after death. Jesus Christ desires all of us to return to him.  Because of his sufferings, death and resurrection, all mankind can repent and return to him and our Heavenly Father.  And also because of his atonement, little children are innocent and need no repentance until they are accountable (age 8). You can read more about baptism on

After Clark was baptized and received the gift of the Holy Ghost a few people from church talked to him.  One of them was Renalle Stroud from Primary.  The spirit was really strong when she talked about Clark serving a missionary someday.

Clark Baptism

One of Clark's teachers from school came to the baptism. (Later that day she took some pictures of our family!  Thanks so much Vicki!  Check her website:  She had recently been diagnosed with cancer.  Lee and I had the opportunity to meet with her and the Bishop and he gave her a Priesthood blessing.  It was amazing!  I am thankful the power of God is here on the earth today. Also more about the Priesthood at All is all it was a great morning. We're proud of you Clark!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Small Town Living

Everyday life has been going well in our small town.  Right now the only "extra" activity is Cub Scouts--Clark recently joined and loves it! I love being able to walk or bike everywhere in town.  Lately we've been using our van only two or three times a week.  I'm not really a "green" person (sorry Matt), but it sure is nice being fairly self-reliant and not having to worry much about gas prices.  

While I've been here I've discovered two stores that I love! The first is a local thrift store EAUS (Elkton Area United Services).  I have been a couple times and am excited to keep going and going!  The other day all children's clothing was $0.25 each.  I bought a few awesome items! 

Here is my first treasure for the day.  Though not an article of clothing, still nice.  Especially for $1!  I don't have a china set or anything of the sort.  But I have started a set of white serving dishes.  Don't laugh, but this is the third piece of the "set".  I got a free gravy boat w/dish last year the day after Thanksgiving (thanks Yonkers!) and recently I inherited a nice white serving platter from my mom.  When I saw this piece I almost didn't buy it reasoning I don't need it, only if it is $1.  But I changed my mind and I am glad I did!  It would work well for veggies, sauces, candy...I am sure I will use it somehow!
Sept 2011 $1 pot

Sept 2011 $1 pot (2)

Sept 2011 $1 pot (3)

So, on to the $0.25 finds.  I got a few things for a $ a fleece pull-over for Clark when he's 10 or 11, a couple shirts for Elden, a couple of jackets, a Gymboree dress shirt for my nephew and these two beauties:

Yep, an Express sweater.  I told the lady up front that it was a women's item, but I found it in the children's section.  She still gave it to me for a $0.25!

And this quarter find is currently up for bid on eBay....I couldn't resist! 

The next store that I love, and is fewer than two blocks from my house: 

I think I first saw Family Dollar in Memphis.  The stores were normally in undesirable parts of town so thus my opinion was formed and I think I had frequented them not more than a couple of times. When I saw one here I didn't go there for a few weeks actually.  Eventually I went, and I can't remember the reason for the trip, but wow!  I am SO glad we have a Family Dollar here!  There are many items for $1 and really it could be called the local five and dime. It has a great selection and some things are just a great price.  Where else can you get evaporated milk for $0.80??  Or a six pack of ramen, ha ha, for $1??  There is wrapping paper for $1, along with nail polish, craft items, hairbows, combs. candy, papertowels, etc. all for $1.  Plus I can get practically all of our household and personal goods there!  Oh so sweet.  Now if there was only an Aldi in town....

There have been a couple of changes in our day-to-day life.  For one: no microwave.  Our microwave that we bought in Memphis in 2004 died on us RIGHT before we moved--about three or four days prior.  I have tried to get some free ones on Craigslist, but not luck.  Microwaves are EXPENSIVE and we won't be buying one anytime soon.  I still need to find out if someone around here (that I can walk to) fixes them. There have also been changes (small and big) in using an electric stove, mowing our own lawn, and riding the bus to school, among others.  All in all life is good and Lee enjoys having his own business.

This picture won't mean much, but the other day my mom sent out an email about their adventures at the Puyallup Fair. She mentioned that Sheldon and Sheldon shared an elephant ear together.  I wondered if Sheldon was a twin, but at birth was separated from my mom at the hospital.  Roger and Britt had proof of his lifelong twin and he did show up at the fair!  In any case, my family had a good laugh.
sheldon and sheldon

Friday, September 9, 2011

We had a fun Labor Day weekend.  Lee and Lois had their birthdays that weekend which made it extra fun.  First are some random pictures Haley took. 
August 28 2011 Elden Ruth

August 28 2011 Haley

Sept 1 2011 Shanna

Since we were heading to Lois' the afternoon of Lee's birthday, he opened his presents the night before at home.
Sept 1 2011 Cal Haley Lee Shanna Elden

After school on Friday we drove up to Lois'. For Lee's birthday she made yummy artichoke/chicken/basil pizza and an awesome chocolate cake with ganache and chocolate mousse.  So good!  Check it out here:
Sept 2, 2011 Lee's birthday, Haley

Sept 2, 2011 Lee Haley

Happy 31st birthday Lee!
Sept 2, 2011 Reed Cal haley Ruth Clark Lee Elden Shanna

Sunday was Lois' birthday. Jeff put up some cute decorations and even got party hats and blowers for the party.  I think Lois had a fun day.
Sept 4, 2011 Lee

Elden got pretty good at riding Reed's scooter.  He is also learning to ride our two-wheeled ones at home.
Sept 4, 2011 Elden Clark

Happy Birthday Lois!!! It was fun being with you on your birthday!
Sept 4, 2011 Clark Ruth Shanna Lois

Lois' friends gave them some candy from Russia.  We enjoyed finishing it off for them.
Sept 4, 2011 Russian candy

Lois' Party!
Sept 4, 2011 Clark Lois (2)

Sept 4, 2011 Clark Lois Ruth

Sept 4, 2011 Elden

Sept 4, 2011 party

On Labor Day we swapped going to the temple with Jeff and Lois. It's nice that the D.C. temple is open on certain Monday holidays!  During the earthquake that occurred about two weeks ago the tips of the spires fell off the temple.  Can you tell which ones are missing?  Here is the article about the D.C. Temple.
Sept 5, 2011 D.C. temple, spire tips gone after August 2011 earthquake
The picture isn't the best, but the spire to the right of the Angel Moroni is fine--it's very thin and pointy at the top.  All the others broke off and look a little more blunt.  You could tell in real life...

There is an Asian/International store right by Lois'.  I am not a big fan of seafood, but Lee loves it. I don't know if we've ever bought shrimp at a grocery store the whole time we've been married.  And of course for the longest time we've cut back on groceries and shrimp just wasn't going to make it on the menu.  Lee bought some at the market.  It was another fun birthday present.  Hope you didn't mind the smell Jeff!
Sept 5 2011 Lee

Later on Labor Day we met up with my Missionary Training Center (MTC) companion Millie. The first time we ever met was in Provo at the MTC and also served in the Los Angeles Mission together.  We were never companions once we got to LA, but we got to see each other a lot and often served with the same companions.  It was so great seeing her.  We haven't seen each other for about 5 or 6 years.  She is doing a nursing program right now and only lives about 1 1/2 hours from us!  Thanks for meeting up with us Millie!

Sept 5 2011 Ruth and Millie Carlson

I hope you all had a good Labor Day weekend too!  It's funny because growing up we literally labored on Labor Day.  From memory it seems that we would finish up garden stuff or yard work or something.  My dad was great at teaching us to work and always had things for us 10 kids to do!