Sunday, October 6, 2013

General Conference: Take 60!

       Ever since I was old enough to actually attend Conference - I have been 'going'.  Sometimes to the church or stake center, sometimes to SLC, and many times, just at home. When I was about 6 months old, my father was called to serve as a General Authority for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I obviously don't remember the earlier years of my life, but from the time I was 8 years old, I was "required" (by my parents) to physically attend at least one session on Temple Square.

        It was held in the Tabernacle back then, because there was no Conference Center. Those were some pretty exciting days. I have many memories relating to General Conference.  During the other three sessions that we didn't have to sit through, me and my siblings used to LOVE to run around in the Church Office Building. We had pretty much free-reign of the place, because all of the 'GA's' and 'the 12' and everyone was over at the Tabernacle. I am pretty sure that we were single-handedly responsible for keeping the elevators greased up and working with what must have been hundreds of times of us riding them up and down, up and down, playing 'hide and seek', 'find the secret message', photocopying our smooshed faces, etc. I would like to take this moment to officially apologize to the security guards who I am sure were trying their best.

        It is truly no wonder that they then moved my father over to the CAB from the COB. It is the more quieter and reverenter place of the two. It did however put a squash to our pre-9/11 shenanigans!

      But as I grew up, I started to look forward to General Conference more and more. I really felt it was a time of gathering, meeting with family and dear friends, and feeling something special and happy. I remember meeting at the bell tower between sessions with about 80 of my dad's close Tongan Friends for the traditional boxed lunches in between sessions. I remember being semi-annoyed trying to walk with my parents anywhere on Temple Square because they would get stopped a bazillion times for handshakes, pictures, etc. I remember sitting in the pews of the Tabernacle once during the middle of a session and trying to pass the bag of jelly beans over to my sister and then spilling them. It made this super loud "ping ping ping ping ping" sound as they bounced on the floor of the Tabernacle with it's perfect acoustics - right during a quiet spiritual moment of one of the talks. Again, my sincere apologies to whomever was talking then.

   Then as we left the country - Conference time became our week without parents, as they would fly back to the states to attend it faithfully every 6 months. When I went to BYU, and my parents were in Hong Kong, that is the only time I got to see them. Most Utah freshmen would go home for Sunday dinners and to throw in a load of laundry. I however would go to a hotel in SLC and see my folks for one weekend. Twice a year. Always at General Conference time.

   When I returned from my mission and quickly became engaged to the love of my life, we were faced with when to get married. Well, there wasn't much of a decision to be made - either October or April - so my parents could be there!  As I began to have children, then more children, then more, General Conference became a time of spiritual refuge for me. A few days where I felt like I could slip away from the utter chaos and into that 'peaceful place' in my life where everything just felt right. The memories of my childhood. The words of council and comfort. The uplifting music. The feeling of joy and contentment. The warm tears on my cheeks when the touching stories were shared. The comfortable feel of my testimony bulging out a bit more in my heart.

   These last two days were no different. I felt all of that again. I was able to meet with dear friends and build eternal relationships. I was not able to get inside to any of the sessions, but I let the sessions get inside of me. I listened with an open heart and I prayed to feel the Lord's love and direction in my life.

    I am now 38 years old, and if I figure that I have been involved with General Conference since I was 8, that is 60 semi-anual conferences that I have been a part of. Which is 240 sessions. Which is 480 hours of talks and music. Which is over 28,800 minutes of divine instruction!!

I cannot put into words what that has done for my life.

But, if you have ever doubted that Heavenly Father loves you or is there for you, then I urge you to listen to General Conference - listen to the words of the living Prophet of God. Let the peace flow into your life.

But the best part, the most vital and sustaining part of Conference is not in the music.
It is not in the thousands gathering there.
It is not even in the words that are spoken.

   Rather it is in the LOVE that will permeate your life and all of your relationships as you LIVE the words that are taught there.

I testify of that. I am certain that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God and that God speaks to us, His children, through him.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Another crazy night at my household...

Just one of those nights. You know - where we are running a million different places with kids and trying to keep some semblance of sanity at home. Problem is - I don't think sanity feels very comfortable amidst the mess and chaos that resides here most evenings.
   Here is an example of how things went down tonight:

Kids get home from school. Rummage through kitchen to find and devour as much food as can legally be justified in calling it an 'afterschool snack' rather than a full meal. Who am I kidding? It was a full meal's worth of food.

We decided that because it officially froze last night - we should gather the rest of the goods from the garden. Here is what that looked like.
(Anyone want some squash? Let me know!)
So - it officially is Fall around here. I feel like a little chipmunk storing it all up for the winter!

Then I run Landen to Cross Country. He has been putting in some serious miles and I am way impressed with that kid. He ran so hard at the last meet. There were like 59 different teams from all over Idaho, so the competition was fierce.
Right after coming through the finish line. It was a super hot day!
Then I get back from taking him, and Greg and the kids are loaded up in the van pulling the flatbed trailer to a neighbor's house, so we could load up a washer and dryer that they were GIVING to an associate of Greg's who was in dire need of some. What great and charitable neighbors I have. Seriously.

Then we get tok all the kids over to visit their piano teacher, who is in a rehab facility after recently being diagnosed with cancer and spending 16 days in the hospital in Utah. She looked so frail and lonely sitting there and I wished that there were more that we could do than just flowers, chocolate and a 5 minute visit with rowdy kids. Ugh.

We head home, grab Landen from practice, and then it is time to run Seth to Football practice. Did I mention that he is in tackle football? Because, interestingly enough - here is what his arms are looking like these days...

Funny Story: He was actually asked about the bruising by his 7th grade teacher, and he just looked at her and said, "I don't know." Thankfully he finally told her he was playing football. Thank goodness I have not yet recieved a phone call from CPS! ;)
While Greg ran Seth to football, I hurried and whipped up some Quicke for dinner and threw it in the oven and then I ran Maelynn to Dance class, dropped her off, and headed to my local Hastings (free WiFi) so I could get a bit of studying in. Did I mention that I am supposed to be putting in 32 hours a week of studying for my 3 online classes? Yea - well, it's not happening. Sigh. My friend who also goes to BYU-I (but her kids are older so she gets to actually go on-campus) dropped by the other day with this sweet treat.

Did I mention that I have the greatest friends ever? Well, I do. School has been challenging me. But that is a whole other post for another day!

Then I picked Maelynn up from dance and we headed home and arrived just in time for Family Prayer, which is usually a time of gathering, quick review of the day and of what's going on tomorrow. Telling the person who's day it is what we admire about them, and then that person saying a family prayer. It usually takes only a few minutes (depending on the mood of both parents).

Well, tonight was one of those not-just-a-few-minutes-prayer-time nights. For some reason though - instead of just being all annoyed and impatient, I sorta just sat back and quietly took it all in and enjoyed it. Emerson and Miles were in rare, wild form...jumping up on my back and Greg's back and climbing onto Greg's shoulders. All while the kids were singing the words to that crazy European song "What Does the Fox Say" and dancing around to it. Then it turned into a somewhat heated debate about whether that song had any moral to it at all, which then turned into a debate about the song "A Boy Named Sue" and how Greg thought that it DID have a moral to it. Then Greg randomly said, "Who wants to prepare to run a half marathon?" To which me and Maelynn immediately busted up laughing. Then he said, "How about a 10K?" Maelynn laughed even harder. She was like, "That is more than a mile, so NOOOO!"  I said something about a 5K being the maximum I would ever want to run, then Maelynn said, "5K? I'd rather die!" Which prompted Seth and Landen to begin quoting a scene from Ice Age, "Were you killed?" "Sadly, yes. But I liiiived!" They busted up over it, and I had no clue what they were talking about - but it was pretty funny to watch them. (I finally searched for the clip of it on You Tube this morning!) After about 5 reminders each, the three little boys finally went to grab their toothbrushes so we could help them to brush. Then, after all that, there was a brief but sincere prayer said and everyone scuttled away to head to bed.

I walked around locking the doors and saw the piles and piles of dirty dishes, homework papers and junk all over every surface in the kitchen, loaded some sheets into the washer (because at nap time Emerson had coughed so hard he made himself puke all over my bed), took the dog out to pee, shoved about 248 loose socks back into their laundry basket and finally made my way towards bed.

It is days like these - full of chaos, running around, a completely messy house, and homework tasks building up in that  'gottagetitdonesoon' section of my brain, that I am able to kneel down and thank Heavenly Father for being blessed beyond measure.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

August Recap

Here's what we DID:

A.) EFY/Pageant/Ward Campout
B.) Birthday Boys

Here's how I FELT about it:

A.) Maelynn got to spend the week up at EFY. She went up with the son of Greg's BFF, Alan Withers. His name is Spencer and he and Maelynn are only weeks apart and have literally known each other their entire lives. Only problem is - they live in Michigan. So, needless to say, we never get to hang out with them and as a result - this was one of the first times that these two had to really get to know each other.
Maelynn, Spencer, Seth, Ethan, Sadie, Miles, Lane, Emerson - down inside 17 mile cave.

Spencer Withers and Maelynn Bailey - long lost siblings! Don't let her stature fool you - she is like 20 days older than he is! Haha.

Lane saying goodbye to Maelynn for the week.  (He is available for rental on most weekdays if anyone is interested!)

Emerson kissing his Maelynn goodbye when we dropped her off at the dorms!

Greg took these guys out to eat at the Lion House Pantry in SLC on their way to take Spender back to the airport after EFY was over!

They were each in separate groups, of course. But both of them reported that it was a lot of fun and that they would love to do it again. So happy for them!

Maelynn's Young Women's group got tickets for everyone to travel to Utah together and see the Martin Harris Pageant. They asked me to drive (go figure - with a 12 passenger van and all)! It was a lot of fun and I was impressed at how much work went in to putting it on. If you are anywhere close - I would definitely recommend seeing it.
All of the YW and the leaders from the Iona 3rd Ward.

We had nosebleed seats - but it was still excellent.

We had our ward campout up at Kelly's Island. It is a pretty cool little spot. We are most definitely outgrowing our family tent. Luckily, we pawned out both girls and Landen was spending a week as a youth counselor up at Woodbadge, so there were just 6 of us in the tent that night. The wind kicked up somethin' fierce and even knocked down a few branches - but luckily nobody was injured in our ward. One of the cool parts was a magic show put on by a very talented guy in our ward, Casey Denning. He is really good. Also - it was just fun to visit with people and see the kids running around having fun.
Crazy Lane hiding inside of the giant Jenga game.

Miles standing on top of the giant Jenga game with Lane inside of it.

I really wish it wasn't so stormy and dark when I took this cute pic of Greg taking the little boys into the tent.

Seth standing on top of the giant Jenga...getting ready to launch himself off of it.

And Seth post-launch!

Gathering around for breakfast being cooked and served by the Bishopric.

Our ward is pretty sweet.

B.)  We get to celebrate TWO birthdays each August in our family. First Greg's on the 16th and then Mile's on the 27th. Greg loves German Chocolate cake, so it is becoming a tradition to make it for him each year on his birthday. This year I decided to try a new recipe I found for German Chocolate Cupcakes. They turned out so yummy. We took them in to his clinic for his to enjoy at work and to share with his co-workers and patients.
They looked yummier in real life!

 Also - to help celebrate even more - Mile's decided to get into a fight with Lane over something which ended up looking like this: Miles bites Lane. Lane pushes Miles. Into a table. Mile's mouth smacks the table. Upper tooth pierces all the way through bottom lip. Sadie hears the screaming and sees the blood and calmly brings crying bloody child downstairs to me in the kitchen (mid-cupcakes). After initial assessment, it is determined that stitches would be needed, so we get to add that unexpected fun into the day as well. He was actually quite a trooper about it - and he ended up with 3 stitches on the inside of his lip and 2 on the outside. The inside ones lasted approximately 28 minutes and were completely chewed out and swallowed by the time we got home. I am sure that they were in the way of his fingers. Ah - what to do with a finger sucker?

hard to see it real well...

just laying there waiting for the 'numbing gel' to kick in...

Dr. Ory Brown did a great job...

Tying up the knots...

I just got 'holding hands down' duty - it's nice to get to play Mom instead of Nurse sometimes!

      Which brings me to the next great news of the month....DRUM ROLL PLEASE...... Mile's Ivan Bailey got potty trained and turned 4! I repeat: GOT POTTYTRAINED turned 4! What a big boy.

He fought it for months and months of attempts at it - but I insisted all along that I would only make him a Birthday cake if he were a big boy before his birthday - so, he finally did it. He just decided that a huge chocolate cake with his favorite cartoon characters (Jake and the Neverland Pirates) on it was worth the change in behavior and he just did it. He has been really good about it. Hardly any accidents (compared with some of my other children who potty trained much earlier) and he is so proud of himself that he will tell anyone and everyone that he "goed poop on the potty"!
The traditional wake-up-and-open-presents  on your birthday morning!

So proud to be in his big boy underwear!

He loves the Neverland Pirates. What a sweet boy Miles is!

All the siblings ready to share in his cake!

I am really enjoying Miles and doing our own version of "Homeschool Preschool" and seeing how smart he is. I am so happy to have Miles in our family - he is a happy influence on us all and I can't wait to see what a great young man he will become.

C.) School. School. School. It was back to school time for 4 of the kids that are returning to Taylor's Crossing this year. Landen is in the 9th grade (but taking mostly 10th grade courses)...
Landen Greg Bailey - smart, fun, good kid. Started Cross Country.

Seth is in the 7th grade...
Seth Merrill Bailey - great smile, great prankster, great student - started in Football.

Sadie is in the 5th grade...
Sadie Ann Bailey - love the freckles, love the smile, love this girl - started in Soccer.

 ...and Lane is in 2nd grade....
Lane Delbert Bailey - crazy, hyper, funny, intelligent - started in 3rd Year Music Lessons.

 I love that all my kids love school so much and try their hardest to do their best in school. It has never been an issue for me to get them to go - and I am grateful for that.

 (Speaking of school - Maelynn and I both will have a 'school' section in September's recap as we both start then!)

Here's to a wonderful FALL - my favorite season of all! ;)

Thursday, August 15, 2013


JULY 2013

Here's what we did:

Here's how I felt about it:

A) Everyone was gone to so many camps during July that is felt like we would never be a whole family again. While I love the independence that my kids are gaining - it just didn't feel "whole" at home. It was lovely to finally have everyone back together, sleeping under the same roof. I find immense comfort in it.
     In July alone, Landen spent a grand total of 22 days at camp:  Three six-day weeks at Island Park Scout camp and 4 days at High Adventure. I think his bed really missed him being gone, because the few days that he was home, it almost never let him leave it! Landen had a great experience and learned a lot. He broke a record for the number of knots tied in 30 seconds and enjoyed trading patches with other scouters. He said he will likely do it again next summer.
     Seth and Greg spent a week up at Treasure Mountain Scout Camp where they had some great experiences and where Seth earned 9 and a half merit badges. Way to go, bud. Greg is enjoying being the scoutmaster.
     Maelynn spent 2 weeks at camp - a week at Girl's Camp and a week at EFY. She loved them both. She has taught me new terminology that she learned up at EFY. Stuff like 'cow'. Who knew that 'having a cow' means something completely different these days? You see - in case you care - COW stands for "Crush Of the Week". Serio. I told her that I would take her to get ice cream if she came home with 3 new phone numbers of boys to text. Well - she made good on that challenge - and then some! She made some great friends and had some great experiences and felt the spirit while there. ;)

*NOTE: pics from Maelynn and Landen's respective camps will be found and added onto this post in the future! ;)

B) First reunion was of our awesome school in Buenos Aires, Argentina: Lincoln High School.  My sisters Jennie and Sue and Emily all went with me and it was surprisingly emotional and awesome. The food was delicious, we met new people, and were able to briefly reconnect with old friends. It is strange at times to meet up with someone that you used to know so well as teenagers, and to see where life has led us on our different paths. The cool thing is that in our day and age, we have tools like Facebook to keep us somewhat connected to those we have woven into the tapestry of our lives. I love technology!

  The next reunion was a "Cousins Lagoon Reunion". We are making it into a tradition - three years running now - for Jennie's kids and my kids and whichever cousins happen to be in Utah that want to go together. The kids love it. I loved it too, but am surely feeling my age. I think the equation goes something like: Age + Rotations per second in ride = degree of nausea.

      The third reunion was my 20 yr High School reunion, from the school where I graduated - Bountiful High. It was so interesting. It was a much larger group than my Lincoln reunion. There were hundreds of people in the room - but only a handful that I even knew at all.  It is so weird to be a kid and hear parents or older people say things like, "Before you know it - you will have a child your age"....but it is even weirder to actually BE AT THAT STAGE now. Ugh! I do however consider myself very lucky to have had some of the coolest people on Earth as my friends throughout high school, and it was great to see them again. I hope that I was a good friend to them and that we will continue to stay in touch over the years.

C) Greg bought me a dozen beautiful long-stemmed red roses for my birthday! What a sweet guy he is. I am lucky to have him. We also did a little take-out picnic in my brother's back yard with my parents and Jennie who were up visiting. We decided to go out for snow-cones that night. It was a pleasant day for me. Looking forward to the next one which will be my last year of 30's before the big one! ;)