Brookdale Senior Living Center

>> Thursday, July 30, 2015

For Activity Days this week the girls went to Brookdale Senior Living Center. It's a home for the elderly that suffer from Alzheimer's & Dementia. 

The girls played the piano, xylophone, performed gymnastics, and sang songs. 

The residence really enjoyed seeing the girls!! It was a lot of fun watching them clap and sing along with us! 

The girls walked away feeling really happy that they were able to do this act of service for them. The Director even asked if they could come back once a month!!! :D

If you want help finding service opportunities in your area check out !! It's a great website. They have something for everyone!! :D


Another Goodbye....

>> Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Alayna's best friend Morgan moved today to live closer to her Grandparents in Utah. Her Grandfather's health hasn't been good lately. 

These two make each other giggle like crazy and are thick as thieves! :) Saying Goodbye was especially hard today.

A few years ago Alayna's Besty, Lola,  moved to Texas and that was difficult. She's a little older now and has a better understanding of what this means. She looks all smiles in these photos, but the remainder of the day was much, much different!! 

She kept asking, "Why do all of my friends have to move away?" So heartbreaking.....:(

She cried on and off all day. It's hard watching your little ones deal with big problems and you there isn't any way to "fix" it. They just have to go through things sometimes and all you can do is let them know you are there for them. If they want to talk about it, you are there. If they want to cry about it, you are there. And you just hug and kiss them as much as possible!

That night she slept in my bed. Just before she fell asleep she said, "Mom I'm not feeling quite as sad as I was earlier." 

Boy she knows how to melt my heart!

We hope we will get some Skype calls going for the girls so they can catch up and still see each other. :)


The Nature of Love

>> Monday, July 20, 2015

The Nature of Love
by, Jared Kitch

                Perhaps no other topic has been pondered throughout history more than that of love. There are countless songs sung. Wars are fought. Poems are inspired. Lives are lost to the shattered heart of love forgotten. Through mankind’s existence, there has been endless studies of what love is and what it does to the mind, body, and spirit; however, even the most well-read student of love can be confounded and amazed at the tender affection that love can usher in. Aside from the evasive understanding of love in general, there is the added complexity of different forms of love. Shakespeare portrays an idealistic love at first sight which ends in tragedy. The Greeks named four different types of love, and even this may be too limiting. My understanding of love began when I was quite young and continues to evolve at every step of life.
                Long before I thought about the Romeo and Juliet sort of love, I felt an affection for my mother. When I scraped my knee, Mom was there with a bandaid and a kiss. When I brought home an A, Mom was there with a celebration and a hug. When I was picked on by the kid down the street, Mom was there with an encouraging word and another of her endless hugs. I was in sixth grade when I came home with my sister and learned that my parents were getting a divorce. They wanted my sister and I to decide who we were going to live with. My sister quickly decided to live with our mother, and I sat there, pained by the picture of my father sitting alone in a dark apartment. I couldn’t allow that to happen, so I chose to live with him. The veritable saint of a woman who had always comforted me was no longer going to be there each day when I came home. The love for my father and the love for my mother had always been one and the same, but now it was being ripped in two. The love I had for my mother made the decision immensely painful, but the love I had for my father pulled me from her home.
                It was a short time later when I was processing the entire situation that I realized that I had sacrificed for my father. I did not think of it as a sacrifice when I made the decision, but it was the love that I felt for both of my parents that made my concern for their well being override the choice that I may have wanted for myself. I was feeling a reciprocal love for the sacrifices that I knew that they made for me. And at the same time, I was finding that love does not always conquer all. Though the love they had for me was strong, the love between them had ended.
                As all of our experiences do, this one may have colored my immature relationships when I began dating. I thought little of “love” until I met a girl who made me feel different. She made me feel important and more powerful than I had been. With her vote of confidence, I was sure that I could face anything that the world could throw at me. After a football game during my senior year of high school, a group of our friends ended up at a park. I cornered her off by ourselves and said those three words. Her response of “I love you, too,” rang out to me with renewed faith in my concept of love. The feelings I felt for this beautiful person helped me forget that love can end. I never wanted to be without her. Everything was not perfect. We argued and made mistakes and made up and broke up and hurt each other and forgave each other and married one another. We married one another because through all of those trials, we loved each other. It was not a fleeting thing. And when I said “I do”, my love grew. I no longer only loved my girlfriend; I loved the woman that would be my partner in everything. She strengthened my weaknesses, and we made each other a more important priority than ourselves.
                A few years later, we were in a hospital room, and after an agonizing display of courage and strength, my wife gave birth to our first child. After the nurses cleaned him off, I held the perfect screaming boy in my arms and carried him to his mother. I was overcome by the confluence of all of the facets of love. I looked at the face of my bride, and my love grew. I had a playful passion for the girl to whom I first told “I love you.” I possessed a burning gratitude and intimacy for the wife I faced life with, and now my love incorporated an admiration and respect for the mother of my child. I looked down at my son and felt the awesome responsibility that God had placed in us. I felt fear and unworthiness, but above it all, I felt love for this tiny person that I did not know. When my parents finally came into the room to see their grandson, I threw my arms around my mother’s neck, and confided, “I never knew how much you loved me.” Experiencing the love for my son and our two subsequent children helped me understand the love that my parents felt for me, and this understanding grew my love for them in return.
                Like most emotions, love can feed off of itself. As we love someone, it is easier to love another. As we feel love from someone, it is easier to love another. I write about my concept of love because that is all that I can know. The way I have loved and have been loved shapes my personal nature of love. While we will never know exactly how someone else views love, we can see the perfect example that Christ showed us. Selflessness and charity are the best ways to show and grow love. Christ showed his love through earthly deed and ultimate sacrifice. I learned of love through thinking of my parents rather than myself. They let me feel their love through caring and rearing. The amount of love we feel for our children can be attributed to the amount of responsibility we have for them. My love for my wife grew out of her putting me first, and me putting her first. It is Christ rather than Shakespeare who can teach us of love.



>> Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Warning: This post is photo heavy!! LOL!
Alayna had her Championships tonight...and it was a scorcher outside! :P

She was nervous and excited all day! ;) 

Her 1st race was the breaststroke. This is her favorite stroke. :)

Next was butterfly. 

It cracks me up to see the different ways the kids dive in. The girls next to her look apprehensive! Haha!

The races were pretty much back to back for her. By the end of her 2nd race you can see by her expression....
she's t-i-r-e-d! :P

Her final race was the 50 meter freestyle.

I mean, look at the girl on the far left...hahahaha!!!! Kids are hilarious! :D

Let's go Laney!!!!!!

You can see in the background Coach Taylor is cheering her on! She is such a cute girl and has been a great coach! :)

Whew!!! She did it!!! She was exhausted going from one race to the next to the next. She really didn't have much time to recover and it definitely affected her times. But we are SO proud of her!! :D

Below are her times for each race with her previous times. What she placed over all out of the 16 racers in the event, and then where she placed in her heat. (There are 2 heats per event.) Sort of confusing but I think we are getting the hang of how they do things. :P

Breaststroke- 30.76 (previous- 28.25) - 13th place- Heat 2- 5th place
Butterfly- 25.80 (previous- 27.48)- 11th place- Heat 2- 3rd place
50m- 59.46 (previous- 55.64)- 14th place- Heat 2- 6th place

As she got her ribbons she started feeling down. She was sad she didn't get a medal and that she placed so far down. This was a good opportunity to teach her a life lesson. We explained to her that this was her 1st season and how amazing it was that she even made it to the Championships. That in and of itself is a huge accomplishment!! Not everyone was able to come tonight. We then talked about how as long as she is doing "her" very best that is all she can do. Focus on becoming the best you. Don't worry about what everyone else is doing. We chatted about how hard she had worked all season and how much fun it has been. And even though she didn't come in 1st she placed really well!! She should be proud of her accomplishments...cuz Dad and I sure are!!!!! :) 

She thought about what we said and she quickly turned that frown upside down! :) It's tough sometimes when we work for things and we don't achieve exactly what we want or expect. It's in those moments we grow though. She's LOVED swim team this season. It's the 1st activity she's tried that she's really truly loved! And that is definitely a WIN!! :D



>> Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Eli got a bow and arrow set for Christmas. He goes out every now and again to practice. He's gotten so good!!!! We just call him Hawkeye now! :D


Cooking Merit Badge

>> Monday, July 13, 2015

Eli has been working on his cooking merit badge. This morning he needed to make breakfast from a menu he put together and his leader approved. This merit badge is required to earn your Eagle. 

He made hash browns from scratch, scrambled eggs, toast, with strawberries and a glass of milk! :D

His face is so funny in this picture. He was scared the oil was going to pop him! LOL! He was safe though! 

He looked up the recipe online all by himself. 

I'm actually really lucky. Eli cooks for the family quite a bit! He's our Jr. Chef! :D

I think the pink apron really ties everything together! Hahahaha!!! :D

Here's the finished product! It was DELICIOUS!!!!

One meal down, 2 more to go! ;)



 Alayna had her Prelims Friday night. We were supposed to be at the pool at 4pm for check-in. We got there and she warmed up and we looked at the schedule and saw she didn't have her 1st race until 7pm! We decided to go home, have dinner, and come back at 6pm. LOL! 

The weather was actually reasonable. It's been about 110-115 but, it was only 101. However, we still didn't want to sit down there longer than we needed to. :P

We came back and grabbed some shave ice to keep us cool. Alayna has been on pins and needles all week for tonight. We also had to get her a new swim suit. The 2, yes 2, suits I got her at the beginning of the season just up and gave out on her. All of the elastic just decided it didn't have anymore strength....LOL! And of course some new goggles were in order as well. She loves the pink! :P

The kids got to choose up to 3 strokes to race in. Alayna chose breast stroke, butterfly, and the 50 meter freestyle. 

Getting ready for the breaststroke. 

She's in the far right lane.

She did GREAT! You can see 2 of her cheerleaders (Eli & Jared) at the other end of the pool! :P 

Butterfly was next!

If you squint you can so those beautiful straight legs!

I didn't get a pic of the finish. I got too wrapped up in the action. :P

There was a lot of down time. The kids found ways to entertain themselves. :D Love Walker's smile!!!

We waited, and waited and waited some more and then it was finally time for her biggest race. The 50m freestyle!

Look at that smile! She's ready to rock this thing!!! :D

Go sweetie, Go!!!!!!!!!


She swam her little heart out! We are so proud of her!

It was a long night. I think we got home around 9:30pm. She was tuckered out that's for sure! They didn't get all the times posted that night so we had to wait until this morning to find out if she made it to the Championships. They only take the top 16 from each race. 

She finished 7th for Breaststroke!
She squeaked in at 15th for Butterfly!!!
She placed 13th for 50m Freestyle!
That little stinker made it to the Championships for all 3 of her races!!!!!!! We are thrilled!!!! This is her 1st season and she is killing it!! :D

The Championships are Wednesday night. It's going to be VERY exciting!!!!!!!!! :D


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