Recently Updated Galleries

A Trip to Remember

Jul 28, 2017 by Redjamook


Family Trips are always an adventure. One hopes there are memories made, experiences shared and fun along the way all without fighting. Anyone who thinks this dream can come true would be better off dreaming. The first three are easy to accomplish but put the family in a car for over 30 hours and 2000 miles and there is bound to be a fight or two. You know I am right! I am sure you have lived it. However, even with the bumps along the road we managed to have a great trip. Notice I called it a trip. I learned long ago there is a difference between trip and vacation. A trip is traveling long distances going on tours and learning. A vacation is having fun sitting on a beach reading a book and playing in the water. Agree?


The planning for this trip started in April. I had the feeling we needed to go and take the kids. Frank agreed and airfare was bought and planning started. We settled on taking our 3 older children and leaving the 3 little ones with my mom. This cut down on the cost, headache and provided more time for everything we wanted to do.


Our first two days werespent in NY, NY seeing family and sights.


Day 3 we drove through Connecticut to Massachusetts and was enjoyed along the Freedom Trail in Boston and at Fenway Park.


Day 4 we drove north through New Hampshire to Vermont. There we learned about Joseph Smith’s Birth and early years on the farm. Following our visit we drove back into New York and went to Six Flag’s. (This is part of the fun not possible with little ones.)

Day 5 we drove down to Colesville, NY where the first Branch of the church was and toured the Knight home. Then we continued our drive south to Harmony, PA where the Priesthood was restored. This was a very sweet place to visit. We saw where Emma Smith grew up, learned about the restoration of the priesthood, saw where the baptism might of taken place in the river and visited some grave sites. The day wasn’t over. We then drove to North to Palmyra. There we saw the Smith farm, learned what a cooper was, visited the sacred grove where Joseph Smith prayed to God after reading James 1:5, “ If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” We also went to the Hill Cumorah Pageant. “America's largest and most spectacular outdoor theatrical event, which focuses on the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. Witness the trials of Lehi’s family and his descendants, the climactic visit of Jesus Christ to the Americas, and Joseph Smith receiving the plates.” (LDS.Org)

The following morning of day 6 we went to the top of the Hill Cumorah and the printing press where the first 16 pages of the Book of Mormon where printed. This was a fun sight to visit and learn from. We then drove through and intense summer rain storm to Niagara Falls. This was an exciting sight to see and would have been more enjoyable if better weather. That night we stayed in PA at a hotel with a water park right off 1-90. The boys loved it!


Day 7 we drove to Kirtland, Ohio and visited all the church sight there. I loved being in the N.K. Whitney store.  So much history and revelation of God’s plans were received there like the need for temples just like in times of old. The Kirtland Temple was bigger than I thought it would be. It was wonderful to see in person. We then drove to John Johnsons farm in Hiram, Ohio. This home was beautiful and a real gift to the smith’s to be able to stay in. Unfortunately, they experienced the lost of their son there too due to the persecution from the mobs. Then we experienced a long drive to Carthage, Illinois by way of corn fields and Indiana. (Not a place I would like to live.)

Day 8 Once we arrived at Carthage Jail time was spent reflecting on the martyrdom of Hiram and Joseph Smith.  The grounds were peaceful and spirit strong. The story heartbreaking. They sealed their testimony of this Gospel with their blood.

We then drove to Nauvoo, Illinois. Which means beautiful place. This was an amazing stop and I would encourage Mormon’s and non-Mormons to visit this place during the summer. It has so much culture about pioneers and things you can learn from them. We watched a blacksmith make a horse shoe, we learned how to tie a rope, we learned about brink making and went on a wagon ride. The kids got to pull handcarts, play pioneer games and made crafts. The boys were in a paper hat march with a live band during a show called Sunset on the Mississippi. Very enjoyable.  The night was capped off by another pageant about the settlers of Nauvoo. It was brilliantly done.


The following morning, last day of the trip, we went to church, walked around the Nauvoo Temple and drove back to Indiana. There we met up with Mike and Erica, Frank's best friend from High School. They rented a beach house on Lake Michigan. The water was warm. The friendship flourished between the kids and adults. It was hard to leave such a wonderful evening.

The next morning, we flew home out of Chicago. It was wonderful to be reunited with the kids. I couldn’t have done it without my mom and Libby. This trip is one we will always remember. Now to plan a vacation to recoup from this trip.


**There are many pictures and details missing. If your want more information about our trip contact me. More pictures can be found in the 2017 July Gallery

They run to me!

Mar 29, 2017 by Redjamook


Life gets busy. It’s hard and its messy at times. It also is the best experience any of could ever dream of. At the end of January, I went a meeting where one of the speakers stated, “Be the person people run to and not run from.” I wonder some days how am I doing as a parent? Do my kids want to run to me or are they running to others? As I reflected on this life changing question, I believe my children run to me. I see the amazing talents they have and how well they are doing and know we must be doing something right…


T is a true leader. We have been told this by his teachers and other parents. I see him leading his brother at home more up the path of silliness and less up the path of make mom happy but nonetheless, I must agree. He has been passing off scriptures at church. On Sunday, he got James to do it too. Little brother stepped up!


In February, I was the school when I noticed R’s art project on the wall. It was a wonderful drawing of Starry Night. I am looking forward to having it hang on our wall here at home.

Early February, brought snow to the point we had a few snow days. The children, Frank, Libby and I ran to spend time in it. Before we knew it hours had gone by and we need to have lunch and naps. Following our time inside, many returned outside for hours again. The big boy tried out our snowboards. R loved it and kept going up and down the hill until it was time to come in due to the sun going down.



C had his first birthday. Where does the time go? He wanted the candles on his cake so bad. We had to keep his hands away. He enjoyed eating the frosting but did not enjoy the goops on his hands. He would fling as he shook his hands to get it off. The favorite gift amongst his brothers was a book called, Don’t Push the Button. Its very fun to read with the boys.



The boys and I had a photoshoot with balloons to celebrate Valentine’s day. They all were so good to make it fun. I don’t think the bribe of a getting a balloon hurt.



D showed signs for using his imagination. He found a box, opened two of the flaps and pretend it was an airplane. It is a big thing for him. He really is blossoming.


Taking on more responsibility is a sign of growing up. R has started making his own lunch just like his big brothers. He is also managing his breakfast before school. He is very proud of his accomplishments and owning it! Go R!


One of the nights at the end of the month was very tender. D was all tucked in. I was walking out the door and he said, “Good night mom. Thanks for being the best mom.” So sweet! Melt my heart! And that is how I know my children run to me and not from me.


I have the best kids!

2017 January

Mar 29, 2017 by Redjamook

Just before the start of every year most people tend to think about what goals would be good to set. My broad goal is to focus on the Spirit. If I can do that then I can meet my other goals as a mother. Have more patience… Don’t jump to conclusions… Be kinder… Know when to just walk away… I am sure I am not the only one to feel this way when dealing with kids. One conversation with Frank on how to teach obedience went something like this…


M: How do we teach obedience?

F: Get dog training!

M: For the kids?


Case in point by me focusing on the Spirit I knew he was probably not the best one to consult on this one… The reason I asked this question is because the start of the year means vacation comes to an end for the kids. One of our children has always had emotional issues. When he is deregulated he will soil his pants. This year I am praying for a way for him to move pass this stage. A prompting came one afternoon and before I knew Libby and I were executing it before dinner. We took two of the boys to Build a Bear. One picked out a bear with a heart on it. This bear also has his binky inside of it. The other boy picked out a green bear and put bubble gum smell inside of it. They were in heaven! The children enjoyed the whole experience. Since that day, our home has been binky free except for the bear which is now named Binky. We have found the bear to be very helpful to the other one to with some of the emotional issues.



We imposed a new motto with the year for our family. See the need, meet the need. J is taking the motto to heart. He loaded the dishwasher for the first time in his life without being asked. The big brothers going back to school brought colds and germs into the house in January. Both babies ended up with ear infections. He has also been good to offer cuddles, help find blankets or stuffies. He has really become a big help around the house and to the family!


Soccer picked back up with the return to school. The weather was cold and wet. T had some great games. The boys played hard in the Winter Classic. The parents were just trying not to turn in popsicle’s. There was snow on the ground and massive cold winds blowing. I would be ok with indoor soccer… (I’m not a true NW soccer mom.)



Shout out to R! He could tell me the story of the 10 virgins from 2 months ago, when they taught it at church. He was correct in all his details and could retell it almost perfectly. JOY! Proud Moment!


Boy Scouts have been an adjustment for J to enjoy. In January, they worked on knots. He really got into it. He came home practicing and playing with his brothers, it was fun to see as the parent. I think what surprised me more is when he call my dad and asked him to come over and work with him on tying knots. My dad who had just got home from work, came over without delay. The two of them had good bonding time. Thanks Dad!


January ended with C trying to build his confidence to walk. He was talking more steps and walking along things. Love to see the boys grow.