Best Sunday of the Year (Primary Program)


Although Luke is 12, he was asked to help narrate the primary program this year.  Luke's voice is getting really deep and it's so funny to hear his voice next to the other kids.  His voice changed so fast!!!  I'm guessing it changed the beginning of this past summer.  I have recordings of him talking last winter and his voice sounded like Megan's.   It's incredible how quick it changed!!  Now that the program is over he is really excited to be done with primary and move into Young Men's.  November 3rd he got the priesthood and November 7th he got to go to the temple for the first time.  I got to go with him.  It was awesome.  Keith and Megan came with us too and they just walked into the waiting room so Megan could kind of experience going to the temple.  It was neat having the entire family there.

Megan gave a talk in the primary program and did a great job.  I wrote the talk and then had her mark it up and change everything she wanted to make it her words.    Here it is:

My name is Megan, and I am a child of God. I love to sing. I‘d like to talk about a choir that I’m in. About a month ago I was really excited for my first performance with the International Children’s Choir. We were going to sing for the Ambassador of Moldova. A few days before the performance, I got sick. Unfortunately I got a pretty bad cough. I was really nervous that I wouldn’t be able to sing for the Ambassador, so I prayed that I would be ok. In D&C section 90 we are taught to "pray always, and be believing".

I also asked my dad to give me a priesthood blessing. In the blessing I was told that I would be able to sing without coughing. I continued to pray that I would be ok.
In D&C section 112: it says: Be thou humble; and the Lord thy God shall give thee answer to thy prayers:
I know Heavenly Father wants us to do our part when we ask him for things, so I tried to rest my voice, take vitamins, and even though I really didn’t want to, I ate a spoonful of honey every once in a while.

A couple hours before the performance, I was still coughing. My mom sent me off with my final spoonful of honey and two cough drops. I went to practice and kept coughing, but during the performance I was completely fine. I had no problems at all, just as I had been promised. It was a really exciting experience.

In a short time the primary will be singing, "A Child’s Prayer".

In the song it says, "Some say that heaven is far away, but I feel it close around me as I pray." I think that is true. I know I am a child of God. God’s love surrounds us. He hears our prayers. He loves his children.

We all deserve the blessings that come from prayer.

Luke's Talk (2008)


This talk is from 2008. I really like it so I wanted to save it here on my blog. Luke gave this talk in primary. Although he has a quiet personality, I'm impressed with how he has always been good at speaking in front of people. He's awesome. Once when giving a primary talk when he was real little, he had to go to the bathroom really bad in the middle of the talk. It was hilarious because he asked or told us he needed to go right in the middle of his talk, and when he came back he started off as calm as can be right where he left off. I was laughing so hard, but didn't let him see that. It was great seeing him stay calm, not embarrased at all.

Can everyone see my hands? *******

My hands are very special. I use my hands everyday for things like getting dressed, brushing my teeth, playing games, eating, and tickling my sister. Life would be hard without hands. My hands can even help me talk. If I wanted to say, “I love you Dad” I could do this… *******

My hands can help other people too. I can use my hands to help my teacher pick up papers, to help my mom wash the mirrors, and to feed my baby cousins. In Mosiah chapter 2 verse 17 we are taught, “When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God”. This means every time we do something nice for someone else Heavenly Father is happy because we are doing his work. I like to be nice. It makes me happy to make other people happy. On the mornings when Megan sleeps longer than me, I use my hands to find a doll or stuffed animal and put it next to her in her bed so that when she wakes up she’ll be happy. My mom says I’m making Heavenly Father happy too. Isn’t that great? One day I will be able to hold the priesthood and use my hands for even more good. I’ll be able to pass the sacrament, baptize people, and give blessings to people when they are sick. *******

This is a picture of me in the hospital when I was two years old. I was in the hospital because I couldn’t walk anymore. My mom and dad and lots of doctors were really scared. They were worried I would never be able to walk again. My dad and grandpa put their hands on my head and gave me a special blessing. The blessing said I would be able to walk, run and jump again, even though my doctors weren’t sure that could really ever happen. As you can see I am fine now. Our prayers were answered and the promise of that priesthood blessing was fulfilled. I’m excited to have the Priesthood one day and have the power to serve and help others even more. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.



It's nerd day at school today.  Megan was so excited to dress up for it.  She's talked about it for a couple days and laid her clothes out yesterday afternoon.  She was really excited to wear Luke's tie and said she was so glad she had a brother for that reason.  She really wanted to make fake braces but it seemed like to much work.  Luckily didn't have to talk her out of the idea this morning because she realized on her own it wouldn't work or be safe.  However, she thought about it all last night and even woke me up at 2:30 to tell me how we could do it.  Her idea was to tie a string around a tooth, then put some aluminum foil around the string and then tie it on another tooth.  At 2:30 am I figured it was best to agree with her idea. 

Luke has been super sick with the flu (I assume) since last Saturday.  He hasn't moved off the couch or bed except for to go to the bathroom or get a drink.  However despite feeling sick he generously made Megan a "kick me" sign to add to her costume.  What a brother :)



We finally got our Christmas tree up YESTERDAY.  Sigh.  We have never done this so late, but this year we've been busy fixing up our house.  We now have a new bathroom, new paint, new carpet and a new kitchen floor.

This funny picture on the left is a picture of a very special fruitcake.  I assume there is really a fruitcake in there because I've never looked.  Keith gave this to his boss's wife, Debbie, as a joke in 1990.  In 1991 she gave it back to him by mailing it to him on his mission in Australia.  On and on it went until 1996.  She gave it to us as part of our wedding gift.  We filed it away in a filing cabinet and just yesterday finally returned it to her after 16 years.  We can't wait to hear her reaction.  Can you imagine how awful?  It's never had an odor though so who knows if it was safe to eat in the first place.  Our kids were so excited to help deliver it.  Debbie and Phil don't know our kids so we had them take it up to the door for us.  We rehearsed what to say.  Their job was to tell Debbie not to open it until Christmas.  She wasn't home so the kids told her son that.  The son asked what their names were and our kids said, "Elfie and Elfer". 

Yesterday was lots of fun.  Earlier in the day, while running errands, Megan and I went to Del Taco drive through.  There was an envelope on the speaker that said, "Finder's Keepers - Merry Christmas".  I took the envelope and saw $3 inside.  Ahhh.  I put the envelope back so someone else could have it without even asking Megan, but a few seconds later Megan agreed that was a good thing to do.  She got excited about it and thought it would be a fun traditon for our family.  Later when we told Keith and Luke about it, they agreed to go with us to find places to leave our own Finders Keepers envelopes.  We made three and left one taped to a gas pump, one in a shopping basket and one on the drive up speaker at Wendy's.  I loved doing that together with my little family. 


Words can't describe how excited I am that my new neice was born.  She is going to be well loved.



The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company… a church … a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for the day. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react. And so it is with you … we are in charge of our attitudes.

Charles Swindoll

Why I Like to Work


Created for a lesson I gave last Sunday :)

Stop Growing!


Baby Shower


My little girl is throwing her aunt (my sister) a baby shower.  I'm excited.  Excited for the shower... but especially excited about this cute little neice I'll have.  I'm praying for her and can't wait to meet her. 



Thanksgiving dinner was great last night.  We went to my mom's for dinner and spent quite a bit of the day there.  I have an amazing family as you can see in this video.  Later we went to my in-laws for dessert.  I also have incredible in-laws who I love and appreciate.  I'm very lucky.

Yesterday I was a guest blogger for our favorite science guy, Steve Spangler.  Check it out :)  In the middle of December they are going to post another article I wrote about our science club.  It's been fun writing the articles.



Today is Thanksgiving.  I am truly grateful for so many things, especially my health and my family.  I'm also very grateful for good teachers.   Megan listens to her teachers and often comes home and does exactly what they teach her.  This week her Sunday School teachers (Linda and Margo) taught told her to do secret service and gave her a necklace with little pictures that said "secret service".  She hid the necklace under her shirt (so I wasn't supposed to see) and left the pictures throughout the week when she did service for me or her dad.  She doesn't know that I know it was her... but I'm a pretty good detective. 

Another teacher this week (Bethany) gave her an idea and some supplies for a thankful banner.  Right now Megan is cutting out leaves and making the banner.  At Thanksgiving dinner she is going to have everyone write their name and what they are grateful for on a leaf and put it on her banner. 

I'm also grateful for creative minds who put together fun things like the Big Bag of Science.  We got ours in the mail this week right before science club and had a ton of fun with it.  It is a huge kit and would take us a long time to finish all 70 activities.  We have done a lot of the things in the kit before, but its so much fun to do over and over.  Also, the instructions have some really fun ideas for new ways to use the products in the kit.  This would make a great Christmas gift.  If you get it, try Activity #14, "Don't Get Wet".  It's a magic trick using science.  So fun. 

Sometimes when you buy science kits the instructions are really hard to read and because of that aren't any fun.  Ugh.  We have wasted our money on a few science kits that looked great in the store. The instructions in this Big Bag of Science are great and easy to understand. 

I made a video of our science club using the Big Bag of Science.  Haha... videos are going to be my new thing now that I have iMovie :) 

Yearly Christmas Tree Hunt


Thanks to my iMovie app I created two videos before we even got off the mountain after getting Christmas Trees.  I love that app! 

Interesting Thought


“I don’t know the secret to success but the key to failure it to try to please everyone.”- Bill Cosby


(Shutterstock photo)
Dear America, I love you, problems and all.



This year we had a honeybee (because Grandpa Oaks is a beekeeper), a man with a mustache, and Nikola Tesla

Goal: Eco-Cutie


This week I'm attending some real estate training.  One of the questions asked was who was taught to set goals by their parents.  I was one of the few that raised their hand.  That was shocking to me.  My parents have taught me as long as I can remember how important it is to set goals.  The speaker who asked the question went on to talk about how our society doesn't put a strong emphasis on goal setting.  What a shame.  I'm confident that goal setting is what has helped my parents become so successful.

Tonight I started talking to my kids about goals and asking them what physical possessions they want when they are 30.  My idea was to start talking about what they want so we can set goals to get them those wants.  Megan's answer was very detailed.  First she said she wanted a house, then she said she also wanted a small store where she could sell clothes she designed and made.  She would make the store solar powered and Eco-friendly.  I asked her why she wanted a small store and she said that if it was a small store it would be easier to have it be Eco-friendly and then she would name the store Eco-Cutie.   She also said she would sell all her designs really cheap.  She said by selling them cheap, she could sell more and eventually make more money than selling a few for more money.  This idea came from a previous conversation on businesses and how they work.  I wish I could remember more about what she said.  She was so detailed.  I had to cut her off eventually so we could move onto something else. 

Megan, in 2034, let's look back at this and see how you did.

Solar Powered Party


Picture taken from Goal Zero's Facebook page.
I love looking back on the entries I have posted here on my blog.  While life isn't always perfect, life is certainly full of great things.  This blog is such a great way for me to focus on the things that make me happy.  I love having a record of the good things in life.

I have added another incredible day to my life.  This past week, Luke turned 11.  He had the best birthday!!  First he got to talk to Greg Nielsen, a scientist in New Mexico that figured out a way to shrink the solar cell down to the size of glitter.  Not only has he done that, but he is also working on a way to increase the solar power by using a type of magnifying glass above it.  Luke was so excited reading about Greg's project!  He was especially excited to learn that Greg was using magnifying glass to increase the intensity of the sun on the solar panel because Luke had that very idea, but was told by an adult that they didn't think that would work. 

Luke was able to talk to Greg because I had the courage to call him a couple weeks ago and ask if he'd talk to Luke.  If you know Luke, you know he is crazy about alternative energy, specifically solar power.  He is such a cute little geek :)  Keith and I were really excited Greg would spend the time with our son!  On the phone call Luke asked Greg lots of questions.  Greg asked Luke a few questions back, and also gave him some ideas for a science fair project.  Greg also said Luke could call him back, so we'll have to do that when Luke gets going more on his science project.  Luke loved talking to a "famous scientist".

Later that day, Luke had his birthday at a company called GoalZero.   They manufacture solar panels and Luke loves their products.  I called them a couple weeks ago asking if we could have a tour of their company with a bunch of other kids for Luke's birthday party.  I know this was an unusual and strange request, but I knew Luke would LOVE it and I thought his friends would too since Luke's love of science has rubbed off on them. 

Goal Zero has a really cool lobby with a rock wall, slide and a loft.  When we got there a bunch of their employees came to look over the railing of the loft and started cheering and wishing Luke a happy birthday!  It was INCREDIBLE!!  I spoke up and thanked everyone and told them how passionate Luke was about solar power and that most of the kids there were part of his Monkey Mind Science Club.  I had previously told this to the girl we set the tour up with and I think they all thought it was really cool a kid would request to have his birthday at their company.  The two girls (Kirsten and Raylynn) who gave us our tour started us out by letting the kids climb the rock wall.  They had games organized to play on the wall too. The CEO came and talked to Keith, my dad and I while the kids played.  Next they took us on an amazing tour.  They didn't give us any regular tour, they had every group that worked there talk to us about their job and what they did.  The boys were in HEAVEN!  However, that wasn't all... at the end they gave every kid a goodie bag, as well as a cupcake decorated with solar sayings, and sent Luke off with some products he LOVES.  I was shocked they would do all that for us!

Can you believe the generosity?  I am working on ideas for ways to thank Greg Nielsen and GoalZero.  I'm also really grateful for my dad helping me get the boys to the party.  The GoalZero party was absolutely amazing.  Every boy left saying they wanted to have their birthday party there too.  The boys also left saying they couldn't believe Luke was the first to ever have a birthday party there.  Haha.  Can you imagine the lack of work that would get done there if they kept hosting parties?  Although, maybe they would be willing to do it more because they posted on their facebook page about Luke's party and said to "like" the post if you want a party there too.  We are so lucky, and I am so grateful that they made the science of solar power so exciting to all the kids. 

Are you smarter than a monkey?


In an effort to help Luke have something really fun to do, we have decided to start a science club.  We are going to have a bunch of kids over for 1 hour each week to do super awesome science activities.  Luke and Megan are both really excited. 
I created this logo today and love it!!  I can't take all the credit though.  It's a spin off this brilliant logo, and I found the monkey online (there are tons of the same everywhere or I'd give credit).  Also, it was Megan's idea to put a monkey and a test tube in place of some letters.  I think it's cute and totally worth the time I should have been using to clean the house. 



Our family of motorcycles :)  Picture by Keith

I never thought I would own a motorcycle.  Even a couple months ago I would have never dreamed I would change my mind and we would have motorcycles.  Keith has been asking for one for a long time.  I kept saying I didn't want him to get one, but soon I realized I couldn't stop him and told him that if he was going to get one than I needed to have one too, because I think it's important we have things we like to do together.

Suddenly, not only did I have a motorcycle, we had four for the family!  Crazy!  We went back and forth between buying a Rzr or 4 Wheelers for the kids and ultimately decided that motorcycles were safer than 4 wheelers and that the Rzr wouldn't be as much fun for the kids because one would always have to be a passenger.  We've taken the motorcyles out twice now and had a great time although Megan won't go past 10-15 MPH and Luke isn't ready to go a lot faster.  It's hard to go that slow!!!

Before we bought the motorcycles we bought really good helmets and didn't pay much attention to the prices because we felt that was important.  Last night we bought a Spot GPS.  It's an emergency GPS that you can use to get help if you are ever somewhere you can't get cell phone service.  We are pretty excited about it.  This is going to be a fun new hobby!



Typing with one hand....

We took the kids to Trafalga and went to the batting cages.  I was excited for my turn, but quickly "struck out" when I hit the ball with my hand instead of the bat.

It's not broken luckily, but my hand looked pretty bad last night.  It swelled up quick and looked disfigured.  I'll be out of this in a week and the pain isn't bad, so I'll survive.