Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day poppies

We're going hiking... and today these flowers are going with me.

Happy Memorial Day!

For activity days this past week, we talked about Memorial Day and the girls made poppy wreaths, since the red poppy is the memorial flower.  It was interesting to read about the history of the red poppy.  Here are some excerpts from different sources:

"This is the story of how the red field poppy came to be known as an internationally recognized symbol of Remembrance.  From its association with poppies flowering in the spring of 1915 on the battlefields of Belgium, France and Gallipoli this vivid red flower has become synonymous with great loss of life in war.
Yet the scope of the poppy and its connection with the memory of those who have died in war has been expanded to help the living too. It was the inspiration and dedication of two women who promoted this same “Memorial Flower” as the means by which funds could be raised to support those in need of help, most especially servicemen and civilians suffering from physical and mental hardship as a result of war.

The spring of 1915 was the first time that warm weather began to warm up the countryside after the cold winter at war in 1914-1915. In the region around Ypres in Belgian Flanders the months of April and May 1915 were unusually warm. Farmers were plowing their fields close up to the front lines and new life was starting to grow. One of the plants that began to grow in clusters on and around the battle zones were the red field or corn poppy (its species name is: papaver rhoeas). It is often to be found in or on the edges of fields where grain is grown.
     The field poppy is an annual plant which flowers each year between about May and August. Its seeds are disseminated on the wind and can lie dormant in the ground for a long time. If the ground is disturbed from the early spring the seeds will germinate and the poppy flowers will grow.  This is what happened in parts of the front lines in Belgium and France. Once the ground was disturbed by the fighting, the poppy seeds lying in the ground began to germinate and grow during the warm weather in the spring and summer months of 1915, 1916, 1917 and 1918. The field poppy was also blooming in parts of the Turkish battlefields on the Gallipoli peninsular when the ANZAC and British Forces arrived at the start of the campaign in April 1915.
The sight of these delicate, vibrant red flowers growing on the shattered ground caught the attention of a Canadian soldier by the name of John McCrae. He noticed how they had sprung up in the disturbed ground of the burials around the artillery position he was in. It was during the warm days of early May 1915 when he found himself with his artillery brigade near to the Ypres-Yser canal. He is believed to have composed a poem “In Flanders Fields” following the death of a friend at that time. The first lines of the poem have become some of the most famous lines written in relation to the First World War.

In Flanders Fields
John McCrae, May 1915

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

The Flanders Fields Red Poppy was first created as a symbol of Remembrance by an American teacher, Miss Moina Belle Michael.

Moina described the way that the idea for a memorial emblem of the red poppy came to her in a moment of revelation. Moina's fascinating autobiography, ”The Miracle Flower, The Story of the Flanders Fields Memorial Poppy” was published in 1941. Moina dedicates the book to the late Colonel John McCrae, whose poem ‘In Flanders Fields’ was the inspiration for her idea of the Flanders Fields Memorial Poppy.

As a result of Moina Michael's tireless campaigning, her complete dedication to the cause and the inspiration her idea gave to others, the delicate flower of the red field poppy has become an internationally-recognized symbol of Remembrance and welfare for war veterans.

“I read the poem, which I had read many times previously, and studied its graphic picturization. The last verse transfixed me — ‘To you from failing hands we throw the Torch; be yours to hold it high. If ye break faith with us who die, we shall not sleep, though poppies grow in Flanders Fields’.

This was for me a full spiritual experience. It seemed as though the silent voices again were vocal, whispering, in sighs of anxiety unto anguish, ‘To you from failing hands we throw the Torch; be yours to hold it high. If ye break faith with us who die we shall not sleep, though poppies grow in Flanders Fields’.

Alone, again, in a high moment of white resolve I pledged to KEEP THE FAITH and always to wear a red poppy of Flanders Fields as a sign of remembrance and the emblem of ‘keeping the faith with all who died’.

In hectic times as were those times, great emotional impacts may be obliterated by succeeding greater ones. So I felt impelled to make note of my pledge. I reached for a used yellow envelope, turned the blank side up and hastily scribbled my pledge to keep the faith with all who died.”

We Shall Keep the Faith
Moina Michael, November 1918

Oh! you who sleep in Flanders Fields,
Sleep sweet - to rise anew!
We caught the torch you threw
And holding high, we keep the Faith
With All who died.
We cherish, too, the poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led;
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies,
But lends a lustre to the red
Of the flower that blooms above the dead
In Flanders Fields.
And now the Torch and Poppy Red
We wear in honor of our dead.
Fear not that ye have died for naught;
We'll teach the lesson that ye wrought
In Flanders Fields.

As a result of Moina's inspirational idea on 9th November 1918 the Flanders Fields Memorial Poppy was adopted by many organizations. It was taken on as an way of fund raising by numerous veterans' organizations after the First World War and over the 90 years since that time the poppy has raised large amounts of money to help ex-servicemen and women in need of physical and mental welfare support.
She then conceived of an idea to wear red poppies on Memorial day in honor of those who died serving the nation during war. She was the first to wear one, and sold poppies to her friends and co-workers with the money going to benefit servicemen in need. Later a Madam Guerin from France was visiting the United States and learned of this new custom started by Ms.Michael and when she returned to France, made artificial red poppies to raise money for war orphaned children and widowed women. This tradition spread to other countries. In 1921, the Franco-American Children's League sold poppies nationally to benefit war orphans of France and Belgium. The League disbanded a year later and Madam Guerin approached the VFW for help. Shortly before Memorial Day in 1922 the VFW became the first veterans' organization to nationally sell poppies. Two years later their "Buddy" Poppy program was selling artificial poppies made by disabled veterans. In 1948 the US Post Office honored Ms Michael for her role in founding the National Poppy movement by issuing a red 3 cent postage stamp with her likeness on it.

Traditional observance of Memorial day has diminished over the years. Many Americans nowadays have forgotten the meaning and traditions of Memorial Day. At many cemeteries, the graves of the fallen are increasingly ignored, neglected. Most people no longer remember the proper flag etiquette for the day. While there are towns and cities that still hold Memorial Day parades, many have not held a parade in decades. Some people think the day is for honoring any and all dead, and not just those fallen in service to our country. To help re-educate and remind Americans of the true meaning of Memorial Day, the "National Moment of Remembrance" resolution was passed on Dec 2000 which asks that at 3 p.m. local time, for all Americans "To voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a Moment of remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence."

I think we have become neglectful in our observance of Memorial Day.  I also was not aware of the red poppy as the memorial flower.  Did you know about the red poppy?  I didn't.  Maybe it's more common on Veterans Day, but it is the internationally recognized memorial flower.  In honor of the holiday, yesterday at church I made this barrette to wear in my hair. I saw a lot of red, white, and blue, but I didn't see any red poppies.  I love the simple beauty of this symbol of remembrance and the idea that beautiful life can spring forth after death, the same way these poppies bloomed on the battlefields.  We can honor those who died by the way we keep the faith.  I'd like to be one to "...cherish too the poppy red" and "keep the faith with all who died."  I hope we can each find a small way to remember and honor those who fought and died for our freedom.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Jared's new skill

Jared learned how to tie his shoes today - this is the first time we've tried.  It only took about 10 minutes for him to figure it out.  Either Jared is really talented or I'm a really good teacher!  Probably both.  :)  Nathan was the same way - when we finally sat down to teach him, it didn't take long at all.  I guess Jared is officially ready for kindergarten.  Tying his shoes was about the only thing on a preparing-for-kindergarten list that he didn't know.

5 years

Jared turned five last week!  Unfortunately he wasn't feeling great on his birthday (you can see the half glazed over look) - pretty much the only thing he ate all day was a little bit of waffle, watermelon, and ice cream.  I also did a crumb cake for breakfast so we could sing to him and he opened presents.  He didn't feel up to going out to eat, so we went to McDonald's the next day.

He was ready and feeling good for his party on Saturday, at one of the local parks.  They had a great time sledding down the pine needles on cardboard boxes.  I constructed a couple of shoddy looking batmobiles at the last minute.  The cake also was a little shabby looking and didn't make the transport very well.  Having the party at a park was mostly a good idea, but I didn't count on the wind blowing the tablecloth, tableware, and balloons everywhere.  The kids got to take home frosting covered balloons...   I think the kids had fun.  I know Jared loved it, so that's all that matters!

10 months

Weston's latest trick is waving.  He recognizes the word "wave" because he can do it just by asking.  I think it's so cute.  I've been trying some signs lately and waving is similar to "play," but either is effective in getting praise and attention.  I love his little toothy grin.

He's eating most of the things we eat now in small bites.  He experienced his first McDonald's fries and hamburger, although I'm not sure he was tasting - just shoveling in and swallowing.  He can really put down some food.  Lately he ate about 2 whole squares of lasagna and was fussing for more.

He pulls up to stand and walk along things and pull things off the shelves... not thrilled about this pre-toddler get into everything stage, but we love all 20 lbs. of him (latest weight stat).  And we can't complain about his 10-11 hour nights - a good sleeper!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

creative problem solving

I don't know how it is in your home (for those with little kids), but I'm finding that my boys are constantly bickering and fighting over toys. It seems like someone is always crying or tattling about something, and lately I'm just really tired of it.  My response has been, "you work it out" or "figure out how to play together."  It doesn't work very well, but it is fun to see them try to work out their own problems.  Here are a couple of their attempts:

Nathan and Jared were fighting over a pillow at bedtime.  After unsuccessfully trying to get me to solve the problem ("You work it out boys..."), I overheard their resolution.  Nathan said, "Jared, I'll have it half of the night, and then I'll give it to you in the middle of the night."  Jared accepted that.  Good thinking Nathan...  :)

The next attempt isn't quite as funny, but it's fun to see the thought process.  Owen took Jared's toy and Jared was trying to get it back.  While they usually end up wrestling over it or hitting or flinging toys at each other, Jared was trying to bargain with Owen.  Jared said, "Give me my toy and I'll buy you a new coloring book."    Good try, but Owen didn't accept that deal.  Owen is really hard to bargain with these days.  I don't blame Nathan and Jared for getting frustrated with him.  My solution to his tantrums usually involves putting him in time-out in the closet...

Also, Owen is figuring out how to blame others for things.  When questioned about a broken toy or other mishap, Owen says, "Westie did it."  And recently, while getting ready for bedtime, Owen had pulled his diaper off and peed on the floor (while I was putting Weston to bed).  Alex got home in the middle of the bedtime chaos, saw Owen running around naked and saw the wet spot on the floor.  Alex asked, "Is this PEE on the floor?  Owen, did you pee on the floor?!"  Owen's response, "No, mama did."

Sunday, May 15, 2011


Do you have a pair of Tevas?  How do you pronounce it?  Tee-vah or teh-vah?  I've always called them tee-vahs, with a long E.  But it's actually teh-vah, with a short e.  How did this discussion come about?  Nathan had a career day at school on Friday.  Some of the parents talked to the kids about their careers, and one of the dads designs shoes for Teva.  Nathan came home talking about teh-vahs, and we said, "Don't you mean tee-vah?"  Nathan insisted it was teh-vah, so we googled it.  Here's what the company said (under history):

"In 1984, a young Grand Canyon river guide revolutionized the footwear industry when he created the world's first sports sandal. This idea soon spawned a brand, and the new adventure of Teva® was born.

It's been 25 years since we took our first step into the Grand Canyon, and not a moment has gone by that Teva® (that's "teh'-vah," not "tee-vah") hasn't been hard at work developing products that enable and encourage your adventure. Of course, given our heritage, we have an obsession with water, and our passion lies in identifying and enhancing the areas in which water effects an adventure. To us, water presents a paradox. It is the source of a year-round playground, but it simultaneously poses a year-round problem. Anyone who has ever slipped on a patch of ice or been forced to deal with soaking wet socks can attest to this duality.

Essentially, Teva® has two fundamental responsibilities: to play and to protect. We play in the water, but we also see the need to be protected from it. Our responsibility is to manage this delicate balance, so you can go forth without reservation. Armed with a quarter-century worth of knowledge and technology, we are dedicated to developing products that strike this balance to deliver the most out of your adventures."

I also learned that teva is the Hebrew word for nature.  Very appropriate for an outdoor sandal.  See the interesting things you can learn from your 1st grader?

Anyway, here's another T name for you Carrie and Tyson - you can call him Teva (Teh-vah) and no one will think he's named after the tee-vah shoe!  :)  (Carrie is about to have her 5th child tomorrow.  She has 3 boys, 1 girl, and a boy on the way.  They all start with T:  Trey, Trent, Tru, and Taylee.  Do you know anyone else who likes to name their kids with the same letter??  Crazy people...  ;)

mother's day gift

I made a sugar scrub last year with friends, and I thought it would be a great to have the girls make some for their moms.  I found a couple different recipes on-line and I liked the idea of a honey lemon scrub.  However, I think it would actually be better without the honey.  It still turned out pretty well.  Here's the recipe:

Honey Lemon Sugar Scrub

¾ cup sugar                    2 tsp lemon juice
2 TBSP kosher salt         2 TBSP honey
½ cup olive oil                 2-3 drops lemon essential oil
zest from 1 lemon

Mix the sugar, salt, and olive oil in a small bowl. Stir in lemon juice and zest. Add honey and essential oil. Mixture should be a grainy paste. Spoon mixture into a small jar with a lid, wiping up any spills. Makes about 1 cup.

Use as a scrub on hands, feet, elbows, and knees (try it on your hands after handling onions or garlic). Massage into skin for about 1 minute and then rinse with warm water. It may also be used on your face, but gently scrub and be careful not to get it in your eyes. Follow with moisturizer. Be careful in the tub or shower, as the oil will cause a slippery residue, and rinse well (as scrub may attract ants).  The scrub will probably last longer if kept in the refrigerator. (Let it warm up a bit and stir before using).

Z is for...

Sunday, May 8, 2011

My Mother Dear

The boys sang 3 mother's day songs with the primary today in sacrament meeting.  I love hearing their sweet voices.  Although it's hard to top Jared's friend Marielle, who sang a solo today, I think they're pretty good.  (Owen didn't sing today, but he was sure trying to join in tonight).  Here's one of the songs:

My Mother Dear

Like sunshine in the morning that wakens day from night,
Like flowers in the springtime so colorful and bright,
Like happy songs of bluebirds that fill the air with cheer,
A person bright and lovely is my mother dear.

Happy Mother's Day

Owen was wandering around this morning saying "Happy Birthday!"  (close enough - on both days you have to be extra nice to mama).    Ashley, just consider this video for you.  :) 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Favorite hike, part 2

We went back to one of the boys favorite spots, but this time Wesie and I went too.  Usually, Alex takes Nathan, Jared, and Owen hiking on Saturday mornings while I get the morning "off" (if Westie cooperates by taking his morning nap).  We all went this past Saturday afternoon, and I really enjoyed watching the boys do their thing.  I also enjoyed watching Alex try to teach them to skip rocks (and with Westie still in the backpack).

topless dinner

I'm getting smarter about these messy dinners... although I probably should have made Owen take his pants off too!

Monday, May 2, 2011

New calling

Meet the new Young Men's president in our ward and his family....

Not pictured:  Alex      

 :)  Ha ha.  He did seem to be gone when I thought about posting about his new calling and a picture of him.  He got this new calling a few weeks ago.  He was already serving in YM's before (12-18 year old boys), but now he's in charge and has a few extra meetings to go to.  It's a little overwhelming for him, but he'll do great.  

Here he is as well:

the new young men's president and my future young men

Easter fun

The Easter bunny brought jelly beans, mini cookies and crackers, chocolate bunnies, mini board books, cars, mini playground balls, and an air hockey game which worked well on the train table until Owen threw the puck (now it semi-works).  They had fun for a while.

We went to community Easter egg hunt dash at the park.  They had the field divided into sections for different ages, but each area just had eggs all over the ground.  There wasn't any hunting involved.  What they waited for all morning took them about 10-15 seconds.  But they did enjoy their 5-7 egg candy stash and the best part was playing in the park with friends.  

Our backyard is perfect for an easter egg hunt, so we did that later at home.

Favorite hike, part 1

This is one of the boys favorite spots - less than 30 minutes from our house and a 15-20 minute hike to this little waterfall, which is the perfect spot for throwing rocks in the water.  They LOVE it.  (Owen had his 2 monkeys with him as they were getting ready to head out the door.  He looked so cute with them.)

Easter crafts and goodies

I did these bunnies and modpodge flower ones with the activity day girls.  It was the first time I'd tried hollowing out eggs.  I had my doubts, but it worked.  It was a little yucky, but they had fun blowing out the stuff inside.

April showers...

...doesn't keep the boys inside! 

9 months

Weston is really getting around now - full crawl and pulling up to stand.  He's eating cheerios, yogurt melts, toast, eggs, spaghetti, green beans, crackers, applesauce & bananas, Nutrigrain bars, and small bites of things like pizza.  I think he might be ready for McDonald's fries...  he has 4 teeth, with more on the way (which makes for a cranky kid at times).  Mostly he's a pretty happy kid and tries to keep up with his brothers.  One day, I went to snap a few pictures of the boys outside and he had his nose pressed up against the door.  Sweet, but very active boy!

Pigs in a blanket

The boys LOVED these (and I did too)!

Spring break

Alex was gone for Nathan's spring break, so we had to figure out what to do all week.  We mostly park hopped to some we hadn't been to yet.  The boys loved this one that looked like a castle.  We also played at the beach one afternoon.  Weston even fell asleep for a little bit.  When he woke up, he was enjoyed the sand on his toes and mostly trying to eat it.

gettin' around on 2 wheels

Back in March, I took the boys to Nathan's school with the intention of Nathan learning how to ride his bike. He's very cautious, so he wasn't taking any risks and resistant to learning.  He wanted to just play basketball, but I basically said he HAD to practice riding his bike (thinking in my mind that we weren't leaving until he figured it out).  Jared had already learned how to ride without training wheels and was zipping around in circles around Nathan.  Nathan couldn't get up the courage to get going on his bike, but after trying on Jared's little bike, he finally figured it out (we really just hadn't taken the time to help him learn).  Once he got going, there was no stopping him.  What freedom!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

X is for X-ray

X was a bit tough, but still eXciting?  We did an X-ray match and paste, although they didn't really want to do it because it was hard...  They were supposed to roughly match the bones to the x-ray and then transfer them a piece at a time to the blank side.  Neither one of them was very interested in that.  We also made toilet paper roll foXes and did an X survey.  The survey was a little geared towards boys - Marielle refused to pick anything in the balls and tigers/bears group.  "Do you like one a little more than the other?" I asked.  "No, I don't like those," said Marielle.  That's okay.  The siX oreos and milk was a eXciting!  They also enjoyed a xylophone color by number and game.  And maybe their favorite thing was jumping on the trampoline...  nothing to do with the letter X, but I guess they made a quick eXit at the suggestion...   :)

V is for volcano

I thought our volcanist friend Jeff would appreciate this one...

For letter V for joy school, we did volcanoes, violets in vases, vegetable soup, and velcro V's (with letter V things).  We also watched a Veggie Tales video while eating Vanilla pudding (I thought it would be okay to watch a short video this once, since V is for video AND Veggie tales.)  Violin music was playing most of the time, so that's why you hear it in the background - doesn't quite fit with the volcano...  I also let them use the vacuum!  (Maybe they should have washed our Van too.)   :)  The pipe cleaner flowers and vases ended up being too hard for the kids, but they were cute.  

They were in awe of the volcano.  (I ended up making it at the last minute.  I didn't have time for papier mache, so I had to come up with something different.  I ended up using a baby food jar under a foam bowl cut with an opening for the jar.  Then I draped over and taped a paper sack to a baking sheet.  Some rocks, shredded paper and a couple play trees added a nice touch.)  We had fun with it.  They wanted to see it over and over again.

T is for turtle

The last day of March was Letter T for joy school.  We had lots of fun, but it was hard to choose what to do.  They played with trains, in the tent, tennis ball toss, tic tac toe with Teddy Grahams & cheerios, and made turtles with trapezoid shells.  (Nathan was on spring break - that's why he's peeking out of the tent.)

Blog absent

Absence makes the heart grow fonder??  I know you missed me.  It's been a whole month since I've posted and I am alive and well.  I had a $50 project credit that expired the last day of April for a digital scrapbook, so I've been working on that every chance I had for the last month.  I completed it at 10:00pm on April 29th... 50 pages for a 10 years of marriage book.  Half of it was journaling, so it took a while to compose it, and then the rest was pictures and getting the pages laid out just right.  I also spent some time looking for and scanning photos from the earlier years (pre-digital camera).  I was tired of it by the end and stressed working on a deadline, but it was fun reflecting back on the past 10 years.  I loved the end result and having a book of our history done.

Anyway, that means I have a lot of catching up to do with blogging, because everything else wasn't on hold this past month, although at times I tried.  :)  Alex and the boys will be glad to have me back.