Today I discovered that planning a meal around “green” is too healthy of a color for lunch. It was more like, “green snack”. I could see the disappointment on Cam’s face when I brought out a tray of green fruits and veggies. I may have redeemed myself with lime-flavored popsicles at the end, but the kids already requested “orange” lunch and planned a menu of cheetos, macaroni & cheese, carrots and orange Creamies for next time.
Monday, July 25, 2011
This turned into another educational trip, by accident. I guess that’s what happens when the kids hang out with 2 former teachers (mom and grandma) for the day. Grandma Carmen discovered that the kids could complete a scavenger hunt throughout the village and get a free lunch at Archibald’s (one of our favorite restaurants) so we did it. We learned a few new things about the history of Gardner Village like how tall the water wheel is (16 feet if you were wondering), which house didn’t have an indoor bathroom until the mid 1950’s and that the Spa used to house small arms during WWII.
Justin should have come with us. He thought Gardner Village was built about 15 years ago….
Sunday, July 24, 2011
History repeated itself today when Matti and Britney decided to find things from around the house, wrap them up and give them to me and Justin. I used to do this when I was little. In fact, it was one of my earliest memories. I was in Kindergarten and wrapped up a comb for my mom to open for Christmas (I can only imagine her excitement when she opened it). Today, you should have seen the delight in Matti’s eyes when we spread the gifts out on the bedroom floor and opened them one by one. She actually found the joy in gift-giving!
Saturday, July 23, 2011
Justin puts on a “Tapout” t-shirt, and I know we will be spending the evening with friends watching the UFC fights. When it comes to watching sporting events, I always know what team and sport we’ll be watching before the event has even started. All I have to do is look at what my husband is wearing and I know who we will watching and rooting for, what teams are playing and where we will be going. In fact, it has a name. It’s called, “fandom”. My husband has it, and it knows no bounds. He couldn’t even attend our first Real Salt Lake game without his “fandom” (dressing as a fan of the team he is rooting for), which usually includes a jersey and a hat. Dressing in normal street clothes is a “no, no” and Justin wouldn’t be caught dead in anything other than his sports attire at a sporting event.
The worst “fandom” experience ever was when he made me wear a Rams jersey to an Oakland Raiders game last year. In a sea of black and white, there we were, wearing blue and gold. I’m surprised we made it out of there alive. If there was one game to wear street clothes or silently cheer for your team, that would have been it. I couldn’t get to the hotel fast enough to change into clothes that wouldn’t get me shot, beaten or verbally abused.
Friday, July 22, 2011
No one has gotten married (except me) for over a decade in my family and now, we have 2 weddings in 2 weeks. I met my cute nephew’s fiance, Kristen, this weekend. As she opened her gifts, we were asked to share advice with the bride. At first, I laughed at the thought that I was about to give advice on marriage, but then I realized that I have learned a thing or two about marriage in my life experience thus far. I shared the counsel from Elder David B. Haight’s son (who sealed us in January) to speak with a soft voice and hold hands. These 2 simple things, when we remember to do them, help us have so much peace, harmony and joy in our home and relationship.
From left to right: Me, Kristen, Mom (Carmen), Lissa and Katy (front)
Thursday, July 21, 2011
Life has unexpected surprises. If you have yet to be surprised, consider yourself lucky and watch out! Today, my niece started her new life with her sweet husband that treats her well and gained 2 new daughters. I am happy that she is happy and wish her the best! Congratulations Nicolette!
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
I like to make lists. I like to have a plan. I don’t like to leave things to the last minute. I like preparation. With that being said, I have been a real estate agent for 6 years. Since I am raising a family of 6 young children, I thought I would put my license on inactive status when renewal time rolled around. Well, since we purchased our home last week, and I am now my husband’s agent, I get to somehow find time for 18 clock hours of continuing education to renew my license before it expires in the next week. Yay. No stress. No pressure. You may not hear from me until August, but at least you’ll know that I didn’t fall off the face of the earth. I am just studying in my “free time”.
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
No, I’m not talking about kids (yet). I’m talking about the advice we got from a really smart lady with a blended family of 10 kids. She pointed out that in order to make a blended family work, we really needed to focus on working towards making things “ours”. So, we started out with a joint bank account a few months ago and have moved on to the second step, which is building a home that is neither “his” or “mine”, but “ours”. Yes, later down the road we will have a Bancroft bundle, but no announcements today. We are taking baby steps, and that is just a figure of speech, no pun intended.
I am a week and a half behind on the blog because we have been busy researching builders, scoping out lots, studying floorplans to accommodate a family of 8, and selecting the colors of wood, granite, carpet and cabinets that are all going to come together by the end of the year to produce a home of our own. We love our neighbors, school, church and location, so we are moving about 3 blocks from where we live now and we can’t wait!!!
We will be building a different elevation of this house, since this one isn’t an option in our neighborhood. The 3 girls share a room now (yes, just like the Brady Bunch) and it is just like a dorm party down there every night. The kids will be in shock and lonely when they all have their own room, but Justin and I can’t wait for the peace and quiet as a result of separating them!
Monday, July 18, 2011
Sunday, July 17, 2011
Last year, we made an indoor tent under our dining room table and made indoor smores, which is my kind of “camping”. This year we put the fire pit to some use and made some authentic outdoor smores for our alphabet summer, letter “O”. Having Colton around the fire sent me into anxiety mode, and I had an extra load of laundry to do because everyone smelled like camp fire, but the extra work was worth these smiles. (That’s what I keep telling myself, anyway…)
Saturday, July 16, 2011
The room was completely silent. As a belt test requirement, each Taekwondo student performed a series of forms and/or kick sequences in front of not only their instructor, but other students and parents. Today Cam had his green belt test. During the test he could not execute a certain form correctly. The instructor stopped him and let him start over, three times to be exact, but Cam just couldn’t get it. Everyone in the room passed their belt tests and moved on, except for Cam.
The instructor said he had been a little too “nice” in the past passing students when they really shouldn’t have passed their belt tests. I want Cam to pass his tests because he learned Taekwondo correctly and I admire his instructor for upholding such high standards. Yes, I wanted him to succeed so badly that day. It was hard to watch my 11 year old “fail”. Cam was upset and tried to blame the instructor for teaching him wrong. I had to set him straight. He needed to learn to take responsibility for his actions, be humble and admit that he was wrong and ask his instructor to teach him the correct way to do the form again, and learn patience in the meantime. He learned that he needed to practice harder and do better next time. I can’t think of a better way for him to learn the life lesson that it’s ok to fail, and you can turn those failures into great successes.
Friday, July 15, 2011
There just happened to be 2 boys selling popsicles at the park. As the kids swarmed around their blue cooler, these little businessmen turned our outing into Alphabet Summer, Letter “P”. We have been experiencing monsoon weather for the last week and a half, so these popsicles came at the perfect timing for our first sunny 90 degree summer day in awhile.
Thursday, July 14, 2011
This morning, Brit climbed in bed with none other than Harley. As soon as she wakes up in the morning, the search is on for her furry friend. Brit loves this cat. We were laughing because Harley kept purring and softly touching Brit’s nose. I think she loves us as much as we love her.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
We took a nature walk around the lake to see how many different kinds of animals, birds, spiders and insects we could spot along the way. In just a short walk, we saw: fish, dragonflies, ladybugs, birds, seagulls, geese, ducks, ants, hornets, butterflies, worms and spiders just to name a few.
Monday, July 11, 2011
Sunday, July 10, 2011
As opposed to “European Vacation” to the average American, I suppose visiting the states to the Europeans is “American Vacation”. Meet my oldest brother, Ronald and my sister-in-law, Jose. They are native Hollanders living in a village called “Abcoude” in the Netherlands. He is the oldest of 8, I am the youngest. There is a 23-year age difference between us.
While growing up, Casey and I knew that we had a brother in the Netherlands somewhere. Growing up as an only child, Ronald had no clue that he would be the oldest brother of 5 other half siblings and 2 step siblings in the United States until about 8 years ago, which was the first time we met. Ronald’s mom and my dad were married a mere 3 months. The couple divorced and Ronald was given a different last name as an infant. My dad was unable to track him down in Europe. My brother found my dad through the American Red Cross and brought his wife to the states to meet the family he never knew he had in 2003.
I remember during that first meeting, I kept catching Jose, his wife, staring at me. Later I found out that she was in disbelief in how I resembled their oldest daughter, Karen, who was just a few years younger than me. We both had blonde hair, blue eyes, a similar build and our two front teeth even had the same small gap in between them. We all couldn’t believe how Ronald had similar mannerisms (ie: talking with his hands) and stature as dad.
In 2004, Casey, and I, along with dad, visited Ronald and Jose in Holland at their home in Abcoude to get to know them better and meet our nieces, Karen and Daphne. Ronald graciously took us to many of Amsterdam’s tourist attractions such as the Van Gogh Museum, Rembrant Square, The Anne Frank House, The North Sea and even the Red Light District (we went during the day, haha). We even met our “Oma” (grandma) for the first time together. At the time she was 94, and is now 100.
Since then, Ronald and Jose have visited the states 2 more times and even brought their best friends, Pauline and Ruud, who have also become good friends of ours. They love visiting Park City (the men spent half a day in the Tommy Hilfiger outlet store and Ronald was their best customer that day). They are in awe with how inexpensive, houses, cars, gas and clothes are here. They love to take my dad’s truck and visit the surrounding sights and cities. They are currently visiting Yellowstone and will be touring the U.S. for the next 5 weeks.
Ronald and his family are an important part of my heritage. They represent my family roots and where I come from. Last night at dinner, we discovered that we have the same nose. How did we not notice that before? We are both teachers and real estate agents as well. I am so glad to have them as a part of my life and hope to visit them in Holland again soon.
From left to right, top to bottom:
Me, Mom, Pauline, Jose, Ruud, Ronald, Justin and Dad
Saturday, July 9, 2011
She was lost…so we thought. Matti, Brit and Brookyn were enjoying the lazy river. Justin and I waved as they floated by on their tubes. But then, I only saw Brooklyn and Brit. Panic set in immediately. Matti was there one minute, gone the next…a parent’s nightmare. I searched the river and pool. As I headed over to scout the waterslides, I stopped by our chairs, getting ready to freak out, when I glanced over and saw a lumpy towel on the chair. Inside that lumpy towel was Matti, fast asleep.
Friday, July 8, 2011
What 11 year old boy doesn’t like fire? Since he is currently a Boy Scout, we let Cam light all the fireworks on the 4th of July this year. Anytime there is a candle to burn, Cameron is more than willing to take care of lighting it. On her birthday, he lit Brit’s candles, let her blow them out, and lit them again. I finally had to take the lighter away in fear that all the smoke from the blown out candles would cause the fire alarm to go off!
Thursday, July 7, 2011
9 years ago today, I had my first baby girl. I was so excited for a girl that not a day went by that she didn’t have a bow in her hair and a cute matching outfit. Here we are 9 years later. My daughter is growing up. She has braces, plays the piano, picks her own outfits, does her own hair and is starting 4th Grade in the fall. I love you, Brit!
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Justin and I have a few favorite shows that we cuddle up to and enjoy watching together after the kids to to bed. One of our current favorites is Yard Crashers on the DIY network. Because of the show, Justin wants to do all kinds of over-the-top back yard projects like installing a water feature, outdoor fireplace and french drains, even though we don’t need them. I just smile and nod when he starts talking about doing “projects”. He is not a project-person (although he is really good at picking up the phone to get professionals on the job). Instead of digging up the yard, he started with a smaller project…thankfully.
We have a lot of mosquitos this year to do the excess rain and living by the lake. So, Justin came up with his very own self-created DIY project. Today, he went to the home-improvement store and created these tiki torch stands. He put pvc pipe into a pot, poured Quikrete around it, then slid the torches right into the pipe to hold it upright. We have 4 of these on the 4 corners of our deck that keep us from being eaten alive in the evenings. Good job honey.
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Published July 5, 2011
“You know, you're married to a page in history,” a friend once told Carmen Moes.
There’s no better way to describe the life story of her husband, Hubert Moes (pronounced “moose”).
Today, Hubert Moes is a tall, handsome man wearing bifocals and house shoes. He has a Dutch accent and soft voice but is by no means soft-spoken. One minute, he’ll be getting teary-eyed talking about an emotional moment in his life. The next, he’ll be on his hands and knees to illustrate a story. His whole face lights up when he smiles — and that happens a lot. “Hu” is always cracking jokes.
Carmen says her husband is quite the character. “Oh that’s just Hubert” is a bit of a catchphrase in their home, she said.
Hubert returned in early June from a cross-country motorcycle ride to Washington, D.C., by way of California for a special Memorial Day gathering at the Veterans Memorial. A three-week journey like that is incredible as it is.
But Hubert is 78 years old.
“He doesn’t know he’s old,” Carmen said.
These days, Hubert splits his time between spending time with family, riding with the Temple Riders Association, restoring a Triumph TR6, serving in the Oquirrh Mountain Utah Temple and being an all-around cheerful man.
“He’s just all the good things you can say about anyone,” said Don Mortenson, a sealer at the temple who works with Hubert and used his story in a fireside.
But Hubert's life — and personality — haven't always been this way.
“My story as a child and a teenager was not pretty”
Hubert was born in 1932 to a Dutch father and Indonesian mother in what was then the Dutch East Indies.
World War II was full of atrocities, especially Nazi concentration camps and the genocide of Jews. With a very European-focused history, it’s all too easy to forget what happened in Asia before Hiroshima.
Beginning in 1941, the Indies was overrun by the Japanese. Hubert was living with his family on the island of Java, which was rich in oil, rubber, rice and coffee — all a major draw for the Japanese armies.
In 1942, Hubert, the oldest of six children, was taken with his family and put in an internment camp. The young boys were considered “men” once they were 10 years old. Hubert reached that age after about a year in the camp and was moved from where his family was held to an old monastery housing more than 7,000 men and boys. They were forced to work in fields and on a railroad.
Prisoners were given very little food to survive on. Adults died by the tens daily. Hubert and another boy once stole two bananas from a Japanese-owned tree because they were hungry. As punishment, they were beaten and locked up in isolation for 40 days. He and the other boy communicated by knocking on the wall between them.
“After a while — no more knocks,” Hubert said. The other boy was dead.
Hubert spent 3 1/2 years in the camp until they were freed in August 1945. His family fell apart, and his life spiraled out of control.
“I carried that with me, that hatred toward the Japanese and even toward other people, for a long, long time,” Hubert said. “Consequently, my attitude towards people was pretty negative.”
His wife agrees. “Everybody was an enemy to him after the war … a lot of times it was the people closest to him.”
That hatred took him into a world of heavy drinking and smoking that lasted through much of his service with the Dutch air force. In April 1960, while stationed in the Netherlands, he collapsed. The doctor found spots in Hubert's lungs, and his liver was almost completely gone. He was given six to eight months to live.
“I got shocked,” he said. “I got scared.”
He started to clean up his act, and soon a young naval officer asked Hubert if he could give her a ride to church. It was an LDS Church. Hubert was baptized Aug. 5, 1960.
“And by the way,” Hubert said, leaning forward and lowering his voice a bit, “the young ladies were so pretty in church, and I was single,” he laughed as Carmen sighed.
Shortly after Hubert joined, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints needed some people who could build chapels. Hubert had his visa ready to go to the United States. But in an experience he said was “like Samuel,” he was awakened in the middle of the night and told to stay and serve. His service helped him in more ways than one.
“That was simply something that I had to do … to get rid of the urge.” His more structured life during his 2 1/2 years of service helped him resist the need to smoke or stop in the bar on the corner.
Not changed enough
Although he had quit drinking and smoking and had joined the church, Hubert still struggled for about 45 years. He suffered from chronic migraines and nightmares.
“I’d see the bayonets still coming, and the Samurai still coming, and the beheadings,” he said of his nightmares.
Two marriages failed because he was just too hard to live with. His 40-year marriage to Carmen hasn’t been without struggles, either. Ten years into their marriage, Carmen took the kids and left temporarily.
“There wasn’t even a profile for him, he was so screwed up,” she said. But he sought help, and Carmen came back.
“She worked real hard and used her skills to make me change and think differently,” Hubert said of his wife.
He remembers talking years ago to former fellow ward member and Japanese internment camp survivor Gene Jacobsen, author of “We Refused to Die.”
“I remember the cigarette burns on my body and the stabbing with the bayonet. I said, ‘I cannot forget that.'" Jacobsen told him to forgive the Japanese because it would change Hubert's life as it did his.
“He was able to refine himself and get over it, and I didn’t,” Hubert said. “I had to carry it with me.”
Hubert's final turning point happened just more than 10 years ago when James Matsumori, the current president of the Washington D.C. North Mission and husband of former general Primary presidency member Vicki Matsumori, was called as the stake president over Hubert's old stake in Murray, Utah.
“It felt like I was kicked real hard in the butt,” he said of finding out about the calling. At the time, he was serving as the stake’s satellite specialist. In the years Hubert worked with Matsumori, he grew to love and respect him.
“He is the most wonderful man that I’ve ever run into, especially (for being) Japanese,” Hubert said. His relationship with Matsumori helped change his view of all Japanese people.
”They had a conversation and big hug where everything just kind of melted away,” Carmen said, describing a particular Sunday morning that found the two men setting up for a broadcast.
“We were just bawling like little kids,” Hubert said. “That was the point that I — sorry, I may get a little emotional — that was the point that made … the change in me. … It was the bottom line and the best thing that ever happened to me in my life.”
A second life
“Well, after that was taken care of and I was able to change my system, not to accuse them (the Japanese) anymore, not to carry it anymore, I became a normal person,” he said, starting to choke up.
“Almost,” his wife interjected. The two laughed together.
“He’s over it so much that it’s almost like it’s another person’s life,” Carmen said.
“Now it is a story,” Hubert said. He is able to talk about it openly now, and he uses his story to teach others.
Hubert learned an incredible lesson of forgiveness and said, “You cannot honor our Heavenly Father if you hate your neighbor.” He has accepted that everyone, including anyone who is Japanese, counts as his neighbor and that it is “dumb” to not let go of things and forgive.
“You cannot with that attitude and that feeling in yourself, there’s no way that you can be uplifted and happy,” he said.
Hubert has certainly been humbled by his experience.
“What I learned over the years about the gospel as it is taught to me and about living it, and looking back, I have absolutely no business of walking on this earth today.”
Hubert lives in a beautiful home in Riverton, Utah, just a three-minute drive from the temple he serves in. He considers his service there to be payback for a good life, success, a good home and “a fantastic wife.”
He has told the story of what he calls his “first life” in firesides, presentations and to others who simply ask. His “first life” is far behind him now.
“I am happy,” he said. “I am free.”
Monday, July 4, 2011
Sunday, July 3, 2011
I love my husband. He is a Marine, and I am proud of that. He loves his country. He is patriotic. And there’s no one I would rather be celebrating our nations birthday with. It’s people like him, past and present, who have sacrificed, served and made our nation what it is today.
Saturday, July 2, 2011
The 4th just isn’t complete without homemade ice cream. Grandma Carmen used an old family recipe passed down from generation to generation. Along with the recipe came stories about how there was no electricity on the farm until she was 10 years old. The crank on the ice cream machine had to be turned by hand. Whether cranked by hand or by electricity, this sweet treat is worth the work and the wait!
Friday, July 1, 2011
Did you know the White House has 6000 visitors a day, 32 bathrooms and it takes 570 gallons of paint to cover the outside surface? What a better way to show our love for our country this weekend by learning more about it? Today we played White House Trivia. The kids learned some interesting facts about our nation’s capitol and I got to put part of my Patriotism unit to use one more time!