Monday, June 30, 2008

Birthday Weekend

Erik and Christian both have birthdays on June 29th....born 4 years apart. On the day of Erik's 4th birthday, I threw him a birthday party. My dear sister-in-law, Anna, came to my house before my doctor's appointment before the party was to start to watch my other children and greet the children coming to the party. I went into labor during my doctors' appointment, but insisted I needed to go home to go through with the party. I used my Lamaze techniques all during the party and since my mother came to the party, John and I left her with our children as the party was ending and we rushed to PV hospital where Christian was born about 40 minutes later. Giving a birthday party is a wonderful way to distract yourself from labor pains as you try to entertain 15 little 4 year old boys for a couple hours.

Anyway, Erik and Christian have ever since shared their birthday with each other....this year was no different! Since Erik turned a big, "30" this year, we threw him a party at our house Saturday night and focused more on Christian at our Sunday family dinner.

We sure love you both! What great men you've become!

Also this weekend, we took the opportunity to get out to our Faria Beach for a little surfing and beach time, since Erik and Cristin and children came out from Tehachapi for the birthday weekend.


Cristin and baby Charlie



John teaching Hans to surf

Future surfer, Luke



Several Dolphins feeding and jumping when we first arrived

Summer Swim Lesson

Hans after sliding down the 35 foot slide
Isaac and Wyatt playing out on the patio of the Pool
Wyatt, Atalie,Addie, Audrey, Cozette, Hans and Isaac (not wanting to pose for picture)
Hans just finished 2 weeks of swim lessons and passed the "Sharks" level. He's ready to begin "killer whales" level. He had a lot of fun meeting his nieces and nephews at Pleasant Valley Pool every morning for the first 2 weeks of summer for their lessons. Nice way to start their summer!

Youth Conference

Last week, I attended our Stake Youth Conference for 3 days at Camp Three Falls in the Frazier Park area.
We had about 100 youth ages 14-18. Our theme was "Be Steadfast, Strong and Immoveable, always abounding in good works". We had a wonderful 3 days. The youth were so great and we didn't have any problems with them.
We took a nice 4 mile hike up to the falls one day. We had several "visitors" that came and spoke to the youth from scripture stories. (I had the privelage of portraying Sariah, Lehi's wife from the Book of Mormon and I loved studying the scriptures and getting into her character before I spoke to the youth.)
I roomed with my counselor, Sherida Belcher and enjoyed our late night night we did have to get out of our beds to chase a few teenages off to bed, but otherewise we had a good time.
The youth and adult leaders sewed hundreds of handmade teddy bears and sanded, glued wheels and varnished wooden cars to donated to children in Puerte Vallarte who live in the dumps there.
The food was outstanding and plenty, the Friday night dance was a big success for the youth. Overall, it was such a great activity to charge all of our spiritual batteries at the beginning of the summer. I'm grateful to have this calling as Stake Young Women's president which has allowed me to serve and work beside so many great youth and adults.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Camarillo Stake New Patriarch

We couldn't tell anyone until this past Sunday, but on Father's Day, John and I were asked to meet with our Stake President Blickenstaff. After visiting with us for a few minutes, he extended a new calling to John to be ordained to the office of Patriarch in the Melchezedik Priesthood. I wished I had a camera with me to take a picture of John's expression. He had never considered this calling as he has served in the church in many capacities his whole life. It totally was amazing to us both.

Our patriarch for almost 9 years has been Thomas S. Martin, a man that we love and honor. When he was called, our son Christian was the first one he gave a Patriarchal Blessing to and we have felt a special bond and relationship with him through that experience. Although Patriarch Martin is still alive, he has become unable to physically give blessings anymore and thus a new Patriarch needed to be called.

The last 5 years John has served on the High Council meeting regularly with them and the Stake Presidency and the 6 years before that he served as a Bishop for the Camarillo 2nd ward of the Camarillo Stake. He has served in the Stake Young Men's Presidency, twice as a Scoutmaster and other callings working with the Young Men and in Bishoprics and other High Councils.

John's first response was, "I'm not old enough to be a Patriarch", to which Pres. Blickenstaff quickly replied that he had already checked and their is a minimum age of 55 years ....John is 57 years old. As many of you may know, the call to serve as Patriarch is for life! If he lives to be as old as his father, Hilmar, this will mean many decades of giving Patriarchal Blessings.

We had a whole week to ponder on what this call means to him and to our family. This past Sunday he met with the High Council for his last time and let them know how much he has enjoyed serving with these good brethren and will miss their companionship and fellowship
Camarillo Stake High Council and Stake Presidency

Joel Lovstedt, Bob Bell, Jade Morris, Tim Ball, John Lassen, Trent Hamilton, Sam Florence, Tiloi Tuitama, Tyler Garrett, Howard McClure, (Jim Bramwell just released and Larry Hartman out of town)

Pres. Kurt Blickenstaff and Pres. Jay Larsen (Pres. Figueroa on an assignment and Joe Hoffman taking picture)

So, this Sunday, June 22nd, John was told he could invite all of his family and extended family to the ordination. We met in the High Council Room because of our numbers. Pres. Blickenstaff ordained him under the direction and approval of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles and gave him a beautiful blessing. After the blessing, he asked all of our children who were present (all were able to be there except Trine in Utah and Steffen on his mission) to meet with him and John and I in his office where he spoke to us and gave our children council and encouragement to support and sustain their father in this calling and to do all they could do to help keep the Spirit of the Lord in our home, as John will need to have the Spirit with him more than ever before to be able to pronounce Patriarchal blessings upon those who come to him in the years ahead.

We have much to learn but we have read from Pres. Boyd K. Packer that : "the calling of a Patriarch is unique. There is nothing like it in all the world; there is nothing like it in the Church." "His duties are completely spirtual. He is called to give blessings. He has no administrative responsiblities. He is not responsible to counsel the people. He is to give blessings. It is a humbling and marvelous privilege and a great responsibility to be ordained a patriarch."

I think humbling is a key word in this quote.

One of John's favorite scripture comes from the Book of Mormon, 1 Nephi 3:7 and he quoted it as he accepted this call, "I will go and do the things that the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he hath commandeth them."

We will "go and do "

Patriarch John Lassen and Stake President Kurt Blickenstaff

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Father's Day June 2008

Mette and Hans helped me fix John breakfast in bed...our usual tradition!

Mette and I gave John a new wetsuit for those surfing days he loves!

Sunday dinner with some of our family and friends!

John entertained his kids with singing and banjo playing.

John and his 94 year old Father, Hilmar! We are so happy to still have him in our lives!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Dino Twins

I had to put this picture on my blog....aren't Hans and Mette darling in their matchy, matchy Dinosaur Pajamas?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Our dear friend Jake Flake passes away....

My dad's best friend, Jake Flake, from Snowflake Arizona, passed away Sunday. I have known Jake and Mary Louise my whole life...Jake was at ASU with my parents and was my dad's best man at his wedding reception. As a child, I loved our visits up to Snowflake to have fun on his ranch...milking cows, riding horses and exploring the barn. One time when I was a little girl, I rode one of his horses and it decided to cut through the yard, into their garden and under their clothesline. I ducked my head as it went under, but the horn of the saddle caught the clothesline and pulled it down...even pulling the concrete supports up out of the ground. For years after that, when we would go visit, the clothesline post still layed in the dirt! Jake didn't even get mad at me.
Our families became even closer when my sister Pam married Jake's and Mary Louise's' eldest son, Shon...they live in Snowflake too, with their 11 children.

I was surprised and saddened to get the call Sunday that Jake had died...most likely from complications from injuries he received from falling off his horse on Memorial Day. He sustained 8 broken ribs, but seemed to be recovering. He even attended Shiloh's wedding and reception the day before he died. He got up Sunday morning and said he felt better, but then collapsed. What a blessing he was able to be with so many of his family the day before.

I'm heading to Snowflake tomorrow to attend his funeral on Friday. I want to be with my sister, Pam and other family. This year continues to have a lot of loss for us. At least I can enjoy the joyful thought that Jake was greeted by many, including my dear parents, as he passed from this life.
Here's an article that appeared in Arizona Republic Newspaper this week:

Arizona lawmakers and family mourned the death of state Sen. Jake Flake, who died Sunday after suffering a massive heart attack at his home near Snowflake. He was 72.
Flake, R-District 5, had been a state legislator since 1997 and was unopposed for re-election in the fall. He was the uncle of U.S. Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz.

Mary Louise, Flake's wife, said her husband died Sunday morning after a fall; when he tried to get up, he had a heart attack.
She said that her husband's legacy was his large family and that he had been a "very good husband."
The couple, who reared 13 children, were approaching their 49th anniversary this month.
Mary Louise Flake said her husband, a cattle rancher, had been recovering from a fall off a horse two weeks ago.
Gov. Janet Napolitano remembered Flake's leadership. "Jake Flake was a leader of great strength and wisdom, who worked with passion on behalf of the people of Arizona," Napolitano said. "Our hearts and prayers are with his family as they mourn his loss."
Flake served on the state Senate Appropriations and Government committees. He chaired the Natural Resources and Rural Affairs and the Appropriations subcommittee on Education and Natural Resources.
He had served in the Senate since January 2005 and in early May filed his nomination papers seeking a third term.
Flake previously served in the Arizona House, beginning in 1997. He was speaker of the House in 2003-04.
Flake was one of the Legislature's last cowboys, running cattle on his family's F Bar Cattle Co. his entire life.
He was the Legislature's most prominent voice on agricultural issues and was known for his homespun quips and references to ranch life.
Rep. Bill Konopnicki, a Safford Republican also elected from District 5, said Flake's death was a surprise, even though his injuries from the horse incident were worrisome. Flake had suffered internal bleeding from the broken ribs and was in pain, but still maintained he would be back at work at the Legislature before the session ended, likely at the end of this month.
"He'll be missed," said Konopnicki, who added that Flake was in many ways bigger than life itself.
"He's been a stalwart for agriculture for so many years," he said. "It's going to be hard to fill his shoes."
Flake's spokesman during his tenure as House speaker recalled Flake as a genial lawmaker who would not alienate opponents.
"To me, he was just one of a kind," said Jake Logan, who now is a lobbyist. "Whether it was his enemy or his friend, he'd put his arm around you. He was great at building coalitions."
Flake was regarded as a reliable conservative vote but a reasonable lawmaker. He helped champion the legislation that allowed the Maricopa Integrated Health System to be created.
Logan said Flake's legislative accomplishments included shepherding through a university infrastructure bill during his time as speaker. He was also a champion of rural issues, from water to livestock.
Logan recalled a visit that he and about 10 former staffers made to Flake's ranch outside Snowflake last year. They spent a day on the range, learning from their former boss some of the intricacies of ranch life, such as testing whether a cow is pregnant.
"It wasn't pretty, I assure you," he said with a laugh, although to Flake it was second nature.
Logan said he takes comfort from the fact that Flake was doing what he loved up until the end.
"To me, it's a great story that he was on a horse two weeks ago," Logan said.
Much of Flake's biography is posted on the Arizona legislative Web site.
Franklin "Jake" Flake was a native Arizonan, who was born and reared in Snowflake, a town founded by his great-grandfather.
The fourth of eight children, Jake learned the value of teamwork early in life. His childhood chores on the family ranch taught him that true success comes through hard work and self-sufficiency.
After graduating from Arizona State University in 1960, Jake continued working on his father's ranch in Snowflake. They eventually bought the ranch with three of Flake's brothers.
Together, they expanded it into a large cattle operation in the southwestern United States, owning or leasing ranches and marketing bulls and heifers throughout the Southwest and Mexico.
Flake felt a duty to give back to his community. Besides working at the Legislature for a dozen years, Flake served as a board member and president of two school boards, an irrigation district, a hospital operating board, and a farm credit council's board of directors.
He also spent 18 years on the Grand Canyon Council of the Boy Scouts of America, served on the Arizona Rural Health Association Board, the Blue Ridge Natural Resources Working Group, the Arizona 4-H Youth Foundation and the Snowflake Heritage Council.
Flake, despite the public service and professional accomplishment, knew that Arizona's future lies in the strength of its families, not the size of its government, according to the legislative Web site.
The cowboy lawmaker considered his family to be his proudest achievement.
Jake Flake is survived by his wife, Mary Louise; 12 of his 13 children; more than 45 grandchildren; and a newborn great-grandchild.
Funeral arrangements are pending.
Barrett Marson, a spokesman for House Republicans, said precinct committeemen from Navajo County will meet in the next few days and recommend three people to fill Flake's seat.
Republic reporter Matthew Benson and the Associated Press contributed to this article.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Hans' horrible, terrible, no good days.....

Hans has had a couple injuries in the last week involving his head! The first one came one Sunday while playing out front with his nieces. A metal pipe to one of their games was tossed into the air and it came straight down onto the top of his head! Lots of crying and some blood and ice pack to help with the swelling. We wrapped the ice pack with a triangle bandage to keep it from sliding off the top of his head....he looked like Scrooges' friend, Jacob Marley.

We didn't get stitches for it since it was in the hairline and we didn't even need super glue this time! (ask Christian about that story).

Hans was healing nicely, but then.................

yesterday we attend his first piano recital at his teachers house, Marty Florence. He performed so well, all was going great until during the refreshment time, he decided he couldn't resist climbing one of the Florences' trees out in their backyard. I was standing talking with other parents on the patio when we heard a noise of cracking branches and a body falling through the tree and a big thud on the ground below. We ran to see who and what! As I turned the corner going down their steps I saw Hans lying face down in the grass, with a broken branch next to him......not budging for what seemed to be the longest time. I knelt by him, not wanting to move him too soon. I rubbed his back and told him I was movement....then relief to me to hear him begin to cry into the grass. Bro. Riach, a fireman who was also at the recital just began asking Hans questions about where he hurt. We still weren't moving him. Finally, he lifted his face a little out of the grass and we began examining his face. He had a huge lump growing on his left eyebrow and a few scrapes on his cheek and nose.(flashes of Erik's face injuries at age 10, came to my mind for a moment....I've included a picture of that motorcycle accident). I was calm but very relieved when I saw his teeth were not broken, he could move his neck and body parts and no gushing blood coming from anywhere. We helped him up slowly and checked his tummy which he complained about. (his ribs are probably bruised). Bishop Chun, a medical doctor who also had children at the recital, came to me with an icepack from the Florences' freezer and looked into his eyes. We sat Hans down and rested on a bench. Cookies and punch were brought for him and little by little he began to come back to himself. The bump on the eyebrow went down quite fast after the ice pack was put on it.

An hour later, he wanted to be with the other cousins swimming in Aunt Gayle and Uncle Peter's swimming pool at a big Lassen get together. The cold water probably helped the swelling even more. He was jumping on their trampoline, too, and I just wanted to put a helmet on him to protect his head and face! I think I followed him around saying, be careful of your face...don't bump your face....

Today, he woke up with a little more purple on his eye lid but all in all, we feel very blessed that he was watched over in what could have been a terrible accident, falling dead weight, face down through a tree 7-8 feet off the ground. He explained he was hanging with his hands on a branch, without his feet touching when he fell, hit a branch coming down with his face and landing flat on the ground. We were grateful it was grass and not concrete.

Kids are amazing! We laughed this morning that he had a skull like cement! He must be related to Else, who fell as a child, flat on her face from the 8 foot balcony of our playhouse onto the concrete below! Oh the goose egg that grew on her forehead! Funny how all these flashbacks of past injuries come into my mind from raising 9 children! Now, I am going through it with my grandchildren, too.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Follow Me Boys!

John has wanted to earn the Boy Scout Award for leaders called, Wood Badge, for the past 30 years. He served two different times as a Scoutmaster many years ago and he has always loved the Boy Scouts of America Program, even serving as a Member of the Ventura County Council and as District Chairman.

But, it wasn't until recently, that he found they were holding Wood Badge Training near to Camarillo in a two part program, so he signed up and went through the first half of the training a couple weeks ago over a 3 days and nights period out at Pt. Mugu Naval Base. The participants were divided into patrols (he is part of the Fox Patrol) and put through a lot of leadership classes and experiences, which he enjoyed.....even sleeping on a bunk bed again.

This morning, at 5:00 am, he headed out the door with his backpack, dutch ovens and camping gear to drive up to Camp Three Falls for the final 3 days of training to complete the course. Kind of begrudgingly, he posed for me at the front door to catch this early morning picture :-} It reminded me of all those overnight camping trips he used to take his scouts on years ago.

I'm so happy I married this Boy Scout!

John...Ever the Boy Scout!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Busy Weekend!

Trying to get a family portrait on Charlies' special day....the boys aren't enjoying this too much!

This past weekend was busy and full and happy. Friday, Ditte and Jeremy dropped off their 3 chidren for us to take care of until Sunday so they could enjoy an early anniversary getaway to Santa Barbara. That evening, Kirsten's girls, Audrey and Addie wanted to join in on the sleepover, so we had a fun evening all together.

It's nice to have Christian and Emily and Grace staying with us for a few weeks,too, until he starts dental school in mid july. Our house goes from quiet moments to sounds of children and people in the matter of minutes, it seems. I would rather have a home full of people than have it too quiet for very long, though.

Sunday morning, we all got up and drove 2 1/2 hours to Tehachapi to Erik and Cristin's church meetings where their new little baby boy, Charlie was to be blessed. It was such a joyful moment for me to see my own son, Erik, take his little son in his arms up to the front of the chapel and join in a circle of Priesthood holders he had invited made up of his father and brother, father-in-law, and brother-in-laws and cousin. What a choice experience that was to hear a loving father offer a Priesthood blessing on this precious new child.

The day was not without a lot of noise and sometimes crying from all the little ones, but that is part of the package of having a big family. You have to take the good with the not so good.

After the meetings at their ward, we all gathered down the street at their home for a Mexican feast. It was a delicious meal and good company. Thank you Cristin and Erik for putting up with all of us! We had a great day with you. (I copied some pictures from Cristin's blog to paste here on you can see in the family shot, it was really a windy day so our hair and faces are kind of funny....see Cristin's blog for more )