Archive for October, 2010

October 23, 2010

My First MHH Service Day!

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Today I woke up at 7:00 and got my working clothes on.  We had to wake up nice and early to go to the Mormon Helping Hands activity.  Mormon Helping hands is where you go and help in the community.  This was my first time going to a MHH activity.  I was really excited to go.  There were lots of people there, and lots of kids! I thought I would be one of the only ones, but the moms and dads brought their kids too.  That was cool.

I got to meet the Mayor of Thousand Oaks, Mayor Gillette, he was there to give us an award for our service and cut the ribbon on our special day of helping.  I got a piece of the ribbon that the Mayor cut for my journal.  I also got to take my picture with him.

When we were done talking to the mayor, we broke into groups and went to different schools to plant trees.  Our group went to Glennwood Elementary School.  We dug holes and planted trees along the front of the school by the street.  I helped dig and was one of the runners getting water and doughnuts and tools to the other workers.  The ground was hard to dig so sometimes the kids helped do other things, like run for supplies.  Makayla’s dad brought a pick, so he could get through the hard ground and rocks whenever we got stuck.  Luckily, the weather was nice and cool, and not too hot.  It actually misted a little bit, but not enough to get us wet.

Tommy and Sam Cooley, Van Bush and my sister Ava did the most digging in our group.  My brothers helped too.   Daylin helped hold up the trees while Ethan and Gabrien filled the dirt back in.  My sister Anna and her friend Chelsea Hackney helped pound in stakes in the ground to keep the trees from falling down.  We all worked together.  It was hard work!

I loved the feeling I had from helping other people today.  I think that’s one of the blessings of serving.  I am proud of all the people that helped.  It was so beautiful when it was all done!

–By Lily Adeline Rockwood, photography by Angela Michelle Myrick Rockwood, Oct 2010

October 21, 2010

My First Oil Pastel

This was my first project with oil pastels.  I think it is the best drawing that I’ve done so far.  I took my time on it and it turned out better than I thought it would.

To me it seems like a picture of free-ness because when I look at it, it’s open like you can fly out with wings between the trees.

I gave this one to my mom so that I will always have a place to keep it and someone I love to feel free with me.  I want my life to be free forever.

I will be better next time I draw with oil pastels, like my mom and dad.  I have a talented family!

by Lily Adeline Rockwood— October 2010

October 21, 2010

Primary Program October 2010

Lily Adeline Rockwood participated in the Annual Primary Program at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  She sang two special numbers, including “Beautiful Savior” and had a speaking part as well as being part of the general children’s choir.

She says, “I didn’t feel confident while I was up singing and saying my part, but I remembered that I said a prayer earlier that day and then I felt better.  Even though I had to work a lot to memorize what I was doing, I still felt good inside and felt the spirit beside me.”  She says that was a special day for her.  “It’s one I will always remember.”

by Angela Michelle Myrick Rockwood and Lily Adeline Rockwood— October 2010

October 21, 2010

A New Family

I have a new family that is kind, loving and faithful.  I love my family just like Heavenly Father loves me.

The family I have now is just like I’ve always wanted.  I will try to fit into this family as best as I can.

I got a family that I love and I want to stay with forever.  This is a family that I like.  They know what is best for me and they give me hugs when I am sad to make me feel better.

by Lily Adeline Rockwood– October 2010

October 20, 2010

A Tale of Sugary Intrigue

I filled my pockets with Halloween candies from upstairs and sat in my chair to work on my blanket while we listened to Rush Limbaugh. Anna was working on artistic masterpieces with her wet pens when all of a sudden a candy fell out of nowhere just behind her head.   Plop!

Anna was shocked!

“Mommy! where did this candy come from??” and we stared at the ceiling together. Sure enough, there was a small hole in our ceiling where a cable had come through at some time. Just as Anna was finished chewing the first one, a second one dropped from the air! Anna ran upstairs and when she came down, she reported her discovery that there must be multitudes of the candies, hiding in the attic. She found that they’d come down through the walls and out the ceiling through the hole! Can you believe it?

First one, then two, then three then four little candies fell inexplicably out of the sky.  Anna’s brain raced with the wealth of possibilities.  She began to be impatient to actually see one come out the hole. “Mommy! Lets unscrew these other hooks from the ceiling, maybe more candies will come out!”  “No”, I said, “I don’t want candies falling on my computer, it might hurt it…”  This cinched it in her mind. There were so many candies up there that they could come out at any time, any place, without warning.

“Mommy! I see a black one coming through the hole! See? It’s all black inside! I saw it move!” Now the wheels were really turning.  “Please candy, can you come down? We’ll be nice to you, we won’t hurt you!” but try as she might she couldn’t coax it out.  She even went so far as to promise that she wouldn’t even eat them if they came down. Obviously these were no ordinary candies, they were special candies!

Finally, two more candies squeezed out and dropped to the floor after Anna determined that she must be standing in the way of them coming down and moved. I guess she didn’t want to risk getting hit.

These two candies didn’t get eaten– because of course, she had promised them safety. They’re taking a ride on Susie the Rocking Horse this very minute…

“Mommy! I see two MORE candies up there. They’re talking about coming out!” …and sure enough they did come out.  Now she was carting a sack of little candy babies around–talking every minute about how yummy candies are, but reminding herself of her promise– however reluctantly.

And so the saga continued.  Though the mysterious origin of the candies gradually took a back seat to an ever growing sugar craving.

Hark! do I hear a wrapper??  I think those candies will be too scared to come out any more.

Was it Troy pushing candies through the hole you ask?  No.   I confess to the sleight of hand.  Surreptitiously I tossed each one over her head while she wasn’t looking.  As long as they landed in the area by the hole, the ruse remained and imagination provided the rest.

And thus we see, You have to keep up the magical candy tradition through the generations! You can’t just give it to them, you gotta make’m WORK for it.

–Angela Michelle Myrick Rockwood October 1999

October 11, 2010

The Village Blacksmith

The Village Blacksmith
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

UNDER a spreading chestnut-tree
The village smithy stands;
The smith, a mighty man is he,
With large and sinewy hands;
And the muscles of his brawny arms
Are strong as iron bands.

His hair is crisp, and black, and long,
His face is like the tan;
His brow is wet with honest sweat,
He earns whate’er he can,
And looks the whole world in the face,
For he owes not any man.

Week in, week out, from morn till night,
You can hear his bellows blow;
You can hear him swing his heavy sledge,
With measured beat and slow,
Like a sexton ringing the village bell,
When the evening sun is low.

And children coming home from school
Look in at the open door;
They love to see the flaming forge,
And hear the bellows roar,
And catch the burning sparks that fly
Like chaff from a threshing-floor.

He goes on Sunday to the church,
And sits among his boys;
He hears the parson pray and preach,
He hears his daughter’s voice,
Singing in the village choir,
And it makes his heart rejoice.

It sounds to him like her mother’s voice,
Singing in Paradise!
He needs must think of her once more,
How in the grave she lies;
And with his hard, rough hand he wipes
A tear out of his eyes.

Onward through life he goes;
Each morning sees some task begin,
Each evening sees it close;
Something attempted, something done,
Has earned a night’s repose.

Thanks, thanks to thee, my worthy friend,
For the lesson thou hast taught!
Thus at the flaming forge of life
Our fortunes must be wrought;
Thus on its sounding anvil shaped
Each burning deed and thought.

October 4, 2010

Name Changing Day

by Angela Rockwood

Name changing day is a Rockwood tradition. In our family when a new member comes into the family, they
receive a new name.

In preparation for adoption, our two daughters chose today as their special name changing day. This day is a day of celebration and much anticipated. A name is something precious, a gift. In adoption, we promise to love and value each family member, as if they had been born to us. While we may not share biology, we can share a common faith and rich heritage through this special gift. These are the names our daughters received today. Each name is rich in personal meaning for our family.

Welcome Ava Victoria and Lily Adeline Rockwood!

October 4, 2010

On A Country Life: An Editorial from a Mother-in-Law

By Denisa Myrick 4/13/09

Mothers-in-law are known to be full of opinion and rarely hesitate to share.  An editorial piece is, by definition, an opinion published in a newspaper or other news publication as opposed to strictly factual information. What an opportunity! I hope I can strike a balance in writing and present an opinion that is based in fact, tempered by well thought out and reasonably arrived at opinion.

What is the difference between children raised in rural areas and children raised in cities?  Why do kids “on the farm” tend to be conservative, solid citizens, while kids raised in more crowded surroundings have difficulty understanding “life”?  This is more than just a political question, but rather a lifestyle choice question and there are a lot of different reasons that come to mind.

Country kids are often influenced more by their families because there are logistical and distance problems with going to town and getting together with friends. As I was growing up, my best friends were my brothers and sisters. Our daily life was family-centered because we were physically separated from our school friends by distance. In raising my own children, our shopping, school and church are a 20 minute drive away and that time in the car is often spent talking with our children, discussing life, politics and swapping stories… opportunities that rarely present in a busy urban household. One of a parent’s important goals is the transfer of values and opinions.  Large quantities of time talking are invaluable and often inescapable in the rural lifestyle.

There is no family activity so bonding and building of a child’s self esteem as family work.  When we were raising our 10 children on our 7 acres, we truly NEEDED our children. We could not mow all the grass, weed all the garden and do all the cooking and child care ourselves.  Our children knew they had a place in the family that had value. They knew that every afternoon and weekend there was a work list and their work contributed to the well-being of the family. I made it a point to have my children do a job, if at all possible, rather than hire it done by a professional.  I hired a professional one time to do a needed construction job, but made it a requirement that he use my two oldest boys as “helpers” and that he teach them as they worked.  They learned a lot and became more capable workers because of the experience.

Closely related to family work are projects. Our children have the opportunity to do REAL projects, not simply spend their hours with  “filler”.  Jonathan (age 15) recently observed that all the kids in his group at school “did something” and they were all “good kids”. The examples he gave were playing a musical instrument, scout projects, 4H and etc. He commented that most kids at school who live in Elk Grove spend their days playing video games and shopping. He concluded that those kids were “weird”. While his observations are generalities, they have some merit.  Our home setting provides our children opportunities to build, to be creative and to do real-life projects. Our children build fences and sheds, raise and train animals, do home maintenance projects, sew clothing and cook food. They build dirt bike tracks with jumps and dig holes to see how deep they can go. Their projects are very hands-on and have real-life applications.  The projects require planning and problem solving and contribute to a child’s self esteem and sense of family contribution as opposed to the urban problem of how to keep kids occupied after school. Its the difference between giving your child a plastic tool set as opposed to  giving them a real set of tools and showing them how to do something useful.  Its the difference between giving your little girl a play oven set with plastic pans… OR showing her how to use the real oven and helping her make real food.  Real life is an adventure and children generally welcome the chance to jump in and learn how to actually contribute in a real way to benefit their family.

Another benefit of living in the country is seeing and learning from cause and effect.  Children raised in subdivisions often do not have the benefit of seeing life first hand and learning natural lessons.  If you don’t feed your rabbit, it dies.  If you don’t water the garden, you get no food.  If you don’t latch the gate, the goat gets out and you have to stop what you are doing and go out and chase it.  The idea that actions have consequences is a lesson that children must learn and the more natural the consequences, the better the lesson learned.

Children who participate in the family project of a garden or chickens or meat animals know where their food comes from.  Its another cause and effect benefit.  Many people think their food just appears on the shelves at Winco each night. They give no thought or respect to the farmers, ranchers and animals that contributed to their food supply.  In my political world I hear people from cities complain about farmers taking the water, how unfair it is to kill coyotes, how we should make regulations about animals smelling bad and to keep insensitive farmers from locking up animals, etc…  There is a basic disconnect in logical thought about the realities of food production and food supply.  I’ve never heard such nonsense opinions from country kids.

Are all kids raised in the city doomed to eternal, unavoidable disconnect? Is there no hope for families that live by choice or necessity in a subdivision? I don’t think so. All these opportunities for raising grounded children that come naturally in the country, can be found (or created) in a subdivision or urban setting. On the other hand, is living in the country an automatic pass on the problems and challenges of raising children?  No, to that one also.  All parents need to be diligent and creative in seeking out work opportunities and in teaching children about life’s cause and effect.  All parents need to plan for the volume of family time needed to ensure the transfer of knowledge and values that is essential if the next generation is to carry on family and societal traditions.   Living in the country is a lot of physical work, but I am glad we made the “country” choice for our family.

October 4, 2010

Feature Article: Reading Aloud!

By Troy Rockwood 4/10/09

“Children are never too young to have stories read to them,” says Nancy Verhoek-Miller, a specialist in early childhood education at Mississippi State University. The benefits of reading aloud are so profound, and kids form so much of their intelligence potential during the early years of their life, that experts recommend reading aloud to your child as soon as he or she is born, and continuing indefinitely.

In the Rockwood home, we have read aloud together off and on for our entire adult life. The resulting feelings of togetherness are nearly tangible. Reading together has been one of the fondest memories I have of time with my mother is of her trying to read through her tears the last part of Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls or reciting together one of the passages in One Fish Two Fish by Dr. Seuss. The following is a compilation from several sources about the benefits of reading to children with my own two cents added here and there.

  1. Reading aloud is fun.
  2. Reading aloud builds a lifelong interest in reading. “Getting kids actively involved in the process of reading, and having them interact with adults, is key to a lifelong interest in reading,” said BeAnn Younker, principal at Battle Ground Middle School in Indiana.
  3. Children whose parents read to them tend to become better readers and perform better in school, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
  4. Reading to kids helps them with speech development.
  5. It expands kids’ vocabulary and teaches children how to pronounce new words. The more adults read aloud to children, the larger their vocabularies are and the more they will know about the world and their place in it.
  6. Reading to toddlers prepares them for school, during which they will need to listen to what is being said to them (similar to what they do while being read to).
  7. Reading to older kids helps them understand grammar and correct sentence structure. Reading aloud introduces the language of books, which differs from language heard in daily conversations, on television, and in movies. Book language is more descriptive and uses more formal grammatical structures.
  8. Kids and parents can use reading time as bonding time. It’s an excellent opportunity for one-on-one communication, and it gives kids the attention they crave.
  9. Being read to builds children’s attention spans and helps them hone their listening skills.
  10. Curiosity, creativity and imagination are all developed while being read to. Reading aloud lets children use their imaginations to explore people, places, times, and events beyond their own experiences.
  11. Being read to helps kids learn how to express themselves clearly and confidently.
  12. Kids learn appropriate behavior when they’re read to, and are exposed to new situations, making them more prepared when they encounter these situations in real life.
  13. When read to, children are able to experience the rhythm and melody of language even before they can understand the spoken or printed word.
  14. Reading aloud can introduce books and types of literature—poetry, short stories, biographies—children might not discover on their own.

I have compiled a list of books that we have enjoyed together as a family. Our family has enjoyed reading aloud all of these books (and will likely repeat several of them).

Summer of the Monkeys by Wilson Rawls
The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
The Great Brain by John D. Fitzgerald
Witches by Roald Dahl
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis
Snow Treasure by Marie McSwigan
A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
Heidi by Johanna Spry
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
The Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
Carry On, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Latham
Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks
Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White
My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan
Gentle Ben by Walt Morey
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder

October 4, 2010

Cleo, Miracle Cat Learns to Live Indoors

By Angela Rockwood 4/17/09

Two months ago our brown tabby cat, Cleopatra (Queen of the Nile) was bitten and shaken by a nice dalmatian dog the kids had rescued.

At first glance, the scene was grim. It looked like Cleo wasn’t going to make it. After a night of watching and waiting, the big decision was made. She wasn’t going to make it. We said our goodbyes and did our crying and talked about where animals go when their time on the earth is over and then, heartbroken, we sent her off in a box to go to the vet to be put to sleep.

I couldn’t attend, so I sent Troy and a few of the kids to see her off on her last journey.

Two days and $600 later, the cat was back, with fresh X-rays, stitches, a big blue “no bite” collar, and a new lease on life. The family couldn’t be happier, but Cleo wasn’t so sure.

Through two months of grueling therapy, wound care and force fed medicine, she weathered her life patiently and slowly grew stronger. When asked about her ordeal, she just blinks and gags, remembering the “chicken” flavored antibiotics.

At times, her gimpy leg still slides out on the slick floors and she still sometimes misjudges the lack of friction on the new couch as she jumps on the new leather sofa, sometimes sliding un-ceremoniously from the back, but all in all, she’s adjusting well.

The doctor says her prognosis is good, and she is free to live, a happy cat with what remains of her amazing nine lives.

October 4, 2010

Youth Temple Trip to the Los Angeles Temple a Success!

By Angela Rockwood 4/0309

On Friday, Anna and Gabrien Rockwood attended their first youth temple trip. They were each given special recommends for the exciting event by their Bishop, and then traveled more than an hour by carpool to get there.

“I was nervous, but it was fun. I got to be baptized for 15 people! That was pretty neat.” said Anna.

“I had fun at the temple.” He said. “It was good.”

Gabrien, has been ordained the ward’s newest deacon and has been performing his new priesthood duties with honor.

“You cannot ask for a better example of a righteous deacon in our family,” said his father, Troy.

I am so proud of our kids.” said their mother, Angela.

“We have such good children.  I hope they have the opportunity to serve often in the church. There is no better place they could be than in the temple.”

October 4, 2010

Birthday Bonanza and the Old Switcheroo

By Ethan, Daylin and Gabrien Rockwood 4/17/09

Every year we have the birthday debate over daddy’s real birthday. Our dad started turning around when he was 33, and every year he thinks he gets a little younger. This year, he thought he was 30, and tried to play the old switcheroo on mommy, because on her birthday last week, she turned 33. He thinks he’s getting younger, but nobody believes him.

“Nobody believes daddy because we all think he’s getting more gray hair every year” confessed Daylin. “Yeah, plus, his beard keeps getting longer!” said Ethan. “I don’t think he’s getting smaller either.” chimed in Troy’s eldest son, Gabrien. “Pretty soon he will lose his driving license.”

This reporter asked the youngest son, “So, is your dad really getting younger?” “No.” he replied candidly. “If he did, he would have to wear diapers, that’s a bad idea.”

October 4, 2010

The First Edition of the “Cranberry Juice News” Coming This Week!

By Angela Rockwood 4/17/09

The first edition of “Cranberry Juice” to hit nightstands, bathroom walls and inboxes this week. Family members of all ages reported to be “ecstatic” at the news.

“Yeah, I like it.” said one Gabrien Rockwood age 12. “I like the name and and the picture. I think it’s a good way to know about things and stuff that is happening.”

“It was actually my dad’s idea,” piped in Daylin Rockwood age 10, “I think he got the idea from reading grandma Myrick’s newsletters when my mom was little.”

“I think it’s the greatest idea in the world,” said Troy Rockwood, regular columnist and founding editor. “We are all so far from each other, but we have so much to talk about. Why not have a newspaper of our own?”

How did the paper get it’s unique and flavorful name? Well according to Daylin, a young underreported poetic thinker named Ethan thought of it first. “We were eating breakfast and Ethan made up a name, and we all thought it was great, let’s name it Cranberry Juice! So we did.”

We were able to track down the young brother Rockwood at his place of study but he had very little to comment.

“Well, there was a Cranberry Juice bottle on the table. That’s all I remember.”

So there you have it! Taking the bitter with the sweet! The story of America’s own, Cranberry Juice!