Archive for ‘family’

September 8, 2013

Music in My Life


Editorial: By Angela Rockwood

This is my Grandma Dixie and her beautiful violin.  I thought of her today as I was singing, joyously, out loud, in the car on the way home from church.

Grandma Dixie is the kind of grandma who loves the potential in you just as much as your kisses and smiles.  She sees us not just as who we are, now, but also as who and what we will become.  There are many conversations I had with her as a child that I know she meant for my older ears, in my future years.  Those lessons are precious to me. Grandma is one of the main people who taught me my family history, who made sure I knew who I was, where I came from, and what was important in life.  Isn’t that the ultimate role of grandma?  She helped give me my identity.  Part of that identity comes through music.

Grandma gave all of us the gift of music.  She made sure that her eight children had music lessons, and art lessons, even though it might have also meant hand-me-down clothes and home-made wheat bread to compensate in other areas of their family budget.  Music, art and family are that important.

When her children were nearly grown, her youngest son came to her in a fit over his music lessons. He told her he couldn’t figure out why he had to practice so much.  She told him he had a gift, and that he’d be able to use it all his life, perhaps even playing in the orchestra.  He continued the conversation in his flippant way, if she thought it was such a great gift, why she wasn’t she in an orchestra?  She went right out and joined the American River College Orchestra, and has been playing in the college orchestra every since.  She gained such a solid talent and skill, that she plays in a beautiful quartet, often accompanying weddings and other special occasions, as well as playing for her grandchildren.

For her birthday, grandma always tells us she doesn’t want presents.  She wants music.  For years we had Grandma Dixie’s Birthday Recital the day after Thanksgiving every year, in honor of her.  My uncle, who complained about expressing his music, is an illustration artist and works in advertising, using music and form to communicate ideas.  My other various aunts and uncles are all creative still as well.  One sews beautiful quilts and has painted with oils, another plays beautiful piano and organ.  My aunt Diane plays violin and fiddle, and is quite good. My mother studied piano in college and loves music theory.  She gives her own children and grandchildren piano lessons.  That’s how I learned, because not only was the gift of music passed from grandma Dixie to her children, but also her grandchildren, and great grandchildren.

Last year, we had to move Grandma Dixie’s Birthday Recital to another day just to accommodate all the posterity that wished to play in it.  Grandma has 8 children, innumerable grandchildren, and many more great grandchildren.

Those that don’t play instruments, sing.  We all sing.  We don’t just sing popular stuff either, we sing our history.  We sing our heritage.  Songs my grandmothers have sung for a hundred years, perhaps more.  We sing around campfires, and around dinner tables, in living rooms, and reunions and while we drive in the car.  The skill is valuable, the tones and harmonies are beautiful, the heritage is rich treasure.

Grandma sang because her mother sang.  Her mother sang because her mother before her, also sang. This music is in us, given to us by our generations.  It is a beautiful thing.  Do I sing? For me the music comes out in paint, lace, poetry, and art as much as music.  It is all the same song.

The world has changed somewhat in the years since my grandmothers first taught their children the beauty of song.  There is something that was lost when recorded music came on the scene. Music played by the most skilled, most talented people of the day with state of the art equipment and percussion can hardly compare to a ragtag family chorus around the campfire, but there is something about music that has soul in it.

Music isn’t about perfection, it’s about expression.  We ought to sing.  We need to sing.  We need to sing together.

My children are still young enough that they don’t fully appreciate piano lessons, looking at art techniques or their mother singing in the car perhaps, but they know the music.  I’m teaching them the heritage.  It’s all a process.

Today my 13 year old daughter played organ prelude in sacrament meeting.  Friday my son served as DJ for the ward activity.  Last week another daughter played piano for the Spanish speaking ward who doesn’t have anyone who knows piano in their ward boundaries. This afternoon, my youngest daughter sang her heart out over her lunch snack.  It’s in there.

There are many things I want for my children, but one of things I want most is to pass on this legacy– that my children know who they are, feel the music in them, and however it comes, sing.

September 8, 2013

A Man From Another Era


Fashion Special: By Angela Rockwood

Troy loves to dress up.  It’s funny.  Everyone always thinks I’m the creative one, but he’s the one with all the big ideas when it comes to dressing up.   Maybe it’s just that he’s braver than I am.  Troy is a social skippy bunny.  He is unafraid of anyone or anything.  He isn’t afraid of what they think either.  He isn’t bold, he’s just oblivious to things like mortal danger and fashion faux pas.  I think that’s how he always comes off looking so perfect.  He makes me bold.

Last night he was Mr. 1973.  We went to a dance, dressed in the era we were born. Troy looked great.  He is timeless.  He can appear at home and comfortable in any era.

When we met, he was Mr. 1980-something, pegged pants, button shirt, closed to the neck.  Yep, even the top button– and don’t forget the high-top converse shoes.  Yikes. It took us years to get him to loosen that top button. He likes what he likes.

The funny thing is, we were looking through his closet and his costume isn’t actually a costume, these are his real clothes.  Red corduroys.  He wears them.  He passed up the turquoise skinny jean cut corduroys this time.  Dodged a bullet maybe on that one.  The glasses and hair are all the costume he needed.

The voyage into facial hair options has opened whole new vistas to his sense of time and style.  He spent several years experimenting on “The Quest For Every Beard Type”.  More than once, Mr. 1890 has gleefully stepped out of the master bathroom wanting a kiss.

The music he listens to?  All of it.  He loves all music.  Old, new, classic, pop, instrumental.

The tech he plays with? He is a computational physicist, working on cutting edge technology.   He worked for the company that designed the internet.  He had email when I was still faxing letters home to my parents.  I was listening to cassette tapes while he was on mp3 audio books– yet he still writes love notes on old IBM punch cards.

He is a Man from Another Era.  Any era.  It’s all there.  He fits.

If souls are eternal, that would explain it.  The rest is just dressing on the cake.

September 5, 2013

For the Things That Never End


Editorial: By Angela Rockwood

We finally got our family pictures updated.  I figure it is about time.  I am one of the luckiest women alive.  My family is precious to me.  Is there anything else that brings such happiness?

I was talking to someone recently who had no desire to be a mother.  I look at my life and the changes that have come to me since becoming a mother, and I can’t imagine not being where I am.  I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

Everyone makes their choices in life.  Through infertility, I was given the opportunity to not be a mother.  I am so thankful I chose otherwise.

“Many voices in the world today marginalize the importance of having children or suggest delaying or limiting children in a family. My daughters recently referred me to a blog written by a Christian mother (not of our faith) with five children. She commented: “[Growing] up in this culture, it is very hard to get a biblical perspective on motherhood. … Children rank way below college. Below world travel for sure. Below the ability to go out at night at your leisure. Below honing your body at the gym. Below any job you may have or hope to get.” She then adds: “Motherhood is not a hobby, it is a calling. You do not collect children because you find them cuter than stamps. It is not something to do if you can squeeze the time in. It is what God gave you time for.” –Neil L. Andersen

Family is everything.  It’s what we do, it’s who we are.  We’re interconnected. These are the ties that bind, the essence of things that never end.


November 30, 2012

Nature’s Waterway Project: Clearing The Creek With a Tractor

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Nature’s Waterway Project: Clearing The Creek With a Tractor

Feature Article: by Gabrien D. Rockwood

This Thanksgiving, I spent the week at my grandparents house in rural Northern California.  While we were there, I got the opportunity to help clear out the creek bed of my grandpa’s house.  It was pretty exciting.

First I had to learn how to operate a tractor safely, and drive it. I learned on my grandpa’s tractor. You have to put the key in, and plug in a red plug that is for safety measures. The next thing I learned was to always drive it in low gear. That is the safest gear for people under 18 to drive in, since I don’t have a lot of practice driving yet. Also, low gear is the strongest gear, and the gear that makes the most sense for pulling big stuff.

Next we looked at the project. There was a barbed wire fence and about 15 trees that needed to be cleared from the creek bottom to allow flood waters to flow this winter without getting clogged up.

To clear the fence, we had to dig around the base of each metal post, clip the barbed wire from it, and get it ready to pull with the tractor. After the post was ready, I tied the tow rope around the post and positioned the tractor scoop right above the post so the rope was tied to the tractor and the post. Then I could get in the tractor and lift the tractor scoop to pull out the post. If the post was loose from digging, it came right up, otherwise, we had to dig it out some more. We dug out about 15 fence posts. Some were old and just snapped off, but others were half buried with old floodwater debris.

After the fence was cleared, we could reach the trees that needed to be pulled. We backed the tractor up and hooked the tow rope to the back end of the tractor and also to the dead trees. This part was tricky because the ground near the creek bed was soft from previous rains, and the tractor kept slipping. I learned that if a tire was spinning, you would have to back the tractor up, and try a different angle. It was a lot of work. One time we got stuck in a hole because the tire spun and dug into the earth. I had my dad sit on the back end of the tractor to help us get traction. Then the tires could contact the earth, it balanced out and we could go back up the bank.

One of the things we had to be careful of was to make sure that the tractor didn’t get too close to the creek edge. My grandpa would not have been happy if the tractor fell into the creek. We did have my mom’s van to pull it out just in case, but we were careful, and I didn’t drive close to the edge.

Another of the dangers we had to watch out for was poison oak. Luckily, nobody ran into any during our project, but we were always on the lookout.

The biggest log was the hardest to pull up. We had to cut it into two pieces because the stump of the tree was digging into the earth while we were trying to pull it and the tractor didn’t have the strength to pull the tree, and the dirt. We didn’t have a chainsaw, so we had to saw it in half by hand. It was an oak tree, so it took a long time to saw through. After we sawed through the trunk though, it came out pretty easily. That was a big tree! It went from one side of the creek, all the way to the other side, and had been there for many years. My mother remembered it from when she was a little girl.

After we were done, I could see that the waterway was clear and my grandpa was happy because now his property wouldn’t flood. I learned how to cut a tree, drive a tractor, make a three point turn, tow stuff, and all kinds of good things about the creek behind my grandpa’s house.

September 7, 2012

Sticking To It

Painting by Darren Maurer

Painting by Darren Maurer

Sticking To It– The Ten Second Rule

by Angela and Ava Rockwood Sept. 2012– A poem to celebrate Ava’s spelling words, and little kids’ penchant for eating things off the ground.

Towering greatly

Tremendous collapse!

Suddenly gumballs

Trailing the maps!

Naive perspectives

Picking through dirt–

Chew it up quickly…

What could it hurt?

Believing thoroughly

Stubborn as mules–

Smacking and blowing

The ten-second rules!

July 3, 2012

The Vanishing Oatmeal Cookie Project

The Vanishing Oatmeal Cookie Project

Feature Article by Angela Rockwood

Scout Camp funds are nearly always difficult to acquire, but in this economy, ingenuity requires drastic measures, so scout Daylin Rockwood did the unthinkable– he called in the sisters.

It’s well known that patrons of the yearly 4th of July Pancake Breakfast put on by the scout troops each year are suckers for their sweet tooth.  A bake sale full of delicious delights was just what the piggy bank ordered.  “I knew my sisters were always cooking things anyway, so I figured they wouldn’t mind making some extra.” says Daylin.  “I’m one of their favorite brothers after all.”

Four batches and 130 cookies later, Daylin looks pleased, and his prospects for going to Scout Camp have never been better.

“I didn’t know it was going to be such a big project.” says Daylin’s main cookie baker, Ava Rockwood.  “Well, it’s hard to admit, at first I was like, ‘Aw Man!  I want to eat them!’ but then, I thought, well, it IS service!  So then I felt better.”

But things didn’t always look so smooth.  “Half way through the cookie project, we discovered someone kept eating them!” confides insider Anna Rockwood.  “We had to make two more batches just to compensate!”

Wiping crumbs from his shirt, brother Ethan Rockwood admits, “It’s a lot of work guarding the cookie stash, they probably have enough already.”

Don’t forget to come to the Boy Scout Pancake Breakfast, and on your way out, indulge your sweet tooth!

If you have a scout who needs great fundraising ideas, pass it along~!

Vanishing Oatmeal Cookies

2 sticks butter

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 and 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon  cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 cups oats

1 cup raisins or chocolate chips or both!

–contributed by investigative reporters Lily Adeline and Angela Rockwood

June 14, 2012

A Father Indeed

“My father didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.”
Clarence B. Kelland 1881-1964

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June 12, 2012

Grandma’s Thoughts On How To Be A Great Mother

Today I talked to my grandma about the qualities a mother needs to teach her children, especially about faith and teaching them how to base their decisions on gospel truths.

It’s a big subject, but grandma told me that one of the most important things to know was that a mother needs to believe what she tells her children.  The next thing is to make sure you do what you tell your children to do.  If you tell your child not to yell and then you yell, what are they going to learn they should do?  They won’t listen to what you say, they will copy you.   You could tell your children to go to church, but if you don’t go yourself, why would they believe you when you said it was important?  They won’t go to church, they’ll stay home with you instead.  That’s not a good way to teach them good principles.  If you’re going to teach it, do it.

The opposite is also true, if you teach your children not to yell, and you try your best to have a good attitude and soft voice, full of love for them, they will feel your love for them and see that it is important that they not raise their voices.  Your example shows them the way they should be.  If you go to church, and your children see you attending, see your good attitude, and that it is a meaningful part of your life, they will see for themselves why it is important, and they will follow.

My grandma raised ten children, she knows a lot about raising children.  I think she’s right.  If you don’t believe her, try it!  I’ve seen my grandma speak kindly, and I’ve seen her go to church.  I know it’s important to her.  I know from watching her, that she wouldn’t lead anyone astray.  For one, she’s honest.  If she says she will do something, she does it.  Once when I was staying at my grandma’s house, I asked her if she would wake me up when she went to milk the cows.  I was already awake at that time, but she came to wake me up anyway, just like she said she would.  Another time, she promised that I could help her, and she followed through and let me help her with her project.

The thing I know about my grandma is what my mom says:  “She does what she says and she says what she does!”  She’s always teaching us how to be better, both by her example and by her words.

Even though I have seen her example many times, I think the talk with my grandma helped me see more clearly how to be a great mother, grandmother and leader.

–by Ava Victoria Rockwood (age 13)

June 12, 2012

Flying on Ice

This year for a sport I chose to do ice skating. Since I have never taken ice skating lessons I am in the first level called Pre-alpha. While I am not taking my lessons I still practice so that I can do well in my class. Every Tuesdays for 7 more weeks I will go and take lessons for about half an hour to forty five minutes. So far I am the youngest person in my group.

Since I had lots of practice before I started ice skating, I already knew some things. The first time I went ice skating I met a girl named Isabelle. She has long brown hair that is curly like mine, she also has braces and beautiful long eye lashes. I don’t know what color eyes she has but I think that they are brown.  Isabelle was really nice to me and taught me how to do a twirl. Now every time I go ice skating I look forward to seeing her.  Last week while I was doing a twirl, I fell and got a bruise on my hip. After a couple of times falling, Isabelle taught me how to fall without hurting myself. She also taught me how to bend down when I felt like was going to fall and twirl like that.

For my ice skating stuff I get a discount because the person I get my stuff from owns a horse place and she takes care of our horse. She is also a good friend of ours. I like ice skating because it is a competitive sport and I always want to do my best. I also like to learn new things. When I skate on the ice, I feel like I’m flying on water. Every time I go, I’m gradually learning new things. I can’t wait until I learn more things like Isabelle. She’s an amazing skater.

–by Lily Adeline Rockwood (age 11)

May 29, 2012

Fathers and Sons Campout With My Dad

Me with my Dad

Last week I went to the Fathers and Sons Campout with my dad.  This year it was at Emma Woods State Beach, in Ventura.  We decided not to cook dinner since my dad can only eat gluten free food.  He’s still new at gluten free food and only has a few things he knows how to make.  Sandwiches is one of them, so we ate sandwiches in the car on the way there.  The sandwiches were good!  We had them on cinnamon bagels, cut in half, with ham and cheese.  We didn’t have yellow cheese, so we split a string cheese into strands and put that on our bagels.  Yum!  I could tell this was going to be a good campout.

When we got there, we quickly set up our tent and then ran to see the campfire.  The campfire wasn’t started yet, so I gathered wood.  Josh Taylor and I used the axe to chop wood.  That was fun, even though I didn’t have my totin’ chip.  If you have your totin’ chip, you can show the police that you can use the axe safely, otherwise, they could arrest you or something, maybe take the axe away from you.  I don’t know though, because it’s brother Barrus’ axe, and he might get mad.  I don’t like it when he gets mad, so I was careful to do it right so no one would ask me about my totin’  chip.  My dad was there, so I wasn’t too worried.

After we got the fire going, I helped brother Anderson take out all the snacks, food and root beer.  I don’t know why they always bring soda to go camping, but that’s what they do every year.  My favorite thing to drink was the coconut pineapple juice that my mom packed for us.  The cranberry juice went down in like two minutes, that’s pretty good stuff.

There were railroad tracks right next to our campsite.  My friends and I stood on them for a while until a train came.  When the train came, we yelled at the people in the train, we said “Hi! How are you?” and then we had to run and jump behind a fence so we wouldn’t get sucked in by the wind.  That was kind of cool. Later I found out that there’s so much wind under the running train that it can suck you under, and you might die.  That’s what my dad told me, but not until later. Also, there was this bridge that was part of the railroad tracks, if you walk on it, it’s scary because there’s no dirt between the rails of the track, just sky.  Also, if a train came while you were on it, you’d die.  Luckily, we didn’t die.

When we came back like an hour later, it was dark.  If you looked up in the sky, there was this one cloud that looked like a surf board.  It was thin, but long.  It was all red and pink.  It was really cool to look at because of the amazing colors.   We didn’t really go near the water because it was all rocky with sticks, no sand, and there was this hobo that lived near the water, and we were afraid he’d start attacking us or something, so we didn’t go there.

We had root beer floats, those were good.  I guess that’s why they brought root beer.  Then, brother Anderson gathered up all the boys and their dads to talk about the priesthood.  He talked about how good it was and how it was a blessing to us.  If you have the priesthood, you can do a lot of things.  It’s kind of hard to understand, but it’s like the power of God.  I thought it would be cool to have, because I’m going to be getting the Aaronic priesthood next year.   My dad has the Aaronic Priesthood AND the Melchizedek Priesthood.  He can give blessings of healing and pass the sacrament, he can do all kinds of stuff.

When we were done learning about the priesthood, we looked at the sky.  Eric Langlois brought a laser pointer and we found out that if you hold the laser pointer at the sky, you can point at the stars.  The laser was Dad’s favorite color, green.  Dad taught me that light goes on forever.  The sun’s light shines and goes out into space, further and further every day.  If you were standing on a planet far away, you’d be able to see the light from our sun, it would look like a star in the sky.  So if you’re on our planet looking at the stars, that’s really someone else’s sun.  That’s pretty amazing.  Also, if you point a laser at a star, you can touch the star with your laser light– it just might take a billion years for the light to get there.  I think it would be really fun to play laser tag with aliens!

I slept outside with Daylin and the Packard boys.  Gabrien and my dad got the tent.  Sleeping outside is the frontier way.  I like that best.

The next morning we had a huge pancake breakfast.  It was really good.  There were mountains of sausage, eggs and pancakes.  I felt sorry for my dad.  He couldn’t have anything with flour in it, and he doesn’t like eggs.  There was one other kid that was also gluten free.  He ate special pancakes, but my dad just had sausage, juice and yogurt.

One of the coolest things that happened at our camp out, was when my dad put some coins on the railroad track and the train ran over them.  They looked like flat, smooshed metal.  I got to hold the smooshed coin, it was cold and smooth.  I couldn’t read any of it, but Dad said it used to say 1996 on it.  We put a rock on the track, and it smooshed the rock too.  Trains are pretty powerful, and my dad is pretty cool.  I didn’t even know you could do stuff like that.

When we were done looking at the coins, we packed up and went home.  It was a pretty good trip.

–Contributed by Angela Rockwood and Ethan Nathaniel Rockwood (age 10)