Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Escaping the Heat!!

With it starting to warm up in Arizona, and a wedding this summer, we decided to get away for a few days with the WHOLE family before things got too crazy. It has been so much fun having all the kids here together. We ran off to Jackson, Wyoming--somewhere I have never been--and loved it!!

We rented a house for the week and really enjoyed that. The only down side was the lack of privacy in the master bedroom. One wall only went about 3/4 of the way to the ceiling, leaving it open to the loft. And the loft was open to the main floor. So everything said downstairs could be heard in our room, just as if the person were standing next to you. And everything said in our room could be heard downstairs.

But a big benefit is we could do all of our own cooking. And the best part was that each couple had an assigned day to cook and clean up. Here my man is keeping three pans of pancakes going on the day we had breakfast!!

And then there was my son's special breakfast!! Oh, it smelled and tasted so good!! There was also Kristen and Peter's roasted pork loin dinner, and Camille and Dave's corn chowder and homemade bread! Yumm!

We really enjoyed seeing the wildlife. One night we actually had a moose come right to the front of the house where we were staying!! Unfortunately my son accidentally scared it away before we could get a picture.

But I did get this bear with her two cubs!! They were playing right off the side of the street!

And of course every family should have their picture taken with bison. :-)
We felt a bit sorry though, for all these elk who lost their antlers! At the park in Jackson there were four of these arches (one on each corner of the park).

In addition to wildlife, we loved seeing the falls at Yellowstone Park!
And then there were the snow banks!! We just couldn't believe all the snow! In fact it snowed five inches the day before we went there, and the east entrance to the park was closed due to an avalanche.

And of course there were the thermal pools, steam vents and geysers! I know this picture doesn't really show them, but it is one of my favorite pictures. Aunt Kristen and soon to be Uncle Peter were walking the boardwalk when Carly (2) wanted to join them so she took a hold of Kristen's scarf as they walked along.

We all loved the views of the jagged mountain peaks!

But I have to admit the best part of being there was being with my kids and playing with the grandbabies!!

Being with family truly brings . . . joy to my journey!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Marriage Advice From 9 Year Olds.

My engaged daughter asked her third grade school class for marriage advice. This is what they told her:

Don’t get divorced, have fun living with each other, and don’t ever get in a fight. Just be nice. –A. (Wouldn't it be great if everyone did that!)

Hug and kiss but make sure he likes you first. –T. (It is always good to be sure your husband likes you before you kiss him.)

Love each other, respect each other, and never give up on him. –T.

Never yell at each other or be rude to each other. –R.

Get speakers to get [your husband's] attention. –M. (Now, why didn't I ever think of that?)

Eat lots of cows. –M. (????)

Stick together and give gifts to each other. –K.

Have 28 kids and eat lots of cookies. –J. (I'm all over that cookie idea, but 28 kids???)

Get a 19 layer cake for the reception. –H.

Don’t let [your husband] go out with his friends a lot. – J.

Keep believing in him- And never stop loving him. –J. (Love that one!)

Kiss, have a good time, have kids. –L.

You should kiss [your husband] with lipstick and you should kiss him before you say I do. –J. (I am thinking bright red lipstick is best)

Never fight, play with him, and take each other to a restaurant. –M.

Be nice, eat lots of ice cream, and play Frisbee. –E. (Sounds like a recipe for success to me!)

Be nice and have fun. –M.

Always go to BYU games. –H.

Get 3 children, go on dates often, and go to Chuck-a-Rama. –J.

So there you have it--the secrets to a successful marriage!! I am headed out right now to buy a Frisbee, ice cream and cookies. :-)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

In the "Life is Good" category . . .

Look what has come to America!!

We first discovered Magnum ice cream bars 11 years ago on our first trip to Europe. They were so wonderfully delicious! Later we learned that you could buy them anywhere in the world, EXCEPT the United States.

So, one of the first things Wes always does upon landing in a foreign country, is find the Magnum Bars. It only took him 20 minutes to find one after landing in Beijing! That was pretty impressive.

But now they are here--at Walmart!!

You can get them in all different flavors

Still need enticing? Here is a closeup. Yummy!!

My personal favorite is the double caramel. Smooth creamy ice cream is dipped in milk chocolate, then dipped in rich caramel and dipped in chocolate a second time.
Oh. So. Good!!!

Seriously--you are going to want to run to Walmart and get one!!

And in other good news . . . This is the view off my front porch right now. Okay, so I didn't actually take this picture, but if I did take a picture, this is close to what it would look like. Saguaro cactus and a rainbow!! Yes, believe it or not, it has been raining off and on all day.

I love it!! After hitting a 100 degrees last week, I am really enjoying being in the low 70's! And with moisture!

Lastly--my daughter Kathryn is home for two weeks. Hooray!! I wish she could stay longer but she is an adult and has to work for a living. Still, I am happy with whatever I can get.

Although, tonight after we ate, Wes ran off to his second night of meetings this week (he has meetings tomorrow night as well), Michelle ran off to mutual and Kathryn went over to visit the neighbors.

I was left at home alone to do the dishes.

Okay so life isn't totally perfect. But that just makes me even more grateful for rainbows and ice cream. :-)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Only Nine Weeks To Go!!

Kristen's wedding is just NINE weeks away!!

Which means . . .
I only have NINE weeks to turn

This. . .

And this . . .

And this . . .
And this . . .

And this . . .

Into something

This is going to be one very big
(Do it with friends)


Prayers are appreciated. :-)

Friday, May 6, 2011

If I could go back in time to do one thing over . . .

While visiting with friends recently someone asked the question, “If you could go back in time and do one thing differently, what would it be?”

My answer was that I would be more patient with my children when they were tiny instead of getting upset over little things. And that is true. I really do wish I had been as patient then as I am now, as I think it would have saved us all some grief.

But the truth is, given the chance, there is something else I would do.

I would be nice to Marta.

Marta was a little 8-year-old girl with a congenital heart defect from Nicaragua, who came to live with us while awaiting heart surgery.

And she drove me crazy.

I was 12 at the time and found her very irritating. She would follow me around during the day, would often get into my things, and at dinner time would hurry and sit in my seat. I was convinced her bothersome behavior was intentionally planned to bug me.

So I tried to avoid her, got after her for playing with my things and even gave her a dirty look under the table before family prayer when once again she stole my seat.

But after she went into the hospital, I began to feel bad for the way I treated her. I realized she was young and far from home in a country where she didn’t even speak the language. She had to be very lonely and also very scared.

I decided that when she came back to stay with us during her recovery, I would be the friend I should have been in the beginning.

But I never got the chance to apologize. I never got the chance to make her feel welcome.

Marta died on the operating table.

I think it would be hard for anyone to imagine the guilt I carried with me for many years after that. I thought often of the little lonely girl, so far away from her family, so afraid and treated so unkindly.

So if I could go back in time to do something differently than I did before, I would be nice to Marta. At least then, during her last week on earth, she would have had a friend.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

So Much Fun in Just A Few Weeks!!

Life has actually been rather busy lately . . . and so very much fun!!!

We had the baby blessing of our little grandson, Enoch. What a great day that was!! We loved being there with so many friends and family members to celebrate the big day.

And then his father had a birthday! Happy Birthday Ryan!
Unfortunately we were out of town and weren't able to celebrate with him (but we did leave him the dog to take care of in our absence:-) However, we will be celebrating in style later this week.

I flew to Colorado Springs to spend some time with my daughter Camille and her cute little family. I took several pictures of Carly (who is 2) while there, but she wasn't too thrilled with me doing that and didn't smile in any of them.

However, we did have a nice time at the zoo, where we got up close and personal with the animals!
The next day we all loaded into the little Corolla and journeyed over the Rockies through the snow and ice to Utah to attend the graduation service for Kristen! Good job Dave on the driving!! (Camille's husband) I only white knuckled it a few times.

And Congratulations Kristen on being a college graduate!!

Following Kristen's graduation, we went to lunch at a little Chilean restaurant in Provo. The food was so good and fresh. I ordered a mango drink and then got to watch them peel the mangoes!! Yumm!
Easter Sunday was spent at my sister's house where we had a wonderful dinner (and got to Ohhh and Ahhhh over Kristen's diamond ring!). Thank you Melissa and Joe for that delicious meal.

Here I am in Melissa's backyard with my four daughters!! Life doesn't get much better than that. (And in case anyone is wondering--Camille is 6 months pregnant.)
Also in Utah I was able to go to dinner with my two older sisters and their husbands (which was a great time!) and have an Easter egg hunt with my two younger sisters and their children.

Then we hurried back to Arizona where I spent most of my week working feverishly on a Luau we were having Saturday night. I spent hours collecting cute decorations and planning the table settings.

But, the day of the Luau, the wind kicked up and blew all the decorations down the minute after we put them up. After fighting the wind for almost an hour, I surrendered and put the decorations away. The plates and cups were dumped unceremoniously on the serving table (which is my number one sin for party decor!:-) And we ate cold food (wind chilled) on a table void of decorations. Ugh!!

But everyone seemed to have a good time despite the lack of cuteness and warm vittles.

We had a hula hoop contest.
Pineapple bowling with coconuts
A spear throw and Maori stick dance. And then . . . The sister missionaries taught everyone the Hula and the Haka!!
I am still cleaning up the mess in my kitchen from the cooking. But I had a lot of fun that night.

And I have had a lot of fun the past few weeks. These are the times that definitely bring . . . joy to my journey!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Just another one of life's blessings. . .

Last week my daughter told me she was going to the school dance recital to support a friend of hers who was dancing in it. I remembered that one of my Sunday School girls was also in the recital, along with her younger sister who had been in my seminary class, so I asked my daughter if she would mind if I went with her. She told me she would love to have me go--and not just because she knew I would pay the $5 entrance fee. :-)

I appreciated that. I knew that when I was a junior in high school I would have preferred death over attending a school activity with my mom. I mean I love my mother but going to school with her did not register at all on the "cool scale".

But my daughter and I went together and she even sat next to me instead of with her two very good boy friends who sat in front of us. And I wondered a bit if she were just a little uncomfortable with having her mother there with her.

Then I looked around. Also in the room was our ward Young Women's president who came to support the girls. And across the room sat their seminary teacher. I realized that my daughter probably didn't care I was there at all. She was used to having supportive adults at school activities!

My heart swelled with love. Not just for my daughter, nor just for the girls I came to support, but also for their wonderful leaders who gave up their busy time to be there as well.

And I thought of the words, "their hearts were knit together in love".

How grateful I am for a daughter who doesn't mind going to school with her mother. And how thankful I am for church callings that give us the opportunity to serve each other and thereby come to love and support each other.