Saturday, July 31, 2010

Watch Hazie Run!

Second Video post for today.

Hey Hey Hey! Whatta Ya Say...

Chris and Missy's kids participated in this neighborhood choral class this summer and it was a great little concert I attended one afternoon. It was Zachary's first concert, he is in the first row on the far right. Aynslee is also in the first row with the purple shirt and cute blond hair. Connor is in the back row on the left with the glasses.

One of the things I love about Utah is there are so many enrichment activities like this for the kids. I was very proud of all of them. Jen said she wished her kids had known about it too. It is funny but these things are so much more enjoyable as a grandparent as I think your life is just not as crazy busy and you can actually relax and enjoy the moment. We love to attend all their activities.

I must admit, I didn't always feel that way as a young parent after all it took just to get them all there, presentable and in a happy mood! See how sweet it is to get older...just show up and enjoy! I like it!

The only draw back, some of the songs are so catchy, like this one, that you may just be singing the chorus for a long time! Hey Hey Hey, Whatta Ya Say...repeated over and over and your mind.....Ah, La Dolce Vita!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Like Father Like Son!

Chip and Dad
(Yes the previous owners actually painted that wall behind them! Yikes!)

People have always said that Chris looks like his Dad. Actually if you take Chris, feature for feature he looks more like my side of the family but the reality is he is built like his Dad, he has mannerisms like his Dad and has a lot of his Dad's characteristics. When they are walking down the street, side by side, from the back you cannot tell who is who. Size wise they are nearly identical.

More importantly they share so many of the same qualities and philosophies. They both have that mechanical mind that has a vision for things, knows instinctively how things fit together and work, and how to solve problems. They are not afraid to tear something apart to fix it and they are definitely not afraid to break a sweat. They can work so hard for hours and hours and hours and have fun doing it. The ways in which they are similar are uncanny. I have always said Chris' nickname should be "Chip" as he is definitely 'a chip off the old block.'

This has been such a fun time this past month, watching them hike in Yosemite and have fun together and also seeing them work on Chris' big construction project in their basement at home. In each of those times Jim was in his glory. What could bring a wife/mom more happiness than seeing her men enjoying each other? It is about as good as it gets!

Over the past few years they have almost completely renovated their older home. Chris and Missy had the vision of buying a fixer-upper in a beautiful, established neighborhood and have carried that vision through to reality one step at a time. Jim has been able to help on some of the projects and that has been great, but the kids have done much of it themselves.

Right now they have just finished raising the ceiling in the basement, have done all the electrical work and added can lights throughout. They have hung 6 new doors and are finishing a second bedroom downstairs so Connor can have his own room. The guys did so much work while we were there. Chris and Melissa started the tear out just three weeks ago and Chris has been working full time during the day, so the basement remodel has mostly been nights and Saturdays.

I just love to see them working together for good~ so their home will be more enjoyable and function for their family. Having Grampa there to lend a hand is the icing on the cake!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Recapping & Playing Catch-Up!

Owen Finds a fun place to hang out!

I really love that most of the time I can post up to the minute events activities, thoughts, etc. When I have to go back it is so much harder. It is like the luster of the moment has faded into memories and the moment at hand is what is on my mind. But since I do this as a journal and a bit of family history I need to fill in the lost days somehow. Here are just some random photos of some of the things we did.

One evening Jen and Lowell had a photo shot with their favorite photographer for the girls. It included four locations and over 2 hours. They were amazing. One place was a corn field way out of town.

I liked this photo of the Y. Jim and Chris and Lowell hiked up to the Y three of the mornings we were there before the boys had to be at work. That is a vertical hike and how Chris prepared for Half Dome!!

Hazie loves Buzz Lightyear but unfortunately
she calls him Bud Light!
Since no one in our
family drinks
we think this is extra funny!

End of the photo shot,
the girls are getting tired.

Lowell is riding Chloe around waiting
for her turn at the portraits.

The big girls force one more smile...
poor babies!

Hazie resting with a beautiful flower
the photographer gave her!


Looks like a homer, Connor!

Dinner at The Communal with the adult kids
and our niece, Erin,
next to Jen who is at the head of the table.

The moon over the Lake one evening
Jen and I finally made it to a movie,
Letters to Juliet.
(Loved it!)
I was able to catch the Blue Hour which is hard!
It was actually dark out.

Julia and Piper did the free skating at
the ice rink before Aynslee had her lesson.

Jewels and Pipes


Ayns getting ready for her lesson

Aynslee had only had one lesson when we
went to
watch her skate. She is a natural on the ice.
Honestly she was so good,
she took to it like a fish to water.
No fears!

Hazie giving her back a little rest one afternoon.

Waiting for lunch at a fancy restaurant one day.
It was just the big girls, Jen and me.

Zachary lost his first upper tooth
while we were there.

The kids playing on the carpet in
and Missy's dining area.
Everything is out
of its normal place
due to 1/2 of the house,
the basement, being under construction.

Christopher at the Barbie!

Zach and Chloe enjoying a cookie after dinner!

Hazie swinging at Uncle Chris
Aunt Missy's house. Crossing her legs like this
helps her circulation
and balance in a swing.

Uncle Lowell playing Frisbee with the kids.

Missy made three delicious desserts one night!
She loves working in the kitchen, that girl!
And she is an expert in there so why not!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Simple Woman's Daybook~July 27, 2010

To join in focusing on the simple things and pleasures of your daily life or to read other people's entries, you can click here.

So, For Today...Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Outside my will soon be dusk. We arrived home @10:30 pm last night and pretty much exhausted from the month we have had. So my normal early morning Daybook was bumped up about 36 hours but here it is...

I am thinking...In three days Jim will have been retired for a month already. What the heck? Time is flying faster than ever now. All the way home he kept saying..."Wow, I cannot tell you how happy I am that I do not have to rush off to work in the morning." Then he'd add..."You have no idea!" Um, yeah I do! So 'hip hip hooray' for joint retirement. One of the best kept secrets on the earth but I am sharing it with you!

I am thankful for...the fact that I enjoy spending time with my husband because we are doing a lot of it and it feels so natural and right and good. So far I am feeling no adjustment period. Weird but I am not. Him either, as far as I can tell. Maybe we are still in the vacation period but I don't think so.

From the learning room...
Every period of life has its joys and this may be the best stage yet.

I am reading...Book 4 in the Zion Covenant Series by Bodie Theone, Jerusalem Interlude. And the Thornbirds and The Book Thief. I know it is taking me forever to read through this series and the other two books but I am in no rush...for the first time in my life and I am loving it!

From the kitchen...I am starting to think about cooking again and picked up a few bags of groceries today. Jennifer made kabobs one night and she had coconut rice on the side. We are in love! If you haven't tried it, it is very simple. 2 cups rice, 2 cups coconut milk, 2 cups water. Cook as you normally would cook your rice. Heavenly! I may never make ordinary rice again.

I am wondering...if the kids are missing us...after 16 days of company they are undoubtedly enjoying the peace and quiet of being back to normal again.

I am from the kitchen, someone pounding nails in the neighborhood, kids playing next door mingled with the sounds of a summer evening. I love summer evenings. Even the barking dogs add to the enchantment.

Today if I could change one thing...the distance between Utah and California.

I am quoting..."Fail to plan, plan to fail!" Anon

My spiritual thoughts one is perfect in this life but it is in the striving to become better and more like Christ that our character develops and is refined. I am thankful for the gift of agency and our ability to choose between good and evil. I am thankful we are all only responsible for our own choices. That seems to be enough for each person to handle.

Around the house...mild chaos with laundry to fold and clothing to put away still. But the rest is pretty good. Just need to finish getting the stuff out of the van tomorrow (tools mostly) and then we can wash it and things will start to be back to normal again.

I am missing...blogging, I have never had a month with so few posts. I am coming back. I have some catching up to do. It is one of my goals for the week to get all catch up and back in the groove.

I am paper work that is piling up will just magically take care of itself.

One of my guilty pleasures..avoiding the above.

One of my favorite things...a barbecued hamburger with lots of red onions, ketchup, etc.

An enjoyable movie I have watched lately...Salt. Quite suspenseful and a good story. I wish they would just dial down the car racing and the destructive, reckless driving scenes in every suspense movie. They are really over done don't you think? Aside from that the movie was great for guys and actually held my interest. Angelia Jolie was good in it. We went one night on the spur of the moment after a nice dinner out with the adult kids.

I am curious Laura and the family are enjoying their historic journey with the boys to RI from Virginia. Traveling with Robert is like taking the world's best tour guide along so I know they are loving it and learning so much. Yesterday they were in NYC and went to see the Statue of Liberty, Wall Street, the Empire State building, etc. Soon the party will be over they will be unpacking boxes yet again and getting settled. Cannot wait to see them in their new home in September/October.

A few plans for the rest of the week...tomorrow get the rest of the things put away from our trip and do a little light cleaning, mostly dusting and vacuuming, Thursday do some church work and hopefully get Visiting Teaching done, make some plans for next week, Friday we are giving a tour of SF to Lowell's boss and his family that are visiting for the first time from Scotland. Really looking forward to that. Saturday night dinner with our old friends from the Singles' Ward...Sunday church...and the beat goes on.

Here is a picture and thought I am sharing with you...

Jim and I had our pictures taken professionally for the first time in a beautiful setting in Utah. I thought we should have a real photo of what we look like as we begin this new phase in our lives. This is one proof of about 30 we had taken. It was nerve racking but our photographer (Traci Hartman Photography, friend and photographer extraordinaire) put us at ease and we had fun. We had these taken at 7:00 am. Beautiful lighting that time of day. Thanks, Traci!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Grampa Ramp!

Here is the metal grating Lowell decided
would be best for weather.
Grampa found it and hauled it home.
12 foot lengths were not easy to fit
into the van but he did it.

The project took a lot of "noodling through"
as Jim calls it as mountains and driveways
and decks and most other construction is not plumb.

He had a helper with the project, Miss Julia!
I am hoping she helped him with the faux mohawk
too as I really hope he didn't come up with it on his own!

It was incredibly tedious cutting and filing off all
the end pieces to make it lie down properly.
And it was incredibly hot.

Jim never let's anything get in his way.

They made a huge mess but eventually
they got it all cleaned up!

The two twelve foot ramps are completely done now!
Jim, Lowell and Chris worked until after
midnight to finish last night. Jim loved having their help!

When Hazie wakes up she can try it out!
Chloe has already figured out that
this could make a great bike jump!

I am very proud of my hubby, he is an incredible worker and totally devoted to serving others. It is especially fun when it can be for some of the kids. Now he is helping Chris on their basement. Connor and Aynslee are coming over here for a late night of fun with their cousins!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A Simple Woman's Daybook~July 20, 2010

To join in focusing on the simple things and pleasures of your daily life or to read other people's entries, you can click here.

So, For Today...Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Outside my window...the sun is shining brightly out by the lake but the shade of the early morning from the mountain still covers the house. They have such a beautiful view of the town below, the lake and the mountains on the other side of the valley. What a blessing to have something so pretty to look at each morning.

I am thinking...about my friend Stacey whose mother died quite suddenly and unexpectedly after church on Sunday. Anyone who has lost their mother knows how hard that is. Bless you, Stacey, I hope we are home in time for the funeral. And a big hug to your twin beauties that have lost their grandma!

I am thankful for..the knowledge and the gift we have that families are eternal and that death is but a temporary separation.

From the learning room...
there is a time and a season for everything in life!

I am reading...Book 4 in the Zion Covenant Series by Bodie Theone. Jerusalem Interlude. And the Thornbirds and The Book Thief.

From the idea what is up next... I just pitch in when dinner time rolls around, either making salad or tending Hazie. Jen is a fabulous cook and so is Missy so we have been dining very well the last week or so. Last night Lowell's boss and his family came to dinner. They live in Scotland. Very nice family and heading to our area next. We plan on giving them the cook's tour of SF next week. We love doing that especially on someone's first visit.

While they were here we went to dinner with Chris and his family at the Cracker Barrel~that was fun!

I am Laura, Robert and the boys are enjoying their first few days on the East Coast. They are in Virginia visiting friends and making their way slowly to their new home in Rhode Island. They will be touring some historic sights and then waiting for their household goods to arrive. Moving in August 1st. They were so excited to go to Walmart the other day. Pretty funny but it has been 3 years since buying what they needed was actually inexpensive and convenient.

I am hearing...Jen buzzing around in the kitchen, Hazie talking, kids outside helping with the Grampa Ramp!

Today if I could change one thing...Nuttin' things seem right with the world today.

I am quoting..."Be still and know that I am God." The Bible

My spiritual thoughts include...the knowledge that you have to set aside quiet time each day to pray and nurture your spirit with the scriptures. A lot of noise and busyness do not enter into this equation in a positive way.

Around the house...Right now there are 11 kids here. Enough said...

I am missing...My friends in the blog world...each and everyone of you!

I am hoping...the coolest summer in 40 years in the Bay Area is here to stay. Getting older and heat do not mix well I am learning.

One of my guilty pleasures...chocolate but it is going on my "Do Not Touch" list the minute we get home! (This coming Monday night!)

One of my favorite things...talking with Hazel and listening to her care for and nurture her favorite baby! It is beyond precious!

An enjoyable movie I have watched lately...The Scarlet Pimpernel

I am curious about...
how our grandson, Connor, can be so proficient on the piano in less than 2 years. It is perplexing and wonderful.

A few plans for the rest of the' concert tonight, all day outing with Jen tomorrow. We need some uninterrupted, one on one, time together and we sure aren't gonna get it until we can go someplace alone. Friday night adult dinner out with the kids and our niece, Erin, Pioneer Day celebration stuff on Saturday and church on Sunday. Drive home on Monday. Tuesday....NOTHING!

Here is a picture and thought I am sharing with you...

This may be one of the coolest photos I have ever seen. Julia, Piper and Hazie taking a walk in the country! I think this photo looks like a painting when you double click on it to enlarge it!

We're On The Go!

Aynslee, Grampa, Connor Owen and Zachary

I have really missed being able to blog on a regular basis this past week. We have just been so busy with all the kids and the projects Jim is doing. He has already completed the work at our condo and has replaced the counter top in the main bathroom. If all goes well by the end of the week he will have completed the wheelchair ramps made from grating used in ski resorts (because they hold up well in the snow) for our little Hazie girl! He is also hoping to get a retractable shade for Jen and Lowell's back deck, designed and in place! And he is helping Chris re-frame the basement in their home, hang six new doors, and build a bedroom for Connor. There is also electrical work and new wallboard to install, tape and texture but they may not get to all of that on this trip. One thing is for sure, Jim has not had a minute to think about being bored in his retirement!

A lovely leafy canopy with a star burst of morning sunlight.
The Creator of it all never ceases to amaze!

One morning we had a chance to take care of Chris and Missy's kids while they went to another town for a wedding. The first order of the day was a trip to a Park nearby before it got really hot. By 9:00 AM it was already pretty warm and muggy but we stayed at the park for about an hour and a half. It is really a beautiful park and the views of the mountains are amazing.

This Park is so gorgeous and the grass is like green velvet!

The kids enjoyed the playground

Zachary and Aynslee scaling the Climbing Wall.

Teeter Totter that requires only one=brilliant!

Owen brought his Gramma a flower for the first time!

The sky looked so pretty!

I was thankful that Grampa brought me a chair
because I got to do a lot of this!

Connor was so helpful with the younger kids,
especially Owen.

Zach and Grampa resting for a minute
under the big shade tree...

Aynslee, crouching behind had a plan...

Moose ears!!

Back at home we had a picnic on the back deck.
Again Connor was very helpful in showing us
exactly how to please Owen in the lunch department.
Toast and honey, no peanut butter!

It was a fun day and a great reminder that simple pleasures are often the best. These are the special times that bring a grandparent so much joy. There really is a special bond between these two generations. Our connection is a shared unconditional love for each other and their parents!