Sunday, July 31, 2011

Riding The Wave

San Francisco, July 2011

When I was at the Genealogy Conference this past week one of the speakers said, "We don't have to create the wave we just need to learn how to ride it."

He was speaking of the rapid advancements in technology and the digitization of the world's genealogical records that are being made available to all.

It just made me think of this photo I took a few weeks ago and how this surfer was struggling to ride that wave against tremendous counter forces. The surfer was making a gigantic effort to stay on top of it, he had a great passion for his sport, but that wave was like a bucking bronco. But he managed through sheer grit determination and practice to stay standing.

It is how I often feel about genealogy. I love it and I know I am supposed to be doing it but that bucking bronco wave these last months has been a challenge. Not because I didn't have the passion...well, qualifying that, it was budding, shall we say? It is a perennial flower in my garden and has been popping up in one way or another all my life. Who else do you know that completed their own baby book at age 7 because their mom was too busy taking care of her family?

Working 8 hours a day at a Regional Genealogical Center weekly requires that you know something. Well, I think I do know a lot about it having been at it periodically for about 30 years. I have always had the desire. Problem was it was more off than on when it came to actually DOING it while raising kids, working full time, taking care of my mom and, doing my church callings, etc. etc.

So the last 7 months have been like starting over in many ways. Genealogy is a living, ever-changing, huge beast, in spite of its preoccupation with the deceased. They may be resting in peace but we who are searching for them are not. At least not those of us who only have an inclination of HOW to do the research.

This conference was my piece de resistance, it was the thing that changed my paradigm from thinking I will never get this to...yes, I will. In a play on words, it was what brought the peace to my resistance. It helped me visualize the big picture and helped me fill in some of the holes in my Swiss cheese conception of the whole thing.

Dashing my resistance against the rocks!

I was able to spend a whole week with people that enlightened me and inspired me, and taught how things that seem impossible can be achieved one step at a time. I got a glimpse from their brilliance of what is possible. I love each of those teachers for what they have given me. The generosity in sharing what they have was incomparable. I want to be able to help people in that way someday.

Well, I am no genealogical surfer yet and that wave is huge and frightening and moving lots faster than I am. But I am finally standing up on the board, I love it. I am excited and determined to learn as much as I possibly can while I continue on with my family history through blogging. Jim and I are both going to learn this stuff and share it! We want to pay it forward! We are not retired ~ we are just rewired! The blessing of discretionary time is the option of choices. Now to determine the way I am going to accomplish this work little by little, precept upon precept. I have already made a to do list that is several pages long.

Some of Aunt Jean's flowers from her recent funeral.

A very special thank you to Dan Lynch, D. Josh Taylor, Ransom Love, Barry Ewell and most especially, Stephen Ehat. You are my heroes! Wild Horses couldn't keep us away from this conference next year.

"You are not dead and gone until you are forgotten."
Another quote from the Conference.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

It's All About Family

The Y
It has been awhile since I have been able to attend classes at BYU. I had forgotten how much I love it here. I have always loved an academic environment and I enjoy taking classes and learning from the experts. This conference on Genealogy and Family History has been the best conference I have ever attended.

Here are some of the things I did this week:

1. I was able to spend time with both of Lowell's parents as they were at 'the crossroads of the west' here with me. They were just passing through so we shared bits and pieces of a few days together.

We do so love them! Had a nice Pioneer Day dinner with them here at Lowell and Jen's. Jennifer made homemade honey ice cream for the Beehive State and her Utah chocolate dipped shortbread cookies! Is she not the cutest? Next year she revealed it will be wagon wheel cookies and Rocky Road ice cream!

Weight Watchers...note this wonderful portion control!

2. Monday night we had Family Home Evening in the canyon not far from Sundance. We were to go for a "little walk" from Vivian Park to Bridal Veil Falls. It landed up helping me reach a goal of walking a 3.5k for Weight Watchers. Woohoo. As much as I love all aspects of nature and the beautiful creations of our Father in Heaven...I am not much of a sporty, outdoorsy kind of girl. Sad and shocking I know, but true. Poor Jim who is the total opposite. Well, I like it if it's no farther than about a mile or two from the car and there is no sweating involved.

Asphalt is kind of nice too if I get to choose!

Beautiful scenery and great company help too.

But, as lovely as it was...

My feet were killing me, I wish I could find the perfect pair walking shoes. When we started to notice that it was not only getting dark but about to rain I perked up and we walked a lot faster, just barely escaping two blisters. We got pretty wet that night. Ever try to cram 6 wet people and a dog in a sedan? Fun! This may come as a big surprise to you but, we are not small people. LOL! We took two cars and left one at each end of the river walk, thank heavens. We had to all cram in the car at Bridal Veil as there was no shelter to wait under while the other car was retrieved.

3. I got to meet a really wonderful cyber friend/cousin (hopefully 97% sure) in person and it was a joyous experience. He is so nice as well as brilliant... and we got to have lunch together on Tuesday between the classes he was teaching at the conference. I got be go into the faculty lunch room! For a genealogist a bit like going backstage at a great concert, don't ya think?

We have been corresponding for several months on Jim's Italian line. Steve has been more than generous in sharing his research findings with us and it was so nice to be able put a face and some time and a hug into the equation.

4. I got to spend time with Chris and Missy's family during the conference in the evenings and we had a great time. Chris walked me to class each morning and home again in the evenings. Got totally drenched getting home on Tuesday night. It was raining so Missy came to get us. Then Chris ran down to get in the driver's seat and drove up the super wide sidewalk practically to the door. In spite of having to walk only a few feet to the car I was totally soaked to the bone. It was like standing under a fire hose. Haven't seen rain like that since Mississippi.

5. Every day at the conference was just outstanding! One day Piper came to have lunch with me and that was really neat. It may be the first time she and I have had lunch alone. We giggled and chatted for an hour and a half. We sat outside under the pavilion of the Conference Center and it was so great. I loved that.

Pipey! She is such a doll.

6. Jim and I texted a lot and that made it a lot nicer being apart. He had a very busy week as did I, but it was fun to almost be side by side with this great technology. I am happy to be getting back home to him tonight.

7. I took Chris and family out to dinner on Thursday night and Jen and family out last night. Both nights were a lot of fun. We have found it is just too many people to be able to talk to anyone with all of us in a restaurant at one time. Can you say...b e d l a m? It is the very least I could do for them, they are so sweet to me.

8. I have been pretty tired every night due the intense, technical aspects of the classes and all I was trying to "capture" (new genealogy buzz word for me.) But I was treated to a foot message most nights while I was here at Jen's by Julia. Last night for a few minutes, Chloe and Hazie got into the act.

Chloe said, "Gramma, why do your feet
have crinkles on the bottom?"

I wish I knew?
That is one place I had forgotten to look for them!

They are having quite the discussion over it. Aren't kids the cutest things on the planet? You always know where you stand (and in this case what you stand on) where they are concerned.

9. This morning we got up early and went out to yard sales for awhile and to breakfast, the Farmers' Market and back to the mall so I could use my 2nd Birthday gift card at my favorite store. Woohoo! Thanks, Kids!

10. I had a pretty powerful experience with genealogy this week and I feel it really pointed me in a new direction in my life. I saw things that I need and want and am supposed to be doing! So the week has brought much joy and happiness and redirection. There were also lots of hugs and kisses from the grandies and face to face time with the kids and our friend/cousin, Stephen. What a blessing. The only thing missing was Grampa and I am about to fix that, so life is good! It's all good.

I will be glad to get home and see him and hear all about the huge renovation they will have completed by this coming Monday in the Temple. I am so proud of him, he has been putting in countless service hours to complete the project in just three weeks. My plane leaves in a few hours! Home is sounding good. I need a rest but actually it is not very likely!

I have missed blogging this week but just do not know how I could have squeezed it in. Missed you all and hope you are well. Love, ;-B

Monday, July 25, 2011

A Simple Woman's Daybook~July 25, 2011

For Today...

Monday, July 18, 2011

As my friend Marie's says about writing a daybook post or reading one," It is like sitting down together for a chat over tea."

Outside my is 9:30 am and the sun is shining but the clouds look like some rain later today. Over by the lake it is pretty black. I love the view of the lake and the city out Jen and Lowell's office windows.

I am thankful for...every blessing each of us receives daily from a Father in Heaven that loves us. He is so willing to answer our prayers and bless us continually with every good thing.

From the learning room...our physical bodies have an amazing ability for recovery and change. It is pretty astonishing really. It is never too late to make changes in our lives that add to our health and well-being.

I am reading...not even blogs right now. I have to get to that very soon. I love those of you who continue to be loyal friends and readers while I try to sort out all my stuff. You have been very patient with me and I so appreciate your comments when I am not presently reciprocating as I would like to do. You are the best...I am coming I promise and I will get all caught up! I don't like to miss anything you have written.

From the kitchen...Not much from sweet daughter and Melissa are doing the cooking. Can't complain about that in the least.

I am wondering...What Jim is doing for fun. Actually I know he is just working because I am getting lots of texts and e-mails. He had jury duty tomorrow. He will not love sitting in the courtroom all day as they interview every single perspective juror. He is not a person to sit patiently waiting.

I am hearing...Piper and Hazie giggling and playing with their dog, Molly. The dog is bigger than Hazie and she is still not too sure about the whole thing. She loves Molly until she barks which always scares Hazie. I think it is because she doesn't bark unless someone comes to the door so it always startles her.

I am wearing...a white, sparkly shirt with a white over shirt, jeans, and sandals.
A white pearl bracelet and a big ring and my watch.

Today if I could change one would be that the curvature of Hazie's spine was getting better instead of worse. She will be having a big surgery within the year.

I am quoting...This is the Savior Speaking..."Look unto me in every thought, doubt not fear not." Doctrine and Covenants 6:36.

I am do some shopping with Jennifer today and she is getting her new iPhone since her old one died. The iPhone may be the coolest invention in years. For as opposed as I was to getting one now I would not want to be without it. I just discovered the Netflix streaming app and that makes me so happy as I can watch a movie late at night while traveling without disturbing Julia who has been sleeping with me in Piper's room. It helps my insomnia when it comes around and for that I am grateful.

I am missing...just people, nothing else. I have everything I could ever want in my life. Contentment is very peaceful.

One of my guilty with the girls, it is one of my favorite parenting moments with the girls in the family. We just laugh and giggle and have the best time together.

Pet Peeves...losing that fresh, clean feeling about two minutes after your shower on hot muggy days. Ugh!

One of my favorite cold watermelon in the summer.

An enjoyable movie I have watched lately...Cranford Returns, the sequel. Judi Dench, I love that woman! I don't care what the movie is, they are always good if she is in them.

I am curious mothers of little kids keep their sanity in the summer time when school is out. There is a constant din, noise or chatter going on and every other word is "Mom!"

Young mothers are my heroines for sure! Jen needs a trip to a day spa! Her energy is never ending. Moms do what they do because they have to and want to and most of them do it so well. I take my hat off to them whenever I am around them and wonder how did I do this 24 x 7, year after year. God's grace, youth and a lot of love for them gets us through. What a remarkable experience!

A few plans for the rest of the week...Classes and hanging out with the kids. Flying home Saturday evening.

Here is a photo and some thoughts I am sharing with you...

We all have a tendency to call Hazel our baby just because she is the youngest and she is still so little. She weighs only 24 pounds but she will be 4 on September 24th. So here she is with some real babies whom she adores. They are identical twins and their names are Charlotte and June. She adores these babies and all others but it is not uncommon to hear her say rather defiantly, "I am not a baby!" We are all trying hard not to slip up. I finally explained to her that she will always be "My Baby" even when she is grown up like her mom. I told her even her mom is My Baby! So far she is letting me squeak by with it but no body else better give it a go! A grandparent's love may be the sweetest form of love there is. I am voting for it anyway!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Gone Fishin'...

Well, not really fishin' but I am playing hooky from my real life over here in Utah again. This time I am fishing for new generations in our family tree and knowledge about a sense I guess it is learning to be a better 'fisher of men.'

I arrived safely yesterday afternoon after a really pleasant flight where I met two really nice ladies. We chatted the whole way here, which I don't usually like to do, but these ladies were a lot of fun. I ran into another lady I knew that was also coming up for the Family History Conference. It is a small world between Oakland International Airport and Salt Lake City, we almost always see someone we know on our flight.

The Conference starts on Tuesday and runs through Friday so there are a couple of days to just relax and hang out here at Jen's. One of the instructors is an online genealogy friend and possible relative of Jim's going back to the old country. Stephen has helped us so much on Jim's Italian line from Tasso. So I really am looking forward to meeting him in person this week. He also helped us quite a bit in finding the baby's grave in San Francisco that I wrote about a few months ago. I am in awe of his brilliance so look forward to gleaning all I can from his classes.

Tuesday night I will move over to Chris and Missy's to spend some time with them and Connor, Aynslee, Zach and Owen and I can also walk to the Conference Center from their house so do not have to be such a pest needing rides.

Chloe Jane

In the meantime I get to play with Chloe and Hazie, Julia and Piper. Isn't this about the cutest little fisher woman you ever did see?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Take A Girl That Loves Horses...

Laura Ann
And a Large Animal Veterinarian, that has searched the whole world over for his perfect woman....and it is time for a country wedding! This is one of Robert's seven beautiful sisters. I think I have shared before how much we love this family our Laura married into. Laura and Seth were married while we were in Utah and we were so delighted to be invited to their reception up in the high country behind Heber City. We loved being with all of Robert's family and of course with Robert, Laura, Spencer and Ross for this fun event.

Laura Ann has been a single mom for about seven or eight years now and she has raised her two kids and gotten her degree and is now finishing nursing school. Very impressive accomplishments for a young mom. Her children were so happy to be getting this great new Dad and it felt like a family wedding. Both kids seemed so excited about the marriage and their little girl is 12 and cried tears of joy several times that day! That pretty much turned the water works on for me most of the evening.

This is a picture of a picture on the wall at the reception.

The reception was held in the gated community of large ranch estates way up high in the sky in Utah. It was a very private and beautiful place! It was amazing country and a kind of high wilderness terrain I had never seen before. The Reception was held in a big "barn!" Most people that own a barn should be so lucky! It was amazing.

The Barn!

We drove and drove for at least 45 minute behind the gates thinking we would never see it but then around the bend there it was! The dinner they served was really great, a real country barbeque with pork and chicken, corn on the cob, lots of salads and breads and baked beans. They served the dinner from a buffet and the plates were pie tins. It was really darling the way they did the whole thing. They had a great country band and dancing and this was the dessert table.

Home made pies, some of them by the bride herself!

A beautiful picture sitting on the gift table.
She is such a beauty and so elegant!

~And Laura and Seth~
May Your New Family Live Happily Forever After!

On Their Beautiful Wedding Day!

We felt so much joy and thought our photo captured it.

It would have been fitting to see them
gallop off into the sunset!

And if I 'm not mistaken, Laura had on
her cowgirl boots under her bridal gown!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Life After Sundance...

Once we left Sundance Laura and Robert went back to Robert's parents' house for the reunion with his family members. They were coming to town for his sister, Laura's, wedding on Friday. Robert has TEN living siblings and so that is a pretty large crowd to gather for various occasions. Almost everyone was able to make it so that was great.

Jen and Lowell went to their house, Jim's mom flew home and we stayed with Chris and Missy for a few days. One of the days we went up to Thanksgiving Point for lunch but stopped on the way at the Veteran's Memorial Park to visit the grave of our good friend, Garth, who passed away a few years back. He is the doctor I use to work for in Las Vegas, forty years ago and the person that introduced us to the Church and baptized us 33 years ago.

Our entire family holds him in very high esteem and so Jen and her kids and Chris and Missy's family and Jim and I all went to find his grave. Garth was from Idaho and spent many years in Las Vegas so he doesn't have a lot of friends in Utah. He had never married and a lot of his siblings have passed away now. I am imagining we were among the few visitors to the cemetery to pay tribute to this wonderful friend. His contributions to our lives cannot be measured, they are priceless.

The cemetery is very pretty but wouldn't you know the sprinklers were being repaired in this section and so his grave site was surrounded by dead grass. Hopefully they have fixed it by now!

We surrounded his grave and had a family prayer together and then decided a photo of our feet would be fun! Laura and Robert's family was sorry to miss this and Lowell was working. There was a sweet spirit there.' Uncle Buffalo' as we called him, is missed and loved by us all for sure.

We are rather weird family (no kidding, you say?) We all have the same Toyota Sienna from the same year, same color. Bizarre but it was a fluke...we didn't plan it or anything. And I think the only color they sold that year had to be silver. Seriously, I could not find it in a parking lot without the permanent roof rack. It is funny to see the line up when we all go someplace together!

When we arrived at Thanksgiving Point it was lunch time and the kids really enjoy the Deli there. They have good sandwiches and it is very 'kid friendly,' so that filled the bill for us!
Snapped a shot of their gigantic chandelier just for fun!

Here is a goofy photo of Anyslee and Me
that Missy sent over the other day!
Aynslee is so funny!
She loves posing for photos lately!

We strolled through the Emporium which is a huge, fancy, home shop and that took just a few minutes. You cannot even think about shopping with a group that large. But it was a fun walk through. The major things to see At Thanksgiving Point, as far as we were concerned, were the beautiful gardens.

They have a lot of acreage there and a big hotel and lots of events, like weddings and receptions that are held there each year. One year they held the county fair there when I was visiting. It was wonderful. Imagine a fair held on grass instead of dirt or gravel. It was really neat. At night we sat on the grass and watched the lighted Ferris Wheel spin. Having the grass made a world of difference to the carnival atmosphere. It took the hot and dusty feel right out of the equation. The best part was it was like going back in time about 25 years. You felt safe and your kids were safe. You didn't have to keep your eyes glued to them every second. It was a very nice family activity like in the olden days before people got scary. I love that about Utah!

It was a lovely day and the flowers were so gorgeous.

Scrumptious! It makes me feel so bad that we never did plant any annuals this year in our garden pots in the yard. We have been gone too much and I just couldn't see the point of spending the money and then having them all die while we were away so much.

So I am enjoying the flowers everywhere else instead.
Brilliant, huh? Not really...just lazy!

The trunk on this tree looks like it was
tied in a knot like a cherry stem.

Beautifully framed red tree
though the Gazebo window.

These poppies were so bright and cheery!

The water features and displays are so fantastic.
You feel like you are at a mountain stream.

Of course we had to stop at Cabella's for Grampa on the way back. That was fun if you are into outdoor sporting equipment...well, ah, not really, but it was fun to see him enjoy it so much. We enjoyed this lazy day very much and it was nice to have a little nap when we got back to Chris and Missy's house.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Chewy Pretzel Bites

Chewy Pretzel Bites*

*Makes about 2 dozen pretzel bites

Thank you, Missy, for sharing this fun recipe with all of us at our family reunion. The chewy little bites were just so delicious and smelled heavenly while baking! You really have the knack and we all appreciate it!

*Note: if using active dry yeast, increase the yeast to 1 tablespoon. Proof the yeast in the warm water and sugar (let it bubble and foam - maybe about 5 minutes) before adding it to the flour and salt.


2 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast

1 cup (8 ounces) very warm water


1/2 cup (4 ounces) warm water

2 tablespoons baking soda

Coarse salt (optional)

3 tablespoons butter, melted

In a large bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer, place the flour, salt, sugar and yeast. Mix to just combine. Add the water and mix well, adding more flour, as needed, a bit at a time to form a soft, smooth dough that clears the sides and bottom of the bowl. Knead the dough, by hand or machine, for about 5 minutes, until it is soft, smooth and quite slack. The goal is to get a really soft dough that isn't overly sticky. Lightly flour the dough and place it in a plastic bag; close the bag, leaving room for the dough to expand, and let it rest for 30 minutes or up to 60 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 500°F. Don’t be afraid of the high heat! This is what will help those pretzels to brown up perfectly and stay soft on the inside. Prepare two baking sheets by lining them with parchment paper or lightly greasing them.

Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface, and divide it into about four strips of equal length. Allow the pieces to rest, uncovered, for 5 minutes. While the dough is resting, combine the 1/2 cup warm water and the baking soda in a liquid measuring cup (deep enough to dip the pretzel bites into). Make sure the baking soda is thoroughly dissolved. Sometimes I have a hard time getting the baking soda completely dissolved, so I just lightly stir up the mixture right before adding each pretzel.

Cut each strip of dough into about 6-8 pieces, about 1 to 1 ½ inches in width. You don’t have to be completely exact, just eyeball it. Dip each pretzel bite in the baking soda solution (this will give the pretzels a nice, golden-brown color), and place them on the baking sheets. Sprinkle them lightly with coarse, kosher, or pretzel salt. Allow them to rest, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

"I just love cooking with Kosher Salt, don't you? It makes me feel so gourmet! "

{Said Gramma Bonbon!}

Bake the pretzels for 5-6 minutes or until they're golden brown. Bake one sheet at a time - it won't hurt the other pretzels to chill out for a little longer.

Remove the pretzels from the oven, and brush them thoroughly with the melted butter. Keep brushing the butter on until you've used it all up; it may seem like a lot, but that's what gives these pretzels their ethereal taste. Eat the pretzels warm, or reheat them in an oven or microwave on low heat.


Flickr photos except for Melissa, of course!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A Simple Woman's Daybook~July 18, 2011

So, For Today...

Monday, July 18, 2011

I love doing the Daybook each week as it creates a picture of what life is like, day to day in 2011. It also allows me to think specifically about certain things and record them. The Daybook is easy to complete and a fun way to keep track of things going on in my head and my life. And probably my most allows us to get better acquainted. I just love it when friends do a Daybook.

As my friend Marie's says," It is like sitting down together for a chat over tea." If you ever want to do one, just copy and past one of mine into your editing page, delete my answers until you have an empty template and answer the questions for yourself. You can also make up your own questions of course. Try it, it's fun!

Outside my window...It is 7:30 am and the day looks like a real winner. The sun is shining brightly and the breeze is gently blowing. The temperature is supposed to reach 81 today. Perfecto! I am preparing this on Monday to post at midnight. Tuesday get too hectic for posting sometimes.

I am thankful beginnings and a chance to get organized for the week ahead. I am thankful that my brother handled his chemo like a trooper this past week and now he has two weeks to recover and then three more weeks of treatments interspersed with two weeks in between each session. He is on the road to recovery! Praising God for that. I am thankful that Chris and Missy and family returned home safely from the reunion they attended on Missy's side of the family in South Dakota last week. I am thankful that Laura and Robert and the boys are getting more settled in their new home and I am thankful Jen has been able to take care of all the sickness in her home with everyone having strep throat but her. I am also thankful for those of you that send warm wishes and words of comfort over the death of our sweet Aunt Jeannie.

From the learning room...there is never a dull moment! Plan on it and just put your shoulder to the wheel and keep going!

I am reading...The scriptures daily with James. No other book right now. Still trying to think about what I want to read next. I can't seem to sit still long enough and focus~ to get into anything right now. Too much going on.

From the is now nearly 7:00 pm and I have been cleaning, shopping and cooking today to prepare for my being away from home next week. Jim is perfectly capable of cooking for himself but I like to leave things for him to remember me by. He is working extra shifts at the Temple due to the major renovation, has to work at the Family History Center without me next week and has jury duty to top off the week. Poor guy does not need to have to worry about what's for dinner! Tomorrow morning I'll hit the Farmers' Market and he'll be all set.

I am wondering...what I will learn next week at the conference on Family History and Genealogy I am attending at BYU. Hopefully a lot since I still feel like such a novice.

I am hearing...Some 40's music from the kitchen on the iPod, I think it is from Swing Kids. If you haven't seen that! It is outstanding and about pre-WWII Hitler getting his youth ready. Scary.

I am wearing...jeans, a green top and sandals. N
othing to write home about for sure. I do have on earrings if that counts??

Today if I could change one would be that Jim's arthritis would not bother him so much, especially in his hands because he loves to use them so much to work, which is his play. That constant pain is wearing, he is a trooper.

I am quoting..."Never let a problem to be solved take priority over a person to be loved." Love this!!! Thomas Monson, President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

I am vacuum the runner on the bedroom side of the house in the hallway that has been bugging me for three days before I go to bed! This is one thing I hate about getting older. In the old days I would have just run and gotten the vacuum and done it when I first noticed it. Now I have to ponder it for three days. Really? So annoying! I am not sure if I am just procrastinating because I can or I just am getting lazy and the thought of hauling the machine over there is too much for an old gal? Yikes, heaven help me. The worst part is every time I go in there I think about it again and again. I have to get rid of the laziness or the OCD, they do not coexist very well.

I am mom and dad. The whole thing with Aunt Jean dying just brought back so many memories of them.

One of my guilty pleasures.. getting a manicure once a month. It is so nice to get your nails done and not give them a second thought. I use to have to put polish on sometimes every night in the old days when I worked for Standard Oil and they would take forever to dry and then immediately start chipping away. Now there is not one thought about it all month. Yay!

Pet Peeves...our car is always dirty. We washed it the other day and within hours it was lightly raining...just enough to get it messed up again. Between such things and the sprinklers it is a losing battle. So I just live with it but I don't love it.

One of my favorite things...home grown (by someone else, the deer eat ours.) tomatoes. I literally live on tomato sandwiches from mid-July to the end of the season. I cannot get enough tomatoes.

An enjoyable movie I have watched lately...I have seen three movies at the theater in the last couple of weeks. Larry Crowne...disappointing, Monte Carlo, fluffy and cute, Harry Potter 7.2 the end of an era. The first HP book came out in 1997. Seriously long and drawn out but it has been fun. I am not the huge fan that Jim is, but I have learned to enjoy it...I had to! Kind of like you ladies with husbands that are football fans.

I am curious about...if the winter will be delayed since the summer has been. Hoping so since we are going back east for Christmas. Yikes, snow is a scary thing for me, but I will follow those darn, precious kids anywhere, as you know!

A few plans for the rest of the week...tomorrow; WW meeting, Farmers' Market, work the afternoon and evening, Wednesday; pedicure in the morning Visiting Teaching in the evening and maybe helping my mother-in-law find a couch. Yes, it is true she still has not bought one! Thursday; hair cut in the am and then going to some friends house for the afternoon and dinner. Friday meeting with friends in the am and then packing for my conference trip. Looking forward to seeing all the kids that live there again. Just wish Jim was coming too. Friday night date and then fly out in the morning on Saturday. Sunday Church with the kids and then Pioneer Day on Monday...a state holiday in Utah. Tuesday classes begin.

Here is photo and some thoughts I am sharing with you...

Little Hazie checking out her new haircut. Such a little dolly, isn't she? She has been having a rough week with a wound she got on her leg where a little scratch turned into a skin breakdown. The doctor said it was like a 2nd degree burn. The doc showed Jen how to care of it and it is much better now.

Paralysis has all kinds of things we never really think about until someone so precious and close to us is affected. The upside is it looks very painful but she cannot feel it. Also that very fact has hindered the healing as she was taking off her bandages. Jen now has something from the doctor that prevents her from being able to do that.

A great YouTube video I have enjoyed this week...may just explain the carpet runner dilemma I have been having. It is odd how the more real something is in your life the funnier a parody about it can be. Can you relate? If not, give it time!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Leaving Sundance Behind ~ Reunion #9

It was our day to go home...the carriage was about to turn back into a pumpkin, but not without a surprise party first! Our kids and grandkids planned a little surprise anniversary breakfast for us the morning of June 15th. It really was so sweet of them. Late the night before Lowell had driven down the mountain to town to pick up some balloons! The kids made a gourmet omelet for us and some sausages for their Dad who cannot resist them. The juice and the fresh, red strawberries made it ever so nice!

So pretty and delicious!

43 years!

It was a beautiful morning and I was just really taking my time getting ready for the day and getting out of the master suite. The sun was streaming in the windows and the birds were singing and the fresh mountain air was so invigorating. I felt on top of the world and just so happy that our reunion far exceeded our wildest expectations. Thoughts of wanting these few days to never end floated through my mind, as I packed up the last few things and then went out into the kitchen... feeling just a little melancholy about it ending.

Most of them were waiting for me, Jim was already out there. Seriously I had no idea and it was the sweetest thing. I wished I hadn't dawdled quite so much savoring each moment. We felt like this whole 'dream come true' reunion was our anniversary celebration and we didn't need another thing. Yet they gave us presents, sang to us and let us eat "alone!" How sweet was that?

We had just one more activity with the pre-teens to do besides cleaning up and packing out. Check out was 11:00 but since no one was renting the house right after us the owners generously let us stay later. I think we finally left around 2:30. Projects were finished up a few more games of pool were played as we rounded up our pre-teens.

Jim and I have worked with the youth of our church for a good part of our time as members of the church. It didn't take us long to figure out that the 10 to 15 years during your teens and young adult life are the crucial ones. This is when you make the most important decisions of your life. Coupling that with our desire as grandparents to love and support our children and grandchildren...we wanted to have this little meeting with Piper, Spencer and Connor. Ayns and Julia landed up coming in too.

Our purpose was to make them aware of the fact that THEY will determine a good part of their own life, success and happiness by starting to think NOW about the future. Things like how important working hard in school is to their education and careers, how important the friends they choose is to their social life and paths they take. We stressed how following their parents' direction and staying in the mainstream of the church will protect and guide them during the questioning times of growing up....that always come.

We talked to them about morality, modesty, dating only after they reach 16, music and movie choices, missions, etc. It didn't take long, but what we hoped they got out of it was that they have lots of choices coming up and we were so in hopes they would make good ones.

We recommended they make lots of those decisions in advance about what they will and will not be doing. Making decisions in advance eliminates the decision making in the weak moments. As an example, if you determine early in your life you will never smoke or drink alcohol, when the moment arrives when someone offers it to you, the dilemma does not exist. You simple say NO!

We wanted them to know that we have strong testimonies of the importance of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in their lives and how it will influence them to make better decisions and bring them the most happiness.

Lastly we wanted to reinforce to them again how they can rely on the Lord, their parents and us to not lead them astray and to always be there for them. One nice thing, was we held this in the master bedroom, it was very casual and lent itself nicely to an open discussion on many of these topics. It wasn't just us lecturing to them which I am sure they appreciated!

Both Jim and I believe that we cannot assume kids know things. They need to be told and taught and we know that their parents do an excellent job at this. But putting on another layer of reinforcement from us, as their grandparents, can strengthen young people and that was our goal and purpose. It also gave us a moment to separate them out from the little kids and to recognize that they are growing up now and we know it. They seemed to really love that.

It seemed like a really nice way to end our days at Sundance. We were all sad to leave because we had enjoyed our reunion so much. But the memories will keep on in us forever. And I think each one of us will try to be a better petal on Our Family Flower.

The best part of heading down the mountain was that although we were leaving Sundance we were not saying good-bye yet. We still had lots of fun and special times ahead in Nevada, and CA with Robert and Laura's family, and lots to do in Utah before leaving the other kids and grandkids behind.