Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Today is the last day in our celebration of Birthday Week in August.

Happy Birthday Jeff.

Jeff is married to Teri and the father of Logan, Cooper and Denim. He is a great husband and father.

When we were purchasing our house and needed major work done before we could move in, Jeff was right there helping in any way we needed. Jeff loves sports and keeps a close eye on what is happening. He works out of his home and is so good at getting his work done while the house is hopping with 3 kids and household activities happening.

Teri and Jeff enjoy reading together and it is fun to watch the family play Rock Band--Jeff is great on the guitar. Whenever Teri gets a wild hair and wants home improvements done NOW he jumps up and makes it happen for her--Thank you Jeff for making my Teri so happy.

Jeff and Teri live in the next town over so we get to spend time with them often. I know he misses his family, especially his dad and brothers, but we are thankful he has made his home here.

Jeff is a great guy and I am glad that Teri brought him into our family.

Have a happy birthday Jeff.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Angel Baby

Today is celebration number 5 of Birthday Week in August.

Six years ago today Caroline Elizabeth was born.

We knew before she was born that her life would be fragile. We were blessed to have her for 199 days.

Caroline is Michael and Kendra's third child and second daughter. Her memory gives our family joy and direction.

When the family gets together I often inadvertently set a place for her. When we all sit down and a place is empty, I remember.

After Caroline passed away Kendra gave me the curtains from her bedroom--pink eyelet--that I made into little dresses for her sister and cousins who were girls. They were sweet little dresses, plain and simple. I made 4 of them. Now the cousins who weren't born at the time are growing into the dresses.

Life keeps going on. Babies are born, the family is growing. Memories are sweet. Occasionally the tears flow when tender thoughts are close.

For all of the rest of my life she will always be Baby Caroline.

Sweet Angel Baby.

I love you baby Caroline

Sunday, August 29, 2010


Welcome to Day 4 of Birthday Week in August.

Today I take time to recognize my Grandmother, Beatrice Kent Kidman. When I was a young woman my grandmother was my ideal and in many ways she still is.

She was raised in Blacksmith Fork, Utah on a dry farm. She had a younger brother, Otto. Her parents were Nellie VanLueven and Jesse Clarence Kent. She met my grandfather, Lewis Rudolph Kidman, in Logan, Utah when she was 16. When she was 18 she ran into him again, they began dating and were soon married. They raised 5 children, my father is their second son and 4th child. I learned many things from my Grandma:

Never judge a book by it's cover: Grandpa was 12 years older and a divorced man in Utah, not a desirable situation to be in. He suggested she would not want to date him and she let him know she knew enough to decide for herself. They were married 42 years. They lived a very happy life together.

Use it up, wear it out. Make it do or do without: Grandma was thrifty with all that she had. She regularly taught me about lessons she learned while raising her family during the depression.

Where there is heart room there is house room: Grandma raised her family in a small 3 bedroom, one bath house. She welcomed all of her large family into that cozy home for get togethers. Even as a young bride with 6 children of my own I remember being welcome into grandma's home. There was always enough room and more for all who crossed her doorstep.

Laughter makes everything easier: Grandma loved to tell stories and laugh and laugh about plain old life's experiences. My aunts often remarked about the 'Kidman cackle'. To tell the truth I hear it sometimes at my house when the family is gathered around the dining room table telling stories.

Love makes the cooking taste sweeter: I learned to cook in Grandma's small kitchen. She always had cookies and pies ready to eat. Sunday dinner was scrumptious. She would get up at 4am to put in the 30 pound bird on Thanksgiving. Her mashed potatoes were heavenly. After visiting I was always sent home with a jar of frozen peaches for my daddy. I am still trying to replicate her home made rolls, served with melted butter and home made jam.

If a job is worth doing--do it well: I remember going to Grandma's to help her clean one day. My task was to dust the dining room furniture. I thought I was finished but she called me back and had me get under the table and dust the runners between the legs. Now that dining room table graces my home and when I dust I think of grandma's standard of cleaning.

Faith is learned: Grandma was a great example of spirituality to me. She could always be found reading her scriptures, writing thoughts in her journal, going to the temple. Grandpa was the Stake Patriarch and she helped him do his calling well. She was a wonderful teacher to both the women and youth at church.

Everything grows with a little love: Grandma had a green thumb and her garden flourished. I spent many hours up the mullberry tree surveying her pretty flower beds. The grand children flourished at her home as well, we grew up as siblings with aunts and uncles to discipline and direct, grandma to love and nurture. It was a happy home filled with love. I felt safe there.

Happiness makes the workload lighter: With her large family to cook for there were always lots of dishes to be washed. Grandpa would settle into his chair and quickly fall asleep while the children played and the aunts set to tidying up the kitchen. That is where I was, in the kitchen, listening to the stories, enjoying the laughter of women working together to take care of the task at hand. With many hands helping and visiting, soon the task was done. It was a joy to work together.

Grandma was born in 1904, today she would have been 106. She passed away in 1995 after spending the last 30 years of her life as a widow. I often miss her, especially when all of my children come to visit. She made it look so easy. I keep trying, I hope she is proud of me.

I love you grandma, Happy Birthday!!

Saturday, August 28, 2010


Last week at this time I was in Indiana enjoying a football game that Dallin was playing. It was a quick few days with Michael and his family. Kendra and I painted furniture for 3 bedrooms in preparation for the completion of the basement and arrival of their new baby due in a month. We worked, laughed and enjoyed the children in the quick week I was there.

Sunday I was scheduled to fly back to Raleigh, but chose to skip my connection in DC to join up with Shawna's family. They flew from Baltimore to Germany on Monday morning. A few extra hands with the 5 kids and mountain of bags is desirable. After dropping off their rental car, Dave and I enjoyed the drive back to NC.

Tuesday was a quick unpack and repack of the suitcase in preparation for the trip to Charlotte. I baked a cake in celebration of Cooper's Birthday and loaded up the car with baby clothes.

Wednesday I drove to Charlotte just in time for Cara to run to the Doctor. Baby Ada was on the way.

On Thursday my family grew again when Ada was born. Beautiful, perfect baby girl.

Friday Dave and I headed out to Georgia to pack up the few remaining things from Shawna's house. After 2 years on the market it has finally sold. It is a beautiful old historic house that I loved and am sorry to say goodbye to, but a house is a house, memories and family make it a home.

Today I am back in Charlotte for a few days to help take care of children while Mama and baby get settled into their new routine.

This is a busy, hectic time of my life. I am privileged to have six active children who keep me jumping. I am privileged to have my six children married to spouses who allow me to be a part of their lives. I am privileged to have 15--almost 16--grandchildren who love me and I love them.

My life is a whirlwind. I am tired, but happy. Life is good.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Ada May

Our third celebration for Birthday Week in August is recognition of the newest addition to our family:

Adalyn May was born at 2:37 this afternoon--Thursday, August 26, 2010.

She weighed 7 pounds 1ounce

She is 20.5 inches long

She has long fingers and toes, blue eyes and a good covering of dark hair.

After a long ordeal she made her entrance. Mom and baby are resting well and the whole family is elated. I was privileged to be with Cara through the laboring hours. Reached back to my youth and pulled up the Lamaze techiniques I used to deliver my own babies. I was proud of Cara. As with all other aspects of this pregnancy, her labor and delivery were more difficult than her other babies, but she made it and has a beautiful daughter for the effort. Cara is glowing with joy, Greg is beaming, while Eden and Connor are bouncing with excitement.

Cara often reminds me that very baby is a gift from God and a reason to celebrate. Sometimes the circumstances are not ideal, but every baby is a gift and it is up to us to make the best of even the worst circumstances.

Baby Ada is privileged to be born into a loving home where she is welcomed by parents who love her and love each other. Her siblings are thrilled to have a baby sister to love and be with. I am thankful my daughter has made good choices that put her into a situation where she can live in joy and happiness. It is true that sometimes life gets crazy with challenges, but when you have a foundation that is strong, your house of life can withstand the hurricanes of living and stand strong.

I am so happy for you Cara. I am proud to be your mother. I am thrilled to have another baby to love and cherish. Thank you for blessing me so richly.

Happy Birthday Baby Ada!!!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Victoria Lee

The second celebration in Birthday Week of August is for Victoria who celebrates her 9th birthday.

This is a big week in her life. Not only is she celebrating another year older, she starts another school year in a new school and moves into her new home in her new country. After spending the summer with us here in the states we put her family on the plane headed for Germany yesterday.

Victoria is an intelligent little girl with a creative outlook. While her parents were away for the weekend celebrating their anniversary she spent the time composing a song, writing poetry and drawing a family tree. She encouraged her siblings and cousins to join in the fun and soon grandma's kitchen table was a sea of paper scraps and markers.

Victoria loves to read with her father and do math games on the computer. She does not enjoy homework, but, who does?? Last fall we took her to Williamsburg to celebrate her baptism and 8th birthday. We had a great time together. She really enjoyed the interactive roleplaying in the streets of town. She got to wear a period costume and fit right into the 18th century we were visiting.

Victoria is a blonde hair, blue eyed beauty with a unique sense of fashion. She is 9 going on 16 and promises to make her teen years memorable. I know she will make the best of her years in Germany. She makes friends easily and adapts quickly. I love her smile and am so glad I got to have her visit for the whole summer.

Happy Birthday Victoria!!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Today is the beginning of Birthday Week in August.

We begin with Cooper. He is 6 years old and a joy to be around. The other day he and I were talking about names and relationships in our family. All of a sudden I had a senior moment and couldn't remember his full name so I asked him--"Cooper, what is your middle name??" I knew his name was right on the tip of my tongue only I could not spit it out. With his big dimpled smile he replied "Cooper!!" Then I remembered that his name is J Cooper. A unique name for a unique little boy.

Cooper went to Kindergarten orientation last spring then came back and announced that he had done the kindergarten thing and was ready for first grade!! If only it was that easy. He started Kindergarten two weeks ago and is trying to get an understanding for all of the rules and expectations. He is a tenderhearted little guy who makes me happy. He is a whiz at math and has taught himself to read. I know he will do well in school.

Cooper lives on chocolate milk. He has great rhythm when playing Rock Band with his family, he likes to go camping and entertains himself for hours with his DS.

Last year when his mother was quite sick with her pregnancy he and I were great companions, he went everywhere with me. I am glad we got to spend that time together. It is a privilege to be friends with your grandchildren.

Happy Birthday Cooper!!

Friday, August 20, 2010


I have two granddaughters that both have beautiful hair.

One has thick, sleek and silky dark hair. When I run my fingers through her hair it feels like silk ribbons in my hand. She can have beautiful braids and her hair swishes when she moves her head.

The other has beautiful curly blonde hair. Her mother spends time putting it into french braids and spraying it with water to help the curls define. It is a gorgeous halo around her head.

The one is always asking me to curl her hair. We try. It stays for 2 minutes and then the sleek silky tresses return.

The other asks me to straighten her hair. We try. It stays for 2 minutes until the humidity hits and then the curly halo returns.

Isn't that the way we all seem to be in life?

What the other has seems more desirable--just because it is different from what we have. What we have been given is perfectly beautiful and desirable but we can't recognize the beauty or enjoy what we have for disappointment in what we do not have.

Life is full of opportunities to accept or change circumstances we live with. Sometimes if we take time to assess what is our lot we may find that it truly is a desirable situation worth cultivating. Sometimes looking at a situation with different eyes helps us to see the beauty of what is already ours.

A curly halo OR sleek and silky.
Both desirable.
Both beautiful.

just different.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

9 year old wisdom

Mom: What happens if you have a bad attitude when you start a project??

Dallin: You don't get anything done ;o(

So it is in life. Attitude is 90 percent of the project at hand no matter what the project is. When you have a 'can do attitude' you can accomplish a task much faster and easier than when the opposite is working.

As I tell my kids--
You are winning as long as you keep trying....
as soon as you quit trying... you lose.

Friday, August 13, 2010


Oliver Wendell Holmes had this to say about love:

Love is the master key that opens the gates of happiness

Today our daughter and her husband celebrate their 12th wedding anniversary. They are the parents of 5 beautiful children. They are happy--that makes us happy.

Congratulations Sean and Shawna

Thursday, August 12, 2010


When I was a young girl I dreamed of the day when I would be married and together my sweetheart and I would raise a loving family of beautiful children. Now, not to disillusion my children, I must admit that I do have a loving family with beautiful children-- but living the life was not what I envisioned.

Meals three times a day took up 75 percent of my time, planning, shopping for, preparing, serving, cleaning up after-- just to start again a short while later, not to mention the ever present whine of "can we have a treat?" between meals.

Then there was the mountain of dirty clothes that need to be washed. The dirty faces and bottoms that needed to be cleaned. Add to all of that the kid droppings from room to room and you have a young mothers day. The joy of my day was to rock and sing my little one to sleep. It was a quiet interlude of joy.

Last night I walked in on my daughter at 10 pm rocking her baby in the dark while humming quietly hymns of peace. My daughters life is filled with limbo and chaos at the moment--a family displaced. To see her find calm with a hymn of peace while rocking her little one shows me that even in turmoil and total chaos, a beautiful loving family is made by stringing moments of pure joy together.

Motherhood is wonderful joy--getting there not how we planned, but wonderful joy none the less.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Family Home Evening

Last night we were invited to share Family Home Evening with my son and daughter in law. They live on the other side of the city and we do not get to explore that side of town very often.

We went and had the most delicious and inexpensive sno cones at a little place called Pelicans. The line was long but went quickly, I guess everyone in that part of town knows what a great deal it is. On this side of town we have a little drive through from the same company, but it is NOT crowded. I guess the word has not yet spread about the delicious great deal that is right here under our lips.

Before our sno cone treat we had a summer favorite--a hot dog cook out. Our lesson was based on the scripture of the candle and the basket--hiding ourselves or talents under a bushel. As the evening progressed we continued that discussion about choices and consequences and I started thinking about my nephew that I am so proud of.

My nephew made some poor choices in high school and continued on that path for a few years after. So bad were his choices that one day we saw his face and name on America's Most Wanted. He had chosen some friends that were not a good influence, and opportunities to change his friends and actions were ignored. It was a sad time for our whole family. He was raised well and had loving parents, he just made some youthful poor choices with powerful consequences.

After the last giant episode was worked through he finally realized that he needed to change friends and to make good choices every day. The whole misunderstanding was because of the friends he kept and it cost him greatly. He made a giant step backward toward his youth and upbringing. He made new friends, moved and changed his employment. Eventually he met a wonderful girl and last year they were married. He now has a good job and a wonderful outlook. His whole countenance has changed. I am VERY PROUD of him. He is a happy man and I am happy for him.

I am so thankful for the opportunity of each new day and the chance to make new choices. Sometimes hiding our talents under a bushel is the poor choices we make and taking the basket off of our head and starting to think clearly is the result of major consequences for poor choices and a blessing in disguise.

Life is one round after another of choices and consequences with the opportunity to learn. Each new day is another chance to try again to make choices that make us happy.

The sun is shining today, there are chores to be done, grand babies to kiss and choices to be made--I hope I choose wisely.

It was a great Family Home Evening--Thank You

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Midnight Walks

I have been enjoying having the little ones here. This is the last week before they head back to Europe. With 5 of them it is quite often difficult to get them all asleep at the same time. My sweetheart and I just finished another midnight walk in the woods with a cutie in the stroller hoping to lull her to sleep.

I will miss the sweet kisses and the opportunity to walk off the extra calories from the chocolate cake treat at midnight while encouraging infants to go to sleep. We still have a few more nights where we can take a midnight walk with a babe in a stroller--might want to bake another cake......YUM......guilt free cake.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Leslie Barr

To finish out this last BIRTHDAY WEEK I want to recognize my maternal grandfather, Leslie Barr.

Papa (as we called him) was born on August 2, 1915 in Cornwall, New York. He was the fourth son of Matthew Barr and Jane Matthews. They had just imigrated to the states from Liverpool, England bringing the two oldest (Matthew and Robert), Daniel having died in a fire before papa's birth. Papa also had a younger sister, Margaret.

Leslie met Rozella Jensen in Southern California when they both worked at the movie theater. He was an usher (handsome in his uniform!!) and Nana sold the tickets. He lied and told her he was two years older than he was and she lied and told him she was two years younger. For many years they did not know how old they really were. They fell in love and eloped, being married on December 6, 1934.

They had four children born to their union, Elizabeth Jane (my mother), Leroy Stanley, Leslie Ann and Kent Matthew.

I was their oldest grandchild and have many fond memories of happy family get togethers.

Nana was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (the third generation) but Papa was not. After they were married for 44 years Papa was finally ready and decided to get baptized as a Christmas gift for the family. Two years later he took Nana to the temple. In January of 2000 we were all in the temple together doing work for his parents. It was a wonderful day. He told me on that occasion that the only thing he regretted in life was waiting so long to be baptized. Papa died on April 30, 2000, just 3 months after our wonderful day together.

Papa would have been 95 this year. I am thankful for the great heritage I come from and hope I can pass on a wonderful legacy to my grandchildren as well.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Warm Fuzzies and Cold Pricklies

I am a pre school teacher. One of the first lessons we teach is about warm fuzzies and cold pricklies, meaning the nice things we say and do verses the cold way we feel when the opposite happens.

To teach the lesson I give each child a cotton ball and have them touch it, feel it and rub it across their cheek. I tell them that this is how people feel when we say and do nice things for them. Then I give them a prickly pinecone or a prickly ball from the sweet gum tree, I ask them to feel and touch it. I ask if they like how it feels. This prickly, stickly, hard thing is like the mean things we say and do to others and how we feel when it happens to us.

The rest of the year when something not quite kind happens, all I have to do is ask if the action is a warm fuzzy or cold prickly and the child I am talking to will hang their head in thought and usually acknowledge the warm or cold of their words and actions.

Sometimes we all need the reminder that cold prickly words and actions put a prickly stickly barrier up, while the opposite is true as well, warm kind words and actions knock down tall sturdy fences and build relationships. I have noticed that in tight situations there are two ways to go about it; choosing words carefully to be sure the situation ends in warm and fuzzy feelings or barreling along with everyone feeling cold and prickly in the end.

Sometimes all that is needed is a little thought and careful word choices to make the same situation turn out either warm and fuzzy or cold and prickly.

May we all be slow to speak and have a warm fuzzy day

Monday, August 2, 2010

Poor Pablo

Traveling is always an adventure. Add to that traveling with the Flanabrood and you get high adventure. Last week my daughter and her family were traveling by plane from Utah to California and back again. Somehow they missed their 7 am return flight. The next flight out was 12 hours later. Everyone in their group of 11 was working on only 4 hours sleep, the rental car had already been turned in and they had given up their hotel rooms. There were 7 children 8 and under on the trip. They were stranded at LAX.

Yesterday I met up with them in Baltimore. My flight landed 20 minutes before theirs in a different part of the airport. I went and waited for the bag that had the car seats I brought. Strapped them to my carry-on and wandered the airport to find their concourse. Soon all of us were together and we headed to baggage claim for the mountain of luggage and baby gear they checked--more car seats, a double stroller and I don't know how many bags. It was a funny sight to see the two little ones strapped to their parents carry-ons still sitting in their car seats. When you travel with this many little ones you do what ever works.

We got the luggage and put the pile on the curb then waited for the shuttle to the car rental depot. We load all of the children and the mountain of bags onto the shuttle. Get to the depot and unload the children and the mountain of bags onto the curb again. After 4 attempts they finally find the rental companies contracted for the two cars we needed, all the while I am trying to keep the little ones entertained on the curb while keeping watch over the mountain of bags and car seats we have assembled. Eventually we are given the two cars and piece by piece we load the luggage into the two cars, strap in the 4 car seats, load up the children and head out.

After a quick stop to feed the hungry children we finally head to the hotel only to find that they have no record of the reservation and the hotel is full. So are all of the other hotels in the area. After about an hour we find a vacancy and head out. Now it is nearing 10 pm. I landed at 4pm.

We take the children up to the room and try to figure out how to make beds for the 8 of us with the two queens and a sofa bed the room has to offer. No porta crib, but we do have a chair and an ottoman--we will manage. We bathe the children, make the beds and my son in law carries up the bags and puts them in the room one by one--that huge mountain of bags. We start looking through the bags to find pjs and undies for the freshly bathed little ones and my son in law asks "why do we have my brothers clothes in here?"


He looks closer at the bag and realizes that accidentally, while loading up the mountain of bags we brought, we picked up an extra bag. Poor Pablo. He is naked in Baltimore and we were lugging around extra baggage that we did not need. We call the airline to let them know, say our family prayer and ask a blessing on poor naked Pablo.

Note to self: Black bags look the same, check the name tag.