Thursday, March 31, 2011

Keeping Up

I am lucky to be able to be in Indiana with a few of my grandchildren. Today is my first day in charge and I am glad the kids are good helpers.

Oops #1--Woke up late after a short night and almost missed the bus

Oops #2--Got lost taking Brody to preschool

Oops #3--Got lost picking Brody up from preschool

Oops #4--Let Brody take a book to bed when he laid down for his nap and he forgot to go to sleep

Oops #5--Dallin had fractions for homework and I knew he was doing the math wrong, but needed to go into the other room with a pencil and paper to work a simple problem to figure it out

Oops #6--After homework was finished started to breathe a sigh of relief for the afternoon to calm down when Dallin reminded me he had soccer practice this evening

All this and the parents have only been gone for 12 hours--I am doing great.

Not to worry:
  • Dallin's alarm works and he is very responsible so we made the bus.
  • I know my way around town better after a tour of the city on the way to and from preschool.
  • I was awarded a few minutes of snuggle and rocking time with a 4 year old angel who was able to relax and take a little nap.
  • Dallin's homework is complete and correct.
  • Dinner is in the oven and we will be ready to go in an hour.

Disaster sidetracked--All is well

Friday, March 25, 2011


The weather has changed--at least for these few days--and the birds beckon for a stroll down the lane.

I have found that taking a walk out in the fresh air helps clear my brain and soul.

I stretch myself both mentally and physically as I walk along and think.

After a walk I seem to have more energy to tackle the tasks of the day.

Plenty of studies have been done to tell us that getting out and exercising is beneficial. Walking is my exercise choice.

I have found that when a toddler is cranky, and a nap is not in order, a ride in the stroller changes attitudes for all parties.

Last week my granddaughter Katya was having a rough time of it. When I suggested a walk she grabbed her blanket and climbed in the stroller. I suggested she put on her shoes and she said NO!! She did not want any chance of losing her seat and needing to walk.

Later that week I took my 2 year old grandson, Denim, for a few hours so his mom and dad could paint the deck without his help. At first he voiced his displeasure of being separated from his mother. He changed his opinion when I got out the stroller and offered a walk. He sat up and enjoyed our stroll down the greenway.

My daughter has been on solo duty managing her large household while her husband is out of town on business. The responsibility became a bit overwhelming so she loaded the baby in the stroller, after she dropped the older children at school, and walked for over an hour. She said that when she went back to the house she had a plan and was ready to face the challenge.

Walking outside offers a clear outlook.

Take a stroll and give yourself a mental lift, you will be glad you did. For bonus points, take a baby with you. Take a few deep breaths and enjoy a fresh perspective.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Off and Running

After 2 plus weeks in Europe we are home again.

The jet lag hits in the mid afternoon beckoning me to a little nap, but the schedule does not allow.

I am home for two and a half days before heading to Charlotte and Connor's baptism. He turned 8 while we were gone and I am excited to go see him and celebrate this milestone in his life.

We celebrated our 38th wedding anniversary the day we returned home. Too tired to celebrate big time, we decided to stay at home and revisited the first meal we cooked together as newly weds--Tacos. They were warm this time, not the ice cold offering I put before my new husband on a box we used as our makeshift table while we sat on the floor.

Mail to sort, laundry to wash, groceries needed and grandchildren to visit. I have next week to put things in order before heading out again--Indiana is the next destination.

I did not realize that this stage of life would be my travel opportunity. I never left the state of California from the time I arrived at age 3 months until I was 16 years old. While raising my children I did not travel too far without them. Now I am gone from home almost more often than I am here. It is wonderful to have the opportunity to do so, because I get to see my children and grandchildren--that is a blessing.

Today I am cooking. Baking bread and beans, making lots of salads for the family meal we will share tomorrow as we gather for Connor's special day.

The question is will we have enough energy to make the 3 hour drive tonight? After making dinner last night I collapsed on the couch at 7pm and fell fast asleep. I will see how we feel this afternoon. I was able to sleep until 6am today--better than the 3 and 4am awakenings of the last two mornings. Better to arrive for the party a little later than planned rather than not arrive at all.

We are coming and happy for the opportunity to see all of our grandchildren this week. They may live in many different time zones, but this week, traveling grandparents are up for the fun. Save a place at the table for me!!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Beautiful City

We drove down the road that could have been in southern Utah as we traveled through Germany and crossed the boarder into the Czech Republic. The signs pointed us toward Praha.


It seems the Russian's do not have the H sound in their vocabulary so they called the city Prague when they came and took over Eastern Europe.

Lucky for all of us, Prague was spared in the war. It is known as 'the beautiful city' for good reason. The buildings and cobblestone streets were a treat for the eye. The food was delicious to eat. The people were kind and helpful.

We decided that our time in Prague was limited so we took a tour to get the best view with a short stop. Veronica was our guide and Max (the four year old) was in love. We had the baby and 3 year old in the stroller. The 6 and 9 year old's were good travelers. Shawna took camera duty to find all the pretty doors, architectural details and pretty views. Sean with his bum back kept up, grandpa kept track of his hat and I pushed the loaded "chariot" (as Veronica called the stroller) for miles.

We started at 10:30 in the morning and returned to our hotel about 7pm. We saw the castle, which we learned was a group of large homes mixed with some government buildings. We viewed many beautiful churches and the old section of town where the Jewish people lived before they were all transported out.

We walked down a thousand steps and carried the stroller the whole way with two sleeping children. Our lunch stop was at the oldest pub in town--dark and medieval--with delicious food and lots of ambiance. We crossed the Charles Bridge and looked at the statues.

We took a boat ride along the river while the small children were invited to steer us along the journey. We saw beautiful clocks, the expression wall, and lovers bridge. It was an amazing day.

The next day we traveled through country roads to the medieval town of Cesky Krumlov. The little hotel was more like a bed and breakfast where they gave us a key to the front door as well as our room. The town with it's narrow streets, lovely church and towering castle was a story book page come alive. Buildings carved out of the side of the Granite mountain were amazing. It was a place you could explore and enjoy for a week and never walk the same lane twice.

My senses are full. It was a wonderful journey.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Walking the Wall

My daughter took us to see the sights in downtown Berlin. For the most part it is a modern European city. A few interesting looking buildings here and there, a beautiful city gate, and the remnants of the infamous Berlin Wall.

We walked along the wall for a few miles, and thought about the people who woke up one morning to find it there.

It was a wall built, not to keep people out, but to keep people in.
To keep them from knowing what was happening across the street and throughout the world.

It was a day for deep thought.

Freedom to come and go. Freedom to know what is happening. Freedom to think and act. Freedom to meet with family who live down the street, on the other side of the wall.

Thankful for the freedom to walk along the wall on the east side, for me and all people, on a warm winter day.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Is a Tub just a Tub?

After ten years I am blessed to have a bath tub once again. It is not a super whirlpool with lights like my friend Phyllis just had put into her home, but it is a 5 foot garden tub with with a ceiling light on a dimmer. My sweetheart calls it the focal point of the bathroom. After 10 years of waiting for our bathroom remodel, I am thankful to have my own bathtub.

The best tub was the one in our last home. It was a 6 foot whirlpool with a nice window. I had two doors between me and the children. It was my late afternoon retreat after a crazy day.

I have been enjoying the tub at my daughters home this last week. Her home in Germany sports a European tub, 6 feet long and slim. As I put my 5'7" body into the tub I have to stretch to keep my head above water.

My mother is a tiny thing at just 5'1" when she was at her tallest. She is planning to use her first ever passport to come visit her granddaughter in Germany. I think of mom's excitement as her dreams are fulfilled and she gets her passport stamped for the first time. After the long flight I know she will want to take a bath and I laugh as I picture how she will slip and slide while she tries not to drown in the longest tub she will ever bathe in.

I ran water this evening and put the two youngest into the tub. They played and giggled as the dirt of the day washed off. I dried them off and dressed them in their jammies while I made a mental picture of their sweet smiles.

A tub for bathing can be a simple bowl of water while camping or a jetted spa with chasing lights. Dirt and grime from everyday living is washed away. When the stress of the day becomes overwhelming, a fresh perspective can be achieved after just 5 quiet minutes of peaceful bliss with warm bubbles jetting around you.

Is a tub just a tub or is it an opportunity for a fresh, clean start?

Sunday, March 6, 2011


Communication is a wonderful gift.

I am visiting my daughter in Germany. My husband was stationed here while serving in the Air Force 40 years ago. For the 38 years of our marriage he has promised to bring me to Germany-- and here we are.

I have visited other countries where I did not know the language, but I usually had someone with me who was a guide and translator. Not this trip. Shawna has only been here for a few months and spends her days taking care of her family of young children. The three year old is becoming quite fluent in the language, soon her mother will be also, but not yet.

When we go out I can hear people talking, but cannot understand a word of what is said.

When we need to ask a question at a store, we hope we eventually find someone who speaks english. Until then we are on our own.

We went to the German twin of Home Depot to purchase a piece of wood. We needed to have it cut into 3 pieces. Shawna wrote the length and number of boards on a piece of paper. She did a pantomime and smiled. The man nodded, crossed out her dash and put an X in its place, then took the board behind a partition. We shrugged and waited.

What we needed was 2 pieces of wood about 40+ inches long with a little left over. What we got were 3 boards about 4" wide and about 8' long--nothing close to what we thought we were asking for.

To be unable to communicate is a difficult situation to be in.

Today we went to church. We were the ones with the head sets. Unfortunately it is difficult to take care of little children and listen to the meeting through a headset. I looked at the ladies in Relief Society and tried to understand the lesson--Mary and Martha. I followed the scriptures and thought of their story, not understanding the comments, but noticing through body language, voice inflections and emotions the impact of women meeting together.

And then we sang--As Sisters in Zion-- I did not recognize the words, but the melody rang loud in my mind and I realized we were all women who love the Lord. We may speak different languages, but the desire of our hearts are the same. We are women who love our families. Women who love the Lord. Women who struggle to make good choices and be good examples.

We may not be able to communicate by speaking to each other, but just being in the same room with the same purpose is a method of communication.

I had a friend that lived in South America for a while. When she returned home she had such a strong conviction that you should be able to go to church and listen in your own language. I agree.

Church today was a very spiritual experience and I did not understand a word that was spoken.

Every week Shawna dresses her 5 children and takes them to meetings where they can't communicate. She understands the necessity of teaching her children the consistency of going to church, even if you do not understand a word of what is said. I pray for her strength.

One week is a privilege--3 years is a struggle. The ability to communicate is a great gift.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


In life there are opportunities to make choices and decisions every day. Some are as simple as "what shall we eat?", some are major as in "where shall we live?".

Thomas S. Monson has said

"Decisions determine destiny"

One may not think much about what is eaten every day, but to a dieter that decision is a major thought process each and every meal.

Choice in what to wear reflects our values. Others see our outward appearance and are either drawn toward us or repelled.

As I have thought about it, I agree that decisions do determine our destiny.

That is major work 24/7