Friday, July 29, 2011


Now that I am a Grandma I love to go visit my grandchildren in their own homes sometime over the summer to watch them enjoy a summer day. Summer vacation is when you get to have your kids to yourself to enjoy unencumbered hours without the worry of bedtime and homework. Eventually, as the days wear on, the children relax and you start to see who they really are.

During the summer my children would have time to make up plays, we would do crafts and find plenty of time to explore the treasures of the kitchen as well as quiet reading time. We enjoyed finding a few tomatoes in the garden or a peach off of the tree to add to the dinner menu. Some summers we would go explore museums or pitch a tent and camp. When we lived close enough to the beach we would make that a destination for the day or week.

Now that my children are grown and married I love watching how they bring their childhood adventures to life for their children. They are offering their children wonderful opportunities and hours of fun on a warm, stress free summer day.

As I visit Michael's home I enjoy listening to Kendra read novels to her children like Little Women or Little House on the Prairie. Shawna's house is filled with markers, glue and glitter. Cara always seems to have something delicious coming from her kitchen and a backyard filled with hungry children to eat it. Teri and her children invite us to come to the pool and enjoy a cool and watery moment with them. Kevan and Brooke snuggle their new baby, giggling and laughing together at her coos and goos. Brian and Cheri enjoy firing up the grill to make a delicious dinner to share.

Summer is the time to relax and slow down. It is the time to enjoy watching the grass and children grow. It is a wonderful time to read a book and cool off by the side of the pool. I hope you are able to take a few moments and enjoy a summer moment with someone you love.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Birthday Wishes

I have heard that if you go to Disney on your birthday you get in free!! If I could switch birthday's with my daughter it might work, we will be in the park on Shawna's birthday. She loves Disney so I will take one extra ride on Pirates just for her!!

Two years ago when we came on this trip with Logan we were just a few day's off of her birthday as well. She celebrates another year on Saturday.

This year I celebrated my birthday while driving somewhere in Indiana, Tennessee, Kentucky and Georgia. Lucky for me to have two great kids with me who were fun to be with and they remembered to sing to me as we drove along, watching movies and enjoying each others company.

Another year older and I hope another year wiser.

It is a great week to have a birthday.

Shawna and Logan--Please know that I love you and wish for a happy day for each of you.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Pool Time

Time passes quickly. It seems like just yesterday I was facing a busy summer with 6 small children. Now those children are all grown and between them they are raising 17 little ones with summer dreams in their eyes.

When my children were young and at home we spent a lot of time at the pool. On a hot summer day it was a great reward for doing our morning routine--making the beds, dusting and vacuuming, cleaning up the kitchen and reviewing a few of the things we remembered from the school year.

After lunch we would pack up some snacks and head out for a cool afternoon of water fun. It was a treat for me because the kids were so busy dipping and diving they did not need much from me except a set of eyes to watch.

After the pool I would bring the tired children home and let them have some time to read or watch a movie while I made dinner in the quiet kitchen.

I remember on a busy Saturday filled with chores and home remodeling we would end the day with a trip to the pool to cool off and add some fun. As the time approached to go home we would put a dab of shampoo on the kids hair and put them under the shower at the side of the pool. As the shampoo and water washed over their bodies they were clean and ready for pj's and bedtime.

I will soon have grandchildren visiting for a few days. I do not have a neighborhood pool to take them to any more, but I do have a wading pool that I put on the deck and fill up. Sometimes they play in the pool as they pour water on each other and the deck. Sometimes we just put our feet in as we sit by the side and eat a popsicle. Sometimes I turn on the sprinkler to water the lawn and let the children play in the droplets. Sometimes we get in the car and drive to visit Aunt T and her neighborhood pool.

What ever the opportunity affords, I do believe some water and sunshine help children grow in body and spirit. It is time to enjoy a summer day by the waters edge.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Load 'em Up and Head 'em Out

The week is running away with me. Gotta get the car washed and oil changed. Gotta load up the ice chest and suit cases, find the kid movies and organize the snacks. It is time to take two wonderful 8 year old cousins on a grandma and grandpa trip.

We did this two years ago with our first set of 8 year olds, now it is time to take the second set. The last trip was the BEST TRIP EVER, and we have high hopes for the same success rate this time, after all, how can you go wrong when you mix children and Disney??

We will leave on Friday afternoon and drive the 3 hours to pick up Connor. Then we leave early Saturday morning, (Connor loves to wake up at 4am early) for the first real travel day as we head up to Indiana to pick up Ella. It will take two days in the car to finally make it back south to Florida and the Magic Kingdom where Grandma and Grandpa have a comfortable hotel waiting.

We are planning to be at the Park before it opens and stay until it closes. We have our comfortable shoes packed, a water bottle, some small snacks and our hats. It should be a great day.

I love taking the 8 year olds. They are old enough to take care of themselves, yet young enough to think that Grandma's ideas are fun and good. They are cousins, not siblings, so they get along well.
We are taking them to visit Mickey and the gang. The dynamics of the trip are quite favorable.

I love Disney, I grew up just a short drive from Disneyland and loved to go there at least once a year. That was back in the days of the "E" ticket. I think I found a few of those old tickets hiding in my 'keep it' drawer when I was cleaning out last time. Happy memories and happy times.

We have been so busy with missing the whole month of June (that was Germany and Alaska). We ripped out the laundry room and pantry over the 4th of July, and here we are, ready to go again, trying to get our minds out of the paint cans and excited about Disney and two wonderful 8 year old cousins who are waiting for their turn.

I only have a few things left to put away and clean up before we load it all up and head out for the trip of the summer. It will be fun and memorable. Connor is already packed and ready to go, Ella gave me her list of favorite travel foods--I think it will be a good trip--48 hours in the car--it will be fun-----

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Paint and Paper

I have been wearing my designer painting clothes all week. They look very interesting with their splotches of color I have dripped and wiped away. I always wonder why I choose the light colored paint clothes when I am using dark stain and the dark clothes when I am painting with white?? Sometimes my choices are a bit questionable.

I have been climbing on ladders, squatting near the floor, reaching and twisting trying to finish this project before we head out to pick up two sweet 8 year old grand children--but that is next week's story.

I have learned that a bit of paint and some clean lines make a space seem bigger--even when you put the same amount of things back into that space.
We painted all of the woodwork white and found a pretty shade of taupe for the walls that make the white woodwork stand out--yet when you look into the room it seems quite neutral and light.

A number of years ago
I transferred my dish washing detergent into a pretty bottle. The pretty bottle sits on the counter ready for service looking lovely and tidy. When it is near empty I fill it up again from the bottle with a label that I keep hidden in the cupboard. Using a bottle that has a pretty color and shape makes the sink edge look lovely and not just functional. Now I am working on my laundry room trying to get the same effect with laundry detergent, bleach, oxyclean and fabric softener. I have a number of baskets just the right size and a few white buckets that just might do the job.

One lasting thing that happened from all of this fun is that I twisted myself into a permanent pretzel. My hip hurts like the dickens.

Usually when I over exert myself it takes a few days for this grandma body to recuperate and soon I am back to being myself again. This time everything started feeling better except my hip. OH NO!! In fact it has hurt so bad it is difficult to sleep and is worse in the morning.

I called my doctor to see if I could get a recommendation to see my favorite physical therapist (we became quite friendly over the year long frozen shoulder, but that too, is a story for another day). Unfortunately, when I call the doctor I get the people at the desk and they do not always feel the urgency or timeliness I try to communicate through my pleas. I thought that with the two weeks before our trip I might be able to work in 4 or maybe 5 visits to the physical therapist. NO!! They would not let me see the doctor until 5 days later.

The doctor was apologetic as she gave me a shot to ease the pain. She recommended some rest while others finished my project. Now, I do not know about you, but if I want to find something I really should be the one putting it away in the first place. I pretty much can tell you where most things are in my house. But, my sweet husband still asks where items in the kitchen go when he empties the dish washer and they have lived in the same place since we remodeled the kitchen 10 years ago and he is a regular kitchen helper.

The room will get put back together this week slow and steady as I limp along. Finally, after two weeks the washer is hooked up and ready to tackle the mountain of wash we have waiting. The new freezer will be delivered on Tuesday. By Friday the house will be tidy, the car will be packed and we will be off to the next adventure--taking two cute 8 year olds on a roadtrip to remember.

Today, I am thankful for Sunday and the commandment to take a day of rest. I will tackle all of the chaos in my house again tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


I taught the lesson on Obedience last Sunday.

As the sisters and I discussed the topic I realized that the thought of being obedient in all things is easy--there is not much that we are asked to do that is difficult--say our prayers, read our scriptures, make time for family and spiritual things, be wise in our choices and decisions, be generous in our tithes and offerings. Unfortunately the doing of these things is often quite difficult.

Aristotle had this to say:
Wicked men obey because of fear
and good men obey because of love.

Now the question is....Why do I obey??

Monday, July 11, 2011

Wild Oats

Our talks at church yesterday were on choices.

Dennis Perry told this joke that I have thought about ever since:

Some of us daily go about sowing our wild oats
only to show up at church on Sunday
and pray for crop failure!

In some ways I am sure that is true for all of us. How many times do our actions directly conflict with our prayers for joy and happiness??

Friday, July 8, 2011


We purchased our fixer upper house 12 years ago. We were at a crossroad in raising our family. All of a sudden we had 3 married children and another daughter with diamonds in her eyes. Our two youngest were both in high school and the only children still living at home. The big 6 bedroom house that we had when everyone was living at home was no longer needed. Plus, after 3 weddings in 18 months our finances could use a smaller drain.

We sold our big family home to a friend with 7 children and they still love the kid friendly house. We finally found this house after a long search and almost giving up. It was smaller than we wanted but had potential. The house was sturdy and would provide opportunities for our two young sons to learn some home improvement skills. One bonus that we had looked for, was land, our home sits on 6 acres with a stream and small orchard that the deer love. After plenty of negotiations the price was right and our adventure began.

We purchased the house and spent a month cleaning and refurbishing before we could move in (on the hottest day of the year). We figured we were not going to get any younger and we probably had just enough energy left to remodel one more house. With the help of our children we have built a deck, remodeled the kitchen and a bathroom, built a road and some sheds as well as turning the garage into living space with a front door and porch.

The project we started this week is the laundry room that also doubles as a pantry. It is a wonderful room that houses a washer, dryer and a freezer as well as an extra refrigerator. This room is center to the workings of the household that you must walk through to reach my sewing room--another wonderful room that makes my life easier.

We found tile on sale and decided a tile floor would be nice. Last weekend after moving out all of the appliances into the kitchen and dining room we started laying the sub floor, backer board and finally the tile. We worked and worked for two days. About 10 pm on Saturday night I looked at the 20 or so tiles we had left and decided I just could not do any more. My husband agreed that finishing these few tiles on another day would be to our benefit.

We had grand intentions of coming home on the 4th and quickly putting down the last few tiles but my body ached. Over the weekend I found it difficult to stand, sit, bend over, walk, breathe, sleep, move or be still. My sweetheart and I are realizing that we have aged quite a bit over the last 12 years and it might be time to finish this fixer upper project.

Today we are starting another two day stint on the room. First we will paint and work on the shelving and if there is enough energy, tomorrow evening we will put down those last few tiles. When I look at the empty space where the tiles belong my ankles quiver and my knees go weak.

We can mark the birth of our grand children by the house projects we were tackling at the time. The first three, Dallin, Logan and Victoria inspired the kitchen remodel for a safer cooking situation. The front room was inspired by Ella and Connor and the need for a larger room to gather our growing family in. We were working on the front porch when Alexandra, Cooper and Caroline were born. We were in the middle of the bathroom remodel when Bella joined our family and baby Preslee and her mama loaned Kevan to us last weekend for the tile and floor adventure.

I guess it is time to stop talking about the fun awaiting the 36 hours ahead and just get to it. The paint is a pretty color--not quite grey or pink or beige or lavender--sort of taupe. White shelves and cabinets, a new freezer (to replace the green one we have had for 34 years) will be delivered next week and will want a finished floor to stand on. Fun, fun, fun---ohhh, steady my knees--you will survive.

Thursday, July 7, 2011


One of the blessings of living in the same place for over 20 years is that you get to see the kids grow up, get married and have children of their own.

Last Sunday at church 3 of my youngest boy's friends from their teen and early 20's were visiting with their wives and babies. It was fun to see these young men wrap their arms around their wives, care for, kiss and coo at their babies. They have grown into fine men---and I remember when I had my doubts---but time and experience show that, thank goodness, teenagers usually grow up into fine adults.

At the family reunion the "Wedding Game" was played (Newlywed Game). They ask silly questions to one spouse and the other has to guess the answer. Well the question to the women was "Before we were married my husband used to _______ but now he ______ ." One fellow had the greatest answer....Before we were married I used to raise he... but now I raise kids.

It has been fun to watch the youth in our area find someone special to marry and then start their own families. Some have struggled with starting that family and it has been a delight to see them finally hold a prayed for and worked for baby that they cherish and love. Unfortunately sometimes it takes longer and the outcome is not as hoped for.

Today I am attending a funeral for a friends grandbaby. I am reminded of my own sweet grandchild who is an angel in heaven. As I pray for my friend and her daughter as they mourn their loss, I pray for their strength to make it through the years and see blessings for this experience. I say an extra prayer for my Caroline and her parents. I am thankful for eternal families and the blessings of eternal truths.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Independence Delight

We shared a wonderful weekend at our daughter's home. She invited us to come celebrate Independence Day with her and her family. She told us it would be a quiet weekend, a simple cookout and plenty of time to just relax.

After all of our travel of late, and the mess we have made of the house in the effort to redo the laundry room and pantry, a few quiet hours at her lovely home sounded most welcome.

I have enjoyed watching my daughter grow up and mature. She is creative and has quite the artful eye. Her home is happy and joyful. I love spending time with her. Her family is active and busy doing the normal things a happy family does.

Now, when you tell me we are going to cookout for the Fourth of July I think of hot dogs and hamburgers with sides of potato salad, watermelon and baked beans. Little did I guess of the feast that awaited.

I love to cook for my family. I feel happy when they come to visit and find me in the kitchen, apron on and the stove working hard with a pile of dishes on the counter in some stage of cleanliness. At the end of the day I am tired, tummies are full, children are content and smiles abound. That is a good day for me and a happy memory of when I used to go to grandma's house.

When we arrived at Cara's on Sunday evening dinner was waiting on the table. Fresh made Lava Cake was served for dessert--YUM. We ended the evening teaching the new card game we learned at the family reunion. A delightful day.

On the Fourth I woke up to the smells of a busy kitchen--scones for breakfast--a tradition handed down from my grandmother. As we finished breakfast the first of the cookout treats started to show up as the timer called us to rescue the cupcakes from the oven. Then the second layer to the 3 layer jello surprise was added and the crab salad was started. The cupcakes were not just frosted, they were also a bit of eye candy in the presentation. Baked beans were on the menu for tradition and delightful cooked mushrooms topped the steaks that were perfectly grilled by the grillmaster. This was a feast to rival those I have tasted over the years prepared by trained chefs.

Kevan and Brooke brought their new baby to share the day with us. Greg's mom came and together we enjoyed hours of play with the grandchildren. Eden won a hand of War and Connor stuck in there until the final card was played in another card duel. We taught Grammy the new family game and had fun playing all afternoon, smiling and content as a happy satisfied family can be. Ada and Preslee enjoyed a few quiet moments with their mothers, cooing a gooing as they nursed, completing the family picture.

We set off a few fireworks before the weather changed and we had to begin the journey home, facing work and real life again tomorrow. It was a delightful weekend with a fabulous feast. Happy people, full tummies, a tired mommy, wonderful memories.

I am so thankful for the privilege of living in a free country. I am thankful for those who work to keep us safe. I am thankful for home and family. I am thankful for memories filled with love.