Thursday, July 31, 2008

Heading Out For Some Family Time

I love posting about days like yesterday—although it was a long drive, it was nice. As much as I enjoy flying, I love seeing the beautiful scenery on the road. (Of course, I probably love it because I just sit back while Allan does the driving. I have to admit I HATE NAVIGATING. And, I LET HIM KNOW IT—over and over and over again!!!)

We made the drive from Winnipeg to Bozeman. This time we decided to take a different route. It was nice to see different scenery. I don’t care where you are going you can always learn something and this earth is such a beautiful place.

We had only gone an hour to an hour and a half when saw some windmills. We didn’t realize there were windmills in Manitoba. (See you learn something every day—even when you’ve lived somewhere 12 years ; ) These windmills were huge and I should have counted how many there were--I googled it and found out there are 63 mindmills. It was so pretty with the morning fog—wish I was a better photographer so you could see how beautiful it was.


















Very rarely do we ever stop when we‘re traveling. (Even potty stops are “quick run to the washroom while dad fills the car” ; ) We carry sandwiches and snacks, so we don’t stop for lunch or dinner. However, this time we stopped at The International Peace Garden. I wish my blog could carry the lovely smell of all the flowers so you could enjoy. I will be googling it so I can learn more about it.

































When we were in one area of Manitoba, there was a huge statue of a turtle—I wasn’t quick enough with my camera. Thought it was kind of funny. This was the first one--I googled it and found it. We saw this 20' turtle in Boissevain--apparently commemorating the Turtle Derby as an international event???













A little later I saw this one and managed to get my camera out in time to "snap" (no pun intended) a picture.


























Being a city girl, I have always been fascinated with crops--so I thought these were gorgeous--canola and flax. I'm hoping when we head back home the sunflowers will be up and at their peak.





























Because we are in the middle of taking care of passport/immigration issues, we didn’t have our passports and we were a little concerned about crossing the border. I breathed a sigh of relief as the border agent told us to have a good trip.

One last comment--and I make this one just for Heidi--we didn't stop at Pompei's Pillar. (It has ALWAYS been a high-point of our drive. I also feel we should have an education experience when we travel and that was such a WONDERFUL experience for Heidi. I did take a picture as we FLEW by.















I should have taken a picture of the car—I guess there are real disadvantages to driving as opposed to flying. I just take ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING—JUST IN CASE!!! And believe me, it looks like it. But Kyle and I were very happy because there was room in the car for ROCK BAND!!!

Now we're off and we’re going to take a couple of detours, but hopefully it won’t be too late when we arrive in Orem.

Sidenote: It was so wonderful Tuesday night to attend the setting apart of a missionary. (I always go to take a picture of the Missionary and the S.P. It’s so exciting to watch them go and so wonderful to see the growth and maturity two years later when they return.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Google Search

I love when people do posts on how people find their blog--I've never done one, so I thought I would give it a try. Here's a sampling of some of the words people google that bring them to my blog:

Funny thing, there is one search that has brought more people to my blog than any other and it just surprises me: DRIVING FROM TORONTO TO WINNIPEG!!! Who'd have thought??? By the way, that was such a fun drive that Allan and I made last year when we brought Heidi's car to Winnipeg.

Warm fuzzies/cold pricklies--in fact, I was just thinking about doing another post about that very thing. I just LOVE spending time with people who are builders. I have a tough time with those who cannot spit out a compliment. I guess it's called I don't feel good about myself, so I certainly can't build up anyone else??

Chocolate souffle--yum. I haven't made one in so long. Maybe, I'll take my ramekins on our trip to Utah--because I prefer the individual ones.

Alpine slide Northstar--gosh it's been a long time since we've been down that slide--what great memories.

Sacred Grove/Wasaga Beach--I have great memories of taking trips to those two places. Oh how I wish I could take my Seminary students to the Sacred Grove.

Winnipeg Bishop Speeding ticket--That one is a little confusing to me. Not sure what post that was???

Magic of Ordinary Days Soundtrack--That's probably the only time I've ever downloaded anything from YouTube.

And my favorite--"Is there a hawaii anything in Canada?" Well, what do you think???

I know I have mentioned one that I couldn't find because I probably didn't go back far enough, it was a search of the words spaghetti hairstyles--goodness, I can't figure out that one!!!

Before I wrap this up, I have a question that I actually was going to do a whole post on--Why do people comment or why do people not comment? Of course, if you don't comment, you'll never answer that question!!! When I first began blogging, I remember reading a post at blogging basics 101 about leaving comments. I had decided I would try to comment on every blog post I read--but then again I don't read a whole bunch of blogs. We have a family website and my husband never comments on pictures. His reason, because then he'd have to comment on them all. I always feel bad when someone posts a picture and no one comments.

I do find there are some posts that I read and I don't leave a comment. My DIL Macy does a very detailed synopsis about SYTYCD and I don't comment because I dont' watch it. I have shared her thoughts with one of my friends who says that Macy is right on the money. (I'm not surprised--she does the same kind of posts when American Idol is on and because she is a singer--a beautiful singer--she knows what she is talking about) Honestly, I read those posts because bloglines doesn't give me her whole post, and I'm afraid I may miss a picture of my cute little grandson; )

Sidenote: Tonight I saw the trailer for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince--WOW!!!



Monday, July 28, 2008

Disney Princess--Are You Kidding Me???

You Are Ariel!
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Headstrong and fiesty. You have a mind of your own that's full of romantic dreams about the world around you. Exploring exotic places is your ultimate dream, and although you can be a little naive you'll realize that there is something to be gained from your family's wisdom.


Which Disney Princess Are You?

At first I was pretty upset, because I have to tell you I think Ariel is the worst example for young women. I get irritated every time she says, "But, Daddy, I love him." Are you kidding me--you've never even talked to the guy!!! Not only that she is ready to give up her family to be with some guy she doesn't know AT ALL!!!!

But...when I read the above description, I had to re-think my position ; )

When it says: Headstrong--yes; feisty--pretty much; not sure about my mind full of romantic dreams about the world around me???; but the clincher was: "Exploring exotic places is your ultimate dream"--well, I don't know about my "ultimate" dream, but I do enjoy exploring exotic places. In fact, we're geting ready to head out of town to explore the exotic state of Utah ; ) I'm really looking forward to spending time with some of our family (I know we'll spend tons of time talking and talking about our next vacation--where I'll get to explore some more exotic places). And I'm very excited about getting the chance to meet Heidi's special young man. (Once I get her permission I'll post all about that)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

What You Don't Want to Hear

As Allan and I were heading out of town yesterday, we really didn't want to hear this message from this message from Heidi: "I'm on my way to the emergency room."

She had gone to Idaho with a friend and earlier in the morning sent a text saying she was going out jet skiing. Well, apparently when she was out on the jet ski she fell off and the jet ski came around and hit her in the face. OUCH!!!

When we talked to her after the emergency room visit, she said she didn't need stitches--the doctors used glue and a steri-strip. Apparently she split above her lip to her nose. I told her how mad I was that she didn't have a camera to get a picture for the family website. SHE WAS NOT AMUSED!!! (I reminded her that when Kyle was being taken by gurney to the ambulance when he broke his leg at lunchtime when he was at school that I mentioned to the principal how mad I was that I didn't have my camera, and he said he had one and took Kyle's picture ; )

Heidi is just fine, just a little embarrassed about how "hideous" she looks (her words ; )

SIDENOTE #1: Allan and I were in Regina. When we came out of the temple Friday night, we walked around the grounds--the flowers were just gorgeous.

SIDENOTE #2: I haven't had Dairy Queen in ages and last night we went out to celebrate and I had a Pecan Mudslide. Yum, was it ever good. (Guess that means I'm really gonna have to work extra hard next week--I have only lost 2 of the 4 pounds I gained while in Hawaii ; )


Thursday, July 24, 2008

Has it Really Been 26 Years

Wasn't my guest blogger fabulous??? Now you all have a little clue of what a great guy I married, and how blessed I am. So let me share with you how it all began:

26 years ago today I was in my little apartment playing a video game when the phone rang. This very soothing voice on the phone said, "Hi, Sister J. How are you doing?" When I realized who it was
I WAS SO EXCITED. In fact, that is an understatement.

Since I was the unofficial Ward Babysitter, I would go to the homes of friends to take care of kids when parents would go out of town, so I assumed Allan had some kind of business trip and was calling to ask me to come take care of his kids. (It's funny we had the same friends, lived in the same ward, but other than Church, I can't remember being at any social event that he was at) So when he asked, "What are you doing tonight?" I was pretty sure he was calling about babysitting. Then he asked if I would like to go for pizza and a movie--and to put me at ease he added, "I'll bring Neal and you can bring Stephen." I said something to the effect--"Sure." Inside I was saying, "ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!!! THIS IS A DREAM COME TRUE."

I'm sure I called my friend, Pat, to let her know what was happening--then tore threw my closet looking for JUST THE RIGHT THING. I thought--THIS MIGHT BE MY ONLY CHANCE TO GO OUT WITH HIM--I WANT TO MAKE A GOOD IMPRESSION.

Well, fortunately for me it was not the only chance. So, where did we go that night?

The four of us went to Straw Hat and then to see After the movie we went to Chuck E. Cheese so Neal and Stephen could play video games and we could visit. (I'm not sure how many tokens those boys used that night ; )


This is what I wrote in my journal: "I had a marvelous time and felt very much at ease, except I had a horrible headache. I feel real good about being with him. I really enjoy him--he's so easy to talk with. I certainly hope this is the start of something."   We had our first date July 24, 1982, and we were married less than 3 months later. It was a fabulous courtship--we spent lots of time together. I remember Allan said Neal told him we didn't need to see each other every day.
It's funny when I read over my journal I realized we didn't see each other EVERY day--in fact, I saw him the next day after our first date, and then he tortured me by not calling for 5 DAYS!!!

BY THE WAY, I'M SURE GLAD I WAS HOME--maybe he would have called someone else. (What a horrible thought!!!)

And in celebration of our first date, tonight we went on our 1352nd date--(that's assuming we went on an average of one per week). Face it, in those 26 years there have been pregnancies where I went no where, but then again there have been times when we went on more than one in a week, and times when we were on vacation where we went on a "date" every night. So tonight we went to see "Get Smart"--we needed a good laugh, and we got it.



Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Guest Blogger

The question was asked what would I say are some of Yvonne's qualities, so she decided to have me answer directly.

Well let's see--the first quality and her strongest one is PATIENCE! Oh maybe that was not her strongest quality and maybe it isn't a strong quality. Well enough of the humor and now let me get to what makes her such a wonderful person in my life.

I am not going to put them in any order but when I was in a situation looking for just the right one, I was in the Oakland Temple in January of 1982 on either a Ward Temple night or a Stake Temple night which is where I was suppose to be. The ordinance room was very large and held probably about 300 when full in those days so the group was very large. I had been concerned about my situation and had been asking for some guidance in finding the right person to help me with the challenges I was going to face for the next 100 years. I was sitting towards the front and for some reason I turned around and just looked over the whole congregation and all of a sudden I noticed her and had a confirmation that she was to be that solution. I did not know her well at that point but knew that she was in my Ward. Although I knew that it wasn't until July after our Pioneer Day celebration that I got the courage to call her and ask her out. Do you think I was watching her all that time--yes. So to the first quality that I noticed was an extremely strong testimony of the gospel and I knew that it would not waiver no matter what. I knew that she had challenges raising a son alone but she never wavered even when the trials were heavy. So today I look back and I was absolutely correct on that impression of her faithfulness as she has had many question her faith and she has never flinched.

Next was her love of family, which she has had all her life. She is always concerned about family members no matter where they are or even if she is responsible for them directly. She feels for each of them and feels the pain they feel when they reach out to her for help. She is the first to jump to the "I'll help you" button and push it. She is extremely thoughtful as she notices everything people do and want. I am oblivious to any of it as I never notice what anyone orders or what they said they liked or what their favorite color is---but she knows it all. She then takes time to purchase things they said and things she saw they liked. This is where I get into trouble because I can't always remember what she liked or wanted and she does not always understand that we are not all that good at this quality.

Next would be her desire to serve others even outside her family. She is the best Visiting Teacher I have ever seen and there are those that would not have anything to do with the Church until she kills them with kindness and compassion. I have heard many times when a sister would say I would have left a long time ago if it weren't for Sister R.

She can always see the side of an argument or discussion that no one else even thought about because she is thinking like they would think. She is great to have when planning something to have her think about what others may want or may find offensive. By the time you are done you have covered most every possibility and now can rest assured you have done the planning well.

Next is her desire to see her children find happiness. She wishes she could take all the challenges away from them but understands that isn't possible nor correct. She comes very close to feeling what they feel but does not let that stop her from pouring our sound advice and healing advice.

She loves to cook something new and watch us all to see if we either understand what we are eating or seem pleased to have this new dish. She is really a great cook but being in the kitchen all the time is not her favorite thing to do. She loves to cook Christmas goodies and take them to Home Teaching families, Visiting Teaching Sisters, neighbors, etc.

She loves to give gifts and is meticulous on making sure her list for each person she is shopping for gets just what they wanted. She loves to see them unwrap the gifts and then take their picture showing the delight of getting what they really wanted.

Talking about pictures--WELL--she is in line for the photographer of the century. She has been taking pictures by the hundreds all the time that I have known her and today we reap the benefit of all that effort when someone says when did that happen or where did we go? She always has a picture to prove the point. Just to make my point I think she took almost 1,000 pictures in Hawaii a few weeks ago--not sure if that was enough but we don't have to wonder who did what or who was there. The bad part is that she is in very few pictures because she took all of them--maybe the fact that she always closes her eyes is the reason?

I don't know where she got her memory but it is amazing. She can remember telephone numbers from 20 years ago that I forgot the day we moved. She can remember names and places when I am lucky to remember I was alive. She can always tie one event to another or one situation to an experience and elaborate as if it was yesterday. She loves facts and trivia and I watch her viewing quiz shows and yelling out all the answers before the contestants do. Wish I could put her on one of those programs and retire!

She is my skinny wife that always thinks she has to go on a diet. I guess when you are a bit of a perfectionist that is the way that it works. I just love her the way she is.

Well I was told I can't do this all day, so I just want everyone to know that I married the person that the Lord intended for me to marry and I have reaped the benefit every day of my life

Go Yvonne Go
Love ya
Allan

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Mainly for Me

The main reason I started blogging was to let my family and friends see where we were when we were off on an adventure, and I have to admit this past year we did do a fair amount of traveling. The other reason I write posts is to try and keep track of what is going on in our lives.

We are working on some immigration stuff which requires us to determine how many days we've been out of the country in the last 5 years and where we've been. (Keep in mind Allan does a lot of traveling and I occasionally go with him--trying to figure all that out has been a ton of fun.) Klin I thought of you and your question about the miles I've traveled this past year ; )

Well, right now LIFE IS A LITTLE TOUGH. You're all going to look at my blog and say, "How can she say that--she just got back from Hawaii!!!" Yeah, I know, that part wasn't tough. But you know when you come home and reality sets in--it can be hard. I've said before I do not have patience. I'm sure I must have been busy talking when patience was given out (nancyface and I have talked about this and we've decided that we were probably having a grand conversation somewhere and so we didn't get that particular virtue ; ) I want everything settled NOW for my husband, I want to know what lies around the corner, etc. Isn't that silly??? I was talking with a good friend the other night and she asked how Allan is handling everything. ARE YOU KIDDING? Fortunately for all of us he is positive. When we kneel down for prayer in the morning he expresses gratitude for our challenges--it takes everything I have not to kick him ; ) Seriously, I am so grateful for his faith and his positive attitude. He is the finest man I know--I am so blessed. He keeps putting his arms around me and assuring me it's all going to be o.k. And those moments--I know it's all going to be fine. Why do I let doubt creep in? You know the scripture "Lord I believe, help thou, my unbelief". I don't doubt that He's there--I don't doubt that He's mindful of us. There will be answers--there will be solutions, and I just have to be _ _ _ _ _ _ _!!!!

Now, because this is "mainly for me" I'm turning off the comments--not that I don't want to hear what you have to say--but, I don't think I could handle anyone telling me right now that I'm being a spoiled little brat.

Tomorrow there will be a happier post, but right now I needed to vent and this was MAINLY FOR ME!

Sidenote: Thanks to Macy for helping me figure out how to put bigger (and smaller) fonts on my blog.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

A Little of This/A Little of That

That previous post with all my "answers" was so fun--you guys that read all that info are amazing. As promised, next week I will have a cute little guy who will be a guest blogger. He is going to answer one of the questions.


I picked up my new glasses this week--I forgot to mention that I left my glasses at the Condo in Hawaii. (Thank goodness it was time for a new pair, believe me I would have been pretty upset if it had been a new pair. I think it had been at least 6 years since I've had my eyes checked and I know it was time for a new prescription).
Kyle is one I can always count on to tell me how things REALLY look--in fact, he usually prefaces his comments with--"Do you really want me to be honest?" He likes them, so I felt comfortable wearing them in public and even having my picture taken wearing them ; )





This week we've had our annual service project for Winnipeg Harvest. On Monday night Allan and I went out and put hangers on doors in our community letting people know that Saturday there would be volunteers picking up their donations of non-perishable food. Saturday morning our friend, Darell, Allan, Kyle and I went collecting. It was so much better than last year--we collected so much more. It was fabulous. At one house we thought we saw a bag with food on the porch and Kyle went up to pick it up, but he didn't think it was food (but didn't/wouldn't touch the bag), and he walked away, then I guess he wasn't sure so went back again and looked, and then when he turned and walked away the owner came out and asked if she could help him. He told her why he was there and she said to hold on and went in to get a food donation for him. Allan, Darell, and I had fun watching and doing the dialogue which included Kyle asking "How long is this going to take?" (His favorite question whenever we do anything ; ) No, he REALLY didn't ask)
















Saturday afternoon/evening we had our Stake Pioneer Picnic/Barbeque. I was worried all day that it was going to rain, but it didn't. I took my camera but never even pulled it out of the case--I think Kyle and Allan were in shock. It's always great to go and visit, but I didn't do as much visiting as usual.

Friday night Allan and I went to see The Dark Knight. I was not disappointed. I would have to agree with this guy--Heath Ledger definitely deserves the Academy Award--his performance was amazing. I did feel the movie was a little long. As a fun sidenote, our first "preview" was met with "boos" from the men in the audience. Three guesses what they were booing about ; ) Funniest thing is one of the women in our Ward went to see The Dark Knight--same complex, next showing (not in the exact theater we saw it) and she did not get the preview. She was UPSET to put it mildly--see why all those men were booing.

Does anyone else feel like summer is going way too fast. We leave for Utah the end of the month. While I'm in Utah, I will fly to Portland for the weekend to meet some fellow Bloggers. Allan and I plan to catch up on seeing some movies--WallE, Kung Fu Panda, Get Smart, Journey to the Center of the Earth, and X-Files. (I can't believe I never got to see Chronicles of Narnia or Ironman--sure hope we can find either of them playing at a cheap theater somewhere) Probably doesn't look like we'll be doing anything else but going to movies, but we love movies and we know how much Brent loves going, so we'll go with him. I will get back to Winnipeg the middle of August, and then it will be time to start school/seminary again ; ) BTW, we are going to have a chance to see a couple of more temples when we head to Utah. I FINALLY added the pictures from the following temples in my temple book--Oklahoma City (2004), Copenhagen (2005), Boston (2006), Sacramento (2007), Ogden (2008), and Snowflake (2008). I almost forgot that on a trip to Texas in 2004 we went to Oklahoma City.

I'm about half-way through "The Host". I have really enjoyed it. Thanks for the recommendations.

Speaking of recommendations, my DIL, Daphne, bought me "Eat This, Not That". When I was in California for Kiah's graduation she was telling me about it and gave me a copy when we were in Hawaii. Thanks, Daph. It's been great. I've been very surprised with some of the recommendations and realize I make a lot of poor choices when it comes to food. It appears that the more calories, the more sugar, the more fat THE MORE I LOVE IT!!!! And speaking of foods that I love, I'm waiting for my sweet hubby to get home from a Branch Conference in one of our units in Minnesota, so he can make fried chicken. (Remember, he is famous for his fried chicken.)

Sidenote: For any of you that want to read about someone's travels--might I suggest you go here.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Answers

Reading all your questions was so fun--the answers, well, not so sure. Many of your questions really forced me to THINK!!! It took me a long time to do this--sorry. You guys are so great and I loved doing it--sorry it is so long. I was going to use some pictures, but thought that might be an overkill--may go back later an add them.

I loved Aurora's questions--diamonds or pearls. Oh, I love diamonds. I'm not a big, flashy diamond person, just love them. I love my engagement ring--I think it is one of the prettiest I've ever seen.

Tori had a few questions. I don't mind answering the question about how Allan and I met because I love talking about him. We actually lived in the same Ward boundaries (so, in other words attended the same Church building). I taught one of his daughters in Sunday School and then worked with his older daughter when she was in Young Women. He was one of my favorite speakers in Church. He called me July 24, 1982, and asked me out on our first date--I still remember how incredibly excited I was when he called. We went to pizza and went to see Star Trek II--The Wrath of Khan (Neal and Stephen went with us ; )

I weighed 7 lbs. and was born in Alameda, California.

My best vacation would have to be this one we just took--because EVERYONE was there and we just had such a great time together.

Melissa: Yes, we have been very fortunate to have been able to travel to a lot of places. One day I would like to go to the Holy Land--but not until it is really safe--which will probably not be until after the Second Coming!!!!

justrandi
-- I'm going to start by answering your last question about how I remember birthdays and special occasions--I have a memory like an elephant. (Do elephants really remember, and how does anyone know???) But, seriously, it is a blessing and a curse--I have a tough time letting things go that people say--I remember them forever!!!! When a baby is born, someone gets married, or someone joins our family, I write down the date, usually write about the occasion and then voila it's in my head--NEVER TO BE REMOVED!!!

Which leads me to your first question--where do I want to travel? Aside from that little cruise I'm going to take with you one day when you're having a bad day (see I still remember that comment--pretty pathetic, eh? As I mentioned to Melissa, I would like to go to the Holy Land, but that will not be for a long time. Allan and I still want to go to the Orient. (I'll let you in on a little secret--we may be doing that really soon ; )

And your other question--when the Olympics are on do I root for the U.S. or Canada--that is such a tough question. When they are competing against each other, I root for the U.S. But, I love both countries and cry when the athlete is on the podium and the National Anthem of either country is played.

Sheila: Great questions--I was born and raised in the SF Bay Area and lived there until Allan and I moved to So. California. We have also lived in Charlotte, NC; Brampton, Ontario; Reno, Nevada; Auburn, CA, and then Winnipeg.

Prior to being a SAHM, I was a Secretary/Administrative Assistant. When I was pregnant with Stephen I worked as a clerk at a little variety store. While in high school I worked at a place called "The Nut House"--no, not that kind of a nut. They sold all kinds of nuts and candies.

Now for annie: I love these questions--Best day ever? Wow. I'd have to say it was the day Allan and I were married and Stephen was sealed to us. It was just an incredible day and an amazing experience. It's one of those moments that just is so deep in my heart.

Most embarrassing moment: When I was in kindergarten and was rocking in a little wooden boat all by myself (now most people know you can't rock in a boat that's meant for two by yourself--I guess I wasn't like most people. Duh! You all knew that, didn't you ; ) Anyway, the boat flipped over on top of me and my dress (we didn't wear pants to school in those days) flew up over my head. I was mortified, but happy to report, went back to school.

Favorite meal: Prime rib and baked potato.

Coke or Pepsi: I'm not much of a soda drinker any more.

Pj's question was perfect because oh how I used to love to color when I was a little girl. I would have to say I would want to be RED--because it stands out--not that I do, but I sure would like to. Not, so much to call attention to myself but to really be able to make a difference. I think red in a picture always makes a difference ; )

Suzanne's questions have required me to REALLY THINK. One quality to describe each of my children (I'm going to describe each of the children--mine and Allan's, because technically they are "ours" ; ) Now, if any of them read this, I don't want them to be upset because they like a word that I used to describe a sibling better than the word I used to describe them.

Neal: Pleaser

Nancy: Entertaining

Stephen: Thoughtful

Wendy: Dependable

Heidi: Creative

Brent: Obedient

Kyle: Talented

What would Allan say are my best qualities--I'm going to have Allan be a guest blogger next week and he can answer that!!!

What qualities attracted me to Allan--besides his cute little bald head??? I've said before how much I admired him. He was so positive, always had a smile on his face, was so kind, his love of the Lord was so apparent in all that he did, he was just a great man. Let me add a comment about his positive attitude--as I watch him right now while we are going through this struggle with his "retirement", he has such great faith and such a positive attitude--I so appreciate him.

Best memory: I guess the memories I think of quite often are the ones of my parents because I have to try to keep those alive in my mind. It's so hard for me though because when I think of them they are younger than I am right now. Oh how I wish I had one of those mirrors like Harry Potter had where he could see them.

Do I think we'll ever move back to the States? I'm pretty sure one day we'll be back in the U.S.A.

Holly wondered how we ever ended up in Canada--We originally moved to the Toronto area when Allan was employed by a trucking company there. When that company was sold we moved back to the U.S. and then he was hired by the owner of the trucking company he was working for up until a few weeks ago. As I said above, I do think we'll move back one day to the U.S.

Chel's going to make me work hard and REALLY think. Knowing what I know now, what is the one thing I would do differently--When blending our families I think we should have sought counseling. Both Allan and I thought everyone would just love each other and things would work out, but we learned it wasn't as easy as we thought. In most cases I really think I did what I thought was best--MADE LOTS OF MISTAKES along the way, and all I wanted was to try and make everyone happy.

Oh I would love to be a young mother again. I would spend more time just having fun with them. The laundry will never be finished, the house will never be totally clean, and the kids just grow up way too quickly. I would read to them more often. As I look at the economy today, I wish I had taught them how to stretch a dollar or a meal or to be more self-reliant.

Klin wants me to compute how many miles I've travelled in 2008--YOU'VE GOT TO BE KIDDING.

My advice for a woman marrying a man with children is to get counseling. I'm probably the last person to give anyone advice because it was really hard for us. As I mentioned above, I just thought blending a family wouldn't be that hard--I think one of my boys said it best: The day I married Allan was the greatest day in his (Stephen's) life--he was getting a dad which was something he always wanted. But for Allan's children it was probably the worst day--not because of me but because their life would never be the same. I think that was something I probably didn't do often enough--look at life from their perspective. I would try to get some of them to talk to me about things and I was probably the last person they wanted to talk about how they were feeling--and I guess it would have been pretty hard for them to talk to me about their feelings of resentment or whatever.

How many suitcases am I bringing to the blog party--I better only bring 1.

My favorite kind of nut would have to be any kind that's chocolate covered!!!

utmommy wants to know how many pairs of shoes I own--Now does it matter if I wear them or not. Well, let's just say, I own 22 pair that I wear on a regular basis--flip flops in summer and boots in winter.

Favorite ice cream flavor would have to be Jamocha Almond Fudge.

Right now we are trying to decide when we are coming to Utah. It may be in the next couple of weeks ; )

S wanted to know if I have to eat breakfast right away--No, not the minute I get up but I do eat breakfast and try to have 3 meals rather than wait to have a combined breakfast and lunch.

The colors for my wedding were light blue and maroon. My friend, Pat, was my maid-of-honor her husband, Dennis, was Allan's best man. Allan's girls--Nancy and Wendy were my bridesmaids--and then our boys, Neal and Stephen, were the groomsmen (is that what they're called???

The other info--sorry!!!

Nancyface had some great questions:

Do you and your sisters have the same eye color? All of my sisters have brown eyes. (My mom had brown eyes and my dad's eyes were hazel.

What do you like most: white gold/silver or yellow gold? I am definitely a white gold person.

What silly quirks or habits do you have? I guess it's not these are not silly habits but I am still working on my need to control and my desire to try to make everyone happy. I don't like to watch people suffer and want to try to MAKE their life better--thinking I know what's best!!! BIG PROBLEMS for me.

What food is your absolute LEAST favorite? I have given this a lot of thought. I really like to eat, so I don't think there are many foods I don't like. When I was a young girl, we used to eat tongue and I REALLY don't think I could eat it today.

Were you afraid of encountering a shark in Hawaii? I never worried about sharks--so I've never been able to figure out why Heidi has such a fear.

I love txmommy's questions: My favorite desert would be just plain old Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies, but they are deadly because I can just eat the dough (I'm not including a recipe because everyone has it

When I was in high school I had a history teacher, Mrs. Taylor, and I just loved her--she taught me so much.

Favorite breakfast cereal would have to be Oatmeal Raisin Crunch.

I wish I was coming to Texas--it's been awhile. Perhaps when my grandson (who lives in Texas) gets married I will come to Texas. Believe me if I ever head that direction, I'd love to meet you.

Now, the question regarding the Apostles has been bugging me--I love all of them. Prior to Elder Eyring being called into the First Presidency, it would be him, but now I would have to go with Elder Bednar.

Jodi wants to know my biggest pet peeve--I guess I would have to say people who think they are busier than anyone else on the planet. I'm sure that sounds harsh, but I just don't understand why people can't return a phone call or an e-mail. I'm married to someone who up until a couple of weeks ago was the busiest person I know, but yet he always answers phone calls and e-mails.

She also wanted to know what I enjoy most about blogging--that is a tough question because there are so many things I enjoy. I guess I have really enjoyed what I have learned about life from other bloggers--seriously, many of you have given me a great deal to think about. Also through blogging I have learned some valuable things about myself.

alicewillsgold asked what really bugs me about members of the Church--After thinking a lot about it I'd have to say that it annoys me that quite often our meetings don't start when they should because we are never on time. I realize there are times when diapers need to be changed, etc., but it just becomes a bad habit.

Amber, the little Crazy Bloggin Canuck asked how I survive the cold Winnipeg winters? Lots of sweaters. Seriously, I only go out when I have to and when I do, I bundle up.

THANKS GUYS. THAT WAS A LOT OF FUN AND PROBABLY A WHOLE LOT MORE INFORMATION THAN YOU WANTED.

Sidenote: After my comment on my previous post about preferring "real" conversations, I have to tell you about the great "talk" I had last night with our former Bishop from Charlotte. I was on the computer and got an IM from him. We proceeded to "chat" for like a half hour. He was in Italy and it was so fun to play catch up. I finally gave him Allan's cell phone number and he called him and they spoke for quite awhile. So I'm grateful for technology. He and his wife are going to be in Spain for the summer and he invited us--wouldn't that be great fun!!!

After "chatting" with him, I got on the phone and spoke with a dear friend in California. We laughed for quite awhile. We talked about challenges, and she reminded me that everything is going to be fine. I'm blessed with such great friends.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Getting the Squeeze

I'm working on the answers to the questions from my previous post. In the meantime, let me share with you the following. At the request of my sister, Judy, I went in last week for a mammogram. Hence the title of this post. Heck I've had mammograms before, but I don't remember them hurting so much. (By the way, while I was in Hawaii, I spoke to my sister who had her lumpectomy and the doctor was very pleased with the results. Yes, she does have breast cancer and will have to have radiation therapy but does not think she has to have chemotherapy. She will meet with an oncolgist in the next couple of weeks)

Now let me share with you my fun mammogram experience. (I really don't mind making fun of myself ; ) After the receptionist updated the paper work she escorted me to the change room--where I received these instructions--"Take everything off from the waist up and put the gown on with the opening in the front." (I guess I was so worried about the whole experience I didn't listen.) I proceeded to get undressed COMPLETELY and put the gown on and went to the waiting room. Minor problem: It was a short gown that went just below my bum ; ) Fortunately, there was just one other woman in the waiting room. She just looked up and immediately put her head down. I looked at her and noticed she had on pants!!! I turned and headed back to the dressing room where I was met by a technician who asked "Did you have on a dress???" I laughed and said, "Oops, sorry."

I'm sure I was talked about in many a household that night. Of course, the woman who did the mammogram assured me I was not the first and certainly wouldn't be the last.

Eye Opener: Now, let me mention something that was on laughadaisy's blog the other day--which I thought about as soon as I typed "I'm sure I was talked about in many a household"--she had a quote attributed to Dr. Phil: 'You wouldn't care what people think of you if you knew how infrequently they actually DO think of you,' I guess I worry so much that I'm the topic of many a conversation--and thanks to that quote now have a different perspective.

Sidenote: I'm really missing my kids and grandkids. I had a chance to talk with this little guy the other day. He is so fun to talk to--he just has the sweetest little voice. I'm so looking forward to seeing him when I head out to California in September for his sister's baptism. It's sad that so often people think e-mail, texting, etc., takes the place of "real" conversations-- it's nice when you can really talk on the phone. I don't like to "imagine" those voices in my head, I prefer to really hear them.








Monday, July 14, 2008

MY 200+ POST AND BLOGGIVERSARY

This is actually my 206th post and I started blogging a little over a year ago so my bloggiversary has passed. So, in honor of both of these wonderful things, I've decided to do an "ASK ME ANYTHING (WELL, ALMOST ANYTHING) POST. I just hope it doesn't bomb!!!

Since Carolyne asked a question several posts ago, I think I will start by answering her question. She asked: "Of all the callings you've had, which one was the best?"

In my 34 years in the Church, I have had many callings, and it is very difficult to say which one has been the best or which one I have learned the most from, so I'm going to write about a couple:

1) Seminary Teacher: What a blessing it has been preparing a lesson 4 days a week (Friday is uaually Scripture Mastery Day, so I don't do a lesson) It's once thing to read the scriptures every day, and quite another to REALLY READ, STUDY, PONDER, AND LEARN TO TEACH HOW TO APPLY. I know we can never serve effectively without the Spirit, but I have really learned how much we need the help of the Spirit as we prepare and as we reach out and teach.

2) Counselor in Stake Relief Society Presidency:
I had an opportunity to get to know the sisters in our Stake. Visiting all the Wards and Branches and spending time with the sisters was so great. I spent a lot of time on my knees and learned a great deal about myself and my relationship with the Lord. I have such a great love for the other sisters I served with.

3) Young Women's President/Teacher: I love the Young Women I have served and the leaders I have served with. I had some great times with these girls--especially the ones I served when I was single. (They were almost as excited as I was when I began dating Allan and got married, well ALMOST ; ) It has been so great to watch these girls grow and mature and become mothers (and some have become grandmothers ; ) It is a calling I will cherish. I've taught each group. I especially loved the times I would only have one girl in class--those one on one times were so special.

4) CTR-B Teacher:
My first teaching calling. I loved teaching the children. I taught for 3 years and I loved these kids who are now in their late 30's. (I even taught Stephen and Wendy during those years ; ) Back then they had 14 scriptures they were to master--so it was my preparation for teaching Seminary. I still remember the first scripture I memorized--Proverbs 3:5 "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding."

I know that was a long answer--but I've had some great callings, and this is a bit of a journal for me.

SO NOW, GO AHEAD--ASK AWAY. If you have been a lurker, now is your chance--ASK!!!

Sidenote:
I realize I didn't do a post on July 11th which happens to be my daughter-in-law, Daphne's birthday. I certainly don't want her to think I forgot her--so Happy Birthday, Daph. Sure do love you.







Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Hawaii, Part 2 (or is it part 3 or even 4)

I know I actually wrote a couple of posts about Hawaii, but there is still so much more to tell. But, THIS WILL BE THE LAST POST ABOUT HAWAII!!! Sorry, it's so long, but I really didn't want to make two posts.

I wanted to write about a couple of the get-togethers we had. I posted a little about the one we had the first night, but I didn't show you any of the hysterical pictures. Let me just post a couple--I know Heidi won't mind--Back in 1989, we began our family newsletter, and in one edition we put this on the cover with a note: Can anyone please help this poor child: ,







There was a classic one of me with my eyes close--no big deal, but there was another one of me that I have never seen where I'm sleeping at Amanda's graduation. (Thankfully, I don't have it so I CAN'T POST IT ; )








Gotta love this one of Neal taken when he lived in Provo and worked at a grocery store there--so Hawaiian looking ; )

















But, by far the trophy has to go to this picture of my SIL, Tony. I always remember that episode of Twilight Zone where the woman was in for plastic surgery because she was so hideous, but then when you saw everyone else they all looked like pigs.


We gathered again on Thursday night to celebrate my MIL's 90th. That morning we all met at Swan Court at the Hyatt Regency for a wonderful breakfast buffet. (I think it is our all-time favorite place to have breakfast--well, aside from the Waffle House ; ) I should have taken a picture of the fabulous buffet. There is everything from Eggs Benedict to apple blintzes. As I posted in my previous post, they also made her a stack of macadamia nut pancakes and put a candle in them. It was so fun.

That day we were on our own and it was an incredibly warm day. A couple of groups went to the Aquarium and some went snorkeling. (That was the day Kyle and B had their surfing lessons--so I spent a couple of hours taking pictures ; )

Neal had worked lots and lots and lots of hours putting together a fabulous slideshow of Mom's life using video clips and lots of pictures. (There was a fabulous clip of her teaching Heidi to cheer--using pom poms--some 17 years ago (well, it was when she came to Toronto when Kyle was born). Macy did a wonderful job of doing a voiceover as Mom--sharing experiences from Mom's personal history. It was very touching. Neal had made arrangements for everyone to do a personal tribute (via taperecorder) and then he put their voices along with pictures on the slideshow. I don't think there was a dry eye in the place.

On Friday night our children and grandchildren gathered in our condo to have Chinese take out. It was so fun.

It was the 4th of July so after visiting, a quick game of Apples to Apples, taking pictures of the sunset, we walked down to the Hyatt to watch the fireworks. (It's interesting to have a little Canadian in our family. On Canada Day we were driving back from getting Japanese food and Kyle said it felt kind of funny because we didn't do anything special for Canada Day so could we please sing "O Canada"--which we did.

It took everything I had to not cry when we hugged everyone to say goodbye. I'm funny because I never want to cry because I know for some of my children and grandchldren it just makes it harder for them. (Sometimes I think they may think I'm heartless, but I really am trying to make it easier on them.

Let me end this by posting a few of my favorite pictures. I only took about 1,000 (that is not an exaggeration ; ) Of course, about 10 were of people not in our family--the best was the surfer I thought was Kyle but wasn't!!! Thank goodness for digital.

When Brent left on his mission, Daphne was about 6 months pregnant. Stephen told Brent they were expecting a boy, so Brent was the only one besides Stephen and Daphne who knew. (There is NO ONE as good as Brent at keeping a secret--I don't think it's the only "secret" he knew ; ) I love this picture of him and Drew. Family has always been very important to Brent.


















Our little Garrett is such a CUTE little guy. I still find it hard to believe that he is only one. Here he is giving five to Kyle.
















We took a few shots of families while we were at the Hyatt having breakfast. This is Wendy and Tony and Nancy and her family. The older woman is Tony's mom who joined us.














I took this shot from inside Swan Court--I am terrible with getting the sunlight in my shots. But I still loved the picture.













I wish Chris's face wasn't shaded by his hat--they are such a cute family.












This is a picture of their little table at the luau. Allan and I didn't sit with Heidi, Brent, and Kyle, but sat with Nancy and Wendy and their families. We all commented on how good the food was at the luau--I was pleasantly surprised. I guess Kyle was "worried" about getting his lei dirty ; )





















Each night a young man climbs the rocks and lights the torches on that are along the edge of black rock. When he finishes, he bows in each direction and then throws in the spear he uses to light the rocks and then dives into the water. It was very impressive to watch.



















The view from our condo. It was pretty horrible, eh?????


















I know I said it before, but I'll say it again--IT TRULY WAS A FANTASTIC TRIP. I always talk about how the anticipation and planning is always the best part, but it wasn't this time. The TRIP WAS SO MUCH BETTER THAN I EXPECTED!!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Hawaii

I did a few posts while we were in Hawaii, but I still have a lot to say about the trip. We have had some great family vacations and some great reunions, but I have to say THIS WAS THE BEST!!! Obviously, being in such a beautiful location didn't hurt, but everyone got along so well.

Some of the highlights:

1) Obviously #1 would have to be having all of the kids together. Here is the picture we took at the luau. (That was my first luau and I loved it)




















2) There were so many activities

a--the kids biked down from Haleakala. I still haven't seen pictures from that activity--I guess they were all pretty dirty and muddy, but they loved it.

b--Kyle and Brandon took surfing lessons. I stood on the beach and took tons of pictures, and I have the sunburn to prove it ; )




































c) Heidi, Brent, Kyle, Brandon, Chris and Heather went parasailing. (I guess they figured if their Grandma/Great Grandma could do it, they could do it ; ) Here's a picture of each group--think Heidi had reason to be afraid when she got dipped in the water???
You might have to click on her picture to see what's in the water ; )



















































































3. Spending time in the ocean was so fun. The waves were absolutely incredible. One of Allan's daughters lost her cell phone and iPod when the waves came a little too far into shore and got her purse. I was amazed at how often the red flags were out. Here's a couple of my favorite pictures from the beach. The last morning we all met on the beach and took a final picture together--actually a couple of the families didn't come down, so it really isn't everyone ; )



















Thanks to Macy for picking up my camera and taking a picture to prove I REALLY DID GO IN THE WATER!!!















My grandson, Chris, decided to give Heidi this little inflatable shark and Kyle took it out for a ride.














Loved getting this shot of Garrett riding on the boogie board. He had a ball and it was so fun to have him there.

















Drew loved playing in the sand, but he really preferred swimming in the pool.





















4. The kids had a great time in the pool. I got such a kick out of Drew who was a little fish--he jumped in the pool over and over and over again. He also loved it when his dad would throw him in the pool.

















Macy is quite a great swimmer and she seemed to enjoy having Garrett in the pool or the ocean. I wish I had gotten a picture of her with him in the ocean.




















As with all vacations, the time went by way too quickly, but it was wonderful. There are so many things I will miss. I ate way too much, but it was all so good. The pineapple was wonderful and the maui potato chips were as good as I always remember.
We all had breakfast together at the Hyatt Regency on my MIL's birthday. They gave her a stack of macadamia nut pancakes with a candle and we all sang Happy Birthday. It was so fun.















I may have to do one more post about Hawaii. We did so much together and I have a few more things I want to write about. I HAVE A GREAT FAMILY!!!!


The plane ride home wasn't as bad as I expected. We left Maui about 8:10 p.m. and arrived back in Winnipeg around 1:20 yesterday afternoon. I don't think I woke up once on the flight from Denver to Winnipeg, and actually slept about 1/2 of the flight from Maui to Denver.

Sidenote: I've gotten around to a few blogs and will hit them all by tonight.