Saturday, January 31, 2009

Accountability Update

I have some plans for posts starting in February, so I'm going to do my Accountability Update today. Here are my goals and the results for January:

#1--Mail family birthday cards out on time--My SIL had a birthday on January 23rd (and I didn't even mention it on my blog ; ( I hope Tony will forgive me. In hopes of staying on top of my goals, I did manage to mail his card on time. However, because we had our family challenge, he got a funky card that I had on hand. Actually, it was pretty corny ; )

BTW, He is a Steeler fan and I know he'll be cheering for the Steelers tomorrow.

#2--Organize my photos--Haven't done anything with my photos. They are organized in iPhoto, so I think I just need to take them and put them in files. Let's hope I have a better report in March.

#3--Be able to play 5 hymns--My piano teacher and I have been working on 2 hymns. I have been practicing every day. I have been working on Habanera--I had no idea there are that many versions on youtube. In fact, did you know Nirvana did Habanera. Pretty fun. My piano teacher is on vacation for a month, but I keep practicing anyway. It is very hard when Kyle is around to listen and say, "mom, those are supposed to be eighth notes and you're playing them like quarter notes!!!!"

#4--Meal planning--I have been planning my menu every week, but we have had to make lots of changes. It's nice to know ahead of time what we're going to have for dinner.

#5--Be kinder.--I feel like I've been doing pretty good at this. I still have a long way to go. I think this will be a goal for the rest of my life. I think some days my evil twin just gets the better of me.

#6--Pray and listen--I've been doing pretty good with listening--still finding myself doing too much directing. Goodness, I am so grateful for prayer. I was going to write last week about the wonderful Fireside we had with our Area Authority. It was fabulous. As always, I learned so much. I'm so grateful for the opportunity to go to have nights like that and really be spiritually fed--I took notes like crazy and it was so wonderful to come home and sit and talk with Allan about it and get his take on what we heard. What a blessing.

#7--Lose 10 pounds--Oh, it was LOSE, not gain ; ) This one is not going well AT ALL. I am definitely an emotional eater and food has been a problem, especially the sweets. I will do better next month.

#8--Continue exercise routine-- I have done very well this week with the gym and my elliptical, Went to the gym every day, except yesterday because we didn't get back from the temple until late afternoon.

#9--My card cleaning system--The cards are filed in the appropriate days and I'll be starting with my "daily" chores for tomorrow. I have to admit I'm a little excited about getting it going again.

BTW, I'm doing GREAT with the Backwards Resolutions ; )

I'm so glad that our family challenge for January is over. I NEED a haircut so bad and the printer for my computer is out of ink. (I have a couple of colors on hand, but not the ones I need) I have learned that quite often I just pick things up when I'm at the store, so it's been a good exercise to make me stop and think about my spending habits. Given the economic climate right now, It definitely was a CHALLENGE for me.

Next month our family challenge is to write--not type and mail one letter to someone in the family each week. We do a pretty good job of communicating via e-mail, but hopefully this way there will be handwritten notes. (It would mean a great deal to me to have a handwritten letter from either of my parents)




Thursday, January 29, 2009

Hope

As I watched the news and heard the tragic story about that family in So. California, I wondered how anyone could get to that point. Yes, things are bad in the world, especially economically, and as you watch the news and read of more job losses, foreclosures, etc., it looks pretty bleak; but there is always hope. I think it would be horrible to feel so hopeless.

So I'm curious and just wanted to ask--does misery REALLY love company? Does it help to know you are not alone in your problems--that there are others suffering? I think we all know that we can always find someone who has it tougher than we do.

I'm so grateful that I have hope. I'm grateful I have someone to turn to for a kind word, a smile, a hug. More than anything, I'm grateful to know that I have a Heavenly Father who loves me and is mindful of me and wants what's best for me. As I think about possible remedies for feelings of hopelessness, one that jumps out at me (besides prayer) is service. If I can forget about myself, it helps me. So with that in mind, we're off to go do some temple service. See you in a couple of days.

Sidenote: Thank you all for your concern about Baby Xander. He is out of the hospital and doing much better.



Monday, January 26, 2009

Backwards Resolutions

Before I start, let me say that my "Let's Get Organized" Post made me feel really bad--I don't like people to think of me as something I am not. I have done my card system in the past--it is a goal for 2009 for me to start it up again. Please understand--I am not organized, just "want to be organized".

I first saw this idea on Jodi's blog and loved it, so I've decided to copy it. I have been working hard on my accountability list and will report in February. In the meantime, I thought I would go ahead and tell you the things I plan on NOT DOING in 2009. I think I will be pretty successful with this list:

In 2009 I WILL NOT...

1. Sing a solo at Church or for that matter ANYWHERE (well, except maybe the shower)
2. Stop reading
3. Speak the words, "Guess what, I'm pregnant"
4. Win the lottery
5. Start smoking
6. Stop loving my husband and children
7. Run for any elected office
8. Stop counting my blessings
9. Stop blogging
10. Go bungee jumping
11. Start drinking alcoholic beverages
12. Become a belly dancer
13. Stop going to the gym
14. Wear a bikini
15. Stop enjoying chocolate
16. Stop LOVING being a grandma and great-grandma
17. Pass up an opportunity to go on a cruise
18. Stop taking pictures
19. Stop going to Church
20. Stop having hope that in the end my WHOLE FAMILY WILL BE TOGETHER FOREVER!!!

So, what about you...What are you planning on NOT DOING in 2009???


Sidenote to #16: My little great-grandson, Xander, is in the hospital with a virus. I'm hoping he is better really soon. Nancy sent me a text with a picture of him with tubes, etc.--so sad.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Let's Get Organized

Well, I thought about making the title sound a little like Olivia Newton-John's "Let's Get Physical"--I might have gotten a few more visitors ; ) (But then again, I don't think I want visitors who might be looking to "get physical".

I am doing this post for two reasons--first of all, I'm excited because THESE finally arrived. I'll be REALLY excited when I can use them both. You'll note that the dryer is not pushed back to the wall--still isn't installed--minor adjustment. Oh, I could do a whole post about what a pain it has been. Not sure I'd ever buy another appliance from Sears. Last night after waiting all day for it to arrive--supposed to arrive the day before, when the guy left and we tried to turn it on--the power button wouldn't respond. (The panel wasn't on correctly ; )

















Also, I'm enjoying this--it is extremely light. (Actually Kyle is enjoying it, too, since he does a lot of the vacuuming ; )















As well, when I posted my accountability list and mentioned my "card system" for keeping my house clean, a couple of people expressed an interest in hearing about it. So, I'm going to do my best to explain how it works:

It has helped me a great deal try to maintain a clean house. In fact, when we moved out of one house, the person who bought it said she had never seen a house so clean. (Ha, doubt that would be true today!!!!) I have mentioned before that I am a list maker--I love making lists and ticking things off. Nothing better than that feeling of accomplishing something ; )

So let's get started. First, you take a regular sheet of lined paper (or several) and make a list of all the chores in your house. That sounds a bit overwhelming--but you can save it, so the next time, the kids ask EXACTLY, WHAT DO YOU DO ALL DAY??? just whip that baby out ; ) (Now, I don't go so far as writing down "make your bed"--that's a given--something i will do every morning.) I list everything whether I do it daily, weekly, monthly, semi-annually, etc. At the top I put CHORE and then FREQUENCY.

My list would look something like this: (I know when I post this, it will not come out in nice little columns like it is here ; (

CHORE FREQUENCY

Vacuum--Master Bedroom Weekly

Clean bathtub--Master Bath Weekly

Wipe out microwave Daily

Clean under bed--Master Bedroom Monthly

Clean light fixtures--downstairs bath Every other month

Clean stove drip pans Weekly

Wash windows inside--family room Every other month

Clean cobwebs--basement family room Monthly

Getting the system started does take a fair amount of time, but it is definitely worth it. There are different ways to do it. You could do all of your kitchen chores on one sheet, bathroom (each one) on separate, bedroom (each one) on separate, etc. Believe me, so often I found I was doing some chores more often than I should or not getting them done because I couldn't remember when the last time I did something.

After you do this exercise, you transfer the info onto 3 x 5 cards--I use a different color for daily, weekly, monthly.
On the card at the top I write the chore in the middle near the top. If the chore can be done quickly, I write " and on the monthly, at the bottom left "last done" and bottom right I have a "skipped" spot. The rule is I can only skip one time. (Hey, no one checks, but it just helps me stay on top of things ; ) Here's a couple of examples.




















Note where it says "mini" at the top (that means the job is a quickie). So I know those jobs I can do very quickly and can add those cards to a particular heavy day of cleaning and can get lots of little things done.


If you are still reading, I'm impressed.


I then bought a set of dividers for a 3 x 5 box (I have 31 for the days in the month, and I have 12 for January - December.
We'll pretend we're going to start on February 1st. So starting with number 1 you would put the dividers 1, followed by 2, 3, 4, etc. through 28 since there are 28 days in the February divider. (29, 30, and 31 would be in March for now). You would take your all of your chore cards for the month and divide them according to color/frequency. I use yellow for daily, blue for weekly and white for monthly. So I would take all of the yellow cards and put them in for today. I then put my weekly chores in for this week. I try to do my chores on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. My weekly chores I do as follows: all my kitchen chores on Monday, bathroom chores on Wednesday, and vacuuming and dusting on Friday. My monthly chores I just divide up trying to do as much as possible on Monday, Wednesday and Friday--occasionally I might throw a few in on Saturday. On Tuesday and Thursday I do only daily chores and occasionally one or two monthly chores, if I got a little behind. (That way I feel I have some days off ; ) Sundays are my day of rest--WELL, AT LEAST FROM DOING REGULAR CHORES!!!!

I would put the chores that are to be done EOM (every other month) in March and on February 28th would get those ready to go into the days in March when I want to do them. After I complete a monthly chore in February, I write down on the card, the day it was done, and then would file it in the March file. The weekly chores I just put in the next week. So if I cleaned my bathtub on February 4, I would move the card to February 11th, so it's ready to be done on that day. (Hope this is making sense)

You can also keep track of your children's chores. You just give them their cards and then file them back in the box when they have been completed.

I've done my best to explain this system, but if you don't understand, and you'd like some help, e-mail me and I will clarify.
This has helped me a great deal--but like I said, I'm a list maker.


Sidenote #1: I am so enjoying this season of 24. I loved when justrandi posted her Friday flair last week and had this:

Sidenote #2: Regarding Lost--I'm sure glad I tivo'd it. Very confusing, but very interesting.



Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A HISTORIC DAY

Since I just celebrated my birthday, I can say, I have lived a LONG, LONG TIME!!!! In those 58 years I have seen a lot of historic days. You know the kind of days where you think, "Where was I when..."

For instance, when: President Kennedy was assassinated, Martin Luther King assassination, Bobby Kennedy assassination, Neal Armstrong walked on the moon, the Berlin Wall fell, the Challenger exploded, and 9/11, to name a few.

For me, today was another one of those historic days. Yes, I live in Canada, and some of you may not know, I am an American--a proud American!!!! I remember when I was a little girl and Pres. Kennedy was assassinated. (I was very afraid--I didn't know what was going to happen. It was only a few months after my father had died and I was a huge fan of President Kennedy) There were lots and lots of sad days in the 60's--Martin Luther King's assassination; Bobby Kennedy's assassination. There was the nightly news reports regarding the Vietnam War and boys killed (I know there were women killed but I only had male friends and relatives who were fighting and I listened hoping I wouldn't hear any of their names)

As I laid in bed last night thinking about the inauguration of our 44th President today, I thought about the years of segregation. I did not grow up in the South but lived in a predominantly white neighborhood. My parents taught me that we were all the same--and I will always be grateful for that teaching.

If I could have voted in this last election, I would have supported Senator McCain. However, today I have to say as I listened to President Obama and watched the crowd, I was filled with hope. I want to be, I have to be. I will continue to pray for him as well as all of our leaders. I pray that all of us will recognize that there is work to do. I loved this part of his speech:

"The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of shortcuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted — for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things — some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom."


I am grateful for that freedom. Freedom is a great gift that we have enjoyed because of so many men and women who have sacrificed in our behalf. On a day like today, I appreciate our military men and women (and their families) so much.

God Bless the U.S.A.

Can I just add, YOU KNOW YOUR OLD WHEN THEY SWEAR IN A PRESIDENT WHO IS YOUNGER THAN YOU ARE!!!! (That's the first time that has happened to me)

Sidenote #1: I was very SURPRISED with the vote on Biggest Loser!!!!

Sidenote #2: A special thank you to Lauren for mentioning me in her last post and asking her readers to come over and leave me birthday wishes. Thanks, lauren.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

TODAY IS MY BIRTHDAY!!!

It really doesn't matter how old I get--I LOVE MY BIRTHDAY. Who cares that I am OLD, OLD, OLD??? I DON'T!!! I'll let you all in on a little secret--I don't feel like I'm 58 years old.

I think the reason I am such an avid picture taker (I won't call myself a photographer) is because I don't have many pictures of me growing up. I have a lot of great memories of the past 57 years--I just wish I had pictures of these things that are vivid memories from the past 57 years.

My first day of kindergarten--yes, I do remember. After going with my mom when my older sister, Gayle, had to be carried kicking and screaming (by the principal) into the school, I just turned and waved goodbye to my mom. (I was so ready ; ) --heck, I'd even love a picture when that little rocking boat flipped over and my dress flew up over my head ; ) It's a memory!!!!

I'd love to have a picture of me reading Nancy Drew books in the back of our Rambler station wagon--the only place I could go to find peace and quiet. I loved reading.

It would be so fun to have a picture of my dad and me at Candlestick Park for my first Giant's game. I would just love to have a picture of me with my parents--I think of that every time I watch Harry Potter and he gets to look in the Mirror of Erised.

I had such a great time in Elementary School--I wish I had some class pictures, or some info from those days--I guess I REALLY need to get with it and write my Personal History.

And Junior High was a tough one--my dad died the end of Grade 6 and then my mom died during Grade 8. So I moved around a few times during Junior High--not exactly great memories.

Then there was high school--Oh, I loved high school. I had so much fun--I had a great group of friends. There were lots of nights out TPing, football games, sleepovers, and crank phone calls. (Not many dates--actually no dates ; (

I would love to have a picture of me 8 1/2 months pregnant with Stephen climbing a fence to get a kite for one of my niece's--I highly doubt I could have done that at 40 when I was pregnant with Kyle ; )

I would love to have a picture taken the day I was baptized--such a great memory. I remember my friend, Janice, hosted a dinner at her house. A day that totally changed my life.

One of the blessings of not having many pictures of me when I was younger is I can try to convince all of you that I haven't changed much, but alas, I did find some pictures--so here's the reminder I needed for those moments when I don't think I have aged.

With my sisters, many, many years ago. Do you have a clue which one of these girls is me????



















It was the 70's--skirts were short!!!!

























O.K. You realize how old you are when you type "this picture was taken 38 years ago".
























In case you are wondering how long I've had this "eye closing" challenge--IT'S BEEN A LONG TIME!!!!


















1982 when we were married.





















Our first Christmas together as a family--on our way to Reno we stopped at Boreal.




















At a New Year's Eve dance in 1987.






















This is my "MEAN MOTHER-IN-LAW" picture. Poor Daphne, had just gotten out of the hospital after having a C-section.











A crazy family shot 1991.

















The last picture we have with my father-in-law--1999.


















And then our fabulous trip to Hawaii this past summer.


















It's been a great 58 years. Life has had it's challenges, but I have truly been blessed. I have wonderful friends, a fantastic family, great children, stepchildren, grandchildren, and even a great grandson. I'm so grateful to have the knowledge that I'm a daughter of God, and there is a purpose for my life. I am thankful each and every day that this guy has been by my side for the past 26 years and he will be with me FOREVER.














I hope you all enjoy MY SPECIAL DAY. In the words of Kool and the Gang--"Let's all celebrate and have a good time".







By the way, special thanks to Chellie for the lovely birthday card I received in the mail today. Thanks, my sweet friend.

Also, thanks to Nancyface for the wonderful birthday package with all those goodies. She knows me so well and sent me wonderful treats from Gooseberry Patch. I was so excited when the Post Lady came when the package (although I felt very sorry for her having to brave the cold, cold temperatures ; ) Thank you for the sweet note, nancy.


Thursday, January 15, 2009

THE SECRET IS OUT!!!



I can't keep it a secret anymore--I'M A TWIN!!!! Some days I'm the nice twin--and other days as hard as I try I'm more like the evil twin. (Must try harder ; )

If I could just get her to do the jobs around the house I DON'T LIKE DOING I'd have it made (or I'd have a maid ; )

Sidenote #1: Remember the Family Challenge--well, guess what we needed to replace yesterday--the central vacuum. (Well, everything but the actual cannister. (I guess when it rains it pours--I should have written "poors ; ) I have to admit it is so much lighter than the old one and REALLY has great suction. I laughed when I saw that the hose was grey--I asked if that's so it will match the duct tape later ; )


Sidenote #2:
Tomorrow night Allan and I are going to use the gift card Kyle gave us for Christmas to go and have a birthday dinner. (On the card Kyle wrote: "With this, you kids can go on a cute little date." ; )

Sidenote #3: It's supposed to warm up on Saturday--goodness I hope so.










Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Blessings of Teaching Seminary

Yes, it has been cold, oh so cold here. As I left this morning, it was -38 with a windchill of -48 C (which apparently is like -54 F ; ) Anyway, thank goodness for a sweet husband who goes out before 6 a.m. and warms up my car.

It may be cold, but spending time with these young people just warms my heart. Today we were discussing the 6th Chapter of John. We talked a great deal about the Exodus--because there are many similarities. We talked about the parting of the Red Sea and compared it to the Savior walking on the water and telling them "It is I, be not afraid." We talk a lot in Seminary about application and one of the young men reminded me with the Savior in our lives, we don't need to be afraid. As I looked at him, I knew he knows, he gets it. He's not afraid--he can go through his day knowing God is always there.

As we talked about the parting of the Red Sea and I confessed that I'm a chicken and although I don't know exactly how it happened, I admitted I would have taken those steps with the children of Israel worrying, "What if...the waters start coming again and I drown." One of the boys, said, "Why would you worry? I would think that was so cool and would have known it would be o.k." To hear those words, that faith, from this young man who means the world to me, makes the preparation, early morning, everything else, so worthwhile.

I love being able to discuss these aspects of the gospel--to hear their feelings. As we ate warm monkey bread (after all this was the Savior's discourse on the Bread of Life), I felt such gratitude for the opportunity to spend my mornings with these great youth.

Sidenote #1: Started working on my first hymn. When I gain some confidence, I will "practice" on my Seminary class--believe me they would probably rather I played the piano than sang ; )

Sidenote #2: I think this is going to be a great season on Biggest Loser--what a nice group of competitors (very different than last season)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Accountability List for 2009


I have given this a lot of thought, PROBABLY TOO MUCH THOUGHT. That should be #1 on my list next year--Don't spend so much time THINKING about things that really don't matter, but I guess to me this list does matter. I am a checklist kind of person, I love making to do lists, and usually put EVERYTHING on it so I feel a sense of accomplishment.

Anyway, here goes:

#1: Mail birthday cards out (on time) to family members. I'm terrible at this--oh, I remember to call people, send e-mails, etc. on birthdays, but getting cards in the mail is another story. I just think it is so fun to get a card in the mail, so I want to do the same for my family. (Speaking of which I have a card tucked away that I bought 5 or 6 years ago for my SIL, Tony. It is for his 40th birthday (which is still a few years away). I can't wait to give it to him.

#2: Organize my photos onto CD's. I have close to 13,000 photos on iPhoto. Neal keeps telling me I need to do this, so let's make this be the year to do it!!!

#3: Be able to play (with confidence) 5 hymns. I have been in Relief Society when there hasn't been anyone to play--if would be nice if I could go to the piano and play. I've been taking lessons for years, so I should be able to play. Of course, being able to do this will only happen if I practice--so I will practice 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week.

#4: This was on my list last year, but I still haven't mastered it--plan weekly menus. I know this would alleviate last minute runs to the grocery store. I also could plan healthier menus--that should be "would" not could ; )

#5: Be kinder. I want to see people and love them the way Christ does. (That may seem like a very lofty goal, but I realize that quite often I am very critical of others. Each of us has struggles--mine may be different that yours, but that doesn't make me better (or worse) than you.) I watched the Church video "The Prodigal Son" on Saturday--if you haven't seen it and have access to it, get a copy. It is a real eye opener. In fact, Allan and I were talking about how it would have been a great one to show our family when we were together over Christmas. We may see all those faults in others and gloss over our faults--that whole beam/mote ; ) (I guess really I should say "I" not we.

#6: Pray and listen. I was thinking about the scripture "being led by the Spirit not knowing beforehand the things which I should do" (1 Nephi 4:6) and I realize that quite often I GIVE direction rather than listen for direction--I need to work on this. I've spent a lot of time pondering Elder Bednar's last General Conference talk and I've printed out this post by aubrey and have given it a lot of thought recently as I've said my prayers.

#7: Lose 10 pounds--well, I'm a lot closer to my goal weight than I was last year. (I was a lot closer to it before I went to Utah--but, believe me I enjoyed EVERY SINGLE THING I ATE THAT LED TO THE ADDITION OF A FEW POUNDS!!!! I will lose this weight by eating healthier--less junk, more fruits and vegetables, and no eating after 8:00 p.m. This is one of those goals that I am giving a deadline--March 9th. (Nothing magical about the date--just wanted to give myself enough time (realizing there is a birthday celebration in there ; )

#8: Continue my exercise regime. Before I left for Utah, I was doing very well with my exercising--I will get back on track. My plan is to do my 30 minutes at Curves at least 5 days a week--I want to go 6, but will set my goal for 5. I will also work my way up to 60 minutes on the elliptical 6 days a week. Once I hit my goal weight, I will continue my 5 days at Curves and go to 3 days a week on the elliptical.

#9: Re-start my card system for cleaning my house. Enough said ; )


We also have some family challenges that we will be working on each month. I will add these to my list. So as I mentioned before--Family Challenge for January was to not purchase anything other than food and gas. (Other than my washer/dryer, I've been pretty good ; )

I think once a month I'll do a brief report on how I'm doing--maybe on the 1st of each month ; )I think that will help me not to forget these goals.

I really liked this that justrandi had on her blog (I hope you don't mind me stealing it, randi)

I really do want to be a better me!!!!


How about you, are you a resolution person?



Saturday, January 10, 2009

Is It Really 2009????

Is it possible that it's already 2009??? This has been a crazy year--so many adventures, changes, travels. I'm going to do a brief re-cap and add a few pictures.

2008 was definitely the year of graduations:

Heidi kicked it off with her graduation from BYU in April. It's so fun to hear her share her adventures of teaching school. I also had a chance to meet Suzanne while I was there in Utah for Heidi's graduation.

In May I travelled to Boston for Amanda's graduation.














and there was Tony's grad in Reno--those were tough because Allan and I had to split and each go to one.














In June we had Josh's grad in Indiana










and then Kiah's graduation in California.


















Unfortunately, the same day as Kiah's graduation my grandson, Evan's wedding to Scarlett.

It was a full year!!!!

Trips--so many trips, not counting graduations, we did a few trips.

March we went on a cruise to Mexico where we ziplined for the first time--moment to remember!!!!



In April we did a tour of Brent's mission to Arizona and I had an opportunity to meet Nancyface and Lauren and Chel.











July we went to Hawaii to celebrate my MIL's 90th birthday.

In August we went to Utah and I also had a great trip to Oregon and had a chance to meet some fellow bloggers who gathered there. What a treat it was to meet these women. Back in Utah I also had a chance to meet up with gina and utmommy. I was reminded of something I read in a recent women's magazine about the importance of having friends of all ages--particularly when you are older. These young friends help keep me young. In fact, the article said, that this friend (or friends) are a reminder of yourself at a more carefree stage in your life. It also said that if I'm feeling cranky or like a stick-in-the-mud, younger friends are the ones to revive me; ) (See that's why I love you all ; ) THANKS.

Early September we headed to California where my granddaughter, Hannah, was baptized.












In September/October we did our trip to China.















What a grand adventure--and at the same time, such a very sad time when my BIL, Homer, was diagnosed with a terminal illness, and died shortly after we returned home. Sure do miss him.



In December we spent a Christmas away from Winnipeg--our first since 1999. It was fantastic--in spite of a few cases of the flu. It would have been so wonderful if everyone had been there.



Our lives changed in June when Allan retired. We haven't been able to figure out what he is supposed to be doing (we keep praying for direction)--here's hoping we figure it out in 2009. In fact, as I was putting away the Christmas tree decorations, I kept thinking--I wonder when I do this next year what will be happening ; )

And In October we welcomed our first great grandson--Xander. We keep talking about travelling out to Indiana to meet him. Going to have to put that on the schedule.














In many ways it has been an interesting year--I'm looking forward to a wonderful 2009. We have two weddings this year--Chris and Heather will be getting married in May and Amanda and Darren will be getting married sometime in late summer.

Brent will graduate from LDS Business College in April and when Kyle graduates from high school in June, we will be empty nesters--it will be the first time we have been without children at home.

Sidenote #1: Had to buy a new washer and dryer--our old one could not be fixed (now, really just the washer needed to be replaced, but the dryer was squealing and probably ready to be replaced. I think the family will figure it was a necessity, so it will not be determined that we didn't stick with THE FAMILY CHALLENGE!!!

Sidenote #2: Looking forward to the 2 night 24 Premiere!!! I'm glad Jack will be around on a more regular basis ; )

Sidenote #3:
I hope to post my resolutions the beginning of next week. I may have waited too long--I'm feeling more like looking back instead of looking ahead.




Wednesday, January 7, 2009

I'M A SLACKER

I just took down my Christmas decorations--I'm finding it really hard to get back into the swing of Seminary. (I took all of my stuff with me to Utah and DIDN'T WORK ON ONE LESSON!!!!!!!!!!)

I haven't even come up with my resolutions and it's already January 7th. Hopefully, this weekend I'll have a chance to think about it--the big problem is I don't want to have so many that I don't succeed--I want to make achievable goals. So, I'm trying to decide if I want to tackle something each month. Short term goals might work better and keep me going rather than giving up.

Speaking of monthly goals, our family has issued a family challenge to our whole family: We decided we need to go on a money diet, so for the month of January we can't buy anything (except food and gasoline ; ) (You can use giftcards--thank goodness Kyle gave us a gift card to The Keg for Christmas or there would be no birthday dinner to celebrate my birthday next week ; ) There are some pretty interesting challenges awaiting for the rest of the year, too. (Of course, my washing machine broke down, so here's hoping when the repairman comes tomorrow he can fix it!!!!)

Have managed to get back to Curves, but am still struggling to hit 50 minutes on the elliptical. (Did pretty good last night watching Biggest Loser)

A special thanks for the Christmas cards--again, I was a slacker and didn't send out cards. Thanks to Nancyface and Lauren for the beautiful "Believe" ornament. I loved it.


ADDENDUM: I will do a birthday post next week--my 58th (YIKES) birthday is on the 17th ; ) (I will have to quite blogging when I'm ready to turn 60--JUST CAN'T IMAGINE TYPING THAT I'M GOING TO BE 60!!!!


Saturday, January 3, 2009

The End of the Trip

I posted about the first week of our trip, and we are now on our way home. Here are some of the highlights from our second week.

On Saturday we went to one of our favorite places--BYU. We love to go there and walk around. I just love that campus.















We love the mountains (something we just don't have in Manitoba, so we had to take this picture.

















Sunday we went to my MIL's Ward. After dinner we had a great family home evening together on gratitude. We shared scriptures and stories about how blessed we are. At the end of the evening we each shared the things we are grateful for--it was a very touching evening.

Monday morning I found an e-mail from Suzanne wondering if we could get together for lunch--and it was going to work. (I really wish I had some free time on some other days to get together with a couple of other bloggers, but it just didn't work. We had a lovely lunch at Olive Garden.



















That night after dinner we decided to go to the movies. We all went to see Valkyrie--it was an excellent movie. I knew there were lots of attempts on Hitler's life, but this was a story I was not familiar with--very well done.

Kyle didn't go to the movies because he was feeling quite nauseated --Heidi had lots to do and she decided to stay with him ; ( He was quite sick during the night--I felt very sorry for him.

That night, Heather, Chris and Amanda arrived.

Tuesday morning we got up and ate the monkey bread Wendy had prepared when we got home from the movies--it was delicious.

We all got the forms ready and headed for Soldier Hollow to go sledding. What a fun day. We convinced Kyle, who wasn't feeling 100% to go with us. When we realized that Kobe Bryant was on the hill with his wife and daughters, Kyle was very happy he was there. (Kyle so wanted a picture--oh well, at least he got to see him ; )


















We had several rides down the hill, but the best of all was when we linked all of our tubes together and FLEW DOWN THE HILL. It was so fun.
















Wednesday afternoon I finally had lunch at Cafe Rio. I have heard so many people talk about it but had never eaten there. It was delicious. (I love Mexican food. I had the pork salad--yum) Around 4:00 we headed for Temple Square to see the lights. (We decided to ride the train which we had never ridden before, and then on our way home stop at Hires for dinner.) The lights were absolutely beautiful. Loved every minute. I love seeing the Salt Lake Temple at night--so beautiful.



















Here's Neal, Macy, and Garrett right as we were leaving Temple Square.


















We gathered for a fun New Years Eve party. Here we are just after midnight.












Got up early New Years Day and took Kyle to the airport and put him on the plane back to Winnipeg. Later that day, we went to another movie. Some of us went to see Seven Pounds and some went to see Yes Man. I went to Seven Pounds and thoroughly enjoyed it. I am a huge Will Smith fan. I think he is a terrific actor.


Allan and I were not sure whether we were going to leave on Friday or Saturday, but decided we still had a lot of things to do, and we were a little concerned about the weather, so we decided to go toOn Friday afternoon we decided to go to Zupa's for lunch (I have never eaten there before--it was delicious). Notice the picture--they decided to try and close their eyes for the picture--some either didn't get the message or weren't sure how to do it ; ) I give them all points for trying.



On Friday afternoon, Neal and his family headed for Park City to spend some time with Macy's family. We ended up going to
PF Chang's for dinner--followed by ColdStone for dessert. Boy do I need to get back to Curves and back on my elliptical.

We are now in Miles City and will drive the rest of the way tomorrow.

As always, tough to say goodbye to the kids. I know we will see Brent and Heidi in April, and we will see the rest in May when we all gather in Texas for Chris and Heather's wedding. It will be wonderful. It is always so fun to watch Heidi and Chris together--they just love to banter back and forth and it just makes me smile. I LOVE IT.