Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Our Little Rocker

Garrett decided to jam with Kyle and Tony yesterday. Look at the intensity on his face.

And, by the way, there is MORE THAN ONE WAY to eat spaghetti ; )

Off tubing today--except Kyle had the flu last night--not sure he's going.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Where Has The Week Gone?

Goodness, has it been a week already???? We arrived here in Utah last Saturday afternoon and the time has just flown by. Let me just post about some of what we have done--

Saturday--was pretty much a Let's Get Settled In Day for me and a Show Me the Quickest Way to the Bed for Allan. I felt so sorry for him getting sick, but I was so happy it was only a 24 hour bug. (Just wish he hadn't been so generous and had kept it to himself instead of sharing it with me ; (

Sunday--It was wonderful to have Church late in the afternoon. Loved being able to sit in Relief Society with Heidi. It's been a long time. Had a lovely meal on Sunday night with the whole family. I did a fair amount of wrapping.

Monday--Allan and I were out bright and early trying to finish up the shopping. It snowed like crazy--it was beautiful because it's such different snow. Our snow is so light, but this was big wet flakes. (Glad I didn't have to do any driving ; )

After dinner, Allan, Bev, Heidi, and one of her friends, and Brent started watching Ironman. I decided to go and wrap some presents--didn't feel great. And that night the flu hit--and it HIT HARD. Spent every hour worshipping the porcelain bowl.

Tuesday--pretty much a I'm not leaving the bed day. Finally about 7:00 pm I started to feel a little better. Kyle was scheduled to leave Winnipeg at 2:00 and Cory got him to the airport and ready to go through customs at 12:30. (Later when he called he told Allan he didn't leave until 3:00 (which made us very concerned about him making his connection in Denver) I was grateful that I had a phone number for a friend in Denver (thanks, friend) who was my back-up so I wouldn't have to worry about Kyle being alone in Denver ; ) He had about 5 minutes to run to his plane and make his connection, but then sat on the tarmack for about 45 minutes. (Kyle just LOVES TO FLY!!!)

Because we were going to Macy's parents' house for Christmas Eve we had arranged to do our traditional Christmas Eve meal on Tuesday night. I had previously agreed to make Autumn Soup, but Allan had to make it.

Wednesday--I was so grateful when I woke up that I felt pretty good. Wendy and Tony were arriving around 10, so Allan and I drove to the airport. We expected the airport to be pretty busy, but it wasn't too bad.

We were supposed to pick up Neal at noon, but unfortunately he didn't make his connection, so he wasn't going to be arriving until around 4:30. So off to Hires for lunch. Met up with Riley and Gabrielle who were picking up their gifts which we brought from Riley's folks in Winnipeg.

Heidi had left for Idaho and so she wasn't with us for Christmas Eve. Wendy and Tony had taken the van to the airport to pick up Macy and Garrett and Neal who were on separate flights. We headed to Macy's parents for a wonderful Christmas Eve dinner and a fun Nativity presentation. Had some crazy wisemen ; )

Thursday--Christmas Day. As always, Santa was good to everyone. The morning was a lot of fun watching everyone open their gifts. Santa has always tried to disguise gifts by using different boxes (especially for DVD's and CD's--we use cereal boxes, rice krispie treat boxes (anything we can find). Well when Kyle went to open his camera, he just assumed it was the box and started tearing into it and I'm like "No, don't rip the box!!!"

After opening gifts it was time to have the strawberry waffles and bacon. As good as ever.

Kyle went out to shovel. We were laughing because he was out there in his shorts and a hoodie. He had commented that this is more like Winnipeg in April (certainly not December).

We had a great Christmas dinner with all the fixings. Way too much food--but then again, what else is new ; ) We had quite a group here at my SIL's, including my DIL's family and Allan's other sister's family. Unfortunately, Heidi didn't get back from Idaho until about 7:00 that night--by the time she got here she was pretty tense. The roads had not been fun, but we were very happy when she finally arrived.

Heidi opened her gifts after everyone left. We then put on our pajamas for the traditional picture.

Friday--I needed a little time to clean up my room and get laundry done. Allan, Bev, and his mom went to the temple and the kids went to the mall. Unfortunately, when Wendy returned home after lunch she had the flu. I feel so bad and am afraid that everyone is going to end up with this flu. We are trying very hard to disinfect everything.

It has been wonderful to have the kids here, but it sure would have been better if everyone could have been here. We at least talked to everyone on the phone. I know Stephen and Daphne were having a great Christmas with their kids. Sure wish they could have joined us for Christmas, but it just wasn't going to work out. It's always so much fun when we are all together. It didn't feel right to not have Nancy here, either. Then again, this was her first Christmas with her new grandbaby--he would have been hard to leave behind ; ) She's always so much fun. Just one Christmas we'll all have to be together.

Can't wait for Monday when Chris, Heather and Amanda arrive.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

It was so fun last night watching these little ones and everyone else act out The Nativity.

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 20, 2008


We arrived safe here at my SIL's. It was a looooonnnnnnnnggggggg trip--complete with crazy weather and poor Allan ended up with the flu (at least that's what we think it is) Yesterday as we were driving through Glendive this is what the roads were like. I got to do some of the driving today--Driving the snow covered streets of Manitoba is one thing. Our weather is so cold that most of the time the snow is solid--you don't have to worry about slush. I HATE SLUSH!!!!

We couldn't leave until after the kids left from the Seminary breakfast--which turned out well. Allan did a wonderful job with all the food. We had strawberry waffles, pancakes, sausages, cantalope, grapes, and chocolate milk. I think the kids enjoyed all the food.

I was up late the night before trying to get the ornaments done. I had little gift bags with treats and an ornament. This is what the ornaments looked like.

I'm also happy I finished the little gifts that I have been working on--will post pictures after Christmas. I know that I will be running around Monday and Tuesday--have a few things to check off my list. I'll be able to relax once we head to the airport on Tuesday to pick up Kyle. It's going to be a great Christmas holiday. I'm just so excited to have so much time with my kids. It's been great to spend time with Heidi and Brent today. (I just wish Allan felt better)

I'm trying to get out to read all the blogs--just wasn't able to do much reading from Wednesday on--lots to try and pack and get ready. I'm here now and have more free time.

Monday, December 15, 2008


I really don't know why I'm doing a post today--LIFE IS CRAZY!!!!! Instead of checking things off the lists, I feel like I'm adding things to it.

--Brent has been accepted to BYU in the Fall. He is so excited. He will graduated from LDS Bus. College in the Spring and will be off to BYU in the Fall. We're hoping Kyle will be there, too. (BTW, he took his ACT on Saturday and said it was THE WORST test he's ever written in his life. He was very happy with his essay question: Who is ultimately responsible for what a student gets out of their high school education, the teacher or the student? )

--Last night we had our Prelude to Christmas--which includes quite a few musical numbers from our members but also we have had a choir from another Church in the Community join us. It's a wonderful evening. I got a little nostalgic as I sit there with Allan and Kyle and realized that next year Kyle will be at University.

--We were assigned by our Bishop a family to take a Christmas hamper to, so tonight we will go and deliver the packages. Should be fun. It always makes us feel good to help someone else.

--I'm almost done with the two little Christmas gifts I'm working on--can't post a picture yet, because the mom's of one of the recipients reads my blog and I want it to be a surprise. (It's not any big thing, but I thought it was kind of cute ; )

--I told my Seminary students that we would have a special treat each morning this week. This morning I made cinnamon rolls. (I should have had hot chocolate, too, since it was a lovely -42 WC when Kyle and I left for Seminary. Sure glad we had Allan's car with the command start--sure made it much nicer when we got in the car after Seminary ; ) I think tomorrow will be Christmas cookies.

--Today our lesson in Seminary was on The Prodigal Son--what a great story. So many lessons. I can see myself acting just as the elder brother in the parable. When I was reading a talk by Elder Holland the other day, regarding the Prodigal Son. He talked about "envy is the one sin to which no one readily confesses, but just how widespread that tendency can be is suggested in the old Danish proverb, "If envy were a fever, all the world would be ill." The parson in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales laments it because it is so far reaching--it can resent anything, including any virtue and talent, and it can be offended by everything, including every goodness and joy. As others seem to grow larger in our sight, we think we must therefore be smaller. So, unfortunately, we occasionally act that way." That hit me pretty hard. He concludes "I testify that no one of us is less treasured or cherished of God than another. I testify that He loves each of us--insecurities, anxieties, self-image, and all. He doesn't measure our talents or our looks. He doesn't measure our professions or our possessions. He cheers on every runner, calling out that the race is against sin, not against each other." I quote this for me--I want to remember so on those days I compare and feel less than others I can correct my thinking.

--I have worked very hard but still don't have O Holy Night where I want it, but I still think I might try and play it for my kids. I had a big idea of something I wanted to do with it. Oh well, maybe next year ; )

--Before I head out of town, I want to be sure and post a couple of kids with Santa pictures. Such memories. I'm so grateful for memories.

--I will be cheering for Michelle tomorrow night on Biggest Loser. I voted to keep Ed on--probably for the same reason my DIL, Macy, did--I was irritated with what he did to make sure Heba stayed.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Christmas Traditions

We have spent every Christmas here since 1999--it will seem funny to not be home for Christmas. (In 1999 we were in Reno because my FIL had passed away) We have certain traditions that we have enjoyed through the years.

I love shopping for everyone for Christmas, but I really ENJOY making gifts. One year I made what I thought was the perfect gift for Allan. It was his very own Monopoly game. All of the properties were streets we'd lived on, schools he'd gone to, etc. Even all the community chest and chance cards were personalized about events in his life. It was so fun to design.

Since I was a little girl we have gotten pajamas on Christmas Eve. Santa Claus used to make a special delivery -- he still does today ; ) My kids act SO SURPRISED when the doorbell rings--gotta love it. And, of course, we take a picture of everyone in their new (and Allan and my old) pajamas. (I know Allan is hoping that I forget them when I pack--sorry, honey, they're already put in a special place so I won't forget ; ) This picture is cropped like it is because, well, it showed a little too much of Allan, which is why he'd like me to forget the pajamas ; )

We always do a serious and a not so serious picture.

Christmas caroling with good friends, followed by a special meal. (This year, we won't be here to go ; (
Christmas Eve is homemade soup and rolls. This particular year we had gone caroling and had everyone over for our Christmas Eve soup and rolls.

It was not a regular tradition, but I think twice we went to cut down a tree.

The kids always get an ornament--some times 2. I don't know what will be left on my tree when they have trees of their own. (This is a tradition we started after the bigger kids were gone--sorry guys ; )

We always read Luke 2--we have never acted it out. (That would have been so fun--go look at sweet peas video clip she posted on her blog. So cute ; )

We used to go to the Lights of the Wild--which was held at our local zoo. It was a favorite when family would visit, and it was so cold and everything up our noses would freeze. Now we go to the--BORING!!!

We also go and ride the little Candy Cane Train--it is so fun. (Right, Neal and Macy ; )

For the past 4 years, our Stake has done a Nativity Pageant at the Forks. The year Kyle and I participated holds such a special place in my heart.

Of course, I so miss the trips to visit Santa. I'll have to do a post about some with pictures.

Christmas morning is homemade waffles with strawberries and whipped cream and bacon. All cooked by Dad. YUM!!!!

The kids open one present on Christmas Eve and everything else in the morning.

We love doing the 12 Days of Christmas--so many fun memories of years past. (So many times almost getting caught. I remember the year Stephen almost got hit with a baseball bat by one of my sisters)

How about you, what are your favorite Christmas traditions???

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

8 Things Tag

8 Things
Klin tagged me for 8 things--of course, it was in the Fall, so I'll change one question that asked what I loved about Fall to what I love about winter:

8 TV shows I love to watch:
24--can't wait until January ; )
Biggest Loser
Lost--yes, will start up in January again
C.S.I. (the original)
E.R.--it's been part of my Thursday nights for so long--I will miss it when it goes off the air
Dancing With the Stars--disappointed this year
The Office

8 favorite places I love to eat:
Market Street Grill
Hires Big H
The Keg
LaCaille at Quail Run
Any dining room on a cruise ship ; )
Cold Stone ; )

8 things that I've done today:
Taught Seminary
Went to the Gym
Worked on a Christmas present
Read blogs
Voted on Biggest Loser
Got my hair cut and highlights
Spent some valuable time at the Dollar Store
Practiced the piano

8 things I look forward to:

Every weekend
Going on a mission with Allan
Watching my children grow up
Watching my grandchildren grow up and become parents (already have one, but it will be so fun to watch them all)
Allan getting settled in a new job
Allan being able to retire
Kyle going on a mission
Finishing Brent's mission scrapbooks (sorry Brent)

8 things I love about Winter:
Christmas shopping
Eating nice warm soup
Getting to spend time with my kids during Christmas break
I don't feel a need to be outside in the cold (it's supposed to be WC -38 this week), and so I love just being indoors
Although I don't love driving in the snow, I do love sitting in the house and watching it snow
Sitting by the fireplace
It's followed by Spring

8 material things on my wish list:
Big Screen TV
New carpeting
Getting an eye lift--I keep telling myself it's not vanity, one of my eyes just has been drooping so bad (I really don't worry
about the other things that droop ; )
Sliding shelves in my kitchen cupboards
A double oven
Re-do my shower
Airplane tickets to visit each of my kids/grandkids/greatgrandson
A brass bed

SIDENOTE: I think Seminary teachers should get an extra week of vacation--It's tough getting lessons and Christmas stuff together ; (

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Rested--Somewhat ; )

Well, I have to admit I have enjoyed not having to worry about doing a post every day.

I managed to get a lot done this week. I can't believe Christmas will be here in a little over two weeks--a lot of the shopping is done. Kyle keeps changing his mind--he wanted an electric guitar, but now he's not sure. Sadly, though, none of the gifts are wrapped!!! Can't wrap them and then take them across the border.

Our Stake decided to do Nativity displays in the buildings this year. I was in charge of the one in our building. Not much of a turn out--other than a couple of people. But hopefully as it grows people will become more interested. Here are a couple of the photos.

My house looks and feels like Christmas--I love it!!! I decided this year to put some of my nativities in my curio cabinet. I love how it looks--but can't seem to get a good picture. I also have one on the piano and one above my fireplace.

And, not only does the house look like Christmas, it REALLY looks like Christmas outside--it has been snowing like crazy--AND WOW IS IT COLD!!!

Finally, congratulations to my granddaughter, Amanda, who got engaged on Friday. We are very happy for her. So we'll have a wedding of our grandson, Chris, in Texas in May and then Amanda's wedding will follow in Utah this summer.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Gratitude for Everything

After that incredibly long post where I wrote about my love and appreciation for all of you, I have decided to make this post short.
It took a long time to write, so please go and read it. Don't want to sound like a whiner, but I just want you to know I'm grateful for you.

I am so incredibly blessed and am grateful for EVERYTHING.

After posting EVERYDAY since November 2nd, I am taking a break. I'll still be reading, but I need to give my brain a rest from posting.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Gratitude for Friends

This is another post that I think will be difficult to write. I am so grateful for friends--friends who have always been there for me.

A month or so I was reading an article about friendship. (And, of course, I can't find it now. Basically, it was talking about the need to have friends of different ages. Many years ago, when I was young, I had lots of friends who were older and lots who were younger. It helped me a great deal. I can't say I just learned from the older ones--I learned a great deal from the younger ones, too..

Today, the same thing is true. I have friends my age and friends who are younger, and if you can even believe it, I even have friends who ARE OLDER THAN ME!!!!

My friends have been through so much with me. I still remember when I called my friend Priscilla who was serving with her husband on a mission in Paris after Allan and I had our first date. She was so excited. (In fact, a few months after Allan and I were married we went to visit them in Paris.)

My friend, Pat, was the first one who knew Allan was going to ask me out on our first date--actually, Allan went to see her husband and told him first (so I guess she was the second).

Both Pat and Priscilla are the kinds of friends that you go to see and even though it may have been a year or so since you last visited or even talked, you pick up like it was yesterday. They have kept me in line and I appreciate their honesty. They will tell me when I'm being dumb, and I love them for it.

Then there is , Mary, who lives in Toronto. We keep in touch via telephone and internet. She has been with me through some pretty tough family struggles. She is a great listener and helps me see things much clearer. Her husband, Bill, died in a plane crash when Kyle was just a baby. She is an amazing woman and I cherish our friendship.

I have many wonderful friends here in Winnipeg--friends that I know I will continue to keep in touch with long after we move away. (That's one of the benefits of living in different areas--you form friendships that stay with you even when you leave ; ) In fact today I was with one of those friends and she gave me an ornament. I wanted to post a picture of it, but it was blurry each time I tried. It is a Hallmark "Angel of Chocolate" ornament. (She knows me so well) Thanks, cory.

This whole blogging experience has given me an opportunity to develop some great friendships. Some of you I've had the privilege of meeting--some I look forward to meeting one day. I so appreciate the things I learn from you as I read your blog. So much has helped me to think about ways I can improve.

I'm going to go out on a limb and do something I very rarely do--I want to say something about all of you whose blogs I read on a regular basis. I could lose readers because you may not appreciate what I write, but I do appreciate all of you, so please forgive me if I don't capture exactly what you think your blog represents.

First of all, my DIL, Macy. Even though she is my DIL, I consider her a friend. She has only been my DIL for 3 years, and unfortunately we haven't had many opportunities to spend much time together. Macy is a very talented woman and is very smart and sometimes intimidates me (not that she tries, it's my insecurities that make me intimidated--it's not her fault ; ) She can sing, cook, and she has just taken up photography and has taken some amazing pictures that she has posted on her blog. (Of course, my favorite photos would have to be of my adorable grandson, Garrett ; ) When I talk about the 3 years that she has been my DIL, I think of my other DIL, Daphne--she has been my DIL for 20 years. Over those 20 years we have spent LOTS of time together and consequently are very close. No, she doesn't have a blog, but how can I write about one DIL and not the other ; ) I'm grateful for the friendship I enjoy with both Macy and Daph and especially grateful for the love that they share with their husbands--my sons.

Bloggers that are here in my area: Carolyne B. is a friend here--we are in different wards and it's wonderful when we see each other at Stake Conference. Before Theresa and Jess got married they were both YSA when Allan was the Bishop in their Ward. Both of them are fantastic women.

As far as other bloggers I have had the privilege of meeting: Nancyface and I will always be imaginary next-door neighbors and one day I'll go jogging with her (but it will have to be when it's not a zillion degrees outside ; ) She is so funny and positive--I love positive people and always hope some of that will rub off on me. I think her daughter, Lauren, is my youngest blogging buddy. Like her mom, she is so full of life, and I just adore her. I will always remember her link on my birthday to get me to get lots and lots of birthday wishes. Chel (who has a private blog) is a very dear friend--she feels more like a daughter. There is a connection--I'm sure we've been friends before ; ) Suzanne (whose blog is private) and I have met and I guess I knew her husband before she did--he served his mission in the area we lived in 1995 ; ) She is so incredibly sweet and we exchange e-mails quite often. I just love her. I still remember the first tag I ever had for a meme--it came from gina. She is such a lovely woman and a fantastic mom. I love her monthly letters to Liam. It was so fun when I was in Utah to meet up with UTmommy--she is so fun and such a sweetie. And even though I have not met her mom, and she doesn't have a blog, she is an instant friend. I can't wait to read all about her mission when they finally get their visas. I have had the wonderful opportunity to meet tori in person--I have read her blog FOREVER. She has a great sense of humor and a love of life and her family. I'm still waiting for another 911 post, tori. In fact, frankly, she was one of the big draws for my going to Oregon last summer--I really wanted to meet her. I still remember getting the e-mail from Amanda that she was going to Oregon, too. Aside from the bloggers that live here in the area, she is the closest in proximity. When she talks about her "lovely" weather I know what she's talking about. She is such a sweet woman. I had talked with klin on the phone and was happy to get a chance to meet her in Oregon, too. I love reading NCS's blog--she always makes me laugh--so clever. Heffalump has been doing some wonderful holiday tips--so great and so clever. Aubrey is a very talented young woman--every time I look around my clutter, I wish she was closer. She wrote a beautiful gratitude post the other day. I wish Glittersmama would post more often--she amazes me when she comments--she is so clever. I have to admit, I'm a little jealous because she is very witty. Millie is another one who is so clever--I love that she is a real genealogy enthusiasts. (I wish she lived closer because I could sure use some help ; ) Elastic is another one of those talented women who is so clever when she writes. So often I read and don't comment because I don't want to say over and over again "That was funny". Just go look at the banner on her blog ; )

And as far as those I haven't yet met: Txmommy has taught me a great deal. I know we would be real-life friends--when she writes I find myself shaking my head because I feel the same way. Of course, today I'm wishing I hadn't read her post the beginning of the month that talked about doing the month-long gratitude posts!!!! (Just kidding ; ) I love pj for her love of life and her laughter--and she has such cute girls and they seem to have such a fun time together. Melissa and I have a special connection. She tugs at my heart strings when she writes about her Little Bug. It brings back such memories of my times with Brent. (Please understand I'm not saying I feel sorry for her--because I know she is the perfect mom for Little Bug) Ashley is another dear friend whose blog I have read for quite awhile. She has 3 adorable daughters. Ashley is very talented and is quite the decorator. I love when she posts pictures of her latest decorating ideas. The other day I was putting the stars I won in holly's giveaway on my Christmas tree. Every time I play Scrabble with Allan I think of Holly. Somebody loved and I haven't always agreed but we still have a great relationship. One day I will get to Nevada and we will have lunch together (maybe we'll even go to Ely and go to the Star ; ) (one day I accidentally misled her--it is not in Ely, it is in Elko ; ) I would love to serve in Young Women with justrandi--her love of the youth and her sense of humor would be so fun to be around on a regular basis. I know one day we'll have a chance to meet, and I am so looking forward to it. I still remember one of the first posts I ever read of chelli's where she talked about her son's experience at the dedication of the Rexburg Temple--"the little red-headed boy". So often I read posts that make me wish I was still raising a young family--corinne's post yesterday about buying for her children for Christmas was one of those. Read it. Aurora doesn't post as often as I would like, but she is such a fantastic mom and I love to read of her experiences. She does great tutorials. Aurora, I still can't figure out how to do the little crochet'd cap, but I'm trying--how about a tutorial. I'm sure many of you read amber's blog. What talent. I often wish I could send her a post and say--"Can you do something with this?", and have her write it--I know it would be SO MUCH BETTER. I do not know how I started reading tonya's blog, but she is another one of those amazing women. She shares herself and her feelings in her post, and I love what I learn. I was so thrilled when she and her husband and son were sealed in the temple a couple of month's ago. Mel is an inspiration to me--she's another one who doesn't post very often. I wish she would because she inspires me. One day she wrote a thought that she was going to use in a Relief Society lesson--I loved it. Go here to read it. I love to read annie's blog--she has such faith and I am so inspired by her words. I just know she must be a great cook--she is always making such yummy dinners ; ) I think I'm drawn to people who are positive--Jodi is another one of those positive people. She talks so much about having an attitude of gratitude--something I've tried to develop through this month of gratitude posts. Magirk has such deep thoughts and I really have to stop and think as I read. She has a gift to write so beautifully, and I love reading her words. One of the first post I read from mindylou was about Isaiah--yes, Isaiah, SHE LOVES ISAIAH. She is a deep thinker and a beautiful writer. She's another one I wish would post more often. I know that one day sweetpea posted 100 things and at the end she commented "I have enough". Wow--that really made me stop and think about how blessed I am. Another young person who I read is whitney--she is such a sweetie and SHE'S GOING TO BE A MOM!!! It will be fun to read all about her pregnancy--I just hope it's fun for her. Sheri does a great job of capturing the things that are going on with her family. Quite often she writes about music--I love music so it's fun to read. Tiffany is another mom of twins--I just love reading about mom's of twins--they are amazing. In fact, several of the blogs I read are moms of twins.

I didn't want to leave anyone out--I want you all to know that you are GREAT WOMEN. Know that I appreciate the chance to get to know you a little better through reading your blog. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, your experiences, your laughter, and your efforts to do better each day. There are some days your words offer me the lift I need, the hope I need, the smile I need, or the encouragement to just press forward.

Thanks for your friendship.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Gratitude for Missionaries

We had a fabulous evening with the missionaries. We ended up having 42 for dinner, plus the 3 of us. Everything was delicious. We had turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, sweet potato casserole, corn, peas, pistachio pudding salad, yogurt/raspberry salad, broccoli-cauliflower salad, rolls, and for desert Germany Chocolate pudding cake, pumpkin gooey cake, double layer pumpkin pie, and chocolate carmel pecan pie.

After dinner and dessert, everyone popped open their crackers and then we had a gift exchange. It was so fun. I'm grateful for these young men and women (well, we only have one "young" sister and a few Senior sisters, as well as a Senior couple. It is always such a delight to have them in our home. I just love them all so much.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Gratitude for Inservice Days

I was going to leave my post about my parents up and consider it gratitude for my parents and Helen and Les and called it a double post, but I just couldn't.

Frankly, it has been a very long day today. I've spent most of the day getting ready for our big Thanksgiving/Christmas feast with the missionaries. I have had lots to do, and because tomorrow is an Inservice Day WE DON'T HAVE SEMINARY. I'm looking forward to having more time to get ready. I have 3 salads done, 5 tables set, 4 desserts almost done. 43 candy bags done, and most of the gifts for the gift exchange wrapped.

Hope everyone had a fabulous Thanksgiving--can't read all about your day, but probably won't be doing any reading of blogs until Saturday.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Gratitude for My Parents

I realize that tomorrow is Thanksgiving but as I mentioned in the post I did a couple of days ago about my sisters, my mom's birthday was November 26th. In honor of her birthday today, I wanted to express my gratitude for my parents. They may have lived only a short time, but they had a great impact on my life. Along with them, I can't forget the two people who raised me after they died--Helen and Les.

First let me tell you a little about my dad: He was a plumber by profession. We lived on the East side of the SF Bay and my dad worked in San Francisco. He loved all kinds of sports--we watched wrestling, boxing, and baseball. (It's funny but I don't remember him watching football or basketball ; ) I often think of what it must have been like for my dad living in a home with NOTHING BUT GIRLS!!! He had two brothers and no sisters. He was born in the Boston area--I could kick myself today because I really don't know much about his growing up years. I don't even know what year he came to California. I was the son he never had--I loved reading the sports section and telling him who won and what was happening. I will always remember going with him to Candlestick Park to see the S.F. Giants play the Milwaukee Braves. (Those were the years the Giants had Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, and Orlando Cepeda. They had a pretty good team) It must have been just a short time before my dad died.

One of the things that is interesting about doing family history is the things you find out--I never knew my parents were never legally married. They were common law husband and wife.

My mother was a California native--she had 8 brothers and 2 sisters. Her mom died when she was fairly young. She grew up in San Francisco. She was tall and very slender. She was a waitress and worked very hard. I don't know how she did it after my dad died in May of 1963, but she persevered. I sit and cry when I think about how lonely she must have been, and I never remember her sitting around feeling sorry for herself. I will always be grateful for the Salvation Army for providing us with some treats that Christmas. (I can't pass by a bell ringer without stopping and making a donation. Somewhere there is a little girl (like me) whose life will be blessed by what they do) When she was hospitalized with tuberculosis, we were not allowed to go and see her in the hospital, but we could go and stand outside and she would go to the window or balcony and wave at us. That's my last memory of her. (In the picture, she is the one on the right)

Every so often we would visit my mom's sibblings. I can remember one brother in particular. I was pretty close to him--mainly because we shared the same birthday. In fact, when my mother died in 1964 he was one who came forward to "adopt" me--but he and his wife could only take one of us. I think many of them would take one, but no one would take all of us. I don't know who made the decision to keep us all together, but I'm very grateful they did.

I always feel very bad when I think about the short lives they lived--they had so much more living to do. Perhaps that's why being a mom and grandma are so important to me--and every holiday I get to be with my kids or have them call and I can talk to them is such a blessing.

In December of 1964, after my mom died, we continued to live with my sister, Carol's, boyfriend's family. A woman that my mom had worked with, named Helen, heard about what had happened and she and her husband wanted to do something to help. They had us over and visited with us a few times and decided that they wanted to take in all 6 of us. (Can you imagine raising 6 girls--age 19 down to 9???) They had already raised 2 boys. We moved in with them and they were officially made our legal guardians on February 14, 1965--we celebrated that anniversary together every year!!!

They were there for us during those critical teenage years. They were amazing--always encouraging us in all of our activities. As we grew up and had children, they were Grandma and Grandpa and helped us with everything. It wasn't like--Oh, you're 18--you're on your own. Helen died in 1979. Les continued to be very active in our lives. Allan, the kids, and I have some great memories with Les with us on a couple of vacations. When he and Helen died it was very much like losing parents.

They made every holiday, every activity fun. Les added on to the house and it was so fun to help him while he was doing the remodeling. He was a great handyman. You gotta love this picture with my sisters, Les, and I (and Gayle's boyfriend) Notice the hairpieces--I don't know if ANY OF THEM MATCHED!!!)

To my sister Linda they were the only parents she really knew. Obviously to my kids, they are grandma and grandpa. I marvel that they were so loving and caring and willing to do something I don't think many people would do. They made us all feel loved and they are both missed.

Not many people have been blessed with two sets of parents--I was and I will always be grateful for all of them.

Sidenote: I hope EVERYONE has a fabulous Thanksgiving. Not sure when I will get my Gratitude Post done for tomorrow. Because tomorrow is transfer day, we are celebrating Thanksgiving on Friday. Tomorrow I will be busy getting everything ready for my 43 dinner guests ; ) (Just think, if we had turkey dinner tomorrow, I could serve LEFTOVERS on Friday!!!)

Just so you understand why I cry every time I read about someone getting a free turkey when they buy $25 worth of groceries. Here's what it cost for one of our turkeys for Friday ; )