Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Life Always Changes

There has been a lot of things going on—many that I haven’t been able to tell you about because we have not had internet. I still have not been able to post pictures, so I cannot show you all the delicious meals and fun food displays. Allan and I had a fun time at our Samba class. There for awhile I was able to get on and read blogs—it would have been a great thing to do on sea days, but basically the whole trip across the ocean was without the internet.

I do not like not being able to connect with my family. I miss my kids so much—at least when I get an e-mail from them I feel connected (it’s that control thing ; )

Allan and I are now alone on the cruise—my MIL and two SIL’s got off the ship Sunday morning in Japan. Bev called home on Saturday because her husband had been to the doctor for some tests. The news was not good and she needed to get home ASAP. Allan and I have struggled with whether we should get off the ship or not. After prayer and much discussion, we decided to stay on until Beijing. (There really is nothing we can do if we go home to Winnipeg) Bev wants us to go on and take lots of pictures so she can enjoy the trip through us. So that is what we are going to try to do.

My thoughts will be with my sweet brother-in-law. There are three things I want each of you to know about him—first, I can’t hear the phrase “he would give you the shirt off his back” without thinking of him; and second, he is the best missionary I have ever seen—he will talk to anyone, ANYWHERE!!! Finally, he just loves Bev so much. Bev and Homer were married about 5 years after Allan and I--and to watch Bev has be so happy has been wonderful. My heart is breaking for her.

We have been to Muroran, Japan. We went on a great tour--road a gondola up to Mt. Usu. We saw some beautiful scenery. We also went to the hot springs near Lake Toya. The landscape was absolutely gorgeous--dense forest and rolling countryside. We even got to practice some of our Japanese when we bought ice cream.

Yesterday we went to Vladivostok, Russia. It took a long time before we could ever get off the ship in Russia--you have to wait for the officials to get on board and look at everyone's passports. We docked at like 5:00 a.m. and were not allowed off the ship until near 8:30. Allan and I walked into town. My SIL, Gerry, wanted t-shirts for her kids so we went all over looking for a souvenier shop--not an easy task. This was an interesting city--the women were very fashion conscious. All the women wore heals with EVERYTHING!!! I have a picture of one of the Russian soldiers in her uniform (pants, heavy jacket, hat) with a pair of heals. It was interesting.

As we were walking the streets, trying to find the shop we ran into two missionaries. It was so fun to visit with them for a couple of minutes. One was from Mesa and the other from Las Vegas. They gave us directions to the souvenier shop, we slipped them a couple of dollars for a hamburger and went on our way. I could have kicked myself for not getting a picture.

Thanks for all your comments--Just wanted to check in with all of you and let you know we are doing well. I just know one day I will be able to get on and read all your blogs. (I miss you all) I want to know how all of you are doing--and I want to hear all about the Women's Broadcast, so I'm going to go and find a blog where someone has posted all about it.

Hugs to all of you.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

An At-Sea Random Post on the 25th!!!

I'm having trouble with blogger posting pictures, so this is going to be extremely boring--no photos!!! I just want so much to share with you some of the beauty that we have seen. Sorry, I hope blogger will let me post pictures later ; (

All is well--we continue to have a great time. Doing too much eating and probably not enough exercising. Just wanted to share a few things that have been going on.
  • We crossed the International Date line so we basically skipped September 24th. So, I guess in our eyes, Neal will always be a year younger than he is because TODAY IS NEAL'S BIRTHDAY--well, not where we are, because today is September 25th. So, I guess I have to say, Happy Belated Birthday, Neal. Of course, when he reads this it will be on the 24th there in the U.S.

  • It's also Wendy and Tony's anniversary, but again, not where we are--Happy 14th Anniversary Wendy and Tony.
  • I wanted to post these pictures for all you "Deadliest Catch" fans--the crab pots were INCREDIBLE!!! So maybe my next posts will just be pictures!!!
  • We went to another ballroom class. It was a waltz class. I realize I'm a TERRIBLE DANCER. Kept using the wrong foot. Today is another cha cha cha.
  • Sunday night we were out on our regular walk around the deck and I was taking pictures of the beautiful sunset. Allan had come over to tell me that there were whales on the other side. My SIL and I ran to the other side and we were shocked at how many were out--there must have been at least 50!!!! IT WAS SO FUN. If only I could have captured a better picture.

  • You know the seas are rocky when next to each of the waste baskets near the elevators is attached a little barf bag!!!! Haven't felt the need to use one yet ; )
I have to admit I sure miss talking on the phone to my children--sure don't know how those pioneers did it. (And I have access to e-mail (well some days ; )

I keep taking pictures of the food and will post about it eventually.

The fitness center has been so incredibly busy--they limit you to 30 minutes on the treadmill. That makes me turn up the speed when I'm on so I get a better workout. Because it has been so rocky I have had to hold on to the sides of the treadmill because I don't want to fall off ; ) Allan and I walk around the deck each night. We walk on deck 7 and when it's not too windy when we get to one end we go up the stairs to deck 8 and walk around and then back down to deck 7. (You can't walk completely around deck 7) This morning I went out and walked--if only I could post pictures of the swells. I was getting pelted in the face with rain, too.

Hope everyone is doing well!!!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Glacier Bay

First of all, congrats to Lauren and Ted on their marriage Thursday. I have been reading Lauren's blog for a little over a year. It has been so fun to learn all about Ted throughout that year, and then be so excited for Lauren when he came home from his mission, get a chance to meet them both last April and follow all the wedding plans and now she is a married woman. Again, congrats.

I feel like I'm doing my sidenote's first--I've tried to visit a few blogs--it's kind of hard. Quite often blogger takes forever to bring up the comment form and then when there is word verification it's so frustrating especially if I type a letter wrong ; (
Anyway, I'm missing you all. I want to know what you're all doing. I will get by and say hi--it just may take me awhile. But if we keep having trouble with the internet, I may have to wait until I get back. It's much better right at this moment.

Thursday we were in Glacier Bay. It was cloudy, but when we first entered the inlet it was foggy and I was just grateful it didn't stay that way. It is so majestic. You can't look at the beautiful sights and think that this world just happened by accident. So much beauty, so much variety--I really sit in awe.

I was standing on the balcony with my family and ran in to get my camera when a HUGE piece of ice went into the water. It was the loudest boom--I CAN'T BELIEVE I MISSED IT!!! I saw a few smaller ones, like this one so was pretty excited about that.

This gives you a feel for how beautiful and serene it all is--it is truly majestic when you are in Glacier Bay.

These glaciers are absolutely amazing. I wish I could really capture the blue.

Here we are standing on the balcony viewing the glaciers--IT WAS VERY COLD!!!

I think my next post will be about the food, but I had to put this picture here of the piece of Baked Alaska that our little waiter gave my mother-in-law. My MIL is a tiny little thing that couldn't begin to eat that piece--so her son ate it

We are having a great time. Eating WEIGH, WEIGH, WEIGH too much--yes, I know that isn't how I should spell "way" but believe me that is a more appropriate spelling!!!

Let me just post this last picture of me and my sweet hubby. Yes, he did go with me to a dance class--we are now EXPERTS at doing the cha, cha, cha!!! SURE WE ARE.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Having A Great Time

Everything is going well here on the ship. We left on Saturday and after a day at sea Sunday, we arrived Monday in Ketchikan. It was cool and rainy. Allan, my SIL, and I had to be on the pier for a 7:00 a.m. bus departure. We had signed up for a ziplining adventure. Now, I have to tell you I thought I was going to be so relaxed—after all I had done this before. I was FAR FROM RELAXED. I don’t know if it was because in just a matter of minutes I was cold and damp. Anyway, after the first two lines I was fine. There were only 5 of us on the tour plus 2 guides. They made me feel very safe and secure. I was wishing I had my old camera, because my camera is fairly bulky, and I didn’t feel very good about pulling it out of my jacket pocket to take a picture when we were a couple of hundred feet off the ground!!!

My SIL took this picture of Allan and me after we finished—gotta love the helmet hair.

After we came back and had lunch—goodness you didn’t expect us to MISS A MEAL, did you????, we headed into Ketchikan to look around. It was so fun—we went to the creek to watch the salmon run. Look at this shot!!!! It’s amazing to see how hard those little guys work to get upstream to spawn.

I just wanted to share a couple of other pictures with you. Saturday night I got this picture of the full moon and the reflection on the ocean.

Sunday afternoon we had a bunch of porpoises jumping and having a great time. I wasn’t quite fast enough and this was the best one I could get.

We’re having a fabulous time. I am bound a determine sometime on this cruise Allan and I are going to take a ballroom dance class. I was all excited about the merenge class—I just knew I would be just like Lola (without the yellow feathers in my hair and a dress cut down to there ; ) Funny thing—the class was at 2:00 and suddenly Allan had disappeared. I'll let you know when we take a dance class BUT THERE WILL NOT BE PICTURES!!!

Hope everyone is doing well. I’m so glad to have read that elastic and her family are safe—I was so worried. Allan got a message regarding his daughter in Indiana where they have been pounded by wind and rain and are without power. Hugs to you Nancy. Lauren, I hope the wedding and reception are wonderful on Thursday. I’ll be thinking of you and Ted.

BTW, heard that granddaughter-in-law is on schedule for the baby. I’m getting very excited.

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Time Has Come...

I can't believe it is time to leave. The last few days have been hectic. I am feeling lots better. I did end up with a toothache and had to make an emergency dental appointment--ended up being a cavity and had to have a filling. (Hey, at least it didn't happen when I was on the ship ; )

We're flying to Vancouver tomorrow and will get on the ship there. We will cruise around Alaska for a week and then head across the water and first stop on September 28th will be in Japan. I'm not sure how many opportunities I will have to post, but since this is REALLY the whole reason I started to blog, I have to try and find time to post once in awhile. Please forgive me if I don't visit your blog--bloglines will let me know how many posts I miss. I will do my best to read them when I get back. My intention is to have a lot of Seminary lessons done on the ship--so I will not have lessons to work on when I get home.

As long as I can get to the internet, I'm bound and determined to post about:
  • our excursion in Ketchikan where Allan, my SIL Bev, and I will go
  • our cruising in Glacier Bay. We have been there before. In fact, I took this picture the last time we were there--it is so majestic. (I have this picture framed and on my mantle)

  • some of our meals--then you'll all want to know "ARE YOU DOING ANYTHING ELSE BESIDES EATING???"
  • my fitness classes--I have to do something to try and keep some of the weight off ; )
  • Of course, I will have to post about the ports we visit in Alaska. We are not going to do many excursions there--we'll probably just get off the ship and walk around.
  • I will post all about the Great Wall--that is going to be something to see. (I may even have to do so video.
  • We are flying to Xian and will get a chance to see the Terra Cotta Warriors.
  • We will try and get a taxi to take us to The Birds Nest and The Cube. That will be FANTASTIC.
Sidenote #1: Seminary this week was great. One of the highlights for me is when the kids ask questions and you know they are really thinking. We were talking about the judgment and one of them asked why the Savior needs to be our Advocate if Heavenly Father knows everything. Wow! Great question--could have done a whole lesson on the answer. I'll say it again--I am so blessed to be able to spend my mornings with these wonderful young people. I will miss them.

Sidenote #2: I'm pretty much packed, now I just need to finish cleaning the house. I have all of Allan's cards packed. Some of them are so cute. Kyle's letters are done--gifts are bagged and everything is ready to go. HOORAY--and thanks to PJ for the trivia question and thank you Neal for giving me a couple more.

Sidenote #3: I had to tell Neal that even though I won't read his blog while I'm gone, I will probably visit Macy's (after all she does post pictures of my little grandson ; ), but I did assure him I would read his when I get back. He forgave me.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Celebrations in September

It's already September 9th, and if I don't do this now pretty soon it will be someone's birthday or anniversary. I'm not sure I'll be able to get a post done on everyone's exact birthday, but I hope I can.

September 17th is Amanda's 22nd birthday. I know I've used this picture before, but I still love it.

Amanda is currently at a University in the Northwest getting her Master's degree.

On the 24th we have two special events to celebrate. Our oldest son, Neal, was born. Wasn't he a cute baby???

He is a world traveller--in fact, he has travelled something like a million miles on one of the airlines. I can't even imagine travelling a million miles!!!!

Besides Neal's birthday, Allan's daughter, Wendy, and her husband Tony will be celebrated their 14th anniversary on the 24th. It was fun spending time with them this weekend. They are such a wonderful couple.

I really don't think they've changed much in 14 years.

And finally, on September 30th, my granddaughter, Kiah, turns 18. I always laugh at this picture because I am 5 months pregnant with Kyle.

I can't believe how quickly life is moving--this little girl is now in her first year of college. It was so fun to see her this weekend.

Sidenote #1: We leave for China in just a few days and I am ready to go crazy. I tried to get my Seminary lessons done while we were in California, but didn't!!! Today was really our first day of classes and it went well--I sure love these kids. I can tell it is going to be a great year.

But, I must add I am SO EXHAUSTED right now. I hope I have more energy tomorrow ; ) I feel like I'm getting a cold. My ears are killing me and my nose is plugged. I guess it's a good thing I have to go to the doctor tomorrow ; )

Sidenote #2: You probably don't remember, but when Allan and I leave on an extended vacation like this, I leave little notes and gifts for the kids--have to admit I'm grateful I only have Kyle at home. I have 18 done--which means I have another 10 to go. (That is, I have 18 notes written, not little gifts. Believe me, most of them are little gifts, like a bag of Cheetos or a gift card to the donut shop. It's not about the gifts, it's about letting him know we are thinking of him, or maybe making sure he's thinking of us ; ) My toughest challenge is coming up with trivia questions. Sure hope I can get them done!!!!

ADDENDUM: After randi asked if we leave Kyle home for that long, I thought I should clarify: NO!!! We have some good friends who are like Kyle's second parents who move in and take care of him. I love them because they know just what we would do in any situation. They are more fun than we are, and I'm sure Kyle loves having them around.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Hannah's Special Day

Today was Hannah's baptism. I was so glad that we were able to be here. We flew in yesterday. Last night we all went to In-N-Out for burgers. I have never had my burger protein style, but I decided to give it a try. I must admit I SURE MISSED THE BUN!!!

Hannah looked so gorgeous in her dress for the baptism

Her Grandpa spoke about Baptism and her Grandma spoke about the Holy Ghost. Both were very excited about being able to participate on the program. (We won't talk about the fact that her Grandma also "played" the piano--she sure wish Kyle was there so he could have played instead!!!

Hannah's Aunt Wendy and Uncle Tony came to the baptism. It was fun to spend time with them.

Hannah and her family. Brandon gave the opening prayer and Kiah gave the closing prayer. It was so cute to see Drew sitting at the edge of the font watching Hannah be baptized.

We all went to Hannah's house after the baptism and had ribs, Caesar Salad, garlic bread and watermelon. Everything was delicious.

I think Mom was pretty tired.

It was great fun for me to have a chance to visit with two other very special people. When Stephen was 17 months old, the woman who took care of him for me was named Janice. She began taking me to Church and I was eventually baptized. She and her husband, Darryl, came to the baptism. (She has a son who is 6 months younger than my son, Stephen. Stephen and Danny have remained friends all these years)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Some Randomness

One of the toughest things for me is to come up with titles for my posts--so this one is going to be a bit of randomness:
  • I have a feeling this may be the year of new experiences. (I don't always judge my year by the regular calendar--quite often it's by the school calendar) This October I am I going to be a great grandmother for the first time--by the way, that will probably happen while we are on our cruise. I am very excited. (In fact, I am taking my crochet hook and yarn to work on a blanket for the little one.) I used to crochet baby blankets years ago--but then stopped. When Drew was born 3 years ago, I made a blanket for him.

    Then last year I made this blanket for Garrett.

    I still don't know if Scarlett is having a boy or a girl, but she did say she wanted a mint green blanket, so going out to get yarn is a must this week.

  • Monday night I found out that sometime in the late Spring or early summer I am going to be a grandmother-in-law again. (Okay, I know there really isn't any such thing), but I am very excited about my grandson, Chris, and Heather getting engaged. It is going to be so fun to have Heather "officially" part of the family.

  • Today was Kyle's first day of his last year of high school so in June my last child will graduate from high school. That means come next September I will have no one in school--well other than college. (But wait, Heidi will be in Grade 1, well not really because she will be teaching grade1 ; ) I'm assuming that Kyle will go away to college so more than likely we will be empty nesters. Oh my goodness, what are we going to do???

  • This morning we had our Seminary breakfast. We will not officially start Seminary until next Tuesday because tomorrow Allan and I are flying to Sacramento for my granddaughter's baptism on Saturday.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Favorite Vacations

I don't know if Allan just wanted to read my thoughts on favorite vacations or not, but another one of his suggestions was for me to write about my top 10 favorite vacations. Since he very rarely reads my blog, I'll just assume he was trying to give me some ideas. (It is really hard to narrow it down to just 10 because I have more than 10 that I loved--in fact, I think I can only think of 1 or 2 that would not qualify as favorite vacations (but I'll NEVER write about them ; ) Now keep in mind, this is based on 26 years of marriage--we have a huge family and are pretty spread out, so it's always an adventure when we get together ; )

1. I don't know if this qualifies as a vacation or not, but how could I not say my favorite vacation was my honeymoon ; ) My sweet hubby took me to Hawaii--I had never been there before and it was so beautiful. (Still one of my favorite places--in fact, it will be mentioned again--Hawaii, not the honeymoon) Sorry, no pictures.

2. Our recent family vacation in Hawaii. Our best family vacation EVER!!!

3. In 2002 we had a family vacation at Park City. It was so fun. The kids all loved the alpine slide. For Brent everyone getting together and shooting a movie was a highlight. Some of the guys road this crazy thing that was kind of like the skeleton--one of my grandsons, Josh, got going a tad to fast and didn't use the brake and had quite the accident. Fortunately, other than a lot of scrapes, he was fine.

4. In 1990 we had a big family vacation in Burley, Idaho. Whenever I see Napoleon Dynamite I think of Burley. I have to admit at first I was a little worried about the movie, I felt like everyone was making fun of Napoleon, but then just loved the movie. I can just laugh when I think of Kip. Favorite line for me has to be when Kip tells Napoleon he's just jealous because he talks with chicks all day on the internet. Seriously, other than Omar, I don't know anyone who HASN'T seen this movie. So, Omar, rent the movie, what have you got to lose??? If you don't like it, oh well ; )

After we left Burley, our children and grandchildren went with us for a couple of days to Park City--this part of the trip made it one of my top trips. I think it had been quite awhile since we had ALL been together, so it was great. Do you think our family has grown since then???

5. In 1983 when I was pregnant with Heidi, Allan and I went to Europe. Even though I was quite sick, it was a fabulous trip. We stayed with our friends in Paris--he was MP there and it was great spending time with them. I still remembering going to Versailles and being so sick that I just stayed outside.

We left France and went to Switzerland and stayed in Zermatt at the base of the Matterhorn--hence the name Heidi ; )

6. In 1983 we went to Herringtons--I was pregnant with Heidi. It was such a fun trip. Herrington's truly holds a lot of memories for our family. It is located in Sierra City, CA, at the base of the Sierra Buttes. It is so gorgeous and peaceful. In fact, I could say every time we went here it was a great vacation.

7. In 1984 we went to Wheeler Peak. I can't really tell you why I loved this trip. So many things went wrong--it was truly THE YEAR OF THE SKUNKS. Grandpa Les brought his motor home and the girls slept with him. The boys slept in a tent. Allan, Heidi and I slept in a tent. When we were heading back home we stopped up at Lake Tahoe. Just a fabulous trip.

8. In 1986 Allan's parent's surprised us by telling us they were taking Allan, me, and his two sisters on a cruise to the South Pacific. We had a ball. It was such an amazing trip. I was going to tell you about the horrible experience I had in the stairwell of the hotel, but I think that will be saved for my "scariest experiences" post.

9. Christmas 1992 we decided to take all of the family to Disneyworld. We were living in Charlotte, North Carolina, at the time, so we drove. Everyone else drove arrived the day after Christmas. We stayed in condos not too far from the park. I think the little kids really don't remember much about the trip, but we had a great time. (I'm not sure where everyone else is--but this isn't the whole gang???

10. I can't write about favorite trips without mentioning the river trip Allan and I took in 1987 down the Rogue River in Oregon. We had a ball. It was a 3 day trip and we stayed in cabins each night. We were living in the Bay Area so drove with Allan's SIL and our Bishop and his son. (The kids who were teenagers at the time didn't want to go) They missed out on a great trip.

Sidenote #1: I love this quote that I heard when I was in a Sacrament Meeting in Oregon, and I don't want to forget it, so if I put it here, I won't--"Blessed are the flexible for they shall not get bent out of shape."

Sidenote #2: I participated in the auctions on NieNie Day and was lucky enough to place a winning bid on this necklace from RHBdesigns