Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Grandchildren--Pride and Joy #3, Evan

A year after, Pride and Joy #2, Amanda, was born, this little guy joined our family.  And you talk about a little guy with PERSONALITY.  He had it.  He was so fun to be around.

The first time he came to visit--they lived in Indiana--he was a couple of months old.  Here he is with his Aunt Heidi and Uncle Brent.

Nancy and Evan came to visit quite often.  We loved having them with us.  There were lots of fun little short trips here and there.

Of course, his mom is a kick and she would have us all in stitches whenever they were visiting.   Can you see the way she is holding him in this Christmas Eve picture ; )

I laughed when he came downstairs on Christmas morning.  Look at that little face ; )  Yes, she stuffed him a little bit.

We were living in So. California and that always meant a trip to Disneyland when people would come to visit.

Up at Northstar.

This picture of the three little boys always makes me smile

Out at Oakwood Lake.

And, of course, the visit to Sea World, when they rode the elephant

When we lived in Charlotte, NC, Nancy wasn't too far away and she would drive and visit us.  Heidi and Brent always loved it when she and the boys came. 

I have some great memories of this little boy--
  • I remember one time when Nancy came--this visit in June 1988--we were getting together to have a little reunion at Mammoth.  Before we headed to Mammoth we had a family picture taken, and it just happened to be right after Pride & Joy #4 was born.  I have the cutest little video of Nancy having Evan make all kinds of faces--Hamburger Face, Fish Face, and when she would say, "We're going to Wal-Mart"  This picture is of "Uncle Brent", Chris and Evan.
  • Whenever he would come and visit he would make me smile because he had the cutest little southern accent, and would look up at me and call me, "Grandma Onnie" with this cute little drawl and lots of emphasis on the "On" which he pronounced "Own" ; )

  • He has always been quite the entertainer.  Whenever there were talent shows at the school, this little boy performed--and usually won.  He would lip sync and was dressed in full get up ; )  I don't think he had a shy bone in his body.  (I have been looking everywhere for a GREAT picture that I have of him dressed up for one of these talent shows ; )

This picture was taken after #4 grandchild was born.  It is one of my favorites of us with these cute little grandchldren--hard to believe that this picture was taken 22 years ago ; )

When we moved back to the U.S., we stopped in Indiana to visit them--and Nancy had Evan and Josh dressed up as little Elves.

 Look at that little face -- such a cutie.

We had a great trip to Park City and he enjoyed horseback riding with his Uncle Kyle.

He is an amazing musician.  He loves his guitar. 

In 2003,  Allan's 60th birthday and the gang got together for  a basketball game.  Allan was shocked when Evan got out on the court to play--he had no idea THE BOY COULD JUMP.

In 2008, he and Scarlett were married.  They are incredible parents.  It was so fun to be with them in Indiana in September.

I'm so glad we got this picture of Evan and Scarlett with Grandma Rob when we were all in Hawaii.

Evan and Scarlett, are the parents of our very first Great Grandchild--Xander.  

It was so fun when we had a chance to visit with them when we went to Indiana in September for my half-marathon.  They are great parents and love their little Xander so much.  

Evan has always been very close to his dad's grandparents.  They have been such a wonderful influence on him and have taught him so many wonderful things.  

Can I tell you how much these two touch my heart.  As many of you know, when my parents died, my sisters and I were taken in by a wonderful couple who unselfishly opened their home.  Scarlett's brother's two little ones need a place to live for awhile and this sweet little couple have opened their home.  I don't think they hesitated for a moment--there was a need and they were more than willing to fill that need.  And they have enough love to share.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Changing that "To Do" List to a "To Become" List

I have a sister I visit teach, and for years she has talked about the need to change a phrase in the hymn "I am a Child of God" from "teach me all that I must do" to "teach me all that I must (be) to live with Him someday".  (Yes, I know it was changed years ago from "teach me all that I must know")

With that being said, I think about my friend each evening as I fill out my "To Do" list for the next day.  I wonder about the things on my list and ask myself, "Are they helping me to "become" the person I want to be?"  How does it all fit together.

My life today is very different than it was when I had children at home and there were lots of interruptions throughout my day.  In some ways it is so much easier, but yet I miss those days.  At the same time I'm grateful for the experiences they brought (as well as the wonderful memories I have).

I've talked before about being a list maker--I love making list, mainly because I love checking things off.  It gives me such a feeling of accomplishment.  So don't laugh as I tell you some of the things on my list.  No, you won't find "make my bed" or "brushing my teeth"  because fortunately THEY ARE GIVENS--things I always do.  Even though it would give me something else to check off, I just can't.

  • Scripture study--Personal and family are both there.  I want to make sure it is done.  It is definitely a routine, pretty much a given, for me--I don't really even have to think twice about it.  But what does that help me to "be"?  I love to read my scriptures before I pray.  I usually ask for the Holy Ghost to help me understand as I'm reading, but after I read and then kneel to pray, I am more aware of the things I need to pray for--the things I need to work on.   I think teaching Seminary taught me a great deal about application--reading is one thing, but applying what you read, something very different.  I also know that as I read, and try to think, "why is that there" or "what do I need to learn" is so helpful for me.
  • Prayer is really a given.  But on my "to do" list is to remember my "Prayer Journal".   After I read, I usually try to ponder a little and think about the things that are going on in my life, and write down the things I want to pray about.  It helps me to feel like I am really taking things to my Father in Heaven--no, not  a list of demands but things I am concerned about AND EVEN THINGS I'M GRATEFUL FOR.  I also pray about the things I need to work on--the things that will help me to become a better me.  (Believe me I have a long way to go)
  • Practice the piano 30 minutes--I know that this is helping me to "become" of more use to Him.  One day Allan and I will be serving missions and when we are in some little branch somewhere and there is no one who can play the piano, I want to be able to be of service.   (I always wondered why I was not getting any better, and now I know--I HAVE TO PRACTICE ; )
  • Exercise--I firmly believe my body is a temple and I'm supposed to take care of it--eating right and exercising are two of the things I can do.  Starting running has been such a great thing for me--I have "become" so much stronger than ever.   I love the scripture in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, "Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own.  For ye are bought with a price; therefore, glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's."  So as I exercise, I am glorifying God.
  • Housework--How can I not think of the scripture in D&C 88:119 "Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God."  I am trying to create a home where the Spirit can dwell--obviously being able to feel the Spirit will help me know the things I need to focus on to help me become my best me.  
My life today is very different than it was when I had children at home--interruptions throughout my day.  I miss those days, but at the same time I'm grateful for the experiences they brought (as well as the wonderful memories I have).

I have a mission to perform while I'm on this earth.  Doing all these things will help me to be more in tune with Him and help me to know what I need to "be" so I can live with Him someday.

Sidenote:  My pride and joy Grandchild #3 will be up in a couple of days--trying to find a couple of things that I haven't been able to put my hands on ; (

Friday, November 25, 2011

I Love Thanksgiving

Because it's Thanksgiving, I need to post about this special day and take a break from my Grandchildren posts.  Chris and Amanda's were so much fun.  I am excited about doing the next 10 ; )

I have always loved Thanksgiving--I guess because I LOVE FOOD.  But more important than that, I love gathering--sharing a meal and talking about the things for which we are grateful.

Allan and I had been married only a month when we had our first Thanksgiving together--and can you believe I DON'T HAVE A SINGLE PICTURE ; (

All the years we spent in California, we had some great times with my family as well as time in Reno with Allan's family.  The kids always had so much fun ; )  That's Heidi with her Grandma and Grandpa--just a few weeks after she was born, and we drove to Reno for Thanksgiving.

Nancy and Wendy pretending to be catalogue models ; )  Notice a very young Allan in the background.

I don't think any of us will ever forget the HORRIBLE Thanksgiving 1984.  We went to Utah.  The trip from out was fine, but the drive from Reno to the Bay Area was a NIGHTMARE.  The roads were backed up and everyone in the car was sick with the stomach flu.  It was ugly--I think we ended up throwing away all those pillowcases that were used for (well, I don't think I need to spell it out.)  Believe me YOU DON'T WANT TO SEE PICTURES ; )

I can't believe I don't have a better picture than this of Thanksgiving 1985.

Then there was the Thanksgiving in 88 when we drove from LA to Reno to be with family.  Neal's family was there and so were these three.

When we were in Toronto, Daphne and the kids were with us for a few weeks.  Stephen came and picked them up right after Thanksgiving and then they moved to Missouri.  (I think Miss Kiah wanted to help Grandpa in the kitchen.

This picture will always make me smile--believe me no one can clean a drumstick quite like Brent ; )

I loved in 2009 and the Utah kids came to California.  I was there, and we spent it with Stephen and Daphne and Wendy and Tony came down from Reno--so fun.   Notice all the flyers out--getting ready for Black Friday.

And last year all the family was in Utah for Heidi and Daniel's wedding--such a great time for all (well, most).  (I love the picture and it's so cute because Macy made us all a calendar with that pic on it--LOVE IT ; )

Life doesn't get much better than that ; )  And since Amanda wasn't with us, Thanksgiving included an iChat with her and Darren.

There have been lots of Thanksgivings with the missionaries--and while we have lived in Canada, we have celebrated two Thanksgivings--Canadian Thanksgiving which is the 2nd Monday in October and American--the 4th Thursday in November.

This year I was too late to sign up to feed the missionaries since they already had an appointment.  So I decided, hey why not invite Elder Rob's buddies.  They are all Canadian and have never really celebrated American Thanksgiving.  Having them here to celebrate with us was THE BEST IDEA EVER!!!!

Allan and I had a ball with them.  We talked all about Elder Rob's mission and they asked all kinds of questions.  They are so fun.  Here they are toasting their friend.

And Riley digging into one of the desserts.

We reminisced and it was GREAT.  I smiled because when they came in with a dozen roses and a card addressed to "Mrs. Rob and Tank" and a box of candy--just sweet young men.  I still missed my kids, but having them here took away the sting of not being with our kids.   They participated in two of the gifts for Elder Rob.  One is an advent chain. (My kids have always enjoyed those candy advent calendars.  We have had this advent calendar for years--Elder Rob was responsible for it for years--I will miss him as I put each one up every day.)

So for one of his gifts,  I've had about 50 of his friends and family write a message and I've typed their messages on red and green strips of paper and have put them together to form a chain.  Each day from December 1 - 25 he will undo the chain and read two messages.  (The guys wrote their notes, and they were so sweet)

I am also making a little Christmas album for him--and taking this poster around and having friends pose with it.  Here they are with the poster.  They decided to take the poster with them to some of their favorite places and do crazy things with the poster--can't wait to see what they come up with.  I will print the pictures and put them in the album.  (As I look at the poster I realize I have to write the "Merry Christmas, Elder Rob..." a little darker ; )

Do you realize a month from today is CHRISTMAS and WE GET TO TALK WITH HIM ; )

Hope you had a fabulous Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Grandchildren--Pride & Joy #2, Amanda

Starting in 1983, for ten years we had a child born in our family EVERY YEAR.  Either Allan and I had one, or one of our children had one.

Heidi was born in 1983, Chris in 1984, Brent in 1985 and in September 1986, our first granddaughter, Amanda, was born--this beautiful little girl.  Oh, she was so sweet and so adorable.  (And you know what SHE STILL IS)

I was so glad we were living in California when she was born.  When we got the call, we got someone to come and watch the kids and got in the car and headed to Utah.  It was so fun to get to meet her and hold this sweet little girl.

And it was wonderful when they came to California to have her blessed--she had changed so much in that month.

She was such a beautiful little girl.

Just like her older brother, we spent a lot of time with them when they were little.  I have so many fun memories of her.  So many great activities and trips.

When we lived in Southern California there were lots of trips to the beach and Disneyland.

When our youngest was born, the gang was nice enough to welcome him into the group and let him be part of their activities.

I will always remember:
  • When she flew to Winnipeg for Grandpa's 60th birthday celebration, but didn't arrive until late because she didn't know she had to have a birth certificate because she was coming into a "foreign" country.  The gang was at the airport waiting for her when she arrived ; )

  • flying to California and going to one of her basketball games.  There was lots of laughing while sitting in the stands and realized her mom and I both yelled pretty loud during the games.
  • being so impressed at her high school graduation in Texas--a huge class of 600 or 900 (I'm sure if Amanda reads this she'll tell me which one ; ) and yet the whole graduation only took 2 hours.  (We still laugh because Allan attended a graduation of a class of about 30 students and it also took 2 hours ; )

  • Getting a chance to scrapbook with her when she came to Winnipeg. 
  • It was so fun for Heidi and Brent when they were able to travel to Japan with Neal and Amanda.  Such a memorable trip.

  • In 2009 she went to Antarctica to do some experiments with balloons.  (I always laugh and talk about she needs to use flipcharts with lots of pictures when she tries to  explains most of the things she does to me--I'm sure her grandpa understands--me, not so much.  But I LOVED reading her blog about her experiences while she was there.  She is AMAZING.

She was so happy when she became a big sister

I love this one of her and her little brother.

And obviously, she loves having a little sister.

It was so fun to be in Boston for her college graduation.

She began dating Darren when the two of them were attending college in Massachusetts.   I think this is a beautiful picture of the two of them that she put on our family website.

They were married in 2009, unfortunately just a few months after Grandma Rob passed away--I know Grandma would have loved being there when Chris and Heather were married in May and then when Amanda and Darren were married in August.  Isn't she a beautiful bride?

Allan and I had a great time visiting with her and Darren a few months ago.  She really loves her grandpa.

As I said several times in my blog posts about our trip to Switzerland, we were so glad to have a chance to get to know Darren a little better. (And we are looking forward to seeing them at Christmas ; )

She is an incredible young woman who is very determined.  It is wonderful to have such an amazing granddaughter.  Sure do love her.