Tuesday, December 29, 2015

My Christmas Project


For journaling purposes and before the month and the year are over, I want to write a little about December.

I will begin with my Christmas Project, Heidi, Brent, and Kyle knew it as "the project" but didn't have a clue what it was.  When they would call and ask what I was doing it seemed like my answer was either "working on Seminary" or "working on the project".  Kyle couldn't wait to find out what the "project" was.  I don't think he was the least bit disappointed, and he was the one I thought would care the least--after all the memories were far more recent for him than any of the other kids, but I learned he didn't remember everything.

Let me explain.  Last January I had read about a woman who gave her Dad a gift--one sentence memories in a jar--a year's worth of memories they had made together.  Wow, would I have loved to have done that for my mom or dad.  I decided I wanted to do that for Allan and my kids and, of course, I had to take it to the next level.  I started writing out little thoughts for each of the kids--things I remembered.  Then I got on the computer and put them into a program called "Evernote" and built it from there.  Each kid had their own "notebook" and then each day had a memory for each one.  Now January 1 memory was not from January 1 of a different year--it was any day.  The only exceptions were their birthdays, Father's Day, Mother's Day (kind of), Grandma and Grandpa's birthdays; our anniversary, their anniversaries, their children's birthdays and their grandchildren's birthdays.

Stephen received his when I was in California at Thanksgiving.  I wanted to give it to the kids in person.  He loved it.   Of course, he is 45 and I have been with him from day 1 until he got married in 1988 but have seen him on and off since then and speak with him a couple of times a week so there have been lots of memories.   I also gave him a couple of books I had read to him when he was young.  One of my favorite memories from his was:

One day you had a friend over.  I was home for lunch and the TV was on and you said to your friend, "Oh, there's my mom on TV."  The kid said, "No it isn't."  Then he looked at the TV and looked at me, and then said, "Yeah, that is your mom."  When my commercial ran on TV, it was quite fun.  I earned a fair amount of money--in fact, that was why we were able to go to Disneyland that year.  I loved getting those "royalty" checks in the mail, and was especially happy when the commercial aired on Prime Time.  

The funniest story has to be when Bobbie B. was visiting family in Idaho and she mentioned she lived in Castro Valley, California.  One of the relatives said, "Castro Valley?  Do you know Yvonne J."   My commercial started with my picture and the voiceover was Yvonne J from Castro Valley, California has lost weight using "Control"!!!!  

I sent Wendy and Nancy's in the mail since I wouldn't be seeing them over Christmas.  Wendy had a lot of fun talking about the book the other day.  Like me she laughed and cried reading some of the memories:

One from hers that I loved:

"One of my favorite memories has got to be the visit to the Lights of the Wild the Christmas you and Tony came to visit us in Winnipeg in December 1998.  I still laugh when I think about how cold you guys were--heck, I was pretty cold, too.  I think that was one of the first times I remember my eyelashes freezing and getting in the car and the mascara defrosting and running down my cheeks.  (I am sad that they don't have the Lights of the Wild anymore.)  Such a fun memory, and I am so glad you came!!!"

One from Nancy's:

"After your experience on the jet ski in Hawaii in 1984, I don't think Dad has any desire to ever ride one again. These were the kind of jet skis where you stood up and drove them.   I was in the room with Heidi when you, Dad, and Stephen rode jet skis.  Something went wrong and you fell off yours and Dad rode out to get you and somehow got gasoline all over himself.  I highly doubt it was an enjoyable experience for either of you.  I think Stephen had a good time!!!!"

We were fortunate enough to have four of the kids in Utah for Christmas so they got their books together.

Thought I would include an excerpt from each book.

From Neal's book (now considering he got out of the hospital here in Utah the day after Christmas, I'm not sure if this memory is as fun as it was when I typed it):

'Dad and I had come out to California for Hannah's blessing in November 2000, and you and the kids were going to come up to Auburn, but you ended up in the hospital with an emergency appendectomy.  Dad and I drove out to Palo Alto and visited you in the hospital at Stanford where Dad proceeded to "show his love" by putting a kink in your IV line.  (Still one of my favorite pictures)  In all seriousness, we are so grateful everything turned out okay."

From Heidi's:

 "I still laugh when I think about this story. It was while we were living in Brampton and you were taking French. (Now keep in mind I took about 2 weeks of French in Junior High ; ) I was familiar with the phrase “je ne sais pas” but didn’t know what it meant. I asked you to ask your teacher. When you came home from school that day I asked you if you asked what it meant and you said “I don’t know”. I said, “Why? Didn’t you ask?” You kept saying “I don’t know”. I guess I’m pretty slow to catch on ; )'

From Brent's book:

"When you were in high school you wrote an autobiography and the title was "The Happy Man".  I found that title incredibly appropriate.  You began, "If I were a circus performer, which one would I be?"  That's one of the questions that caught my eye about a week ago.  I've never been to the circus, so I don't know much about it, except that it's supposed to be the greatest show on earth.  I have seen things about the circus, and I am not inspire to go there anytime soon.  But, I can tell right away what kind of circus performer I would be.  I would be a clown.  Everyone may be thinking, "Why a clown?"  Well I would be a clown mainly because a clown has a huge smile on its face.  One of my best qualities is being cheerful.  The reason is I look for the positive and don't let the bad things keep me down.  Many have asked me, "Why are you so happy?"..."

You wrote about pleasant and unpleasant experiences.  In the last paragraph you said,..."Looking at those moments in life (the happy and unhappy) made me realize one thing about myself, that I can be happy even in the darkest of times."  

You are AWESOME, Brent aka HAPPY MAN!!!!"

From Kyle's book:

 "On our move from Brampton back to the U.S. in 1993, one night we stopped at a hotel in Denver.  You and Brent were running around the hotel room and you fell right into the sharp edge of one of the coffee tables and ended up with a gash right about one of your eyes. YIKES.   Dad picked you up and carried you down to the lobby and grabbed a taxi to take you to the closest hospital.  You didn't have to wait very long in the emergency room.  A doctor saw you right away and he had dad hold you down while he numbed the spot and stitched you up!!!  All I can say am, I was glad I didn't have to be the one  to hold you down.  

As soon as you got out of the room and while you guys were waiting for the taxi, you were jumping all over the place.   Dad was pretty sure he was going to have to take you back in for more stitches!!!!"

AND Finally from Allan's:

"I still don't know how you did it back then, but you cooked Sunday dinner EVERY WEEK.  The kids loved it and who could blame them.  The meals were fabulous.  I am not sure what would have qualified as their favorite--they loved them all.  (Of course, it was a little bit of a surprise for Stephen the first time you made milk gravy!!!)

I still remember the night you weren't there and I had to make Sunday dinner--not my finest moment.  I burned the pork chops and the gravy was like paste.  They were pretty happy when you made dinner the following Sunday and life was back to normal."

Now, you have to know those were the first 20 years of our marriage.  He stopped making dinner on Sundays in about 2005--but I wasn't that bad of a cook after about 10 years!!!!

I am glad I did the books--they were a lot of fun for me, and as one of my friends told me, just think "it's only a pair of socks--response doesn't matter" ; )

Sidenote #1:  My heart is breaking for Heidi.  I hate seeing her like this--she is in so much pain and there doesn't seem to be an answer.  I will continue to pray for some help for her.

Sidenote #2:  Having fun with the little ones.