Monday, November 30, 2015

They're here!

Liza and Buddy arrived yesterday about three minutes before church began, so Doug was the only one who attended.  He'd left hours before.  We stayed home and helped them get settled in.  They are only here until early tomorrow morning, so we wanted to make every second count.  Aylabelle is fabulous!  She ran into my arms, gave me a big hug and asked, "Where's Grampy?"  Grampy didn't get home from church until 4:45, but that's almost two hours earlier than the normal Sunday, so I was thrilled and so was he!  

Worst picture ever, but we're together and that's all that mattered to me!



We settled down after hauling stuff in and Liza looked around the house.  They've not been here since June, so lots has changed.  Liza noticed that I have the babes stockings hung on the living room fireplace.  They are all white and cream, and they are perfect for the decor of the living room.  The "bigs" stockings are red and white cordoroy and they are hanging over the fireplace in the den, which is perfect for the den.  Liza teased, "Oh, I see that you put the ugly stepchildren stockings in the back room and the favorite kids stockings in the living room."  Yeh, I'll not hear the end of that.  ;)  She didn't even notice the one lone stocking on the downstairs fireplace.  We won't say who that belongs to.

Aylabelle loved looking at all of my trees and she was very good not to touch.  She was very excited about the "prizes" under the tree.  I told her that "This one is for Aylabelle and you can open it when Gramp gets home."  She was so excited.  Everytime she went into the living room, she'd say, "That's Aylabelle's prize. Grampy's coming home?"  But, she didn't touch.  

Once everyone was situated, I had pulled out all of the Thanksgiving leftovers for lunch.  Liza had asked me to save her some of her favorites, so I was excited to see her enjoying them!  Aylabelle wanted to help do dishes, so we pulled up a chair and she entertained herself for quite some time while Liza and I started dinner.



As soon as Aylabelle was down for her nap, we played Racko, Skipbo and Fruit Salad for a long time.  Quayd didn't want to play, so he just sat at the table gabbing with us while we played.  Lots of teasing happening here! Very fun afternoon. 
 

Dinner was ready when Doug got home from church.  Aylabelle was very excited to see her Grampy!  But, not nearly as excited as he was to see her!  He adores this child!


Liza, my coldest-blooded child, spent every second she could, all but in the fireplace.  She will never move back to northern Utah unless it becomes tropical.  She says that St. George is even too cold for her.  I'd say that this is our most opposite opinion... I can never get enough cold and snow.  Ninety is cold for her! While playing cards, she commented that her hands were cold.  I checked the thermostat and realized that I had turned the A/C on instead of the furnace.  No wonder the fire wasn't enough to warm her!  I was even cold! Have I mentioned that I adore this child of mine. She's one of the most wonderful women I've ever known.  Just sayin'.



I wanted to cook Liza and Buddy's favorite foods, so I bought the biggest roast that I could find for Buddy.  I prepared it in the dutch oven and got it into the oven to bake.  It bakes four about four hours at 275.  At two hours, an an hour before Doug was coming home (He called to say he'd be early), I went into the kitchen for something and noticed that the oven was off!  SADNESS!  So, we took it out of the dutch oven and pressure cooked it instead, which made for not nearly as tender of a roast.  But, dinner was pretty tasty... mashed potatoes (fresh ones, not leftovers), pretzel salad, veggies, apple cranberry salad (leftover), fresh rolls and pineapple pecan cake.  We laughed over dinner because Quayd said that the would be the "roll sheriff" and Buddy claimed the job.  Liza was the pretzel salad sheriff.  Doug was the roast sheriff.  Quayd got to be the sheriff of the cranberry salad, which he doesn't even like.  It was fun to tease him through dinner.  I always make two pans... one for Quayd and one for the rest of the family.  He was pretty nervous about Buddy's competition on the rolls.  ;)

The kids watched Inside Out with Aylabelle while we cleaned up the kitchen and then we all went into the living room for Aylabelle to open her Sunday present, a Disney Princess Rapunzel Barbie Doll. When it was time to open, I gave her a choice of the one she'd been eyeing all day long or a much larger one that she'd not seen.  She chose the box, she was sooooooo excited.  (She'll get the other one tonight.)  I'd worried that she's way to young for Barbies, but she adores the princesses and SCORE!  She played with her until bedtime, taking the shoes off and on, and the tiara.  She said, "She's so beautiful" and Doug's mouth literally just dropped.  Although he facetimes with her often, he was stunned by her speaking so well.  At one point, Zee braided Rapunzel's long hair and Aylabelle said, "It's beautiful, Aunt Zee.  Make mine beautiful too."  Again, Doug just looked at me in awe.  He said, "She's just turned two, not seven!"  I love watching Doug watch her!

She's a little ham for the camera.  Dale's friend, Erica made this little dress and she spent forever "Spinning" in it to make the skirt fly out.  She dances all the time like Cinderella in the new movie and we watched her "waltz" with her dolls all night.


She had gotten a Jessie doll from Buddy's family and she played with the two dolls together.  Note:  She informed us that Jessie's hat does not fit Rapunzel and Rapunzel's tiara doesn't fit Jessie.  "Oh no!"


Liza and Buddy were sitting on the couch watching Aylabelle play with Zee and visiting with Doug.  I aimed the camera at them and teased, "Now, look like you like each other."  Buddy leaped over on Liza and gave her a big smooch!"  We all laughed so hard.  Buddy loves to tease me any way he can!


 This was more of what I had in mind, but it wasn't near as funny or dramatic!  They are so perfect for each other.


I may just have to go out and buy another Princess Doll for Miss A!


Have I mentioned that I adore this child?


After prayer and bedtime kisses, Buddy went down to get Aylabelle to sleep, everyone else got ready for bed, Liza and I sat in the hottub for an hour while a gentle snow fell.  We only got an inch, but it was lovely while it was happening.  We have about three inches of accumulation right now, but it looks like snow today too! 

As much as I love having everyone together, my alone time with Liza is always priceless.  As we were winding down, she told me about a tv show that she wanted me to watch.  I said, "No TV.  Dad doesn't want me getting hooked on another Netflix show!"  She said, "Puhpuhpleeeze?"  We watched the first episode before we crawled into bed. 

Everyone is still sleeping.  Liza and I planned a few fun things for today. I'm off to the kitchen to make biscuits and gravy.  I'm thrilled that they are here, even though it's only until tomorrow morning.  We are excited for every second together.  Grace has a big day today and as soon as she gets home tonight, we'll party together and make the night count!  Life is good!  Family is the best!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

up down up down

8:30AM
Doug had to work today, so I got up early with him and finished wrapping all of the gifts that I've bought this weekend.  I'm currently completely done wrapping, even the stocking stuffers, and will try to keep up with anything else I purchase by wrapping a bit every day, so that I'm not wrapping on Christmas Eve.  I hate spending the most fun night of the year locked in a room wrapping and I really hate staying up late to do it because I want to get some sleep before they wake up early to start unwrapping!  Happiness!  I love trying to keep ahead of the game!

Today's tasks include preparing Pretzel Salad and some of Liza and Buddy's favorite foods for the weekend.  They were supposed to be here before lunch, but when I spoke with Liza last night, she said that there was a family emergency in Buddy's family and it will be tonight.  The emergency was such that we could find nothing but concern for them... not one that we would give a second thought to their not coming yet.  We just hope everything is okay.

I made a big pot of turkey noodle soup yesterday afternoon.  It's one of their favorite things about Thanksgiving.  It was gone before the night's end.  Oh, the food of the holidays...it's the most wonderful time of the year!

10:30AM
Liza just called and said they will not be coming today at all.  They need to be together as a family.  And on top of that, Buddy's brother, Max, was in a car accident on his way down.  His car is totaled.  He is okay, thankfully.  *Yes, Max was the brother in the near fatal accident five years ago.  AND on top of that, another sibling had another big issue that has really been a shocker, so Liza's inlaw family has not had a wonderful weekend.  She called while I was outside in the hottub, so we hung up, I had a good cry and then "shook it off". I can not complain that they are not coming because that's minor compared to what they are going through.  Life is a rollercoaster.  I just wish it would stop on the holidays!  Liza says that they are hoping to still be able to come tomorrow.  I'm not going to hold my breath because I feel like they are going to be needed in SLC right now. 

In the meantime, I'm not making pretzel salad. I'm not setting up the crib or changing bedclothes until we hear for certain.  Doug's working.  I'm driving in a beautiful snowstorm to take Grace to work and stopping at Novemberfest again for something that I paid for but it didn't get put in the package.  I will hit the grocery store on the way home for a few things and I plan on spending the rest of the weekend by the fire or in the hottub and watching it snow, hopefully, every minute!

Maybe I will check in like this throughout the day and see where this day goes, as it goes.  Who knows?

3:23  Back from shopping with Quayd and Zee.  Quayd wanted to take us out for lunch... aka... Quayd wanted to go out to lunch at Pizza Pie Cafe, so he offered and he treated.  He and Zee were on one, laughing and teasing.  I love watching them when they "play nice", but I'm the first to admit that they are very normal teens and not every moment is "fun".  I love that there are more fun moments than unpleasant ones.  They really are good kids.  Normal, but good most of the time!

We've now tried three tree toppers and have yet to find the one we love.  Sadness.  The kids wanted to go to the mall for a little shopping of their own, so I sat out in the mall on a comfy chair, waiting, checking my email and texting while I waited.  My foot says "enough" too often and sometimes, "You're done."  Today, I was thankful for the comfy chairs instead of a cement fountain to rest on while they continued to shop!

Liza texted and said that they will definitely be here sometime tomorrow and now they will be leaving on Tuesday morning.  So, we'll get them for about 36 hours, which is not the four days we had planned on, but I'm thrilled for one big hug!  We hit the grocery store on the way home and I'll be cooking up a storm! (And the kids will be thrilled for something besides turkey leftovers.) HAPPINESS!!!

Since they are not going to be here tonight, maybe Doug and I will have a date.  I'm feeling like going out much more now than I was this morning.

4:21  Doug's home! Grace had walked over to Johnny O's and bought the whole family a dozen donuts while she waited for a ride home.  It's fun to see the kids have money of their own and the things that they do with it. We're going out for a little time alone.  YAY!

8:45  Doug and I got a few errands done...including the dry cleaner and picking up a few needed items.  We went to our new Taipan, for Doug's first visit, and he had me laughing out loud.  He had so many people laughing.  Surprisingly, there were several men in there, which was a first since they opened.  Doug had these men cracking up in agreement.  I couldn't remember a single thing that he had to say but he was on a roll!  Well... I do remember one thing.  Doug hates glitter.  HATE HATE HATES it!  He doesn't call it glitter.  The cowboy comes out in him and it's never just glitter. For Doug, it's another word that rhymes with glitter before the word glitter.  The men in the store were all in agreement, everytime he said it.  That man.  He's a card!

 that bottom right face... that's his "Yeh, right?!" face.  I get that one a lot. ;)

Doug asked if I wanted to go out for dinner, but the roads were a mess and people people people everywhere.  I'd had the scanner on earlier in the day and it was non-stop accidents and people running off the road.  I just wanted to be home, safe and sound with the kids, so we came hom and I made a turkey casserole, then we watched a movie with Grace while Zee and Quayd watched one downstairs.  A good night.   And Liza is coming tomorrow!!!  Life is good!

alan dale!!!

So, tonight, I found my living room tree top had been redecorated by Alan while he was here on Thanksgiving!  That's the sticker from the edge of the round table that Doug bought me for my birthday.  I saw him with the sticker in hand. He's so busted!  Remember yesterday, when I said that he's my favorite man on earth besides Doug and my sons.  Tonight... he's still my favorite but boy is he in trouble!  I texted him and we teased back and forth for a bit.  He even offered to come over and "fix it" for me.  Oh, just wait!  I do love that man! 

I'm still in search of a perfect tree topper for our tree.  THIS was not it!!!

Life is good!  So are Alan's pranks!

Friday, November 27, 2015

thanksgiving

I heart Thanksgiving!!  I spent much of Wednesday with the girls, playing, instead of working in the kitchen.  I wanted to finish decorating the porch.  There was a report on GMA that said 43% of people in the US put their decorations up the week before Thanksgiving now.  27% put them up on Thanksgiving weekend.  I'm done!  HAPPINESS!

Grace was cute. We were playing games in the afternoon and she kept asking, "Umm, Mom, shouldn't you start cooking?  Tomorrow is Thanksgiving."  She went to work at 5 and that was when Zee and I went into the kitchen.  We worked hard together and were able to get everything done before Grace got home from work at 10.  She is my left arm, that's all there is to it!  We sang Christmas songs, played my "Walk" Playlist to keep us hopping and got the job done, leaving only the turkey, rolls, mashed potatoes and gravy for Thursday morning.


After the kitchen work was done, Zee and I got into the hot tub while Doug went to get Quayd from work.  They came in and joined us as soon as they got home.  I was snowing on us the entire time.  We have a nice covered patio, but the wind and snow were blowing in from the north, which is the only side that's exposed completely.  We were so excited for snow that we didn't care one bit!  Our big forecasted six inches of snow ended up being just over an inch.  But, the wind... it has felt like we are going to blow away for the past two days.  Non-stop, 50mph wind gusts.  Crazy and cold!!!

Doug put the turkey in at about midnight and we were asleep instantly, but I woke up a few times in the night to check it.  We cook it upside down in the browning bag for ever at 220.  This years turkey cooked eight hours.  It was divine!

We were up and moving by 7, but we didn't really start cooking until about ten.  I got the table set, made the place cards, showered and got dressed, and just chilled with Doug before even thinking about cooking.  It was mostly baking everything, since Zee and I did the prepwork the night before.  Sweet!


Alan and Jill and family all arrived around 12:30.  We popped the rolls into the oven and let them bake while enjoying eggnog punch and visiting a bit. (Carol's eggnog punch recipe is always a hit!) Our nephew Alec brought his girlfriend, Candace, and Adam brought his girlfriend, Kim.  The more the merrier!  We've spent the weekend together at the ranch with Candace, so were were already comfortable together, which made for lots of laughs at the table.



Our table talk was to simply share a blessing from the past year and how it's changed your life.  Wow.  All three of our kids mentioned the move, which made me happy.  Doug's which I can't share here, made us all laugh!  I have thought about it for a few days.   I could make a whole list, but I only shared one.  On my mind were:

The move, definitely the biggest!
Liza and Buddy's move back to Utah
Doug's calling to serve in the YSA Bishopric
Zaylee's adoption
Doug's shift changing back to straight days
Making several new friends
Sounds trivial, but having a hot tub has really made an impact when my foot is killing me! 

These are several major blessings from the past year!  There are so many more, but these have been life-changing, literally!

After dinner, we cleared the dinner table a bit, then set up the banquet table near the fireplace for some game time.  We gathered around the table and played LRC, using quarters.  ZJ won $6.50 and you've have thought she won the lottery.  We usually play with Jingle bells, but, we thought it would be fun to play for money this time.  Everyone brought $3 in quarters and they had a ball.  My friend, Natalie, told me last night they played with dollars and her 16 year old son won $63.  Her comment on Instagram, "There's nothing like a little gambling with the family on Thanksgiving."  Doug and I laughed out loud when we read it.  It really is a fun game and much more fun with money than M&Ms.  

 

After game time, Jill and I went for a walk around the block.  Literally, we felt like we were going to blow away.  There were 45mph gusts and I just checked the temp.  It's COLD!!!  Too cold to snow, indeed.  We didn't last long outside.  It was miserable, but we made it around the block, then came home and built a fire, had pies and gabbed until 8PM.  In the middle of all the gab, there was some napping, some more game playing on the playstation or whatever it is, and did I mention napping?

Here's Jake in the den...


Alec and Candace in the living room...


  Doug and Alan in the downstairs family room


 These two brothers are true clowns.  I love watching Doug and Alan together.  They have so many of the same mannerisms and their sense of humor is very much alike.  I think that the kids bond with Alan and Jill is mostly because of their easy going nature, which is also very much like Doug's.  Honestly, next to Doug and my sons, Alan is truly my favorite man on this earth.


And did I mention napping?

 

The pies!  Oh my!  Feeling my southern genes, I decided to make a sweet potato pie on a whim, since I had a few extra sweet potatoes.  As we were enjoying the pies and desserts, I took my first bite of sweet potato pie and it sent me back to my childhood.  I could taste Grannie and my great Aunt Lillian's sweet potato pie and every memory came flooding back to me.  I was sharing the memories and said a normal word in a very southern accent, adding er at the end instead of pronouncing it as an "a" and everyone just busted out laughing.  I didn't even realize it, but the little girl from North Carolina totally came out of my mouth.  So strange.  It was a literal memory coming to life.  



Alan and Jill headed home around 8 and I checked my phone for the first time in the day.  Carol had been calling about shopping, but I passed.  I'm aggravated about the Thanksgiving Day shopping!  I feel like commercialism has not overstepped their bounds into on of the few family days left and refused to participate.  Carol was doing with her girls, so it worked for her, but I didn't want to leave everyone behind to go out and shop.  I did want to be with Carol and the girls, but not enough to miss out on the family time with Doug.  

We finished cleaning up the kitchen, got our jammies on and watched The Age of Adaline", which had been on my mind for a few days.  No hottubbing last night in the frigid cold wind.  Cold, fine, but not in the wind!  We were in bed by 10:30, talking about the day, which we both agreed was one of our best Thanksgivings yet.  I was still pretty wound up but knew that Carol would be arriving at 4:40!  What a great day!  I love it!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

I'm thankful for:


 the joy we find in the gospel of Jesus Christ

 my family

my wonderful marriage to Mr. C

our new home

wonderful friends

my talents

my many many blessings!

Life is good!  So was the food!

 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Thanksgiving Adam

Oh my gosh, I had a great day yesterday!  I was able to visit Miki in her kindergarten class for "Grandparents Day".  The class sang cute little songs for us before we had a craft activity, decorating paper sacks for Lee's Marketplace.  Very fun.  Miki colored and cut and pasted all sorts of little Christmas ornaments and a very well drawn turkey for her bag.  I can't believe I didn't take a picture of the completed bag!
 

After the project, the kids had cookies and apple cider for treats. The teacher told the kids that as soon as they were done with the projects, they were to get cookies and cider for their grands/guests before getting their own.  I had to laugh.  Miki handed in her finished bag and disappeared.  I was talking with a friend from our old Smithfield Ward and looked around for Miki.  She was at another table eating her cookies and cider.  I drove her to Logan to meet Stott and Wendy at Olive Garden for lunch.  She was kind of quiet for a sec and asked, "Grammie, why didn't you eat a cookie?"  I said, "You never brought me one."  She said, "Oh well, too late now!"  I had to literally keep from laughing out loud.  Inside, I wanted to thank her for not sharing a cookie from the very warm and germy kindergarten classroom.  She's a pill!

We had a nice visit over lunch.  Now that Zaylee has been adopted, and since these two little girls adore each other,  I'd like to start doing a little something with both of them together every now and then.  I feel very blessed to be able to have a relationship with both of them and Jason, our grandson.  It's a different relationship, hard to explain.  We don't ever want to be invasive, but we appreciate being in their lives.  The best moment of the experience was when I walked into the class room and Miki yelled, "Grammie!!!"  It made my day!  Wendy said she had been very anxious for the day to come for days.

As soon as I got home, I started working on a few lists of things that I need to do this next few days before Thanksgiving and before Liza and Buddy get here.  Buddy and Aylabelle have both had colds, but are feeling a bit better today.  We're so excited for their visit.  They will be spending the next few days, including Thanksgiving with Buddy's family.  We get them on Saturday until mid week next week!  MUCH HAPPINESS!!!

Carol and I made an afternoon Sonic Run to catch up on her weekend.  Her son, Matthew, is in the Navy and has been deployed for the past nine months.  He's been on a huge ship in the ocean for much of it.  This weekend, the ship came into San Diego along with 5000 soldiers.  Carol and her son, Tanner, flew to San Diego to watch the ship pull into port.  She shared all of the details of the experience and I just bawled, listening to the reunion stories.  WoW!  It makes me proud to be an American.  It makes me so so thankful for these men and women who are serving in the military.  It makes me thankful for the families who go without their loved ones.  I could just go on and on.  What a thrill... one that Carol will have to carry with her forever, as well as Matt and Tanner!

After our afternoon Cokes, we ran to pick up a few items for a project that I'm excited to create for both of our homes.  I can. not. wait! This is for our front porches.  Thankfully, we don't live next door to each other because we do a lot of the same things when it comes to the holidays.  I began working on them last night and can hardly stand waiting for things to dry in between steps!  My hands are covered in glitter spray paint.  My home is completely decorated, unless I feel the inspiration to do something more after Thanksgiving.  But the porch will be completed this weekend... probably not until after Thanksgiving dinner, unless I get really ahead of myself in the kitchen tomorrow.

Quayd worked, Grace had to work concessions at the USU Basketball game in the Spectrum for points in her Theater Arts class.   There was no youth activity because of Thanksgiving, so Zee was home with Doug and I.  Doug was racing kids here and there to and from work and activities, so after a tasty dinner of Parmesan Garlic chicken and Pasta, she and I were left alone.

The missionaries dropped by for a bit with a new member in our ward, so ZJ and I invited them in to visit.  They shared a few things on the December calendar and asked if we could feed them during the holiday.  We chose December 22 to have them over.  I would love to have invited them for Christmas Eve or New Years Eve, but we don't eat until very late those nights, so that would not work.  Cute boys.  One of them had been out for one week and all I could think about was Quayd, who will not be home for the holidays next year.

Doug and I enjoyed a late night hot tub before bedtime for a little quiet talk with no interruptions.  I love that...it's the best part of my every day. I love days like yesterday... productive, fun, dramaless... life is good!





Tuesday, November 24, 2015

pause

Well, $213.87 later, Thanksgiving dinner is purchased and in the fridge, ready for me to begin cooking tomorrow.  I remember when $80 seemed like a lot of money for Thanksgiving dinner.  I'd love to have a meal for that cost today. But, it will be worth every single penny! I can hardly wait for "the perfect bite" on Thursday!

I came home from grocery shopping and finished wrapping all of the gifts that I've bought so far, while watching "The Holiday".  Everything that's been in storage is now ready to go under the tree on Friday. Then, I'm hoping to get a major chunk finished on Black Friday.  We're keeping things simple this year, so it won't be too hard.  Aside from stocking stuffers, Doug is done and the girls are pretty close.  I'm clueless on what Quayd will be getting????   He hasn't told me a thing.  Neither have the girls, except that ZJ wants a hover board and that's not happening. 

I've been looking at our December calendar as it fills up quickly. Grace's performances will fill a huge part of the month.  She'll hardly work next month before Christmas, so she will probably have to work a lot during the holiday break, after Christmas.  She's glad for the money, but will miss out on family fun.  This "having working teens" is hard on everyone!

Last night, Quayd worked, the girls went to a performance at Logan High and Quayd went to a YSA activity.  I ended up staying home alone, reading, which was actually quite nice.  I enjoy the lights and the music and the silence. I also did a little online shopping.  YAY!

When Doug got in, we had our nightly quiet time in the hottub and he was asleep before I was done brushing my teeth at 9:30.  I guess that means he was tired! I was wide awake and spent some time on Pinterest and reading while he snored along side of me until the girls came in from the musical.  They were chatty and excited, but with Doug sleeping, we whispered a bit, then called it a night. 

I really enjoy the rare quiet nights.  Sometimes, it takes one of those just to get going again on the busy ones.  Just sayin'.

I saw this quote and really appreciated it at this time in my life.  Thought I'd share. 

Practice the pause.  When in doubt, pause.  When angry, pause.  When tired, pause.  When stressed, pause.  And when you pause, pray.

pause

Well, $213.87 later, Thanksgiving dinner is purchased and in the fridge, ready for me to begin cooking tomorrow.  I remember when $80 seemed like a lot of money for Thanksgiving dinner.  I'd love to have a meal for that cost today. But, it will be worth every single penny! I can hardly wait for "the perfect bite" on Thursday!

I came home from grocery shopping and finished wrapping all of the gifts that I've bought so far, while watching "The Holiday".  Everything that's been in storage is now ready to go under the tree on Friday. Then, I'm hoping to get a major chunk finished on Black Friday.  We're keeping things simple this year, so it won't be too hard.  Aside from stocking stuffers, Doug is done and the girls are pretty close.  I'm clueless on what Quayd will be getting????   He hasn't told me a thing.  Neither have the girls, except that ZJ wants a hover board and that's not happening. 

I've been looking at our December calendar as it fills up quickly. Grace's performances will fill a huge part of the month.  She'll hardly work next month before Christmas, so she will probably have to work a lot during the holiday break, after Christmas.  She's glad for the money, but will miss out on family fun.  This "having working teens" is hard on everyone!

Last night, Quayd worked, the girls went to a performance at Logan High and Quayd went to a YSA activity.  I ended up staying home alone, reading, which was actually quite nice.  I enjoy the lights and the music and the silence. I also did a little online shopping.  YAY!

When Doug got in, we had our nightly quiet time in the hottub and he was asleep before I was done brushing my teeth at 9:30.  I guess that means he was tired! I was wide awake and spent some time on Pinterest and reading while he snored along side of me until the girls came in from the musical.  They were chatty and excited, but with Doug sleeping, we whispered a bit, then called it a night. 

I really enjoy the rare quiet nights.  Sometimes, it takes one of those just to get going again on the busy ones.  Just sayin'.

I saw this quote and really appreciated it at this time in my life.  Thought I'd share. 

Practice the pause.  When in doubt, pause.  When angry, pause.  When tired, pause.  When stressed, pause.  And when you pause, pray.

Monday, November 23, 2015

wonderful weekend!

Saturday:  Quayd went to the Sadie Hawkins Dance with a cute friend.  They didn't really know each other well, but he came home telling lots of fun stories.  It was beautiful outside that morning, so Quayd went in shorts. He said that several did, but they all froze in the later afternoon and evening!  For Sadies, traditionally, custom t-shirts are made for their group, and theshirts have something to do with the theme of the groups activities.  Last year, there was a barn involved with the group activity.   His shirt said, "Got Sadies?" and they all dressed in jeans and western shirts.  This year, the activity was all sports involved (indoor sock hockey, volleyball...), so his t-shirt was a sports-style and it said,  "Team Sadies".  The ideas are always so cute!  Quayd had a great time!  I'm glad to see him enjoying his senior year!




While Quayd was off for the dance and day, Doug worked all day and the girls and I spent the day together.  Grace has wanted to go to Sadies with Kendall, but he was involved in "Meet Me in St. Louis" at his school on the same night.  There was no one else that she wanted to go with, so she opted to stay home.   When Quayd walked out the door, I could tell that she was disappointed all over again, so we tried to make it a fun day.  Grace and I went shopping for a while earlier in the day, then came home and did a little more decorating, then we played games with Zee in the afternoon, until Doug came home.

I'd asked Doug to do a few honey-dos and when he was done, we all went to dinner at Black Pearl.  We'd just been there the night before, but it was the girls choice.  We just wanted to celebrate the day with Grace.  We came home and watched a movie together, waiting until Quayd got home from his date.

Sunday: Doug and I hottubbed early in the morning before he left for his meetings.  The Bishop was away, so he and Jay, the other counselor had lots to do. We don't see a lot of Doug on Sundays, so early mornings are prime time before he leaves.  I'm glad, for that reason, that we are both are on the afternoon church schedule. I attended Sacrament Meeting with the kids in our home ward and then left and went to Doug's ward for Sunday School and Relief Society, both of which were outstanding.  I am always so impressed to think that these kids are 18-26 years old and they are phenomenal, with such strong testimonies and faith! 

 I hadn't been to Doug's ward for a few weeks, so it was interesting to watch Doug.  He knows the kids.  He loves the kids and it shows.  He interacts with them differently now that it's been a few months.  He's comfortable with them.  I could see that he has really grown into this calling.  He is loving it, for sure.  I'm loving watching him. Doug's goodness is unique and anyone that knows him would agree. I can see that he's building relationships and making a difference!  I love that!   YAY!!

I raced back home after the meetings at his ward to be with the kids.  It's really hard on Sundays, sometimes, because I feel like I need to be there for Doug and I feel like I need to be here for the kids.  So, I raced home as the girls were walking in.  We all got undressed and into our pajamas, then the girls and I sat down to play Racko a bit while dinner was cooking.  We were discussing the fact that "Young Women in Excellence" was at 7, so Dad would miss it because he had Devotional in the YSA ward at the same time.  My phone rang and it was one of the Young Womens leaders.  "Sister Corbridge, are you and the girls planning on coming to YWinE?" I said, "Yes, the girls have their parts, we'll be there."  She said, "Well, it started ten minutes ago and we were just checking?"  WHAT!!!  I said, "Girls! Get dressed!  WE'RE SUPPOSED TO BE THERE!!!"  I had written 7PM, but they had said 5PM.  OOPS!  We were dressed and at the church in 3 minutes, walking in during the opening song. 

Here's the funniest thing... it was the shortest YWinE we have ever been to.  We, literally, were back home and getting back in our jammies at 5:30!  The program and the Bishop's remarks, literally, lasted ten minutes!  ANNNND!  HAPPINESS!!! As we pulled into the garage, so did Doug!  He was home early!  Dinner was ready, so we were able to set the table and sit right down for dinner.  As we were eating, we got a call asking if we could come in for tithing settlement at 6:30.  (I'd signed us up for next Sunday night at 8PM.)  So, we finished eating got dressed again and went back to the church to meet with our Bishop.

Tithing Settlement is usually a ten minute visit with the Bishop.  Doug insists that the entire family attend together, because it is an important opportunity for the kids to understand and grasp a little more about the principles of obedience and the law of tithing.  Years ago, we had a bishop tell the bigs, in tithing settlement, "Your parents are not perfect.  None of us is perfect.  But, tithing is one thing that they are perfect in.  It's the one commandment that we can be "perfect"."  It really made an impression on me.  We love tithing settlement! 

We also love our Bishop.  He's amazing.  He's very innovative and an "out of the box thinker."  We really enjoy the stories he shares and his perspective of things.  He began our visit by addressing each of the kids.  "Quayd, let's see.  You just turned 18.  Ya going on a mission?"  Quayd responded, enthusiastically, "Yes, Sir!!!"  Bishop: "What are you doing to prepare?"  Quayd:  "Going to church, taking Seminary, Praying, Working to save my money..."  Bishop:  "When are you planning on going?"  Quayd:  "As soon as I graduate."  Bishop:  "Well, let's get together and start the paperwork."   He also asked him about speaking languages and a few other specifics.  I was in tears!  This conversation happened and it hit me hard!  We may have a missionary very soon!

We left tithing settlement and raced down the hill to Doug's ward Devotional at 7. Again, I love watching him do "his thing".  We all laughed so hard, before the prayer.  Each Sunday night, at Ward Devotional, a thought is shared, announcements are made, and then the Devotional Leader asks for names and a "prayer list" is created.  The person who says the prayer, specifically mentions each person on the list in the prayer.

 Each week, one boy in the ward asks for his sister to be on the list.  Always.  Last night, he raised his hand, and everyone expected to hear his sister's name, but he said his grandmother, "Emma Smith."  (Emma Smith is also the name of the wife of Joseph Smith, the first prophet and founder of the LDS Church in the early 1800s.)  As this boy said, "Emma Smith", there were whispers all throughout the room.  "She's dead."  Everyone was grinning.  He got this look on his face, realizing what everyone was thinking and said, "That's funny.  That's the first time that's ever even hit me.  I just call her Grandma."  We all laughed out loud. Funny. 

Doug and I came home after Devotional, got our jammies on again!  I asked, "Are we sure we don't have to get dressed again tonight!?"   We built a fire, made popcorn and spent the rest of the evening, all five of us, together, in our jammies watching a Christmas movie!  LIFE IS GOOD!!!

Today, I really must go and buy Thanksgiving dinner!  The house is decorated.  I still need to work on the front porch, but, other than that, the decorating is done for this season!  While we were in the hottub, I said to Doug, "We need a Christmas tree out here on the patio!"  I could see the look of fear in his face!  As much time as we spend out there, I do think a little holiday cheer would be fun.  No tree this year though.  But, I will be adding a little festivity out there, for sure!  No tree, this year, though. ;)

Aside from the missionary discussion with the bishop, the highlight of my weekend was a phone message from Sister Simmons, my sweet 86 year old neighbor, who built her home in 1961, the same year that our home was built.  She called to say how thrilled she was about our beautiful holiday decorations.  "It looks so beautiful over there and it just thrills me to see it coming to life again!  You two are such a blessing to our neighborhood. THANK YOU!"  I called her to thank her for the call and she told me how great it is to see the house being so well cared for and she can just feel our love for the home.  She couldn't be more correct in that!  We do love this home.  I literally sat down in the living room and cried, looking at the decorations, thankful for all that we have been blessed with this past year!  There's not a day that I don't tell Doug, "Thank you for our lovely home!"  I posted the den photo this weekend and friend, Sally, said, "You were meant to live in that home."  I couldn't agree more!  We are blessed!

Life is good!  Really, really good!



Friday, November 20, 2015

friday!!!

Carol and I were out and about this morning at 8:30 for an early start because she had plans at 11 with a friend and I had plans at 11 with Zee.  We were able to cross off a few more things from our lists, grab our morning Sonic and even do a little extra shopping before we parted.  I picked Zee up and we went to Texas Roadhouse to split a Chicken Critter Salad for lunch.  I'd originally planned to get the Thanksgiving shopping done, but my foot was bothering me enough that I bagged it and came home to finish up some more decorating around the house.  I needed to be off it for a bit before grocery shopping and had a few projects that I could sit to do, so I was glad to have the diversion!

We had dinner with friends, Dave and Trisha.  Dave was our old Bishop in Smithfield and Trish, his wife, was our amazing Young Women's President!  We had a delightful evening filled with lots of great conversation.  Trish and I did most of the talking, shocker!  Dave had a horrific sounding cold, so he didn't talk a lot.  Doug is more of the listener and doesn't say much, but I always love it when he pipes in.  Dave teased that they didn't need to talk with Trish and I around. He was right.  We had discussed kids, current issues and just enjoyed catching up They are such positive and pro-active people, we love being around them both.  We're looking forward to the next time!

Quayd got off early, so we left Black Pearl and went straight to pick him up, dropped him off at home and went to pick Grace up from work at the other end of the valley!  The gasoline!  HELP!  It occurred to me yesterday morning as I was driving them to the school bus that there's really only one more year and a half of this driving.  Quayd will graduate in June and Grace has only her senior year left, then Zee will be at school in Logan. No driving needed! I can do this.  I can do hard things!

After dinner, I mentioned to Doug that I'd found a great deal at an online classified for a one year old Christmas tree.  The guy said that his wife buys a new one every year and they had eight of them.  So, I texted the guy to see if one was still available.  It was a steal of a deal costing me less than 1/4 the price of a new one.  We checked it out and it was perfect.  They guy said that we could return it if we didn't like it.  So, after we dropped Quayd off and before we went to pick up Grace, we ran by his home, which was FABULOUS, and checked out the trees.  He even dropped the price a little more and loaded it into the back of the Subaru, still in it's original box. 

We came home and Doug took it downstairs.  The kids were watching "It's a Wonderful Life", so Doug joined them and I immediately started decorating.  He was stunned when he came downstairs to see the tree, expecting me to have just taken it out of the box.  It was fully decorated. I LOVE pre-lit trees!!!  I'd not planned on doing a large tree in the family room downstairs this year. I figured that I'd pick up a tree after the holidays for less and wait to use it until next year, but I could not have bought one after Christmas for such a great price.  It's awesome!  So, I've now completed tree #4.  I have one pencil tree that will go outside when I decorate on the front porch, which I'm still creating in my mind and I'm done!  Then, it's Doug's turn to hang a few lights outside! I figure, it is only the week before Thanksgiving, so I'm okay to work on the porch next week.  hee-hee-hee... I love head starts!

With the decorating almost done, I'm ready to begin cooking and entertaining and gift shopping and wrapping and playing and enjoy the holidays!  I never did get to the Thanksgiving dinner shopping today.  With the decorating done, it's really time to start focusing on the food!  HAPPINESS!!! LIFE IS GOOD!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

this and that...

this
 
I'm so happy!  Two trees done!  Living room done!  Den almost done!  Entry getting there.  Family room, coming along.  What used to take me a day is taking me four, but I hope to be done tomorrow!

that 


this

It's pouring the rain outside!  If the temp would just drop a bit, it would be a beautiful snow!  Every storm this past two weeks has bypassed our valley.  Sadness!

that

First Amazon package arrived today!  The holidays are happening!

 this

Grace got a part as a villager (chorus) in the High School play.  She'll be busy, busy, busy all December with Bella performances and then January and February with the play.  She's making the most of High School, indeed!

 that

I discovered Peppermint M&Ms!  OH MY GOODNESS!!!  I didn't think it could get any better than the green mint M&Ms but WOWSWER!!!


 this

This is also a new holiday treat discovery.  These are the best pretzels I've had yet.


that

For the past three weeks, I've needed to buy lightbulbs.  We have four lamps needing bulbs.  FOUR and the front porch lights are both out.  You'd think I would remember to get them.  They have been on my every list.  A few days ago, I gave Carol the assignment to "make sure I buy light bulbs."  We've been to Wal-mart, both the north yucky one and the south fabulous one.  We've been to K-Mart, Smith's Marketplace, Shopko and the grocery store.  Do you think we have bought light bulbs? Help me!  Everytime we walk into a store, we get distracted by Christmas decorations and things.  Tonight, I bought light bulbs!  Thirty dollars worth.  And guess what.  We're already out.  I guess I'll add them to my list again tomorrow.
this

Carol and I went to Anderson's in Logan today.  They are a Seed Company but in the wintertime, they become a winter wonderland.  This was my favorite tree in the store. It's a pricey store, but, it is truly fabulous.  Here's one of my favorites! I'm loving red and white trees this year! LOVE IT!!



that

Tomorrow is my favorite grocery shopping day of the year... time to buy our Turkey and Thanksgiving dinner!  Even better... it's almost time to start cooking it!
LIFE IS GOOD!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

family night

The weather is sooooooo cold!  Right out of the north.  Liza pointed out that yesterday, I mentioned that it was so frigid cold and then I posted a picture of Quayd in a t-shirt.  I told her, "I can help it if he and every teen in America isn't smart enough to wear a coat when it's 18 degrees."  I don't get it, but kids today just don't wear coats. ha!

Last night, Doug did not have any YSA responsibilities for Home Evening, so he called me to ask me what we could do to make the night count for our family.  I picked him up after work and we discussed a few things that I'd thought of.  We decided that we wanted it to be something where were were together, interacting.  So, we made a plan and pulled things together.



We stopped at Best Buy and picked up Inside Out, stopped at Lee's and picked up two giant subs, chips, cream soda and treats.  We came home and told everyone to get their pjs on.  They thought we were going to watch a Christmas movie or something, because that's what we do.  Anyway.  After Doug built a fire and I had the counter ready with dinner and the movie sitting in the middle of it all, we had a small message from Doug, said a prayer and went into the kitchen to dish up.  The movie was in the middle of it.  It's funny.  This movie is a kids movie, but we have all been anxious to see it.  I'd planned on it being under the tree but this was much more fun.  When they saw it, they all high fived!



We ate and watched and hit pause and talked about "feelings".  The fact that the little girl in the movie has just moved made this very tangible to us all!  It brought up a lot of feelings that we've recently experienced with the move.  VERY cute show and very timely for us.  Loved it!  Glad to own it!  The kids wanted to watch all of the bonus features before we headed to bed, but we held off on those for later because I had another topic that we felt we needed to discuss.

We turned off the TV and discussed much of the recent news of the LDS Church.  We wanted to get their feelings and thoughts about all of this.  We had a very good and open discussion.

 I try very hard to avoid controversial topics on my blog and on social media because people tend to be much more "brave" about expressing their thoughts when they don't have to be accountable and things get nasty.  I don't need that in my life.

But, I will say this about the recent news.  The press has made much more of this than was necessary.  As I've read some articles, I've literally been stunned by the misrepresentation of fact. The wording of many news articles have made this out to sound as though children are being punished and suffering because of this announcement.  This is not true.

I have said for years... if you wanted to have brain surgery, you would not go to the clerk at 7-11 to have him do it.  If you want to buy a Mercedes, you don't go to the Toyota salesman.  If you want to know the truth about this news, go to the source, not some anti-LDS blog, not a newspaper.  Read more about it here at LDS.org. There are several articles from the source.   Hear the whole reasoning.  This was another enlightening article. Don't buy all of the hype and sensationalism from the press. And please don't try to debate this here on my blog in comments. I won't even bother publishing it because this is not the place.


Anyway, back to our Home Evening.  It was a great night with lots of good feelings!  It was great to be together.  It was actually the first night since the first week in October when we were all five home all night together.  That's a rarity these days.  Thankfully, it does still happen.  I, for one, am looking forward to the holidays and hoping it happens often during that time!

One tree totally decorated.  One off to a good start.  Two to go!  It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!  Life is good!

Monday, November 16, 2015

weekend fun

It was an pretty casual weekend at our home!  Rare.  Quayd was working on an art project at home most of the weekend.  Doug worked.  Grace worked all day Saturday and had a date that night.  ZJ went to a multi-stake dance with half the kids in our ward.  I spent a lot of time with my foot up, recovering from Thursday night.  It was a long two days, prepping for that class, of a lot of time on my foot and I paid for it all weekend.  Oh for that to go away!

The highlight of the weekend was having Zaylee.  She turned seven on Friday!  Hard to imagine.  I'd checked with her mom to see when would be a good time to visit with her last week and she offered to let Zaylee sleep over after her birthday party.  When we picked her up,  Zaylee showed us all of her fun birthday party decorations and presents.  We came home and made chocolates with her little Hello Kitty fondue pot, then she opened her gifts from us and we all watched Cinderella together.  Zaylee read to me. OH MY WORD.  She is in first grade.  I picked up a random book.  An adult book and she read it to me just as well as ZJ would.  She knows her multiplication facts and reads like a fifth grader.  AMAZING.  And she loves it!  With all that she's been through, she has thrived and loves to learn, so this is such a gift.  I had really worried that she would have a hard time, but she's doing amazingly well!  She's so happy in her life and we couldn't be happier for her!
 
 Love that little toothless grin!
 Zaylee was totally entertained by my blanket.  The whole way through the ballroom dance of Cinderella and the Prince, she was dancing with the blanket and somehow, it ended up being her turban.  She's got one vivid imagination!w

 On Saturday morning, after a late night with the kids, I had to get up at 6 with Doug to take him to work.  The Expedition is still in the shop.  (They can't find the problem!)  The replacement van window is being repaired tomorrow (at least it's supposed to be delivered to the shop tomorrow) so we are down to one car.  I couldn't go back to sleep because I was supposed to have Grace at school for a call back audition for a school performance at 8:30.  We went to the school and sat there until 9:15, when we texted the teacher, who said "Oops.  Sorry.  Could you come Monday at lunch?"  Seriously!?  I wasn't amused by that ... the lack of sleep, the wasted hour and travel and the lack of courtesy!  I'm so ornary about manners!  I told Doug,joking, "She had better get a part now!" 

Quayd was asked to go to the Sadie Hawkins Dance by a second girl.  He was so sad that he'd have to tell her no.  So, we went to Taipan and bought the cutest snowman for her.  Attached is a note that says, "I'm "SNOW" sorry.  I'm already committed for Sadies. BUT, would YOU go to the Winter Ball with me?"  We'll see what happens next.  She asked him with a note about "Of all the fish in the sea..."  And she gave him a beta fish.  I'm so not a fish person... germaphobia gets the best of me, where fish are concerned.  But,  Doug took him to the store and he bought a fish bowl and built a lego house for inside of it and all sorts of little gadgets.     (I only remember the first Christmas gift that Liza and Buddy bought for the babes, the year they were first married, was a fish tank and each of them got a fish.  They didn't check with me first!  A few days later, I heard the blood curdling screams of three babes who had discovered the first dead fish.  Mourning for days until the next fish died and finally the last... another reason to not like fish... they always die!)  Quayd's loving the fish, so whatever... if it makes him happy, he now has a fish.  By the way, the fish has had several names already... from Oscar to Bait.  Go figure.


 isn't this guy adorable!  Quayd picked him out after walking around Tiapan for an hour!



 I got the card all ready for him and took it to school today so that he could get it delivered.  It was FREEEEEEEZING outside today!  I'm talking a strong wind that was rocking the car all the way to Smithfield, straight out of the north!  CRAZY!  He came outside and hammed it up when I wanted to take a picture.  
 But, I did get him to smile!  What a boy!  What a ham!


We had a little family counsel last night.  There was, as always, discussion about making good choices.  One thing that we say often, in teasing, is "You are still a teenager, your brain doesn't finish developing until your early twenties.  So, sometimes, we just have to make choices for you."  It makes me laugh, when ZJ reminds us, "Well, you know, I am only fourteen and my brain is not fully developed yet, so I'm not totally at fault here."  She's a character! 

One tree is up, but not decorated.  Tonight, we'll put up the main tree.  I may take all week to get things decorated.  I'm going to enjoy the journey!  Especially since I'm a week early!

Life is good!

Friday, November 13, 2015

christmas ladies night out

Last night, I taught the holiday class in Brigham City.  Ace Hardware had a "Ladies Night" and I was asked to teach Holiday Tips on Decorating, entertaining, shopping, organizing, you name it.  I had a blast!  It was just a lot of fun women, excited to be there and to talk about Christmas!  There were over 400 women in attendance.  The food was catered.  There were crafts and gifts and door prizes and all sorts of fun giveaways, including 2 KitchenAid mixers, pots and pans, a turkey fryer, alllllll sorts of prizes!  It was loud, it was crowded and crazy!  But, it was organized so well and very fun!

I'd spent the day playing with my Christmas decorations, going through the bins and gathering things, then I challenged myself to set four tablescapes from the random things that I'd gathered.  It was like play for me!  I always love getting all of the decorations out!  That's as fun as Christmas morning itself! I have 13 bins in the family room downstairs that I'm going to go through this weekend.  This morning, after being totally exhausted at the end of last night, I'm not quite ready to decorate yet, but I am going to spend a day going through things and doing some dejunking and organizing of my holiday decor.

Carol was a life-saver on this class.  She gathered some of her things too and we did much of it together.  It was fun to have her things, as well as mine!  She loves Christmas as much as I do!  Before the class, we went to a very late lunch in Brigham City.  After we stopped at Taco Bell for a drink and then came home and hit the hot tub, while we told Doug all about the evening.  It was a lonnnnnng day for my foot and I could not wait to get into that hot water and soak!  My foot throbbed all night long because it had been such a long day and I have lost my voice a bit today from all the talking, but it was a very fun night, worth the effort!

Carol took a few photos with my phone during the class...

I shared ideas and taught that you don't have to go out and spend a lot of money, but it's simple to use what you have to make things festive and fun!



The hot chocolate bar is one of my favorite things about winter!


 I decided to do four tablescapes on one round banquet table to show just how simple and easy it is to dress up a table!  


There were gift basket ideas, decorating ideas, organizing ideas.  I love Christmas!
 

Nothing like trying to teach how to fold a fun Christmas tree napkin and not being able to fold it!  We all got a laugh and decided that folding things upside down on my chest in not the way for them to see is not the way to do it.   The table works much better!


 Carol got a few of me and I had to laugh because in every one of them, my hands are just "talking"!  ha! The ladies were great!  There was so much excitement in the air! 

Ironically, I came home and look at my Thanksgiving home and I'm not quite ready to let it go!  So, I'll go through my bins this weekend and start slowly next week.  I asked Doug where the main tree is and he's going to have to get it out for me before I can begin anyway.  So, it's all good!  I'm just loving the holiday that is now and getting a teeny bit excited about Christmas at the same time! 

Life is good!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

craZy, buSy, insaNe, haPPy and BleSSed!

Yesterday was crazy busy getting ready for my class!  There's busy and there's "crazy busy". It was insane "crazy busy"!   Morning involved taking the kids to their ortho appointments and then to school, late.  Quayd's looking like he may not have a tinsel grin for Christmas, but we are not holding our breath.  I'm betting it will be January and then, he will have to have all four wisdom teeth pulled in mission prep.  Crazy!

Since Wednesday is "our day" to do whatever we do, Carol and I created our new Holiday Planners since the ones that I made for us forever ago were ancient history! Here's where the instructions on the whole binder idea are on my old blog. We wore them out!  Here's our new ones... built to last, not as cutsie as the old, yet we love them even more!  They are a durable 6x8" hard plastic and rubbery edged binders from Staples (about $8 a piece) with a place to slip in a cover, so we only had to make the front, not cover the entire binder, which was sweet, quick and easy.   I made one for Liza, as well, so that she can be organized for the holidays.  Because of this class, I'm there.  It's time.  Bring on Christmas!
 
The dividers are perfect and suited for us personally.  Mine say "Calendar", gifts, foods, To Do, Other".  There are three sheet protectors for dropping in receipts and things and a zipper pouch in the back because it will become my wallet in December. 
And with the little slot-type window in the binding, we could personalize them with our names.  It was fun to pull out some of my old scrapbooking things. I'm amazed, when I do, at how much I've given away.  I have to remember, "Oh yeh, I gave that to so and so." after searching for a tool or item.  But, better that someone else who will use things has them, than me, who pulls them out once or twice a year these days.


After making the planners, we went for lunch, shopped, crafted, made a Sonic run, dropped off kids here and there, did all sorts of crazy "to do" list all day and then reconnected for dinner while Quayd worked, Doug worked and the girls were shopping at the mall!  Now, today, it's gather, load and teach!  I'll be teaching this class in Brigham City.  I'm excited!

When I dropped Zeej off, after ortho, she was so happy.  She mentioned, "We don't have to drive allllll the way to Richmond!  YAY, Mommy!"  It made me grin.  We'd stopped for Sonic drinks on our way and as she got out of the car, that smile, that happy glow, just made me happy.  She is thrilled about this school move.  I said, "Wait!  You look so cute, I have to take your picture!"   That's a happy smile if there ever was one!  I had to laugh when I posted this on Facebook and she commented that it was the sunlight, not a piercing on her right eyebrow.  That is an odd reflection! She's so funny... I didn't even notice it until she pointed it out. But, she's just a happy camper!  I'm loving seeing her so HAPPY and excited about school! 


TRUTH:  Of all of our kids, she's had the roughest experiences at school.  With the exception of one year, she always got the last teacher that we would have chosen for her. A mom knows who will work and who won't for their kids!  One year, I pled with the principal all year to move Zeej to another class.  The teacher was awful! "Give it a little more time. Let's just wait until ....", she said, each time.  In March, the principal came to me, acknowledged the issue was the teacher, and said, "I wish we'd have moved her in September, like you asked. I'm so sorry." She then told me that I could hand pick a teacher for Zee and admitted, "A mother knows.  I'm so sorry."  I was furious that I hadn't been more adamant about the change!

Zee had some pretty rough experiences this past year.  It was the worst. Teacher issues are one thing, but bullying is worse! We had tried to deal with it in many ways.  Last year, one girl was actually suspended and the administration even the police became involved because the bullying from this girl was so extreme.  Teenage girls can be vicious!  I am stunned! A few weeks ago, I was thinking about that experience with the elementary teacher and the principal saying "A mother knows."  I realized...Enough. It's time for this change.  This change was easily made because of our move to the new school boundaries, so it didn't have to be a big dramatic switch.

 I've kept quiet about these challenges on the blog, but now, I will share this... as Zee pushed the door open to walk out of her old school and to head to the new for the first time, she said, "I just got called "___" (a name that she had been tortured with for the past year) for the last time."  I could literally see the weight lift off her shoulders as we walked to the car!  She was in tears of joy!  How could we not feel good about this choice!  And, again, look at that smile!  She's happy!  Enough said!

While Carol and I ran a few last errands last night, Doug called in a bit of an upset.  Somehow, our van window had been broken and shattered.  So, now the Expedition is in the shop still/again and the van has no drivers side window and we are left with one car.  The window is the fifth car issue since July.  So not amused.  AND so not affording all these issues!  BUT, like I said last night, there could be a lot worse problems, so I'll keep these, thank you.  Thankfully, this morning, Layne and Julie tossed us their truck keys so that I could run the kids to North Logan to their bus stop.  And thankfully, Carol will drive us to the class tonight.  It's all good!

Today, I've got to put together and pack two tablescapes, a few quick and easy holiday decorating ideas, some organizing ideas, print out my notes at the last minute and be ready to roll!  When I come home, since I have thirteen bins of Christmas sitting open in the downstairs family room right now, I may as well begin decorating, right!?  I think it's time!  First, however, I found the decoration bins, now I have to find the new tree!  I know we moved it here in February.  oops!

In this beautiful month of November, I'm so so thankful for all of life's challenges. I know that sounds crazy, but, really... they keep us on our toes, they keep us growing and learning and looking for the good!  And Life is good!  As always, crazy, busy but, most of all, good!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

a little morning rambling before the day takes off!

Yesterday, I tried to be as productive as possible all morning, dealing with more of ZJ's school change, paying some bills, gathering thoughts for the Christmas class, dealing with medical things and so on.  It was just a blur and a lot of being "on hold" on the phone.   It's always interesting to me that if you are trying to buy something, companies have no hold time, send you right to a representative on the phone, answer all of your questions.  But, once you've bought "it", then, you get to "Please hold" and "The current wait time is 18 minutes."  Oh well, I got things done while on hold... thank heavens for speakerphone! 

I was driving in town when an acquaintance returned my call.  We had lived in the same ward in Smithfield and have both moved away.  I found something, while going through old blog entries, that I had written about her mother, one of my Smithfield senior single ladies, who has now passed away.  I rediscovered this story and felt that I should share it with her daughter.  This daughter came to live in our ward to take care of her aging mother until her passing.  With her mother gone, she and her husband have, now, returned to their own home back east. When she called, I pulled off the road into a parking lot, opened my iPad and shared what I had written years ago about a story that her mother had shared with our group.  I felt certain that she had probably heard this story many times, but surprisingly, she never had.  I knew then, why I had felt so strongly that I should call her and was grateful for the prompting.  I had, literally, spent about 45 minutes texting and calling people on the phone the night before, trying to locate a contact number for her before I actually got one.  The fact that she'd never heard this story confirmed that it was worth the effort, for sure.  I would give anything if someone would call me and share stories about my grandparents, Eliza and James, who passed away before I was born!  Anyway, it was a feel good moment of my day, for sure!

Just as I was hanging up from her, Carol called and we met up for a quick Sonic Run, which ended up being an afternoon of errands together and a fun stop at Taipan.  We are in there often and are amazed at how much the store changes almost daily.  It's been fun to have the store local!  Even if we aren't buying something every stop, it's inspiring and sparks the creativity! Here's my favorite tree in the Logan store.


  I'm dying to put up the holiday decorations, but I also feel like it's not quite time.  We have a busy week ahead and I need a few days.  Today and tomorrow, I'm going to have to get into a few Christmas bins and I'm afraid that once they are open, there's no going back.  This will possibly be the weekend to do it, instead of next.  Doug will just roll his eyes and say, "Whatever makes you happy."  ZJ and Grace will squeal with delight and offer to help!  Quayd will not care either way one bit, as long as Christmas music doesn't go along with it.  We were in the car together last night and I had the radio on a Christmas Music station.  He moaned, "Noooooooo!  Puleeeeez!!  Not yet!!!!"  Doug agreed.  I was vetoed.  We listened to country music instead.  Scrooges, I tell ya!  ha!  In all honestly, I know that I'm pushing it!  But, it's a new home!  And it may take me a week to decide where I really want things, so why not start earlier? wink-wink!

Liza just told us that they will definitely be coming up to the valley for Thanksgiving weekend.  They'll spend the holiday with Buddy's family, but we will have them here for a bit of their visit!  So, I'd love to have it all done before they come.  Decisions, decisions!  But, what really matters is that they are coming!!!  I'm so happy!  Time with my girls and Buddy, games to play, fun to be had, memories to be made!  Aylabelle just asked about Grammie's house!  I'm so happy!  I'm kind of loving that they are so much closer!

Last night, Doug and I went on a little date night to see the movie, "Just Let Go", about the man in SLC who was hit by the drunk driver and he lost his pregnant wife, their unborn son, a son and a daughter, leaving him with two sons alive, one critically injured.  Oh my.  This is a story that I was familiar with, but there was more to it than the news have ever shared.  Wow.  Wow.  Just wow.  It's not "entertaining".  It's well presented.  It's sobering.  It's touching.  It's a lesson that we all could benefit from watching.  wow.

Today, Carol and I are assembling new Christmas Planners.  We've both worn out our old ones.  I'd made one for her several years ago.  Hers lasted much longer than mine.  We are excited to work on the project together and, even more important, to put them to work! 

It's also Ortho appointment day.  Doug has a meeting.  Kids are working.  Last night, I made Swedish meatballs, mashed potatoes and gravy for dinner.  We set the table for four and ate very early.  It was strange.  There are so few week nights that we all sit down to dinner together anymore.  Having teens with jobs and school activities and a husband with a busy calling and a side business means that a lot of nights, we eat in shifts.  A lot of nights, it's just heat up leftovers and visit in the kitchen at the bar. We were talking about our "Circle of Light", Christmas tradition.  It's hard when you only are all home together once or twice a week for dinner.  Things are changing.  Life is busy.  We are busy.  I'm always grateful for vacation days and down time so that we can be together!  Sunday, the Bishop mentioned Quayd filling out his mission papers.  Time is just moving so quickly!  Crazy!  Maybe it's the movie last night, but this morning, my heart is reminding me to make the moments count.  Just sayin'.  Life is good!

ZJ just came in to show me her braid.  I asked if she could help me get into the Christmas bins after school.  She teased, "As long as we can get it out and keep it out!"  I think I'm caving.