Wednesday, December 28, 2016

some pics from mom updated by Grace

   
 Mom doesnt even remember having this picture taken
 That is Moms arm, not super pretty...
 Zulu has been very concerned for Mom and has been very close to her side.

Moms new favorite visitor at the hospital until Dad got there. She loves this baby.




Just an update from our home...
I'll share about Christmas in a different post.

Mom is hanging in there, she had her first non-painful shower, which is progress. she says that showers are hard. Being right handed and using her left hand for things is very hard for her, even holding her phone can hurt. She has loved the visitors who have come by, until she falls asleep on them. She sleeps a lot. She sometimes falls asleep in the middle of a sentence. 

Our family has been really blessed with all of our friends around. Treats, breads, and meals have been very appreciated here. We feel the prayers of everyone. 

Yesterday we helped Mother put away all of the Christmas decorations around the house. Normally it would take an hour or two. But without Mom being able to lift and put things away, it took a little longer. She had to tell us how to put away all of the expensive decorations and the fragile too, so they wouldn't scratch or break in the storage bins. It took longer for us to learn how to put away than to put away. Ha. It was funny how Mom was telling us where to put all the normal decorations up. "Two inches to the left, no now one to your right." Hehe, now I know how the people in the game Survivor feel.  Now though, our house is back to the way it was before and it looks absolutely wonderful.

Mom is so happy that we have already learned how to do the chores around the house, she says its a blessing for us as well. Since we already know how to do dishes and laundry its easier for us to help her. In a way I can see how it is a blessing for us, I wouldn't want Mom to do all the hard work. Especially in her condition! I'm also pretty glad that she had her injury for the break. If she had her injury later she would not have had her family to help. Z and I would have been at school so it is good for her to have us and Dad through the worst part.


I'ts hard but everyday it is getting better, everyday we are becoming adjusted to it.  Everyday we wake up when Mom wakes up so we can help her. Its a good system and like I said before its so good to have her back! Thank you guys again, for your prayers and your visits they mean so much for our family and Mom especially!


"A friend to have around the hard times is the best thing to cherish..."













Saturday, December 24, 2016

a bigger surprise than the baby

This is Grace. Z and I will be typing moms blogs for the next month or two. As previously mentioned mom came to Saint George helping Liza take care of EdiAnne and her family after baby EdiAnne came a month early. This happened the following week after.

 On Monday afternoon, Mom was typing back in forth with Quayd. They were discussing what time we would be able to face-time him on Christmas day. She was upstairs in Liza and buddy's guest-room. Mom had folded four lovely blankets and stacked them next to the bed. She was planning to make a little special bed for Aylabelle to lie down next to her in the night. When she got up to go downstairs, she turned away from the computer, forgetting the blankets below her and tripped... A really bad fall.

Buddy and Liza came running after hearing the giant thud above them. Their next door neighbor, who works in the ER came racing over to help mom. They gave my mom a priesthood blessing and then spent fourty minutes trying to get my ma down the stairs and into the expedition. (SUV)

They admitted mom to the hospital immediately because of the breaks and injury. When they arrived in the emergency room, they performed a very difficult assessment, with poor x-rays. Ma had completely dislocated her shoulder and had a few broken bones. Basically the ball of her Humerus had snapped off!  They sedated her and tried to put it back in, but there was nothing left for it to hold. So mom was awoken to the news a few hours later, that she would be having a complete shoulder replacement surgery. The next decision was when and where!?

If mom had the surgery in Saint George, it would mean possibly not making it home for Christmas, to us, it would mean that she would have to do a lot of recovery on her own or at the hospital. It would mean Liza would not be too able to help her while supporting my brand new niece with jaundice, and having buddy to help ma and Liza and work at the university. If ma chose to have the surgery in Logan, getting her up here with that kind of pain would be excruciating and intolerable. Z, Dad, and I all pretty shocked with the news felt like like it would be best for Ma to have the surgery there and risk not having her home for Christmas.

Moms surgery was the next afternoon and it took four hours. She has an eight inch incision, (yes she is right handed, sadly!) across her right shoulder and down her arm. She doesn't remember a whole lot but the one thing she remembers most is how helpful Buddy was to her. He held my mothers arm for almost about two hours in the same position, without letting go once! My ma still cries when she thinks of what he did and how wonderful he was. (We're very thankful for Buddy) He needed to be at work, or with Liza and the baby, but he was with my mother. making sure she was ok, being everything she needed.

Buddy came up with four options for having us all together for Christmas. The one that worked out best was my Dad driving down with buddy's Ma and her friend to Saint George. Sheree and her friend already planned the trip to Saint George, so it was perfect. My Dad was very sad to not be with my mom at the time, it was killing him. So it was good for him to go. To be with her, care for her, and take her home to us. On Wednesday dad, Sheree, and her friend made it to the hospital. Both Liza, Buddy, the baby girls and my Dad made it the hospital at the same time. Mom had her "I can't believe this has happened" melt down when she saw dad, but she was so relieved to have her best friend (Dad) at her side. Z and I stayed home alone to help prepare for moms homecoming.

On Thursday, Ma and Dad drove in six hours of blizzard weather until they were almost to Provo, the next two hours were flawless. The drive was REALLY rough on Ma. Every bump on the drive felt like Mas stitches were being pulled out. Lots of tears, lots of patients, lots of snow. It was a long day......

Z and I were so excited to have Ma back home in a few hours. We prepared the house to look as she would like it. Not that it was not like that when she was gone... ;) Hehe! But the house was spotless, and we waited on the couch for her arrival, not completely sure what to expect. We were going to go to the traditional Corbridge Family Christmas Party, instead we decided we would stay home and wait for our Mothers arrival, with Dad. When I first saw Ma, I wanted to give her a hug so bad! But her shoulder would hurt and i knew that. So we gathered around her and put all the luggage and presents away. I was glad to have Ma home, it felt like everything was ok again. As soon as she walked into the house she cried and said "It was so good to be home." We all cried with her, tears of joy. We all missed her so much and were glad she was home with us again. Its not Christmas without her.

Mom has slept most of the time since she has been home, sleep is the best thing for her right now. The doctors told my mother that the intense pain will stay for three weeks. Our close neighbor is an Orthopedic Surgeon and he will do the follow up. Ma's Saint George Surgeon even knew him, so he was fine to trust our neighbor with the follow ups in Logan.

Tommorow, we all will be spending a quite Christmas morning here with our family. Quayd will be face-timing us sometime during the day. There may be a few amazon boxes that Dad may put under the tree tomorrow. but that's just fine, we are big girls now.

Mom has counted so many blessings. When she is awake she is looking for the blessings in this. She had a full week to help Liza with the baby before the accident, Buddy's amazing care, a wonderful surgical team in the hospital, so many friends and neighbors and family's have reached out to our family, and she is just so appreciative to Dad, Z and I. Z has sort of took over the house, I have sort of been able to help for moms physical needs "Mommies Little Helper." her nurse, and dad is working so hard to make her as comfortable as possible. Were a great team! Prayers for Ma would be appreciated. Thank you again!

On a personal note I have also been able to look for the blessings that come from moms experience. Our family has grown a little more closer and understanding through this, Z and I both have tooken the Christmas traditions and the Christmas spirit more personally through this. We both realized that Christmas is way better with family, and it is such a blessing to realize how important it is. Sometimes things don't go as planned, this really opened up our eyes to that. I have learned to be quite hospitable and understanding to mother, and to try and be her every need. I plan to stay home and just appreciate my family. Those are a few of my blessings and they're a few more to come. In many bad days or experiences I have learned that bad things happen for a reason. I also know that good things happen for a reason, and that some good can come from it. So I will close with that. 

"Bad things happen for a reason, but some good can always come from it, if you choose to look for it."














Monday, December 19, 2016

Letter # 18

With Liza's surprise delivery, I just realized that I have not yet posted Quayd's letter from last week on the day that his new one should come.  Here it is!  Sorry!  

This week.
I have to say, this week, I have been anxious about transfers! I hate to say it, but, I am leaving the good people of Fontana. I'm leaving behind all the friends and families that I have met during my time here and it's hard.  But, I have loved every moment of it…every rejection and argument, every smile who has accepted us, either in the ward or in the world.  I'm grateful for it. I'm praying that those the Spirit has reached will stick to the truth, will be drawn to the truth. I'm excited for the moments to come! 

I'm grateful to have met my investigators!

Krista and Joe and Joseph: Things have been happening, but Krista has accepted to be baptized after the holidays!  So, I'm excited and I might be able to be there for the baptism!!!! Please keep them in your prayers.  It will help a lot! 

In the meantime, lately, we have met a awesome family.  They are nearly homeless, but, receptive to the gospel. We have taught a lot of lessons with them.  They still have always to stay on the path, but they are great people.  The Lord is building them up and forging them into something new.

Along with another investigator named Pat…funny… we went into her house and she was watching the Restoration. haha  We taught her that message, along with a returned missionary.  After the lesson, he talked to us and said, “Elders, that lesson was amazing!  That was a "Preach my Gospel" lesson!  He was pumped to be with us, but I have to say, he is on his phone a lot!  One day and he's already becoming part of the worlds technology! haha It's funny.

That's what I have this week.  Thank you all for reading my weekly report and for your prayers. I'm sorry it's been a while but I'm back!!!!!! 

Elder Corbridge 

Friday, December 16, 2016

Home, Sweet Home

Liza and Buddy were all set to bring the baby home, but ended up spending 24 more hours there at the hospital.  Tonight, they are home and all is well and wonderful!  Liza was sitting there with Aylabelle and sang, "We are a happy family!"  She is so happy.  I love it!

A photo of a photo off Buddy's mom's camera... their first family picture, taken Tuesday night on EdieAnn's birthday.  I'll be excited to get a copy of the real thing!


Aylabelle has been so sweet.  Her little "My baby" comments bring tears to my eyes.  Tonight, as we knelt for prayer, she said the prayer, unassisted and I had tears rolling down my cheeks before she was done.  "Thankful the baby is healthy.  Please bless Uncle Quayd and all of the missionaries."  She's such a wonderful little spirit.  I adore this child and I think that watching her love her new baby sister has been one of the true thrills of my life.  Seriously, not just Grammie pride.  She's amazing.

Liza is doing well emotionally and physically.  She has blown me away with her "umph".  She's had very little sleep since Monday, so I know that she's exhausted.  But, she's gracious and upbeat and does she ever love this little baby!  I think that she's a bit overwhelmed with the fact that Christmas Eve is a week away, but it's all good!  Buddy takes such excellent care of her and goes the extra mile.  What a sweet little family and what a comfort it is to this mama bear to see her daughter thriving in life!  It's the best!

I've had so much fun with Aylabelle.  I will admit that the car seat has the be the bane of my existence!  I hate them!  It takes longer to get a child in and out of one that it does to run most errands!  But, they keep them safe, so they are worth it!  We have had fun finishing up a bit of my own Christmas shopping and enjoying a few stores that I don't get to frequent in Logan, including Pier 1.  I told Aylabelle that this was a "sparkly look with your eyes" store and she was very good!  She ooohed and aaahhed just like Grammie!  I found a tree for my collection and fell in love with a very beautiful decor that was out of my price range, but I took a pic and hoped that Buddy will be able to run in and pick it up for me after Christmas at half price or better!  He's awesome like that.

My mother has been very invested in making sure that Liza and Buddy have food.  She made a pan of lasagna, a pot of soup and rolls, a cake and treats.  She's been so excited to feed us all.  Aylabelle and I went out to visit her for a bit this morning so that Aylabelle could see her Christmas village.  Truth be told, I've never cared for the village, but this year, I kind of thought about saying "yes" to her offer for me to have it.  Maybe next year.  Like I need more Christmas decor!

It's rained most of the time I've been here!  LOVE IT!

In all the writing that I did over the past few days, one thing that I neglected to express was my gratitude to Heavenly Father.  Our prayers were answered.  I've been praying for weeks and weeks about this baby and Liza. I've been so worried from the minute that they told me that they were expecting.  I just felt nervous.  So, when Liza called and said that she was on her way to the hospital, it was like the worst thing I could have imagined.  My drive to St. George allowed for many many prayers to be said for their well-being.  And.  All was well.  An extra few days in the hospital for jaundice and the fact that she was four weeks early were not of any alarm.  Liza was blessed to deliver safely and her recovery is going well.  EdieAnn has been just a dream.  She is, so far, a very good baby.  (Ask me more about that tomorrow morning, after her first night at home.)  But, we have truly been blessed.  Prayers were answered.  All has been wonderful.  I see His hand in my life every day, but this has been a special blessing.

Life is good.

A few more pix...

Could her JOY be any more obvious?!  She is just thrilled!  I think that this is my favorite photo every of Aylabelle.


Buddy "entertained" the girls with a movie while Liza was eating her dinner from Nana Ruby.


As soon as they walked in from the hospital.  Aylabelle met them at the door with a squeal!


A little grin.


"Can I hold my baby?" is going to be her most frequent question.


Liza let Aylabelle help feed the baby a little more after nursing her.


Life is so good!!!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Our BIG Holiday Surprise!!!

written over the past few days....

On Tuesday morning, I was making the bed and texting back and forth with Ann about where were going to lunch when Liza called.  She normally facetimes at that time of the day, but this was a phone call.  She began with, "What are you doing right now?" She said, "I think I'm in labor."  Her due date is January 8th!  She began to share some of her symptoms, some of which were very alarming.  My heart skipped a beat. I asked where she was and where was Buddy.  She said, "We are on the way to the hospital now.  How soon can you get here?"

Within minutes, I was showered and throwing everything I could think of into my bag.  I was SOBBING, horrified!  I asked Buddy by text if she was hurting and he said that she was in a lot of pain.  I was dying.  I dropped to my knees and asked Heavenly Father to please protect and bless my two sweet girls.  I called Doug repeatedly.  He is not allowed phone calls at work, but I persistently continued to call, he'd stop the call, I'd call back until he finally took a break and called to see what was wrong.  Within minutes, he was home helping me load my luggage.

Doug and I kissed goodbye and I was on the road all within an hour of Liza's call. I filled the tank in Brigham City (25 miles from home) and never stopped again until I pulled into the hospital in St. George, 402 miles from my home.  I didn't get a coke, didn't take a potty pit stop, and coasted in on fumes.  The gas light came on about 20 miles away from the hospital.

Throughout the day, I texted back and forth with Buddy.  What had happened was that Liza's placenta had ruptured away from her uterus, which started her into labor four weeks early.  They admitted her immediately and when the nurse checked her, Liza said that she got a very worried look on her face.  Liza said, "I know that you aren't saying anything but I can tell by your expression on your face that something's wrong." The nurse said that she did have concerns and called the doctor immediately.  He arrived and said that he would not leave until the baby was here.  Four or five pushes, Liza said, later, and a beautiful little sandy haired five pound, one ounce baby girl was delivered.  Liza lost a lot of blood, twice what she should have, said the doctors.  But, by the time that I pulled in around 3:45, both the baby and Liza were doing great.  Here are the first pix...

Aylabelle's first time holding the baby.

 

She's so tiny!!!


They were all in their room at my arrival and then, Buddy went to pick up from Aylabelle from a friend, so that she could come and meet her sister.  Watching that little scene had to be the most tender thing I have ever seen in my lifetime. Aylabelle is such a sweet little spirit and to see this love for the baby...her baby, as she calls her!  WOW!  AND the funny thing was that the baby hadn't flinched in the hour I was there but when Aylabelle started talking to her, the baby woke right up!  

Seriously, the sweetest thing I've ever seen.


After her first bath!


She reacts to Aylabelle's voice every time!


Buddy reading "And Baby makes Five", her favorite Bearnstain bears.


The hospital put all the new babies in Christmas beanies instead of pink or blue.


She looks so much like a fairer haired Aylabelle.


This bond already makes me cry!


The nurse was pushing her to the nursery for her first bath. Aylabelle insisted, "I can help."


Everything was fine with Liza and the baby but because she is four weeks early, they had to keep her for 48 hours.  So, Liza and Buddy stayed at the hospital.  Aylabelle and I have been together non-stop.  We have shopped and eaten at McDonalds and had all sorts of three year old fun.  She even climbed into my TWIN-size bed last night and slept with me... Well, we both TRIED to sleep.  Very little sleep actually happened.  But, she's a doll.



The biggest question of the day has been, "WHAT IS THE BABY'S NAME?!?!?!?  And the answer is... Liza had said to me the night before she delivered, having no clue that she was 12 hours from delivery, "That biggest stress in my whole world right now is naming this baby.  We haven't found one name that we both feel is right."  Not for a lack of suggestions from Buddy's family and ours.  My chosen name for the baby is Emmalynne because it's sort of like Aylabelle.  No.  Buddy's mom drove down and spent the first night so that she could see the baby.  She had lots of names to suggest, as well.  I texted Liza a bazillion names last night when I was not sleeping.  I knew that she was reading them because one name, I texted, "Who names their child ____?!?!?!"  She responded, "I had a friend named ______!"  Seriously?

She's beautiful and she's healthy and Liza is well and everything is perfect.  Liza was discharged this morning and in the time it took for that to be official, Buddy went out to get the car and the lab results came back for one last test.  The baby will stay one more day, thanks to a bilirubin score that was not adaquate.  Ironically, Liza was born three and a half weeks early, weighed exactly the same, 5.1, and had to be under the lights for 13 days.  Because they were not able to bring her home and introduce us to her formally, Liza called and told me that they have a name just a few hours ago!

This is Aylabelle Joy's baby sister, EdieAnn Hope.  Long E...eeee-deeAnn.  They will call her Edie.  Best Christmas surprise ever!  Life is good!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

love makes us family

Doug and I are often comment on the fact that we wish we had more time for our adopted grands.  Truth is, we do all that we can to keep up with our own kids, meaning just the girls at home.  It's so hard to be as involved as we are with our girls, supporting Quayd with weekly letters and packages, being there for Liza and her family, keep up with Doug's job and our ward and stake callings, our home, our marriage and all of the other things that keep us so busy. Not to forget that we also have Dale and his family out of state and the occasional contact from Kelly. There are days that Doug and I kiss each other  hello and goodbye in passing until we all kneel for prayer together at the end of each night.  We are busy!

So, a couple of months ago, I had an idea that rather than trying to get with the adopted grands' families and not having it happen, we should plan a couple of activities a year that we invite them all to.  That will happen and the other times that get together will be bonuses!  They all get to spend time together and with us.  So, we put our plan in action this past week.  We invited everyone to our home for a family home evening/dinner/Christmas party.  As most know, we are in regular contact with all five of Kelly's other children, but two of them, only through their mom, as they do not know anything about us.  Theirs is a "closed but not" adoption.  Their wonderful mom keeps me updated with pix and stories, but the children don't know us.  Those two children, have their own family in another state.  They live wonderful blessed lives, but for reasons that their parents have chosen, we will not be able to meet them yet.  We all feel confident that the day will come that we do, but not yet.

And, so.... I digress... with the exception of the two out of state grands, we were able to gather together in our home on Monday night for a very fun evening!  Zaylee's mom had a challenge that caused her to be unable to come at the last minute, but they were more than happy to allow Zaylee to come and join us for the night!

 Miki on the front, then Jason's sisters, Lexi and Kayla, Jason, Zaylee, Zee and Grace

WE MISSED QUAYD!!!!

Everyone arrived just after six.  I'd set two tables.  Jason's folks tease me constantly because for years, we've had spontaneous meals together, but never a sit down, planned dinner.  So, they tease me about the fact that they see beautiful tablescapes on my blog, but, we've never even set the table when they come... it's always a spontaneous barbecue in the back yard.  So, I'd assured them that there would be tablescaping and I delivered!  I set a kids table for ten and a grown-up table for seven, since Miki's big brother is a returned missionary/college student, he joined the grown-ups.

At the kids table, there was snow, snowmen and candy bags with name tags on each so that the kids were seated where they were supposed to be.  They were pretty excited for their treat bags!  Even my girls made me grin, the next morning, when they took theirs to school for their "lunch"... there was an orange and packages of thin Oreos, so that was their fruit and "sandwich".


The grown-ups got Peppermint Patties Snowflakes for their treat, and we had Diet Coke!


I kept the menu simple.  Soups, Snowman Salad (which in the summer is known as Frog-eye Salad) and homemade bread that came out of the oven just as they arrived.  Dinner was soooooo yummy!  Wendy brought one of my favorite things that she makes, her tasty clam chowder.  Katie brought a mexican chicken bean soup (not taco soup) but it was brothy and so sooooo good!  I made a mushroom, wild-rice and beef creamy soup.  All three were so good and we ate most all of it!  Everyone, even the kids, wanted to try different ones!

Dessert was my secret recipe brownies with ice cream and hot fudge.  I tried to be all "grandma-like" and gave the kids Christmas sprinkles, crushed candy canes and three cans of whipping cream for them to have alllllll the toppings that they wanted.  Talk about sugar buzz!!

The kids went downstairs and played together while the grown-ups visited after dessert for a bit.  This was the longest and most intimate time that the families have had together, so it was fun for Doug and I to hear the stories that we've already heard, with fresh ears... but firsts for them.  Fun!

After dessert, we cleaned up and gathered for games. The kids played Left-Right-Center with Jingle Bells and the winner got to choose a prize.  During that, the grown-ups continued to visit.  Then, we rearranged the chairs, put the tables away and gathered in a circle for another game.


I'd made a list of 40 questions that the youngest kids could answer.  Miki, the youngest, is almost seven.  We divided into two teams and had bells, sort of "Family Feud" style. The first 20 questions were about Santa and his reindeer and elves and such.  The second twenty were worth twice as many points, all about Christ and his birth.  We actually discussed the answers to the latter questions.  The final question was "Name another name for Jesus Christ."  Each person gave an answer and all were different.  We ended with Doug and I sharing our testimonies and love to each of them and all knelt together for one huge family prayer.  It was truly a perfect evening.



The kids got along so well. They were noisy and crazy and loud, but they had fun!  We took pictures and Doug and I distributed some gifts before they left.  As we went to bed, after cleaning up, Doug and I were both quite pleased at how well things had gone.  We are anxious to make this a new tradition for these families.

I wrote on Instagram a hashtag, "#lovemakesusfamily".  It's so true.  We may not be blood related to these families.  We may have never even known them, were it not for these five grands who came to the earth through Kelly, to find their eternal families.  BUT!!!  They are family to Doug and I and to Quayd, Grace and Zee, in every sense of the word, just as much as any of the rest of our blood-relatives are.  It may be hard for some to understand, but it works for us!  We are blessed!

Life is good!!!



Tuesday, December 6, 2016

letter #17



I got two letters from Quayd yesterday. Here's both of them.  The whole letters:

I'm so sorry mom things have been hectic. I love you! Talk to ya next pday ☹️

Annnnnnd....

And is it possible to buy me three Books of Mormon movies? I gave one
to one of our investigators and they loved it, so, thank you so much for
that!  Love you and am so happy you are my mother!

Elder Corbridge

That's all we got!  I guess that the fact that he's busy is a good thing, right?  I just wish I knew if he needed anything specific for Christmas because I'm mailing his package this week! 

If you would like to mail a Christmas card to Quayd, you can send it to the address below.  Being away from home for his first Christmas will be so different for him!  It would be fun for him to get lots of mail this month!

Elder Quayd Corbridge
CA Redlands Mission
7000 Central Avenue
Highland CA 92346


 P-day  (Preparation Day)

Doing Service
Life is good!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

45 years

I shared this letter with Quayd today:

Today is the 45th anniversary of my baptism into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints! All because someone reached out to me and invited me to join them at their Young Womens activity... a roadshow... a play where everyone got a part and no auditions were required! I was at a fork in my life and this activity took me on a totally different path that I was heading. I think about that and think of what my life would be today without the gospel... I can't even begin to imagine it! I can't imagine not being married to the most amazing man I've ever known. I can't imagine not having the blessings of the priesthood in our home. I can't imagine a life without serving in the church and in the Kingdom. I can't imagine a life without the Word of Wisdom to assist in our health and well-being.

I can't imagine a home like the one I was raised in where alcohol and drugs and infidelity were such a devastating and destroying part of my every day life. I can't imagine living in a home today without prayer and fasting and faith! I can't imagine a home without the love that we share as a family! I can't imagine a home where trust was not the most important principle! We trust in God, we trust in ourselves, we trust in each other! I can't imagine a life where serving in the church, taking half our house to the church to decorate it, cooking for days on end and planning activity after activity was not what keeps us busy!

I can't imagine a dinner conversation where gospel topics and service were not discussed. I can't imagine a dinner without blessing the food! I can't imagine walking out the door in the mornings without family prayer and saying my own personal prayers! I can't imagine going to bed at night without kneeling together for prayer and hugs and kisses and I love yous! I can't imagine not having the scriptures to lead and guide us in my everyday life, where I can turn to for answers to all that concerns me. I can't imagine not having a prophet and apostles to guide us through our lives, to give us the "shot in the arm" that we need continually, as we face the world each day!

I can't imagine life without recognizing the tender mercies that occur every single day to remind me of our Heavenly Father's love and that he hears and answers our prayers! I can't imagine not having goals in our personal lives... from being missionaries to our neighbors to serving missions when we are old enough, whether its 18 or 81 to goals that we strive for every day, such as being willing to serve our neighbor, keeping the commandments and trying to be better each day! I can't imagine javing friends that I couldn't trust and love and and serve and enjoy sharing our love of the gospel together with!! I can't imagine a life where I did not KNOW that we are an eternal family!

I LOVE the gospel! I love what it means in my life! I'm sooooooo thankful to have made the decision to be baptized! I'm so thankful for the gospel in my life! I'm so thankful for my Savior and friend, Jesus Christ! For his example and his atoning sacrifice for ME! AND EVERYONE WE KNOW! I'm so thankful for the knowledge that I AM a daughter of a loving Heavenly Father and of His love for me! I'm so thankful for that one decision that I made to be baptized and for the miracles that allowed it to happen and for those people who've been an influence throughout my life...from Terri, who invited me to participate in that roadshow to the leaders that I sat in Ward Correlation with this very morning. All have helped me to become the person that I am today! All have been a result of that one decision, the biggest decision in my life! I do love the gospel!

Image result for logan lds temple

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Letter #16

This week, Quayd could use some extra prayers.  He's had a great week, but the reality that every person who looks like the could be the golden contact ISN'T has hit him hard.  I think that the holidays being here are bringing the reality of the fact that he's away from home is hitting him too.  He misses his family and friends.  If you happen to have a minute to send him a short note of encouragement, it would probably mean the world to him!   Email me and I'll send you his mission address! Here's this weeks SHORT letter and a few pix.

I love mission life. I love the people. I love the investigators that I've helped to grow.  We have 9 new investigators, 3 with baptism dates, 6 return appointments.  It's just been crazy and in the midst of it all, I've been worried and even a little down. 

I have a lot of things to be grateful for, like the lessons and appointments and people. We had the wonderful family, the Santos, that fed us Thanksgiving dinner… She's my other mission mom and Brother Santos loves me.  He gave me one of his ties and he hugged me and teased me about giving my talk.  He actually reminds me of Dad in a lot of ways.  They are awesome, along with the Rays family. 

For me, it's not numbers.  It's people that can have the gospel, have the light.  It's just hard to see them turn away from it. I'm hoping this isn't the case for ____.  She's come so far and we are towards the end. I just don't want to see them or her quitting or leaving. I'm not about numbers. I'm about helping people come into Christ, receive the blessings of the gospel and make life long friends. I love the families and members and investigators... _____, being one of them. I pray that her faith and willingness will be enough.

Mom, thank you for your words of support and thanks for putting my head on straight or tying my shoes so I can go out and do the work... even if it's raining a lot.... Haha 

Love you, Mom and thanks again.

Him and his bike accidents!!  Seriously!?!?




My weekly smile from our boy.  And doesn't the song say it never rains in California???

 

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Thanksgiving Weekend

Honestly, without my two girls, I just couldn't get half as much done!  They are amazing!  Grace didn't have school on Tuesday, so I opted to let Zee stay home too.  We went out for breakfast and did a few errands together.  I had already planned a lunch date with Kara a few weeks ago, so I dropped the girls off at the mall while Kara and I had lunch.  ZJ's friend, Drake met them at the mall and they spent a couple of hours together shopping.  We ran Drake home to Smithfield so that he could go to work and then came home to get busy in the kitchen.

The girls and I worked all afternoon and evening.  When Doug got home from work, he joined in, as well.  We took a break for them to go run and pick up some dinner for us.  We worked in the kitchen, with the exception of our dinner break and a little solo time in the hottub, until midnight, but when we went to bed, we had made six pies, an apple cake, Pumpkin Trifle, the stuffing, the sweet potato souffle and the cranberry salad.  The tables were set and Mr. Gobble was in the oven.

On Thanksgiving morning, we got up at 7 and started dinner.  All we do on Thanksgiving Day is make gravy, mashed potatoes and rolls.  Everything else is always ready to be reheated in time for dinner.  This dinner was flawless.  Every item on the menu turned out great!  Nothing burned, nothing underbaked, nothing forgotten.  It's awesome to pull off a meal of that size without missing something!  Most years, I just count on it.  This year, not a thing was off!  HAPPINESS!

One big surprise that we had was that Liza and Buddy ended up coming north to the valley for the weekend.  They'd been in Arizona the weekend before for a niece's baptism and a big birthday surprise for Buddy's dad. However, Buddy's dad had a simple medical procedure that ended up being the discovery and repair of something more than they'd expected, so Buddy's parents never made it from the hospital to Arizona.  Their original plan was the baptism in Arizona, followed by his whole family spending Thanksgiving in St. George at Liza and Buddy's.  Instead, the whole family moved their party to Buddy's folks' home where they could be with his parents.  As a result of that, Liza and Buddy came up Tuesday night and were able to come over for a few hours on Thanksgiving Day with us.  Buddy's family eats in the evening, so they got two Thanksgiving meals and we got to spend a little time with them!  HAPPINESS!!

Liza and Buddy got here around 11. Alan and Jill and their family started arriving at 12:30.  It was just was the rolls were going into the oven, so we were right on schedule for dinner!  We had a wonderful meal and good times gabbing.  In the middle of dinner, Dale texted a sweet message.  It really was a lovely afternoon.

There were several times that I was in tears, usually at the mention of Quayd.  I think that the hardest moment of the day for me, was when I sat the basket of rolls down at Buddy's end of the table.  The family joke for several years has been which of the two, Quayd or Buddy, is the "Roll Sheriff".  There was no question this year.  It was a good laugh but my heart longed for our son!  His words were "stoked" to have dinner with his "family" in Southern California.  It's so odd... his absence has been felt immensely since the day he left, but I think that the holidays are really sinking it in... two years is a long time!  I'm looking forward to his letter on Monday to hear about his Thanksgiving!

After dinner, Liza and Buddy had to disappear.  Aylabelle had spent her "swing" time with Grampy and lots of pix were taken.  Alan and Jill are our closest family members, so everyone was so comfortable together.  Alan and Jill are expecting their first grand, so it was fun to watch Liza and Jocilyn, who are due just 21 days apart, as they talked pregnancy.  The girls absolutely adore their cousin, Jake, who spends a lot of time here, so they loved having Jake here to tease them since they were missing their big brother too!  Alan did his fair share of teasing, which is always welcomed.  It really was a fun afternoon.  We played the LRC game with quarters and a gratitude game.

Instead of everyone expressing their gratitude at the table, we played a game where I asked everyone to write down three things that they are thankful for this past year... but not "Sunday School answers"  (No one could say family or the gospel.)  They were to answer with things that they were thankful for but things that most people wouldn't just naturally assume was them.  Then I read the lists and everyone guessed who said what.  It brought lots of laughs and raised eyebrows.  I was surprised that every male at the table said "Tools".  Seriously?  ZJ thought she'd be funny and wrote my "obvious" answers.  1.  Doug  2.  Emails  3.  Taipan, so that she would not be guessed because everyone would think I wrote that one.  She's one funny girl!

After games, we all cozied up and watched a movie and snitched on pie and trifle.  Everyone was gone by 9ish.  Doug and I cuddled up on the couch and watched Leap Year... well, Doug watched.  I was asleep in minutes.

Doug has been so sick.  SO sick.  He gets pnuemonia almost every single winter since he turned fifty. Usually, it's in January or February.  This year, it hit him hard early in November.  I've been praying for two weeks that I would remain healthy and not get his bug so that I could get the house decorated and Thanksgiving dinner cooked.  My prayers were answered.  I was fine all week long.  But, when I woke up from the Leap Year "nap", I felt awful!!

On Friday, Zaylee spent some time with us.  Everyone went on a hike, except me, of course.  This happened when Zaylee's dad came to get her.  Their whole family joined in!  She's growing so fast and so darn happy in her life.  It brings tears of joy to my eyes to hear her talk about her family.





On Saturday, Doug picked Drake up and he spent the whole day and evening with us.  Doug cooked - Pizza Hut for dinner.  I stayed wrapped up in a blanket while they all watched Grinch and Edward Scissorhands.

I have been on again, off again, sick since I woke up from that nap and after trying to "act" like I was fine for two days, on Saturday afternoon, I finally admitted, "I'm sick" and crawled into a blanket and have barely moved since.  I hope this passes quickly because it's Christmas and I have much fun and joy planned!  BRING IT ON!!!

Here's some pix from our day!

Aylabelle and Gramp loving the beautiful sunshiny afternoon!


Aylabelle takes the selfies now.


Gramp and Aylabelle snitching a few hugs before they left for Buddy's parents.


2 Banana Creams, 2 Dutch Apple, Sweet Potato, Cherry-Peach, 1 Sam's Club Pumpkin, Apple Cake and Pumpkin Trifle.

Uncle Alan kept putting her hood on and calling her a Christmas Elf.


Hugs goodbye... always the worst part of every visit is the goodbye.


Aylabelle loves all of the pocket doors in our home.


the last of the Fall Decor.



Notice the Diet Coke from the Chevron.  This was my favorite hostess gift EVER!  Right out of the fountain!  I didn't even pour it into my goblet!  Jocilyn and Kevin scored big brownie points with Aunt Sophia!  Actually, Kevin got the best brownie points of the day.  As they were leaving, he paid me a real compliment about how welcoming our home feels.  I was uber impressed that a young man could be so observant and gracious about holiday decorations.


I love Jill in this picture!  Jill is always a delight...beautiful inside and out!


A late movie after pies and desserts.


Another selfie by Aylabelle.  That smile melts my heart!


Carol found the trifle recipe on Pinterest last year.  This year, I opted not to make little individual cups and doubled the recipe in my trifle dish.  It was a huge hit!! 

Games after Liza and Buddy left.


The girls requested not to have a "kids table".  So, we opted at the last minute to not have a large banquet table for half of the group.  Our two young adult couples sat together instead of the "Kids".


Until the gifts have taken over, Zulu was loving his new cozy spot under the tree.


Another of my favorite quotes ever... it's out all year long, not just at Thanksgiving!