Saturday, January 30, 2016

a beauty, a beast, a blessing and a favor

  Friday was a bit of a blur.  Our sweet friend, Doug, hit the road, headed back to Indiana.  We loved our time with him!  I had a few things to catch up on and the rest of the day... where did it go?!  Only a few things will stand out about this day...

First, I facetimed with Liza and Aylabelle.  Liza was getting ready for a date with Buddy.  My mother was going to tend Aylabelle.  Liza put her lipstick on and Aylabelle said, "wooo-ooo-oooo!" to Liza.  Too cute.  Liza looked lovely!  Such a beauty inside and out!  My blessing, a beauty, my wonderful daughter!

  I spent the afternoon running errands, then once everyone was situated, I got into the hot tub for an hour soak all by my lonesome.  Perfection!  It was raining before the storm that was supposed to begin in the middle of the night.  I came inside and got ready for Carol to pick me up.  After everyone was busy doing their own thing,we went out for dinner.  Oh my.  A beast!

We went to Buffalo Wild Wings and had quite the adventure.  We arrived just before 7.  There were several tables available and we were seated immediately.  And from the moment we were seated, the experience went south.  Fast.   Our server came over and took our drink order...two diet cokes with lots of ice and lime and "keep em comin'."  He returned with two glasses of Diet Coke with about an inch or two of ice in each cup. The "Sauce guy" came to tell us about the new curry flavored sauce and asked us if we would like to try a sample of it, like they always do.  We said, "Sure".  We never saw him again. I'm wondering if he was in bed last night and went, "Those to diet coke drinking ladies?!  I FORGOT!"  Our server returned and we ordered our meals... Carol got a BBQ chicken salad.  I ordered the "Naked Tenders".  We sat for twenty minutes, visiting, commenting about how long it was taking, but we were in no hurry, so we just visited, looking for refills on our Cokes, but still patient.  

Finally, our food came.  The person, not our server, brought out a big Bacon-wrapped cheeseburger for Carol. She told them that she'd ordered a salad.  They said they'd be right back with her order.  My chicken was delivered and it was only half cooked... still warm with that "slick" uncooked chicked texture.  But, I didn't taste mine until the person who brought it out was gone, so I would have to wait until our server returned, hopefully, with drinks to check on us.  He never came.

Another ten minutes went by and the manager came over to say that he was sorry about Carol's salad.  We pointed out that my chicken was barely warm and not cooked. He said he'd bring out another one with Carol's salad.  I asked, "Could we get some refills on our Diet Coke, as well?"  "Absolutely!  Right now!"  He left.  

Twenty minutes later, still no food and no drinks, I got up to get my own.  I walked to the little cubby and there were two servers preparing drinks for their guests.  I asked if I could get one too.  The cute girl said, "You should have said something to someone." I said, "I did!  I told the manager, but he must have forgotten us."

Ten more minutes went by.  The manager returned, never mentioning our drinks and explained that they had a party of twenty and it had thrown the kitchen behind. (Um, the twenty were there when we arrived and they were done eating by now, so not a really good reason.  And when the wrong order is delivered, you push that order to the front if the other guest in that party are eating...not that I was.)  He was very apologetic and said, "Dinner will be on us tonight, you won't have to pay for a thing." He also said ours was coming right out.  He left.  We sat there for almost fifteen more minutes and never saw the manager again, never saw our food, our server, a coke, nada.   

After that long, we started looking for the manager to tell him that we were done waiting, thanks but no thanks. We couldn't even find him to tell him.  So, we just got up and left.  As we were walking out, the hostess said goodnight and we told her that we were leaving after an hour and ten minutes and no food.  She apologized and Carol said, "It's okay, the manager offered us free meals, but he doesn't seem to want to deliver them to us."  We walked out hungry and rolling our eyes.  We don't get mad.  It gives us something to laugh about, but seriously?   That one will go down in history as one of our worst dining experiences in Logan in a lonnnnnnnnnnnng time.  They were not that busy and if a twenty throws them off that bad, then they need to do some serious training.  Just sayin'.

We went back to Carol's and played Scattergories, Backgammon and Tenzi until 11:30 when we realized that we were hungry.  It was too late to eat, so I came home and went to bed.  Doug and the kids were all sleeping already and the snow was beginning to fall.  It was a pretty spectacular sight to see this morning, with over a foot of fresh snow and it's still falling in the afternoon!  A blessing to us all... every flake of snow!

I need a favor.  I'm in search of an old scale like this.  It can be yellow or cream or rusty, just not blue.  It does not have to work accurately, it is decor.  I have found only one here in the valley and it was $38.  Too much for my budget.  I know that back east, they are a dime a dozen in antique stores.  If you happen to be in an old thrift or antique store and see one, and would be willing to make a run to the post office with it, please let me know.  I'll happily pay for it, but I'd like to get it for at least half that, if possible.  Thanks!

Life is good... even with bad service in a normally pretty good restaurant. 

Friday, January 29, 2016

one good man

What a blessing to enjoy the last two days with our great friend, Doug B.  He comes through town a few times a year and we usually go out for dinner together then say goodbye in the restaurant parking lot.  This time, he came through and stayed for a few days!  It was a delight.  Doug is uplifting and lives close to the Spirit, so our time with him is always positive and encouraging. The kids adore him, always calling him "Uncle Herman".  However, last night, Quayd said our family prayer and expressed gratitude with "Doug", who I've never heard him call him that.  It was sweet.  I was waiting for Quayd to pray for Uncle Herman!

Yesterday, after breakfast, Grace who's still sick, dressed warm and went for a drive with us. We drove up to Smithfield so that Doug could run into Smithfield Implement, a hardware/cowboy store.  He was looking for something for his daughter's birthday and she has horses.  That's the only place I knew to go.  Following that, we took a beautiful scenic drive through the valley past the kids schools, the temple, and finally, ended up driving down as far south in the valley as we could to Porcupine Dam.  Sadly, the road was closed because of the snow when we got just a few hundred feet from the dam, so he didn't get to see the beauty of the reservoir, but it was a lovely ride just the same with the animals, the snow covered trees on the windy roads and the mountains.  He'd never been off the highway in our valley, so it was a treat.  Something that occurred to me when I climbed into bed last night and was telling my Doug about our drive, was that we were two blocks from our old Smithfield home and I didn't even think to drive past it. Literally. That's telling.

Speaking of "my Doug"... having two Dougs in the home is insane.  I told them that when they are together, "My Doug" is "Babe" and Doug B is Doug.  He doesn't feel like an "Uncle Herman" to me.  The funny thing was, though, that Doug B said that Helen calls him Babe, so he still wants to answer!  LOL 

Anyway... we came home through downtown Logan and stopped at Center Street Grill for a late lunch.  Grace didn't eat more than a few fries.  She just doesn't feel good.  Even just going for a ride, wrapped up in a blanket and never moving, it wore her out, I could see.  We also made a stop at Taipan, which was hysterical.  Doug's wife, Helen, is at home in Indiana.  She'd asked Doug to ask me to look in Taipan for something for their daughter's birthday.  I called Helen when we got inside and started snapping pictures of things and then texting them to her. I'd photo an area and she'd text back "that tan thing on top, then I'd take a closeup of it and she'd ask, "How much?  How big?"  So much for birthday shopping, "Ohhh!  I need that!  OHH!  I want that!"  Anne, the manager, was laughing at us, or with us, as Doug was rolling his eyes.  He commented that Helen and I could go shopping together and loose track of what day it was.  Helen, just moments later, on the phone, said, "Oh, Sophia!  We could shop together and not even know what time it is!"  Such fun!  With Grace parked in the sunshine in the parking lot, we were not really that long!

My Doug came in from work about the same time that we pulled in from our drive.  He wanted to go to the temple.  I still had several things that needed to be done with the kids, plus dinner to make, so Doug and Doug left and went to the temple. I was happy that they were able to spend some time together! I took Quayd in for a haircut and to pick up a few more things for dinner. Quayd was reluctant for this haircut, because some of his friends are growing their "missionary cuts" out a bit before graduation. But, once Quayd's hair was done, he was feeling so much better and knowing that he looked better... especially when the stylist went on and on about it.

We all reconvened for dinner at about 7:30, which was late but we didn't care.  We sat around the table, eating fajitas and cilantro rice and beans then visiting until almost ten! It's interesting to me that when we are with Doug, all conversations lead to gospel topics. The kids just sit and listen to our every word.  Quayd shared his experience from APTC last summer, as well.  A totally "reverent" dinner. After scriptures, we said our goodbyes, because the kids and Doug leave so early.  However, this morning, Doug B told me that the kids came into his room (ZJ's) and sat on the floor and visited with him till almost midnight.  I'm so thankful for his good influence on our family, for his special friendship with Doug and I and for his example to everyone. He truly is a great man.

This morning, after getting the kids off, I made breakfast, we said our goodbyes and he was on the road.  It snowed a couple of inches last night and more snow is expected, so our prayers are with him that he travels safely back to Indiana. I turned on the scanner and dispatch said that there is extreme fog with about 20 yards of visibility and there were multiple accidents from the icy roads.  I hope the weather improves and that he can keep ahead of the storms.

Life is good... and so are old friends!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

school, company and a memory

A few Thursday ramblings...

  • As I was driving down the hill yesterday, Doug called on his morning break.  I had to stop and snap this picture of the valley.  I talk about the "inversion", when our valley floor gets covered in fog for days on end.  It was such a beautiful day at home, but closer I got to the valley floor, the more foggy it became.  As I drove down 1400 North, I could see the top of the fog hovering over the valley and see the top of the Wellsville Mountains.  Driving on the highway (Main Street) to Smithfield, which sits in the center of the valley, visibility was almost nothing!  This picture shows exactly what the inversion does... the fog settles at the bottom of the "bowl" that is formed by our surrounding mountains.  What a beautiful and fascinating world we live in!
  • Grace... We have been doing some serious debating for weeks about her making the change next year to the Logan school that ZJ is attending.I promised her a decision after her next conference with her teachers. Next year is Grace's senior year. She loves her friends, teachers and absolutely loves Bella Voce.  BUT.  Her sister and all of the kids in the neighborhood are going to school in Logan.  So, she really would love the opportunity to attend school with them, as well.  Grace has an IEP since she was in elementary school, successfully working with her to the point that she is only in resource math.  To move her in her Senior year has only one advantage and that would be social.  Academically, there are no advantages...not for her last year only.  So the decision was made and the subject will now be dropped.  She will graduate from her current school.  No changes will be made. 
    I was thrilled to hear her teachers call her a "superstar", "a beautiful inside and out wonderful student", "one of my favorite students", "one of the sweetest girls in this school".  She needs to stay put.  When we addressed it last night, she was content with the decision.  I'm feel that Zeej was more disappointed than Grace was.  One thing that sounded exciting to Grace was that the drama teacher wants to see her even more involved next year, which was promising. She's excited about her senior year!
  • Quayd... this was his very last IEP meeting.  So hard to imagine.  Quayd also had to make a very difficult decision himself, regarding his last four months before graduation.  It was a difficult decision and I decided that I would let him make it himself.  I held my breath as he debated his options in his mind.  Finally, he looked at us all and shared his plan.  I was proud of him.  He did not make the decision that I would have made.  I would have gone with the other option because it had more of a guaranteed outcome.  Quayd chose to make the more difficult choice, which will be more of a personal challenge for him, but he is committed to accomplish this goal.  And even more important, later, he texted me to ask how someone else who was involved was doing (a result of his choice).  It was so interesting to me, as I reviewed what had just happened, to consider that I did not see a boy making this decision, but a man.  It was a had choice for Quayd and I am pleased at his determination.
  • Quayd was asked to another girl's choice dance this weekend.  He was invited by a gal that he barely knows. I was proud of him for saying yes.  She's not in the group of kids that he's really been friends with, but he said yes and she's different than the girls he has dated in lots of ways.  I said, "Good for you!" He said yes because she asked first. Last night, they had their "pre-dance" activity date and he came home telling us about the fun games that they played and the good time he'd had.  He really is a good kid.  I heart him.
  • Yesterday was insane!  I had parent teacher conferences for Quayd and Grace from 9-11:30, lunch with Carol right after that.  The minute that Doug came in, we headed off to the CPA to get our taxes done.  As we walked out of the CPA's office, Doug called our good friend, Doug (or as the kids call him, "Uncle Herman"), who had left a message that he would be traveling through Logan.  We were very happy when he accepted our invitation to stay with us this time as he passes through.  Quayd had a date, Grace is still sick, so Zee stayed home with her while Doug, Doug and I went out to dinner at Texas Roadhouse. I hadn't had five minutes to think about dinner all day long, so Doug's suggestion of dinner out was wonderful to me.  After dinner, we all gathered in the den, visited, read scriptures, and called it a night. We were actually in bed pretty early, which I know that my Doug needed!  He's working a lot of hours, keeping up with his YSA duties and trying to be there for all of us as we need them.
  •  Last but not least, I'm just making a note... today is the 30th anniversary of the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion.  I remember lying on the couch that morning, after sleeping there the night before, with one of the worst flus I ever remember having.  Watching the lift-off live and sitting up, staring at the TV and saying "WHAT JUST HAPPENED!?" 
  • Today, while Doug works, I'm going to take Doug B for a drive around the valley and then tonight, he may get to meet a few of our YSA kids at a gathering. I've got a few things to do to help Quayd get ready for the dance, and a little banking to do.  (I've not cashed Grace's last three paychecks.  oops.)  We'll take Grace, who's still barking for our drive today.  A.  To get her out of the house and B. because we wouldn't want to look "inappropriate".  It will be a fun day and Grace will be happy to be out for a bit.  She acted better yesterday but sounded worse. Thankfully, everyone else in the family remains healthy!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

over-induldged and happy about it

Grace is still under the weather and has been on the couch for three days now, basically living on Orange Juice.  It's just a bad cold, but she really sounds awful!  As a result of that, we have watched a LOT of Downton Abbey.  As a matter of fact, I went to Best Buy yesterday morning at 10:37 and bought the very last copy of the Downton Abbey final season, which was released yesterday.  I walked in and saw the five shelves empty except for the one remaining copy...thirty-seven minutes after they opened!  Apparently, I'm not the only person who loves Downton Abbey!

I had a catch-up lunchdate with Natalie, who I've not seen since November because of our conflicting schedules of late.  We had such a nice time talking about her daughter's upcoming wedding and all that's happening with our kids and our lives.  

Before lunch, I did my morning routine and task list to make sure that I had everything done that needed to be done because I knew our plan for the afternoon and evening.  As soon as lunch was over, I raced home and popped the first disc into the blu-ray player. Grace and I then enjoyed a nine  marathon, watching the entire nine hour final season of Downton Abbey in one sitting.  I should be ashamed, but I'm not.  We laughed together, we cried together, we loved every minute of it!  We stopped for potty breaks, refills on our drinks and to make a few sandwiches.

Doug, Quayd and Zee came home from work/school and made their own sandwiches, joining us off and on until the end.  Oh my word, I love these characters and the stories of their lives.  But, season six!  WOW!  I've never watched another series that I have enjoyed the ending as much as this.  Usually, I come away sad that things didn't go the way I would have wanted, but not this time!  I am so happy!  Now to get back to life, laundry and everything else that's calling my name after a week of Downton!

I told Liza that I'm speaking in church on Sunday and she said, "Is your topic "over-indulgence"?"  Har-har.  I don't do things like that all the time, but it has been a fun way to pass the time while Grace is feeling so bad.  I grabbed the camera yesterday and she even mustered a smile. 

On a sad note, but I do want to remember this moment ... Two days ago, Carol and I made our Sonic run and she needed to run into the grocery store to grab something.  I sat in the car and looked up to see this beautiful flag flying at half-mast in honor of Officer Doug Barney from the SLC area, who was shot and killed by a wanted criminal while on duty checking on a car accident.  So heartbreaking, as he left behind a wife and three teens.  This flag, blowing ever so slightly in a gentle morning breeze, brought tears to my eyes.  I've said it before and I'll say it again.  Police officers deserve the pay that doctors and lawyers receive.  They put their life on the line every day that they put on that badge to protect us.  So so sad.  Enough said.

The rest of the week will be filled with a full schedule...Doug just informed me that our good friend Doug is in town, I'm preparing my talk for church, parent teacher conferences, meeting our CPA for taxes, lots of busy work.  Life is good! 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

home evening

We finished Season Five of Downton yesterday.  Grace has a bad cold and sounds like she's barking when she speaks, so she spent the day on the couch under blankets resting, so it was easy to just sit with her and watch.  I didn't get much else done all day, other than bake her some cookies because that's what sounded good to her.

As Doug and I were settling into bed, night before last, I remembered something that had made me laugh really hard earlier in the day. It was a You Tube video of an LDS comedian who was spot on with his humor.  My i-Pad was charging right next to our bed, and so I said, "Can I keep you awake for two more minutes?"  I opened the video and we both just laughed and laughed.  We noticed another clip and watched it too.  The second one was of another comedian doing his impersonations of the LDS General Authorities.  He was really good, getting all of their little mannerisms to a tee.  I closed the iPad and put it back on the night stand.  Doug was waiting to kiss me goodnight as I rolled back over.  We kissed and he rolled back to his side of the bed.  Out of the blue, in a perfect imitation of President Thomas S. Monson, he said, "Kisses were exchanged."  Oh my gosh!  I was cackling out loud!  The kids could hear me downstairs!  It gave me the giggles and I laughed for a few minutes, starting over every time I'd stop.  Finally, thinking we were done, Doug asked, "I wonder if that kid does Joseph Smith too?"  Again, another burst of laughter.  I love that he makes me laugh and often!

Yesterday morning, Carol and I made our early morning Sonic run and Doug called right as we pulled up to order.  Most of the workers know us and know our order, Carol's easy ice and lots of lime,  my extra ice and one slice of lime.  Natasha, the manager, was outside changing signs, so Carol ordered while I was talking with Doug. I never gave a thought to the fact that I'd promised Grace a peach slush and that we'd only be gone twenty minutes.  Not so much.  We were almost home, just a few blocks away, when Carol turned around and drove all the way back to get Grace's slush, which, besides her cookies, was all that she ate all day long.  She's home again this morning, barking and coughing up a storm.

Last night, Quayd worked, Zee stayed home with Grace and Doug and I attended the YSA Home Evening activity, which was a Minute to Win It "pentathon"... five activities.  The activity was attended by about 75 students.  They went from activity to activity, with points being kept at each station.  In the end, scores were totalled and prizes were given.  What a fun activity!  And the competition was fierce!  Fun competition, but fierce!  Lots of good laughs!  Following the competition, subway sandwiches and chips were served.  A really fun night!  I do love Doug's calling and these kids!  I want to adopt them all!

A few pix from the evening...

The kids waste no time.  At 6:59, there was one person there.  At 7:01, they were all standing and awaiting instructions.

Andy, who's in charge, and does a fantastic job, was welcoming everyone.  Doug's standing in the background, like the leaders do.  They really let the kids do everything!  It's such a great training for their future.

 Max climbed into the basketball trashcan and asked to be pushed while he shot from all over the court.  He's pretty good!  As the night was coming to a close, I asked him, "Max, is there anything you are not good at?"  This kid is simply amazing!  I've told my girls that he's the kind of guy they want to be looking for!

 One of the activities was to do a 24 piece puzzle while being timed.  Hannah was pretty excited about this one.

This was the activity that I "managed".  Doug and I laughed all the way to Smithfield to pick Quayd up from work at 9 about this.  The kids had to suck on a straw (they each had their own straw) and pick up M&Ms, then drop them into the pan.  This is Max, Christina and Nathan, who actually were the winners, placing 130 M&Ms in the pan.  They were closely followed by only one other team at 129, but the average team of three placed 90-110 in the sixty seconds.  

I have to say that of all the challenges, why  I got this one, I'll never understand... give the germaphobe the challenge that involved a lot of spit.  It was pretty gross.  The M&Ms got pretty slimey and wet, disgusting!  We actually had to change the M&Ms after a bit because they were sticking to the straws.  Eeewwwwwwww!  I gagged a lot.  Even some of the boys were gagging.  But, lots of laughs!  And by 45 seconds, most kids were feeling light-headed!

Here's Bishop and Ann recording the scores. Bishop Skeen is very creative and and quite a perfectionist, which equals outstanding activities!

And here's Doug reading his scores to Bishop to enter into the computer.  

After the games, the kids congregated into another area of the building for sandwiches and visiting.  One thing that I am learning about YSA is that these kids do not need or care if there's a tablescape or even a table cloth!  Just feed them and they are thrilled!  AND ALWAYS so appreciative.  I don't know if it's just this particular group or what, but these kids thank us for every little detail.  They are awesome!

I thought that the prize was pretty funny... a week's supply of Ramen for each team member. Here's Max, Nathan and Christina, our winners... also three of my favorite kids in the ward.

As Doug and I left after clean-up to get Quayd on a very foggy night in our valley, we stopped at Jimmy Johns for a sandwich of our own (we don't usually eat until the kids are done and there's usually nothing left...we figure the kids are always hungry and we can eat whatever we want when get home.).  Driving through the fog, we reviewed the night's success and several times, both of us said, "they are just awesome kids, aren't they!?"  They really are a blessing in our lives at this time, as we get to know and love each and every one of them!  Good times!

We got home just before ten with Quayd.  The girls were waiting up for scriptures, which we've decided is working best for us just before bedtime because of everyone's crazy schedule.  As I went to sleep last night, I was thinking about our life and how much the gospel of Jesus Christ impacts it.  Truly, every single day of our lives, we have activities in and out of our home that are not just "church" related, but more so, they are "gospel" related.  From church and temple attendance ... to prayer... to scripture study... to service in our wards... to fun activities... to just having conversations and discussions in our home with friends and family on a regular basis, our lives would be completely different were it not for our activity in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  It keeps us busy, sometimes even crazy busy at times, but, what a joy and a gift it in in our lives.  It's all about family and service and devotion.  I can't imagine anything better to influence our lives for the good.  Just sayin'.

Life is good!

Monday, January 25, 2016


On Thursday, Mary Ann, Carol and I took a little day trip to Ogden for some fun shopping in the At Home store, then having lunch at Longhorns and a short stop at Costco.  Fun day for us all. Carol scored bigtime with the things to decorate an area of her home that she's not yet known what to do with.  Ann found a few fun things.It was fun to get back home and the three of us played with it until it looked fabulous!  I was, mostly, along for the ride, not needing anything really, but, I did happen to find a small picture frame that I've had an empty spot to fill, so I was happy with that. 

I love it when I find just the right little touch here and there.  It's always fun just to add some zip. A few weeks ago, I bought this wonderful clock at Hobby Lobby.  I'd been carrying around a gift card for months and was very happy that I'd waited for "just the right thing" to use it on!

And I finally broke down and bought these cottom stems at Taipan. I saw them in October when they first opened in Logan but didn't want to pay the price! I had brought home some real cotton from the fields in North Carolina, but it just crumbled after a short while.  I have wanted more for quite some time just to represent my North Carolina roots in our home.  These are real cotton but on wire stems.  I'd like to get a few more, but at $14 a stem, not today.  I also want to get a large vase with a huge bottom and small neck to put them in.  Again, in time.  It was so much fun last year, when we bought the new home, to just be able to get everything as needed immediately, but now we are back to reality and truth be told, I kind of like getting a little thing here and there just to perk things up as I go. If I got everything I wanted all at once, then what would I have to look forward to, right?

Doug worked this weekend again.  Quayd and Grace are very involved at school right now.  ZJ is preparing to audition for the singing/performing group at her school. It's a busy weekend again for everyone. I'm sort of left to myself with all of this busyness, so I'm working on projects and goals right now.  I worked on some journaling projects, cooked a lot and just enjoyed a lot of Downton Abbey.  I'm excited to being watching the final season tomorrow when the DVD is released.  I've deliberately avoided any and all Downton Abbey 6 so that it will be a fun surprise to watch the final season all at once!

We had a busy Sunday, as usual.  Doug was off to meetings.  The girls had early morning leadership meetings.  We attended both wards.  The second that our Sacrament Meeting ended, our bishop caught Quayd and told him that he would like to see both Quayd and I.  I was a bit nervous that he would not be happy that Quayd is attending Doug's YSA ward a lot right now.  Quayd's taking a great Mission Prep class in the YSA ward and loving it, but his membership is in our home ward. Our home stake offers Mission Prep, as well, but it's on Tuesday nights and Quayd works at night, so he has been unable to attend. I figured the Bishop was going to address. I mentioned it to him and he was fine with it!  YAY!  Instead, he talked to Quayd for a second about the Read the Book of Mormon in 100 Day Challenge and he asked me to speak in Sacrament Meeting next Sunday.

Quayd is really getting excited about serving on a mission, more and more each day, but the reality of things is also hitting him right between the eyes... he's going to be graduating soon, he's going to be an adult soon, he's got a lot to do!  He invited me to attend his Mission Prep class yesterday. (I sort of roam from place to place in the YSA ward, and I was happy to have a place to go.)  Quayd really listened and focused.  The young man teaching the class has only been home from his mission for six months.  He directed most of his comments to Quayd and more than once said, "I'm envious that you have this ahead of you!  It will be the greatest experience of our life!"  I sure hope so!  I'm still holding on for what the future holds for Quayd.

The kids also had a Fireside last night while Doug was at Ward Devotional.  Quayd came home from the fireside and told me that it was pretty awesome.  Again, I feel him growing and I love it!

It was seriously a busy day!  Doug always teases that we need a day of rest after the Sabbath day of rest because it is our busiest day of the week!

I'm so totally jealous of the amazing snowstorm that hit the east coast.  I understand the danger and trouble caused by it.  We seem to be more equipped for this kind of storm in the west and we literally need this kind of storm every winter.  I was also thankful to hear from several friends and family who live back east where the worst of the storm hit. 

Life is good.  So is Downton Abbey!

Thursday, January 21, 2016


Carol and I spent our Monday morning working on our cookbooks.  I'd made her and her girls a cookbook for storing recipes.  I've used my own cookbook for years now and it's been the best way to organize recipes that I've found.  Carol has always stored her recipes in an open file box.  I tried that for years but when I came up with this notebook and sheetprotector idea, I tried it and it's been wonderful!  So wonderful that my own book was very tired!

So, yesterday, Carol brought her file and her new cookbook over, we ran to Sam's Club for a few groceries and sheet protectors and got our books done!  She transferred all of her recipes into sheet protectors.  I dejunked my recipes, put all the sheet protectors into a new notebook because my old was was literally held together by shipping tape.  We had some good laughs at our recipes, which are covered in chocolate, grease, you name it.  But, now, they are protected.  We threw away a lot of recipes, traded some new ones and I copied/printed out a few for both of us.  It was a productive project day.

 The idea is to get a notebook, fill it with sheet protectors and divide your categories into sections.  Then, place your recipes, as they are... written on the back of an envelope, torn off a box, handed out at Relief Society, or even a whole torn page from a much used published cookbook or magazine.  Then, put it into the sheet protectors and into it's category like a regular cookbook.  Some sheet protectors have several recipes inside them.  They don't shift once they are in the protector.  I love how simple and functional this has been! I don't have to read page after page, looking for something. I know that the cornbread recipe is on a bright piece of orange paper, that my peach pie is on the original recipe card from Sister Nielson.

Why it works for me...
After years of using it, I know where on the page it is and if it's in the beginning or the end of the section. I did retype a few yesterday and print them out.  It will take me a while to get used to looking for new copies!  ha!  So much more simple than typing up a whole book, looking through recipe card boxes or remembering where I put it!  And the best part is that they are protected from splatters and spills... if you put a new recipe in, it will always stay looking new!  When we go to the ranch, I can grab this cookbook and have every recipe with me.  Oh and one other reason  if it's a large recipe that has tons of ingredients,, like my Carrot Cake or Amy's Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies, I use a dry erase marker and can mark things off as I'm adding them to the Bosch. It works for me!
In the meantime, I've decided that it was time to watch Downton Abbey, from the first episode forward.  The new and final DVD will be released next week.  I've not watched it on PBS this season because our Sunday nights are so busy and I don't want to wait a week between episodes.  So, we'll watch all five seasons that we already own, then watch the final season when it arrives next week.  I'm excited to see where it goes and have literally avoided any and every comment, article, story about Downton Abbey for weeks.  Such a good show.

Last night, we also finished the book of Alma in the Book of Mormon as a family.  We hope to finish the Book of Mormon as a family before Easter.  I think that at our pace, we are well ahead of schedule!  It's been fun to read with the kids this time, as they are all in Seminary and appreciating what we are studying!  I love to read the scriptures, but reading them as a family is a real joy.  Now, if we could be as diligent at every goal!  But, as Liza says, "Baby Steps".   We're progressing!

Oops!  I thought I hit the publish button and didn't! Life is good!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

just sayin'

I spent the day alone at home yesterday listening to LDS Conference talks, looking on Pinterest for fun home ideas and just doing my little creative thing that fills my bucket.  Then, last night, when Doug came home, we ordered pizza and watched the Eagles last concert in Melbourne Australia.  It was sooooo good!  We felt it was our proper way of celebrating the life of Glenn Frey.  There's not too many celebrities that I'd actually do that for.  I do remember praying, literally praying, for Christopher Reeves after his paralyzing horse accident, but I can't remember any others.  Celebrities are people too, right?  Just sayin'.

One of the talks that I listened to, yesterday, was by Elder Lawrence, I love his comment that the Holy Ghost will tell us things that no one else dares to say because He cares. I'd really never thought about it like that.  Friends will tell us the truth, but they'll tell us in a way that it's what we want to hear.  The Holy Ghost will speak the truth, often telling us things that we don't want to hear... things that we need to really work on and we know that we need to work on, but in a way that we can't just let it go and realize that it's time to act.  It really gave me something to ponder about and ask what is the Holy Ghost talking to me about, what am I doing to progress and what am I doing that's slowing down my progress?  I love Conference talks!  Just sayin'.

I have a little rant... I feel frustrated by Valentines Day for kids.  In 6th grade through high school, local schools sell roses to be delivered to kids in their classes.  The girls who don't get them sit there all day long, each hour, hoping that theirs will come and feeling like "losers" because they didn't.  The kids that do walk around almost flaunting them.  It makes me sad.  And what the heck are 12 year olds sending roses to other 12 year olds for in the first place!?  In my opinion, it's a form of bullying on it's own.  Just sayin'.

We know a cute boy who spent over a hundred dollars last year, sending roses to girls that he knew would not get roses.  Oh for a few more "good boys" like that.  But seriously, why is this even happening in middle school?  It's turned me off to Valentines Day for kids!  And that's all I have to say about that. It's fine in elementary when every kid makes a valentine for every kid in the class.  It's wonderful for couples who are in love.  But, I no likee this rose thing in middle and high school. Just sayin'.

Speaking of Valentines day... 
Here's the table in my entryway with a little touch of Valentines. 

Love grows best in little houses,
with fewer walls to separate. 
 Where you eat and sleep so close together,
 you can’t help but communicate.  
 If we had more room between us, think of all we’d miss.
Love grows best in houses just like this.

 I love that little poem.  Carol said that she thinks it's a song.  I've never heard it before, but I saw the words and loved them!

Last night, we also played our own game of Tenzi! It arrived!  As soon as Doug came in, he and Zee and I played for half an hour.  I love how playing together gives us a good chance to visit and relax together.  I've said it before and I'll say it again, I'm certain, but time around the table together...whether eating or playing together... is good time together.  Just sayin'.

And, last but not least, one of the other things that I did yesterday was go through the old scrapbook that I kept while falling in Love with Doug.  I have kept every letter that he wrote to me while he was on his mission and while he was at BYU.  I have gumwrappers, airline tickets, dried sagebrush from the ranch, you name it, fun stuff!  Our first date was to Walt Disney World Grad Night, an overnighter for high school seniors.  Best date ever!  The tickets had the price on them, $8.65 plus tax for a whooping $9 admission to Disney World.  Crazy!  In the midst of it all, I also found this little 4x4" photo of Doug and I... the first photo ever, a candid, taken of the two of us.  It's blurry and faded, but I love it. Just sayin'.

Life is good!  And better because he's in mine!

If it's important to you, you will find a way.  If not, you'll find an excuse.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

a great loss, a deep scratch and a surprise visit

Since the kids had no school, everyone slept in and took it easy all morning, except Zeej, who volunteered to help with putting up flags in the neighborhood to celebrate the holiday. Carol texted, "Coke time?" and we raced off to Sonic for our morning coke.  We made a quick stop on the way home at Bath and Body Works for their last day of the "Biggest Sale of the Year" (until their next Biggest Sale of the Year, we realize).  Carol treated me to a "Beautiful Day" candle, which was sweet of her and has made my house smell a bit springy all day!

The girls and I dropped Quayd off and went into my not favorite store to make a return.  Which reminds me... last week, I went in to go to the bank.  Sadly, since our move, the closest branch is inside of Walmart, which means I have to go in on occasion.  Ugh.  So, I'm walking past this man who's got a machine all opened and putting things inside it.  I said, "Hey?  Is this the machine that makes the cute little tags with your pet's name on it?"  He said, "Yes, it is!  And you can also write dirty things on it."  EEEEWWWWWWW!   I said, "Um, OR NOT" and walked away.  Some people!

The girls and I played a few games of Tenzi and Pit for a bit before Doug got home from work.  Just after dinner, I walked past the computer and saw a big picture of Glenn Frey, one of the Eagles, and immediately opened it to discover that he had passed away at the young age of 67.  My heart literally ached.  The Eagles have always been my favorite band.  There's not a day in this home that we don't listen to the Eagles on one playlist or another.  My mind can go back to the 70s and 80s in one note, listening to their beautiful harmonizing voices. Back when we actually played our music on CDs, I ended up buying a third set of The Bery Best of the Eagles because I wore the first two out.

In high school, my bestie, Kevin, and I had serious driving rules for the Eagles music.  If  "Best of my Love" was playing, no one was allowed to speak in the car.  We would literally pull over and air drum with them to "Take it to the Limit".  "Lying Eyes" was always played on Full blast!  But, my most favorite memory of the Eagles was being at a company party with Doug when they played the most popular remake Live Version of "Hotel California", which had always been a favorite.  In 1990ish,  The beginning little guitar piece had never been heard before.  We were on the dance floor and this "slow dance" began.  We continued to dance from the song before and when the audience on the album and  the 500 people in the room realized that this was Hotel California, everyone cheered!  Best Eagles Moment ever and probably my most favorite date night moment ever!  

Last night, I opted to stay home and just rock out very loudly to the Eagles for the rest of the night while Doug went to the YSA Stake Ski Party.  He opted not to ski, but I think that deep down, he really wanted to.  It's been 25 years since he did any downhill skiing and he truly loved it.  Deepdown, I'd have liked to see him do it too.  But, he said that he'd just go for a few hours and then come back about the same time that Quayd got off work.

Back to Glenn Frey... this is really a strange beginning to a new year.  We are less than three weeks into the year and already, Glenn Frey, David Bowie (I have never been a fan), Grizzley Adams, Celine Dion's beloved husband, Rene and her older brother.  Most of them were younger than 70.  This is really sad.  Doug commented, that's young!  It seems like a lot of death for such a short period of time.  And listening to the Eagles now feels different...sadness.  I'm not loving watching so many people who've brought us so much happiness leaving us, but I imagine that the next few years will continue to bring the ends of lives to many of the people who have entertained us for generations...hopefully more will be in their 90s, not their late 60s!

 At about 8:15, our doorbell rang and we had a surprise visit from our grandson, Jason and his family!  Dave and Katie were in town to pick up their new SUV.  SO nice!  We visited until almost ten.  The kids were downstairs playing on the Wii while we visited by the fire in the den.  I've done a little furniture rearranging in the den.  More furniture but cozier feel, in my opinion.  I could happily never leave this room!  We never get enough time with Dave and Katie, so it was such a treat to catch up with them on life!

I've moved the furniture around and added a standing lamp and distressed coffee table. My mother took one look at this table a few years ago and was immediately turned off.  I happen to love distressed furniture!  Mom, not so much.  I've decided that having kids means having distressed furniture whether you buy it that way or not!  My new living room coffeetable is not distressed.  I went in to dust a bit ago and discovered a seven inch scratch on the top of it.  (It looks like someone sat on it with riveted jeans.)  Mr. Nobody did it, of course.  Yep, should have just bought a distressed one in the first place and I wouldn't have been traumatized by the scratch.  It was one of those days that I had to tell myself over and over, "People are more important than things."  Yep... I prefer the casual and distressed den over any room in our home!  Life is good even with scratched brand new furniture!  And I can still listen to Glenn Frey and the Eagles, even after the thrill is gone.

Don't sweat the small stuff.  It's all small stuff.