Friday, April 29, 2016

gratitude means so much

Doug and I have been so touched all week by the little surprise gifts, notes and cards that have shown up on our doorsteps from the YSA kids in the 35th ward.  WOW.  They've brought us to tears so many times.  Their gratitude has been phenomenal.  What an impressive group of kids!  And it's not like they all got together and said, "Let's send Brother and Sister Corbridge a thank you."  They've just arrived here and there, through text, in our mail, on our doorstep.  Ironically, it's Doug and I who feel gratitude for the opportunity to get to know each of them!

We've also received personal Facebook invitations, which has been fun.  We've all been on a large Facebook group for the year as a ward, but now, they are inviting us personally so that we can stay in touch.  What an incredible group of young adults!  We love them so much!

Doug began his service in the 34th Ward as Stake High Councilor yesterday and loved the ward instantly.  These kids will be different.  Many of them still live in their parents' homes.  They are not as many either.  We will try hard to not compare them to the 35th Ward kids, but again, the kids from 35th Ward are some of the sharpest kids we've ever met.  This transition will be interesting and exciting!  We are so looking forward to it!

Today, we are mostly thankful for the fact that Liza and Aylabelle are here for a few days!  HAPPINESS!!!  The first thing Aylabelle wanted to do was have Grampy take her to "her" swing.

Life is so so good!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

and in other news....'s cold and rainy.  Aylabelle told me on Facetime that I need to wear my jacket.

...I had the most fun yesterday, going to Brigham City with friend Sue, from our home ward.  She's been my friend since the moment we met.  She's renovated her home in a major way and now has a new room and needs furniture.  Oh my did we laugh.  She's my only friend who's shorter than me.  She understands what it's like to sit on a sofa and not have your feet reach the ground but some of the sofas, she just got lost in.  We laughed so hard!  After shopping, we had the most fabulous lunch at Maddox, which is a northern Utah classic must experience place.  It's pricey but it's wonderful.  What a fun day!

Here's Sue, literally sinking into a sofa!  Can you hear us laughing!?

...Denise's son, Michael's wife had to have an emergency C-section last night, just 26 weeks into her pregnancy.  A little angel, Rose Denise, was born weighing only 550 grams (=1.226 pounds).  She is a little fighter, but she has a very long road ahead of her.  If you happen to be on your knees or sending good thoughts, they would be appreciated.

...when did gas become $2.50 a gallon?  It was $1.89 last fill-up.  AND please don't let it get up to $4 a gallon again!

... I'm trying to get New Beginnings together for this weekend.  I still have things to do but we are working on it!  I'll be happy when this is done!  It's been months in the making because of schedule changes, but we're almost there!

...we also had the YW Girls Camp kick-off last night.  Grace is a Youth Leader this year.  She conducted the meeting last night.  She cracks me up!

...most of all, I'm happy that in 48 hours, Liza and Aylabelle will be here for a few days!!!!  I can't wait!  Aylabelle already told me that we have to play Tenzi with Aunt Carol and swing with Grampie.

Life is good! And so are the prayers of friends!

Monday, April 25, 2016

change is good! this one is great!

So, last Wednesday night, after our meeting of the Bishopric and the Stake President, Doug and were asked to stay for another private meeting.  A calling was extended to Doug to serve on the YSA High Council.  President Job assured Doug that there had never been any consideration of letting Doug come back to our home ward and that they want to keep him in the YSA as long as they can.  Trust me, there were tears of joy!  So, through the week, we knew that this change would occur and it was with mixed emotions...hating the thought of the ending of the experiences in the 35th Ward, but excited for the new opportunities to serve in the stake!

Prior to our Sunday meetings, one of the students asked if they could come to our home and practice for the musical number that they were to perform in Sacrament Meeting.  They arrived at 11 and practiced until 1:00.  It was beautiful.  We made some quick bread and juice for them to enjoy when they were done.  I love having their beautiful music in our home. The piano, a cello and the voices... wow! It's one of the things I love the most about YSA!  I was emotional already at the thought of this meeting where a new bishop would be called.  There were lots of hugs and promises to keep in touch all morning and then throughout the day.  (How I love Facebook and Instagram!)

Following the administration of the Sacrament, they performed their beautiful musical number to perfection!  It was powerful!  President Job stood to release the current bishopric and call the new one. (Great men, by the way.  Doug knows the new Bishop because he has served on the High Council for the past two years.)  Doug was sustained to the High Council.  We had to laugh because the kids and I heard audible "Yes!!" from student behind us.  The students were happy to know that Doug will continue to serve in YSA.  The kids in the row behind us were quite vocal about it.  Our kids laughed at the quiet "hoorahs"!

Doug was asked to speak first.  His testimony is always beautiful. He commented that he has worked so hard to remember each student's name and what they are studying, where they are from.  And he's done it!  He blows me away!  (Actually, as we walked out of President Job's office last week, Doug's first comment was, "How am I going to learn all the names of the entire stake!?") He expressed his love for each of them and said that he's horrified that in the future, he will run into one of them and not remember their name.  He cares about "the one". He really does. Doug is not about groups and parties... he's about getting to know the individual.  He's a great listener.  He also expressed his gratitude for working with Trace/Bishop.  I don't think I could count the times that Doug has mentioned that to me and everyone who mentions this bishopric anytime.  And his love for me... that part choked me up.  In the end, his testimony was of the beauty of the gospel and how living and keeping the commandments will bring us joy that no other thing in life can.  I heart this man!

Following the meeting, we were immediately whisked off to the Stake Offices, where Doug was set apart as a member of the High Council. He will be assigned a YSA ward to act as liason from the ward to the stake leaders.  He will attend the assigned ward and all meetings and activities, be a part of the ward council, "act as a third member of the bishopric", as President Job described it.  He'll also have a stake responsibility/assignment, like building scheduling, athletics (HA!!!!DOUG!?!?!?!?), accounting, activities, who knows?  All that is yet determined.  He also will speak one Sunday a month in the different wards in the stake once during the year.  We will also still do the Family Home Evening dinners monthly for the ward that he is assigned to!  This calling will be even more time consuming and demanding, but he will be able get to know more students and work with all of the wards at some level or another.  It's exciting!  And it's not like we won't have our door open to them all anyway... old ward, new ward, all wards!  Happiness!

The students were so happy to know that we will still be around!  The goodbyes for us were not as sad because we still we be serving with them.  That's exciting!  We were given sweet gifts and cards and little thank yous.  Seriously, we love these kids!!!   They will all be in finals next week and then. most go home for the summer.  So, actually, we only missed out on one Sunday with them this school year.  When they return, many will be in new wards and all over the place, so we'll still see some of them. A few may even be in the ward that Doug is assigned to! This is a whole world of it's own in the YSA and we love it!

Sunday was a great day.  I was happy for our own kids to be there and experience this.  I think that sometimes, kids take their parents for granted.  It was good for them to see others showing gratitude and love in such beautiful ways to both Doug and I.  I think they felt it.  When we read scriptures later that night, Doug said, "Do you know how much I love the YSA kids?"  They all said, "YES!!" Then, he continued, well, take that and multiply it by 38 billion and I love you even more than that."  They beamed.

Life is good!  And so are new beginnings.

Friday, April 22, 2016


Last night, Doug and I walked outside and I said, "WHAT is THAT!?"  There was huge bird across the street by our neighbor's front door.  I totally thought it was a peacock, hiding on their porch. Doug grabbed my camera and as I approached, Doug said, "That's a turkey!  A wild turkey!"  About that time, she noticed us and flew up into the tree beside our next door neighbor's home.  I've seen a lot of deer in our neighborhood and a few Sundays ago, there was a moose a few doors down, but a wild turkey was something new.  And the crows that we have...huuuuuuge crows.  I've never seen anything like them.  AND... I didn't know that turkeys could fly like that!  Wow!  

She flew into the tree and stayed there for over an hour before we lost interest.  The crows, however, were just as curious as could be.  There were at least twenty of them just hovering around her and bawking at her.  I don't know if she stayed in the tree because of the humans or the crows, but she was definitely feeling and acting vulnerable.  What a wonderful world we live in.

I thought surely she would leave as I approached the tree, but she stuck around even then.

It's spring, indeed.  The weather has been so lovely.  Trees are budding, flowers blooming.

Life is good!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

life is good

Just a little rambling for the day... or should I say night?

We did the the first of our pre-mission shopping.  YIKES!  This is going to be an expensive journey!  But, we are more than willing and very excited to do it!  Now, to teach Quayd to do laundry.  He's begun doing his own a few months ago.  We began with the lesson on hot and cold water.  Here's my little trick to remind him.  Whites go in HOT water because it's HOT in the day when it's light outside.  Darks go in COLD water because it gets cold at night when it's dark outside.  Corny, yes, but he's doing it.  So far, no pink socks!  HAPPINESS!

Could this girl be any cuter?  She's always trying new things with her hair.  Her banshee knots were out of control curly today, so she reinvented herself just before walking out the door.   And don't ya just love that she's wearing my vintage Phantom of the Opera sweatshirt that is 30 years old!


I found this photo of myself and had just taken this photo of Aylabelle while we were on Facetime.  I hear it a lot.  Our eyes.  I see the curls. I get to see her next weekend!  HAPPINESS AGAIN!


Even Stevens opened in Logan!!  So excited!  HAPPINESS!!

 These are the invitations we made for our New Beginnings in Young Women.  They turned out really cute but the whole den had feathers flying around.  We were all coughing and choking on feathers all night long!  Things are coming together.  The girls and I are planning a lovely evening for the YW and it will be a part of their Personal Progress Project.  HAPPINESS, again!


Life is good!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

our last shebang

The first major activity that our YSA ward did last summer was to hold a "Getting to know You" talent show.  We held it at a park, in partial dark and we were blown away by the amazing talent of the members of the ward.  We ended the year with another talent show.  This time, last night, there was much more talent because the students all know each other and have bonded so closely. No one held back. It was an incredible evening.  Honestly, I was mind-blow, had goosebumps, got choked up, laughed hysterically... you name the emotion and it was there.  These kids are phenomenal!

I was already a bit emotional before we arrived because... this Sunday, the bishopric will be released.  Bishop Skeen has served for four years in this YSA stake.  When Doug was called last summer, he was informed that he would serve until Bishop Skeen's release this spring and then, he (Doug) would probably be called to another position because they do like to keep the leaders in the stake for 3-4 years.

However, in the meantime, our home ward bishop has been very clear that they need Doug back in the home ward.  So, we aren't sure what's going to happen next.  All that we do know is that Doug and the bishopric will be released this Sunday.  And that last night was our last activity.  And that my heart hurts at the thought of not being involved with Bishop Skeen and Ann through the YSA.  Ann is my friend, before and after the calling and that won't change.  She's also Carol's sister.  So, we will still get together and visit. And Doug and Trace have a great relationship. But, these students.  My heart!  We will miss them all! 

 This is Lilly.  She and her partner, from another ward, danced and blew us away with the lifts.  Lilly has been in charge of ward devotional each Sunday night for the year.  She's never served the same treat twice.  Unbelievable and she's sent Doug home with treats for our kids most weeks.  She's a delight!

Trevor played the Pink Panther Theme song and everyone was just snapping along.  So fun!  He's a riot!

Rachel and Taya were hysterical.  They'd written several verses of a song about members of the ward, then asked for people to come up impromtu and add a verse.  Wow!  Rachel and I connected right off the bat, as well.  She's a hugger.  I love that about her and she has no inhibitions!  She just radiates happiness wherever she goes!

Dane became one of my instant favorites when he came to our home the first time we had any students over.  He gravitated right to my piano and blew me away.  He continues to do so.  No music ever and he can play and play and play.  I leaned over to Grace last night and said, "You have my permission to fall in love with and marry him."  Zee leaned over Grace and said, "What about me!?"  Dane is awesome!

 Andy and I share a love of classic rock music.  The first time he came into our home, he went straight to my wall of CD's, saw my music selections and said, "Sister Corbridge, you just moved up on my cool people list!"  His guitar playing, literally, has to be the best of anyone I've ever known personally.  I could have listened to him play all night long!  And the band's Lonely by Zeppelin may have been loud and shocking to some, but I wanted to get up and cheer!  They were great!  I heart Andy!  Andy also served his mission in Florida.  Yagottaluvthat!

The ward dynamics actually change a bit each year.  Kids come and go, graduate, move to other apartments and end up in other ward boundaries.  Over the summer, there's only a limited few kids that don't go home and then in the fall, there's a new group that move into the boundaries.  So, anyway around it, the dynamics will change.  New faces, new talents and strengths.  But, these kids!  We love them so! 

Whether Doug will remain in the YSA Stake or come back to our home ward... it's been the greatest experience we have ever had in church service!  We have loved every single second!  I had a friend ask, "Wouldn't it be nice to get your husband back though?" (because he is so involved and it is time consuming.)  I said, "Heck no!!!  It's the greatest thing that we've ever done!" And Sundays are really the only time that we miss Doug's presence at home.  Otherwise, we are very involved together or as a family with the calling. 

I've asked Doug how he feels about the release.  He feels that Bishop Skeen, who has been one of Doug's life heroes for several years now, has been the "magic".  Bishop Skeen has an incredible sense of foresight and vision for making things happen.  His general disposition is to serve others and he has brought service opportunities to these Young Single Adults like nothing I could have ever imagined.  My mind thinks "What can we do for FUN!?"  Bishop Skeen's mind is "SERVICE IS FUN!!!"  And he's really set a high standard for that with his activities and his own personal example.  

I digress... Doug's response is that he will be happy and willing to serve wherever he is needed the most, but when I pinned him to get an answer (and believe me, it was hard to pin him down to vocalize it), he admits that he would love to continue in the YSA.  Who wouldn't!  Bottom line... we'll all know on Sunday, right?

Anyway... last night's talent show was incredible.   From classical pianist to dancing to a A Cappella group (that literally took our breath away) to opera singing to a cow playing the cowbell to a make-up tutorial by a girl who could not see the boy's face as it was applied to a rock and roll band performing Led Zeppelin... it was a fantastic evening.  We ended by with a group sing-along of American Pie, which has become a tradition for Bishop Skeen's ward.  It was!

At the end of the evening, the bishopric and wives were asked to come to the stage.  We were presented with a large plant and cards signed by everyone.  Oh my.  Ann kept leaning over to me saying, "Don't cry.  Don't cry."  And how could I not.  While singing American Pie, I was doing the ugly cry!  I love these kids so much!!!

Bishop and Ann... two of the greatest people Doug and I have ever had the pleasure of being friends with.

It was a perfect ending to a perfect chapter in our lives.  Whether Doug continues in the YSA and a new chapter with new leaders begins or not, for Doug and I, serving with Bishop Skeen and Ann, has been a choice experience.  Sunday will come and go, but our love for them both will not end.  Doug and I were both emotional about it as we left.  We needed to run and pick Quayd up from work.  None of us had eaten dinner so we stopped at Sonic and had a burger on the way home.  The girls were telling Quayd about the amazing talent show and we were all talking about "if" Doug stays or is done.  It's been a great experience for us all.  Continuing in the YSA would be wonderful, but, coming home to the home ward will bring new adventures as well.  Whatever happens happens...Come what may and love it!  We shall see! As always, we just roll with life and are happy to serve wherever we can.  Enough said.

Life is good!

Monday, April 18, 2016

exciting times!

The past few weeks have obviously been full of excitement, business, happy moments, fun and joy!  This weekend has been wonderful. Just watching Quayd sharing his news with so many friends and family has been lovely.  It has been a busy few weeks with lots of other things happening, as well.  I thought I'd just record a few memories with pictures...

 We didn't take any photos on our anniversary until after we home and getting into the hottub.  So, here's our official 39th Anniversary our hottub robes. Lovely.  But, we are together and madly in love and happy, so it works!

I am usually pretty private about temple attendance but this was a special day that I don't want to forget.  During our spring break, we spent one morning together at the temple doing baptisms before going to the Crepery for breakfast.  It was wonderful morning together. Not the best picture, but a wonderful morning!

 This past weekend, we went to the ward party, hosted by the Primary, a "Hillbilly Hoe-down"/Dutch Oven cook-off.  So so fun!  And the food was divine!  I could not believe how nummy everything was!  The decorations were darling with clotheslines filled all around the walls and fresh flowers on every table.  It was fantastic!  Love these cute kiddos!

 The entertainment was absolutely fantastic!  These two men played their fiddles and banjo and bass.  WOW!  They were so good!  I'm trying to think of a reason to hire them again!

Layne and Julie's Dutch Oven was the winner.  It was fantastic!  I'll be sharing the recipe soon for this Chicken dish!  We are so grateful for our friendship with Layne and Julie!  Last night, they came over for treats and a movie.  We watched The Walk!  We LOVE this movie!

As we visit with people,we are learning more and more about the Redlands Mission.  Yesterday, our Bishop asked Quayd announce his mission in Sacrament Meeting and to bear his testimony.  He did a great job!  I love his enthusiasm.  After the meeting, several members came up and comments/congratulated him. Quayd's new mission president will begin his service only three weeks before Quayd arrives in California.  Sister Smith, a beautiful lady in our ward, came up to me and told me that Quayd's new mission president served his own mission while she and her husband were serving as the president of the mission at the time.  President Dixon, Quayd's President was the assistant to President Smith and the Smiths could not say enough wonderful about their, then, "Elder Dixon".  How awesome is that.  Doug also learned that one of the gals in his YSA ward grew up in the same ward as the Dixons.  He sounds fabulous!  We're excited for Quayd on so many levels!

On Sunday afternoon, Brother Godfrey, our Stake Patriarch, delivered Quayd's written copy of his patriarchal blessing to him.  Quayd was so excited to get a hard copy and be able to read it.  He spent quite some time reading it, stopping, thinking about things, reading more. He's so ready and excited to serve the Lord for the next two years. It's a great time in his life.

Since Quayd was reading his, Grace decided to get hers out and review it, as well. Since they both were, I reread mine as well.  A perfect way to spend our Sunday afternoon while waiting for Doug to come home from his meetings.

A certain friend and I were shopping and this happened.  Oops.  But, we laughed.  Hard.

This curly willow tree start is on the front porch.  When I came home the day after Quayd's mission call was sitting on this chair in the rain, our mail was sitting on the chair with a note written on it, "Mailbox blocked." Hello?  He put Quayd's mission call on the chair in the rain because a "twig" was in front of the box?  I wasn't amused.  I moved the twig.  But, really?

I realized that I never put this photo in my last entry... Jim and Kristy visiting Quayd to hear his mission letter.  What a wonderful memory this will always be!

 Last Thursday, after Quayd's call arrived, I went to Ann's for Bunco, and passed the school. This snowperson was "sitting" at the picnic table.  I literally laughed out loud and did a U-turn to take a picture!  Someone has a great sense of humor! 

Friday night, Grace was on double blind date.  The tall boy, is her friend from our ward.  She set him up with her friend, and he set her up with his friend from school.  Her date was cute (and he knew it).  He was a little more forward than Grace cares for.  Ironically, he showed up at our ward party on Saturday. Grace didn't have any desire to even chat with him again.  It was a bit awkward for her but I was proud of her.  This whole dating experience for Grace is an adventure.  She's learning lots. 

While Grace was on her date, Zee had some friends over for 
Star Wars and night games.  Quayd wasn't missing out on Star Wars.  We had a house full of teens until 11:30.  Doug and I slipped out to the hottub for a soak while the Force was with them.  

It really is an exciting and fun time of life.  It's hit me this weekend, Quayd will be gone for two years!  Carol pointed out that this could be the last time that we have all five of us living together under one roof again.  It's possible.  Grace will be on the bottom side of nineteen when Quayd finishes his mission.  She could be on a mission herself by then or out on her own or even married (not that we think she would be, but, hey, I was by then.)  (And girls do serve missions, but they are not expected  to like the LDS Young Men.) 

We have 93 days left and for the first time in my life, I'm not thinking, "And if you don't count today and you don't count that day..."  I want every moment of this 93 days to last and be wonderful!  We're only three months from some very big changes in our lives. I say it often but it's really hitting me now... time flies!!  It seems like no time ago that Quayd was learning the words to "I hope they call me on a mission."  And now... he's going to be a missionary!  I say it often... make the moments count!
 Life is good!

Friday, April 15, 2016

it's official!!!

The past week has been filled with anticipation!  OH MY!  We have all been so excited!

We knew that mission calls are issued on Fridays and usually reach the LDS Mailroom on Tuesdays, so most kids in Utah get their mission calls in the mail on Wednesday.  On Tuesday,  we got the word that Quayd's mission status had been updated to "Assignment Made" on Friday, the eighth!  So, we were certain that it would arrive on Wednesday!

I woke up on Wednesday morning at was at the Post Office at 8:30, at the suggestion of our mail carrier, who usually doesn't deliver until 2:30 in the afternoon, so that I could just pick it up.  When I arrived at the PO, he had already left and the sorter person said that no mission calls had arrived that day.  The clerk told me that North Logan usually gets them on Friday, sometimes on Thursday.  We were so sad!!!  One more day of waiting!!!  Quayd was sooooooo disappointed!

That night, after family prayer, he was still kneeling at the foot of our bed and asked, in a little boy voice, "Mommy, can I sleep with you and Dad tonight?"  I said, "WHAT????  Your'e 18 years old!  You're not sleeping with Dad and I!"  He said, "Remember when I was seven and I had a bad nightmare and you'd let me sleep with you and Dad?"  I said, "You were seven, not eighteen!"  He continued, "But, Mom!  I might have another nightmare that my mission call is not coming tomorrow either! Puleeeeezz?"  We laughed so hard!  He's a crack-up!  And, no!  He did not sleep in our room... not even on the floor like he offered.  (Truth be told, I felt a little guilty for saying no.)

So, yesterday, I decided that I wasn't even going to bother going the post office.  It would come when it comes.  Yeh, that lasted about an hour.  I arrived at the PO at 8:35 and asked the lady, a different clerk than yesterday's, if our carrier was still there.  She asked me what I wanted to pick up and our address and walked back to check.  I could hear them talking and heard her give the wrong address.
  When she said the name, the man said it wasn't his route, it was another and that carrier had left an hour earlier but he did have a mission call with him.  He just didn't know the name.  She reported back to me and I left, assuming that it would be Quayd's because "how many could there be?"

I ran to Sonic, picked up a couple of Cokes and headed to Carol's for the morning.  I knew it would be lonnnnnnnng day!  At noon, I felt like I should get home because the carrier should be earlier, since he left early.  As I drove home, a sister-in-law called.  We chatted all the way home, while I was driving in the pouring rain.  As I walked up to the door, our mail was sitting on the chair that sits on our front porch and I could see it!!!!  It was here!!!!!  Not in the mailbox but on the chair!


I gasped and my sister-in-law asked, "Are you okay?"  I was already bawling and said, "I'm holding Quayd's mission call in my hands!!"  We hung up and I just kept looking at it.  It was so wet! The envelope edges were literally shredding.  I was afraid that the official call would get saturated through the wet envelope, so I lifted the little window and was going to put my keys in it, so that it wouldn't be close to the actual letter or soak through.  As I lifted the window, the whole sopping end just tore all the way open except about 2 inches.  I thought, "NOOOOOO!  No one will ever believe that I didn't open this!" 

Just then, Doug called.  I said, "Babe!  It's here!  And it's wet!  And it's shredded at the end!  One more inch and I could pull it out but I don't want the call to get wet!"  Doug, always the calm one, said, "Blow dry it."  So, I did exactly that.  I sent a picture of it to someone later that day and they asked, "Is that Mom's tearstains on it?"  ha!  Could have been!

I called Quayd while Doug was on the line too and sent him the picture of his call.  He was so excited and could hardly wait to get home!

The next couple of hours were the longest hours ever!!  I decided to go to papa murphy's and pick up Quayd's "Mission Opening Dinner" request... that nasty cheeseburger pizza with the pickles that has been advertised so much.  NASTY!!!!  I ran to the drycleaners.  Anything to keep busy!

It had been pouring the snow and rain all day, and by the time the kids got home, we had a couple of inches of snow.  I looked out the front window and saw Quayd racing down the street. He cut through the yard with about six feet between each step.  The blur below is him racing in the door!

... and running toward his call!

Can you say "EXCITED"?!?!

I thought he was going to open it right then!  I said, "WAIT!!  NOT YET!!"  He said, "Oh yeh.  Dad's not here yet.  When's he gonna get here?!!?"  Look at the snow on his hair!

The girls walked in and were just as excited!  Grace started crying!

A few minutes later, Doug was home.  Liza had driven to Buddys' office, so that we could all be together on Facetime.

He opened it and read the words, "Dear Elder Corbridge, You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  You are assigned to labor in the California Redlands Mission...

You should report to the Provo Missionary Training Center on Wednesday, July 20, 2016...

Our immediate reaction was RedWOODs, not RedLANDS, so we thought he would be serving in the northern California area where his big brother, Dale, lives. Buddy heard it correctly, though, and because he lived an hour from Redlands when he was growing up, he corrected us all.  Once that was straight, we pulled out the map that was included in the packet and looked at the area that he will be serving in. He was so excited!  We spent the next few minutes googling and looking at all things REDlands on the internet... looking up his mission president (And the new one that will actually be Quayd's in July.), the weather, the LDS Temple that is in Redlands, and a few towns in the surround areas, maps and google maps and more!

Just before opening his mission call, he had washed his contacts with real soap and put them back on.  The soap had not rinsed off enough and his eyes were watering and stinging the whole time.  Liza texted me privately and asked, "Is he crying or is he sick?"  I explained.

 He then, continued to read the letter, and go through the packet.  We reviewed every page and talked with Liza and Buddy for about half and hour, then said our goodbyes, so that I could take a few pictures and he could begin making the phone calls to those on his "most important people" list!  Liza did not want to hang up!  These important moments are when it's hardest to be apart!

Hearing and watching Quayd make the calls was exciting!  I cried several times, just enjoying his joy!  The reactions were the best!  Carol's hello was, "I'm dying!  I'm dyyyyyying!!  Tell me everything!"  She cried!  More than half the people he told, immediately, reacted with "The RedWOODS are so beautiful!"  He had to explain several times, RedLANDS!  His favorite Uncle Alan said, "Southern California!  That's not a mission!  That's a vacation!" His Aunt Aleece was full of questions!  He called our old bishop and our new bishop, his YM leaders in Smithfield and Logan. It was sweet to watch him talking with his little half-brother, Jason.  Every phone call was just fun and exciting!  

My mother's reaction was a story of it's own.  Mom has not wanted Quayd to serve a mission anywhere because he "might get killed or hurt."  (Remember, my mother lives in fear of being raped, robbed, murdered every day.  HER. WHOLE. LIFE!  She says no to everything because "what if....?")  So, she's been very concerned about Quayd leaving on a mission... especially since the Brussels bombing was the day that Quayd submitted his papers.  "He shouldn't go on a mission right now.  It's too dangerous!" (A missionary in Taiwan was killed last week when he was hit by a car.  Mom called to tell me so.  It's just my mom and her fear.  We live our lives and figure if something awful happens, it happens, but we're not going to miss out on life because of the what ifs.)

So.  We called her and Quayd said, "Nana, I have some exciting news!"  She asked "Where are you going!?!?"  He said, "Brussels, Belgium!"  Instantly, "YOU ARE NOT!!! I'll call your Bishop and tell him you aren't going ANYWHERE!!!"  We all laughed and then Quayd told her, "I'm going to Southern California."  She said, "Good!  I'll let you go there."  So, softening the blow first was a good call.  She has been very concerned and told me this morning that she is the reason he's going to California.  She's been praying non-stop that he doesn't leave the country!  She would have done ANYTHING to stop him from going out of the country.  I explained that Quayd would have been thrilled and willing to go anywhere in the world!  (Truth be told, I was very relieved that he's staying in the states... and one of my biggest reasons is because I'm already planning on care packages!)

Look at that smile!!
Quayd made phone calls for a few hours.  Then, life happened and we all had to go in our different directions until we regathered at 9.  He had called his entire "important" list and reached everyone except Jim and Kristy.  Quayd has a very special relationship with them both, but Jim is one of his heroes in life. Knowing that the call had arrived because I'd texted a photo of the wet envelope to Kristy earlier,  Jim called and said that they were coming over.  When they came in, Quayd gave a re-enactment of his opening the call.  He reread it to Jim and Kristy and it was a tearful moment.  Seriously, the bond between Jim and Quayd and Doug... it's a special brotherhood!  We had a very special hour, as Jim presented Quayd with a gift and they read a few scriptures together and we talked missionmissionmission!  The hugs... the tears!  The phone calls, the Facebook messages, the texts!  What a night!

Family Prayer was tender and sweet.  It was a perfect day.  This is really happening!!!  Doug and I have waited thirty nine years for this experience.  It is every bit as wonderful as we'd imagined!  There really are no words for the joy, the excitement we feel for our son as he begins this huge passage into manhood.  Opening the call was only the beginning!  It's going to be a very fun few months watching him prepare and then... I'll be crying that I miss my boy!  BUT, we couldn't be prouder!  And He couldn't be happier!  Life is good!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

special Sabbath...special boy!

Quayd received his Patriarchal Blessing today, in preparation for his mission and life.  This boy.  My heart.

Friday, April 8, 2016

a trip down memory lane celebrating 39 years

Thursday was our anniversary... thirty nine years!  Doug worked until 3:30, came home quickly, changed and we were off to celebrate, not having a clue what we were going to do.  We drove a bit and stopped to look on my iPad to see what movies were playing in town.  Neither of us was hungry yet, so we thought we'd do something before going out for dinner.

We checked out the movies and decided that a movie about an Olympic Ski-Jumper, called Eddie the Eagle, sounded sort of fun.  So, we caught the matinee.  It was really a cute upbeat movie.  We didn't even get popcorn.  Just watched the movie, alone, in the theater.

When we came out of the show at 6, it was such a beautiful spring day and as bright could be.  We still were not hungry and we came up with an idea that turned out to be one of the most fun dates we have ever had!  We took a drive around the valley and drove to every home that we have lived in throughout our marriage.  It was so much fun!  We opted not to drive to them in the order we've lived in them because we wanted to see them all in daylight and we'd have gone back and forth from one end of the valley to the other.  So, we started at the north end in Richmond and headed south.  Seriously, one of my favorite dates ever!

As we went to each home, we took a picture and then drove on, but with each stop, and the drive between, we shared memories from when we had lived there!  Such a great way to celebrate an anniversary!

We did not go to Mendon because our home is no longer there.  But, we did reminisce about that second year of our marriage.  Our first year was in Idaho living on the ranch and in Malad.  The second was in Mendon, where we boths served in the YM and YW and made some lifelong friends and really got to .

Then, we bought our first home in Smithfield.  Dale was born in that home.  Kelly was conceived in that home.  We had a wonderful garden and again, made life long friends.  As we drove past, I knew that Doug's first memory would be of the woodburning stove he installed.  It was a bear to install, but it heated the whole house and he used coal!  Granola-man!  Seriously?!  He loved that stove!  We paid $42,000 for that home and our mortgage was $119!  Wouldn't that be nice today!  I remember Doug developed his gift of growing grapefruit size tomatoes in this home and canning literally 196 quarts of bottled tomatoes in one summer and salsa galore!

our first home

From there, we moved to Ohio and lived in two homes during the next two years!  Both were brand new and huge homes!  And as we drove about on our date, we remembered that money was so tight during that 1980's recession, not to mention being self-employed and having two babies with no insurance, I probably didn't take three rolls of film during that two years.  They were great homes and again... wonderful friendships were developed!  The best thing that came out of Ohio was that Kelly was born there and our friendship with Robert and Susan Hatch!  Good times!  As for the homes, both were dream homes and because people, during that recession, were literally leaving new homes and living in their cars, so, they were very affordable.  The whole motor industry areas of Ohio and Michigan were crushed at the time, so builders of spec homes were happy to have anyone in them at any price!  However, it was a very hard time to be starting a new business and we longed for our beautiful Cache Valley and family.

We came home from Ohio, with our tails between our legs after a struggling two years, and rented a little home in Richmond for a few months.  Doug's brother had purchased this home to renovate and flip it. We rented it sight unseen as a transitional stop and lived in it while his brother was doing the renovation. We were there for just the summer and, actually, I packed my sewing machine in Doug's old missionary trunk and flew to spend most of that summer and fall in a hotel room in Riverside, California with my two toddlers and the husband that I couldn't bear to be away from.  Doug trained there for his ten years of employment at Bourns while they built their new facility in Logan.  I took five pictures of it and all were just a blur because the sun was setting right behind it.   Suffice it to say that the home, today, looks nothing like the cute little home that it was that summer.

It had a huge garden that was full of ever-bearing strawberries, the largest I've ever seen!  It was also there that I made a real connection with one of my sisters-in-law. But, our most prominent memory from that home was that I had my first miscarriage alone while Doug was in California.  Our time in California, however, made it one of the most fun summers ever, frequenting Disneyland, Knotts Berry Farm and other fun tourist sights!  Although we appreciated that home and Doug's brother for a landing spot after Ohio, it never felt like a home to us... being apart, the tiny size and the disconnect we felt from everything after our move home, it was a happy day when I found our next home in Smithfield.

This Smithfield home was one of our favorite homes.  It was a hundred years old with an old clawfoot bathtub, five bedrooms and a huuuuuuuge garden that was the best garden we ever had to date!  Liza was born in this home.  Doug's first memory of this home was that we saved more money in this home than we ever had. He worked so much overtime at the new Bourns facility those two years and he worked swing shift.  But, with toddlers, that was just fine, except it meant a lot of lonely nights for me, waiting after the kids' bedtime for Doug's midnight return! This home brings such happy memories of discovering our love of cross-country skiing, biking and hiking. Doug owned three snowmobiles at the time, which meant lots of winter fun and it happened to be some of the best winter snow we'd ever had those two years!  I loved decorating this home in "country" style, as it was just becoming popular.  In this home, I really developed my sewing skills, learning to sew even levis.  I also recall canning and canning and canning, even placing a newborn baby Liza on a blanket over the sink, and nursing her, while snapping greenbeans across her tiny little five pound body.  The spring/summer that Liza was born was one of the wettest on record, which came with much flooding.  The canal behind our home kept me on my toes because Kelly was two and a total nightmare to keep in check.  That summer, she was on the roof, walking a plank over the flooding canal, across the street in the elementary school.  I couldn't not take my eyes off her long enough to go potty!  It was a rough summer with our little wild child... we bought a swing, a trampoline and a sandbox, but nothing would keep her entertained as much as her "exploring"... always our little wild one, but oh, those little brown curls and big brown eyes, she was the cutest little two year old!  How I love that home to this day.  It's old porch and it was deeper than it was wide!  So much character!  Oh, it was in this house that I woke up to find that Kelly had gone into my sewing room in the night, found my scissors and given herself a haircut, as well as Quayd, Cookie Monster, the curtains, the carpet, her sheets and her baby doll. 

From there, we bought the home that Doug's mom had lived in for the past five years in Hyde Park.  This was a wonderful home.  From the outside, it looked very average in size but it was 3800 square feet, five bedrooms, two family rooms and, again, had a great garden.  I loved living across the street from the cemetery where I had a beautiful view of the Logan Temple.  The ward was awesome and we had such great neighbors!   This home had a revolving door for friends and family to come and visit, vacation and even live with us. Lots of company, lots of parties, lots of laughs and fun memories! We had six different people come and live with us in that home.  My favorite memory in that home was an Easter Sunday when we had an indoor adult easter egg hunt with one egg that lasted for hours, hiding the egg, finding it, then doing it over and over.  It was also in this home that I had another miscarriage and my hysterectomy became a necessity.

Shortly after my hysterectomy, we moved to Logan and into my favorite home ever.  We rented this home with the hopes that the owner would sell it to us.  It was a Georgian home with more character than any home we have ever lived in.  Sadly, the owners wife, who lived in California and had no desire to ever sell it, would not change her mind (until a year after we bought the home up the street! Sadness.) Oh, the fun we had in this home!  It was fabulous!  This home was actually for sale last year when we bought our current home and I'd have bought it in a heart beat if it were not for the fact that the staircase was steep and long and my foot would never have tolerated it.  It has even been renovated!  Sadness!  This home had a galley kitchen, a cute pink tiled powder room under the stairs and the master bedroom was fabulous!  Our memories of the home included Liza's broken leg on the trampoline, friends living with us, loads of parties with our neighbors and a menagerie of college age newlyweds who became life long friends and falling in love with the ward that, to this day, we still call "home".  My Grannie passed away while I lived in this home and our sweet neighbor, two doors down, born on the very same day as my Grannie, became one of my dearest friends ever.

Because the home was not for sale, and because we loved this ward so so much, and because we didn't want to rent, we wanted to find another home in the ward boundaries, we purchased a home just up the street with the intent of finding something larger soon.  However, we bought the home that we refer to as "the 980", redecorated every inch of it and fell in love with this tiny home.  And I mean tiny home!  It was probably 1800 square feet, but half the basement was one large room, in which we hosted parties with up to fifty people just fine!

If I could go back in time to any moment or time period of my life, it would be to the two and a half years that we were in this home.  Our bigs were at such fun ages.  Our family was so happy and connected.  In this home, I was neighbors and became besties with both Carol and Denise.  I served as PTA President while my kids were in elementary school in this home.  I was involved teaching organizing classes, in American Mothers, had seven callings at once, including being in the Relief Society Presidency... so involved in so many things.  I turned thirty in this home and thought that I was "General Manager of the Universe".  Although I'd done it since I was a teenager, it was also in this home that I became passionate about scrapbooking!  This was "the" perfect time in our little family.  Life was so wonderful!  We had not yet seen the challenges of raising teens.  I loved this little home and the life it represented!

  We drive past this home almost daily today.  It is sad to see the beautiful trumpet vines, shrubs and trees that we planted gone.  It was sooooo darling and a perfect little country home filled with peach and country blue country bunnies, dolls and antiquey looking decor.  I loved everything about this home!  Mostly, we loved that we "belonged" here more than anyplace we had ever lived.  The ward members were family.  Today, the majority of them have passed away, but our memories of this wonderful family will forever be cherished.

From there, Doug had a wild hair and we moved to Indiana for exactly two years, four months and eight days.    That was the hardest two years, four months and eight days of my life. We could not come home soon enough! It is such a beautiful state, but it was not home. In Indiana, we had the unique opportunity of living in an Amish Farmhouse, in between real Amish families, for two months while we looked for real housing.  It was fascinating! From there, we moved into a brand new home on the same day that the kitchen appliances were being installed and a few months later, we bought a wonderful five bedroom home, closer to town, with a HUGE 13' deep swimming pool that had been build for a scuba instructor. The home sat on a one and a half acre wooded lot with a forest and a river running at the back of it. It really was fabulous. The pool memories with the kids and a cherished few friendships were the best thing to happen in Indiana.  But, for the most part, all I could think of, every day, every minute, was getting back home to Utah!  

We came home again in December, vowing to never leave the valley again!  It was in December and Carol found a rental home for us in North Logan.  We moved into it just a few days before Christmas. We didn't care at all about the house looked like, how large or small, nothing!  We just wanted to be home!  And we loved this little home!  This home was filled with fun memories of reconnecting with friends and family after being away.  However, it was in this home that we had some really trying times.  Kelly and Dale had some real challenges during this time.  Our "perfect" little family was shattered in this home.  During this year and a half, Kelly became pregnant with Quayd and was married at age 17.  Dale graduated and went out into the world... a world that we'd never have dreamed he would choose over his upbringing and heritage.  It was rough.

Yet, as we drove past last week, and relived our memories, it was the happy memories that stood out for us.  We didn't even talk about the trials and challenges.  We talked about the great friends we served with in the Relief Society Presidency and how we became friends with them and their husbands, about the college kids who frequented our home as a refuge from school and life, the missionaries who'd served in Indiana and had become our friends afterward by staying with us here and mostly the good times we had here as we'd met our close friends, Jim and Kristy.  We also remembered some of our favorite laughs in this home! And there were plenty! Quayd was born while we lived in this home and we had an instant bond that was like none other than I'd ever imagined.

We loved that home so much and the ward, that we were not even looking to buy anything soon.  We were content...Until one afternoon, when I was at the craft store, I ran into an old friend from Smithfield who told me that they were building a new home and selling theirs. We'd been neighbors when Liza was born in 1983 and I knew the house well. Oddly, three days in a row, I ran into her.  She said, "You should come and take a look at the new kitchen we just had installed."  Out of friendship, I drove over and took a quick peek.  I walked in and knew that we belonged in that home. That night, I took Doug back.  He too, felt like we needed to purchase the home.  The next day, we made an offer and the rest was history.  We moved in on April 15, 1998 and moved out last January.  Seventeen years.  Two and half years was the longest I'd ever lived anywhere in my life.  When we bought that home, Liza was a freshman.  We figured we could live there forever with the amazing yard that we spent seventeen years planting trees and gardens and making it ours more than anyplace we'd ever been.  We loved the ward.  We loved the friends we made.  We love the memories. The memories of this home have been documented in detail for all those years, first through my work in the scrapbooking magazine and then my blog.

It's so ironic.  As Doug and I drove past this home, we snapped a quick photo and kept driving. The cute little family that bought our home have made so many changes already.  The shock of seeing that every tree in the back yard except the cherry, apple and peach trees are gone is mindblowing!  All those sixty foot trees gone!  It looks like the yard of a completely new home, not a thirty year old home.  We lived for our back yard and now it's not our back yard... at all.  So strange! They have done a lot to the home already and continue to progress with more plans.  They are loving it like we did!  That makes us so happy.  When I drive past a few of the homes that we have lived in, my heart hurts.  The Smithfield home is being loved and well-cared for!  Happiness!

In that home are the memories of Liza's high school and dating years, watching her fall in love and marry Buddy and then all of the years of the memories with the babes...from diapers to dating... school years, holidays and traditions, pool parties, neighborhood gatherings, night games, family reunions, taking care of my mother through her cancer, reconnecting with my Dad through his, marriages, surgeries, deaths, births, divorces....and many many miracles...and blessings... and... life!   Lots of laughs, some tears, tons of paint, decorating, puppies, scrapbooking, many, many memories.  We loved it and truly never saw ourselves leaving until my foot injury created a need for more main floor living.  We loved that yard and our orchard of trees and all the gallons and gallons of fruit harvested from them!  We loved the shade and the memories of the pool and gatherings in our beautiful shady back yard!  That home was home!  The longest I've ever been anytime of my life! 

If you'd have told me two years ago that I'd be back in Logan, living in this fabulous home, I'd have never believed it!  Doug calls this home "a sleeper".  To him, that was an important feature...simple and plain on the outside and a pleasant surprise to walk through and see the space, the character and the homeyness of it inside!  We had never dreamed of leaving the "fruits of our labor" in Smithfield after seventeen years.  However, true to his nature, Doug wanted to make my life easier. Most of our living in the Smithfield home was downstairs...We did most everything with the kids downstairs in the family room and I had to make several trips a day to the downstairs laundry room.

Last night, a year later, as I was moving a load of laundry from the washer to the dryer, just down the hall from our bedroom, I said, "Thank you for our new home, Babe."  I am able to function so much better here in this home with the main floor laundry and family room.  It's simplified my life immensely!  And best of all, I love every inch of this home!  It's fabulous and wonderful!

A wonderful dinner at Beehive Grill and revisiting the homes and the memories of thirty-nine years was a perfect way to celebrate our anniversary.  But, coming home to this home, where I'm happier than I've ever been (and for the most part, I'm usually very happy) brought tears to my eyes.  I was instantly reminded of this as we walked in from our evening.  We heard the kids instant hellos and "Tell us about your date! What'd you end up doing?"

The whole evening reminded me of the joy and blessings of being married to such a wonderful man, who's always provided for our family...financially and even more so with tremendous leadership and a wonderful example of keeping the commandments of God and showing unconditional love to each of us.  He truly is the perfect man for me!

And the homes...Well, we've lived in some tiny homes, some pretty spacious homes, in new homes, in old homes.  We've bought "fixer-uppers" and homes that were just right from the get-go.  But, whichever home we've lived in, we've always turned it into a home where love is spoken and filled it with love, laughter, friends and family and wonderful memories!   Doug and I have raised two families and shared one heck of a journey!  But, we both agree that our memories had nothing to do with the size of the home, the color of paint, the brick or the siding.  The memories that filled our hearts and minds, wherever we've lived, were full of joy, love and laughter!  I am blessed!