Tuesday, May 31, 2016

memorial day and other good stuff

Always, always, when Liza comes home, there is lots of game playing and fun.  Our new favorite "game game", not card game, is Quixx.  We've discovered a way to make it even better, by lamanating the score pads and using dry erase markers.  Buddy improved on our improvement by enlarging the scorepads, even better!  We played a lot on the first night they arrived and all of us were scoring very low!  We loved it when Buddy and Liza noticed that Doug and I both scored 47 on the same round.  47 is "my number".   Whenever I choose a number between 1-100 with the kids, they all want to guess 47 first.  Our anniversary is 4/7.  Like Doug says "38", I say "47".   I loved that both Liza and Buddy noticed "our number".


Of course, the first thing that Aylabelle wants to do everytime she comes to visit is get right out to "Grampy's swing".

The girls had set up the tent out in the backyard to go out and read or just chill.  Aylabelle immediately decided that the tent was her hiding place.  Everytime she was outside, it was "Let's hide!"

Oh my word, Doug's grin is never bigger than when he's playing with Aylabelle!

She even talked me into "hiding" with her during our Memorial Day BBQ.

It was actually a little cool after dinner, so while everyone was visiting, I didn't mind at all climbing into the tent and cuddling with her to warm up a bit.  Then, Doug "found" us.  I'm trying to figure out why my hair looks frosted in the sunlight???

I'd bought all of the food for our own BBQ last week.  Then, we were invited to the B's for their BBQ, which we debated on all weekend. With Quayd working all afternoon, with Liza and fam here, and we had to be in 38 places in two hours, we ended up just cooking out at home.  Alan and Jill worked all day and had only one of their kids at home, so, when Alan called, we invited them to just join us.  They picked their asparagus from their garden, showered and ran back to Logan to join us for a fun dinner.  We ended up with so much food!  shocker!  The menu just continued to grow and grow.  Quayd requested burgers instead of steaks.  So, Burgers, it was...and...Potato Salad, Baked Beans, Bean Salsa, Broccoli Salad, Grilled Asparagus, Chips, chips and more chips!  No tablescaping.  We grabbed what was there and set a table outside under the trees.

While waiting for Alan and Jill, we visited in the street with Layne and Julie, which we do often.  Best neighbors ever!  Lasse and Zee grabbed their long boards and road up and down the street.  Zee didn't even have shoes on. They were just coasting down the hill, but they love their time together.  Lasse is, again, Layne and Julie's foreign exchange student, who's been here since last August.  He goes back to Germany this coming Sunday.  My heart aches at the thought because I know that Zee's heart is going to be broken.  These two are close.  Not as in romantically close.  They are such good friends.  He will be missed so much.  Last night, they went for a hike together to First Dam and she came in just as happy as could be because they had that extra time together. My heart hurts for her because she's losing one of her best friends!  Thank heavens for Facetime!

Aylabelle saw Auntie Zee on the longboard.  So, she grabbed Zee's scooter and had to try it out.  We were all blown away because she did it!

and loved it!  Such determination!

Liza and Buddy enjoyed the visit with Alan and Jill.  All of our kids are close to Alan and Jill, so it was fun to be together.  After dinner, we played a few games, gabbed a lot and enjoyed a dutch oven peach cobbler.  Only, it was a bit different... I used a lemon cake mix by accident!  Oops!  It was a bit different, but hey, warm cobbler and ice cream... it can't be bad!

 Alan brought some REAL Ginger Ale.  Not gingerale.  But, Ginger. Ale.  Everyone had to sample it.  Buddy really loved it.  Everyone else thought it had too much of a sting aftertaste.  I passed... I'll just stick to my diet coke.

And here's why Uncle Alan is everyone's favorite... he's such a ham!  My cute favorite nephew Jake is sporting a goat and stache.  He's so cute!  My girls adore him!

Aylabelle just gets loved on non-stop.  She's a little angel!

Doug and I just love having them here.  It was a wonderful weekend with a few big events.  One, Quayd's ordination to the Melchizedek Priesthood and Two. Kelly showed up.  I'll have separate entries for both of those!  Life is good!  So are wonderful holidays!

Monday, May 30, 2016

He's an Elder.

When Quayd received his mission call and was making the phone calls to let everyone know that it had arrived and where he was going to be serving, he had a list of the people who matter the most to him to call first.  As he called these good men, who have been influencial in his life, he asked each of them to stand in the circle when he was ordained to be an Elder in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  When he was all done calling everyone, I checked the list and counted seventeen men who would be invited to participate in this most important moment of his life thus far. 

As we began to prepare for the events of this month, I also realized that the ordination is more of a private and solemn affair.  But, Quayd loves these men... his uncles, his church leaders present and past, and close family friends.  So, as we planned for the occasion, we began to plan and prepare for them all to come to our home on Sunday evening for the ordination.  However, what we did not realize was that his temple interview with the Stake President would take place that afternoon and the interview must take place after the ordination.  So, we changed the plan to Sunday morning at 9AM, which we knew would mean that several of these good men would not be able to attend because they are currently serving in leadership positions of the church and would be involved conducting or participating in their own meetings.  Quayd understood that completely when the change was made.

Another thing that I learned was that an ordination is to be kept short, sweet and simple.  Meaning no brunch or breakfast for all who attended.  The ordination would take place and we would take a few pictures then say goodbye and head to regular church meetings.

On Sunday morning, we were all up and dressed bright and early for our guests to begin arriving at 8:45.  Doug's sister, Anne and her husband, Bob, were the first to arrive, followed shortly after by Quayd's birth grandparents.  Then, everyone else began to arrive just before nine.  Our living room was filled with friends and family. 

Brother Rick Jones represented the Stake Presidentcy and after we'd gone around the circle to make the introductions,, he invited Quayd to take a moment and share his thoughts for these good men and to bear his testimony.  Quayd was completely unprepared for that little surprise.  I could see his eyes get big, as Brother Jones asked him.  He stood up, thanked everyone for being there and for their important part in his life, then he bore his sweet testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  It was a proud moment for Doug and I both because his spirit just shines.  He's so excited about this opportunity to serve.  He has really grown this past few months... in maturity, in spirit and in stature.  I heart him!

Following Quayd's remarks, Brother Jones invited the men to stand in the circle and place their hands upon his head.  Doug, then, ordained Quayd to the Melchizidek Priesthood, for him to become an Elder.  The blessing was beautiful.  The room was filled with love and peace and joy.  My tears just fell.  I can see such growth in Doug over this past year, as well as Quayd.  It was beautiful to hear this good man, this good father, pronounce this beautiful blessing upon his good son, who he loves more than words could ever express.  They are so close.  I love watching the two of them always, but this topped it all!

As the blessing ended, Quayd stood and hugged his dad for what seemed an eternity.  He then turned to each of the men in the circle and hugged them.  These men included:

Brother Rick Jones - High Council from our Stake
Bishop Tom Auga - our current awesome home ward bishop
Doug - father extraordinaire!
Buddy - Quayd's favorite (and only) brother-in-law
Alan  - uncle extraordinaire!
Bob - another uncle extraordinaire
Stott - adopted uncle/Miki's dad
Dave  - another "adopted uncle"/Jason's dad
Todd - former Young Mens President/friend/old Smithfield neighbor who Quayd adores
Grandpa Dave - Quayd's birth grandfather 

Missing were a few uncles, Quayd's second favorite man ever, Jim and his wife Kristy (who were away with family for the holiday weekend) and former Smithfield Bishop Dave Anderson, who was probably one of Quayd's most awesome examples and influences.  It's amazing to see these people who have truly helped mold Quayd into the man that he is today.

Following his blessing, we visited and took pictures.  Sadly, a few of the men left before cameras were pulled out.  I was sick about this!  Lots of hugs and lots of fun conversations for the next 45 minutes and we were out the door and off to Doug's YSA Sacrament Meeting at 10.  It was perfect because we were able to be done with our meetings early enough to make a wonderful dinner and enjoy time together the rest of the afternoon.  A perfect morning, a perfect day!

In no random order, here's some of the pix we took that morning.  Everyone had my camera, so I'm not sure who took what, but I had to laugh when I downloaded the pix because Buddy had the camera for a bit and whenever he gets hold of my camera, he's out of control, taking pix of anything from manholes to streetsigns.
Just before everyone arrived, I snapped this one.  What a good looking young man!

This is so cute!  Jason and Quayd are buds/half-brothers.  They love each other!  Dave told us that Jason was so excited to be invited to Quayd's "coronation".  He kept calling it a "Coronation" instead of "ordination".  Dave made a point of getting them both a crown to remember Quayd's Coronation.

It was wonderful to have Jason here to watch his big brother taking this important step in his life!

We love Anne and Bob.  The kids always see or hear Aunt Anne's voice and say, "I love Aunt Anne!"  I loved this shot of her laughing!  She has the most memorable laugh!   After the blessing, Anne shared her memory of Doug being ordained as an Elder.  It was probably my second favorite moment of the day.

Uncle Alan and Aunt Jill are pretty much a part of everything we do in our world.  The kids adore them.  So glad that they were able to be here!

Here's Dave and Quayd.  Quayd's first comment, "DANG!  I was hoping that I was finally as tall as him!"  Dave's almost 6'5".  Quayd has a few inches to go.

These three are tight!
Could Jason's smile be any cuter!  Our deacon and his big brother, Elder Corbridge.

 Could I be any prouder!?  This is not a great shot, but I love Quayd looking down on me!  He's so tall!  And he's so BIG!  BIG iN SPIRIT!  One of Buddy's silly pix turned out to be one of my favorites!

 Here's a reason to never have more than one camera at a time.  We are ALL looking in different directions, but we are ALL very happy!

 My two favorite guys!

Look at how much taller Quayd is than his dad.  This is a celebratory day on it's own for Quayd!

 Love Doug's laugh!

 This is Quayd and his birth grandpa David.  He is a kind and loving man.  We appreciate having them in our lives.

 Grandma Toni.  They are two wonderful people.

All three kids with their birth grandparents.  

 Quayd and the girls have no clue how much they are going to miss each other.  Even with all the teasing and ups and downs of being a big brother with two very close sisters, they have their moments.  They are about to realize that those moments are going to be missed immensely!

 I'm literally sick that we didn't get a picture of Stott and Wendy and Todd with Quayd.  We'll have more opportunities on his mission farewell day, but still!  DANG!!!

It was a wonderful day.  Quayd has taken this so seriously.  He's studying.  He's preparing.  He's doing all that he can to be ready.  And now that graduation will be this week, he can truly give it his all for the last weeks before he leaves!  This is really happening!  Life is good!

Sunday, May 29, 2016


the whole story....

So, Kelly.  After her phone call to Doug last week, late that night, she sent us a picture of her by text.  She didn't call again and Doug didn't even respond... mostly because he's not a texter and he forgets to respond.

So, Liza and her little family arrived on Saturday evening.  We had barely sat down for dinner when Doug's phone rang.  He pulled it out of his pocket and showed me that it was Kelly.  He took her call and walked into the other room.  I finally got up and went to see what was going on, because I could literally hear her from the dining room. Drama!!  She'd locked her purse in her car with her keys in her purse and she needed help.  I'd told Doug the night before, as we were climbing into bed that she would be calling us with every little catastrophe in her life again soon.  And so it began.  "Dad, can you come and help me?"

Doug told her that Liza and Buddy were here, that we were having dinner and that he'd be there when we were finished.  (We have tried to teach her for the past ten years that her emergencies and lack of planning/organization are not our problem.)  She immediately said, "I want to see them.  Can I come?"  We said, "Of course."  We finished our dinner and he went to her place to help her with her car.

An hour later, they returned.  We'd cleaned the kitchen and were playing cards at the table.  The dogs started barking, so I went to the door, opened my arms and welcomed her home.  Everyone else followed.  There were hugs and hellos, but no mention of the fact that she has been five miles away and missed the last year and a half of our lives.  We went straight back to the table and told her how we play the game.  Like all has been fine forever.

We played and laughed and played more games and other games and just had a good time.  After games, it was Aylabelle's bedtime, so we had family prayer then sat in the den just talking.  We told her about the things she has missed this past 18 months.  We shared that Grandma had gotten married to Norm, that my mom's manfriend, Boyd, had passed away, that Grace had started dating, and that Quayd had some news.

      Kelly:  Wait!  Let me guess!  Are you going on a mission?
      Quayd:  Yep, I am!
      Kelly:  Cool.  (She kept playing.)  Wait!  LIKE SOON?
Quayd: Next month.
Kelly:  Wow!  You really ARE going on a mission!  Cool!
We all sat there.  A minute goes by.
Kelly:  WAIT!  Where to!?'

We just laughed.  Her mind is so "everywhere"! 

Later, we were visiting about Grace dating.  She asked if Grace had been kissed yet.  I had opened my iPad to show Kelly Mom and Norm's picture.  Kelly's head was still on Grace kissing a boy.  I showed the picture and she said, "He's ollllllld!", meaning that Kelly was dating the man in the pix with Grandma.  We busted out laughing.  

As we were playing Tenzi, we could tell that she was happy to be home and felt the welcoming spirit and our unconditional love for her.  She said, "I think it was meant to be.  I was supposed to lose my keys.  I had planned on being at a party tonight, but then losing my keys, I ended up here.  It was meant to be."  Liza and I visited about it afterward and we agreed, that she could feel the Spirit of love in our home and she recognized/remembered it.

On Sunday,  Quayd's ordination was scheduled.  Kelly asked if she could attend graduation.  We told her fine.  She asked if she could come over more while Liza is here.  Fine.  Then, later, the ordination was mentioned.  She immediately asked, "Can I come?"  I said, "I'm sorry, but you can not come to that."  I then had to explain that Jason (Kelly's fourth child) would be here and his parents are not ready for him to meet Kelly.  She didn't get cranky or angry.  She did try to plead her case, but I said, "No.  That's not our decision to make, it's his parents.  AND  This week is about Quayd, not you."  She was fine.

Another little "moment", was when we told her that we were having family pictures taken this week.  "Am I invited?"  Um, you're family.  If you dress appropriately, like we ask because we all have colors and assignments.  She agreed.  Then she asked, "Is Zaylee going to be in the pictures?"  No.  "Is Aylabelle going to be?"  Of course.  "Why isn't Zaylee?"  Really, Kell?  And that was the end of the discussion.  Again, she didn't argue.''

She also asked if she could have visits with Zaylee here in our home, like we had done with DCFS.  No.  ABsolutely NO.  I do not want to get in the middle of that.  Again, no argument.  Thankfully.  That was pretty much the only time that Zaylee really came up in a serious manner.  It's still very hard for Liza and Buddy to even think about.  Kelly could see that.  I mentioned to her again, "This week is about Quayd, not You, not Zaylee.  Sorry."  She was fine.

That was that.  We visited and laughed and caught up and all was fine.   She joined us for family prayer, we talked more and more until finally, I had to say, "It's almost midnight and we have a big day tomorrow.  Dad has to take you home now. She didn't want to leave. When Doug came back from taking her home and we climbed into bed, I sent her a text and said, "It was good to have you home again.  Love you."  She responded, "I found my keys in my coat.  I had looked over and over.  Weird.  Maybe I just wasn't supposed to go to that party."  I said, "You were with your family, where you belong."  She wrote back, "Love you."   She recognized the spirit in our home.  We are certain of that.

We also made it clear that we were not her taxi.  She asked if she could come over for dinner on Sunday afternoon.  We told her yes, if she could get herself here.  By Sunday, she'd found her keys and was here are 12:00 sharp, when we told her we would be home from Doug's YSA Sacrament Meeting.  She spent the afternoon and had a big date in SLC that evening.  She needed to go by 5 but ended up staying until after 6.  She did not want to leave.  It was so obvious.  She kept saying, "I really need to go.  Should I just not go?  I should go now.  I want to stay."  

We have not seen her since.  She went to Lagoon yesterday, but we have family pictures and she's sent me several texts asking if her outfits were okay.  She was happy to be included.  She said she will be at Quayd's graduation.  We'll see.  But, she's definitely keeping in touch.

  Oh.  AND... I've been asked several times how the kids reacted to all this.  They were excited to see her come home because it means she's doing well right now.  They gave her a hug when she came in the door.  They visited with us a family, but more of the time, they were off together, or on their phones, or in their rooms.  They just deal with it when she is around.  It's like, "Hi, Kelly." and then they just go on with their lives, not at all attached.  I think that they have seen enough of her cycles, that they recognize that we never know how long she will be around.  When she is, she's more interested in sharing her pictures of her shoes and hair than asking about them.  So, they roll with it.  Bless her heart.

OH!  One more thing... I took this photo of her and texted it to Denise and Carol as I crawled into bed.  I immediately got a text back from each of them... WOW!!!  And WHAT!?!?!?!?!??!?!  It made me laugh out loud.

  I say this often... trust in the Lord and trust in HIS timing.  With Kelly, that's what we have to do.  It's good to have her home...for now.  Life is good.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

it's a good life

What a fantastic day Monday was!  Taking the pix of Quayd was great fun.  Just being together was awesome! I was so excited I could hardly stand it!  After spending much of the night working on Quayd's announcement, I was in tears and frustrated beyond words and finally went to bed.  I sent a text off to my friend Heather, who is uber talented in the card making department, as well anything she attempts to do, and said, "HELLLLLLLP!"  Heather was more than willing!  I sent her several of Quayd's pix that I'd taken and she created the best custom HEATHER-MADE grad/mission announcement that I've ever seen!  I could hardly wait to see it and just as I was dozing off last night, I heard a ding on my iPad, leaped up to see and HAPPINESS!!!  It was perfect!  We chatted back and forth for a bit and called it a night.  I was so excited that it took me a long time to wind down and get back to sleep.

Carol had wanted me to ride to the airport with her yesterday and then drive her car back.  I don't do a lot of that kind of thing anymore because, even with cruise control, my dang foot pays bigtime if I'm driving long distances.  On days like yesterday, just driving the kids around a lot means an hour in the hottub as soon as I get home. There are days that I soak two or three times, as a result of it.  However, Carol needed my help annnnd my dear friend, Sally, is in the hospital between SLC and here, so I thought it would be a great chance to break up the drive home and visit Sally.  I've not been able to get to Ogden to see her yet. At the last minute, Carol discovered that her sister, Mary Ann was going to SLC anyway on the same day, so, Ann took her instead. I stayed home and my day ended up entirely different!

I was up and at Square One Print Shop at 8:30, after taking Zee to school, to get Quayd's announcement printed.  Denise was not feeling well, so I was heading to grab her a Sonic Coke to deliver when Zee called and said that everyone was just roaming the halls all day.  School officially ends tomorrow, but she was just sitting there, chilling, and she wanted to chill with me at home.  They were not even taking roll.  So, I ran back to pick her up from school.  (Her HS gets out a week before Grace and Quayd's.)  Then, we ran to Sonic and delivered Denise her coke.  We didn't stay long, but we were able to give her Quayd's first announcement.

Every other minute, I've been on the phone or at my calendar trying to co-ordinate all of Quayd's events of the next week.  It's going to be a wild one!  SO EXCITING!

Zee and I enjoyed her "last day of school lunch" at Black Pearl.  That's been a tradition for years and years. I told her to choose anyplace in the valley since it was just the two of us.  She chose Black Pearl anyway, it's her favorite.  She got her sushi and was a happy camper!  She grabbed my phone, as usual, and started snapping selfies and pix of us both.  She's too funny!  I never know what I'll find on my phone when I pick it up if ZJ is around.  She's the selfie queen!

After school, things went crazy!  We were going in every direction.  Doug came in about 40 minutes late from work.  He'd called on his drive home and we continued talking on the phone until he walked in the door. We were in deep conversation but he had to interrupt with "Babe, I have to be at the church in five minutes."  We would have to continue talking in bed before we had a chance to talk alone again. The girls wanted to go to the mall.  I had a bridal shower/open house for Natalie's daughter that I was so excited to attend in Smithfield.  Everyone had to be someplace at one point or another during the evening and since Doug was at church meetings, I was the "deliverer".  This meant that I ended up dropping off the gift in Smithfield and a few announcements while I was at it and getting kids to where they needed to be when they needed to be there.  I need the word Taxi on my forehead!

There were two huge big news events in our home yesterday.  First...  over the past few months, I've been praying that I would "bump into" Kelly someplace.  It hasn't happened.  We have not seen Kelly since the week before Christmas of 2014.  So, a year and a half.  We hear that she's moved to Texas.  We hear that she's in town.  We hear that she's with this person.  We hear she's back with her husband.  We hear she filed for divorce.  We hear all sorts of things but never know what the truth is.  Anyway, about a month ago, Natalie said that she'd seen Kelly at Walmart. Kelly doesn't really know Nat, and Nat was in line, so she didn't have a chance to speak with her.  Since Natalie told me that, I have mentioned to my closest friends, that if they ever run into Kelly, let her know that we love and miss her.  I've told Kara, Natalie, Carol, Denise, Jamie and a few in-laws.

Yesterday, after lunch, Jamie and I were texting about Book Group for a few minutes.  Half an hour later, I got another text from Jamie, "I SAW KELLY!"  I texted her back, "CALL ME!!"  Jamie called and told me that she'd run into her at the dollar store.  Jamie approached Kelly and they visited for a few minutes.  She said Kelly looked healthy and good.  Kelly told her that she'd not seen us and didn't even know where we lived.  Jamie told her that we really love and miss her, they hugged and they parted.  I was so happy to hear that someone had actually seen her and visited!  And Jamie is just the perfect one because she's so loving and accepting of everyone.  I couldn't wait to tell Doug!

I had wanted to tell Doug face to face when he got home from work. However, when he called me on his drive home, his first words were, "Babe, Kelly called me."  "Our Kelly?!?!"   "Yes, our Kelly."  I told him about Jamie and he told me about their chat as he drove home and then a bit more at bedtime because that was the only alone time we had last night.  She said she's doing well.  She asked if we'd moved to Logan but not where.  She asked if Quayd was graduating this year?  Doug did not tell her about Quayd's mission call. He said that she did most of the talking.  They visited for about half an hour. Doug said she has "the gift of gab". She's not with the husband anymore.  She said sometimes she is really lonely.  He told her that the kids are such great kids.  And they hung up.  No plans to see each other.  No exchange of address.  Nothing.  But, she's alive and the ice has been broken. We called it a divine intervention via Jamie.  Tender mercy!

Our other big news is that last night, when everyone settled back down after being here and there, we were able to sit down together and complete our reading of the Book of Mormon, cover to cover, as a family!  When Doug changed shifts last year, we were able to read together as an entire family.  For years before, it's always been just me reading with the kids in the mornings or afternoons.  Doug went to bed at 8 for all those years, it was impossible in the evenings.  So, a regular part of living in our new home with a new schedule was that we would read each night from 9-9:30, before bedtime together.  We have tried to be faithful.  We did miss nights on crazy nights, especially during the renovation period, on nights that everyone is working here and there...  But, for the most part, we've been consistent.  And we're done!

Last night, after we completed it, the kids shared their thoughts.  The girls were pretty short and sweet.  Quayd, however, bore his testimony and it was awesome!  I'm thrilled that we were able to complete this together before he left!  We've read scriptures their whole lives, but with Doug there, and with them all older and comprehending so much more, this was a choice experience!  HAPPINESS!!  Doug has mentioned several times in his YSA talks and testimonies how much he has loved the special spirit we feel in our home because of our family scripture study.  Quayd said the family prayer last night and it moved me to tears.  He, again, expressed his gratitude for the Book of Mormon and all of those who sacrificed for generations that we might have it.  I heart that boy!

 Now for the reward!  Doug teased, "Let's go to Sonic and get a milkshake!"  The girls roller their eyes and Zee said, "We go to Sonic three times a day every day, Dad!"  Doug's eyes got big, "WHAT?!"  ha! Zee said, "Well not every day, three times."  She was exaggerating!  Good times!  When we finished the Book of Mormon the first time with the Bigs, we went to a hotel for two nights as a surprise reward.  It was a blast!  With Quayd's mission call, I'm thinking that this celebration won't be as elaborate, but we'll do something fun!  However, first,  we have to get through this next week of graduations and celebrations!

Life is good!  The Book of Mormon is true!  Families are forever! 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

So, this happened, finally!

 We finally got the pix done!  These are "outtakes", but they are a few of my faves!  This first one was, the moment it happened, the one that I knew would be my favorite but not one to put on an announcement.  It's Quayd at his loudest, biggest, bestest laugh!  He'd been doing "manly" poses and broke out in laughter!  Shortly after that, I dropped my camera battery on the ground, ZJ picked it up and told me she found it, and I responded, "Oh!  I dropped it from my boobs!", just as a jogger ran by brought about this laugh.  The jogger said, "Good to know.  Good to know."  Lots of laughs!

I like the "tunnel" effect.  He's so cute!  I heart this boy!

We did a mission pix, as well, for his announcement.  This one, with the temple in the background, makes me cry.  Oh my heck, I love him!


Since I had a cute helper along, I had to take a few of her, as well.


Good times!  Life is good!

Monday, May 23, 2016

gettin' 'er done!

It's 2:51PM.  I've been at my desk since 7:12 this morning, but I'm getting the job done.  There was some paperwork that needed done for Quayd's mission president, some insurance documents that needed to be verified, some tax stuff that needed looking at (Our county assessor gave themselves a 20% raise on taxes since we purchased it 17 months ago... really?), some bills to be paid and then there was the matter of Quayd's Seminary Graduation... which apparently, he missed last night.

This weekend was a blur of running from one event to another.  Most important on the list was the afternoon Stake Priesthood Meeting, in which, Quayd was sustained to become an Elder in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  Ironically, of all meetings ever, Grace was asked to sing along with one other girl from our ward and two boys, in that meeting.  A first that I'm aware of... two young women singing at Priesthood Meeting.  I was thrilled, however, because as her mom, I was able to be present to hear her sing.  They did a wonderful job!  Our Stake President invited us six women (two moms, Zee, the two girls singing and the accompanist) to stay for the entire meeting, if we'd like.  (On a side note:  I, personally, am happy not to hold the priesthood.  I will take holding Doug, who is my priesthood, anytime to all of the responsibility that he has!  Enough said about that!)  Anyway, we were able to hear the girls sing and I got to be there to see my son called to the stand to be sustained as an Elder! Happiness!  Joy, Joy!!

Following the meeting, we "womenfolk" left the men there for the rest of their meeting and I came home to prepare dinner.  Doug had seen a commercial for a "taco pizza" and had mentioned it a few times, so I made a homemade taco pizza.  He was so happy!  Everyone ate until they didn't even want dessert!  We had decided to spend the evening together as a family watching the movie, "Lincoln".  Just as we were seated, Quayd got a text from one of the guys in the ward, "Where are you?  It's Seminary Graduation."  We all looked at each other like, "HUH?" because Quayd still has one more week of Seminary.  He's in Smithfield Seminary, not Logan High.  So, we assumed that Quayd would graduate with the Skyview High Seminary Grads.   We just watched our movie and planned that next week would be his event.

This morning, I got a call from the High Councilor in our stake who will be present when Quayd is officially ordained as an Elder.  We were trying to get that scheduled and I wondered about the time of day that Smithfield Seminary is going to be held.  A few phone calls later, I learned that it was last night too! No one had told us and WE MISSED IT!  Annnnd, Quayd was supposed to graduate with his ward, not his Seminary.  Good to know!  A day late.  Oops.  And so.  Quayd will be an official Seminary Graduate who did not have to do the whole graduation ceremonial walk.  When he called from school today and I told him, "Good news and Bad news", he was quite content that he didn't have one more meeting that he'd had to sit in last night.  He graduated, that's all that mattered to him.  I'm thinking, I'll put together a little graduation ceremony for him at home next weekend.  Another reason to party, right?

Quayd has not been working many hours this past few weeks, but he's had plenty on his plate! He spent much of the weekend working on memorizing some things that his mission president suggested he arrives with in his mind.  He's done great!  He now knows "The First Vision" scriptures by memory, as well as the Baptismal commitment and the purpose of his mission.  I heart this boy and his great attitude and enthusiasm about serving the Lord.  He really is excited.  In the meantime, we are slowly picking up this and that from his "Needs" list.   

We were both thrilled to have one big need arrive in the mail from my dear friend, Susan, in Ohio.  She sent Quayd this wonderful satchel because missionaries no longer use back packs.  He loves it!  I love it!  We both appreciate it!  Susan had bought the same one for her own grandson who is serving and she knows that it's proven to be a great one!

This afternoon, we are going to get his photos taken, for his graduation announcements.  We've been trying for weeks.  Between the weather and his schedule, it's just not happened.  Today, when I mentioned that today is THE day, he had other ideas, but today, IS the day.  He conceded!  We are running out of time!  Life is wonderful and good!

    Thursday, May 19, 2016


    Zee us home sick.  She's got the flu that I had 48 hours ago.  She's finally sleeping, after being up all night long and trying most of the day to be comfortable enough to relax.  An hour ago, she was curled up on the chair in my bedroom, being Zee.  Zee... my happy, even when she's sick, humorous girl.  I was at my desk, trying to study my lesson for Sunday, so I had the computer open and started typing as the conversation continued. Here's the "saved" part of the conversation: 

    Z:  Mom, I'm dying.  
    Me:  Please don't die today.  I'm busy.  
    Z:  It's happening.  I see the light.  I'm seeing it right now.  
    Me: Don't die today, please.  I'm really busy.  
    Z:  It's too late.  Kiss me goodbye, Mom.  
    Me:  Don't die. Not today.  
    Z:  I need to go skydiving really quick.  
    Me:  Why?  I thought you were dying.
    Z: It's on my bucket list and I can't kick the bucket until I've sky-dived.  
    Me:  Good, you'll have to wait another day.  
    Z:  It's true.  But, I'm dying.  Unicorns really exist.  I'm looking at them right now.  
    Me:  Oh, good to know.  
    Zee:  I feel like I've been skinned and I think I'm bring rubbed in hand-sanitizer.
    Me:  I hate it when that happens.
    Zee:  I think I need to go to the hospital.  Then, I can be cured.  Would that be expensive? 
    Me:  Yeh, we have enough hospital bills already.
    Z: Maybe I should go to the hospital and have anesthetic to put me out of my pain.  Is that legal?  Feeling better shouldn't be so expensive.
    Me:  Yeh, anything medical is expensive.
    Zee: Why do the doctors make everything so expensive so that I have to suffer?  Are you aloud to buy anesthetic machine?  Is that legal?
    Me:  Probably not.
    Z:  Yeh, you're probably right. But, I'm really dying now.
    Me:  Love you, goodbye.  It was fun knowing you.  
    Z:  I had my first kiss three weeks ago.  
    Me: You WHAT?  
    Z:  Just kidding, I needed something to confess before I died.  
    Me:  Lucky for you!
    Z: Buy something for Grace with my $500 kiss money. Wait.  I was just kidding.  I think you should bring ___ over to give me my first and last kiss before I die.  
    Me:  Okay, I'll call him right now.
    Z, starting to sing her own version of Bohemian Rhapsody: "Mama, I'm dying.  Shivers down my spine.  My body's aching all the time. cough-cough.  Too late, my time is come.  The light is shining bright.  I can see my ancestors eyes.  Goodbye, everybody, I've got to run and Quayd didn't clean the bathroom." 

    She went on but I was laughing to hard to keep typing.
    Dramatic much?  Yagottaluvher!

    Wednesday, May 18, 2016

    all sorts of crazy

    Well... I'm trying.  That counts!  I fear that my blog has moved to the bottom of my priority list until Quayd is out of here!

    So.  A quick update of my last week...  I've not even had time to write it down, let alone blog about it!

    Last weekend, Doug and I had a fun double date with Alan and Jill.  We went out for dinner at Black Pearl, then came home and played our new game, "Idiot".  Good times!

    I have been to the high school more times than I can count, taking care of things for graduation and delivering kids here and there for activities.  It's definitely the end of the school year and having a Senior only intensifies it!  Next week is Quayd's last week!  CRAZY!  He's been very stressed with all that is expected at the end of the year.  Mission prepping and graduating at the same time are overload!  FUN TIMES, but seriously, it's a lottalotta.

    As I was driving home on the high road from the high school, I literally, had to pull over, take this photo and say a prayer of gratitude for this beautiful valley that we live in!

    Sunday, Doug gave his first official High Council talk in another ward.  We all attended the ward.  It was a beautiful meeting.  Doug forgot to text me the time that it began.  He had meetings at 8:30AM, then the Sacrament Meeting for the ward that he is assigned to, then the Sacrament Meeting for the ward that he was speaking in. The kids and I took a wild guess and went at 11 because he's mentioned something about 11ish.  I peeked in and saw that Doug was on the stand. We walked in late, as a hymn was being sung (the hymn that I thought was an opening hymn), and had to sit on the front. We realized that the meeting was almost over, not just beginning.  I was horrified to be late, but didn't want to miss his talk! (Early is on time!!!)  As the song ended, another man stood to speak.  We were in the wrong meeting... it was his assigned ward, not the speaking ward.  So, we sat through the end of that meeting and I was so grateful that we did, because the speaker, another high councilor, gave the most incredible talk.  The kids were on the edge of their seats.  Beautiful!

    As soon as the meeting ended, Doug made his way down to us to say hello.  He apologized for not texting and I apologized for barging in late. Oops.  We sat down and waited for the next Sacrament Meeting to begin.  Doug gave a beautiful talk and again, we were grateful to be there.  After that meeting, we came home to our own ward and finished up the meetings there.   Sunday evening, we had a relaxing evening at home without Doug, who was in meetings until 9PM.  He'd wanted me to attend a class at 6 with him, but I couldn't be in two places at once and that particular night, I was more needed with the kids.  Some days, it's harder than others, and most days, I can arrange to be everywhere at once.  I felt bad to miss an opportunity to be with Doug.

    Another highlight this week was a date with Trace and Ann, who we've not seen, all four of us together, since the day that they were released from the Bishopric.  I can see the bond that these two good men have formed.  I'm thankful for my time with Ann, anytime!  We enjoyed a nice dinner at Texas Roadhouse and good conversation.  Never long enough!  Good times!

    Also, this past few days has included several doctor appointments.  Doug had a one inch sheet of plywood fall off the trailer and karate chopped his big toe a month ago.  In our 39 years of marriage, I could count, on one hand, the times that Doug has ever said, "I need to see a doctor."  Monday afternoon, we drove together for him to see a doctor who removed his toenail, which had die.  Before and after, as always, Doug has never complained!

    We've also been to the eye doctor.  Both Quayd and Grace have had issues with their new contacts.  Quayd will not be taking contact lenses on his mission.  He will need glasses.  He hates glasses!  I think that once he sees the other Elders wearing them, he'll be fine with it, but he is so not amused about not wearing contacts.  (Which is really kind of ironic because all he does is complain that his eyes hurt when he has them on.)  We ordered their new glasses yesterday and they should be here within a week.  Grace's are adorable on her.  Quayd got nerdier glasses, but he liked them, so that's all that matters.

    The weather has been delightful!  Windows open at night.  Flip flops, which my foot thanks me for every day.  Capris.  Spring has finally arrived!  (But, as sure as I say that, we'll get another spring snow-storm!

    I am teaching Young Womens on Sunday.  I'm so excited to share a lesson about patriarchal blessings.  I've been reading and studying it for weeks.  Doug teases me about how much I study whenever I speak or teach.  It's not for the lesson.  It's for me!  My favorite thing about teaching is selfish... I learn the most!

    We have tomatoes on the front porch, ready to plant in our front yard, where we are going to try to create a little salsa garden.  I'm scared to death of the thought of a garden in the front flower beds, but with all of the trees in the back, we'll never grow a thing.  It's they only thing that I don't love about this home... no garden space, but... priorities matter here.  We ate our last quart of homemade salsa a few weeks ago and we neeeeeeeeeeeeeed  a garden because homemade salsa is a staple in this home!  And I love our beautiful shady beautiful back yard, so front yard salsa garden it is!  A girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do!  And I "gotta" have my husband plant tomatoes so we can have salsa!

    Life is so dang good!

    Monday, May 16, 2016

    a serious conversation

    Over the past few weeks, I've been reading a lot and studying a lot and pondering a lot.  A lot.  In the middle of everything that is happening in our world, one of the best things is that I'm preparing lessons for the Young Women!  And I love love love to teach the gospel! 

    One thing that I've always done with my kids is that whenever I feel impressed to share a "deep thought", I call them together, no matter what we are doing and just share the feelings from my heart.  They listen politely and get back to whatever they were doing.  It's amazing to me, how many times they will mention that a thought I'd shared came to them, even a year later.  (Grace had that happen just a few weeks ago.)

    So.  This week,  the kids had come in, after school, and gotten their afternoon munchies and were about their own business.  I had been thinking all day about something I'd read.  I called everyone upstairs to my room.  They all gathered... Quayd on the chair and ottoman, Grace on our bed, Zee dramatically dropped to the floor.  I said, "I have something to share."  They are used to this. 

    I began... "I do not care if I drop dead on the floor in two minutes.  I do not care if Dad drops dead two minutes later next to me.  I don't care if both dogs drop dead two minutes after that.  I do not care if the house goes up in flames and burns to the ground two minutes after that.  Just remember this and never ever ever ever forget it.  This life is a test divinely designed for each of us to know if we want the Kingdom of God more than anything else.  No matter what happens in life, no matter what, no matter how, no matter when, every single challenge or test or trial that we have is for our betterment.  Every experience is designed to help us learn and to help us grow.  Heavenly Father knows what's ahead.  We do not.  Every challenge is preparing us for something that lies ahead.  Every challenge makes us stronger. Every challenge is for our benefit, no matter how badly it hurts as it happens.  Someday, we can look back and understand more and know that we grew from it.  We don't have to like it.  But, we do have to grow from it.  Does everyone understand that?"

    They all sat there looking at me in silence.  Quayd finally spoke and said, "Mom?  Is there something you need to tell us?  Are you okay?  Has something happened?"  I said, "No.  Everything's fine.  No one has died.  No one's house has burned to the ground.  Al is well."  Quayd said, "Good." Then I said, "You might need to share that message while you are on your mission though."  He said, "Okey dokey then.  Thanks, Mom."  And they all left.  End of story.

    It's strange, how this works.  But, I felt impressed to share it.  They'll remember it.  Hopefully, it will come back to them when they need to hear it.

    Life is good... even when we are challenged.

    Wednesday, May 11, 2016

    a fun run!

    I just got in from a most fun overnighter at the cabin.  Originally, the plan was for me to go up with Alan and Jill, yesterday, make lunch for them while they worked, give my opinion on a few things and come home.  However, while on our Sonic Run, Carol and I decided to take a drive up together, spend the night and come home today instead.  We literally didn't pack any food, other than the ground beef and rice that I was making for lunch.  We just loaded a bag with cards, games and our pajamas, and hit the road.

    We stopped at the grocery store in Soda Springs, bought $100 worth of food for the remainder of the lunch fixings, Diet Coke, ice and treats then headed on to the cabin.  Carol was wearing capris and flipflops.  Alan who arrived an hour ahead of us, texted, "Bring your snow boots!"  a little late for that!  We arrived at the cabin in the snow and wind and C-O-L-D!  Carol put her socks on and had the thong of her flipflops between her toes with socks.  It was so funny!  I would be in trouble if I showed the whole picture! ha!

    We made lunch,checked out the cabin restoral and then Carol and I went back over to the loft where it was warm and cozy for a very lot of cokes (is that even close to proper grammar?), more cards and Quixx than we can say.  I won 2/3 Quixx games.  We kept score because I think that Carol always wins, but apparently not.  We played a ton of a "Trim" type game and she introduced me to another card game that I can't get enough of called "Idiot".  However, because I kept winning it with getting all of the lucky cards, she pulled five of the eight of them out to "level the playing field.  Apparently, it worked because I didn't win nearly as much after that."  When we play, we never care who wins, playing is all that matters!

    We stayed up until well after 2, just talking until we were both dozing off on each other.  We talked about our families. We each named the other's siblings and all of their kids and even some of their kids' kids.  Our families are sooooooo different from each other! Carol's family is very close and they share so many similar interests.  My mother and brother and I could not be any more opposite and Doug's family are equally opposite, in different ways.  Doug's family are not game players, they are not party people and are much more introverted.  Doug's family is very musical, conservative and super "natural" or "health-minded".  Carol has a family of joggers and cyclist, but they live to celebrate every day with fun foods and so many huuuge creative activities together and often.  Doug's family are more hikers and gardeners, they are not big talkers and definitely don't like to party just for a party's sake.  Doug has become more like I am, in that way... he enjoys our gatherings and games and loves the laughter that they bring.  And my family... well... we just don't get together at all.  Period.  One thing that Doug's family does share with Carol's is that they are all very solid in the gospel.  So interesting.  Carol and I, although we come from such different backgrounds, yet, we read each other's minds much of the time and laugh more than any two people I know when we are together and have more in common that could ever be listed.  Our friendship is a gift.

    As we were falling asleep (and it was 1:45AM, so my mind was shutting down), I could not for the life of me, remember the name of one of my nieces or nephews children.  Because we don't get together often with Doug's family,  I have possibly seen this child three times.  I knew the child's name but lost it.  It was on the tip of my tongue.  As I was just about asleep, it came to me!  I called it out!  Carol, half asleep in her bed, mumbled, "Well done."  z-z-z-z-z-z  hah!

    Years ago, shortly after Jon passed away, Carol and I took all of our kids to the cabin.  We stopped at a little store in Soda and found these reusable plastic showercap type things to put over a bowl or watermelon.  Madi was about twelve at the time, that age where everything parents do embarassess them to death!  We bought the plastic things and put them on our heads, walking around the store (where we were confident that we didn't know anyone!) and Madi was horrified!  Last night, we found some more of them, and this morning, we put them on our heads to take a pic and send to Madi with "Ready to go shopping!"(These were much smaller which makes them look even dorkier!  It's wonderful to have a friend that you can be totally ridiculous with and still "respect each other in the morning."

    Today, we awoke at about 8:30 to much better weather!  We played more games, ate bagels and strawberry cream cheese, played some more until noon, when we packed up, cleaned up, then headed home with a stop for lunch and a few others on our way to the valley.  We were home just as the kids were coming in from school.  A great day's outing and we did pretty good for being "spontaneous!"   Who could not love being at the ranch!?

    The cabin progress is coming along so well.  Because of the mold stains and damage, after they were soda/sandblasted and dried, the logs have had to be whitewashed.  The cabin has a completely different feel without the honey colored logs but I've been on pinterest checking out "White Log Cabins" and there are some pretty amazing examples.  I think that, although it will be a total contrast to what it was, it will be a "different kind of beautiful".  We are just excited to see it done! It really is beautiful, but it takes some getting used to, indeed. Here's a few pix.

     From the landing, looking down into the great room.  The flooring is coming right along!

     Looking into the kitchen from the great room.

    They made huge progress on the cabinets while we were next door playing!

    The new ceiling fan is huuuuuuge!

    The master bedroom seems so tiny being empty.  It's hard to believe that the king size bed was in this room with plenty of space to spare.  We kept commenting on how small it felt, but we know it's not.  ???

     upstairs dorm room

     another upstairs bedroom

    It's really looking great!  I've got carpet samples here to visit with Doug's mom about and that should take a few weeks.  There is still no water, and the bathrooms need a lot of work still, but it's happening!  They are doing a fantastic job!  Doug was so happy to see the pix when I showed him this afternoon!

    I came home just as the kids were coming in from school.  Life got right back to "real"... "Mom, can I go here?  Mom, did you do this?  Did you do that?  Mom, I need this...."  Sandwiches for Doug and he was off to his meetings.  The girls were off to do their things and Quayd and I were busy making some plans for his senior pictures and haircuts and and and...   My phone was filled with texts and messages and the hot tub was screaming my name!  I do love my life!  Busy, crazy and blessed!  Those three words describe it best!  Life is good!!!