Sunday, July 31, 2016

paper chain excitement!

When Liza and Buddy came up for Quayd's graduation, they had barely unloaded the car and told us that Aylabelle had something for us.  Aylabelle handed us a paper chain.  Her last one was a count-down for Disneyland.  And they did another for "how many days until Grammie comes".  This one, I assumed was "Days till Uncle Quayd is a missionary."  BUT.  They told me that I could take off one link every Sunday.  And that was our clue!  HAPPINESS!!!

Aylabelle's latest catchphrase is "When I was a little girl".  It is the sweetest thing in the world to hear her say it.  It's what she uses for her past tense.  It could be something that happened this morning, but she will tell it as "When I was a little girl..."  Oh, I adore this little girl! And now.... She won't be the only little girl for long!   Well, the only little baby...

 Aylabelle is going to be a big sister in January!

This was her silly face with grass in her hair.  The kids thought it was pretty funny!
She cracks us all up because she keeps telling us that she has a baby in her tummy.  Mommy has a baby boy in her tummy and Aylabelle has a baby girl in her tummy!  Which one will it be?!?!  We don't know yet, but we are so excited for them all!

With all of the Quayd excitement, I wanted to wait to share.  I think that by now, Liza has told everyone that she needs to and it's time for me to share the news too!  HAPPINESS!  Baby B is on it's way!

Life is good!!!

Friday, July 29, 2016

other good stuff...

It really has been a blur of events and happenings.  I've not written about the reunion yet, which was absolutely awesome!  One week later...The Corbridge Reunion is always awesome and seriously, each year, it seems to get better.  Although we seemed to be lower in numbers this year, we had a great time!

I was greeted by most everyone with, "How are you doing?  Are you hanging in there?" since most of us connect on some form of social media. Everyone knew that Quayd had just entered the MTC and that he is our first. I was still quite on the edge with my tears, but I tried to just cowboy up and express my gratitude for his choice to be there! Because of Quayd entering the MTC and my shopping non-stop for cabin decor on our way up, I opted to have nothing to do with breakfast, our family's assignment, this year.  There was more than enough hands in the kitchen preparing, so I came back to the cabin and washed dishes while Doug's sister, Anne dried and we visited.

The Friday night hayride was fabulous, no surprise.  This year's theme was movies.  We were greeted by Simon Cowell and Ryan Seacrest (two cousins) who were the hosts of the greatest movies of all times Academy Awards.  Interrupting them were two of the characters from Lord of the Rings, "Gandolf and ???" because I'm not a LotR fan.  They were insisting that their movie was the best.  However, we had some fun traveling across the ranch and being entertained ...

Mitch is always a main character in the hayride and, honestly, everyone just can't wait to see who he'll be this year!  He was a great Simon!  Some people are just born with natural talent to entertain and Mitch is one of them!  He shared stories at breakfast that had us just rolling!

Our first stop was at the barn where we got to experience a live version of "Singing in the Rain" .  So cute!  And they were really light on their feet!

As we drove down to the river, we stopped on the bridge.  Everyone only had to look to the west and before the Titanic music began, we knew what movie we were going to see a "Clip" from.  This "Jack" wasn't nearly as quiet about how cold the water was.  He flat out asked Rose if she didn't have a little more room on that door for him!  We were laughing so hard!

This would have been Quayd's favorite.  The Indiana Jones music started and he came running down the hill with the giant gold ball rolling behind him.  The ball wasn't as co-operative as it should have been, which brought more laughs!

Our next stop was for a scene from Lord of the Rings.  We had a little commotion at our trailer and I couldn't get close enough to get a shot or even hear it.  I felt bad not to catch this part of the show but then again, I'm not into that genre.  Seriously, though, laughs could be heard from whatever was happening with Gandolf and his sidekick with the very large "ring".  (This shot was taken at the beginning near the barn.  My bad.)

Finally, for the last stop, a scene familiar to all (Even me since I finally watched the Sound of Music for the first time), Julie Andrews came running over the hill from far, far away singing, "The Hills are Alive..." After quite a jaunt, she was greeted by her little children and performed, "Doe a Deer..."  So cute!  

 Of course, more interruptions from our Lord of the Rings stars, until the votes were in and they ended up in the river on the way back.  Sound of Music seemed to have the largest applause.  What a fun night.  I'm missing out on many details because were all visiting and enjoying being together on the trailers, as well as the hayride!

One other surprise along the way was this huge, huge turkey vulture, just sitting out there watching us, as though we were invading his territory.  We were!  What a sunset!  What a sight!

 On Saturday morning, following Doug's brother and sister-in-law's incredible Breakfast Burritos for 150 people, we enjoyed the first annual Corbridge Reunion Dog Show, hosted by one of my nephews.  He did a great job organizing and emceeing the program.  Even Zulu got involved.  Here's Zeej having Zulu show us his one trick, "Eat!"

However, he was no quitter.  He found the hidden treats, and then even did the obstacle course in less than 40 seconds!

 But, most of the time, the reunion is about catching up with each other on families and news.  There's always much talk of missionaries, the gospel and wonderful uplifting experiences.  It is amazing to me that this has been going on for 60 years now.

We had a wonderful lunch and then there was time playing in the river, horses, games and activities. It's always well organized and well attended.  We had our family council about the cabin, after cousins started to head home.  Most have at least a four hour drive to get to their homes. 

After everyone had left, and only a few remained, we enjoyed the downtime with Alan and Jill, and my favorite nephew Jake, who stayed over night with us.  Next door, more of the extended cousin family stayed.  Later in the evening, they wandered over to see the renovated cabin and we all ended up sitting in the cabin until almost eleven just visiting.  I have to admit, that was my favorite part of the entire reunion, spending time with two of my favorites since the day we met!

On Sunday morning, we usually have a little Sabbath lesson and then relax and enjoy our time together with Alan's family before loading up to come home.  It was so hot all weekend in the day and so cool at night!  There was literally frost on the ground in the mornings!  We drove straight home and just relaxed for the rest of the night.  Carol and I hadn't seen each other for two weeks, so she came over and we sat and caught up in the hottub while Doug came in and out, delivering cold water bottles and a few laughs.

Leaving Quayd at the MTC was hard.  Being at the ranch was a great bandaid.  Being with family was a wonderful ointment.  It was therapeutic time.  I'd really not wanted to stay for the reunion this year.  I LOVE the reunion and never ever want to miss it, but this year, I just didn't want to have to keep saying, "I'm great!" when I wasn't!  However, the more I said it, the better I felt.  I still teared up a few times.  I still thought of Quayd every other thought.  One time, I literally called, "Quayd, here!" to come and eat an extra Breakfast burrito, before I realized that Quayd wasn't there.  But, it was so great to be surrounded by the most amazing and incredible people I know, to hear their stories and experiences and to just be uplifted by their love and support.  Score for the Corbridge Reunion, another great success.  Life is so good!  I am so blessed!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Quayd's first REAL letter!!!

This letter came this morning while Denise and I were having lunch on the patio near the river at Elements.  I was sitting there checking my iPad every other minute and finally one popped up.  Quayd wrote, "Do you want to hear my experience?"  That was the whole email!  I wrote back instantly, YES PLEASE!!!  35 minutes later, I received this letter.  It made me feel wonderful and my heart was full and I ached all at the same time!

My heart ached to think that he was feeling such strong emotions on his own, but I was overjoyed at his realization and that he figured it out without Doug or I there to tell him what he came to realize alone!  Oh how I love this boy!  Anyway, here is his first letter.  I'm still debating.  I may begin a blog for his letters.  I may just post them here.  I'll decide before he gets to California. The letter had to be edited for typos, but other than that, this is Quayd RAW.  Some of it may be more personal than I should share, I'll figure out what he wants to share and what he doesn't.  We are learning as we go here.  And I loved that he said, "Life is good!" 

Well,  as you know,  when I got to the MTC, it was emotional, especially saying goodbye to my mother.  In a way, it kinda felt like Maze Runner, when Thomas is in the box (the car) then, the door opens and elders pull you out just like the Gladers did with Thomas. I immediately had to say goodbye to my family and my mom, then I was taken away from them by Elder Spencer. I don’t know why I wasn’t crying anymore, I just wasn’t.  

I said hello to almost every elder as they, repeatedly, kept saying, “Welcome to the MTC!” I went to my classroom and meet Elder Aeillo almost like “i yellow”, so that’s what we call him.  I talked to him for a bit and met Brother Van Bloom and Elder Tittle.  It felt like I had seen them before somewhere.  Weird? But, they were my teachers.

They pulled me out of the room to watch a couple videos. I came back and there was Elder White, Elder Aeillo, Elder Taylor and Elder Hill, my companion.  You know how we guessed what my companion was going to be like… Well,  he is tall, not very handsome, has a very cool personality and talks a lot! At times, I couldn’t say anything because he’s a talker.   

Then, out of nowhere, I saw Elder Duncan, a high school friend of mine. I was at his house that New Years Eve party.  He is in my district!  We hugged and were so freaking pumped to see each other!  

After that, we started class, then went to lunch.  The food isn’t that good, but, the ice cream – mmm, it is good!  BYU ice cream!

I don’t know why, but, I felt some intense anxiety throughout the first three days.  The first day was the hardest just trying to fit in.  We were teaching and some investigators were asking questions. I think that when I spoke, I recited the whole Plan of Salvation, which must have been overwhelming.  Anyway, studying lessons,  learning to talk to the investigators, I literally wanted to go home… but, at the same time, I didn’t. It was mentally challenging. 

I doubted myself many times. As my district talked about scriptures and such, I really felt like I was going to be a failure.  And my companion barely talked to me. And my district were like family, but I wasn’t fitting in.  I felt hopeless and a little... not really homesick, but, at the same time, homesick. 

We were teaching our lesson of the restoration to Brother Tittle.  We prepared and we started our lesson.  I talked about Joseph Smith and his vision and recited it.  That’s when I knew!  …Maybe, I don’t know scripture, BUT, I have a testimony that is strong!  Maybe I don’t know much, but, I can feel the presence of the Spirit!  Because when I told Brother Tittle that story, his eyes were glistening and I knew that, pretending to be investigator, (even though he was a member), he felt it!

So, I started to make a change. I started to know my personality and now, I’m literally the funniest elder in my district! We have made lots of friends. I have made lots of friends! It’s like my district are my brothers who, like me, are newbies and then, some of the other people in my district are older brothers, who have shared there experiences of teaching, like Elder Fata,  Elder Stevenson and Elder Richins.  They have been a big help and I’m starting to like it! 

Teaching is a little hard when Elder Hill is talking.  My district leader is a little too much obedient, but, that’s okay, I still love him.  But, I’m so grateful to meet these wonderful people, these wonderful friends and now, literally, my brothers!  

I haven’t taken any pictures so I need to do that, but, I have been writing in my journal each day about my wonderful preparation towards the Lord and the people of Redlands, California.  It’s been amazing!

I miss you so much.  Thank you for the scrap book.  It means a lot.  I don’t know… being here is like, for me, I have already been here.  I know somewhere in my life time that I have met all of these wonderful people.  Getting to know them more…it’s literally like I have passed the veil and have seen a glimpse of them laughing and talking up a storm.  They love me.  They literarily tell me, “Corbridge, I love you, man!” or “Corbridge, I’m so glad you are here!” or “Corbridge, can I date your sister?” 
There’s a couple like Elder Aiello and White and Lorenzen, who want to date Grace or ZJ! Haha! 

Funny… we were talking about moms and how you were converted by the former Elder Corbridge and they were like, “ooohh really, was she....?”  “She was hot!!!!” They all started laughing hysterically and then they asked, “Is she still?”  Yeah, she’s still pretty hot. It might have been weird saying that, but…

It’s just been great! I love my teachers!  Oh, something the girls should do - if they have a clear glass in a restaurant, put maybe a quarter of ice in the cup, get half cup of Fanta and a little bit of Sprite and then a drop of blue PowerAde in there.  It has two colors… just saying.

I love you guys so much I miss you and Zulu.  Anyway, life is good!  I’ll send pictures asap. Oh!  Listen to this band called the Nashville Tribute.  They are awesome and I literally cried 8 times listening to their music.  It is powerful, especially the missionary one. 

your son,
Elder Corbridge :^)

Oh, ps.  All the elders going to Redlands have contacts for the year!  haha

He loved telling me that because the letter from the Mission said No contact lenses.  We have gone the rounds about this since April.  I guess Quayd will be getting contacts for his birthday package in a 8 weeks. His letter was pure Quayd.  Love that boy! 

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

the cabin reveal

This is the family cabin in Idaho, built by Doug's brother, 30 plus years ago.  Two years ago, on Doug's 60th birthday, I planned a trip to the ranch with a birthday surprise guest, his life long/childhood best friend, Tex and his wife, Shelley.  I told Doug on our way up and he could hardly wait!  (That means it was great gift because Doug isn't one to be over the top excited.  This time, he was!)  

Doug and I arrived with the kids, just as the sun was going down.  When we went to open the door to the cabin, it would not open.  Doug did a "body slam" against the door and out came a river of water, along with books, shoes, coolers, and whatever else pouring down the hill.  He ran to the front door and my feet and ankles were instandly covered with a flood of water racing out the door.  

The cabin had been filled, almost a foot deep, with mucky water that was still running at full force from a frozen/then broken water main inside the cabin.  To the best of our knowledge, the water had been running inside the cabin for 3-4 months.  With the air on the inside being warmer than the sub-zero Idaho winter temps, it formed somewhat of a little rainforest inside and the cabin was growing mold, spores and fungus. I won't even attempt to describe the smell. Every inch of the cabin was a total disaster.  Every item in the cabin was hauled away, completely destroyed, a total loss.  We were devastated and hearts were broken.

Here are a few pix of the cabin after the discovery.

What you can't tell, except when looking at the reflection on the ground at the entry, is that there was still two inches of water inside the cabin after Doug and I had left the doors wide open for the water to drain out all night long.  That was one of the longest nights of our lives.  Things had floated all over the main floor.  I couldn't begin to describe the stench.  We've all worn masks in the cabin until this past few months.

Every lower drawer and cupboard was filled with water or covered in mold or both.  The kitchen had to be completely discarded and rebuilt.  The black spots on the floor were something floating in the water.  Not even gonna try to guess what.

 The master suite was destroyed.  Mom had photo albums and Journals on the bottom bookshelf in her room that were just one solid mass of yuck.  Pages couldn't even be separated. It was sickening.  All had to be discarded.

This photo shows a "filmy" layer of yuck on the edge of the bottom step, that had grown on top of the water throughout the cabin. When Doug opened the doors, it sort of "tore off", catching on things as the water gushed out of the cabin and down the hill.  It looks like cobwebs, in this picutre, but it was more like a thin plastic.  

There were so many different types of mushrooms growing along the logs at the base of every room.  They were everywhere! It was so awful!  This brown one was larger than my "size 9" foot! The white one was even larger.  What was fascinating was that as the logs dried up over the next few months, so did the mushrooms.

The walls were furry.  Every painting, every photograph, every book, every piece of furniture, clothing or bedding...everything was covered in fur and lovely black mold spots.

It took over months and months to dry the walls.  Removing the sheetrock was a necessity to get into the framing and there was just as much mold inside the walls as there was outside.  You can see by the color change at the base, everything was damaged either by water or by mold.

 There were months of family meetings and discussions about what to do. So many options were discussed.  I was amazed at how six siblings and their spouses, as well as Mom, could all come to such peaceful agreements.  Lots and lots of prayers were said.  We discussed every option. Hazmat treatments were mandatory because of the mold. The insurance company was a nightmare.    Doug's mom lost family heirlooms, photos, documents and treasures.  Hearts were broken.  

But, we all had the same vision of the cabin, perfectly restored, with lots of cooperation, hard work and careful spending.  It took much effort from everyone!  And last weekend, we "moved back in" to the cabin!  It has been such an amazing effort.  Doug's two brothers, who are contractors, have labored for 18 months.  They took classes and received training, bought equipment to do the restoration. We've had family cleaning days where, dressed in hazmat gear, everything was hauled out into dumpster after dumpster (the kind that trucks have to move). Months and months of disassembling walls and structural details and then rebuilding. Alan and Jill have all but lived up there this past few weeks doing finish work.  Jill's efforts are mindboggling but she was a driving force to see that the details were completed.  The brothers and sons worked hard to see that the physical labor was done meticulously.  There was much effort on the part of other family members doing paperwork and research. The cabin was completely gutted down to the logs.  The logs were sodablasted and treated then sealed the painted four times!  Walls were rebuilt.  A new kitchen installed.  New heating system.  New waterlines.  New electrical. New bathrooms.  And I'm certain that there was much more than I am even aware of.  It's a new home.  And it's beautiful! And we are so thankful to each and every member of the family who has worked so painstakingly and diligently!

We were so excited last weekend to all gather together for the big reveal.  On the way home from delivering Quayd to the MTC, Doug and I made several stops and spent hours and hours and money, money, money, getting the decor for the cabin.  It was truly a blessing for me on that day.  We left the MTC and 30 minutes later, we were gathering pillows and rugs.  We stopped at Taipan, At Home, Bed, Bath and Beyond and Shopko.  It took the next 24 hours of shopping, gathering, picking up, picking out, loading and getting ready.  We took the Yukon and pulled a full trailer behind us to the ranch to do our part.  I was so thankful for the distraction, although, I'm certain that many people wondered why this woman was sobbing in the pillow department of Ikea and the rug section of Taipan and and and.  ;)  Quayd was my every two thoughts that day and the cabin was the third one in between.

Alan and Jill and Doug and I have had our eyes out for things the cabin would need for weeks. Jill has been focused on so many little details.  Alan and another brother have focused on the structural things. They have all worked so hard!  Anne came and scrubbed and helped getting everything ready for our arrival with decorations, bedding for 19 beds, towels, rugs, wall decor.  When we arrived, there was a concentrated effort to "dress" the cabin and get it ready for the reunion which began on Friday.  And it. Was. LOVELY!

So, here's the reveal!  The long, long, awaited and much anticipated reveal!  (Note: I am not a builder, so I may have used the wrong terms or descriptions, but it's my blog, my opinion, my words.  So, this is what ya get.  ;)  )

The logs had stains on them that could not be covered or sanded off because the stains were so deeply embedded into them.  The bottom two logs were much darker because they'd been under water for so long.  That wasn't going to change without paint. The ceiling had rust stains where every nail hole held the knotty pine planks in place. It was decided that the logs and ceiling would have to be painted to look right again.  I was so sad because I love the look of the cabin with is honey colored logs.  However, Pinterest showed so many beautiful white-washed log cabins that it grew on me.  When we saw it completed a few months ago, my heart sunk at the change and then leaped for joy at the new beautiful light and airy feeling!

Alan, Jill and I have been shopping at online classified sites for the past few months and found some great, but, gently used pieces of furniture to replace the old.  The big rug and pillows added some pop to the white logs.  Mom was very concerned that it needed color.  We found the perfect art and accessories to add that "pop".

The bathroom surrounds had to be completely redone.  This windowless bathroom needed lots of bright to add light.  Love it!
 I couldn't love these new cabinets and vanity in the master suite any more!  We all were just excited as it came together!

One thing that I've always thought about the cabin was that it needed more counterspace.  I was so happy when Doug's brothers added the little "peninsula" to the kitchen - more sitting space, more work space, less wasted floor space.   

And even more counterspace with the built-in along the other wall.  Seriously so pretty!  Mom wants a new gas stove instead of the electric one. But, for now, this electric was fine.

When we bought our home last year, Doug and I disagreed completely about our floors.  Never ever, in 39 years of marraige, has he cared what I do about decorating our homes, but he had a strong feeling about floors.  We did more of what he wanted than what I did in our home.  (He gave me a new home that I was in love with.  I could give him a say on floors.)  The cabin now has the floors that I wanted here in our home.  So, I'm happy that they are somewhere that I can enjoy them!  And they cover the entire main floor except the master bedroom.

This shot of the greatroom makes my heart skip beats. I have had that horrific picture of the flooded room, taken the morning after we discovered it, embedded in my mind for two years.  What a joy to see this now!

The small table and chairs in the corner was another online find.  It's perfect for playing games and puzzles without interfering at the dining table.

This is the upstairs west bedroom.  This ceiling was totally covered in black mold spots.  The logs were furry, even upstairs, although the water was only downstairs.  It's beautiful!
 Jill found a box in the garage that had some old water-color paintings that Grandma (Mom's mom) had painted.  No one knew that they existed, but we were grateful for the discovery.  Jill had one framed and we hung it on the wall to surprise Mom.  She was so happy to have something from her past that had not been destroyed in the flood!  Happy moment!

 Jill is so dang cute!  I love this tiny little ball of fire so much!

 These vintage rust color chairs were a hit in the corner.  Denise teased that they were the ugliest things she'd ever seen. I think that they are perfect!  And I noticed that through the weekend, they were the chairs that were never empty, even when the sofa didn't have a soul on it.  I found the lamp for a great price as a box store was selling their displays!  I also found that rug under the chairs online and had almost hoped it wouldn't work at the cabin, so that I could put it in my den!

Oh my heck!  It's so pretty!  So bright!  So cheerful!  So happy!

The new ceiling fan is HUUUUUUUGE.  Like 6' wide!  HUUUUUGE!  The box was labelled as Big-A** fan and it is!  The clock also looked huge in the box, but when I was going to hang it where I'd originally planned, it was a dot on the wall.  So, we moved it to above the closet and it can be seen from everywhere.  The rock wall just blended in with the logs before but now, it just is so pronounced and beautiful!

I had to throw this shot in because while I was taking pictures, one of my nieces announced to Grandma that she will be expecting a baby in January!  Here's Mom's reaction!

I love the look of the light reflecting everywhere!  It's so bright!!
 I'm realizing as I add these pix, that I never took photos in the upstairs east dorm room or the upstairs bath or laundry room.  OR the loft!  The loft is the building above the garage.  It got new carpeting and some new perks, as well.  (Sounds like another trip to the cabin is due!)  I kept getting distracted with visits and news and gab! It really was such a happy time for us all together.  Giving tours each time someone would arrive was a blast!  The ooohs and the aaaahhhs!  WOW!  I can't say enough about how hard Doug's brothers and the family has worked on this!

Doug made that dinner bell years ago.  It still hangs.  We had stored much of the outside porch furniture.  Some had to be tossed but some was salvaged with lots of cleaning and TLC.  It was so nice to see the flag blowing in that western breeze.  Everything just felt so fresh and wonderful!

There's still work to be done.  There's some outside cement and concrete work that will need to be completed and some damage to the exterior still remains.  Decisions are being made about them now.  But, the inside is lovely!  Blinds are being ordered and there are a few little odds and ends that will still take place.  What a gift to have such a wonderful escape!

We held a family council and decided some "Rules" for the cabin.  I'm always in awe of this family.  They are very connected, though, very different from each other.  We aren't "close" as in "we get together every other day.  But, they work amazingly well together.  They are peacemakers and goodfinders and seek diligently to be agreeable.  It's a rare thing.  Watching Mom at the meeting as ideas were brought up and discussed... just a beautiful thing. 

I have said that this flood was a blessing in disguise...from Day One. I know that it was hard for everyone.  Yes, Mom lost everything.  BUT.  We have bonded over this project, we have worked well together, we have a beautiful new cabin.  It was heartbreaking and devastating and backbreaking, but in the end, I see generations to come enjoying this place that we all call our piece of heaven on earth. AND.  I see memories in the making for an eternal family.  That, in my humble opinion, is a gift!

Life is good!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

We've got mail!

Quayd wrote to us the morning after he arrived... just a very short message, but at least we know that he didn't disappear into an abyss at the MTC.  He wrote that he hopes things are well at home.  To quote him,

 "I just want to say the MTC is great and I'm learning so much.  The bed is actually quite comfortable besides the squeaking and turning.  Anyway, I love the Spirit within these young men.  I hope to be able tor write you soon and tell you more, but for now, this is all I can really write.  PS. P-Day is Thursday.  I love you.   Love you guys.  Tell everyone hi and don't have too much fun at the ranch."

Elder Quayd Corbridge

He knew that we were heading to the ranch for the Corbridge Reunion immediately after we dropped him off at the MTC.  That was a good thing for me.  But, I know that it was hard for him to know that he was missing out on the Corbridge Reunion.  Being so involved in getting the cabin back together for the reunion was a gift to me!  It kept my mind busy and I needed that!

As a missionary, Preparation Day is the day that they can relax a bit, do their laundry, write home, enjoy a little sports or whatever.  Once on their mission in California, they also usually take in a few of the local sights to be seen and such. 

I'm mostly concerned that he writes home on P-day!  ha!  Quayd's P-day will be my day to sit near the computer awaiting word from him!  I can't wait to hear about his MTC experiences and am praying the he remembers all of the questions I told him that I'd have so that he has something to write about.  I'm anxious to hear about his companion, if he has seen the other boys he knows that are also at the MTC now, if he's eating well (we are told that they can eat all they want at the MTC!)

We are so excited for him!  I've had nightmares every night, but the waking hours are wonderful... painful but wonderful!

And in other news, ZJ started her first "real" job.  She's done work for friends and family since she was ten but she's finally going to have a regular paycheck!  And she is so excited!  I snuck in and snapped a few candid shots of her on her first night, then she saw me and grinned from ear to ear.  So cute.  It was really strange that night. I made dinner and we sat at the kitchen counter instead of the table, just Grace, Doug and I.  I have a feeling that there will be much more of that instead of eating at the table, in our future. 

I've got a ton to record about the reunion, about projects at home, all sorts of happenings.  Things are slowing down a bit now and we will definitely see change soon because school begins in four weeks!  How did that happen already?!  Life is good! 

Monday, July 25, 2016

the MTC

We didn't set an alarm because I knew that we would all be awake bright and early.  By 7AM, Quayd was upstairs, completely dressed and ready and had put his cot and bedding away.  He'd spent about an hour in his room alone the night before just putting some things into a storage bin because he knows that I'll have his room completely redone before the week's end.  ;)   (And he's right.) I wasn't even out of bed, Wednesday morning, when he returned to our room totally ready to roll!

We got dressed, loaded the Yukon, then had one last family prayer.  I've said our morning prayer for their whole lives.  I could count on one hand the times that we have not had a morning prayer, kneeling together in the room (and even on a few "Racing for the bus" mornings, as I drive!)  This prayer, however, was the hardest prayer I've ever said.  Hard because I didn't want to start sobbing already, although I put my makeup on through tears rolling down my cheeks.  I think that somewhere in the night, I really and truly was made aware that this would be the last time we ever have family prayer with our three youngest "kids".  Quayd will return a man!  By the time he returns, who knows where Grace will be and what she will be doing.  It was hard.  But, good.  All wonderful!

We walked outside and I took a few pix while Doug checked the house and the water and put Zulu away.  Layne and Kendall saw us and came over for one last hug and goodbye and Layne snapped a picture of Quayd and I together.  Sister Simmons called across the street, "Good luck!"  We loaded in an were on our way.

As is obvious, I hadn't stopped crying much.  Just happy tears!

Quayd and I realized the night before that we had not bought luggage tags, so Doug dropped us off at Smiths Marketplace while he and the girls drove through the carwash.  We walked out just as they pulled back into the parkinglot.

We called Liza from Brigham City.  She asked where we were were when we told her Brigham, she panicked!  Quayd had just told her that we were stopping for Krispy Kremes then for lunch before we got there.  Provo is a two hour drive.  Brigham is 25 minutes from home and she thought we had to be there at 11, so we were waaaaaay behind.  But, we had left at 8:30, just as scheduled and all was fine and right where it should be.

The drive down was relatively calm.  Doug and I were giving Quayd lots of last minute instructions on keeping track of his belongings, what to expect, what we would be anxious to hear about in his first letters.    I'm sure that it all went in one ear and out the other because his mind had to be going a million miles a second.  I snapped a few family selfies and loved them all.  This was my favorite.  Look at his smile!  He's totally relaxed and chill about it all.  Me... not so much.

We stopped at Applebees in Provo for lunch.  It was the worst Applebees experience I have ever had.  EVER.  And it wasn't because of the circumstances.  We were terribly disappointed in lunch, but it gave us something to take our minds off the fact that we were less than four minutes away from the MTC.  There was another missionary family who came in after we had been served.  (Actually, there were a few.)  But, this boy.  Oh dear.  He had this look of terror on his face.  He wasn't engaged at all with his family.  Just this blank stare and white face.  I felt awful for him.  But, it was a blessing to me... because.... I saw nothing but excitement in Quayd.  I kept asking him if he was nervous, worried, what he was feeling.  He told me several times, "There's nothing to fear or be nervous about."  I was blown away by his confidence.

When we got into the car, after pictures, however, I did notice that he was bouncing his knee, which is what he does right before anything big in his life.  So, I could tell that he was excited!

We had been told that you need to find a park or something to take pictures and say goodbye before you get to the MTC because once you pull in, you literally drop them off at the curb and have about two minutes to get their things out of the car and say goodbye.  No time for pix or anything else, and that you may get a photo of their back, but that would be it.

Because of this information, we stopped at the BYU Stadium parking lot in the shade, got out and said our goodbyes.  The girls had teased all the way down and placed bets on who would cry.  ZJ was certain that she had this.  Not so much.  There were hugs and whispers and lots of tears.  I was not saying goodbye yet.  I got a few extra hugs in, just because but I'd said, "I dare anyone to tell me that there is not time to hug goodbye on the MTC Curb!"  We all were passing the camera around because we were all taking turns hugging.  I'm posting these for my posterity, not to show the ugly cry faces.


Between the tears, we still were clowning.  ZJ is good for comic relief most of the time.

But, there were plenty of tears.

Oh my word, I heart him!

The ugly cry.

I think it was harder to watch Doug say goodbye to Quayd than it was for me to say goodbye myself.  These two are amazingly close. That's not hard when your dad is so awesome!

The only reason I'm posting this many photos is because if I ever lose them, I'll still have them here.

 Cowboying up!

We pulled into the MTC driveway and were greeted by "guards" who asked, "Dropping of an Elder or Sister?"  A yellow sticky note was placed on our window and we were directed to turn right.  As we turned, the sidewalk on opposite side of the street, along the building, was lined up with Elder and Sister Missionaries, who were all waving and cheering and saying, "Welcome to the MTC!!  You made it!!  You're here!!!"  It was so cute!  This really was a comforting feeling to see them so happy! (I also wondered if Quayd will be doing this before he leaves the MTC in a few weeks.)  We were directed to pull over to the outside lane near the curb and instructed immediately, that we could get out of the car but that we had to stay on this side of the street.  The welcoming crew were on the other side of the street. 

This good-looking Elder came over to our car and said, "Hi!  Welcome to the MTC!  What's your name?"  Beaming, Quayd responded, "Quayd Corbridge!"  We laughed and he corrected himself, "Elder Corbridge!"  This cute young man invited us all to get out of the car, to say our goodbyes and even offered to take pictures of the whole family.  I took pix while Elder Corbridge hugged the girls and his dad one last time and then he hugged me. 


  Quayd and I hugged and there were tears on both our shoulders.  Denise commented when she saw the picture that I looked like I was going to either throw up or faint.  She wasn't far from wrong.

We said that one last goodbye and the cute Elder asked, "Are ya ready, Elder Corbridge?"  Quayd took a deep breath, smiled his great big smile and said, "Yep!"  The Elder had his luggage and they started to walk away.  I said, "Wait!  Just one more hug!"  He turned, just at the edge of the Yukon, hugged me once more and then turned to walk away.

 Notice the Elder holding Quayd's luggage, patiently waiting.

He crossed that street and was totally engaged talking to the Elder who was escorting him.  The line of other missionaries were high fiving him, giving him fist bumps, shaking his hand, patting his back as he passed them all.  We all, in unison, yelled, "We love you, Quayd!" and he smiled and turned back, signed "I love you", (which he has always done as he leaves), turned back to the Elder and I can't even tell you where they disappeared to.  It was like he disappeared in a flash.  Gone.  Deep sigh. 

OH. MY. WORD.  I can not even begin to say how this felt.  It's like the worst feeling of my entire life and yet it was one of the three happiest moments of my life!  It was awful and painful and joyful and wonderful and perfect and horrific and and and...all at the same time!  This is the strangest thing! 

Fifteen years ago, Liza sent off a missionary, Ben, who we loved every bit as much as our own children.  Ben served his mission in Russia for two years and for that two years, we supported him as though he were our own son. I would stay up every single Wednesday morning, staring at my computer screen at 3AM, just waiting for his weekly email.  My heart ached that he was gone for two years.  I cried more tears over him being gone than Liza did!  (And she will confirm that!)  Even when Liza started dating another boy, and got quite serious with him, my loyalties were with Ben who I was certain would be our son-in-law.  (That didn't happen.)  BUT....  I have thought, for all these years, "Oh, I know what it's like to have a son on a mission.  I know what it's like to say that goodbye and see him walk away.  I know what it's like to wait for one email a week.)  I also had the privilege of picking up my dear friend, Susan's son, Jordan, at the SLC Airport and delivering him to the MTC.  It was one of the most emotional experiences of my life.  I wasn't close to Jordan but I loved him like my own because he was Susan's son.  I thought I knew this pain.  Truly.  WRONG!!!!  I had noooooooooo  clue!  NONE whatsoever.  NADA!!!

We got in the car and started to pull away, where more and more missionaries lined the drive saying, "Thank you!  Thank you!"  It was surreal.  Oh my word.  As we pulled out of the driveway back onto the street, it was like we were entering a whole new world.  SO AMAZING!  We were pretty silent for the next half hour.  All of us sort of lost in our own thoughts and feelings.  There was not really a need to talk because we all were feeling the same ... and really... there are no words.

 I have seen this quote many times before but now it has a new meaning, "I never said it would be easy.  I only said it would be worth it."  The tears are still coming.  Random.  Out of nowhere.  It's getting better.  My mind is filled with a million questions to ask and wondering about this and that.  But, we know that he is well cared for and in good hands because he's in the Lord's hands now!  What an experience.  Our son is serving at the MTC.  WOW!!!  Our weekend only continued to be wild and crazy ... which was a good thing.  More tomorrow.  Life is good!