Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Merry Christmas!

Thank you for the kind texts and emails, asking why I have not blogged and if we are okay.  We are wonderful.  This past year has been unique in more ways that words can describe.  

I have decided, for many reasons, that I will continue to blog, privately, at the beginning of the new year.  I have made many wonderful connections through blogging that I do not want to lose.  If you are interested in following my blog once it is private, email me or DM me on Instagram.  You can find me on Instagram @sentimentsfrommyhome.  It is only my home decor, not my personal page, but I do post almost daily with holiday decor.

Life is good!  Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Friday, May 11, 2018

earth, wind, fire and our son

Dale's on the big island in Hawaii.  He bought some land there a couple of years ago and has been developing it to live "off grid".  He's built a home, which is not what I would have ever imagined.  We are quite proud of his energy, spirit and tenacity.  He really does love the earth and nature.  He built this three story, generator operated home.  He blows his glass and grows whatever he wants on this volcanic land and is happier than we have ever known him to be.  It's been fascinating to watch.  Willow is living with her mother, in California, and he misses her tons.

Right now, his life is pretty insane, as his property is only a few miles from all of the volcano and earthquake events. The 6.9 earthquake had his home rocking and shaking and totally trashed the inside.  He said that it picked his car right up off the earth and moved it over four feet.  It literally dumped his refrigerator's contents on the ground.  Broken glass everywhere.  Two of his glass kilns and three computer monitors were tossed to the ground and bookshelves overturned.  He said he was holding on!  As he was telling me about the whole thing, an aftershock occurred and things started rocking again.  But.  He was fine!

There are people who say that he should move and get out of Dodge, but he's holding out that there will be enough warning for him to go when it's time, if it's time.  Personally, it would have been time for me, at the first sign of danger!  But, Dale loves living life on the edge and he told his dad that if he's gonna go, he wants to go out in style.  And he's almost 40 years old.  It's not like he's gonna listen to his parents say, "Get the heck out of Dodge."  Dale has always been our adventurer!

Here's what he had to say yesterday:
Tired of the fear mongering. 🀨It’s true, as always, that none of us know what’s going to happen and the world will eventually kill us. Living on a volcano doesn’t make you any more likely to be in harms way than any other place on the planet. I think tornadoes are way more unpredictable and destructive.  People still live in the Midwest and we don’t call them idiots for it. 

Having an emergency plan and supply grab bag ready is smart no matter what. People actually choose to live IN THE CITY! Yuck! 🀒 The air quality there is way nastier than anything I’ve been exposed to, here, yet.

There is no abnormal amount of seismic activity worldwide. There’s always hundreds of earthquakes every day of the year and 6.0’s or greater at least weekly, on average, so nothing to worry about, yo.
This notice today is real; the lava could decide to vent from a new location along the ridge soon, because both craters drained and the cracks went quiet; which would mean we’d have to adapt again once we see where; so it is definitely best to be ready, at least. That’s it; be ready. 

If the water causes explosions at Halemaumau, the danger will be flying rocks within a mile, falling ash for a few miles, and sulfur dioxide steam for a few days for umpteen miles in concentrated amounts. So pretty much ‘Don’t go to the crater!’ (& Have a gas mask.) 

And if new fissures open and cut roads off; we’ll evacuate and then after, fix the roads or at the worst wait it out a week or 2 while they reroute. This is normal for people that have lived here a while.
Go with the flow, yo! πŸ€™

(I actually think the lava found a few new routes to escape off the coast under the ocean, judging by the quake activity, which would explain the drop in pressure in all sectors. A new vent may come, but it could take years.)
Aloha! 🌨πŸ’₯☄️⚡️πŸ”₯πŸŒͺ🌊⛈

So, we continue to watch and listen and pray for his safety.  At this point, he's not planning on going anywhere.  Just thought I'd share this update for my journal's sake.  Continued good thoughts and vibes for Dale are appreciated.  Prayers in our behalf for Dale are appreciated as well!  Life is good!  Hot, volcanic and good!

Monday, April 30, 2018

Mom's 84th birthday

In the midst of our craziness this month, I decided that we needed to celebrate Doug's mom's 84th birthday with a BANG!!  I called Mom to select a date, which was two days after her actual birthday because it was our only free night that week, invited the siblings and we were able to get 13 of the 14 of us here!

Denise and I left at 8:30 that morning, enjoyed breakfast at Angies, then hit Sam's Club and Lee's for all that we needed and we needed a LOT!  I'd decided that it would be fun to create a charcuterie board for the family to feast and gather around the table for talk and laughs.  Doug's family are all about health and nutrition. I knew that the cost would be pretty high, but for Mom's birthday, it was worth the expense, which we all split.  Denise and I were back home from shopping just after 11 and I finished putting things on the board just before everyone arrived at 6PM.  We had a ball cutting, slicing, rolling and arranging all of the food! So fun!

This was one of the prettiest tables that I've ever set and the best part was, WE ATE IT!

Here is a list of what we had on the board:
7 different types of crackers
7 cheeses - asiago, Gouda, cheddar-jack, pepper jack, mozzarella, Havarti and a rosemary/olive oil Gouda that was rolled in more rosemary (oh my!)
7 meats - a maple turkey, a smoked ham, pepperoni, salami, a pepper-rolled salami, prosciutto and hot suppressata
3 breads - rosemary, asiago and a multigrain bagette
2 bowls filled with mini-cucumbers and slices of red, yellow and orange peppers
green olives stuffed with garlic cloves (I even tried one.  I'll pass next time, but they were a hit!)
dates, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, grapes
homemade from scratch ranch dressing
a gourmet spicy hot mustard (not my favorite thing, but again, a hit with Doug)
marscapone mixed with a sour cherry jelly (oh my!)
dill pickles, cherry tomatoes
cashews, raw almonds,  olive oil marinated almonds, peppered pastachios, candied pecans
strawberry bundt cake with vanilla ice cream

It really was as pretty to look at as it was fun to eat!

No forks allowed.

Grazing is a good word for what we did for two hours.  We ate until our hearts content and talked about everything from gardening (a normal and expected topic) to food to gospel topics (another normal) all evening long, until the table talk questions were pulled out and then we talked memories and favorites and Mom!  (Note, even I drank ice water, so as not to take away from the many flavors on the table!)

Mom is always happiest when surrounded by her children.  All but one son-in-law, who had commitments that he couldn't be excused from, were able to join us.  Norm, as always, expressed his gratitude for Mom and her kids.  He's sure been a gift to our family!

One candle will suffice when you are 84!  With all that we'd eaten, no one expected a cake when Zeej brought it out with the candle lit.  Aleece led us in "Happy Birthday" without a word.

It was a fun evening, filled with love for Mom.  Ironically, the next night, we received a call that Mom had fallen and was being ambulanced to the nearest Idaho hospital.  Doug's sister, Anne, immediately went to the hospital as Mom was being released with a fractured upper arm. We were so relieved that it was not more serious!  Doug's mom is one of the most loving and kind, gentle women that I've ever known.  We are so grateful for her every day!  Personally, I look forward to planning another fun party for her 85th and many more!

Friday, April 27, 2018

april update

Monthly blogging is better than no blogging at all... I guess... I have been super busy Relief Society Presidenting, momming, entertaining, meeting and living!

As always, April is filled with crazy weather in Cache Valley.  This was April 3, when winter finally arrived.    Yesterday was the most beautiful day since last summer. Today, it's snowing. Go figure.

Quayd is working graveyard shift and it's been quite an adjustment for us all. He enjoys that the work is less stressful than day shift but the hours are killer!  Our time together is limited these days.  We gather around our bed every night at 9:38 for prayer and other than that, there are days that we hardly are all four in the same room or even in the house together.  Whenever it's Quayd's turn to pray, he always starts off with "We are thankful that we can spend this time together to pray."  We do usually have a few minutes to catch-up and for a little silliness before Doug says, "Goodnight, Neverland!", which means Lights OUT!

Zulu makes us all laugh...  "What Starburst?"


Spring break was pretty casual around here.  Quayd worked, Doug worked, so Zeej and I chilled a lot together.  I was busy with visits and Relief Society, but we managed to squeeze in a few lunches, movies and some fun.  The happiest moment for Zeej was when Will came home after a week in Chicago with his family.

The biggest moment of the month for Quayd was when President Dixon Facetimed late one evening.  Quayd was absolutely beyond thrilled when he'd said hi to the Dixons and their boys, then Crystal, his favorite investigator, popped into the screen to announce that she'd just gotten baptized and that Quayd was the first person that she wanted to call and share the news!  It was a pretty awesome moment!  Lots of tears that night!

We celebrated our anniversary with a quiet day together with kids, family, extended family, ward members and friends... not in any celebrative way, just being together.  It was a great day together.  Zeej surprised us late that night while we were watching a DVD with these brownie Sundaes that she'd made from scratch.  Oh my!

Zaylee came over after school one afternoon for dinner and to watch CoCo with Zeej and Quayd.  We ordered pizza and had icecream.  She was in heaven.  She's growing up so much.   Between Quayd working graveyard, Zeej dating Will, Doug and my callings and life, it is very rare that we are all home at once.  This was a great few hours, and they never happen enough!  We are looking forward to a little "grands and fams" gathering this summer!

I made a fun brunch for my "Silver Sisters" in the ward.  There were eleven, plus me for brunch.  I served a delicious ham and spinach strata, banana and lemon poppy seed breads, fresh fruit and grape juice.  It was heavenly!  But, the company was even better.  We had table talk questions that brought wonderful stories of these lovely ladies' childhood, raising their families, their husbands and so many great experiences that they shared.  I am so blessed to be able to enjoy their time.

There are days that I literally find myself in tears that I am getting to know and love them in their final years on the earth, when I wish so much that I could have known their amazing husbands and watched them parent and be friends and neighbors when they were in the prime of their lives.  My friendship and getting to know them better is a bonus to my experience as a Relief Society President.  This Silver Sisters group is not a Relief Society gathering.  It's something that I've chosen to do on my own and will continue to do after I am released.  When you hear the saying "Old friends are best friends", it has a different meaning to me.  These wiser friends are just a gift in my life! I am already planning our next get together!

Two huge happenings this past few weeks....

First and foremost, we were able to witness an historical General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  President Russell M. Nelson was sustained as the Prophet and President of our Church, along with Dallin H. Oaks and Henry B. Eyring, as his counselors.  I will write more about this in another post.

Second, my Relief Society Presidency was changed.  Because of Julie's cancer and health issues, I've been praying since December about what to do that would be best for her.  I wanted her to continue but I also didn't want her secretary duties to cause her to feel overwhelmed or guilty because we wanted her focus to be on her health.  The bishop and I have talked about this over and over for months.  I have prayed and prayed about who to call to serve as a new secretary.  BUT, truth be told, I didn't want a new secretary, I wanted Julie.  In the meantime, my counselors and I have done what needed to be done, along with my assistant secretary, Jenn, who did most of the computer tasks.  Gayle had picked up most of the slack with her amazing gift for detail.  This was a difficult decision.

March was very hard on Julie's body.  She was in the hospital for weeks.  It was the awful, and frightening. I knew... that it was time... and I hated it.  Oddly enough, over all these months, as I have prayed about it and went down my list of 132 sisters, over and over and over again, I could never come up with a name.  I'd decide on someone, pray about it, go to sleep and literally couldn't even remember who it was that I'd considered the night before.  This went on for weeks and weeks.

Finally, in the beginning of April, I went to visit a sister in the ward to get to know her a bit and that Sunday, she was substitute teaching in Relief Society.  While Rachel was standing there teaching, I had the strongest impression, "Sophia, you haven't been able to come up with the name for a new secretary because you already know who your secretary is: it's Gayle.  It's a counselor that you need and she is standing there teaching right now."

I prayed about it again, called the Bishop that same day.  My presidency was released the next Sunday.  McKell, my old second counselor is now my first counselor, Rachel was called as my second counselor and Gayle is now serving as my secretary with Jenn as my assistant secretary.  We are a great team.  Julie's new treatments have helped her gain some strength back and she is now taking nightly walks and able to eat and have more strength than she has had in months.  The Lord truly does hear and answer prayers.

Other happenings in April...

  • Doug lost another cousin a week after the first.  A young mother of three beautiful young children, including a baby.  Cancer claimed her life and we were devastated for her husband and children.
  • I have been able to complete over 120 one on one visits with sisters in our ward. A few were lunch dates and other meetings, but most were in their homes. I have loved getting to know these sisters better immensely.  I am blessed to serve them! We are losing thirteen families because of USU graduation and the many married students that are assigned to our ward from USU Housing.  In August, we will get new families, who, if they are half the caliber that these wonderful families have been, we will be in good shape! 
  • Grace went to Arizona to spend a week with Liza.  Her wedding is in the works for June.  We are not really in the loop of it all, but she seems to be happy from what we hear.  No comment.
  • I have worn capris and flip-flops, snow boots, my rain coat, sweaters, sweatshirt, flannel jammies, short sleeves, long sleeves, hoodies, and my winter coat this month.  CRAZY.
  • We hosted our final YSA family home evening dinner for this USU school year.  Following the dinner and message, several stuck around and we watched Greatest Showman.  Buddy surprised me and downloaded it onto VUDU two weeks before it was released in DVD!  Fun night, singing along with the kids! Tonight is the final YSA activity for the year and things will calm down a bit for Doug until mid-August again.  He still loves serving in the YSA!
  • We hosted a birthday dinner for Doug's mom... next post...
  • Spring Break
  • Third Sunday of every month... 7AM meeting for Doug, 9AM meeting for me, three different three hour blocks of church for Quayd, Doug and myself with Zee, a fast dinner, Doug and I teach the YSA Marriage class to the soon to be newlyweds and then the Bishops fireside for Zeej.  That's our crazy Sunday each month, but also our favorite!
Life is good...never a dull moment, no time to slow down but very, very good.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

41 years

Doug and I spent a mellow anniversary in the middle of spring break.  He took the day off and we didn't do anything special or huge to celebrate.

Doug's sweet cousin, Michelle, lost her husband at the beginning of the week.  They were celebrating spring break, hiking near St. George, when he literally just dropped over dead, without any sign or warning.  He was only 51 years old.  It was heartbreaking.  His funeral was on the morning of our anniversary, so Doug and I drove to Idaho for the funeral, early that morning.  The viewing line was 90 minutes long.  It hit me hard, that they were ending their earth-life together on the day that Doug and I were celebrating 41 years together.  I cherish every moment with Doug, even the few short ones on the phone each day when he calls during his breaks, and pray morning, noon and night that we will have many more years together in this life.

We came back to Logan and went to Cafe Sabor for shrimp enchiladas, which are a favorite there.  The rain has slowed down, so we ate outside on the enclosed patio, which is where we always sit, even in the dead of winter.  It was a long, relaxing late lunch/early dinner, then I felt like I needed to check in on one of the widows in our ward, so we did and had a lovely visit.  We planned to come home and watch a movie, but our Bishop and his wife dropped by so we visited with them for a long time, which brought lots of good stories and laughs.  After they left, we watched the movie, with Quayd, while Zeej was on a date with Will.

Doug even offered to hottub very late, but we had early morning meetings and decided to pass.  Totally a casual day, with lots of friends and family and fun, not at all a romantic anniversary, but perfect for us.  We spent the day together and that was all that mattered to either of us.

I literally can not express how deeply I love this man, who puts up with me and my clean freak, germaphobic moods, with my Diet Coke and eating out habits, with my constant gabbing even when he needs his sleep, with all of my weaknesses.  He's the perfect man for me.  I found this old photo of us a few weeks ago.  This was our first date.  I love the fact that we grow stronger and stronger every day.  Forty-one years is a long time to be by each other's side and I can't wait for the rest of eternity together.  He's my better half.  Truly.  No brag, just fact.

Friday, March 30, 2018

junior prom 2017

Zeej was so excited to come home to Will's dozen donuts with a note that said, "I donut know what I'll do if you don't go to Prom with me!?"

We went dress shopping the next day and had the best time together, laughing as she tried on about twenty dresses.  I fell in love with a black one but she'd worn black to the Homecoming dance, so she wanted to have color this time.  I was so pleased that she chose only modest dresses to try on.  It was an awesome afternoon date for the two of us and she ended up selecting one that made her feel fabulous, which made me as happy as could be!

But, this was the dress she ended up with... a royal blue beauty!

They had a fun time with a fancy formal dinner, then the dance, then a latenight viewing of Shrek.

Group dates are always more fun than one on one!

Zeej with her two best guys, Chad and Will.  

Prom 2017.  Score!  I was really proud of Zeej and Lydia, who wore their prom dresses to church the next day.  The younger girls could see that you can look classy and beautiful and still be modest!  Several comments were made about it.  Good girls, good choices!  Life is good!

special guests

We had been excited for a couple of months, since Doug had received the announcement in one of his YSA Stake High Council meetings that his cousin, Larry Corbridge, Elder Lawrence Corbridge of the First Quorum of the Seventy for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, would be speaking, along with his wife, Jacque, to all of the YSA students on March 18th.  As soon as I'd heard this news, I was on the phone to Larry, who is Doug's first cousin, and invited them to stay with us, have dinner with us, whatever would fit into their schedule.  We have looked so forward to having the kids spend some time with "Uncle Larry" and "Aunt Jacque".  Larry is one of Quayd's biggest heroes!  As it ended up, they spent Sunday afternoon between meetings with us.

On Sunday morning, Doug's meetings beginning at 7AM and mine at 9.  We finished church at 2 and Larry and Jacque arrived at 2:45.  We had also invited Aleece and Dee for dinner (Doug's youngest sister.)  There was visiting while I finished up the gravy and rolls before we gathered around the table and had a lovely meal with even lovelier company.  The conversation was uplifting and positive.  We talked family, gospel and even shared a few "how we met" stories and experiences, which left me blushing and lots of laughs.  (Thank you, Doug.)

I made a simple meal, the traditional Utah Sunday dinner.   Dutch Oven Pot Roast, Potatoes, Carrots and Onions, Homemade rolls, Strawberry Spinach and Feta Salad, and then dessert.  The dessert was my favorite new thing ever!  Of course, it involved cream cheese and heavy cream, so what's not to love!?  It was fabulous!  I can't wait to make it again.  I'll share the recipe in another post.

We enjoyed some tabletalk and then gathered around the fire for some more time listening to Larry and Jacque share their thoughts and experiences on family.  What a blessing to have married into such a remarkable family who love all unconditionally.   It's pretty amazing! We had Dee and Aleece's children (who are all married) join us for the last hour.  We were all strengthened by the thoughts that were shared. Quayd, who swears that the closest he'll ever get to marriage is marrying a white corvette in the temple parking lot, said, "I can't wait to share this with my kids one day!"

The fireside at the Spectrum for for the entire valley of 18-30 year old singles.  Larry and Jacque's talks were awesome.  And the music at the end of the program, by the LDS Institute Choir was remarkable!  A fabulous day!

Honestly, as I've thought about that afternoon for the past week, I can not say enough, how blessed I feel to be a part of Doug's remarkable family.  They are unique and accepting and just plain wonderful.  I grow every time I am around them!  The gospel and Doug's family keep me grounded and make me want to be a better person each and every day!  Enough said!

Thursday, March 29, 2018

ZJ is 17!!!

This post has taken me a while to write.  It's hard for me to even contemplate the fact that this beautiful young girl is seventeen.  Zeej is my right arm, literally, as I've stated many, many times.  She's remarkable.  She is "Wise beyond her years", much like her older sister, Liza. I love her more than words can say.  She keeps us all together in our home.  She cooks, she cleans, she organizes, she keeps our heads level and she makes us laugh!  She is truly an amazing young woman.  A few stories of Zeej from recent weeks....

I asked Zeej what she wanted for her seventeenth birthday for weeks and weeks.  She kept saying, "I don't know."  As the week before approached, I got more serious, "Zee!  Tell me something!  Anything!!!  What can we do for your birthday!?"   Always, "I don't know."  Finally, she mentioned in conversation, that Will had asked her on a date for her birthday, but she "didn't know what to do".  As we got closer, I started listing options.  Always, "I don't know."  I suggested a party, a dinner with Will and a few friends, taking Will along with us as a family to her favorite place, ANYTHING!?  She always said, "I don't know."  The night before he birthday, she said, "I don't know... dinner with the family, friends here for Mama Sophia's cooking, Will wants to take me on a birthday date, I don't know."  We knelt around the bed for family prayer that night and it hit me!  She wants to go on the date with Will, but she doesn't want to make us feel bad that this is what she wants to do!

We said "amen" and I said, "Zeej!?!?  You want to go on the birthday date with Will, don't you?"  "I don't know?"  I said, "You don't want Dad and I to feel bad, so you aren't deciding."  FINALLY, she said, "Well, yeh."  She wanted to make everyone happy.  I said, "We'll be happy if YOU are happy!  Go with Will!  Have a memorable seventeenth birthday with your cute WillYumYum!" (As my friend, Susan in Ohio, named him.) (She actually calls him Willis and his name is actually Will.) Zeej said, "Really?  You won't feel sad?"  That was all she needed ... she didn't want us to feel bad.  They had a wonderful birthday date, going to her favorite restaurant for sushi, a drive and then Will gave her a sweet and thoughtful gift... a nice anklet and a hardbound copy of The Count of Monte Cristo, which was super thoughtful because she'd mentioned that she'd never read it before but loved the movie.

I took her to lunch that day during school at her favorite sandwich place and we talked and talked and talked.  She was so excited about the big birthday date that night.  It really was a perfect, for her, birthday!  

Zeej and Will are "officially" boyfriend and girlfriend, which is just cute.  They are not touchy-feely, which makes her dad happy.  They tease each other and seem to be growing together in good ways.  He brings out a lot of her strengths.  I love watching her in her first real "relationship".  It's a joy!  I asked Zeej if they have said the "L" word, and her response was "Mom, we are in High School.  The "L" word isn't even a real thing in high school.  I don't know why kids think it is.  We aren't old enough to know what love is yet."  Wisdom beyond her years.

Zeej has missed Grace since she began dating Ben.  But, Zee is forgiving and kind and loving, even if she does get a bit fiesty when she feels the need.  Recently, Grace chastised her with "You are not my mother!  Stop acting like it."  I had to chuckle because Zeej does act like a mama bear ... sometimes, even reminding Doug and I when we need to have an attitude adjustment!

Zeej has been helping a friend through a specials situation for several months.  I've been amazed at her maturity in handling what I consider to be a very adult matter.  She's caring and compassionate and protective.  I love this about her!

She's a make-up guru.  She has mastered the art of eye make-up and even does her own on-line tutorials.  She recently received a shout-out by a "famous" make-up blogger, who has tens of thousands of followers.  That means absolutely nothing to me, but to a seventeen year old, it was pretty awesome, and since she's my seventeen year old, it was even moreso!  I love to see the things she comes up with on her face!  She expresses herself very well with this talent, owning more makeup than most department stores having in stock, but she does the most with her favorite $50 Naked Eyeshadow Pallet!  Who'd have thought something like that could make a girl cry when she opened it!?

Zee on a regular day...

somedays, freckles are a plus...

trying out prom eyes...

mirror image...


valentine eyes...

"Animals are people too!"  Zulu is her baby and she spends so much time loving on this dog.  She, literally, reads aloud to him every night.  He doesn't even greet me at the door anymore, but when he hears Zeej come home, he's as happy as can be!  She has earned some good money this past few months, caring for a neighbor's dog and animals while he visits his family in Canada.  When he returned, he told us that his dog sits at the door waiting for Zee to come in the mornings.  She's a dog whisperer.

A few months ago, ZJ was very nervous about being called into the Stake Presidency Office, having no idea why they wanted to meet with her. While she was inside, speaking with President Jensen, I stood outside, visiting with the Stake Executive Secretary.  He explained to me that she was being called to to serve on our Stake Youth Committee.  He commented that she was a pretty impressive gal.  We talked about how she is "wise beyond her years" and what a great gift she is to our family. Moments later, President Jensen opened the door and invited us in for Zeej to be "set apart" as the newest member of the Stake Youth Committee.  As he began her blessing, he said, "Zyanne Jentry Corbridge, Heavenly Father loves you and He recognizes that you have wisdom beyond your years."  The blessing was beautiful and very accurate.  I told Zeej about the previous conversation that President Jensen had no way of knowing what we had said.  When we came home and sat down for dinner, I shared this story with the family.  Since then, ZJ's "wisdom beyond her years" is a frequent tease, reminder or comment.  BUT.  It's so true!

I have to say that she's a beauty inside and out.  Her spirit is wise and strong!  Her attitude is positive and upbeat!  She's beautiful but real.  As real as can be.  I love that about her.  A while ago, she sent me a selfie that she'd taken, wearing my wedding dress!  I was slightly blown away by her beauty but mostly by the fact that she does not appear to be seventeen, in mind, in body or spirit.  She's growing up far too quickly!  BUT!  As long as she is making good choices, we are happy!

Yesterday, Zeej was one of five youth who spoke at the High School Seminary Assembly.  I was very proud of her talk, which she gave confidently, after having two cavities filled a few hours earlier.  She opted to have her cavities filled with no shots, so that she wouldn't have "droopy lips".  She said it hurt but she was glad she did it that way.  Her talk was pretty awesome, and as always, fearless!

How I adore this youngest child of ours.  She swears that she is never moving out, that she and her husband will live in our basement forever, raising their family so that she can take care of Doug and I in our old age.  She's doing a pretty great job of taking care of us in our middle age!  She's strong, she's faithful, she's fearless!   Keeling it real...she is still seventeen... she forgets to do her dishes, leaves laundry in the washer too long, isn't always on task on her school assignments and spends far too much time texting.  But, she's making great choices, is a dream child for a parent and is a total joy to Doug and I!  Happy Seventeen to the most amazing seventeen year old I've ever met!

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Happy Birthday, Mr. C!!!

March is a busy birthday month for our family.  But, this guys birthday always is fun to celebrate.  He's so simple.  Buy him socks and nuts and he's thrilled to death.  Feed him salmon and he's even happier!  This year, we kept it as simple as could be, simply because we were all going in several directions on the days surrounding his birthday.  So, on Monday night, his birthday eve, I asked what we could do to celebrate.  Doug said, "KFC and a drive up the canyon."  KFC and a drive, it was!  Check!  And then, fifteen minutes later, we were off in our separate ways.

Tuesday, on his actual birthday, he came home from work and cooked about five pounds of catfish, one of his favorites, outside on the grill, while I prepared for a major presidency meeting.  Then, Zeej went off to a dance, so Doug and Quayd went to a movie together.  Again, not much of a birthday celebration, but he was in heaven to eat all the fish he could and then to spend time with Quayd.  What a birthday. 

That's one of the things that I love most about Doug... he's so easy to please.  Always, easy to please, always happy, always accomodating to everyone and never putting himself first.  What a good man he is!

I'm thankful for our life together and that I get to live with this easy-going, happy, helpful and friendly to everyone kinda guy!  He rocks my world in his own simple and quiet ways.

A few facts about Doug, of recent...

  • Doug finally upgraded from his i-Phone 5 to a new one and he's learning to text, to get on Facebook more than annually (more like once a month now) and he even learned to put a gif in our family group text!  He's hysterical!
  • He's still serving in the YSA.  Three years is coming up soon.  No word of him coming back to the home ward yet, but he loves the calling more and more every day!
  • Doug has become more outspoken this past year than ever.  He has opinions and expresses them, although, ever so kindly.  Even if he disagrees, he states it gently.
  • Nothing lights up Doug's eyes like when he sees his cute granddaughters.  It's so fun to watch him facetime with Aylabelle and EdieAnn.  Edie seems to really recognize his voice when he walks in and always leans to look for him.  It's adorable!
  • He's reading family history books this past year and learned and captured many many stories of his mother's heritage.  He shares the stories often with us and in his talks at church.
  • Doug does not like the hotttub.  OR actually, the hottub does not like him.   No matter what the Ph levels, or amount of bromine we add or don't, the hot water makes him itch for days.  So, he only gets in about once a month with me, usually when he feels that I'm needing some extra attention.  It makes me sad to not be able to share that with him every day!  But, swimming pools don't bother him at all!  It's the heat, not the chemicals.  Doug loves to swim!
  • Doug is my silent counselor in the RS Presidency.  I often share things with him and ask his opinions, without names or specifics.  He's very patient and understanding of the time that I have to be gone, due to my current calling.   I love that he's always so supportive of anything I do!
  • Doug is not aging.  He still is as physical as ever... cross-country skiing, riding his bike, hiking, working hard.  He's in great shape and every single day, I give thanks for that and pray for it to continue.  
I adore this good man that I get to call my eternal companion.  He's exemplary, he's wise, he's wonderful.  And I get to call him mine!  

Thursday, March 15, 2018


I really and truly haven't got much to blog about.  Here's an average day in my life...

I wake up at 5:30 with Doug.  Some mornings, I get up and read.  Others, I roll back over and listen to him while he's in the kitchen making his blender drink.  I doze in and out until 7 when ZJ comes up to let Zulu out and then I do my makeup while she does my hair (every other morning). (Will I ever be able to do my own hair again?!)  Usually, by 8:30, I'm dressed and my morning house routine is done and I'm free for breakfast or a Sonic run.  If I have appointments in the morning, I do Relief Society visits.  Usually, if I have one appointment, I manage to drop by and visit someone else randomly.  Lunch at 11 and an afternoon of more visits on most days.  Somewhere in there, I prepare dinner and have it ready for Doug when he gets home from work.  Evenings are filled with meetings, visits and some nights, a date with Doug.  I am usually home when Zeej comes in from school and spend some time with her and Quayd.   We manage to squeeze in fun times most every day.

Quayd has been dying for me to go and see The Maze Runner with him.  I had put it off for weeks and it's about the leave the theater, so we had a little lunch date and movie afternoon this week after my presidency meeting.  He loved talking about the book and how different the movie was.  It's always fun to "play" with Quayd because our interests are so different.  He and his Dad do much better with things in common, like movies, outdoors, dreams...  But...Quayd and I always find things to talk about, even if it's just, movies, dating (or his determination not to right now) and food (which he is always interested in!)  I heart this manchild of mine!

Lately, Zee has been with Will a lot.  They do homework together, hang out at our home or his, tending his little brothers, or "hanging out" with their best friend, Chad.  They keep plenty busy, doing creative and fun things.  I'm enjoying this relationship, which, is apparently now "official" or "a fish", as we joke.  It's fun to see her so happy!  I'm seriously impressed with both Chad and Will, as friends or date.  Last night's date was Zeej doing stage makeup at the middle school for all the kids in some musical.  It started out as just Will's brother's make-up but ended up a ton of kids.  She was in makeup heaven! Tonight, it's movie night on a double date.  They do keep busy!

Chad, Will and Zeej in Chad's car apparently, because Zeej is in the front seat.  They are like the Three Muskateers.  And this photo really says it all..they do have fun together!  She sends me pix often of their fun and it always makes me smile!

Seriously, every time Will comes around, we like him more!  Seeing Zeej making great choices makes us happy! 

I manage to find time once or twice a week with "my ladies" for hand and foot, lunch with Denise, a coke run here and there with Carol and a movie some afternoons, even alone, all myself for the escape.  (Thanks go Movie Pass, I've now seen Greatest Showman twenty times in the past three months. It really is my escape!  And best of all, I've only paid to see it once!  I believe it's my modern-day Phantom of the Opera!)  I spend more time than I could count preparing for presidency meeting each week, visiting with sisters in the ward, listening and a lot of time praying and reading and studying.  I have never loved a calling as much as this.  It's 100% opportunity to love and serve and enjoy these wonderful ladies!  Who could not love that!?

Zeej is amazing help.  Quayd is awesome to do whatever he's asked.  He's working and spends a lot of time writing on his computer.  We all keep plenty busy.  Doug's calling is less demanding on the High Council than it was in the Bishopric, which gives him a more time for the family.  He and Quayd are pretty close.  I love watching him be such an awesome dad to both Quayd and Zeej.  It's just plain amazing to see his relationship grow with each of them every single day.

Our home is peaceful most of the time.  We are all pretty "chill" and get along well.  There's very little drama and it's beyond wonderful.  I would have to say that this really is a great time in my life, in spite of the challenges that we face.  But, that's what we are all here for, is to grow from those challenges, so we are doing our best!

Being that I've not mentioned the bigs much lately... Dale is loving living in Hawaii.  We miss him.  He continually invites us to visit, but that's not in the budget at the time.  Aylabelle also invites me almost daily to come to her house.  That is more affordable, but timewise, right now, not possible.  Liza and Buddy love their home in Arizona.  His job is going very well.  They love their ward,  The girls love library storytime, walks to their park and as the weather gets warmer, the pool.  I miss my girls and can't wait for a little R&R in AZ!   Kelly and I went to lunch last week and will again soon.  She seems happier and healthier than she has been in years.  We are glad for that.

So, life is good.  I don't slow down much and I love that!  Keeping busy makes me happy!  Being busy with other people makes me even happier! 

Friday, March 9, 2018

first week of march and it feels like January!

A wonderful beginning at winters end! These storms have been fabulous!  SO Beautiful!  And so much snow!  It's been crazy for the past two weeks.  Today is beautiful with blue skies.  One day it's blue, the next it's grey with lots of white!  I'm loving it!

Our sweet neighbor, Brother Doug Hart, passed away last week.  His funeral was on the same day as my cute niece, Shanna's wedding.  This wedding was the first of Dee and Aleece's kids that I didn't get as involved in. I went from wedding coordinator to consultant because I have so many other things going on.  I told Aleece in January, I didn't dare because, "for all I know, I could have a funeral that day and I'd hate to have to divide myself for both."  As it was, I told last Tuesday that Brother Hart was not doing well and there was a possibility that we could have a funeral on Saturday but I was hoping not.  No sooner than the words left my mouth, my phone dinged.  It was the Bishop letting me know that he was gone.  And the funeral was on Saturday.  Is this not the most awesome hearse ever!?

I spent the day going to the church at 8AM for the set up of the funeral dinner, then to the temple for the wedding, to the church to help get the food and tables set, to the wedding luncheon then back to the church to assist with clean-up and the delivery of the leftover food to ward members.  Then, we cleaned up a bit and headed to USU Alumni Center for the reception all evening. It snowed all day long.  It was a lot of in and out.  But, the funeral was a wonderful tribute to a remarkable man and the wedding was beautiful.  I think that my nephew Tyson's wife may be my replacement in the family wedding department. She did a marvelous job with the few ideas I'd suggested and many more of her own.  It was lovely.  And Shanna was beautiful! We absolutely loved Casey's family, who are from Washington State.  Just a great and wonderful day!

One of my favorite things about the day was watching Zeej and Will at the wedding.  Will is her friend.  They've been friends for a while and are now dating, which according to Zeej,  "Today, dating means going steady" and ""Going on dates" is a totally different thing.  So, they have been going on dates.  But, they are kinda "dating" too.  HA!  Either way, we like him.  He's a nice boy from a good family and he has the same values and standards that she does.  I was impressed that he would choose to spend a whole night dressed in church clothes, sitting at a stranger's wedding reception over skiing with his friends that night.  Brownie points for Will!

My wonderful neighbor Julie has been in the hospital a lot lately with her cancer.  We love her so much and she has the thoughts and prayers of our ward every day.  It's been hard.  She's my friend, my neighbor, my secretary.  This is hard.  I hate that she is having to endure such pain and so many medical procedures. But, I have never seen so many positive thoughts and vibes!  Layne and Julie are my heroes!  I love them so much! I hate cancer.

Zeej has had some brochitis thing happening since December and has missed so much school. There's a lot of bronchial stuff happening at this time of the year, but with such a mild winter until this past week, it shouldn't be so!  This week, she was in class and had a coughing spell.  She texted me and said that she'd just been completely humiliated by her teacher, who said, "Stay home if you are sick, so that I don't take it home to my kids!"  I told her to walk out and if the teacher asked what she was doing, tell her, "I'm leaving.  I'm sick."  That happened.  I called the attendance secretary and told her why I was checking her out for the day.  Twenty minutes later, the Vice Principal called to apologize.  I questioned... what do you want us to do?  She has been on antibiotics twice, she's missed so much school, she is coughing but not contagious.  He admitted that it's a tough call but 24 hours on antibiotics and no fever, she should be in school.  Okey dokey then.  Zeej loves this teacher and didn't want her in trouble, but seriously?

Zeej was been "ProMposed" to by Will.  She was so excited!  We bought him a bunch of treats and she had a cute response for him, then we went prom dress shopping!  She tried on about a dozen dresses.  We narrowed it down to three and fell in love with all three but she ultimately decided on a royal blue dress.  I preferred this black one but she wore black to the last dance and wanted a change.  It's beautiful and we can't wait for the big day of being a princess!

Speaking of princesses, Grace is happily in love.  She's not had much to do with the family since she moved out.  We have all felt kind of abandoned, but these are her choices.  She did, however, take a roadtrip to visit my mother for a few days with him. As far as we know, they are planning a temple wedding in May or June.  Sadness.  Nothing more to say about this.  I've been "asked" not to.

Quayd has been doing well!  He is working for a local company that manufactures circuit boards here in the valley.  He works graveyard, which isn't my favorite thing, but he's so nocturnal, it's a good fit for him!  We had a lunchdate at last week, where he ate 22 breadsticks, 10 pieces of pizza and four salads.  The boy (MAN) is a bottomless pit when it comes to food! 

Doug had a health scare this past week.  He had a vetrious detachment, where there is some tearing near the retina of his eye.  He thought Zeej was playing with a laser light.  It's something that is very common and normal according to our eye doctor.  Doug and Dave had more fun and took more time looking at Dave's recent cycling trip through Viet Nam than doing the eye exam.  Doug was pretty excited for that!  I was just thankful that all was well.  It's always frightening to me when my Granola-man isn't 138% healthy!

That's it so far for the first week of March!  I've been making visits, having meetings, planning some upcoming future events and loving my calling, my family and my life!  It's good!