Sunday, May 31, 2009

Happy Birthday Sheyla!

Today is Sheyla's Birthday! Boy, do I miss her!
She only has about 6 more months till she comes home!
Yesterday we got a box that she sent. She had a bunch of planners, a few small boxes and a photo album. So, Jeff helped me scan these pictures. The pictures are adorable. I love the color they put in there.
Sheyla is sounding better, even though she still struggles (who doesn't). She sounds more upbeat and happy!
Happy Birthday Sheyla!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Last day of school.

Today was the last day of the school year. Davis isn't too excited because he starts summer school on Monday. He will go for one week have two weeks off, go for one week have one week off then he will have two more weeks of summer school and have about a month off till he starts the new year as a 10th grader.
I tried to get Davis to celebrate his last day as a 9th grader but he didn't want to do anything with me (which is understandable). He called and called friends to get someone to hang out with, but no one would or could. I saw his frustration in wanting and trying to hang out with friends and finding no one (and on other days for that matter). So, eventually I got him to go to a few garage sales (which he loves to go to) and then I took him to Taco Bell (which is precisely where he wanted to go to lunch). He didn't want to go to a movie, or a park, or the canyon or anywhere else. I can tell this summer is going to be tough.
Our summers used to be full of fun filled activities, house full of kids, going to the library, going to parks, going to the pool, going many different places and being home enough for some calmness, playing with friends or at least some respite before our next adventure. But as Davis gets older and with the other kids moving out and onward, he wants to go out less and less. He has much less tolerance for being spontaneous and going places, with or without lots of people. He much prefers staying in much of the time. I find myself having to readjust more and more to keep Davis happy and healthy.
He's going to have field trips every Monday and Friday of summer school but has stated some apprehension about going and has asked if I could go with him (even though he is almost 16). I'm not going. He has a hard time going different places even with us.
How do I help him?
I plan to take him to American Fork canyon quite a few times to pan for gold (which is something he loves to do, but is a long drive away so we can't go frequently). I plan to get him together with one of his cousins (who is about 5 years younger than him) who he likes to hang out with. I plan to have a few projects for me to do so that if he just wants to stay home I can have something to do other than laundry or cleaning the house. I plan on working in the garden. I plan on reading some good books. I plan on coaxing Davis to get out as much as he or we can. I plan to get him his fishing license which is something he has loved to do in the past and it gets me outside (which I love to do) or he can fish with friends. I plan on having his friends over or have them come with us, if and when they can. He can go over and play with friends if he could or would. I plan to be flexible, patient and understanding and I know that it's not always that easy but somehow, this summer is going to happen and be good for the both of us.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Garden planted, finally!

I just finished planting vegetables in my parents planter boxes (no picture taken) and our long and narrow garden (it was pre-existing and easier to keep than make a whole new one). There are a few people that can grow wonderful gardens up here where we live but it is a challenge. Jeff used our old dog run and extra fencing to complete the fence around the garden (do you know how expensive fencing can be?). It has to be that tall because we have a ton of deer up here and they love to eat plants. The boys have worked hard to get the gardens ready. I haven't ever been much of an outdoor gardener so this is really an experiment. I also used my parents planter boxes because my dad now works full time and doesn't have the energy or the time to do it himself and it's a shame to waste the garden space. I am determined. I just hope the vegetables cooperate. I now need to get some cheap tomato cages. And it's only after 12 noon!
We have many many beautiful iris's in our yard.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

New old car.

We have had one less car than drivers and Jeff has been riding his scooter most days to work, so it hasn't made much difference. But, if it rains or for any other reason that it's not safe for Jeff to ride his scooter to work, we'd be stuck. Oh, we could finagle it somehow. It just wouldn't be convenient. Well, Jeff's parents had a third car and Jeff asked them if we could buy it from them. They offered to give it to us. However, they did need a laptop computer real bad and didn't know how they could pay for it. So, on Monday, Jeff bought a laptop computer for them at Sam's club and they gave us the car. I know we got the better deal. I took it today to get the emission tested and it passed, so we can finish registering it in our name. I didn't know that St. George people didn't have to get the emissions tested for their cars. Don't they have an environment down there? Anyway. We are very grateful for this needed and unexpected gift. It's a 1991 Mercedes. It's very well cared for and beautiful. Jeff's dad is quite the handy man and therefore, it is in great shape. I think this makes us cooler than we are without it. Lucky and blessed us!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Rhubarb, rhubarb everywhere!

We have lived here for almost 9 years and I am almost embarrassed to say that this is the first time I made something with rhubarb. Almost embarrassed because I don't ever pretend to be much of a cook, baker or home-maker. Almost embarrassed because I should be an expert by now with the 10 plants of rhubarb that we have in our garden. I must say: I didn't plant it, rhubarb doesn't require much upkeep other than watering (I think I have added some turkey mulch a couple of times) and I don't remember ever having rhubarb before last year when a neighbor made me some jam (made with rhubarb from my own garden). Rhubarb is one of the few things deer won't eat, that's one reason why rhubarb flourishes where we live. I have shared rhubarb with a neighbor and another neighbor is on her way to get some now. Anyone is welcome to have some!
A week ago I found some amazing recipes on a website called I have tried a few recipes from this site and appreciate how detailed the instructions are. If you love rhubarb you must check out her site and if you don't like rhubarb you still should check out her site because it was only one days worth of recipes. She has some great ideas and recipes that are cheap to make, and is now in the process of writing a book. She inspired me to finally try making something with Rhubarb. Even though, in the past, I have actually clipped good looking Rhubarb recipes from pretty magazines, (that's as far as I got).
Today I made Strawberry Rhubarb Jam and Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble! I haven't tried the jam yet but the crumble turned out yummy, if I do say so myself (and I do)!
Tomorrow I'm going to try to make the pie or the Strawberry Rhubarb tart. I cheated and bought pre-made pie crust. I'm the first to admit I'm no Martha Stewart but I'm happy I am venturing out and trying new things and using what's in my garden, finally!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day.

Today is Memorial Day. Sad to say we didn't decorate any graves or visit any veterans. But we did spend the day mostly with family, my parents and Jeff's parents and three of our four kids which is a nice way to spend any holiday.
Last year, Jeff and I got to go to Kauai and Oahu for the very first time in my life. I absolutely loved, LOVED the trip! I have always wanted to see Pearl Harbor. It was a very touching and sacred place. I appreciate all military men and women that sacrifice so much to serve our country, past and present. We had a short boat ride to the USS Arizona site and I was able to capture (only in picture) these two handsome and brave men during our tour of Pearl Harbor.
Let no vandalism of avarice or neglect, no ravages of time, testify to the present or to the coming generations, that we have forgotten, as a people, the cost of a free and undivided Republic. John A. Logan
And they who for their country die shall fill an honored grave, for glory lights the soldier's tomb, and beauty weeps the brave. Joseph Drake

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Saturday is a special day.

Davis is mowing the lawn.
We rented a wood chipper for two hours. Jeff and Chris worked the most. Davis worked pretty hard and I helped a bit. We had piles and piles of branches from the scrub oak. We are only about 3/4 done cutting them down. Jeff and Chris got a yard of topsoil and filled a long planter. They all have worked very hard today.
I love Spring and it's almost summer!

Friday, May 22, 2009

She's awesome!

We got an e-mail yesterday from Sheyla. She said words like Awesome, Fantastic, So Much, and Excellent! She had a flu last week but sounded better and that it wasn't the end of the world. Wow. She looks Awesome, Fantastic, Excellent and so Beautiful!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

I did it!

I had a hard time believing I would be able to make this. But, I did! There is no way I could have made it without the teacher. She was a great teacher and there was only two students. I was so stressed about cutting pieces and putting it together. I was almost in tears, which is silly. The teacher let me come in early and she cut the strips. She was so very helpful and kind. I'm going to have to try to make more. Or at least, take more classes. I made plenty of mistakes but I'm pleased with the outcome, none-the-less! Yeah me!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

It could have been: Enough said. But, I had to say more.

After I ironed and tenderly, hung up the last shirt last night; I could have done a victory dance to the majestic and moving music of Rocky. If you don't understand all that I'm talking about--check it out here.
I know in the scheme of difficulty in peoples lives, my pile of laundry doesn't even compare. But that pile of laundry (that didn't stay the same pile all this time, either) represented more than just the actual clean clothes sitting there, waiting to be folded. Oh, it was so much more.
So, that is why I feel so good. I overcame (even though I will do more laundry today and that job seems to never end), I didn't give up (is not that, the important part) and I can see the light (it's not all about the laundry even though another pile is likely to take its place). For now, let me bask in the glory (Rocky, eat your heart out).

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Living Room.

The man we bought the house from was a retired professor. He was also a master craftsman and made many things in the house: including doors, built-in bookshelves, a built-in china cabinet, bathroom and kitchen cupboards, wall paneling and anything in the house that is made out of wood. My husband said when he walked in the door, he knew it was ours and that the house is a "National Treasure". It is a remarkable house and we are lucky to have found it.
The man had text books in ALL the bookshelves. I have a lot of books, but in these shelves it doesn't seem like a lot. We have games and puzzles on this short wall. It makes me smile to look at all those games and puzzles. We've had a lot of fun with those games and puzzles over the years. Some have been given to us as gifts. Some we bought at the dollar store. Most we have accumulated over 23 years.
Often when other kids come over they go right to these shelves and pick out a fun game to play. My kids don't like playing games much anymore and it's been a long time since they've put together a puzzle. I have to plead with Jeff to get him to play a mean game of Yahtzee, Othello or Five Crowns (my favorite), and he will sometimes, when I ask nicely. But these shelves hold not only boxes, books and nick-knacks, but jars of sand, shells and priceless memories.
This home is filled with light, love and often laughter and it makes me happy.

Monday, May 18, 2009

May 18, 2009

Is it so small a thing
To have enjoy'd the sun,
To have lived light in the spring,
To have loved, to have thought, to have done...
by Matthew Arnold
I have found life an enjoyable, enchanting, active, and sometime terrifying experience, and I've enjoyed it completely. A lament in one ear, maybe, but always a song in the other.
by Sean O'Casey
I found this quote and think it is amazing.

It's been one of those weeks, or days, that I need to remind myself of what I am grateful for. So, here is another list.
1. Patient and kind husband.
2. Have you seen where I live?
3. I get to sleep every night.
4. Four beautiful children.
5. Kind neighbors.
6. Working cars and the ability to drive wherever I want.
7. Life itself.
8. Second, third or more chances.
9. Having good conversations.
10. Thoughtful children.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Today, it's panning for gold and riding a bike with a friend.

At the end of last summer I took Davis to a local shop and we bought two gold pans, a scoop, a book on panning for gold and a tiny, tiny glass jar to put any gold that we found. Then we went up to Spanish Fork Canyon and went to a river (that is not known for gold) and panned for gold.
Of course, we didn't find any. But look how beautiful it was and we had fun trying. He was hooked and wanted to try more and more. See here for his previous obsession.
So we decided the next day to go to American Fork Canyon (because it is known for finding gold). We think we found tiny, tiny flakes (the eye can hardly see) of gold and put them in our tiny, tiny glass jar. Davis was hooked further and we took Jeff and Grandpa the next day and took a picnic to roast hot dogs.
The first picture is from American Fork. The other three are Spanish Fork. Well, we have gone almost a whole winter without hearing much about panning for gold. The last few weeks have been a daily bombardment of ideas, things he learned from the Internet, when can we go panning for gold, and can we make this to help us find gold? He made a modified sluice box out of things he found in our garage and proceeded to try to find gold in our yard, with our hose and just the dirt that he dug up. He talks about it every day. Our first gold panning trip of this year will be on the 22nd. He has a field trip that day but he hates going to amusement parks (it is near torture for him with the noise, the crowds, and the jerky rides). I told him I will take him to pan for gold that day instead. I told him we will schedule many days throughout the summer so that he can pan for gold but we will do other things too. He is a teenager on a mission. He had me find and print up a map of American Fork Canyon to give to the bus aide. He talks with most anyone that will listen, about finding gold. We have tried to instill in him that we most likely won't find enough gold to make money and that it's the experience together and beautiful surroundings that we can enjoy.
He still writes words to songs almost everyday. He now also draws pictures of his inventions to help improve ways of finding gold. He rides bikes with his friends or on his own. He still will play with his hacky-sack that is never far away from him, but he isn't talking about it most of the day, everyday.
Here's one of his recent poems:

Who are you that what I see
Come unto me on shining sea
Don't loose control, that you can't
Be alone. Do things that are right
Go and strive to live and learn.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Phone call from Sheyla

One of the treats of Mother's Day was the fact that Sheyla was able to call and talk with us for an hour! It is a peculiar phenomenon about missionaries that they only get to call on Christmas and Mother's Day (Sheyla has mercifully been able to call several times when she was really struggling). Understandably, missionaries would be distracted if they called home frequently. Sheyla sounded fabulous! She excitedly talked about the two baptisms they had recently. She talked about her TWO companions and how great they are. She giggled frequently. She said she loved us, twice!
This picture is so darling! She sent it yesterday. The letter was early because of something going on today.
I found a great quote on a missionary mom website. It happens to be by JRR Tolkien.
"The road must be trod, but it will be very hard. And neither strength nor wisdom will carry us far upon it. This quest may be attempted by the weak with as much hope as the strong. Yet it is oft the course of deeds that move the wheels of the world: Small hands do them because they must, while the eyes of the great are elsewhere."

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Tulips and learning to sew.

These beautiful, pink tulips are from our garden. I love how the sun catches the bottom of the vase through the glass. Magical!
I signed up for a class for next Wednesday, to learn how to sew a retro apron! We are making the one on the left. I picked out the material (with help from the most friendly sales clerk--she called me love--she wasn't even British--and I'm sure I'm older than her--how cute is that--it cracked me up), thinking I will make this sweet apron for Britni. They told me I have to cut the fabric out before I go (I am a bit nervous about that). They also told me that we will finish it the same night (I am really excited and somewhat skeptical, about that)!
There is no way on the face of this Earth I would be able to think about making this on my own. Maybe with taking more classes I can actually get better! How cool would I be if I could make another one on my own! Inconceivable!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mother's Day.

Britni copied this picture, matted it and framed it very nicely for me for Mother's Day. She said she wanted to do this because it is where it all began. Very sweet. When we got married my family didn't have much money. My dress was worn by my two older sisters for their weddings. My oldest sister had changed it some when she got married, second. We didn't have enough money for a professional photographer so we had our two brothers-in-law take our engagement pictures and wedding photos. I do love this picture. We are so young and sweet.
I like much of what Dr. Laura says but I don't agree with everything she says. She tells people to have all of school done and have a secure job and money before you should get married. It sounds right in theory. But there is something about struggling together to get all those things done. I'm sure it doesn't work for everyone. I can see how it was the bonding glue for us. I'm lucky to have found Jeff when I did and lucky that we have been married for nearly 23 1/2 years.
I wanted to make some burp cloths for my niece (in addition to buying a few other presents) for a semi-baby shower we had for her yesterday at my parents house. Jeff had asked me several times what I wanted for Mother's Day. I really didn't know. But on Thursday I had an epiphany while I was thinking about sewing these burp cloths. Britni is the one that has a sewing machine and sad to say it is not a great one (we bought it at Wal-mart one Christmas for her and it was fine at the time). Jeff had actually bought me a sewing machine long ago that was put through the ringer with all of using it and just a few years ago we gave it away. Anyway. My epiphany was: to ask for a nice sewing machine. It didn't need to be the best but it would be nice to get a really decent one. So I told him. He was excited that I told him something that I wanted and then he was on a quest. He did get me a very, very nice sewing machine (not the top of the line, but it is nearly that). I don't know how to sew well. It came with six lessons and I want to learn. I did sew three burp cloths. The cloth glided back and forth easily through that machine. The end product isn't great but decent for cleaning up baby vomit.
I know, I am spoiled. Jeff was sure happy to get it for me. He seemed so happy when he found it and went to pick it up. I know, I am a lucky girl.
I may need to be more careful what I wish for, or not.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Engagement pictures!

Here are only two of the many engagement pictures that Britni and Adam took on Tuesday. They are amazing. Both the pictures and the kids! Britni also picked up her wedding dress yesterday, so she was very excited and we set it up in her room and covered it with sheets. She has an apartment somewhere else so she only sleeps here occasionally. She has come over for dinner the last two nights! What a treat!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Another letter day!

Sheyla sent us a short e-mail today with this picture. In the few short words she wrote, it gives me hope that she is well and mostly happy. I say mostly happy because everyone has ups and downs and missionaries seem to have them in extremes, at times. She has struggled much but hopefully she is over the worst part. She is working hard and sounds better than before. For Mother's Day she is allowed to call and talk for an hour! I also got a Mother's Day card from her today. These things make me so happy! I really do miss her.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Sun room.

I am lucky to have a sun room. There are windows everywhere and the view is amazing of the surrounding valley and mountains. We bought the futon about 12 years ago. At the time we were living in our tiny house in Florida. We had three bedrooms and each had two people sleeping in them. We knew that we wouldn't have frequent out-of-state visitors but we knew at least both our parents would come and visit us. So we bought the futon. We had a kitchen and eating area that was close to being a family room. It had plenty of room for our table and six chairs, three bar stools, and a three part bookshelf that I prayed to find and I did for $45 at a garage sale. Anyway. The futon fit nicely against a wall and when people came over we had plenty of room for people to sit on the futon or chairs at the table or counter and we gathered together, the kids played or did homework and it was cozy. When either of our parents visited they slept on the futon. There wasn't any privacy but no one complained. I loved that room. It almost reminded me of an old fashioned kitchen with a bed in it. Although, our room wasn't that crowded and the futon looked more like a couch.
No one needs to sleep on the futon anymore. But I love it more for all the many good memories we had in that small room in Florida. About 6 or more months ago, I finally replaced the tattered and beat-up cover. I love the vibrancy of this new one. I love my spacious, sunny, and relaxing sun room!
We bought these wicker chairs in Florida about 12 years ago too. I just bought fabric to cover the cushions and pinned it together. No sewing. The pillows came with the futon cover.
In the windows above these chairs you can see the reflection of the amazing mountains that surround us.
I bought some fun fabric at Joanne's and with my handy staple gun recovered these seats. I know, no awards for decorating but this room makes me happy!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


This is from my garden. I love Spring! I love all the flowers and the green!

Monday, May 4, 2009

That's a lot of laundry!

Semi-proof that I'm capable of having a clothes-free chair.
Sometimes when I am feeling really overwhelmed or I'm reading a really good book, I let the laundry go. I keep up with getting the clothes clean, because that's easy. I slack on folding, ironing (or not) and putting away.
I remember vividly a night from many years ago when I was working night shift as a nurse. I had two very young kids and we were working on getting Jeff through college. On this one night, a few of us young nurses and respiratory therapist were talking about how hard it was to keep the house clean when we were so tired. I said, "sometimes I will go days without washing my dishes and have stacks in the sink". Others would say they did too. One young respiratory therapist gasped in surprise and relief when she cried out saying, "I do too, I thought I was the only one!" It gave us some comfort that we weren't the only ones neglecting our homes when we were struggling to be with our children during the day and have enough sleep.
I haven't talked with anyone recently about my lapses in upkeep in laundry and right now I am a stay at home mom with not as many excuses. Frankly, I really don't care if I'm the only one or not. There are somethings I am good at and somethings I'm not. I don't wait nearly as long with the dishes (now I have a dishwasher and a child that takes turns doing some dishes). I really do iron clothes more now than ever before (see this). I occasionally will apologize to Jeff if the laundry sits for too long. He always says, "Look at me, do I care. It doesn't matter to me." I know that if I asked him to help me he would (because I have asked and he has helped). I know that it doesn't hurt anyone to rummage through clean clothes to get something they need or want. Sometimes there are more important things to do.
There are worst things to neglect. Plus, there will always be more laundry and I can always do it tomorrow.