Friday, December 2, 2016

The grandchild we have not met

Annie is the only grandchild we have not even met, and she is ONE today. 
A whole year without seeing her or holding her.


Do you want to know how I make myself feel better about that? I 
tell myself that she will be here in California and in our house in 
just 14 days. I really do tell myself that because it's true.

So here she is this morning in Massachusetts. A long ways away. 
Thank goodness for technology.

And as an extra special super duper bonus to us this year, 
Karen and Tyler and Richie, Leo, and Juliet will be with 
us too from Washington. I cannot wait to see these families together 
again. It's been a long 7 months. 

And won't our home be fun here this month of December 
with 6 little kids all under 6  :)

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Born in their storage room...

I'd always thought dogs must have it easier than us women 
when it came to giving birth.


When Amy texted me about 1:30 last Thursday and said Piper was 
in labor, I felt bad not being able to rush right over until later on 
that evening. I thought we would miss it.

But no, Piper hung on through the entire night. 

Amy slept right by her in their storage room,
and set her alarm to go off every hour 
so she wouldn't miss anything. 

 Sleeping all night with the dog? Seriously, I cannot relate to this.
She has a devotion I will never know.


Den dropped me off just in time the next afternoon,
while he went to get Taco Bell per their request. 


After all, Amy had been camping out with the dog 
in the storage room since the day before.



Within minutes of arriving, I got to see the first one be born!

Kylie was the score keeper.....writing down each time of birth.
I think this has something to do with selling full breeds.

Amy's friend Margaret was there as support.
They cut each cords and tied them off.
I asked Amy why she needed to do this....
can't Piper just take care of that??

She said, yes, but she added that Piper is very tired 
and she wanted "to help her."


Then several hours later, long after I had gone home, 
Amy texted me this....

I thought Piper was done with 7.....


But no, she had TEN.


The twins were happy to miss school so they could see it all.



Wednesday, November 23, 2016

And just like that, it's 20 years later.

20 years. Two decades.

I went from believing there is a God who is in the heavens, who is alive, and who loves us….to
knowing He does.

From that last phone call from Bill, to knowing he died, to hearing he died. To being in a hospital
room and the chaplain walking in to tell us. I already somehow knew, but my sons did not. There is
no more painful moment in my memory than watching them find out.

I couldn’t even make my arms reach out to comfort them. I was frozen. I remember saying to the
other people in the room, “Please help my boys.” but no one could. No one could hear me. We were
all in shock.

The chaplain or maybe it was the police, I can’t remember now. But a man in that room said I needed
to come identify his body. I couldn’t. My mom and my neighbor Dee volunteered.

So that was being done, and I wanted to take my boys and go home.

But here’s where the blessings started peeking through. As my brother Richard drove me and Logan,
McKay, and Tyler home from the hospital (Brock was on his mission), amid the near silent sniffling
coming from the back seat, Richard flipped on some quiet music. As it played he broke the silence by
saying, “As hard as the days and weeks to come will be, you will also see many blessings.”

At that moment I felt a flutter of peace come over me. I trusted Richard’s words, but also knew from
past experience, that’s how it works.  And it did.

I truly learned what angels on earth means. They came into our home and into our lives. All different
ages. Many creative acts of service on our behalf. Some there for us day after day. Some there for
months and years.

Two decades have come and gone and we are at November 23rd again. So much has happened. Many
good people who we love so much have been added to our little family, which is not so little
anymore. So many blessings. So much to be thankful for.

Life does truly go on and happy days do come back. And amidst the many challenges that continue to
come to all of us, the blessings come too. That's how it will always be. We are never alone, even in
those doubting moments we think we are.

I talked to all 4 of my sons today in some form.

Tyler and I were talking through text this evening. He was 10 when his Dad died. Now, like his 3
brothers, he’s a happily married man. A father of 3. I asked him how he feels about this day, the 20
year mark of his Dad’s death.

This was one of his replies:



Have a wonderfully Happy Thanksgiving tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Cafe Rio....and now I think I get it...

So forever it seems, I've heard about this place...



This just opened in our area a few months ago. 

Before that, you pretty much had to be in Utah to eat there.
So I never did. 

So today Den and I needed to stay out of 
our house for awhile so we tried it out.

It was like walking into Mormon land.
They were everywhere.
Some we knew, some we didn't. But we could tell.

And lots of babies.
But most of those went outside on the patio with their Moms.
I met a set of 14 month old twins, Tyler and Kiera.

First, Den saw his friend Masa Hanamaikai and his wife.
Den worked with him in the stake back in his Corona days.

Then I said, "Hey there's Jake!" (my nephew there in the blue jacket)

I heard some women sitting near us 
talking about their visiting teaching.


Den calls out to me, "Look! There's Tracy Fairbanks!" 
We home teach her. 
Then while we were eating suddenly my niece McKenzie appears before my face.


Later Den says, "Your sister Robin came with her, Look!"
By then McKenzie was back with her so he only got the right side of her face.




As we were sitting in the car, ready to leave Den rolled down his window to talk to this family, 
who we had never seen before and didn't know.
"Funny how being in there feels like we are in Provo."

To which the unknown man replied, 
"They just need to throw a little snow out here."

Just so you'll know, it's not like we are all from a small town.
And it's not like this place is exactly right near us.
It's probably a 20-25 min drive from our home. 
And it's not like we were there all afternoon, 45 minutes tops.



I almost forgot to show our food
The vinaigrette dressing was the BEST I've ever had.
I will go back again just for that. 
Or maybe just to see who walks in next.


As we were driving home I got this text from my sister Robin:


Sunday, November 20, 2016

Our stake president couldn't get this off his mind

Last night at Stake Conference our stake president said he couldn't 
get a hymn off his mind. He said he'd been thinking about it every 
day since he'd heard it over a month ago.

It's not found in our hymn book since it's from another church,
and it's called "Take Time to Be Holy."

In our Faith we believe in seeking good where ever we can find it 
(as I'm sure many people do). That's why I love so much the last 
sentence from our 13th Article of faith:

13 "...If there is anything virtuouslovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, 
we seek after these things."


So after finding this hymn on Youtube I discovered that I'd heard 
it in past General Conferences but never paid 
attention to the words before. They tell a story to me now.

Take Time to Be Holy[1]

1           Take time to be holy,
Speak oft with thy Lord;
Abide in Him always,
And feed on His Word:
Make friends of God’s children,
Help those who are weak;
Forgetting in nothing
His blessing to seek.
2           Take time to be holy,
The world rushes in;
Spend much time in secret
With Jesus alone:
By looking to Jesus
Like Him thou shalt be;
Thy friends in thy conduct
His likeness shall see.
3           Take time to be holy,
Let Him be thy guide,
And run not before Him
Whatever betide;
In joy or in sorrow
Still follow thy Lord,
And looking to Jesus,
Still trust in His Word.
4           Take time to be holy,
Be calm in thy soul;
Each thought and each motive
Beneath His control;
Thus led by His Spirit
To fountains of love,
Thou soon shalt be fitted
For service above.





Nearly two years ago, this same Stake President talked about THIS 
SONG in his talk. Not a hymn, and every simple words, but it's 
perfect and I've never been able to get enough of it.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

My wonders of this week...or so.


1. One day last week in Boston, Scarlett insisted she wasn't tired.
But soon McKenna found her fast asleep.
Then she noticed what Scarlett did for her baby doll before drifting off!

2.
I just recently discovered The Sweet Home where I can find out what is THE BEST appliance or
pillow, or bedsheets or other products to buy. I like it better than consumer reports because it's 
more direct and to the point. I need to replace our flannel sheets and #2 on their list for quality is
Target brand for just $23.99 for king size. Who knew.      The Sweet Home

3. Didn't take our missionary grandson Chandler,
long to dive right into the culture now that he's in South Carolina!
Check out the last part of his letter last week:

" I hope y'all are having a good start of
November and hope y'alls halloween went well! Remember to love one
another as Jesus loves you :)
-Elder Ball"

4. Tyler in Vancouver, Wa, took on a 30 hour weekend project of painting 
all their kitchen cabinets.




Karen, Leo, and Juliet were in Utah for the weekend ....and Tyler said it was a much better time to 
paint without his favorite little girl crawling everywhere. No offense sweet Juliet.



5.  And look what has begun in California this week! Bring your own bags when you go shopping
or pay 10 cents for each one. Can you imagine the bacteria that could grow in the same bags you use
week after week? So I'm looking to buy several mesh ones that can be aired out, and also so I can
wash them.
Sorry about your head honey. I was concentrating on the bag.


6. I put my 2 leftover Halloween pumpkins in the crockpot, after I cut them in half and seeded 
them. (they were the cooking kind of pumpkins). Then I made little mounds of pumpkin goodness 
and froze them. I put a mound or 2 in my smoothies for extra Vitamin A. The grandkids are fine with 
it too. (because I don't tell them)


I even use a mound or 2 in our french toast with the egg and milk. 
Makes breakfast heartier, and SO good. 

7. At church last Sunday one of the speakers said something I've been thinking about ever since. He 
said, "Many people call these times "post Christian." I guess I knew that on some level, but hadn't 
thought of it in those terms exactly, and it just makes me so sad. 

However, I quickly thought of this quote I read on a blog I follow:

So blessed are children being raised in homes 
who don't know anything about a "post Christian" era. 




Thursday, November 3, 2016

Wonders of this past week


Well okay maybe not just this past week, 
but here are a few things I've noticed lately:



Den and I wandered the neighborhood on Halloween night for the 
purpose of meeting some more of our neighbors.

Can you tell the one above was written by an teacher?

I was surprised (to put it mildly) how many people (8-9 homes) 
just left a bowl of candy on their porch!

I have not seen this done since the 1960s when I was a kid



So this next one is contradictory to the one above....
 Last week while Den and I were in Vons we noticed something 
different and orange looking.
 So when I asked a clerk about it she said this is for people who 
want their Amazon packages sent to Vons rather than to their home. 
That made no sense until she said many packages 
are getting stolen off porches. 
I didn't know it was that bad out there on front porches. Did you?


And who thought a turn table for our milk 
would make us so happy?




And for you locals who live near me, 
my visiting teacher told me about this newish restaurant (6 months old).


(I loved it, Den semi-liked it.)
It's off the beaten path at Nees and Fowler. 
In other words not much else out there.



Seeing this chart somewhere....made me want to have a chili bar. 
I'm intrigued by the goldfish and the tator tots. 
Would never have thought to put those on chili!





And look at our pretty missionary. 
Our missionary grandkids are obviously doing well. 

Jessica and Chandler met up a few times at the MTC
She's still there learning Spanish, he's now in South Carolina.
We are SO proud and happy for them!


And had to include this picture.


This is sitting in a friend's entry way and to me 
sums out how much we need one other!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Aunt Wanda

Wednesday morning I learned of the passing of my Aunt Wanda. 

I'm so thankful we got to be with her last year when her daughter Pat and her husband Bill drove her
all the way from Portland to Clovis. 

I know my Dad very much appreciated their visit too.
She said this would probably be her last trip to Clovis.

I think she knew.


As you can see our grandson Grant liked her too....about 4 1/2 years ago in Lake Oswego, Oregon


She was 94. And amazing. She looked and acted much younger. Much younger.

I don't know any details yet. Just that she died while visiting her daughter Paula in Maryland.

I didn't know her very well growing up since they lived so far away,
but my parents spoke very fondly of her. 
She was married to my Dad's oldest brother, Irving. 

I smile every time I think of Wanda and Irving together again. 


But I know this has got to be so hard on her daughters, Pat and Paula. 
They obviously had a very close loving relationship.



Thursday, October 27, 2016

This is how Jonas sees it



 While the focus was on Austin and Brooke's sweet baby Levi.....

  
7 year old Jonas has a completely different take on the situation.


Here's the picture he drew of Austin and Brooke holding Levi.
Do you sort of get the feeling Jonas wants to be a part of it all
He's the happy little guy between Brooke and Austin. 
Amy says he looks like the family pet.

And is it just me, or do the new parents look a bit bewildered?

Monday, October 24, 2016

Violet and Cami

So after walking all over the school, 
apparently I chose the wrong place to pick up Violet.....

because as soon as she spotted me coming towards her....



She yelled out, "Grandma Honey, this is not where you are 
suppose to pick me up. Go over to where the bike rack is!"

Love our little rule follower Violet!

So as with every child coming home from school all over America, 
Violet was hungry.

That wasn't enough for her, so she goes looking for more. 
I wonder what my fridge looks like from way down there.


She decides on JoJos (from Trader Joes) and apple juice


Gotta have some grapes too.


Finally she was full.


Cami had lots of snacks too but I couldn't manipulate the camera and help her at the same time.


Cam did so well with dinner.

She tries really hard. Bless her heart.

But more than the food, Cam loves the outside.
We have the most perfect weather in October! 



Who else but a little kid would want to roll in the grass?
It sounds so itchy.



Didn't bother Violet not one bit.



Then just like that it was time to go to dance class.


I love the contrast in size 
between Grandpa and 5 1/2 year old Violet!
I think she's our most petite grandchild. Small but mighty. No doubt there.