Saturday, November 29, 2008

Those two can COOK!

First a little recap of yesterday...
We got to eat breakfast with this very cute couple.

Then they were off to see the movies with Brock and Elora.

Erin was marathon shopping with her Mom so we got to watch
sweet little Camers.

After a shopping experience at Trader Joes,
Karen and Tyler came home to make us dinner.
And what a dinner it was.
These pictures don't do the meal justice.
Listen to this: Talipia baked in macadamia nuts, Pina Colada rice, steamed broccoli and carrots with garlic and onion, and rolls. Loved it!! I will have leftovers for lunch.
Then they were off to play games at first Brock and Erin's home,
and then on to Amy and Logan's.

I will be so sad when they fly back to Provo tomorrow!
Thankfully that will not happen until after we get to take them to church with us in the morning.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving 2008

I knew this was going to be good
as I watched Tyler's girlfriend Karen
fold the napkins, turn the goblets up side down
and put the relish tray together like art work.
She works for BYU catering, and it shows.
Left to right:
Karen, Tyler, Logan being camera shy again, Amy, Austin,
and Amy's mom Karen.
Amy and the twins are a growin' at 18.4 weeksLogan has never liked the camera.
Even as a little boy he would not smile while it was on him.
Another thing, when I hugged him tonight I can really tell he has been working out.
Oh what muscles!!!
BTW, he shaved his head right before dinner.
He has never in his life been this bald, even at birth.
I know, I was there.

See Logan as a baby...
put a beard and mustache on him
and he would look just the same as today!
Brock and Logan 1979
And while I'm at it,
here is Logie on his first Thanksgiving with his Grandpa H

Showing off Austin and his fabulous hair.
He says he washes it everyday, complete with hair rinse.
It is so clean, it glistens!We sure missed the rest of our family.
McKay called live from the Talmadge building on campus.
He was there DOING HOMEWORK.
He said he was the only one in the building. (duh)
He was waiting for a friend to come pick him up
as they were heading to the hospital to visit a friend.

Ended with Karen and Tyler reading a bedtime story.
Aren't they cute?!
Our ending anyway.
Den and I went to bed,
and they went to Brock and Erin's to borrow a movie.

And please note...
It is unanimous....we all LOVE Karen!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Tyler and Karen and the fire at Mrs. Smith's house

Den and I were standing front and center at the airport...waiting, waiting....watching the family reunions all around us. No sign of Tyler and Karen. So I turned to Den and said, "They've run out of people. There are none left." The long isle in front of us was totally vacant.

I was beginning to wonder if this was just too much for Karen, meeting us.

Then we saw them...slowly walking towards us. I was immediately struck by how cute they were together, how happy.

About an hour after we arrived home Brock and Erin and the girls arrived.
Elora was shy for about the first 15 minutes and went into hiding.
See her there under the table?
It's almost freaky.
She soon snapped out of it and joined us.
Then I had what I thought was a great idea. Let's play Life Stories.
This picture makes it look like they were not too thrilled...

But then the game really took off. I love this game.
We just all took turns going around the board answering questions about our childhood, etc.
The box said ages 6-106 so Elora got to play with us! She fit right in and did really well.
Even had some bonding brother time. Tyler and Brock

Elora kept calling us in for a "fake food dinner".
Then suddenly Elora got a call.
Mrs. Smith's house was on fire.
I thought Tyler handled this very well.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Just thinkin' about TOMORROW!

Finally....tomorrow....we get to meet my son Tyler's girlfriend!!

They will be stepping off the plane in the late afternoon,
coming from Provo,
and we get to spend 4 days with them both!!!

Hope you have time during this very busy week to look at pictures of them....soon.

Go ahead, be like us and sing along!

Monday, November 24, 2008

A Day to Celebrate

Years before my first son Brock left on his mission I prayed I would find a good friend through one of his companion's mothers. I actually prayed for this, because I felt if I could bond with one of the moms who had a son on the same mission, we would both be able to cope better with the challenge of having a son gone for 2 years.

First of all, the blessings of having sons on missions far outweighed any challenges. I also discovered that the challenges were actually lessened when he was on his mission. But I didn't know all this back then.

So Brock left on his mission in January of 1996. After getting through the first 5 days of shock that my first born was actually gone, and I would not see him for 2 whole years...I then started looking for the answer to that prayer. Each companion Brock would have I would ask for his mom's email address, or her home address....not everyone had email in 1996. I wrote to them all. It just did not somehow click right with any of them.

Then 10 months after Brock was gone, his dad died. That was yesterday's story. A few months after Bill's death, I received a very nice email back from the mom of Brock's current companion at the time. Her name, Peggy. We did click and have been writing daily since that day. To be totally accurate, we may have taken a week or so before we were actually writing daily. That was 11 1/2 years ago.

Interestingly, I thought I was praying for a friend to help me through Brock's mission. But what Heavenly Father knew I needed more was a very special friend to help me cope with the unexpected loss of my husband. Peggy was always there for me. Our correspondences back and forth were quite therapeutic for me, allowing me to talk about whatever I needed to talk about. Talk is the wonder drug for grief.

Peggy flew out here to visit me a few times. It was like we had known one another all of our lives.

You can't really see it in this picture, but we had coincidentally bought the same pair of pants.
One particular visit we decided we were determined to drive up to Oakland and attend the temple. Our Fresno temple did not exist at the time. So we drove up to Dublin, stayed the night there in a hotel. Got up early the next morning and got back on the freeway to head to the temple. I decided I did not want to drive...can't remember I pulled off to the side of the road, which was an extremely busy fast paced freeway.

This was not a good decision.

So as cars whirled past us we changed seats. When Peggy attempted to start up the car again it was dead. Nothing. This made no sense, and this was NOT a good place to be with a stalled car. Neither one of us had a cell phone. We both had dresses and heels on, and this was not the place anyway to go walking. We said a prayer. Then she attempted to start the car up again. NOTHING. NOW, what do we do? We had prayed, and without a cell phone, what options did we have left? We sat there in silence for a few minutes. I knew our prayer would be answered but I was curious as to how. Can't remember how long we waited...5...10 minutes?

As we were sitting there I could see a large truck pull up behind us. What could that possibly be about? So this large man comes up to our window. We roll it down just a little bit to be cautious. He asks if we are stuck. I said, yes, and I think I asked him to call Triple A. He said he WAS Triple A. Huh? But no one called him. I looked back at his truck. Sure enough, he was Triple A. He said he was coming down the freeway the other way and saw us parked along the freeway, so he turned around to see if he could help.

We popped the hood and he had it diagnosed in a short time. He did something temporarily to get us by. He said as long as we did not turn off the ignition it would keep running. Sure enough we made it to the temple. We had a wonderful session there, and as predicted, the car would not start up when we wanted to head home. So we called Triple A from the temple and they came out again. They were able to once again fix our car so it would work as long as we did not turn off the ignition. It was a trick a few hours later putting gas in our car with the engine running, but that's what we did.

A picture of us that day in front of the temple.

The power of prayer is amazing. Often times we have to learn patience when our prayers are not answered as quickly as we would like. My experience has been, when we have not the time to wait, we are rescued in a very timely way.

Today is my friend Peggy's birthday! I wish I could be there in Utah to share it with her.
Why is she my best friend?...
She is LOYAL. I can count on her like I could count on my own mother.
She speaks up and tells me what she thinks, which to me, is priceless in a friend.
She does not like contention and will do just about anything to avoid it.
She is a great example of devotion to family. She is a most wonderful, loving mother to 4 and grandmother to 10, soon to be 11. (all of them born after we met)
She is very committed to the gospel and its teachings. She has a strong unshakable testimony that Heavenly Father lives, and that we will someday be back in His presence.
She is fun. She can get me laughing almost as much as Dennis can.

Thank you Peggy for being my friend the past almost 12 years.
Have a most wonderful and Happy Birthday!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The day he died

Please know that this was 12 years ago and we have moved on from this.
This was a defining time that would change our lives forever.
Yet, we have all been blessed immeasurably, and many great and wonderful things have occurred since this day.
Since it is part of our history, I wanted to include it.

Believe it or not, I did shorten it, but it is still very long...

12 Years ago TODAY,
It was a Saturday, just 5 days before Thanksgiving...

Bill left early, about 6am, planning to participate in the annual "turkey shoot". Our son, Logan age 17 at the time, had planned on going with him. However, he had promised his friend Robby Pauline he would help him with his Eagle project that same morning. Logan loved to go shooting with his Dad and it was rare for him to miss out.

I still had my fever all day so when Logan got home about 5pm after Robby's Eagle project, I sent him to the grocery store for me.

While Logan was at the store, and McKay (12) and Tyler (10) were playing basketball in our driveway, Bill called me. He was very excited about the great day he had shooting. He said he just got back to his shop and he was getting ready to close up and come home soon. He wanted to know how my fever was and if there was anything I needed. He said he missed me and couldn't wait to get home.

Then I heard what sounded like fireworks (or gun fire?) and Bill said to me over the phone, "Call the cops." I hung up immediately and dialed 911. The dispatcher who answered said they were already receiving calls about that address. I asked this man what in the world was going on, but he said they didn't know yet.

I was thinking....hoping...there was some disturbance just outside his shop. Since I heard the gunfire and then he told me to call the cops, that was a safe bet.

After hanging up from 911, I immediately called Dee, my next door neighbor and very trusted friend. Dee is one of those rare people who are great in a crisis, who stay calm and know what to do by instinct. All I said to her on the phone that day after she said hello was, "Please come over right now." And she did.

As I explained to her what was going on, McKay and Tyler came into the house as it was beginning to get a little dark. Logan also had just walked in the door from the grocery store. We hesitantly, but bluntly told the boys what had just happened.

Looking for some clues, and since it was just about 6pm and the news would be coming on, we turned on the TV. If something really bad was going on, it would be on the news. If not, then our worries could rest a bit.

So our fears escalated when we saw that Bill's shop was the top news story. There right on the news was his shop with an ambulance in front of it. This was not a good sign. I knew in my heart at that moment that if Bill were shot, he did not make it. But the TV said they did not have details yet, only that there had been a shooting.

Dee called the police from our kitchen. She tried to find out what the status was on my husband. They said they did not know yet.

She called again a little while later. This time she was more adamant, "...She needs to know the status of her husband!" She was put on hold. I left the room and wandered the house.
Finally, Dee hung up the phone and came to find me.
"Jill put your shoes on. We're going to the hospital."
As soon as she said that, I knew Bill was dead.

I went into the closet to find my shoes. I was looking straight into the large mirror we had in our bathroom. I just looked at myself, trying to process all this. Is this a nightmare I'm in? Is this really happening?

I could hear my boys from the other room, "Hurry Mom, get your shoes on, we want to go see Daddy."

They didn't know. They were not thinking like I was. They thought their dad got injured, possibly like he had 7 years earlier. I knew this was not the case. I didn't want to go to the hospital. I did not want to face what I knew was true. But more than that, I did not want my sons to have to face this. I wanted to protect them somehow, someway.

My sons were soon in my closet with me. McKay was going through my shoes in a hurry, handing me a pair of heels, and saying, "Here Mom, put on these. Come on. I want to see Dad."

At least I had the presence of mind to find some flat shoes, and a sweater, and looked around the room slowly trying to find something else to delay me. I thought perhaps we should have a prayer, but since I knew he was already dead, I felt it was useless to do so. I know that does not make sense now. We could have prayed for strength, I could have prayed for many things, but I just was not all there in my head at the moment.

By now our bishop's sweet wife had shown up. She along with my neighbor Dee coaxed me into Dee's car so we could all go to the hospital to "see Bill". I don't remember this, but I was told later they had to help lift my legs over the threshold leading out of our home, and again into the car. All the way there, I kept thinking of my baby boys (although they were 10 and 12 and 17) in the backseat...and my 19 year old on his mission...and how this would all affect their safe sweet little world was about ready to come tumbling down around them.

As soon as we arrived at the hospital Dee gave the receptionist my husband's name, and said we had come to see him. I could tell they had been waiting for us because right away they took us to "a room they have ready for the family." A smallish room with chairs along all the walls that came together like a horse shoe. We were told to be seated and someone "would be with you shortly." I knew what that meant.

My parents were present, along with a few other relatives. In walked a tall, somber looking man. He stood right there before us and simply said, "I'm sorry. Bill has died." The room filled with immediate sobbing. I felt frozen. I wanted to reach out to my crying sons besides me but I couldn't even put my arms around them. I just said, "please someone take care of my children." But everyone in that room was too lost in their own shock at the moment. Logan sat there quietly but I sensed his deep pain. He had been very close to his Dad. McKay and Tyler kept sobbing, "I want my dad, I want my dad", over and over again. I felt my heart was being pierced each time they said that.

A very few moments later this same somber man turned towards me and said, "The dr will be here in just a moment and he can answer any questions you have." I said without hesitation, "I don't want to see him. I don't want to know any more, and I don't want anyone telling my sons anything either." He looked surprised, but said, "Okay". (In a few days we were ready to learn all the details, but not right then.) Then this man asked, "Would you like to see your husband's body?"
I was just talking to Bill less than an hour before. I was not ready to see his dead body. I said, again without hesitation, "No. And my sons will not be seeing him either. I want to go home. I want to take them home, right now." This was all part of my way of trying to protect them, and myself. Plus I felt like I was going to throw up.

My parents offered to see his body so he could be officially identified. Or maybe I asked them to, I can't remember. Someone needed to do it. I heard later that Dee also went with them.

My brother Richard gave us a ride home. With my sons quietly crying on the back seat of his car he turned on some gentle music, or was it a talk...I don't remember. But I do remember what he told us. He said, "I know the days and weeks and months ahead are going to be very difficult, but I also know that you will see many blessings come into your life during this time." I knew this, but it was nice to be reminded right then at that moment. I had come to learn throughout my life that we are blessed through our trials. That our Heavenly Father never leaves us alone.

Shortly after we arrived home I called Brock's mission president. I told him what had happened and asked if I could call Brock to tell him. I also told his mission president that I wanted Brock to come home for a few days. President Hedrick said they don't normally do that in the event of a death. I told him that is what I wanted, that is what we all needed. He asked me to think about it and call him back the next morning. Meanwhile I called Brock and gave him the news. It's hard enough telling your son his dad has suddenly died, but it is harder having to just say good bye and hang up, after I had just told him his father had been murdered. So I called President Hedrick back and asked him if he would please go see my son. He said he and his wife would....and they did....and I will be always grateful to them for that.

By the time we got home many people began arriving. Some I had not seen in years, others were close friends. I was so thankful they just showed up. There was nothing we needed more than to be surrounded by loving friends and family. Our driveway and cul-de-sac filled up with cars as our family room filled with visitors.

By about 11-12 pm most everyone had come and gone. My mother told me she would spend the night. Of course. She was always there for me, during any crisis. None of us had dinner that night. No one was interested in eating. Someone gave the boys Taco Bell but it just sat on their laps in a bag unopened.

Logan went to bed around midnight down the hall in his bedroom with his friend Robby staying with him. Even at Logan's young age of 17 he was very protective and concerned about my feelings, and those of his brothers. I sensed that he was desperately trying to represent "normal" for us.

McKay and Tyler slept on the family room floor, along with our good friend and neighbor Brett, who is Dee's son. They all had grown up together but tonight Brett was not only their friend, but their comforter. He laid there next to them, patting their backs and soothing their cries. It was like they had their own personal angel. My mom fell asleep on our couch.

I sat on the little couch in our kitchen. I sat there all night, not the least bit sleepy. I sat there and just thought of my life with Bill. I thought of our wedding night 22 years before. I thought back to the days each of our 4 sons were born. I thought of all Bill's qualities as a husband and father and what a good life, what a good marriage we had. I thought of all our tremendous blessings. I relived them all that night. It was like watching my life "pass before my eyes," although I was the one still alive.

As soon as the sun came up everyone started waking up. The night went by very quickly for me. It was like I had been sitting there for an hour, not all night long. I suppose that would be called being in shock.

The next day there was again, a steady stream of visitors. The phone also seem to ring continually. I talked again to Brock's mission president. He had a change of heart and felt it was best, since Brock was my oldest son, to send him home for the funeral. Or perhaps he realized that I was not going to budge in the fact that I wanted all my sons to be together. Some things as a Mom, you just know. Brock did in fact come home for 5 days. He helped plan the funeral, chose a burial plot and casket for his dad, and spoke at the funeral, besides being a comfort to his younger 3 brothers.

The crying in our home just would not stop. I was a mess and so were my sons. We basically sat huddled together on our family room couch for days, talking to the visitors as they continued to come and go. I particularly kept my arms around my 2 younger sons. Logan was of the age where his friends could comfort him more than I could. Occasionally McKay or Tyler would leave my side and I would go hunting for them, or ask someone else to find them. I did not want them being alone at all. And sure enough, every time we would find them they would be rolled up into a fetal position on their bedroom floor or on their bed. I could not stand that. I had a hard enough time dealing with my grief, but I absolutely HATED watching them grieve.

I would take their hand and lead them back to stay by me. None of us were clear headed at the time, I realize that looking back...but my instinct told me to keep them with me. So I did. Logan was 17 and was surrounded by his friends. He did not miss a day of school, except for the funeral. This was typical of Logan. We all grieve differently. My 2 younger boys missed the entire following week. Tyler basically missed the rest of the school year as I put him on temporary home school.

One particular evening....I think it was the following Monday, 2 days after Bill died....our stake president came to see us. President Tanner is a such a kind, gentle soul but also a spiritual giant. He asked if there was anything he could do to help. I told him that I needed to know how long the crying of my boys would go on. Not expecting him to have an answer, he said without hesitation, "5 days." I don't know if that is a universal typical answer, or if he was inspired to say that. Whatever,
I trusted him, and sure enough he was right. The grieving was far from over then, but that all day long off and on crying came to an end, 5 days after the death of their father.

We had his funeral the day before Thanksgiving. Slowly we adjusted day by day. My 2 younger sons slept on the floor of my bedroom for the first 3 months after his death. They would often cry out in their sleep, at least nightly, and I would be right there to say, "It's okay, go back to sleep." In the morning they had no memory of these episodes. I don't think they would ever completely wake up till morning which was a blessing.

I played this song many times during that first Christmas season after his death. Music is such a big part of my life, and it just seemed to express how I felt at the time.
Exactly 3 months after his death, February 23, 1997, was a beautiful spring day. We went to the cemetery together and we could laugh and be happy about some memories of their Dad. I feel that day was our turning point. We all went home and slept in our own beds, in our own rooms, and some normalcy began returning.

Still, I felt like a broken person for a very long time. I felt my sons were broken too in their own way. I have come to the realization that one of the hardest things to cope with in this life, is watching your children in pain. All 4 of them know they will see their father again, but they pure and simply MISSED him. They have learned as the years have gone to cope with this loss, but I don't expect them to ever "get over it." Still, I am amazingly impressed with all 4 of them. They have each grown into very good, responsible, and loving men. I think they have definitely learned much from this tragedy and developed a true love for what really matters in this life.

This tragedy was also extremely difficult on Bill's parents. They were crushed with grief, yet they were so sweet and tender with my feelings. It was like they could not do enough for us.

Looking back over that first year, I could see the hand of our Heavenly Father in our daily lives. He did indeed send us so many, many blessings. Most of these blessings came in the form of family and friends coming to see us, checking on us, calling, being there. There were a few in particular that put their own lives on hold for us. I will never, ever forget the many sacrifices that were made on our behalf. Never.

Logan, McKay, me, Tyler, Brock in the viewing room
The first time we went to church after his death, with my head lying on Bill's Dad's shoulder, the opening hymn was, "I Heard the Bells On Christmas Day." One particular line has stayed with me ever since, "God is not dead nor doth He sleep." This became my motto, the words we lived by, the words that gave me comfort through many long nights.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The night before he died

12 Years ago TODAY, this came in the mail:

Bill, my first husband, said, "We aren't going to wait till Christmas, are we?"
And I said, "Of course we are!"

Bill never got to see this.

Our oldest son, Brock, drew this while on his mission and sent it to us as our Christmas present. Of course none of us knew Bill would not live till Christmas. In fact he died the day after this arrived in the mail.

I had been running a fever all that day. I went to bed very early, about 7pm, while Bill stayed up playing with the boys, ages 10 and 12. Logan, age 17, was out with friends. (Brock, 19, was on his mission.)

I had chills but wanted to keep sleeping so I called out to Bill. He came in the bedroom and all I said was, "I'm cold." He left the room and came back with 2 extra quilts he had taken off the boys' beds. He put them both on me, patting them around my body so I would warm up quickly. I didn't even open up my eyes.

Next thing I knew I squinted open my eyes and looked up at the clock, half asleep. It was about 10 pm. I could hear the boys still playing with their Dad. I heard a ball bouncing up and down the hallway. Not a hard ball, but a plastic 49ers football. Still it continually slammed against walls and doors. Lots of laughter. Happy noises. I wanted to get up and tell everyone to GO TO BED and to QUIT PLAYING BALL IN THE HOUSE. My fever was the only thing that kept me from interfering.

I had no energy so I drifted back to sleep. Thankfully I did, because we would later learn this would be the last time McKay and Tyler would play with their Dad.

More on this tomorrow.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Happy Birthday Susan!

When I first began emailing with my dad's soon to be wife...
before I met her, she sent me this picture of "herself":

(And BTW, I'm sure this woman above is a very nice person,
just does not look like my Dad's type.)

For a few seconds I thought...what was my Dad thinking?!
So I learned right off that she DOES have a sense of humor!
Thankfully she does not look like this at all.

But if she did, we would still love her because...

She makes my Dad happy, and we are not only happy because he is,
but we love having her in our lives, too.

Susan is fun. She is an excellent listener, and laughs easily, so she is fun to share things with.

She loves music, family gatherings, books, people, chocolate, movies, traveling, home decorating...I'm learning more about her all the time.

I remember when Dad told me he was going to marry her. We all thought he was nuts. (Sorry, Dad) He did not know her very well...that was our concern. My mom had only been gone a short time. But I should have never questioned him. He has always had good judgment, so I should have known he would this time too.

I am so thankful he married Susan. She is filled with goodness. And somehow, someway she is able to keep track of all our lives. She knows what is going on with us and asks for updates.
She will never know how much her daily comments on my blog mean to me!
I find myself wanting to tell her things...because she cares, she listens,
and she keeps us laughing.

Have a VERY Happy Birthday, Susan!!
We love you!!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The reason I have not been here

You may or may not have noticed that I have not written a lot this past week.

I have decided to face some things this coming weekend, and I have been preparing for that.It has been 12 years since my first husband passed away. I don't talk about it much, and I have only written about it in my journal. But it is part of our history and I feel it needs to be recorded for my grandchildren who may have questions in years to come.

If this is something that bothers you, or you would rather not read about, then you might want to skip this blog on Saturday and Sunday.

I'm also going to cook my very first Thanksgiving dinner in 12 years next week. Being he died the week of Thanksgiving in 1996, I have related that day to those times. I know this probably does not make sense to those who have not gone through the death of a close loved one. It doesn't even make sense to me at times...especially considering I am very happy with Dennis and the life we have created together.

A therapist once explained to me that our brains are much like computers. If we put data in, we can expect certain results. I use to get depressed somewhat every November. I couldn't figure out why because I felt I was done grieving, I wasn't even thinking about that...and yet November would come and I would feel sad. Then I understood that my brain was interpreting the falling leaves, the cooler days, the smell of Fall, the smell of turkey cooking even, as a time of sadness. It wasn't, but that is what was in my "computer". Does this make any sense? I am working now on de-programming my "computer".

Postscript: I wrote this last night, and now reading it this morning it sounds pathetic. I hope no one thinks I am grieving and never got over this...or that I'm trying to imply in anyway that I am the only one who has had a tragedy in my life. We have all had is part of living. The first year and a half were very difficult, but life is really wonderful and has been for years. I have been blessed beyond what I deserve, I know that.

I was just trying to say that I am trying to bring back the day of Thanksgiving in the way it use to be. I use to love making a big turkey dinner and I just sort of turned that off 12 years ago. We still celebrated it, I just didn't do the cooking. This year is a new beginning in that sense. There will be a turkey in our oven! :)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

This one's for Elora

I was remembering a conversation I had with Elora last year about this time, when she was 5. I looked it up in my journal and sure enough it was there. I want Elora to someday have this, so here it is for memory sake.

First a few pictures down memory lane.

Uncle McKay and Elora
McKay is the only one who won't be home for Thanksgiving next week :((

"Conversation with Elora, age 5
Nov. 9, 2007
I was driving her to my home after picking her up from school.
Elora: My sister broke her leg.
Grandma Honey: What?! (in shock)
Elora: Cami broke her leg and it is really bad. It is swollen and red and it is so bad.
Grandma Honey: Oh you mean, she had her muscle biopsy yesterday. So how is she doing?
Elora: Not very well. She can’t crawl. She can’t walk. She went to Frans San Cisco but she broke her leg after she got home.
Grandma Honey: She did? She really did break her leg?
Elora: YES! Her leg is broken! It is BROKEN! It is SO bad!
Grandma Honey: Well why didn’t anyone tell me this?
Elora: I don’t know. But it is so bad. Poor Cami with her broken leg. I saw it and it is red and so so swollen. (She shows with her arms and hands how swollen it is).
Grandma Honey: That is just terrible. (not sure what to think)
Elora: My parents tried to buy a baby wheel chair for her on dot com but it costed too much money. So they found one at Toys are Us.
Grandma Honey: They did? They bought her a baby wheel chair?
Elora: Yes! They bought a baby wheel chair at Toys are Us. At first they didn’t know Toys are Us has baby wheel chairs but they found one there for Cami.
Grandma Honey: Well that is nice (figuring Cami must have really broken her leg because Elora was so convincing)
Elora: She has to stay in the baby wheel chair for 55 days. 55 days!! She doesn’t need her high chair anymore. She just eats in her baby wheel chair.
Grandma Honey: Really? She even eats in her wheel chair?
Elora: Don’t tell my mother I told you this.
Grandma Honey: Why?!
Elora: Because I’ll get a time out.
Grandma Honey: Why would you get a time out? Did you break Cami’s leg?
Elora: No, I didn’t break Cami’s leg. But every time things go crazy at my house I get a time out.

So I was anxious to ask Erin how Cami was doing after I brought her home a few hours later. She said she was fine…getting into everything as usual. Didn’t even need any pain meds after the muscle biopsy she had on Thursday. And the more I thought about Elora’s story…it came to me that if Cami needed a baby wheel chair, wouldn’t they just use a stroller for that??"

Monday, November 17, 2008

Gift Cards

There was a warning in our newspaper this morning (or was it yesterday?) about giving gift cards this Christmas. How we should think twice before giving them as Christmas presents. How many retailers are planning on going out of business right after Christmas, with no warning, yet are selling gift cards nonetheless.

I also heard on the radio this past week that Sharper Image sold gift cards right up till the very day before they went out of business. How cruel is that?

I guess I naively thought every store would be like Mervyns...they would announce their departure months in advance.

It is estimated that shoppers could lose as much as $75 million from store and restaurant closings in 2008.

By the way, did you know that 25% of gift cards (of all stores) are never redeemed?
I learned that too.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

My Headache Remedy

I don't get headaches very often, but when I do, Peppermint Oil is my favorite remedy. I spread it across the top part of my forehead, and then I add more where it hurts. I just make sure not to get it too close to my eyes or they will water and burn, but even that is temporary.

It is so soothing.

It takes about 20-30 minutes after I apply it for the headache to go away, but it does work for me. I've read that it opens up the blood vessels. Whatever, I love it.

Last night we were out with our friends Bev and Brent, and while we had a fun time together (we always do) I had to resort to Tylenol because I didn't want to smell like toothpaste. But at 4am when the pain returned I put my peppermint oil on and less than 30 min later the headache was totally gone. And Dennis lying next to me says it opens up his sinuses.

I originally found this cure years ago in the book, "Miracle Cures" by Jean Carper.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Elora's nightmare

My granddaughter, Elora, had a nightmare Tuesday night. She said it scared her and she woke up. She tried to go back to sleep but she kept "seeing it". She was noticeably upset by it.

I asked her to tell me about her nightmare.

She said she was running a race with one of the Veggie Tales. She did not tell me if it was Squash, or Tomato, or who it was. But she did not win the race.

Then these 2 "really big" girls came up to her.
She thought they were 10 and 14 and they said to her,
"You are a slow little runner."

It's rough being 6.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

My problem

I have a problem that I can almost guarantee no one else has. Normally, no matter what I am going through at the time I can console myself by saying, "Well others must have this same challenge." I think I might be alone in this one.

You know how we cannot control what we do when we sleep?
Well I curl up my right hand into a fist, and bring it right up to my mouth, and it presses on one of my front teeth. I've probably been doing this for years, in my sleep.

How do I know this? Well I have had off and on pain in that front tooth, that has progressively become worse. One morning recently I even woke up with my lip swollen right above that tooth for the first couple hours after I woke up. My dentist has taken xrays of it and says it has gone through trauma of some kind. Well I know what fist.

And I don't think it has helped that I use my front teeth to open zip lock bags when I am packing Dennis' lunch each day. Just bad habits that I didn't know were harmful till just recently.

The pain has become worse lately and more often.

Last Saturday we went to the Bone Store trying to look for a solution...trying to find some mechanism to wear perhaps at night on my right hand so I can't curl it up in a fist when I am sleeping. I told the lady there, "I have a problem you have never heard before." She looked at me like she was thinking, 'yeah right'. Then I told her what it was. I don't know why she thought it was funny but I could tell she was trying not to laugh.

She said she had nothing to help me. I asked if they have splints for broken fingers....maybe something like that would help me to keep my hand straight at night. She said no, I would need to go to a drug store for that.

So this is what we came up with:

That is scotch tape all around my fingers.
(so I can't make a fist in my sleep)
So who would have ever thought that by wearing this, my tooth might get better. Otherwise my dentist is going to send me to a nerve specialist. I didn't know they had those.

I probably won't get many comments from this's not like you are going to write and say, oh I have that problem too....but if you can think of any solution at all that I might try, would you please let me know? I wonder if hypno-therapy would work.

The more I think about this, I have probably been doing this all my life.
Probably since the womb.

Why I am putting this on my blog?
Just on the outside chance someone has any advice for me.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Elora's special day

Elora was chosen as Sparthenian from her 1st grade class.

A few moments before this picture was taken, her little friend Katelyn was crying because she didn't get an award. I saw Elora put her arms around her. I couldn't hear (from where I was sitting) what Elora was saying to Katelyn but I could tell she was consoling her. Elora kept patting her back in such a loving way.
You can tell Katelyn has still not quite recovered from her tears.

Proud Mommy and Elora
I filmed the remarks Elora's teacher made about her, but the audio did not come out very well. So instead, I have printed out her teacher's words. I did this so not only will Elora have record of it later, but her Grandpa Dale and Grandpa Dennis, who were out of town today, can read it:

"Elora was a very easy choice this quarter. She has all O's on her report card. She excelled in every area academically. She mastered the DRA level 16 reading test the first time she took it. She received her reading medal that she's wearing it now, for the first quarter, which is quite an achievement. This is a goal for the end of first grade so we're very proud of her. She's such a good friend and a good helper in class. Always willing to help, anybody, even her teachers, which makes them very proud.

She has such a kind heart. She has a lot of friends. Everybody enjoys being around Elora. She told me that she loves to do centers in class and that her favorite thing is reading. She also said when she grows up she wants to be a magician. So I think that assembly had something to do with that. It will be fun later on to see if she shares some magic tricks.
I am proud to present Miss Elora."

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Lots of family time

Sorry for the long post again, but...

It's been a great couple days.

First we got to have my brother Richard from Alpine, Utah come stay with us for a few days. There is just something nice about having my brother sleep under the same roof as me after all these years.

We use to share a room growing up and we'd practice our spelling words out loud, and then he would tell me to turn off the light so we could go to sleep. And I would say to him, "He who wants the nut must crack the shell." I think I saw that in some book I was reading.
Then I would lie in bed and listen to him crack all his knuckles. Yep, I'd go to sleep listening to the pop, pop, pop.

I wanted to take a picture of Richard sleeping like I do my smaller guests, but I decided to settle on this picture of him watching the BYU game with Den, Mondel, and my Dad.

Dad, Richard, Dennis, Mondel
Our furniture has still not arrived so we have a menagerie
of chairs we took from other parts of our house.

Saturday night Richard took us out for a great Chinese dinner. I hadn't eaten Chinese food in nearly 5 years and had forgotten how wonderful it can be. Thank you Richard!

And there's more...
Yesterday morning my cousin Kathy, from Bakersfield came to see me. This was such a treat. We literally talked for hours, mostly reminisced about our childhoods together. She grew up down the block from Beverly Hills High, (home of 90210). I was fascinated by her neighborhood. It seemed we were surrounded by movie stars. Richard and I would take the Continental Bus from Fresno to her Beverly Hills and spend the week at times with Kathy and her sister Nonie, and our Aunt Hegge.

I learned a few things from Kathy yesterday. Her mom didn't have her own bedroom when they were growing up. Strange to think now, but I never even noticed that as a child. Kathy said she slept every night on a pull down bed in the living room. Raising her daughters as a single mom, she opted for the less expensive 1 bedroom apartment so they could be in a better school district for her girls. What a testament of a mother's love.

Kathy and I went out to lunch with my dad, Susan, my sister Robin and her daughter Brooke.
My niece Brooke, my sister Robin, and my cousin Kathy.
Please come back again Kathy!! It was a great day!

WAIT, there's still more.

Then last night we had a family potluck at my brother Scott and Kim's house.
Kate, Laurynn, McKenzie, Macie, Tess, and Kylie
Good food
We never coordinate our food but it always seems to work out.

My beautiful nieces, Lauren, Brooke, and Samantha
Amy and the twins at 16 weeks
How do you like Logan's beard?
Amy doesn't.
My sister in law not only invited us all over for the potluck,
but her and my Dad's wife Susan gave us a lesson on Handel's Messiah.
Kim also made us our own CD to take home.
Wasn't that so thoughtful of her!

We missed everyone who could not make it!