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The Bug Zapper

Den may look like he's just waiting for our carpets to dry, but no, he's waiting for a fly to come by.

I gave Den that electric bug zapper for Christmas. He really likes it. So much that a few weeks ago he put it so safely away from the grandkids, that he forgot where it was. 

Finally he found it today, and he's determined to get this fly he saw earlier today. 

So he's there just waiting. He says it works instantly. 

What is it about men and killing bugs? Have you ever seen of a female exterminator? I haven't. 

Btw, if you are looking for a good local carpet cleaning company, we found one! 

Some things I didn't know about my Mom

I learned a few things about my Mom last Friday that surprised me!

While I was growing, unfortunately for us, Mom talked very little about herself, but she did often mention her best friend Betty. 

I knew that growing up they would often wear matching clothes, 
but in different colors. 

They actually met in middle school, probably around 1942. They stayed close through Roosevelt High and then through college too. 
Mom on left, Betty on right

They still stayed close as young marrieds, but soon Betty had 2 children, and Mom had just the logistics of that kept them from gathering often. 

But they did meet for lunch occasionally through the years, 
and they went to their school reunions together. 

Since Mom died I have kept touch with Betty a little here and there, and even more so since my Dad died last February. 

Last Friday, Den and I went to see Betty. 

Her husband Marvin built this house in 1958 and they had lived there ever since. (Marvin passed away in 2016.)

Betty will be 90 this year, just as my Mom would be too. 

She had one story after another to tell us about Mom. I thought her stories would be about how quiet and predictable Mom was, just as we knew her to be.

Betty's stories didn't match up with that however. 

For example, while in high school, Betty said she and my Mom hid in a Pepsi truck just so they could get into the football game free. 

I asked, "But why a Pepsi truck?" Betty explained, "Well we knew the Pepsi truck would be at the game..."  

I said at this point, "But my Mom was rather shy. This must have been your idea?"

She said she wasn't sure whose idea it was but they were both always thinking of things like that to do. And Betty looked at me a little funny when I mentioned my Mom being shy.

Betty and Mom were very curious about the big homes on Huntington Blvd. They were trying to figure out a way to see inside some of those homes. So they would go up to each house, ring the bell, and then just stand there looking inside. Then they would say they had the wrong house, and go to the next one. 

Betty said she was only mad at Mom once, and that was on her wedding day. Mom had taken scotch tape and nail polish and sealed all their car doors shut so Betty and Marvin couldn't make their honeymoon get away!

Betty showed me a magazine rack she still uses everyday. 

She said, "Your parents made this for us. And then they taught us how to make one for them!" 

There was this pause as I was trying to absorb what she just said. 

My parents made something?? I must have heard that wrong. Hands down, my Mom especially, did not like doing any crafts of any kind. 

So I said, "Tell me again who made this magazine rack."

"Your parents!"

Another pause.

Then Betty says, "You had one just like it in your home growing up. Didn't you ever see it?" 

(Not that I could recall.) 

This was even more shocking to me than the Pepsi truck story!

So I guess people do grow up and change. 
Amazing what marriage and parenthood can do to a person. 

Before we left that afternoon Betty asked me, 
"Was she a good Mom?"
I said, "Oh yes. Yes she was."
And her reply: "I knew she would be." 

And as a side note...about that day Betty and Marvin got married back in 1949...So they finally were able to break through the glued doors and get into their car and head off to their honeymoon. 

But just 2 hours later their car broke down just south of Bakersfield and they took it to Mettlers to get it fixed. The mechanic there said he wouldn't have the part he needed until morning. So he let them spend the night in a little room above the shop until the next day. 

Not everyone can say they spent their wedding night at the auto repair shop.

A discussion at church

Recently at church in our Relief Society meeting (which is the gathering of our women) we had a wonderful lesson on how to build a spiritual fortress for our family. 

Or in other words: 
how to have a loving home, 
a haven from the outside world, 
a "safe place to fall", 
a Christ centered home. 

Our "lessons" are more like a discussion. Such a great exchange of ideas and feelings. 

So from our latest "discussion" I made a list of what some had to say about "building a spiritual fortress in their home": 

1. One woman of small children says she keeps a journal that she writes in about every month ("or once a year," as she laughs) about the attributes of each of her children so they can look back on them later, and maybe even in their teenage years when they are no longer talking to her. (She's a young mom, she will find out teenage years are not usually so bad.)

2. A mom of 4 says she prays to keep out the evil in their home and then she notices she welcomes it in when the TV is on with a bad program. (this is a very honest group)

3. Someone mentioned that "music can calm the spirit quicker than anything else." 

4. One woman mentioned how much the weekly Come Follow Me Program is helping their family. 

5. One woman raised her hand quickly and said, "We all need solace."

6. One said to "make sure we teach our children and don't just assume they know things." (This reminds me of the saying I heard years ago that we not only need to practice what we preach, we also need to preach what we practice.)

7. "We should have open communication in our home about everything and anything."

8. "Be interested in what our children are all about."

9. "Tell your family often that you love them so they will want to be in your family fortress, and not on the outside of it." (I think this was one of my favorites!)

10. "Remember the miracle of God is he can make our difficulties into our strengths."

11. One woman mentioned that she heard from another mom in the ward (who was not present that day) that she teaches her children to serve each other. A few moms said, "I want to know what she means by that. How does she do that?"

12. "Hard times we go through as a family can make us strong."

13. And this one's mine: I was listening to a talk show recently and the commentator was saying that parents are not teaching their kids values any more. She said, "When the hall monitors have left their posts, we're big trouble!" 

Back to The Home

We went back to this place 2 1/2 weeks ago.

My Dad and Susan lived here from 2012 to 2014.
It was called Yosemite Gardens back then, now it's Solstice.

While they lived there, I made a few friends, 
but only one of them, Annette, is still there.

And I call her now and then.

I heard on the news they had a fire and evacuation one evening 
so I called Annette the next day to see if she was okay. 

She said she was terrible. Not from the fire, but because she was diagnosed with a horrible cancer.

The day before she was due to go to Santa Clara for a major cancer surgery, we went to see her. 

After we arrived, I couldn't remember which room was hers, 
only that was on the 3rd floor.
As we went down those familiar hallways....

We soon spotted this door, 
Den announced, "We've arrived. This has got to be her door."

And it was!

We had such a nice chat together.

On our way out we noticed how much the place has changed.

They now have a check in desk. Progress? Not so sure.

And the lovely dining room has lost it's previous look 
which Annette misses.

This is what it looked like when my Dad and Susan were there.

And now...
 One thing we can always count on, is change.

After calling several places over the span of many days, 
finally this morning I found what rehab Annette is in.

And I learned she's recovering well!
I'll sleep better tonight. 

About a Mom who is trying to get the word out.

These stories just keep sadly coming every year.

This time it's from a Mom who didn't know the stats on childhood drownings. She didn't know how quickly it can happen. 

She wished she had known more. 
She so wished someone would have told her!

But even I, who is far far from being a new Mom...even I hadn't realized drownings are THE number ONE cause of death for ages 1-4. 

And, the number TWO cause of death ages 1-14. 

Did you know that?

This is the story I'm referring to:
Last Summer My Son Drowned and here's what I want you to know about it.

Heart breaking, most definitely. But she wants to get the word out. Please read it.

It's all about saving children, because like she says, these deaths are 100% preventable. 

I've been on this subject here before:

Oh, the baby shower.

The Very Sad Part of Summer.

The Italian Dressing Challenge

Our family (minus Dennis) has this thing about Italian Dressing. 

Most of us crave it on our salads, but it's very hard to find one we like, unless we make it ourselves which is not always convenient.

So Logan stopped by yesterday 
to not only wish Dennis a Happy Father's Day...

but to give us the results of his Italian dressing challenge. 

I hadn't even realized he was doing a challenge, 
but I was interested.

So he explained he went to Walmart about once a month and each time came home with a different Italian Dressing....
until he had tried every brand they sold. 

One by one he would try them for about a month each 
(or however long it took to finish off that bottle). 

Obviously this study took him several months to complete. 

But he said it came down to not one, 
but TWO winners, and here they are:

So there you have it!

(Logan said he judged the dressings mainly by taste
but also if it had oil in it and not so much sugar...
in other words it sounds like he stayed away from lite versions.)

Sweet perfection

We got to take care of Cami a few evenings ago. 

She comes right in and sits with her legs crossed, 
politely waiting for whatever is on our agenda.

But it was not long before she decided to make herself 
completely at home.

Oh Cami, we are all better people for having you in our family.

Everyone loves you. And you love everyone.

You cry if you are very sad. 
Or if someone you are attached to leaves for a bit. 

You get upset if you are hungry, or if you are in pain.

But you have no guile, no bad feelings about anyone, ever.

You are incapable of doing anything wrong. 

You have never hurt anyone's feelings. 
You are incapable of doing so.

I find myself wondering who you are inside, 
or what did you do to come to earth so perfect. 

Teaching Your Children Values

I ran into this video a few days ago on Instagram....It's about 1/2 an Oprah program way back in 1993.

Richard and Linda Eyre were on that day with 6 of their 9 children, promoting their book Teaching Your Children Values. 

After this program aired, their book sold out in bookstores all across America. (back then, bookstores were about our only source for new books.) 

It soared to Number 1 in the Best Sellers List....first time a parenting book had made it to the top of that list in 50 years.

My neighbor and I would sometimes watch Oprah together while our kids played....and I remember seeing this episode 26 years ago!

I find it sadly interesting, how a few children in the audience answered some of these questions about honesty. If you don't want to watch the beginning....just go to 55 seconds.

I've heard the book is still available but now they have something that helps even better, they claim.
They've developed a series of audio adventures that teach these same 12 values. But the kids can listen to them on their own in a fun way.

You can check it out at values You will see Alexander's Amazing Adventures at the top that webpage. Click on that, and you can listen to one of them for free.

I'm glad the Eyres are still around!
Their books and activities helped me much with my kids back in the day.

She went from 3 boxes to this!

So one day I get this call from our 9 year old granddaughter asking if we have any boxes she could have. 

I said, "Sure come on over." 

I found 3... 

and she said she would take them all.

She said something about doing a project with boxes she saw on youtube. 

A few days later we were at her house, when Téa casually mentioned she finished her project, and would we like to see it.

I asked Den to get this camera out, not knowing what to expect. Unfortunately filming is not his strong point because he mostly left Téa's head off.

However, what she made is so sweet I wanted to show this anyway....

Last Sunday at church

I sometimes wonder what church is like in different religions. 
I've been to many in the past, but not recently.

I'll give you a bit of an idea how church went for us last Sunday. 

We don't have paid ministry at our church. And once a month, we all have the opportunity, if we choose, to share our beliefs or testimonies. 

So last Sunday I took some notes and here they are....
Not exact words, unless I will put them in quotes. 
And I leave much out...this is just a small glimpse. 

I'm only identifying the speakers by initials.

MM: He said he was so glad to see all of us and that he loves us. 
He has found no happiness greater than living the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

TS: She is grateful for the knowledge she has of Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost.
Families are given to us for a purpose. She is grateful for the impact each family member has been on her life.

NG: She announced this would be their family's last Sunday in our ward. 
The past 5 1/2 years she has appreciated the people in this ward so much!
She said they have had a string of people caring about them since they moved in, right down to helping them move out. She thanked everyone for getting to know their children, serving them, loving them, and spending time with them. 
She loves how the church organization helps us get together which helps us to help each other.
She ended with, "It's really hard to leave you guys." 

Grandpa K (his first day in our ward so I don't know him yet, but he looks like a Grandpa)
He is so grateful for the plan of salvation.
"People who don't want kids don't know what they are missing."
"It's wonderful to be a member of this church."
He is so grateful for the Lord's guidance.

LC (age 8)
"I am thankful to come to this church today."
"I know the Book of Mormon is true."

KS:  He tells about one night recently he was out late at night. It was dark and rainy. He was prompted to look to his right. He saw a man in the dark pushing a grocery cart. He stopped and asked the man if he needed anything. He ended up spending an hour with this lonely homeless man. Before he left the man said, "You are an angel sent to me. I think God loves me."

AB: He is thankful for seminary teachers who get up early each morning to teach him about the gospel and help him get closer to the Lord. (seminary: a religion class teenagers attend each morning prior to school)

SW, one of our missionaries: She said that some people just don't know God loves them. How sad is that, she said. She once heard from someone who knows President Nelson, who asked him, "If you could tell man only one thing what would it be?" President Nelson answered, "God loves him."

DC: Before his mission he said he always knew the church was true, but he didn't know the POWER of God until he was on his mission. 
God speaks to our prophet, and if we follow him, we will be happy.

Then he recited the words to this song:

"My life is a gift; my life has a plan,
My life has a purpose, in heaven it began.
My choice was to come to this lovely home on earth
And seek God's light to direct me from birth.
I will follow God's plan for me,
Holding fast to His word and His love.
I will work, and I will pray;
I will always walk in His way
Then I will be happy on earth
And in my home above."

Should you not be familiar with this song that means so much to him, here it is:

Hurray for Aldi!

Yesterday on the way home from the dentist....

I spotted this......

For you locals, it's going in at the corner of Herndon and Fowler.

I was SO happy to see this!

I have friends back east who rave about Aldi. I've heard about it for years but never thought we'd get one here.

I'm passionate about grocery stores anyway. I love them all, even the ones I don't like. When we travel through towns that's what I first look for...a grocery store.

Aldis will be fun to learn and explore. 

So I've been reading up about it and this is what I know so far:
* They pay their employees more than other grocery stores, but hire less.
*You have to pay a quarter to release the bar to get a cart but you get your quarter back when you check out. (this is suppose to cut down on stolen carts)
*90% of their products are their own. I'm excited about this because it means we will get to explore new products. Reminds me of Trader Joes. Which by the way, Albi's is in someway related to Traders.
*They are known for their low prices, and supposedly beat out Walmart.
*You bag your own groceries.
*The store is smaller than other grocery stores (again, similar to Traders.)
*There are bar codes all over their items, not just in one place, making check out faster. 

Albis is going in where the old Fresh and Easy use to be, where we had so many memories! ...Plus they are building on to that. 

I also heard our old Toys R Us will soon be a Hobby Lobby...but I can't find anything to verify, so I'm still holding my breath on that one. 

Update: Den just found this in our Fresno Bee from May 22:

Hobby Lobby is coming to Clovis.
The popular craft and home retailer confirmed Thursday that it has signed a lease to move into the former Toys R Us at 1425 Shaw Ave. near Sunnyside Avenue.
It is planning on an August 2019 opening.
At 45,771 square feet, the store will be a little smaller than the existing Hobby Lobby in Fresno.

Read more here:

I could feel it..

So Den and I had our yogurt and vegetables piled in our cart at Sprouts, and we were ready to check out. Two lines to choose from. 

Den veered our cart towards the shorter line at first, but I said, "Hey, can we go in this other line instead? I want to watch this family." 

A woman at the front of the line, with long blonde hair, had with her, 4 adorable children of various races. 

I watched as the oldest little girl, about 6, pointing to something in the cart asked,  "Mommy can I drink this when we get home?" 

And another asked, "Mommy can I have a sticker?" 

So I guess rather than foster children, they were hers. Adopted maybe, but hers. 

I could tell by watching the Mom interact with her kids that she genuinely enjoyed them. And she looked so happy! They all did.

It was just all so endearing, I could hardly take my eyes off them. I wanted to say something to this Mom but all I could get out was, "Your children are all just so....uh, so sweet, and so cute!"

The Mom with a big smile on her face said, "God does such a better job of planning our families." 

She puts her arms around the oldest girl and says, "We got her 6 years ago from China." 

...and then points to the boy and girl playing hand games, "And we've had these two from Haiti for 2 years" .

..and then to the baby in the front of the cart, "We just got him from China 6 months ago. But it's like they have all been with us forever."

This little family was soon on their way home, while Den and I were then checking out. I was still feeling something about that sweet family and had to verbalize it to someone so I turned to the store clerk ringing up our groceries, "Wasn't that such a precious family! Aren't families the best!"

The clerk lady said nothing, but the lady waiting with her cart behind me responded, "I know that family. They live next door to us and they are an absolute wonderful family! They have 3 older biological children, and then they adopted these 4." 

The awe I was feeling must have shown in my eyes, because that neighbor lady of the family, still behind us, just kept looking at me and saying, "I know. I know." 

We can't all adopt needy children, I realize that, but do you ever feel better just for having been in someone's presence you don't even know? Yes, that's how it was in Sprouts that day. That woman with the 4 children, was filled with goodness, and does not every good thing come from God? I think so! 

The Juice Story

I'm a big fan of Gretchen Rubin...and here is one of her favorite stories from one of her favorite parenting books. 

I think this is worth the 4 1/2 minute listen. 

The Juice Story 

What would you do if you had one more day?

This video drew me in, so I had to share it here.

I like what the older woman said best! (the first older woman)

Dennis' Sad Barber Story

Dennis asked recently if I'd heard anymore about those tests to see if a person is immune to COVID.  I said, "No, why do you ask?&...