Sunday, April 29, 2012

Story@home Conf


 On March 9th and 10th I went to a Story@home Conference with Connie in Salt Lake City.  Connie actually ran a contest on her blog and I was lucky enough to win a ticket.  It was a really nice conference with wonderful speakers.
 Since blogging is one way to tell a story there were lots of bloggers there.  Here is a group of us that were all Connie's friends.  I had fun meeting them.
 Little Grady, who is now with his Heavenly Father, was at the conference with his Mommy and Grandma.  What a sweet little baby.  We all joked about him holding a bag of chips already.  Little did we know how short his days here would be. I still think about him all the time and pray for his dear family.  Just a few short weeks after that the granddaughter of the gal next to me in the above photo was born and died the same day.  We just never know how long we have on this earth.  Thank goodness for the Plan of Salvation.  Thank goodness that Heavenly Father planned for us to be able to live for ever and for families to be forever.  I am so thankful for Jesus Christ and for His atoning sacrifice.  I am so thankful for a gospel of love and hope.
 Connie and I went to dinner and I had this yummy salad and soup.  It's been so long ago that now I can't even remember what kind of soup it was.

 The Joseph Smith building at Temple Square is so ornate and so beautiful.
 This gal was so funny.  She was my favorite speaker.  I thought for sure I would remember her name, but alas, I have forgotten it too.
One story she told was from her childhood.  They were quite poor and didn't have much money, but about once a month or so they would give the 3 children a handful of pennies and sent them to the store to buy candy.  The 3 children, including the storyteller, linked arms and walked to the store discussing all the candy that was there, what kind would they buy, how it would taste, etc.  When they got to the store it took quite a while for the selection to be made.  Finally, they would select all the candy, pay for it, and then they would slowly walk home eating the candy, savoring each little bite, tasting each other's candy, and enjoying the afternoon.  She said when they got home the Dad was always whistling on the porch and the Mother was always singing.  As they got older, they wondered why the parents were always so happy on the penny candy days.  Then when she was an older teen she finally got it:  "Oh, no wonder they were happy.  They had those few hours all to themselves while all the kids were gone."  And so, she wrote a song dedicated to her parents called "Penny Candy Love".
She had lots of other fun stories to share.
children 
 Here we are with her and another group of bloggers.  The pretty girl on the right end is one of Connie's other daughters.
 The purpose of the conference was to encourage everyone to "write their stories".  Each of us has a story or stories to tell.  Each story is important to your family and to your posterity.  Each story is of great value.  And so each of us needs to begin recording our stories.  I plan to start recording some of my stories too in upcoming blogs.

 A photo of carpet in one of the chapels.


Saturday, April 21, 2012

THE MOST EXCITING NEWS

Can you guess what it is?   YES!  This cute couple is having another baby.  I am so excited for A and A.  They have been wanting a baby for such a long while.  And now, the greatest news ever.  They will have a baby in mid October.  YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is the cute way they announced it.  They went to a family dinner and they were the cooks.  This is the menu:  Baby back ribs with sweet baby ray, babybel cheese, baby zucchini, baby potatoes, baby onions with baby carrots, salad with baby corn and baby tomatoes.  For dessert they had baby cupcakes topped with baby kiwis.  Do you see a theme here?  I thinks it's such a cute way to introduce their news.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Natacha

 One of our best JA's from France came to the USA for a visit.  We were lucky enough to have her come and stay with us for several days.  We sure enjoyed her.  She is a darling girl and comfortable everywhere.  Everyone really likes her and it is just fun to have her around.  All of my little grandkids were crazy about her.  She was so sweet and friendly to them and she also speaks perfect English.  We decided to have a get together on Saturday night with some of the returned missionaries that she is friends with.  Natacha, John, and I spent several hours making crepes.  We had 3 pans going.  She also made Bechamel sauce, which I have got to learn to make the  authentic way.  She does it perfectly.  The others brought food too and we sure had a good time getting together again.
I was glad that Sierra came too, but she didn't have much chance to socialize because these 3 young men monopolized her time.    Andrew, S, Greg and Kenny.
                                                                     Brady
                 Logan, Soeur Christensen ( but now she's married), Brooke, Camille and her boyfriend.
                                                      Natacha and Abbey
                                           Courtney
                                           Jacob who has been home only a couple of months.



 There were a few others, but I didn't get their picture.  Anyway, we had a great time.  It's so much fun to see these young people, returned missionaries, doing so well.  It's wonderful to find out what they're studying, what jobs they are working at meanwhile, what profession they want to have when they finish school, and how they're doing in general.  Several of them are teaching at the MTC.  Some are going to BYU.  Others are attending UVU.  Some are in Utah. Others are other places.  It's great to keep up with their lives.
                                We always have to have a silly picture just like in the mission.


Thursday, April 19, 2012

What Have We Been Doing This Week?

 We arrived home from Oregon late Sunday night or rather Monday morning about 1:30 a.m.  We dropped off A and Y and baby Reggie who was the best traveler ever.  He never cried the entire 14 hr plus trip.  He did get tired, but he was a real trooper.  He was smiling and happy all day long.  We did get out a couple of times to let him stretch his legs, but our stops were never very long.  In fact, we all had to stop to take little breaks.  Sierra had been watching Val and Ryan's kids for the weekend. They are on a cruise for their 15th Wedding Anniversary.  I hope they're having a wonderful time.
Our job this week is to take care of the kids.  They are doing amazingly well.  Monday J and I made the above shredded wheat nests for FHE treat.  She did all of the work.  I was just the helper.
 Everyone participated and behaved very well for the evening.
 J set up the table and the room and got everything just right.
 M liked wearing Papa's glasses.  She also performed for us.  What a great little dancer and gymnast she is.
 The boys showed us their muscles.
 M conducted FHE.
 J was Papa's assistant and asked the questions and gave out cookies if the answer was correct.
 The kids were very attentive and everyone participated.

 Papa gave a great lesson.
V left a daily sheet for me of all the activities we had to do with the kids.  Thursday's list is above.  Each day was very, very busy.  I don't know how she gets everything done everyday.  On top of that her home is always immaculate and her meals are delicious.  I'm already a little tired and it's only Thursday, but I am really enjoying this time with the kids.  I think I'm tired today because I have a sore throat.  Hope no one else gets it.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Our Firstborn

Happy Birthday to our darling Lana.  I can't believe she is a Mother and a Grandmother.  She's still my sweet girl.  I remember so vividly the day she was born.  I had wanted to be a Mommy forever and I especially wanted her to be a little girl.  We had been married for almost 3 years and John was going to school while I was teaching.  Finally he was getting his B.S. and we were expecting a baby.  We hadn't thought ahead that he would have to continue on and get his M.A. and teaching credential and I would have to continue working.  Nevertheless we were thrilled and beyond excited to be having a baby.
I was fortunate enough to have not one, not two, but three baby showers.  One was given by my two cousins; Nyucia and Helen.  Another was given by my friend Natalie T.  It was supposed to be a surprise shower, but I knew and had to act surprised.  The third was given by some of the teachers at school for one of the other teachers, Bonnie Simmons, and me.  All of the showers were extremely nice and we got everything we needed and more.
At the time we were living in a tiny house by the beach in San Francisco.  My Dad and John put up some cute wallpaper on one of the walls in her bedroom and I used wrapping paper from the presents I got to line her dresser drawers.   She did have to share her room with her Daddy because it was his office before that.
Well 3 weeks before her due date I woke up at night with contractions that were coming quite regularly 5 minutes apart.  I wasn't in much pain and didn't know if I was really in labor.  I didn't think we needed to leave for the hospital, but John said he didn't care if it real labor or not.  We were leaving.  We left about one in the morning.  As we were checking in at the hospital, I turned to John and said that we really needed to have a name for this baby.  We had been unable to decide up to that point.  "If it's a girl, lets call her Lana,"  I said.  John agreed and we then decided to call her Lana Marie.  "What if it's a boy?" I asked.  "Let's hope it's a girl." was John's answer.  We were blessed with a sweet, little girl weighing only 6 lbs 2 ozs and 19 inches long born at 5:49 a.m.  I had always "known" that I would always recognize my own baby.  What mother wouldn't?  And yet, when I first was wheeled to the nursery window only hours after she was born, I didn't know which baby was mine.  That night there was an unusual high number of babies born, 18 or 19 and I just didn't know which one was mine.  That was kinda sad for me.  We had to read the name tags to find our own baby.
I still remember how totally thrilled I was to finally be a Mom and to have my very own little baby.  Of course, she was and still is very beautiful.
Throughout all of these years, I have been so blessed to have Lana for my daughter.  She was a wonderful little girl and young woman and is a now a very great and wonderful woman.  She is very bright and kind.  She is always calm and in control.  She is gifted in many ways.  She is a wonderful, patient, loving mother herself and now a grandmother too.  I am so grateful that Heavenly Father sent her to me to be her Mom.  I love her with all my heart and I am soooooo grateful that I can be with her forever.  Happy Birthday my dear girl.  Sending you lots of hugs and kisses.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Quick Trip to Oregon

 We came home from Maryland on Wednesday afternoon after getting up at 4:00 in the morning and leaving before the sun came out for the airport.  We had time to do a little laundry and get ready to leave the next morning for Oregon.  We got up at the crack of dawn again and drove for 14 hours with Andrea, Yoho and little Reggie.  The baby was so good in the car.  I couldn't believe it.  What a great little traveler.  There was no crying or fussing at all.    This is what we drove through in Lassen Forest.
 As we drove the snow got heavier and heavier.  I was so glad I was not the driver.
 John's brother and sister and their spouses from France came for a final visit with Marie Jeanne their sister who is now living in Oregon and not doing well at all.  John really wanted to see them, but we were supposed to start babysitting for Val's children on Friday while they went on  a cruise.  Luckily, Sierra babysat for us for the week-end so we could go for a very, very quick trip.   Sadly, oh so sadly Marie Jeanne's mind is just about gone.  She does not even remember her own children.  Physically she is doing pretty well although she cannot walk too much, but mentally, no.  Alzheimer's is such a horrible thing.  A person just becomes reduced to nothing.  It was especially sad to see such a vibrant, active, independent woman become totally dependent on others.  It was, however, so wonderful and heartwarming to witness how kind and caring all of her children and their spouses are to her.  They are so sweet and take such good care of her.  What a tribute to them to be so patient and loving with their Mother and Mother-in- law.  That entire family of 3 sons and 1 daughter and each one of their spouses are a true example of Christlike behavior.  If only the world, in general, would follow such a fine example.  I was humbled at how sweet and willing they all are to do EVERYTHING for her.

In fact all 3 brothers and sister and the Mom and Dad live very close to each other  and a few in adjoining houses.  They all work in their law firm together.  The boys all have lunch together, they play together and all of them even vacation together.  They are all more concerned about the others than themselves.  If a baby cries or a kid needs help, whoever is nearby helps them or picks them up and the baby just cuddles right in. They serve each other naturally  all the time. This family is truly living the law of consecration.  It is just amazing and wonderful.
 Allison and Tiff were both away and Suzanne was taking care of these adorable littles.  I totally loved these sweet babies.  They were so good too.



 We stayed at Allison's beautiful home.  It's so pretty that I took some photos to remember how cute she has it decorated.
 This little guy is now my buddy.  He let me hold him so much and cuddled and smiled all the time. (Except for the picture).  Ha





 What a great backyard.  This is only 1/2 of it.


 Baby Joneaux and his parents got to come up from San Diego.  I was sooooooo happy to see them.


Joneaux had a (funny to us) incident.  Some of the people went fishing at a little pond and there were animals there too at the farm.  Joneaux was walking with Andrea.  A big Emu was walking behind them and then Anna was behind them.  Joneaux turned around and saw his Mommy.  Of course he wanted to run to her, which he did.  As he passed the Emu, it hissed and went after him.  He was so scared that he took off running right for the pond.  Andrea dropped her bag and took off after him catching him just before he hit the water.  After that he said many times for the rest of the day, " A big Emu tried to eat me.  I am NOT a snack."

 Joneaux is so cute.  He put on a little show for everyone.  He is only 2, but he can already count to 30, knows many of the alphabet letters and their sounds, knows all of the colors, and he sings so many little songs.  It is really fun to hear him.  What a sweetie.  He also knows his shapes and can draw lots of them.  It was so funny.  He was drawing circles.  He wanted to draw an oval and and accidentally didn't do it well.  "Oh no. That's not an oval. That's a circle," he said with a frown on his face.




 Anna and Ama brought some yummy cheese for all to have.


 Here are Beber and Mado.  She is 83, but oh my goodness, she is a lively little thing.  We call her the little gazelle.  When we were in France we went on a trip up a Mt where people where sky diving.  She was jumping around from rock to rock.  She is just a little power house.
 Here's M.J.












 I went on a little outing with Andrea and Yoho.  First we went to the Rogue River Creamery where we got to sample lots of cheeses.

 The shop is small, but the cheeses are huge in taste.  I bought some yummy cheeses including a piece of Rogue River Blue, which has been the winning blue cheese for 5 years in a row.  It is aged 1year.  I also bought a cheese that is aged 2 years.  Andrea got a Jalapeno Cheese and a Camembert.


 Then we went to this fabulous store called Harry and David's.  It has the best foods.  They have great salespeople too, so we got to sample stuff and then, of course, we wanted to buy it.  I got some delicious chocolate covered cherries, some salsas, some mustards, and other goodies.

On the way back we stopped at the Medford Oregon Temple in Central Point, which is the smallest temple I've seen so far.   It is very beautiful, but very tiny.

















 Sweet kisses for Mommy.




 The siblings.

 Damian and Sarah live in the adjoining house.
 The last evening there, some of us went to TinTin, a Chinese buffet.

Our trip was only 4 days.  Two days of traveling and two days of visiting went by too quickly.  We got up on Sunday and drove home arriving at Valerie's to relieve Sierra and start our babysitting for the week at 1:30 a.m.  It was a long, long drive, but once again Reggie was well behaved.  We don't usually like to travel on a Sunday,  especially because we had to miss church, but it was the only way we could make the trip.