Sunday, August 31, 2008

Thank You, Home Teacher!!

I know it may sometimes seem to the men who visit their home teaching families that they are just doing a small duty...nothing that special. They visit month after month, visiting, sharing a message, and really not knowing if they make a difference. Well, to our home teacher, Brother Ken Humphreys, you most certainly DO make a difference. He always comes with a message, and the message really is just what our family needs at the time. He tells us about the temple and the joy he feels in serving there. He shares a prayer with us at the end of the visit, blessing our family.
Sounds just like a typical home teacher visit...right? Well, it is, though they are never typical, and today, it was cherished. I have been analyzing why I am dreading the trip Dee has to take, and what would make me feel more calm about it. I came to the conclusion that I was mainly worried that 1)Dee would be safe and 2) we would be able to get by with the long time of non-communication and that all will be fine here until he returns. I had shared this with no one... only Heavenly Father. Our visit today was great... a truly needed message, a fun gift, and the prayer...oh the prayer he offered. He asked to bless Dee while he was away with health and safety, and that all would be well here while he was gone. My heart was calmed as I had witnessed to me that my Father in Heaven is aware of my needs, and my home teacher is truly inspired. Thank you, Brother Humphreys, for listening to the Spirit, and for bringing to our family just exactly what we needed!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Party On!

Here I am...sitting at a computer on a Saturday night...feeling quite sorry for myself. It's my Gracie's second birthday. Daddy has just gotten home from work. They will eat dinner, then open presents, then put two big candles on that delicious cake my Allison bakes, and then that sweet little angel will make a wish and, with the help of her wonderful brother, blow out those candles, and I am here...wishing with all my heart that I was with them, hugging them, singing, and seeing her face when she opens those new dishes, pots and pans, and those pairs of princess dress up shoes. Poor Grammy...pity me! This is going to be a week full of pity parties, too! Dee leaves for India...two whole weeks! We have never been that far apart, or been apart for that long...I am dreading it. No phone call (two bucks a minute is simply out of the question, and it's hard to talk for only a minute), time difference (he'll be asleep while we're awake). Poor Suzzy... I guess it's time for something to take my mind off my troubles...and, pity me, there are no Crispy Mint M&M's to be found!

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Last "First Day"

I just returned from my chauffering duties...Nathan to seminary, then to North Pointe, and then I dropped of Kayty at the Institute to wait until her classes start at Glendale Community College. Today is her first day of college - though she has already taken all her math classes for graduation .She gave me permission to take a first day picture, right as we were to walk out the door. College first day is the last picture I take, school first day-wise. (It sure would have been "tricky" - as Adam puts it- for me to run up to NAU and take Allison's pic each year!) Boy, after so many first days, so many pictures, getting six kids ready and taking them to their various schools on the first day, and now Kayty is done with that...on to a new adventure, and I only have two more first days for Nathan (three if I can hog tie him and get a first day of college pic...he is not the most cooperative subject!)

My sweet grandson starts kindergarten tomorrow, so my oldest child begins her years of first day pictures. Enjoy it all, Allison. It all goes by too quickly!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Aren't Artists Simply Amazing

I received an email this morning, letting us know that the original artist of this painting added President Thomas S. Monson. It looks as if the place for him was always there. Isn't it amazing!

Friday, August 22, 2008

I Can't Believe....

Sometimes, the conversations between brother and sister grow kind of interesting. I will admit that, through the years, I thought I had heard it all...until now. I had just finished cutting Nathan's hair...he was covered with little pokey hair bits. I was sweeping up the floor, when I heard Kayty say to Nathan as he took of his shirt, "Don't make your boobs dance!!" (Apparantly Nathan flexes his muscles frequently, and Kayty has absolutely no appreciation for his efforts!) Go figure...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I Remember!

For quite a long time, I have watched with interest as my daughters/daughter in law sit engrossed in a book. I insisted that I just wasn't a reader and that reading really wasn't something I did for enjoyment. However, this Twilight Series really piqued my interest. So, since I was going to be in a car for four and a half hours going to Vegas, I brought "Twilight" along. I read while we drove there. I read when I woke up early and my grandbabies were still asleep. I read until the sun went down on the way home. I read during my morning snack. I can't put the books down. I finished "Twilight" yesterday, and I am already over halfway through "New Moon". Now, I remember why I don't read. It's that I just can't stop, once I begin. Now, I have gotten my daily work done (only thing left for today is mopping the kitchen floor). However, I do have 25 Christmas ornaments at the tracing stage, 50 more to begin, Kate's room to "pink camouflage". What am I going to do? I need to hide the rest of the books! No, that won't work, though it is a death-defying trek just to get near Kate's bookshelf!) I am a goner, at least until "Breaking Dawn" is finished. Then, no more books for me!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Weekend in Vegas

We just spent the most wonderful, entertaining, and exciting weekend in Vegas. Now, I suppose you are thinking we were there to experience the hotels, the shows, the bright lights of the strip. But, there is another far better attraction least for us: The Wilkins. Yes, we spent the weekend with Allison, Mike, Adam and Grace...and every moment was just a treasure! We got to see their lovely new apartment...Allison creates such a beautiful home! There are photos perfectly hung on the walls, the furniture is wonderful and comfortable (Dee just loved the couch!) and the bathroom was just gorgeous. I sure wish I had her eye for color when I was her age. We finally got to see where Mike works...and he does an exceptional job. He manages/trains/rehabilitates workers, and keeps housewares, toys, etc. looking so appealing for the buying public. I could see how well liked he is. He truly is a good man to work for.

The best part was to get to play with the two best grandbabies on the earth: Adam and Grace. I didn't realize just HOW MUCH I truly missed them until I saw them and grabbed sweet Adam in a big hug. They are just the most amazingly wonderful kids.

Adam... He is excited to start school next week...Kindergarten! It seems he was just a tiny baby. He and I played Legos (he purchased some kits to build various vehicles with the reward money for his good dental appointment and he can sit and follow those instructions step by step to complete the vehicles on his own! I was so amazed.) We played games, a little Transformers, more games, colored, more games (He helped with my math skills on one of them...he is great at math!) and he even endured my many mess ups during an xbox lego star wars game. (He kept telling me to change my guy to the same one he was... I saw the guy changing over and over, but it took me forever to figure out that I was pushing the button that changed the guy! He patiently endured my "hitting" him over and over, too.) He is just amazing to me!

Grace is full of sweetness and smiles and laughter. She lights up the room when she comes in. She loves books (we have now memorized "Kitty Up, Kitty Down, Kitty Square, Kitty Round")She loves her babies. She loves to help Mommy (she even helps unload the dishwasher and set the table!) She is kisses and hugs and everything a beautiful little blonde should be. She suffers no ill effects from her recent hospitalization, other than the effect one gets when everyone is trying to make sure nothing she touches can be aspirated! She loves dressing up in Mommy's old dance clothes and watching Papa squash flies with his bare hands. She lights up the days and nights with her sunshine!

You know, I have been to Las Vegas four times now. I have never ever seen "The Strip" lit up, but my heart is filled with joy and light, just by being at my "happiest place on earth". Thank you, Mike and Alli, for putting up with us for a couple of gave me so much! Our weekend in Vegas was unforgettable!!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Kids' Rule: Always Keep 'Em Guessing

I find it so interesting that, though in the real world, repetition brings mastery - play a song over and over, you master it... say a scripture over and over, you memorize it - in raising children, this is not what happens. We are on our fifth and sixth child now. I dare say we have made many, many mistakes as parents. For the most part, however, in spite of us, they have turned out to be amazingly wonderful adults. (Now, my little Morgan is not to be included yet...someday, he will figure it out!) And again, we are on our fifth and sixth...should be a piece of cake, right! Hold it...not so fast. Case in point: Nathan playing football. We are baseball people. Dad coached t-ball teams for all four boys. We played year around. We had our own pitching machine. I can even pitch a mean split finger fast ball (Now, Ethan, no comments. I did have speed. I just lacked accuracy!) Then, Nathan comes along and wants to be on the football team. I do know football, but getting your son ready to play comes with all different, pads, mouth guards (cannot be clear, must be colored so the refs can see you have them). Practices were twice a day before school started. And when you pick up a football player who has been practicing in 110 degree weather for three hours...well, let's just say, I dare not take Kate in the car at the same time. (She rarely keeps her opinions to herself.) Ethan played catcher for years...sweating behind all that catcher's gear...but never ever did he smell like this!! Oh, well, another learning experience for mom and dad. My guess is that the next three years on the North Pointe Prep Varsity Football team will make me an expert...or so I hope!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Miracles Get Equal Time

You know, we have a little miracle granddaughter...Grace. She is full of life and energy and always finds an adventure. But, we also have a truly miraculous grandson...Adam. When he was a newborn, he could not keep anything down. He would eat...and then spit up, or, rather, throw up. Allison was patient, but persistent. Doctors accused her of feeding him too much. Finally, they listened and he had surgery when he was just a few weeks old to relieve his pyloric stenosis. He woke up from that surgery hungry for food and for life, and he has never stopped. He is very smart, very practical, very logical, and yet very adventurous. When his little sister was having her recent troubles, he wanted to see the I.V. put in and was very disappointed that he couldn't watch the surgery! He loves books, playing games, his cooking class, basketball, swinging at Papa's, transformers, and has the best time when he gets to play xbox with Daddy. He does almost everything that his mommy and daddy say...and a clean room is something that just some times is not possible for a five year old boy (Danyel insists it is impossible for a 24 year old boy as well!) He tells the best jokes, and Grammy always cries when she has to leave him and go back home. Papa and Grammy are so thankful for our wonderful and special Adam!!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Willie Wonka Protege?

Sweet Doran has been painting Dad's Panel Truck...Tonight he painted the final coat on the frame. And now, as you can see by the soles of his feet, he is an official "Oompa Loompa"!

An Ordinary Miracle

I was looking at a friend of Allison's blog the other of a brand new baby...and the music playing: "It's not that unusual when everything is beautiful. It's just another ordinary miracle today." Our family received an ordinary miracle with our Gracie. I read Allison's account of our little granddaughter's surgical procedure to remove a foreign object from her lungs. The doctor got in the lung and saw a large mass...he thought it was a lung tumor and was wondering how to tell a mom of a 2 year old that her daughter had lung cancer. He was planning on speaking with an oncologist when he decided to scrape the mass for a biopsy, and then he saw the bits of peanut. The body had covered the nuts in an attempt to protect itself. The mass and nut bits were removed, and now our sweet little Gracie is home, ready to bless us all with her curiosity, her spunk, her determination, and that killer sweet smile. I am so very, very grateful for priesthood blessings of a loving Daddy (and super son-in-law!) good doctors, for medical treatments that can and do work, and for the prayers of family, friends, and even strangers. It is an ordinary miracle...but to a Grammy and is truly an extraordinary miracle!!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

We had planned on Dee taking a day off work today. He had a couple of '60 Ford trucks in Mesa he needed to look at for parts. I thought we could go to the temple, on our way (It was my first time this year... My goal in January said that I would go 8 times this year, so I have much to make up!). On our way, we would even stop at the cannery and get some rolled oats and cans to do on our own. Then I got this phone call from Allison. Gracie had been having some breathing problems. Allison had taken her to urgent care last Sunday, then treated her with all the medicine and treatments doctors prescribed. Still, Grace was waking up with breathing trouble every morning around 2:00 A.M. She took her in to the office on Monday, and they decided it might be asthma, like Allison has. Anyway, they got the nebulizer, meds, etc. but when they arrived home, the doctor called and said the xrays showed a foreign object in her lung...probably a peanut that she had choked on (this happened right before all the breathing trouble began). Zillions of phone calls begging doctors to see her later, now she is being put to sleep and having a bronchoscope put down to remove it.

Now, that you have all the background, my sweet mom has become our unofficial family temple roll name lister. When someone has a crisis, like this, she first thinks of calling the temple, and she had put both Allison and Grace on the temple roll before I could even think about it. Today, as I sat in the session, it was such a spiritual experience to think about those names called into the temple by many other people. I thought ofthose who were just asking for the faith of all of us...strangers to behalf of their loved one. I wanted all the blessings for my daughter and granddaughter, and I thought back to how many times I have just taken that prayer for granted. That will never happen again. My heart prays for all who turn to the temple and to the Lord, and ask for the faith and prayers of brothers and sisters in the Gospel to bring those they love back to health or back to the fold.
P.S. After two hours of the procedure, Grace came out well. The foreign body indeed was a peanut, and her body had "coated" it, so much so that the doctor was stunned when he initially saw it, thinking it was a tumor! She is resting in the hospital and will, hopefully, come home on Wednesday.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Sophomore Man!

Today was Nate's first day of school. He is a sophomore at North Pointe Preparatory. It didn't really feel like the first day for me, though. He is on their football team and we have been driving to practices twice a day for the last two weeks! He is loving football, though he comes home dead!! (Well, his legs are dead...unfortunately for his Sunday School teacher, Brother Shaffer, his mouth continues to work just fine!) He was not the most cooperative photo shoot. I am just learning and trying to use my camera as much as I can, and he made every shot near torture. Oh, well, I guess that's just part of being 15!

Father/Son Project

It has been years in the making, but our backyard auto parts yard is coming to good use, and projects are progressing. Now, mind you, our whole back yard is not auto parts...we live on over an acre and most of it has pool/playground/garden/fruit trees/sand volleyball court/

landscaping. However, one side, and part of our patio, has been dedicated to a 1960 Ford Pickup and a 1960 Ford Panel Wagon. Nathan wanted to rebuild his own truck from the bottom up, and so he started taking the truck apart, buying a new engine (with help from brothers Doran and Morgan), and sanding, etc. Dee is now working on his project as well. I can see how it wasn't much fun for him to go out by himself and work on it, so now he has a "partner", though there are many "heated discussions" regarding which vehicle should get the attention. It is good news, though, and now my patio can get cleaned off, and we can get rid of the old parts that we cannot use....hopefully!