Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Lots and Lots...and Lots of Hard Work Pays Off

Nate always wanted to play football...and we finally figured out how to get on the team his sophomore year. This was his first year to play football, other than a little flag football in middle school. He spent much of the year on the line, going in for a play or two each game...He worked and worked and practiced and practiced. His Junior year, he was a starter on the offensive line, and, after injuries hurt many defensive lineman, he played that as a starter too. He worked and worked and practiced and practiced ...missed birthday parties, vacations, worked and practiced. His first game of his senior year...We got there late...but saw an AWESOME player...fast...right over everyone on every play. He finished his responsibility, and then ran off to do another. He had 5 total tackles...and he got a "force" where the quarterback had to throw it because he was gonna hit him in a second...and that's exactly what happened. A teammate's serious injury focused all on what was more important that night...so we were just thankful he was all right.

I got on his school website, www.preptv.org, and saw they had posted the game pics. It was then that I saw this....

He is one of the captains...from a guy who had barely held a football...to this. (He is number 72). I MISSED IT...but am so thankful for a great school photographer, who captured the culmination of years of work and sacrifice and practice and giving up and working hard.

Yep...It sure pays off...and he was simply...AMAZING!

Tender Mercies


I got a sweet message from a very excited, new second grader this morning...So sweet to hear my grandson so very excited about his first day of a new school year, and to think he thought of me...amongst all the wonderful grandmas, grandpas, aunts, uncles, and cousins  in his life...to call and share! Again, this sweet boy has a special tie to everyone's spirit...He KNOWS just when a call, or a message is needed! So, the moment from my busy day, was sweet. He LISTENS to the Spirit...and he becomes an instrument in the Savior's hands, to bring joy, to encourage. He reminded me, as I did laundry and baked bread and cleaned and wiped, that my Savior loves me, that He is aware of me, and my needs...and He wants me to feel joy...and He performed His tender mercy through my sweetheart of a grandson.

He is truly aware of us, of our needs. He wants us to grow, so He lets us struggle through challenges, but His love is ever there...to bring us up when we are down, to help us endure when we think we cannot, to love us when we are maybe the most unlovable. And we also need to remember that WE are His hands. Our smile, our greeting, our prayer in behalf of another...are simply the Savior working His tender mercies, through us.

Oh, thank you, sweet wonderful grandbabies, for helping me to see what I sometimes am blind to. Thank you for your hugs, your happiness, the games, the stories, the "nasty snake in the park" (story in a future entry), the hugs, the smiles (Joshy gave me a couple of big smiles...and more half ones...I am gonna get through that tough core and make that little guy love his Grammy!), the bike rides, the walks, the laughter...and the wonderful calls! Tender mercies...they are all around us...we only have to stop and look...

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Falcon Football...Game One...A Win...But No One Really Cared

Falcon Football Game One...play was awesome...Nate was awesome (he is a lineman, but he lost about 40 pounds...so he is FAST as well as strong. He sacked the quarterback just as he let go of the ball...he ran...he blocked...he caused a fumble...he was amazing! It was such a great night...the score was 46-8, I think, so the younger second string was put in, so they could have a chance. They were doing so well, when the referees started blowing and blowing and blowing their whistles...something was terribly wrong...all the players took a knee...I looked and saw Nate and his teammates huddle on their knees...and offer a prayer...and I looked and saw a Falcon, laying on the field. At first, I thought his legs were crossed oddly, until I realized that the leg was obviously broken...very broken. The game was called...only 3 minutes left...but no one left...no one moved. The team half heartedly ran off the field, got their things, and came back. The whole crowd...just watched...relatively silent. The player's older sister was there. All I could think about was his mom...his dad...and that phone call they had just received. For a moment, someone thought it was my Nathan...I knew in my head that he was not in the game...but it took my hubby asking if that poor boy was wearing black socks pulled all the way up...grateful it wasn't my sweet son, but so very sad for that son, for that family. The ambulance left, and so did the players...and the crowd. Football is a dangerous game, and no one realizes that more than every single mom and dad and grandparent...and coach...out there. No one takes for granted how very close these young men come, each and every time they play, to a life threatening, or life altering injury. We pray for our fallen Falcon...we pray for our boys every game...we are thankful for these boys that stopped and knelt and asked for help from their Father in Heaven for their friend, their teammate. Yep, we really didn't know the score...and we didn't care.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Mine Sure Doesn't Look THIS Good!

Blogging, between cleaning and dusting and mopping...saw this awesomeness...
Our tradition is to have Monkey Bread on Christmas Morning, in house resident gift opening, and visiting family gift opening. I started using my own bread dough recipe last year, but this one looks awesome, too...and I am ALWAYS up for trying a new recipe. However, my Monkey Bread NEVER looks this awesome. And surely the dough recipe alone is not the key to this awesomeness!!! Perhaps more time needs to be spent in the presentation (I tend to be a bit on the sleepy side - get to sleep in on Christmas morning, no exercise and no run - or maybe I am still on Tryptophane overload after the yumminess that is my Mom's house on Christmas Eve). Maybe, instead of letting the hungry masses just dump the stuff on a plate, this year I will try to let decadent glaze ooze out of the pan, and maybe add a glaze... What do you think those hungry Rice boys/men will do while I do this? They have NEVER been known for their patience...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A Man of Few Words...

Tomorrow night: first varsity football game of the season for North Pointe Prep. Nate has worked all summer...no vacations...no time off...every single morning, except for one week after July 4th, and one Friday, he was up at 5:00 am, school at 6:00am till 9:00am...every day...for this. And today, his school interviewed some of the linemen. Surprisingly, to those who really know him, Nate is a man of few words when it comes to football. Good luck, Falcons. Stay safe and healthy this season. And good luck to Nate, senior offensive and defensive lineman!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Good Things Come Too

After my last diatribe, one might think there are few GOOD things that go on. Yes, life sometimes is not the "dream come true", but we take it in stride, "suck it up" and go on. This weekend, a few good things:

After a week of dizziness, I actually ran a mile Saturday, and could run my three miles this morning. It was 92 at 3am...with 60 percent humidity, but I did it...waited till 4am...it was only 89 then!

Got a new church calling, and my prayers were answered. I had received a call from a member of our ward leadership, wanting to come and visit on Saturday. Grrrr...bad timing, and three days to think, worry, wonder...There was one calling that I just felt I could not handle now, and, after rehearsing my "no I can't speech", I prayed that this would not be what I was called to do. So, worry, rehearse, worry (I just don't want to say "no" to a calling. I KNOW how hard those who work to fill openings in the church organizations work to prayerfully seek inspiration in selecting people...At last, the call was issued, and my prayers were answered: I didn't have to say "No". I am now the Assistant Primary Chorister (help the leader teach and lead music to the children 3 through 12). I have been a chorister many times, so this was no problem. I went in and observed yesterday, ready to start in two weeks. It will be fun...great kids...and LOTS of them!!!

Got my house clean on Saturday night while everyone was gone...Feels so good to begin the Sabbath with a clean house. Although, I must have been tired...Hubby returned from the Saturday Night Youth Dance he disc jockeys and I had crashed on the floor of our room...asleep.

Kayty's Dr. is trying to get her a Continuous Glucose Meter. Now, she says she won't wear it during the day, but if it is possible, I would just love her to wear it at night. If she goes low, an alarm sounds so we can remedy it before she goes into convulsions. It is costly, so we are awaiting insurance approval...Please, Cigna, just this once...be nice!

Got to see Ethan and Cameo last night. It has been AGES since I have seen Ethan...too busy with his new job and Cam has been out of town. We had some extra pizza crusts thawed so they made a couple of pizzas for themselves. We always have extra crusts in the freezer, so Sunday late afternoons are a good time to just drop in and become your own pizza chef!

Counting the days to seeing my Vegas family! Gracie is gonna be 4...It will be, again, a quick trip, but full of love and fun and just good things. And maybe, just maybe...Joshy will smile at Grammy!

Thursday, August 19, 2010


Someone I admire, Dina Wakely, is an amazing scrapbook artist, who travels the world over, sharing her skills with all. She has an amazing style that I truly enjoy looking at. What catches my eye is always her journaling. She takes the time to Journal, not just slap a picture on a page. I was reading an interview that she had done, and learned that she always tries to capture, in her journaling, the event, the details, but if she cannot remember those, she always remembers the feelings. Hmmm...Remember the feelings. I am rather OCD, detail oriented, and sometimes forget the feelings. Or, maybe, I put them under the rug so I don't have to feel them.

Yesterday, after weeks of interview after interview, sweet hubby was told that, after being one of the top two candidates for this wonderful, fantastic, perfect-for-him, his passion, job...that he was not the one selected. I was crushed. I was just sooooo sure that THIS was the answer...that this was his, and our, reward for enduring time of a job that he hates, that is not what he likes to do, but that he faithfully endures, even with less pay, so he can feed us, and keep a roof over our heads, and let us go to the dentist and the doctor and get medicine. I just thought that, heck, after a guy had sacrificed and endured the never ending reorganizations and the "oh, you made it through this layoff...safe till October", that maybe, just maybe, he would get to LOVE what he does again. Heck...he's 53 years old. I was just so sure...

I was dusting today...and realized that I had even planned where on the shelf I would put his mementos from this position. Tears...more tears. Sometimes, it is so unfair. (Feelings, people...this is real!) On top of it, last night, I had to type an invoice for our home business. The date on the computer invoice was February 18, 2008...and the amount we are getting paid is just the same. I just changed the date. Which small business owner still gets paid (gross) the same amount they got paid on February 18, 2008? And we don't want to ask for more...we NEED to save money, so a little is better than none. (Yep, company announced another reorganization...people get shuffled...makes it easier to get more out the door). I was just so ... Well, all that other stuff that I would just put under the rug came rushing out...the 24 year old son that I didn't even hear from on his birthday...and I still don't know where he is, the sink faucet that broke...and it's replacement that gives me a bath every time I turn it on...and the guy on Craigslist who was gonna sell us a new one and we waited for 4 days...and finally called him to find out he decided not to sell it, the dizziness I am feeling, the worry over a diabetic young adult who is not very good at looking at her blood glucose and has gone convulsively LOW four times in the last three months...so I am up checking her all night to see if she is okay and warm, the fact that I have been feeling so crummy this year, moreso than ever, and I have cut out sugar and bad fat and anything else that might impair health, the bedroom ceiling that is...well, it was damaged in a horrible storm 15 years ago, and it's not fixed, the fact that now we won't have a job that will make even a little more money and so I have to go back to watching every single penny, the people at Jackson Hewitt who WONT respond to my inquiries regarding income tax preparation courses...I have been asking over and over and over since May, and the list could go on and on. Feelings...

Well, Dena, I think it's time for some happy feelings. The kind you seem to find in all your work. Today...I got a text from a sweet little grandson who is very close to the Spirit, who ALWAYS seems to text me when I am the most down... This sweet seven year old memorized all 13 Articles of Faith! He's seven! He then sent me a recorded message of him reciting the 13th one (look at it...it is so long! and he did it word perfect!) He told me that he and his sister and brother and Mommy were going to a new park today: Bug Park. All of a sudden...POOF! Gone! Now, if I think, those feelings do come back...but then I am now thinking of an amazing seven year old, and a beautiful, bubbly almost four year old, and a sweet, smiley (except when he sees Grammy), cuddly almost 9 month old laughing and playing and running, and hopefully seeing the best bugs in Las Vegas, or anywhere. Yep, feelings...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

What I've Made....

I love to cook, to bake, to craft, to do needlework, though you would never know, because I have to spend a lot of time every day cleaning, laundering, brushing the pool, tending chickens, doing yard work, and that takes away from my fun time.(Plus, I spend WAY too much time looking at the wonderful things others create on their blogs!) However, yesterday, being too ill to clean, etc. (I did cook dinner), I spent the evening in front of a movie on my free Netflix trial and made this tutu for my sweet granddaughter's upcoming birthday. It really was so easy!!! Now, my almost 20 year old wants me to make one for her...black (surprise!) and hot pink!

Still Learning...

Yesterday was another experience in learning for me. It's too bad it takes something like this for me to feel compassion! I woke up on Monday with a clogged ear...no pain, just terrible plugged up. I thought that maybe water had gotten in Saturday night when I swam (pool was kinda green), so I proceeded to put alcohol in on a cotton swab, and continued with my day. It was bothersome, but it didn't stop me from getting all my household work done, making a fabulous Hot and Sour Soup for dinner, cleaning up, and then spending an hour cleaning up my newly "extra car free" driveway and front yard. Went to bed, got up, exercised and ran, got the guys up, made breakfast...and started to feel a little dizzy. No matter...just get the boys off, go get Nate at seminary and take him to school (so I can have my car) and go to the H&R Block Job Fair. I drive to get Nate...started feeling yucky. You really don't realize how much you have to move your head when you drive. I got him and proceeded to school...feeling yuckier...nausea...intense nausea...dizziness. I put my head against the seat so as not to move so much. It will pass, I thought. I dropped him off, and just thought that if I could make it home, it would be okay. It truly was a blessing that he forgot his running shoes in the back seat. I had not left the parking lot, and turned to get his shoes to him. I was so sick, nauseated, ready to vomit at any moment, and dizzy...I pulled into a parking place, gave him the keys (thank goodness he can drive now) and called my Mom...knight in shining armor. As I waited for her to pick me up, I barely could walk to the cement box near the parking lot to sit down. I have never felt such intense nausea, such dizziness, in my life. My sweet mom dropped everything, and carted me home...all the while me having what would be almost dry heaves the whole way. I got home, sat down, thinking all would end, but I spent all morning and most of the afternoon dizzy...too dizzy to read...too dizzy to clean...too dizzy to do anything. I managed two loads of laundry, and took garlic and oil of oregano. Finally, late afternoon, I felt well enough to make dinner. I spent the evening resting (making a wonderful birthday tutu for my granddaughter), watching a movie. Today, no run, no exercise...better...but still terrified to get in anything that moves!

The total point of this diatribe is not my temporary condition, but the thought for those who deal with this on any sort of regular basis! How awful it must be to feel dizzy all the time...to have to be constantly aware of what you are doing...to have to hold onto something when you walk...to be nauseated all the time (foods that I normally love sounded awful...salad-no way for me!) I have learned in the last year how awful it is to have a headache that won't quit (I don't have migraines, but the ones I have, I fear...literally fear! I don't know HOW people who have migraines survive!!!) I now have such compassion for those who feel these awful feelings, and still manage to accomplish things during the day...I don't know HOW they do it! I am so grateful for anyone who presses on, in spite of terrible limitations, illness, aches, conditions. Too bad I had to feel just a taste of what they feel often to learn this.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

They Never Grow Up

My sons...in fact, all of my kids...have always been best friends with the siblings...of the same gender. (Adulthood has brought friendship that crosses gender...gives me hope for Kayty and Nate). On Friday, Doran was working on another project here, until Nathan brought his KNEX Creation out. He has built this crane entirely on his own, complete with motor. It works...but not enough. First, it was light objects...done well. Then, the objects became heavier and heavier. It is not unusual for me to walk to the pantry and see an apple juice bottle with string wrapped around it...yep...a test weight. If the weight is too heavy, the crane brakes. Yet, that does not stop these men. They rebuild and reinforce...and try again. I guess, as many females have already determined, they never really do grow up!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Some Rules To Live By

I received this email from someone I love dearly...my best friend:

ONE. Give people more than they expect and do it cheerfully.
TWO. Marry a man/woman you love to talk to. As you get older, their conversational skills will be as important as any other.
THREE. Don't believe all you hear, spend all you have or sleep all you want.
FOUR. When you say, 'I love you,' mean it.
FIVE. When you say, 'I'm sorry,' look the person in the eye.
SIX. Be engaged at least six months before you get married.
SEVEN. Believe in love at first sight.
EIGHT. Never laugh at anyone's dreams. People who don't have dreams don't have much.
NINE... Love deeply and passionately. You might get hurt but it's the only way to live life completely.
TEN.. In disagreements, fight fairly. No name calling.
ELEVEN. Don't judge people by their relatives.
TWELVE. Talk slowly but think quickly.
THIRTEEN. When someone asks you a question you don't want to answer, smile and ask, 'Why do you want to know?'
FOURTEEN. Remember that great love and great achievements involve great risk.
FIFTEEN. Say 'bless you' when you hear someone sneeze.
SIXTEEN. When you lose, don't lose the lesson.
SEVENTEEN. Remember the three R's: Respect for self; Respect for others; and Responsibility for all your actions.
EIGHTEEN. Don't let a little dispute injure a great friendship.
NINETEEN. When you realize you've made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.
TWENTY. Smile when picking up the phone. The caller will hear it in your voice
TWENTY- ONE. Spend some time alone.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Danger In Albertsons

Here I was, early this morning, innocently completing my planned shopping escapade at Albertson's when:

Aaaaagh! My nemesis! Sugar has not passed my lips for months. I haven't had a killer headache for months either. So, I MUST maintain my control...for the next 4 months or so...and they will be gone...till next year!

Monday, August 2, 2010

I LOVE Nate's School

I LOVE Nate's school. It is a charter high school, and charter schools in Arizona are just superb. His is academically focused, though they also place great emphasis on athletics and the arts...The Three A's, as they refer to. They are so good to their students, and they do SO MUCH, with so little, money-wise.

This year, Nate's Senior Year, started out so super today. They gave the seniors a "Class of 2011" backpack, and in it, a jump drive and a box. When he got home from football practice, we watched the presentation on the jump drive. He was instructed to open the box. In it:

RED Kazoo, and mini Bowling set: This is to give the seniors a head start on the class competitions during Spirit Week in the Fall and Spring Fling Week. Seniors rule, so they have to win the class competitions.

Red Rock from Sedona: Yes, the Senior Picture will be taken in Sedona, Arizona. The Seniors get to take a trip, chartered bus and all, to Sedona for a day of fun and photos.

Clock Man with a Paper with "Thirty Eight Forty" trip. They are going someplace that is 3840 minutes (either round trip or one way...not sure).

Baseball: The Seniors will take a trip to a Spring Training Baseball Game.

Pine air freshener: Seniors will take a trip to the pines...I forgot the exact location...

Box was filled with fake snow: Yes, the Seniors will take their own snow trip.

Black Mask: The Prom will be a masquerade ball this year.

Candy Hamburger: Senior family barbecue, held at the end of the year.

Finally, they use the jump drive for the year to put pictures on for the end of year "slide show" that will play as they graduate on May 26, 2011.

Nate is pretty low key about stuff, but he did seem kinda pleased about the whole thing! His day was good...looking forward to the concurrent college credit math class, has an awesome lit teacher (hooray!), loves economics, weight lifting, and digital photography. His AP biology class...now, he may drop that. But all else was pretty good. Day 1 over...179 to go!

First Day: Senior Year

I have stated, ad nauseum, that I am a mother of six kids. Six kids means filling out over 78 health/contact information cards at the beginning of school. It means standing in 22 waaaaay long lines to get books/lockers/parking passes (hey big kids, I know you didn't get a parking pass...you youngest brother has one, though right now he has nothing to park!)---(and I didn't get my figuring off: Morgan decided to "take another path for education" during his junior year, and Kayty graduated as a junior). That is 19 high school year books (Kayty's performing arts high school was too small. During her junior year, we made one of our own for her!) That is 22 "first day" pictures. So, this year, my final...yes, final...child is a senior. That means all that I do is "THE LAST TIME".

So, today was the last "first day of school" picture. Now, Nathan, ever the "commenter" said, upon completion, "I had the sun in my eyes. You know, if you would just not get the sun in my eyes, I might like these pictures."

Huh? Not get the sun in his eyes? Where does he think we live??? Washington? We live in Phoenix, Arizona. We ALWAYS have sun. In fact, last weekend, we had blessed clouds...and, only in Phoenix, Arizona, do you hear people commenting over and over and over how cool it is when it is in the upper 80's/low 90's.

So, with complaints and all, Nathan started school today, complete with our traditional father's blessing the night before. I do say that this is the FIRST first day of school picture with a child with "facial hair" (if you look very closely, you will see some beardish whiskers.) He says he's not gonna shave till football season is over...12 weeks! Something about being lucky, or maybe a Samson strength kinda thing. I don't know, though...the way it's growing in, I think he will look more like Brigham Young!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Pizza Sunday

We have always loved making pizza. Now, we are not experts by any stretch of the imagination, but we loved making 3 or 4 large rectangular treasures, very often on Sunday...but, it was always during the cooler parts of Autumn, Winter, and early Spring. This is due to the fact that we lovingly call hubby/dad a "power nazi" and we could never turn on the oven after about March 1st.

Then, Suzzy saw a pizza oven on a websight, and though, "Wouldn't that be fun?" The trouble with my ideas is that they rarely require the minimal amount of time I imagine! Therefore the pizza oven that I thought of in June 2009, and thought it would be done in two weeks for the football team party at my house, was completed a few months ago (Okay, it's not totally done! He did finish the rock facia, and just has to stucco. Hey, that's good for hubby dearest...he rarely finishes ANYTHING!) I may have been wrong on how much work it would be, and how long it would take to complete, but I surely wasn't wrong about how much fun it would be!

So, every Sunday (unless we have used it during the week) we fire up that oven when we get home from Church at lunch time, and by 4:30 or so, we are ready for some great pizza. Here are some pics from last night. (These are not high quality photos. I found myself ashamed that I rarely am blogging, while my daughter who is busy with three small children, a busy church calling, sewing, reading with kids, having learning time, etc. takes the time to share the lives of my sweet grandbabies, so I just did my best!)

I usually keep about 8 or so homemade doughs in the freezer, so if you ever are in the mood and want to taste some of the best pizza ever (at least, we think so) come on over!

Nathan's had pepperoni, veggies, and chicken sausage on it.
Sorry honey...I was in a hurry. Dee's pizza was really great...he put fresh basil from our garden on it!