Saturday, August 1, 2009

This is the place...

Jeff had spent the previous couple of months driving through the neighborhoods surrounding Corona del Sol High School. That is the area we moved from and we wanted to try and put Chad in the school he would have gone to had we not moved away. These were the kids he started 1st grade with and went to school with until 8th Grade. We felt like since we were moving him his Junior year of high school, the least we could do was make it as painless as possible by making sure he would already know people. This proved to be much harder than we thought it would. At first, Jeff just concentrated his efforts on our old ward boundaries - but then after a futile couple of months, he expanded to the surrounding area. He found othing really worth the money these people wanted. Truly, I'm amazed at how people live sometimes. I'm even more amazed at what people think is aesthetically pleasing or comfortable. I guess that's why it's called "personal choice", right? Well, none of the few available houses were what we really wanted to live in, so we decided after much prayer and research on the schools in the valley to go out to Gilbert and look in the Highland High School boundaries.
We started at he south end of the boundary line and just started driving. Up and down streets, through neighborhoods. We did this after work so our time was limited. By Friday night we had made it to the northern part of the school boundaries and had driven through what we thought was most of the neighborhood. We were literally on our way out of the subdivision, when Jeff turned to his right and there on the corner was a "For Rent" sign in a cute medium sized house. Could we be so lucky? We called the number on the sign and the man told us that the owners were there and we should just knock on the door and ask to see the house. We felt a little funny doing that, but we did. The house was great - the owners were great - we knew this was the place. We signed the lease the following Monday and moved in that weekend - well, moved in is relative. We had nothing to move in. We didn't even have a bed! So it took a week or so to gather enough stuff to be able to actually "live" in the house, but we did eventually. We were in the house about 3 - 4 weeks before Jeff went to Oregon and brough down our first 2 trucks of belongings. It was an interesting time - living in 2400 square feet with nothing but TV trays, a computer (Jeff needs that to work) and a bed. No TV, no couches or chairs - we even had to borrow towels from my mom! When Chad came down from Oregon, we had to buy him an air mattress so he would have something to sleep on. Crazy. It was like honeymoon at first - sort of. It got old though after a while. By the time our stuff got here the end of July, we were all ready!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Well, alrighty then -

I've got a lot of life to catch you all up on.
Let's see - May 19th was my last post. That was, like - 2 months ago!! I don't know that I can go back that far. That's what happens when you don't blog - you get behind and then you forget the everyday details and thoughts and feelings that were going on at the time. Oh sure, I can give you a run down of what's been going on, but without the feelings of the time.
The biggest thing that's happened is we moved from Oregon to Gilbert, Arizona. After being on the market for 10 months, we sold our house in Oregon in April. It was a little surreal how it happened. Over the preceeding months we had had a lot of lookers through the house. Positive comments, but no offers. In my head, I'm panicking - THINKING that we'll NEVER sell it. In my heart, however, I KNEW we would sell it. I knew that when the right people came along - the ones that were supposed to live in our house, that everything would fall into place and we'd sell it. Well, it happened in April and we closed June 8th. I was so happy that this particular family bought our house. They love that house as much as we did. Anyway, Jeff came up and we spent the last two weeks of May and the first week of June finishing up the packing and cleaning. I was glad he was there. He tends to spread calm through our life.
So like I said, our house closed June 8th, but school didn't end for Chad until June 10th. Plus, I already had a job in Arizona waiting for me, so Chad stayed with some friends of ours in Corvallis and Jeff and I left Saturday June 5th for our new chapter in Arizona. It was hard for me to leave. I cried most of the day June 5th. Leaving my house was hard, leaving my neighborhood was hard, leaving my grown kids was hard, leaving my extended family was hard, leaving my friends in the church was hard, leaving my 16 year old son was awful. He and I haven't ever spent a lot of time away from each other - until now. What was also hard was the fact that at this point in time we didn't have a place to move into. We had found a couple of houses, but none felt right. So we decided to go down, stay with my mom and look for a place to live. We also thought that we'd rather move our stuff twice in Oregon (cooler weather) than twice in Arizona (hot weather), so we put all our earthly belongings into 2 large storages and left.
The drive down to Arizona was awesome. Jeff and I took our time and went to San Francisco and ate clam chowder on the wharf. We drove through some beautiful countryside that I had never seen before. We drove through one of our favorite towns - Petaluma, California. We drove down the 101 and breathed in the ocean air. We spent the first night in San Luis Obispo and the second night in San Diego. We drove to a little town in the mountains outside San Diego called Julian. They were featured on the food channel as having the best pies - so we went there and bought 2 to take to my mom's. (Yes, they really were GREAT pies!) We just enjoyed ourselves and the time alone. It has been a hard 18 months, so it was good to regroup.
We got to my mom's Tuesday night and hit the ground running. Jeff had to work the next morning and so I did laundry and unpacked what we brought with us. Thursday I went to my new office and got acclimated for a few hours. Friday I went back to my office and filled out new employee paperwork and got all ready to start on Monday morning. In the meantime, we spent hours looking through neighborhoods trying to find a place to live.
This is where I'll stop - at trying to find a place to live. That was an interesting experience as well. One the deserves it's very own post. Another day...

Friday, July 10, 2009

Happy Birthday, Daniel!

So this is our son-in-law Daniel Linn. He married our oldest daughter, Jeni on October 1, 1999. Their story begins much earlier however - like in 7th grade. Jeni and Daniel went to Hendrix Junior High School together in Chandler. Daniel played on our oldest son, Justin's little league baseball team - Daniel was the catcher. One day we went to watch Justin play and I was very impressed with Daniel's catching ability - he was very good, even at that young age. Upon arriving home from the game, I jokingly told Jeni that I had met her future husband. When she asked who it was, I told her "Daniel Linn". She sputtered and groaned and said, "Gross Mom! No way - not Daniel Linn!" Well, a few months later, they were "going out" - I never could understand how they could be "going out" when they can't even date yet! Oh well....
Eventually, Daniel moved to Gilbert and we moved farther west in Chandler and he and Jeni lost contact with each other. Jeni was 16 when her daughter, Ryleigh was born. Thankfully, she stayed home and finished school and eventually got a part time job at a pizza restaurant in Gilbert. She was working one day and in walked Daniel! Jeni played hard to get for a while, but eventually caved in and they were married. It was hard going at first - they were both so young and they already had a small child to love and care for - but they hung in there and worked at their relationship and their little family. Daniel joined the Army and they moved to North Carolina and then to Texas. He spent a little over a year serving our country in Iraq - something we are very proud of him for. Daniel is a wonderful husband to our daughter. He understands her, supports her and most of all loves her very much. He is a wonderful father to their 4 children (our grandchildren :) ) Ryleigh 11, Spencer 8, Ethan 6 and Olivia 1 1/2. He is presently going to school to be a nurse and then a PA (I think that's right). He works hard at this and is doing very well. He's fun to have around and we are so thankful to have him in our family!
Happy Birthday, Dan! We love you!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Me & Grandma June, August, 2008

My Mom & Jeni, August, 2008

Jeni & Grandma Eddie, February, 2006
I'm a little late in posting this. Sometimes it takes me a long time to form my words. This is one of those times. It's a little bit of a long post as well. I had a lot to say.
I come from a long line of very strong women. Not strong vocally really - don't get me wrong, we can talk and give our opinion - but what I mean is emotionally strong.
Starting with my Grandma Eddie. She lost her father and her younger sister to the influenza virus in 1920 - she was 3 years old. Her mother (my great grandmother) was pregnant with her third daughter at the time and went on to raise that child and my grandma without the benefit of a husband. She never remarried. My Grandma Eddie (her name is Nellie, but when Jeni was little she couldn't say that so it came out Eddie and my grandma simply liked that name better - so it stuck) didn't ever complain or really elaborate on her childhood too much, unless we asked specific questions, but from what I do know, life was hard for them without a dad. That's my Grandma Eddie's nature, though. She never complained. She wanted everyone else to be happy. If they were - she was. Simple as that. It used to frustrate people sometimes that she wouldn't make a choice, but really - the more I think about her and her life, the more I realize that that's just it - she lived so that other people could be happy. If they were happy - she was happy. Simple.
Grandma June - She married my grandfather and started a family right away. They had 4 boys and 1 girl. My dad was the oldest of those children. Her and my grandfather farmed for a living in Northern Utah. I always thought that sounded like so much fun and for years I wished that my father hadn't moved us away from that. I wanted to live on a farm and have the fun that I saw all of my cousins having. I've learned however, that farm life is a very hard life. Constant worry. Constant work - at all hours of the day and night. No vacations, no holidays. My Grandma June is a worker - even now at the age of almost 86, she makes lunches and takes them to my uncles when they're working out in the fields. This is a woman that loves her family and her family loves her.
Then there's my mom - Susan. She and my dad were 16 and 17 when I was born. I could stop there because that in and of itself tells you that life wasn't easy for her. However, that wouldn't do it justice as to just how much she's lived through. She had 3 kids by the time she was 23 years old. She was 21 years old when she and my dad moved their little family 800 miles from home in Northern Utah to the big city of Phoenix, Arizona for a job opportunity. I personally can't imagine that. She didn't really know anyone, but she made a life - a good life - for her family. She became active in the church and made sure that us kids went to church and were taught the gospel. My dad never caught on to that, but she forged ahead. Making sure we were at church each Sunday and that we went to our primary and MIA (that's what they called YW/YM back in the "old" days) activities. She gave me the opportunity to attend BYU for a year. I wish I could say that that was the beginning of my educational journey, but alas - I didn't take advantage of the opportunity that was given me, but I am so appreciative that she sacrificed so that I could do that. It was a tremendous growing experience for me. She is one of the most thoughtful women that I know. Her life is so busy that she doesn't get the chance to do a lot of the things she loves to do, but still she finds time to do things for her family. That's her, though - family means everything to her and we all know that because her actions speak loudly.
Jeni is my hero. She is everything I dreamed she'd be and so much more. She has been a joy and a blessing to me since the day she was born. She's opinionated and stubborn, but kind and compassionate and giving. She immerses herself in her childrens lives and they are better for it. They know that their mother is on their side and is there for them - always. She is a wonderful wife to Daniel and they are good together. They are truly a team and I love that about them. All of this is even more inspiring to me given the fact that she had her first baby at 16, she and Dan married at 18 and spent 4 years in Texas in the Army. That's a lot of life lessons to be learning at such tender ages - but they have embraced all of those lessons and learned from them.
I have many more women in my life that I could go on about - my other 2 daughters, my sister, her girls, my sisters-in-law, my aunts, my cousins, my friends. My life is full of wonderful, strong, beautiful women.
I am so blessed.
Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Happy Birthday Honey!

Lighting fireworks on 4th of July. He's a true pyromaniac!

Burying Ethan in the sand.

Papa and Livy.

Today is my husband's birthday - he's 51. Time goes by so fast. I remember when we were kids and liked each other. He was a sophomore and I was in 7th grade. Walking home from school each day, if I walked down Glendale Avenue, I'd walk right by Washing high school and his locker. We'd leave each other notes in his locker. Sometimes, not very often, we'd meet in my alley and talk and he'd kiss me.
On a mutual trip to Flagstaff, he gave me his wallet to hold - why, I don't remember. I lost it. I felt so bad. Lucky for me - and for him - someone found it months later when the snow melted and returned it to him. It had everything still in it - even his money!
I also remember Saturday night dances at the Earll building. He was such a good dancer and always smelled like Aramis cologne. No one looked better in brown angel flight pants than him!
We dated briefly when I was a Senior and he was about 20 or 21. He was so handsome (still is). Then I went off to BYU and he got married. Who would have known that years later we'd end up together. In September we will have been together for 20 years. That's a long time. I'm thankful for the years with him. He's a good, kind, decent man who loves me and our family very much. He works hard for us so that we can have a good life and all the things we need and want. Sometimes I think we take for granted all the things we have because of him. We shouldn't. I appreciate him and all that he does for our family.
So Happy Birthday, honey! I hope this year is the best yet. I love you.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Happy Birthday Andrea !

Remember on March 2, when I was writing about my daughter Kristi and I said that I was lucky to have added 3 kids to my life when I married Jeff? Well, this is Andrea - she's the middle of those 3. Today's her birthday and she's 25. Andrea is and always has been the peacemaker in our family. She is very much a "glass half full" type of person. She tries very hard to always be positive and look for the good in every situation. She's fun-loving and happy and a joy to have around. She's also a talker. When she was a little girl and her dad and I would take her back to her mom's after weekend visitation, she would start asking questions and talking the minute we got in the car and keep going until we got to her mom's house - 30 minutes away! We would occasionally nod or answer yes or no, but we didn't have to participate in the conversation too much! We still laugh about that. Andrea is friendly. Everywhere she goes she makes a lot of friends. People gravitate towards her and she makes it easy to become her friend. Andrea is a sweetheart and I'm so glad to have her in my life. Happy Birthday and I love you!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

So Blessed . . .

Today I'm feeling really lucky and really blessed.

Before Jeff and I moved to Oregon we owned a hot dog cart. He LOVED working the cart. He loved interacting with all the people. And he is a man that loves to feed people. So a hot dog cart was right up his alley. When we moved, we sold the cart to some friends of ours. When we found out we were going to be moving back to Arizona, our friends asked if we'd like to buy the cart back. It was more work than they wanted. We jumped at the chance and so Jeff has been at the baseball fields faithfully supplying concessions to the Chandler American Little League crowd. Last night, he called me with such panic in his voice it scared me from the get go. He asked if I could help him find someone to work the cart because he needed to get to the hospital. Apparently he was having chest pains and wasn't feeling well at all.

A little family background information - Jeff's maternal grandfather died at 49 of heart disease, his maternal grandmother died at 51 of the same thing. Jeff's mother died at 56 and Jeff's sister, Susan, died at 39 both of heart problems. To say the least - there's a bad gene pool there. Luckily, I am married to a man that is very good at taking care of himself - not overly so, like a hypochondriac, but he's smart about listening to what his body tells him and right then it was saying "Get me to the hospital!" He got some nice man to fill in at the cart and drove himself to Chandler Regional Hospital. When hospital staff think you're having a heart attack, they tend to get you in to be seen and start tests rather quickly. The EKG came back fine, the CT Scan came back fine, but the blood tests to see how much calcium is in your arteries didn't come back fine so this afternoon he had an angiogram. The doctor found 2 blockages, but thankfully they are not bad enough to require surgery. Jeff can manage them with drug therapy. Now his challenge is to lay flat on the hospital bed for 6 hours while the angiogram site heals so that he doesn't bleed out. For a man with Restless Leg Syndrome, that will be a challenge.

So, what about the man watching the hot dog cart you ask? Well, my son-in-law Dan called his brother, Adam and Adam went down to the cart and packed it up and took it back to where Jeff stores it. Adam said there were the nicest people there just running the cart and taking money and basically filling in while Jeff was away. People are good.

I am feeling lucky and really blessed -
Because there are good people in the world like the ones that ran the cart without even knowing what was going on, they protected Jeff's stuff.
Because there's people like Adam, who drove about 15 miles one way on a Saturday night to pack up someones stuff and take care of it for us.
Because there are kind, capable people called "hospital staff" who got my husband the care he needs quickly and efficiently.
Because I've had so many phone calls today from people checking on us and seeing what they can do to help.
Because I have the Priesthood in my family and my husband can have a blessing.
Because my husband is going to be o.k.

I love you, honey.