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.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Home Inspection

So, we had our home inspection this past week. I was really nervous about it for some reason, which is a little crazy since our home is all of 3 years old. What could go wrong in 3 years right? Well, in my mind - and probably in reality - a lot, so I worried because we all know that worrying will fix anything! I worried and I cleaned. Man, did I clean! Top to bottom and side to side. Inside and outside. This place sparkled. Still, I worried. I think it must be in the genes. I come from a long line of worriers. Sometimes, it seems, the women in my family look for things to worry about.
The inspection man came - 15 minutes early - and began. He got out his ladder and his computer and his other various tools and went to work. I finished putting my make up on. My realtor came with the buyer. Such a nice man. He owns a grass seed company here in the area - grass seed is huge business. I currently live in the "grass seed capitol of the world." No, really - I do. He tells me that he and his wife love Arizona. They go down there twice a year on business. He'd like to live there 6 months and here 6 months. I don't tell him that that's my husbands dream as well. I put my shoes on, grab my dog and walk down to my sister-in-law's home one door away. I should only have to spend an hour or so there. Not that it's bad to spend time there - I enjoy it, but I don't want her to feel like she has to entertain me.
Ha! 3 hours later the inspection man is starting to put his stuff away and get ready to leave! 3 hours!! Now I'm really worried. He could find a lot wrong in 3 hours. Granted my home is large - 3900 square feet, but really - 3 hours???
So as he's putting his stuff away I strike up a conversation. It goes something like this -
Me - "So, you were here a long time."
IM (Inspector Man) - "Yep. I try to do a thorough job."
Me - "Did you find a lot wrong?"
IM - "Nope. nothing."
Me - "Nothing? Really?"
IM - "Well, one thing."
Oh, here it comes - the reason I worried. I KNEW it was justified. I KNEW he'd find something!
Me - "Really. Something major?"
IM - "Nope, just the A/C filter in the family room. It's dirty and needs a good cleaning."
Me - "A filter?? Can I hurry and clean it now so you don't have to put it on the report?"
IM - "Nah - it'll give the buyer something to read. Besides, he needs to feel like he got his money's worth with the inspection." IM says with a smile and a wink.

A filter - a lousy filter stands in between me and a perfect inspection. I'm so happy it wasn't more!! I know it's because I took the time to worry about it. Yep, that's it.

Friday, April 10, 2009

How did you turn out like that?

Chad, Ryleigh and I are in the car on the way to the new Hannah Montana movie. Chad surprised Ryleigh with a late birthday gift and took her to the movie on opening night! I know, he's a great uncle and very thoughtful.
We are discussing sweets, in particular chocolate. Chad asks me about our families sweet preferences. I tell him that Tyler loves anything chocolate, Justin doesn't like cake, Grandpa Ken doesn't eat chocolate for whatever reason. Chad says he doesn't like chocolate - it's yukky.
Ryleigh and I lament how anyone could NOT like chocolate. It's unAmerican. It's abnormal. There were a few seconds of silence and then Ryleigh says,

"Chad, how did you turn out like that?"

Yeah - how DID you turn out like that?

Thankful Thursday - on Friday...

So much to be thankful for this week!
1. We sold our house. Of course it "ain't over, til it's over", but I feel really good about this. Our home is officially in escrow and we close June 8th. There's light at the end of this really long tunnel.
2. I have some resolve back to loose those last few pounds.
3. It's rained a little, so our grass is starting to get green.
4. Chad got his first ever triple! And his team won all 3 of their games this week. O.K., so it was South Albany - but we'll take a win where we can get it.
5. Jeni and I remembered that Jeff and I own a propane space heater! Only those of us in Oregon can appreciate that, I know, but here goes - we took it to Chad's game last night and it kept us toasty warm and happy. It was FREEZING last night and watching baseball in the cold and wet is a serious drag. Can't do anything about the rain, but the cold is another story!
6. Clean cars. Chad washed my car for me and vacuumed it out. Don't cars always drive better when they're clean?
7. We kept all our boxes from when we moved here, so I don't have to buy boxes to pack my stuff!
8. I shredded Jeff's divorce file - FINALLY - and it's given me enough shred to cushion a lot of fragile items. I do mean A LOT. Like 3 green garbage bags full.
9. Primary songs. I love primary songs. The choir sang several primary songs during last weekends conference. It was so cool.
10. Days off of school. Anyone that knows me knows that I am not really a girl that loves schedules. So when we don't have to get up at a certain time and don't have to be showered by a certain time and don't have to be in our car on the way to school at a certain time - it's a great thing.
What are you thankful for?

Monday, April 6, 2009

Happy Birthday Greg!

This is my son-in-law Greg Royal. He's married to our daughter, Andrea. They've been married 3 years and are still fun loving newlyweds. Actually, now that I say that, I think they will ALWAYS be fun loving newlyweds. How can they help it with such happy go lucky personalities. Greg has been a wonderful addition to our family. Jeff and I have often said that we could not have picked a better husband for Andrea if we had hand picked him ourself. Greg is hilarious. He is king of the one-liners. Don't try to out do him in this department, because he will always win. He's going to college right now - studying plants. He wants to work in that field someday. I am very happy about this because if you know me, you know that I LOVE plants and if I can have an expert on them in the family - all the better. Greg is easy going and fun and most of all, he loves Andrea so much. He is such a good husband to her - so kind and patient and calm. He keeps her grounded and makes her happy and that truly, is all a parent can ask for.

Thanks Greg, for putting up with our crazy family. We love you!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Thankful Thursday

I am Thankful that -
1. My children (Jeni and Dan) had a great time in Arizona, but in the end, did come back for their other 3 children! (Not that I wouldn't have kept them, but MAN - I was tired by the end of the week!)
2. I lost .8 at Weight Watchers this week. I had gained the previous 2 weeks - so maybe I can keep up the momentum!
3. My husband's business in Arizona is getting busier.
4. Chad had a GREAT game yesterday. He went 3 for 4, with 4 RBI's and no passed balls behind the plate! His team won 11-7!
5. We have a couple of families that are VERY interested in our house. (Please, please, please...)
6. I have a great colorist that makes me look a little less like a grandma every 6 weeks. :)
7. It's April. That means several things - the rain is closer to going away, school is closer to being out and I am closer to moving to Arizona.
8. I can make chocolate chip cookies anytime I want.
9. Rusty is happy in his new home.
10. I have drugs for migraine headaches.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Baseball season is here!! (or is it?)

I'm not sure actually. It seems that it is. The calendar tells us that as of yesterday we are in our official "season" of games. My enthusiasm tells me it is. I've been waiting patiently since last summer for games to start!
However - Oregon weather is not really what I would consider baseball weather. At yesterday's game I had on my long sleeved CHS t-shirt, my black hoodie and Jeff's heavy jacket. I also wore gloves and my heaviest socks with heavy boots to keep my tootsie's warm (they weren't really that warm). As if all that wasn't enough, I was wrapped up in one of my heaviest blankets and had Ryleigh sitting on my lap to try and keep the two of us warm. Yeah - nope. Didn't work. The wind was blowing and it was FREEZING outside!! Dan finally had to take Livy and the boys homes because she was so miserable. Her hands were like ice-cycles (is that how you spell that? WOW - I'm old!!)
We have another game today and it's the same weather as yesterday. Dang!! I really want to be watching baseball in my capris and flip flops!! Sunshine - where ARE you??

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Thankful Thursday

So, I haven't been very consistent with this yet, but that's o.k. I'll keep working at it. This week I am thankful -
1. That I've had 3 of my grandkids here with me since Monday while their parents are on a trip to Arizona. Ryleigh (11), Spencer (8) and Ethan (6) are great reminders to take life a little slower and enjoy the ride a whole lot more.
2. That I was able to find a wonderful, loving home for Rusty. I feel better about that decision as each day passes.
3. That it's sunny today. I never realized how much I love sunny days.
4. That my 12 x 12 printer works and I can use it to get so much more scrapbooking done!!
5. That Chad is playing baseball and I can go watch him. It's one of my favorite things to do.
6. That Jeff is doing the hot dog cart again. He really does love serving food to people - it makes him happy. If it makes him happy - it makes me happy.
7. For Google Maps. Otherwise - I'd never be able to find my way around the State of Oregon.
8. For cell phones and husbands that can help me find my way around the State of Oregon when I get lost and my google map didn't give me the location I needed.
9.That my smaller jeans still fit - that means that in spite of myself, I obviously haven't gained enough weight to move up a size!!
10. That tomorrow is another day as far as food choices go. Yep, I'm struggling right now. This waiting for the house to sell stuff is getting really, really old.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


Today our sweet little dog, Rusty went to live with a new family in Albany. Here's the story -

We got Rusty as a baby - all 1 pound of him. Honestly, he was the littlest dog I had ever seen and I loved him from the moment I saw him. That was 4 1/2 years ago. Rusty has been a great dog, but - well, let's just say he's a little needy. He requires a lot of attention and love - something that's been easy to give, but with our impending move to Arizona and all the life changes that will come with that, I worry that he won't get the attention he craves and that will be bad for all of us. I hadn't really been trying to find a home for Rusty. Just when I think I'm going to post him on Craigslist, I chicken out. My heart tugs and I just can't stand the thought of him not being here - even though sometimes frankly he drives me crazy. But my daughter Jeni has been trying to find a home for her dog and this lady seemed like someone that might really be good for Rusty so she sent her my way. I was hesitant at first. I called the lady - Amy - and made a tentative plan and then changed my mind. Amy called me back and asked me to keep her number and if I changed my mind, to call her. She was so nice and understanding of how hard this was for me. I decided to have her just come over and see Rusty. She did and that was it. It just felt right. Rusty went right to her and she held him and was so good with him. I knew it was what I needed to do - for us and for Rusty. Funny thing - I told her that Rusty was crate trained and that he could sleep in his crate and she was a little disappointed. She said she was really hoping that he could sleep with her. Can you say, "Dog Heaven"? Needless to say, I cried when Rusty left with her, but now - 3 hours later, I can honestly say I feel really good about the decision. Rusty will be so happy and so will Amy and so will we. It's all good.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Happy Birthday, Jeni!

About 1999

Kissing Devin!

It is so hard for me to comprehend the fact that my little girl is 28. Yep - she turned 28 today. It seems like yesterday - literally that I was arriving at the hospital in the middle of the night with what I thought might be labor pains. After a long 5 hours (o.k., sorry all you marathon birthers - but for a first time mom 5 hours was plenty long!) there she was in all her pink (actually red) glory! She was 9 lbs. 6 oz. and 21 inches long. Had tons of dark black hair. And the most beautiful eyes I'd ever seen! Those eyes looked right through me and into my heart and that was it - I was completely hooked. And I have been ever since. I love this sweet young woman with all my heart and soul. We've been through a lot together - her and I. I was 20 when she was born and for a lot of women that would be old enough to settle down and be a good mom. I'm afraid I probably should have waited another 12 years. It took me a long time to grow up, but Jeni hung in there with me (like she had a choice, I guess) and I think it's turned out good. Not only is she my daughter - but she is my friend. I love being with her so much. I never get tired of her. She has a list of wonderful traits that could take me all day to talk about, but a couple really stand out for me.
First and foremost she is definately her own person. She knows what she likes, what she wants and she doesn't settle for less. She is very comfortable in her own shoes and knows her value as a human being and as a woman.
She is funny. I mean really, really funny. She says the funniest things at the most perfect times. She makes me laugh probably more than anyone else I know.
She loves her family - Her husband and her kids and her extended family. Jeni is definately a team player when it comes to family duties and activities. She and her family attend almost all of Chad's baseball games. They come to all family dinners. She is so good to show love and support to her (and Dan's) entire family.
She is a hard worker. She comes by this fairly naturally - the women in my family are all hard workers - but it does a mom good to see her daughter work really hard for things she wants. She's teaching this important quality to her children and I'm so glad.
She's got a tender heart. Her brothers (and sometimes her sisters) would probably think I'm crazy to say this about her, but it's true. She covers up that tender heart a lot of the time - but believe me, it's there.
I could definately go on, but I'll stop there and just say that this little girl saved me. I had her at a time in my life when I really needed some grounding and something (or someone) else to think about besides myself. She did it. Thank you Jeni for being my girl - I am so thankful that you are my daughter and I love you so very much.
Happy Birthday - Jeni Lyn.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Tyler - 25 years old
Tyler - 16 years old

I don't know why exactly I'm being prompted to blog about Tyler. In recent years - 10 to be exact - there hasn't been a whole lot of positive things going on in Tyler's life, so consequently that means there's not a lot I - as his mother - want to share with the world. You see, Tyler is my second child, my first son. He was born 11 days late on December 3, 1983. He was such a cute, fat, red baby. He came into the world rather quietly - not crying at all at first, which worried the doctors a little. He had a shock of dark black hair that the nurses loved to put into different hair styles each time they would bring him back to me from the nursery. One time it was a little mohawk, another it was parted straight down the middle like a barber shop quartet singer and once it was parted on the middle and combed over. Yep, he was funny from the getgo. He does have a funny sense of humor and can be very funny. He also has a tender little heart and is quite sensitive. After Jeni, his older sister, figured out that he wasn't going back where he came from, she would always take such good care of him. If he cried, she always tried to make it better - either with her smiles or a bottle or a favorite toy. He required a lot of attention - more than the average bear I think. He would climb on top of tables or get into the top kitchen cabinets all in hopes of getting a rise out of me. I learned early on that the less fuss I made, the better. The more fuss, the more he did things to get a reaction. It was a hard thing for me to learn since I am basically a reactor. As time wore on, the attention thing got bigger and bigger. I don't know if maybe I had of just reacted to things when he was little then he wouldn't have felt the need to keep doing more and more. Maybe he was just wired that way and nothing I could have done differently would have made a difference. As he entered adolescence and then pre-teens he liked his music loud and angry and definately didn't want anyone telling him what to do. (I know, typical teenager) He - like his mother - is a reactor and didn't really stop to ever think about anything he did. He just jumped in with both feet and paid the price later. He ran away from home in a fit of anger at 16 years and 2 months. He's been running ever since. He's come back home twice now in hopes of fixing things that were wrong in his life. I keep hoping - like all mothers do - that he and/or we will find that "magic thing" that makes his life better, that makes him happier. I love this boy/man so much and I want to fix things for him so badly. Partly because it might help him, but partly because it would be good for me to not have to worry about him every minute.

Anyway, he's out in the world trying to figure things out and having a hard time making good, clear choices. I pray for him every single day and hope that one day something will click for him. Because as a mother, my heart breaks to think that he's not living up to his potential.

I love you, Tyler.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Basking in the afterglow...

Me and my mom and dad - I'm about 2 or 3 months old

So yesterday was my 48th birthday. Wow. I have to keep saying that number to myself because it doesn't seem real. I have no idea how I got to be 48. It seems I was just chasing boys on the Orangewood Elementary School playground or just graduated from Washington High School or just gave birth to my first child. My Grandpa Grant used to tell me that I should enjoy the age I am because the time goes by way too fast. He was right, of course. The time does go by way too fast.

I had a great day. I had to get up earlier than I would have liked - 7:30am - but it was worth it. I got to spend the morning with my daughter and her four kids. They bring smiles to my face. Jeni had a dentist appointment and I went along to keep the kids busy while she was in with the dentist. I could have stayed at her house with them, but what fun is that? It was way better to challenge myself and see if I could keep 4 kids quiet in a small office space. Luckily, the office was next to an old pioneer cemetary that is apparently being restored. We had great fun walking through and reading some of the headstones. The kids were amazed that some of those people died in the 1800's!! Then we did a little shopping - Walmart, Costco - all the "good" places! In the afternoon I relaxed with my magazines while Jeff worked in the garage with his brother, Jon. Those two love to "work" in the garage together. To cap off a great day, my kids - Justin and his girlfriend, Kaitlin; Jeni and Dan and the kids; Andrea and Greg and Jeff and Chad and I went to Pizza King and ate dinner and listened to karaoke. It was fun to be together and catch up. We were so tickled when Ryleigh got up and sang! She did 5 songs, one of which was "Happy Birthday to Grandma!" I got all teary! I am amazed at that girl. Not only can she sing, but she has the courage to sing in front of a restaurant full of people! I mentioned this to her on the way out to the car and she replied that if she was going to sing for a living, she better get used to doing it in front of people! Smart thinking.

I love birthdays - not necessarily the getting older part - but the birthday itself is usually great fun and puts a smile on my face the whole day. The day wasn't entirely complete however, until my mom and step-dad called and sang Happy Birthday to me in the evening when he got home from work. They do this for everyone in the family, which is so cool because it's become a tradition. Everyone looks forward to hearing them sing.

I'm grateful for another year. I hope I'm smarter than last year, a little more patient, a little kinder and more understanding. I'm looking forward to lots more years of learning and smiling!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

New computer...

So I have a new computer. I know - I'm a lucky girl. I'm married to a computer guy and so therefore I have all the coolest computer stuff, right? Well - sometimes. My kids can attest that it's like being married to a plumber or a painter. Your drains are always clogged and your house always needs painting. When they do it for a living, they don't want to come home and take care of stuff like that. I've been limping my old computer along for a long time. It's served me well. A few months ago, Jeff built me a computer just to house all my digital photos. It's a nice computer - black, really sleek and pretty and FAST! My old computer is putty colored, klunky and SLOWWWWW! The other day I said I sure would like to have just one computer. I'm not savvy enough to function on two computers. Plus, when I blog - all my new photos are on the new computer and the blog is on the old computer. Not too functional. I guess he felt sorry for me or was really happy to be home and wanted to show that happiness by doing nice things for me. So yesterday, he transferred all my data from the old to the new and installed some new cool stuff and VOILA! I'm up and running. Now I just have to get used to the new....
Wish me luck.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Thankful Thursday

So, a couple of my friends do this Thankful Thursday thing. I think I have even done it once - maybe twice. Each time I read their Thankful list, it makes me think of what it is that I'm thankful for. I have so much in my life that's good that I really should show my gratitude more often. So, with that in mind - here goes -

1. I'm thankful that Jeff will be here with us today for two whole weeks.
2. I'm thankful for my daughter Jeni and her sweet family. They keep me busy, which has been such a blessing with Jeff gone so much.
3. I'm thankful that Tyler seems to have found a job and is in a good place right now.
4. I'm thankful that Chad is playing baseball and is focused on school. For a 16 year old boy - that's fantastic!
5. I'm thankful that realtors are still showing my house on a semi-regular basis. That means that one of these times it will click!
6. I'm thankful that Jeff's sister Lynn lives 1 door away so that when realtors do call and want to show my house in 20 minutes, I can pack my magazine and my dogs and go to her house for a while.
7. I'm thankful for my primary calling. I love the little children and I love the ladies I work with.
8. I'm thankful for my friends that love me no matter what.
9. I'm thankful that I lost .8 this week in weight watchers. Of course, it's probably the .8 I gained the week before - but hey, that's o.k.!
10.I'm thankful that my creativity seems to be alive and well - at least for now - because I'm getting a TON of scrapbooking done!!

What are you thankful for?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Happy Birthday Chad!!

That's a milestone - a major milestone.
I remember when I was sixteen. I thought I was so grown up. I knew everything.
Luckily for us, Chad doesn't think he knows EVERYTHING. ;) He's a great kid. He's 5'11", weighs about 144 lbs. Size 10 1/2 shoe. (He wore a 9 a year ago!) He is so handsome.
Some things I love about Chad are -
He's kind
He's secure in himself
He's calm - most of the time
He thinks about stuff - he's not impulsive
He's sensitve to the feelings of others
He's competitive - but not TOO much
He's respectful
He can talk to kids and adults alike and be comfortable in either situation
He has a GREAT smile
I love this kid so much and I'm so glad he's in our family. So Happy Birthday to my "baby"!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Hey - I'm on a roll...

Not much exciting or interesting has been going on the last few days, but "Hey, I'm on a roll" with this whole blogging thing so I thought I'd just post some normal everyday stuff that's going on around here.
Tyler continues to pound the streets of Corvallis in search of employment. Several things are working against him - the economy, small town USA, tons of college kids already have all the jobs and it's winter/rainy season here still so all of the outside jobs are SLOW and won't hire for a few months. However, he has several things in his favor as well - his mother and father love him and believe in him and continue to give him a roof over his head and food to eat so that he doesn't have to worry about that, he's personable (when he wants to be) and he's determined. He knows he'll find a job, he just keeps trying.
Chad starts practicing with the baseball team today. He was loaded down when he left for school this morning. He had his regular school backpack that, I swear, weighs 100 pounds - his small backpack with his baseball clothes in it, and his HUGE baseball bag carrying bats, gloves and catchers gear. He was smiling, though! He's continuing to work with his french teacher and finish up that class.
Jeff is still in Arizona working his little heart out and trying to stay busy. He's hoping to leave to come up here on Thursday. He'll drive, because on Monday when we finally had some money to buy his ticket, air prices had tripled. That's probably good, though because he's back in the hot dog cart business at the end of this month and needs some supplies from here - such as ice chests, tents and such. He loves that hot dog cart stuff! It makes me smile.
Me - I stay busy with the kids and the grandkids and primary. Lucky I have all those things because I'd be going out of my mind about now. I finished up a scrapbook for Andrea so now I only have one more, which is almost done, and then her wedding album and I'm done with 3 of my kids scrapbooks! I've been on a roll (there's that phrase again) lately with scrapbooking. I'm just in a creative flurry so I'm taking advantage and trying to do as much as I can. All in all, life is good and I'm not complaining.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Happy Birthday, Kristi!

So, lucky me! When I married Jeff I gained 3 great kids. The youngest of those three is Kristi and today is her 22nd birthday! Wow. When I married her dad she was 2 1/2. She was a cutie pie. She sucked her finger. Not just any finger - her pointer finger and she sucked it upside down. So funny! She also had a blanket and pig tails and the sweetest little lisp when she talked. She's been a daddy's girl from the time she was little and still is. He loves that so much!
Kristi loves to cook and is a terrific cook. She once thought it would be great fun to own a bakery. She's the quietest of all the kids. She watches everyone and takes everything in. She knows what makes Kristi happy and what Kristi needs. Sometimes she's a little too shy to do something about it right then, but eventually she gets what she wants and needs. She's sensitive and tender and easy going. She loves to just hang out.
I love this girl and I'm glad she's "mine". Happy 22nd, sweetie pie!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Chad's Decision - Part Deux

Well, doesn't this always happen? Just when you've resigned yourself to something, made peace with it and adjusted, it changes?? Yep - that's what happened yesterday. I picked up Chad after school and he gets in the car and says "When can we get me a new mit?" (He needs a new catchers glove) I was confused - he noticed, so he explained that he had talked to the athletic manager and she told him that he could practice with the team while he was working on his french grade and then in 3 weeks (When games started) if he had passed the class, he could play baseball. She also told him that when she taught school, she taught math and would be more than happy to tutor him if he needed help! OH HAPPY DAY!! My son made me cry right there in the school parking lot. He called Jeni and told her the good news and I heard her squeal with delight! Jeff is so happy, too - Chad says he knows when his dad's excited about something because he starts talking fast. Hehe - true, he does.
Not only am I happy he's playing baseball, but I'm happy that he's got a fire inside him now. He's got a goal - something to work towards. He's pumped up! So are we. Bleachers here we come!!
Life with a teenage boy is never boring, that's for sure.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Chad's Decision

Jeni watching baseball

Man, he's getting so tall!

And so handsome!!

He's a great catcher!

Chad has played baseball since he was 5 years old. Every single spring our family is at the baseball park watching him play and cheering him on. He caught on to baseball immediately. In Tee Ball when the other kids were dorking around and chasing each other in the dug out and sitting in the outfield picking flowers - he's in the game. All his concentration and attention are focused on the game. He stands and cheers his teammates from the dug out, he knows when it's his turn to bat - no one has to tell him to get on deck, he knows the score at all times. He's a quintessential team player. He's very competitive, and always wants to BE the best - but he's just as happy when his teammates shine. I love that about him.

Well, as I said in an earlier post, he's struggling in school for the first time in his life. English and French were kicking his butt. He was trying, but it just wasn't enough. He didn't pass English - but French is another story. At this writing his french teacher - Mrs. Bazanele - is still working with him to get enough points to at least pass the class. He appreciates that and so do we. However, Chad has made the very hard decision to sit out baseball this season. I know he's struggled with this - he LOVES baseball. Jeff and I are devastated. His sister, Jeni and her husband Dan, are devastated. There are not words to describe how much we look forward to him playing baseball - it's just the best. But as he told me when he was explaining his decision to me - "Mom, I was sick to my stomach when I saw those grades on my report card. I don't EVER want to feel that way again about grades. I need to get my grade point average back up to where it should and could be." Wow - I can't argue with that. He's right - and I am SO intensely proud of him for caring that much about school and his future.
Still, it leaves me wondering - What in the world am I going to do this spring without baseball??

Monday, February 23, 2009

Who's the Grandma of an 11 year old?? Not me!!

Nope, no way. I cannot be the grandma of an 11 year old - yes, I said an E L E V E N year old! I think it was yesterday that I was waiting patiently at the hospital for my daughter to give birth. It was such a weird set of emotions taking place in me that day. Excitement (I LOVE babies), worry (can Jeni DO this?), happiness (Like I said, I LOVE babies), concern (have I taught Jeni enough that she'll be a good mother?), frustration (where are those nurses with the ice chips??), sadness (she was only 16). Ryleigh Lyn entered the world on February 23, 1998 at 6:36pm. She was beautiful from the beginning. The most perfect little baby. I was hooked!

Through the years Ryleigh and I have formed this wonderful little bond. We get each other. She thinks I'm the best there is and I feel the exact same about her. I am so proud of her and the young lady that she is and will be. Our family was so blessed to have her come into our lives at the exact moment that she did. So, Happy Birthday Bug! I love you so much!!

Oh and by the way - Jeni can do this, I did teach her enough to be a good mother and I love her so much, too. Proud doesn't begin to cover it.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Keep your fingers crossed...

So we have someone coming to look at the house in the morning (February 23). I've been cleaning and straightening and organizing and fussing until I just don't think I can do much more. It's just a crap shoot really. It's a waiting game, this selling your house business sucks. It all ties into the limbo thing - waiting, being patient. Not my strong points - that's probably why I'm experiencing them all right now. Someone knows I need more practice. So, I'll be patient, I'll wait - but all the while - I'll have my fingers crossed. A little good luck never hurt anyone, right?

Saturday, February 21, 2009


The word Limbo conjures up a couple of thoughts. One is the fun game played by really flexible people where you try to see "how low you can go" under a pole held by two people. Each time you are successful at bending backwards and passing under the pole without touching it, the pole goes down a notch and you try again. I've only played a couple of times and I admit, I'm not very good.
The other Limbo is where we are right now. Waiting, hoping, praying for our house to sell so that we can go on to a new phase of life. Limbo. Jeff's been working in Arizona for about 6 weeks. We're not sure if he should come back up this week and stay until the house sells, stay in Arizona and try to secure more clients or find a full time job. Limbo. Chad's trying to decide what to do about baseball. If he doesn't pass his french class, which he'll find out about Monday, then he won't need to even worry about what to do. But, if he does, the season here starts Monday. Should he start playing with these guys and hope that we can stay long enough to finish out the season? Limbo. Like I said, I'm really not very good at Limbo.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Happy Birthday Devin!

Today is my son Devin's 21st birthday! 21?? Really??
I love Devin. I love Devin's happy disposition. He's only recently grown back into this happy disposition. He was born a happy, happy baby. He weighed 9 lbs. 8 oz and was 21 inches long when he was born and was very content from the beginning. There was nothing he loved more than to have me hold him and dance around the family room to music. I can still here him, "More, mama, more!" So we'd dance some more. We'd dance until my legs hurt. Then he hit adolescence I guess and gone was the happy Devin. He was sad, really sad and mad a lot. I admit there were times that he probably deserved to be sad - sometimes things were really hard for Devin - but when I thought he should be happy, he wasn't! Funny kid! However - the happy Devin is back and I am so glad! I love both Devins, but this "new" Devin is way more fun to be around and talk to.
Devin is handsome - dark, thick, gorgeous hair and dark chocolate brown eyes. He has a great smile. Devin is kind and tender and compassionate. So much so, that he tries to hide these qualities by being the opposite sometimes, but he can't last. He's talented. He should be one of those guys that paints cars really cool. He's very artistic like that. He's smart. He went to Montessori preschool when he was little and the teacher once pointed out his artwork to me. It was a free form art project. The kids could use any color they wanted and paint whatever they wanted. The other kids had chosen 2, maybe 3 colors and had drawn things like flowers or trees or their families. Not Devin. He'd used all the colors and had made such an abstract drawing. It was very cool. I think the teacher framed it and hung it in his class for a while. I was pretty proud. I still am. Devin is a wonderful human being and has tremendous potential for good. He just needs to believe in himself. It's been a wonderful 21 years with you and I look forward to the next 21.
I love you, Devin.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Always learning...

O.K., so I'm told by my daughter Jeni that when I post multiple things I have to do it backwards. Like with my last post. I should have blogged about Andrea first, then so on, so that my blog wouldn't START OUT as "And this is our daughter..." Oh well, I learn something new everyday - mostly from Jeni. I'm glad to know she has my back. Thanks honey! Love you!