I ran errands this morning and met Denise for lunch. After lunch, we ran to Sam's Club for a few items. OH! MY! WORD!!! We'd driven separately and parked a few parks away from each other. Doug called as I was getting out of the Expedition and walk inside. As Denise and I were walking in, I realized that I'd not locked the truck, so I stopped at the front end of the parking lot to grab my keys out of my purse pocket and push the button to lock it from several parking spaces away. As I stopped, some crochety man, probably in his later 60s, layed on his horn. I wasn't even sure if he was honking at me??? I was too far from the truck, so I had to walk back closer to it to push the button.
As I walked back to the store, I passed the man and asked, unknowingly, "Were you honking at me?" I asked nicely because I wasn't sure if I'd done something wrong and was willing to apologize if I had. The man lit into me!!!! He was swearing at me and yelling! He told me to stay of my *!@#! cell phone! I was stunned! I said, "I was looking for my key." He went on, "I saw what you were doing! STAY OF YOUR @#$@#$@#$ cell phone!!!!" OH MY WORD!!! I could not believe my ears! People were staring. Doug was on the phone asking, "What's happening? What's happening?" I said, loud enough for him to hear, "Some grumpy old man is yelling and swearing at me. I don't know who pooped in his oatmeal this morning, but he's on one."
People were laughing at my response and I went on, "And he's got his little grandkid with him. That's impressive. He's a great example for her." Denise was dying. She'd walked ahead before it all started and hearing him yell, turned to see what was going on. She was worried that he would be crazy and pull out a gun or something. I kept walking inside and he was following me, just going off. People were rolling their eyes and shaking their heads at him. The guy kept on carrying on and I just walked into the store and went a different direction to avoid him until we left. I didn't see him again. Doug was so upset that he wasn't there. It did make me a bit nervous because these days, you just never know. BUT SERIOUSLY???? Apparently, I was too close to where he was pulling into the park, but I had passed the parking space completely. Denise and I couldn't even figure out why he was freaking out because I was well out of his way when I stopped. Some people's grandpas!
Last night, the kids had all been in different activities for their YM and YW activities, so they came in at different times from different directions. Doug had gone to bed early. The girls were in bed, long before Quayd came in. I'd left the front door unlocked but he came in through the garage door instead, all excited to tell me about his night. I had climbed into bed and Zulu, who sleeps in his bed under ours, was freaking out. He was growling and scratching his bed and moaning and making all sorts of noise. He'd run to the kitchen and then back under the bed, freaking out over and over. This went on for a good twenty minutes. Every single time he came into the bedroom, he was going ballistic under the bed. Go-Go, in his bed right next to him, was as content and quiet as could be. I kept thinking he was playing or trying to tell Go-Go to trade beds, because sometimes Go-Go gets into Zulu's. I was trying to read quietly. I finally thought, "WHAT is his problem?", got out of the bed and down on the floor to take a peek. The kitten was lying there in his bed just as cozy as could be, looking at Zulu as if to say, "I'm not even moving." He's an outside kitten who is learning to be a mouser for the winter. (We have a hay barn behind our home, requiring a cat or two to keep on top of the mice.) The little guy slips in every time we open the door. He had slipped in when Quayd came in from YM and we'd missed his entrance. I laughed so hard once I realized the problem. I took him outside immediately and Zulu looked at me like, "It's about time!" Silly kitty!
Kelly called tonight. Her soon-to-be officially EX-husband and her had some serious drama tonight. Oh, please pass him out of her life and her out of his... FOR.EV.ER. Never a dull moment. On a positive note, she's sent me some very cute photos of Zaylee this past week as they are celebrating Halloween socials. She's really trying. She's also calling more often and being a better daughter of late. I like that... even with the added drama that comes with.
I'm making a quick trip with a friend to the ranch to take some photos of a few last things at the cabin. I'd hoped to plan a "girl's night out" with several girlfriends before winter, but I didn't see it possibly happening at this busy time of year... everyone is so busy...as I said yesterday, Halloween, birthdays, and then Thanksgiving are coming too quickly. I am looking forward to even just a day at the ranch, though, as it's been weeks and weeks since we've been!
Live joyfully... even when people yell at you for no good reason!
Good people bring out the good in people.
This morning, ZJ texted me from school, letting me know that she was not feeling well. She has some sort of bug, so I raced to get her before going to the high school with Doug to celebrate Quayd being chosen as one of the nine recipients of the Student of the Month. We were fed a delicious meal and praised highly for Quayd's awesomeness. I think he enjoyed most sitting across from two darling senior girls who act as representatives for the school. We had a delightful visit with them both. One reminded us immensely of our niece, Lexi, who just got her mission call to Seattle. Ironically, this cute little gal just moved to the valley last year from Seattle.
I was entertained watching Quayd talk with the girls and ask them questions about their lives. He definitely has developed that gift of his dad's, who's worked hard to help all of the kids with the art of asking questions to get others to speak. It was a most enjoyable experience and a proud parent moment for us and for Quayd!
We came home and Doug quickly went back to work. ZJ and I spent some time talking and then she went down for a nap before the kids come home from school. ZJ loves to ask me questions about my life, about my youth. She's always interested, probably moreso than any of the kids have ever been. We have so much fun visiting. Gosh, I heart these kids!
We spent a little time on Facetime with Liza and Aylabelle before Aylabelle's naptime, as well. Aylabelle was eating apples from our tree that Liza had taken home. She loves to blow me kisses. It's one of my favorite things about life right now! I can't believe they've been gone a week already.
Zulu and I did a little reading today. Here's Zulu's favorite location... on the back of my chair, with his head leaning on my shoulder. Could I have any more smudged mascara? It's called, "I cry when I'm happy!" and Quayd made me happy! (Susan, you asked for more pix of me. You got them!)
The kids came home from school and decided to do a "service hour" by walking around the block and offering/helping rake leaves for neighbors. Grace came home early and helped make dinner and a treat for ZJ to take to Young Women's. We had a Sunday pot roast dinner on Tuesday night...score for Mom! It was a busy afternoon.
I was looking at the calendar and all that's happening over the next 60 days. We are literally eight weeks from Christmas. There's much to be done between now and then. Over the next 70 days, my calendar includes:
It's insane how quickly time flies by. While at the luncheon, there was a lady there who I was sure that I recognized but could not put my finger on it. We visited a minute and it turned out that she was the sister of one of my brother-in-law's best friends from high school. We caught up on life for a bit and sat down before the presentation. I was a bit blown away to think of all that's happened since then. You know that feeling when you see someone that you haven't seen in 35 years and they changed. ha! They grew up, married, had kids, their kids grew up and had kids. How did that happen?!?
This week, our sweet neighbor, Arva, 96, passed away. I read her obituary and saw her photo when she was in her prime, as well as one that was probably in her 80s. I barely recognized her. I've only known her the past 15 years or so. Again, I thought, "time flies too quickly!"
I was looking out at the cherry trees in our back yard when I got home. They are beautiful, prolific, producing fabulous cherries by the buckets every July, they block the view of our neighbors yard and give us some privacy. We planted them the second summer in our home. In the time that those trees have grown, so have my children. It's unimaginable how quickly time is flying by.
I catch myself, often, saying, "I can't wait!" It's something that I set as a goal last year to say less. I really don't want to rush the days by. ZJ mentioned an hour ago, "This week has been the slowest week. It's only Tuesday!" She's excited for Halloween. But, before you know it, it will be Thanksgiving, then Christmas, then 2015. Grace turns sixteen on January 2. She'll be "datable". I. CAN. WAIT!
Quayd has less than 20 months and, hopefully, he'll be serving an LDS mission. Grace will be a senior in the same amount of time. ZJ will be at the high school. Honestly, I'd like to stop this train and just take a little walk in the park for a few more years before moving on! Life moves too quickly. Slow down. Even stop.
I'm feeling quite sentimental today. Aunt Pattie was buried today. Savor every moment. Make them count. Don't rush the days by because all to quickly, they become the years. Live joyfully!
Time flies. You are the pilot.
What a rollercoaster of an emotional weekend we all had! Doug and Quayd took the trailer and the tent trailer and went on a Father Son outing...just the two of them... no scouts, no friends, no family... just them. They came back loving life. They'd sat up late and watched the stars and talked about life, took the canoe out and spent some time on the water in the morning and Quayd even took a dip in the water.... brrrrrrrrrrr. But, they had a great time together. Nothing makes me happier!
Big happy news... I stayed up most of the night Friday night and then all day Saturday until I finished the Cabin Inventory Project! No sooner than I finished, I realized that there are a few things we'd kept to restore that are packed away at the ranch. I'll need to make a quick run up to the cabin for some photos to add those last items to the list and send it off to the insurance company this week! HAPPINESS!!!! That was one huge undertaking and I am glad to see it at it's end!
The girls and I stayed home and ate frozen pizzas and treats while doing laundry and watching a new DVD we ordered called Mom's Night Out. It was totally predictable but very clean and cute with a great message. Watching the girls laugh made it worth the money because they are still quoting it and laughing about it!
Doug and Quayd came home, just about the same time I was finishing the cabin project. It had been an emotional morning for me. (That's a whole other story.) My aunt had passed away and I was feeling a lot of emotion over my parents divorce and how much I'd missed of my Bell family as I had grown up. I had been worried for the past few days over something that I could not quite put my finger on. Something wasn't right and I didn't know what. That afternoon, I was in tears, sharing my feeling with Doug when my phone rang. It was a member of my Dad's side of the family. I literally stared at my phone and thought, "Dad is dead." It was a horrific feeling that took me about four rings to gather the courage to say, "Hello." That was not the news. But, the news was not good. Dad's not doing well. Some decisions needed to be made in his behalf. It was a difficult conversation to have, but one that was necessary. I can't really say much more because there's not much more to say yet. But, prayers for my dad would be appreciated. I was so grateful that Doug was there to hold me and hug me and say that everything will be okay after I'd hung up.
Saturday evening, we all went our own directions. Quayd worked, Grace went to a dance at the LDS Institute on USU Campus, ZJ and Doug stayed home and made grape juice, then watched Mom's Night Out together. Denise called and needed a friend (and quite frankly, after the "dad situation", it was nice to escape), so we went to dinner and for a drive. It was one of those nights where we were all busy but all busy apart. It worked out for the best for everyone.
One other thought from Saturday... one of our sweet senior single lady friends, that I used to help with the Family Home Evenings, passed away on Saturday morning. Arva was 96 years old. She was the definition of "Enduring to the end". She's could barely see or hear, but that sweet wonderful woman sat on the front row of church every Sunday until the very end! Bless her heart! And her family!
I started my teaching my Sunday School class again yesterday. I was surprised to see so many familiar faces, choosing to repeat the class. I explained that the manual had not changed, Doug nor I had changed, so my stories wouldn't have changed either and then teased, "Either I didn't do a very good job or you guys still haven't figured it out!" I had a happy moment when someone in the hall said, "Take her class, she's the best teacher!" I don't know who said it, but, I called out the door, "Thank you! YOU just made my day!" That's always a sweet reward. There are a few new couples in the class, as well as the group that I loved spending that hour with each Sunday last time around, so it will be a fun group to have discussions about family and marriage together with! I love teaching the gospel and teaching about families and the gospel is even better!
When we got home from church, Go-Go was the only little furry friend who greeted me at the door. I immediately knew that our little wanderer, Zulu, had gone on another walk-about! We searched and searched for hours to no avail. We went to the B's for dessert after dinner and drove around in the dark after that. This morning at 6, I was out driving around after a long night of worrying about him freezing to death! Nothing. Sadness.
I met Carol this morning bright and early for breakfast and some furniture shopping for her new home. While we were out and about, I got an email from a new friend, who said she is a "Closet blog-reader" of mine. She'd seen my post yesterday and noticed on Facebook that someone had found a dog, posted his picture and it was Zulu! Here was the ad and photo: No, he's not for sale but lost. He was at the church and I'm sure he is missed. If you know anyone that lost him, Please contact me...
Friend, Amber also had told me to try the same page, but I'd not realized that she mean that it was a page on Facebook. I thought it was at a different website. With the help of both of them, I was able to contact the lady and went straight to pick him up. Zulu was on a walk with her husband when I arrived and came running across the field to greet me. Here I'd been worrying all night that he was wandering and freezing and the sweet lady said that he slept in bed with them and their other little maltese pooch. They'd all bonded and had a nice warm night together. Zulu has been home sleeping all day... exhausted after his little excitement. I think we are going to get him new tags that says, "I'm Zulu Corbridge and I like to explore the world on my own!" I feel so thankful that he's home! It was a long and tearful night! He's basked in the sunshine and slept most of the afternoon since he came home.
Natalie and I did some running and shopping and grabbed a bite for lunch in the afternoon, right after I picked Zulu up. We always have tons to talk about and love home decor shopping together. We always manage to something to laugh about, as well. I came home and thought, "I am blessed with amazing people in my world!"
Tonight, for family home evening, we'll be making grape juice and applesauce, I believe is the plan. The weather has been so lovely. This morning and last night were very cold. Today, it's felt like October! Hard to imagine that it's this late in the the fall before it feels like it! Nat and I were gabbing and looking at Halloween decor at Sugar and Spice when she had to point out that Halloween is this week! I said, "How did that happen!?" Then I remembered, "Oh! NYC and Liza for a week. That's how it happened!" The second this sunk in, I thought, "It's almost time for Christmas decor!!!!" and the Christmas music started in my head, "It's the most wonderful time of the year!"
Quayd's Student of the Month luncheon is tomorrow! We've got dental appointments, a doctor check-up, a quick run to the cabin, a couple of projects that need to be done now that my time is my own and not the cabin's anymore, some end of season canning and Thanksgiving/fall decorating as soon as I put away the Halloween things Friday night to do. It's a busy week...just the way I like it! Live joyfully!
When it rains look for rainbows, when its dark look for stars.
I started this entry Tuesday evening, but I've been so involved in other things, it's taken me until tonight to complete it! Liza's last day here...
When we woke up Tuesday morning, it was pouring the rain and there was a thunder/lightning storm just as the kids were ready to go to school. I took Quayd and Grace to Seminary and came home to take ZJ to school. For some personal reasons, ZJ stayed home from school and as we were leaving, I felt impressed to bring her with me to take Liza to the airport. I'd made plans earlier to have lunch with one of my favorite ladies, Marilyn, in SLC. I texted then called Marilyn to let her know that I just felt this strong impression that Zeej needed her mom today. So, we rescheduled and ZJ joined us.
While Liza was getting ready, ZJ kept Aylabelle entertained on the piano. Liza held her and played quite a bit, so I loved watching Aylabelle play with her fingers instead of banging with her hands. She loved it!
Could she look any more like her mother in the one below?
Once Liza was ready, we took a few pictures, which made me especially grateful to have ZJ there! It's rare that I get in front of the camera, but here's a few of my faves!
Blowing Grammie kisses!
Oh my heart! I love this baby!
Could she be any cuter and could I be any happier!?
Really and truly, there are no words.
We left a few hours early for the airport, so that we could stop at Zupas for lunch in Layton. We had a fun lunch and loved watching Aylabelle tasting all the fun foods. She loved the chocolate covered strawberry, but not as much as Liza's turkey cranberry sandwich! That little girl loves to eat!
When we arrived at the airport, it was 2:14 and the goal was 2:15, so right on schedule. We had a sky-cap help Liza get checked in and said our goodbyes. My heart. It ached for the last hour. Aylabelle was excited to get in her stroller and get moving. Liza and I hugged and the tears fell. (At least, mine did. She loves her mother, but she is always anxious and happy to get home to see her hubby! And, again, I wouldn't have it any other way!)
Liza texted me this photo of Aylabelle's fascination inside the plane.
I had ZJ text Liza a few texts while I drove away and headed north. We stopped at Taipan for a little looksie. As we were pulling into the parking lot, ZJ got a text from Liza, "Is Mom still crying?" Zeej responded, "We are pulling into Taipan, this will help." Liza, at the same time, texted, "Ask her a question about her teen years. She can tell you a story and that will take her mind off of things." They both know their mother so well! Chirstmas is already happening at Taipan!
We were in search of a new butter dish. Fail. But, we did see some fun holiday decor and Zeej fell in love with some of the clothing items. It was a fun stop. One more stop for Sonic happy hour (Twice in one day) and we were headed home. We got home just about the same time Liza landed safely and texted that Aylabelle had done great! She also had her own aisle on the not-even-half-full plane. Sweet! A happy reunion for Liza's little family and we came home just in time for the girls to get ready and head to the temple with the Young Women. Quayd and I had a long talk about some deep topics before Doug came in from work and they headed off to a Court of Honor. Being alone in the house gave me a few minutes to pick up, put away the baby things, and count my blessings for this wonderful week!
When everyone came in and shared their "events" of the day and headed to bed early, Liza and I chatted for a few minutes just before she was putting Aylabelle to bed. My favorite moment of the day was Liza hugging me at the airport and saying, "Mom, it's been a perfect week...every second of it." It doesn't get any better than that! I am so blessed with this wonderful family!
A few random thoughts...
Train your mind to see the good in everything.
ETA: I wrote this blog last night and this is the first time I've had to sit down at the computer to add photos. This past year, life has put so much on my plate that I really do have a hard time sitting down some days. ANYWAAAAAYYYYY....
On Monday, we met Kelly and Denise for lunch and ran the last of Liza's "while I'm in Utah" errands before going back in for second haircuts. The stylist had been in a rush because she'd been double booked last week and told us to come in again, so we did after both of us had done our own hair and decided that we wanted it shorter. I took Aylabelle into the toy store while Liza got her hair recut. We found a huge giraffe in the toystore, which she fell in love with. Aylabelle has the oddest looking stuffed giraffe that was the first toy Liza and Buddy bought her. She loves it! They have season passes to the huge Phoenix Zoo and Aylabelle definitely makes the connection with her own stuffed "Bob" and she also made the connection with the giraffe in the store! Too cute!
another deep sigh...
Quayd, sadly, had to work last night. So, when Doug called on his afternoon break, we took Liza's lead for Family Home Evening. We met Doug at Willow Park for a spontaneous Subway Sandwich, chips and cookies picnic, some park time and a walk through what Logan calls it's own zoo. (In my opinion, a zoo is not a zoo without an elephant, a tiger, a zebra and a giraffe, making Willow Park a "not even close" zoo. However, they do have a bear and a monkey.) Not that it mattered, because when we were done eating, we discovered that the "not even close" Zoo was closed at 5PM. Buddy had called in the middle of our walk to the zoo and when Liza told him what we were doing, he said, "Tell Aylabelle to try to pretend it's cool." Lots of "not even close" Zoo jokes. Just for Buddy, here's Aylabelle's "Where'd it go?" photo at the closed gate of the not even close zoo. (I was telling a friend from Logan about it and they laughed, "It's not a zoo! It's a bird sanctuary!"
Aylabelle does DuckFace when she swings.
After we discovered that the park was closed, we walked through the park area and noticed the little stage and I had a spontaneous idea that we were going to have an instant talent show. Everyone looked at me like I was crazy! I grabbed the camera and started taking pictures. Oh my, we laughed! Here's our talent show, which took a total of five minutes and we laughed for half an hour.
Liza gave a "grand" piano performance on her imaginary piano. At first, she played pretty prim and proper, but then she got right into it! Too funny! If you were a "Friends" watcher, you know where we got this line, "You're good!"
ZJ was a mime.
Grace did some serious Irish Step Dancing.
Doug played his nose "harp".
I was the performance photographer.
Aylabelle even got in the fun and did "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes" with her mommy.
As we finished, Liza gave a 30 second lesson that Heavenly Father has blessed us each with many talents and that it's important that we develop them and share them to serve others. All impromptu, but I'm betting we will all remember "that Family Night at Willow Park when we had the not-so talent show because the not-so Zoo was closed."
When we got home, Liza went downstairs to pack. I kept Aylabelle with me. We sat on the floor in the gallery with Dancing with the Stars on the TV in the background while she and I played with her toys for two hours. She would hear the beat of the music and dance. She loves to dance and do her little jig. The girls were downstairs in Grace's room, below me, and I could hear them all just talking and having a good time through the vent... not what they were talking about but that they were talking. The mere fact that it took two hours, I knew that they were bonding. A bit later, the girls came upstairs while Liza was finishing up and said, "Liza is the best big sister in the world." They were grinning ear to ear and just went on and on about their conversation. When I asked, "What were you all talking about?", they said, "You know, sister stuff." How grateful I am for the effort Liza has put forth over the years to be their big sister!
Quayd came in from work and was a bit jealous, he'd told his dad, that the girls had had so much time with Liza while he'd been working, so she went down and spent an hour in his room with him. She'd also helped him on Saturday night to prepare for an assignment he had for Sunday School. They had a good visit, as well. I'm sure it was hard for him to see us all doing the girly stuff all week, even though we played plenty of games to include him when he was home.
After Quayd, Liza went in and woke her dad up to visit with him for thirty last minutes. It was after eleven when we actually had some time together. Never enough moments in the day when she is here. We sat and gabbed until we were both ready to crash. Sadly, after she went to bed, I still took an hour to fall asleep, just thinking about her leaving.
To be continued....
Don't wait for the perfect moment,
take the moment and make it perfect.
My girls are gone. It's almost midnight. We made the most of every minute until the very last. I'm exhausted! I've got an entire post ready to publish minus the pictures. So, I'm going to bed and will add the pix and post it in the morning. For tonight... Here's my lovely little ladies saying goodbye at the airport. Happy to be going home to their life, husband and daddy, they were smiling much more than I. But, I can not deny how happy I am that my sweet Liza is so happy in her own life as wife, mother, sister in the gospel, homemaker and more... that she looks so forward to getting back to it! A mother could not ask for more for her daughter!
I've got a ton of pix to post and it's almost midnight. We had the funnest day and a crazy Family Home Evening. It's been a great day! Liza and I are still up visiting. I'll share more tomorrow after I get back from the airport. Me and a Route 44 Diet Coke. Tomorrow night. Same time, same place. Less my two girls.
Today's pic... Aylabelle meets her first olive. She loved them.
she likes it!
Have I mentioned that I love my girls?
Always find a reason to laugh.
It may not add years to your life, but it will surely add life to your years.
What a wonderful time we've been having with Liza and Aylabelle!
Friday: We slept in a bit and ZJ made us Creamy Wheat for breakfast. We had this whole conversation about how following directions actually makes for good food! You had to be there, but ZJ is a direction follower! It was perfect! We stuck around home all morning and until 2 in the afternoon. Liza had made a hair appointment and we didn't leave until five minutes before that. The kids were home and we had a fun morning just chillaxing together. It was nice to have the kids home for fall break, even if we didn't do much big time "breaking". Just the fact that we didn't have to get up so early was awesome! (Only two more weeks of early morning Seminary! YAY!!!) Doug had to work. Quayd had to work. ZJ wasn't feeling too hot, so she and Grace opted to stay home and in their jammies all day. That's perfectly fine with me because it's vacation!
Liza and I had a nice little afternoon out alone. When we got to the salon, Liza surprised me with a haircut too. We argued over who paid and, in the end, and I won. My favorite thing she said, "Mom never lets me pay for a thing when I'm here, no matter how hard I try." Isn't that what going home to Mom is all about? My mom never let me pay when I went home. I think it's a rule someplace, right?
We had a few stops in town, but, our first was to visit Doug's mom. Liza loves her Grandma and always makes time to go and see her whenever she comes to visit. Aylabelle was so sweet with her. She did her Eensy-Weensy Spider and clapped and all of her cute little one year old performances, but Great-Grandma loved that Aylabelle blew her kisses goodbye without any prompting at all. I can't believe I didn't take a picture of them together!
We made a few quick shopping stops and headed home for the evening with Doug and the girls until Quayd came in from work. Not wanting to cook, and not wanting to go out, Doug cooked, which means, McDonalds, pizza or Subway. It was so fun watching Aylabelle eat french fries. She has a few food allergies and she is lactose intolerant, so I have to be so careful what I feed her and it drives me nuts! I'll think I've got something awesome for her and realize, "Oh, there's cheese." I'm learning, but it was fun to watch her eat "normal food". The funny thing is that it's very rare that we eat "normal" ( McD's) since I'm married to Mr. Granolaman. THANKFULLY because I am so not a McD's fan!
We played Fluxx and Apples to Apples until bedtime and laughed so hard. The best laugh of the night was when we had the word "Complicated" and Liza insisted that her card, "Knock-knock Jokes" should win. We all looked at her and asked how she could even think that knock-knock jokes were complicated? Her answer, "Knock knock jokes are so complicated... I can never tell if I should say, Who's there? or Come in." She cracks me up! After family prayer, I looked around the room and just wanted to cry because we were all together and it hit me, that having teens at home with Liza here, is just crazy fun! I feel so blessed!
On Saturday, Doug went into work. After breakfast, we watched "Heaven is For Real" and played a few games until Liza went to her in-laws for the afternoon. While she was away, ZJ and I put that few hours to use and finished preparing the lesson she'd been asked to teach in Young Womens. We prepared a huge Jeopardy board game withh stories, characteristics, hymns, and so on about Christ and from his lifetime. As son as we got it together, we made dinner (PF Chang Chicken stir-fry) and waited for Liza to return. She got home in perfect timing, just as dinner was ready.
After dinner, we played a few other games until bedtime. After bedtime, Doug and I introduced Liza to "Forever", our new favorite TV show. We talked a bit through it and Doug slept through it, as we didn't even begin until after ten, but it was a good way to wind down.
Sunday was a bit different for us. Since Aylabelle has been sick, Liza opted to keep her home from church and away from other children a few more days. It's not even been a week yet and Aylabelle is still using the inhaler, so we are still concerned that she is contagious. I woke up with a serious migraine. ZJ did, as well. ZJ had to teach her lesson, so she went to church to teach her lesson. She said that she lost her voice in the middle of it. She wasn't feeling her best, but she was committed. I stayed home with Liza and Aylabelle. That wasn't a hard decision. The migraine did not go away until evening.
We'd invited Kelly and Zaylee to come for dinner and told Zaylee that she needed to keep her distance from Aylabelle, but once Zaylee saw our kitten, that wasn't not a problem for her at all. While we waited for dinner to cook, we enjoyed sitting out in the backyard on the swing. Zaylee and Aylabelle picked grapes with ZJ. Liza pointed out that our back yard is so beautiful and, for a moment, I grieved the fact that we are only weeks away from being inside for months. As much as I love winter, I've enjoyed this past summer in our back yard more than any I can remember.
Dinner was fabulous! Quayd chose the menu since it was a post birthday dinner for him. Grape-jelly meatballs, mashed potatoes, homemade rolls and other good things, plus Fried Ice Cream for dessert. After dinner, we played games and gabbed and just had a really visit. Doug took Zaylee for a walk over to the B's so that she could see Miki for a bit. When they got home, we played CLR and ate dessert, said family prayer and said our goodbyes.
Before she left, Kelly invited herself to join Liza, Denise and I for lunch tomorrow. We were happy to have her want to come. She promised that she would not be a stranger and hugged me. Liza and I talked after about the fact that Kelly tried really hard to be respectful. She offered and helped with dishes. It really was a pleasant afternoon and evening, and a perfect way to help remind her of how much family matters. I think that we all equally enjoyed the visit.
Before prayer, I pointed out to Zaylee, "Look! Look at who's here with Grammie! Kelly! Then Liza! Then, Quayd! Then, Grace! Then ZJ! Five of my six children! Who's missing? She said, "Uncle Dale!" Then I said, "And look! YOU and Aylabelle! Willow is missing." But, I have almost all of our family here together! This makes Grammie sooooooooooo happy!" We took a bunch of pictures and it brought tears to my eyes.
girls, girls, girls!
the gang's almost all here!
Kelly's choices have affected mine and Doug's lives in so many ways beyond words. Thankfully, miraculously, I am grateful for the placement of Kelly's other four children into the most wonderful families we could have imagined. I consider them my grands, as well. But, those children belong to their own families and how thankful we are for those families! We are so proud of how hard Kelly worked to get Zaylee back and she continues to show progress. They are both good for each other. 16 months later, there has been much good that came from the challenge of having Zaylee removed. Kelly continues to try harder every day. Zaylee loves her mom. It's been a good thing, in the long run. As usual... we can look back on the challenges of life and see that good came from them!
Life is good! Live joyfully!
Family...where life begins and love never ends.
Aylabelle slept in this morning, which we were happy to see since she's been so sick. She woke up acting a bit better, but she's still raspy. She got better throught the day but first thing, she was pretty sad. It's heartbreaking to see this happy baby feeling so terrible!
We had a big day planned for everyone. After a German Pancake brunch, Quayd and Doug went to see new movie, Mazerunner, at noon. They came back loving it! The girls went to the mall and had their own little shopping time and lunch. This is the kind of thing that they really get excited about. "It's a teenage thing to do, Mom." Liza, Aylabelle and I met Denise for lunch. We had a good visit and the food was okay. Our server was lacking in positive attitnde and actually kept us entertained by his poor service. His attitude was awful! There were a list of things he did that would have made my mother scream, but we had to laugh... like when I asked him for a second straw since Aylabelle had claimed mine. He said, "I'll bring one when I get a minute." (He had one other table at the time.) He'd not brought the water that Liza had asked for at the beginning, so when he brought her water, it had two straws in it. He said, "There's your extra straw, in her water." SERIOUSLY!? That was just the beginning. We only left him a 15% tip, which was his own doing, but Denise still feels guilty. Liza said, "He didn't deserve that!"
We did a little shopping after lunch with the girls. Liza strongly recommended that we need new pillows, so we pillow shopped and bought a few other odds and ends with the girls. I bought Aylabelle the coolest toy which entertained us all most of the rest of the day.
Doug had spent over an hour this morning, trying to unplug the kitchen drain this morning to no avail. He decided that after the movie, he would have to disassemble the bottom pipe under the sink. While we were shopping, Liza suggested that I buy some drano before Doug took the kitchen sink apart. We poured half a bottle in and it said to wait fifteen minutes. Within five minutes, the sink drained itself...quite loudly! As in, "What was that!?" I was glad that this didn't become one of those projects that you think will be one thing and it ends up being a whole new kitchen.
I made a family favorite, Cabbage and Noodles for dinner. Liza was talking to Buddy and told him what we having. Buddy teased "I'll leave that to you and go get me something to eat." He was a happy camper not to have our meal, but for over 35 years, it's been a family favorite. Aylabelle sure enjoys the grapes. Doug was so excited to share them and see her loving them. It's a riot!
After dinner, Liza introduced us to a fun game... a variation of the Name Game. (To play the game, everyone writes one name on a piece of paper. Each player had three pieces, so each wrote three names. They go into a bowl. Round 1: Each person takes a turn, drawing a name and describing the name until someone guesses it. Round 2: Put the names back into the bowl. Each person takes a turn, drawing a name and says ONE WORD to describe the person until someone guesses it. It helps if you pay attention to round 1 so that you can use a word from the previous clue. Round 3: The names go back into the bowl again. This time, everyone takes turns, drawing the name and acting it out, like Charades. It can also be played in teams. Example: Cinderella: Round 1: This person had a wicked step-mother and step-sisters and swept and cleaned everything for them. She lost her glass slipper. Round 2: Slipper. or Step-Mother. Round 3: act out slipping on the slipper or sweeping the floor. VERY FUN!
We played three rounds whild Grace baked cookies. We laughed so dang hard. My Alvin and the Chipmunks immitation had Liza in tears. Aylabelle was sitting on my dining room table in the middle of the game and everytime we would laugh, she would start clapping and laughing like it was all about her. Oh my word, I love this child!
Carol came over tonight with Taylor and Tanner to see Liza and Aylabelle. Carol notices that Aylabelle was playing with my iPhone. She said, "Is that your phone she's playing with?" Carol could not believe that I was letting her play with it. Her comment was "You don't even let your kids play with your phone!" That's one of the beauties of being Grammie! I can break all of the rules!
It was a good day and a good night! Loved it! I love having my girls here! I can't believe I didn't take many pictures today. We were too busy playing! Live joyfully!
Find Joy in the ORDINARY!
I think that I mentioned that Quayd has had no desire to celebrate being seventeen. None. For weeks, I've asked, what do you want for your birthday? Nothing? What do you want to do for your birthday? Nothing. What can I cook for your birthday? Nothing? So, we discussed it yesterday and decided that I wasn't going to buy him anything just for buying's sake. When he figures out what he wants, it's his. But, until then, I'll just keep that money put away. No treasure hunt. No gifts. (Well, none that were real gifts.) That's what he wanted. Okey dokey then.
After school, he decided that he did want to go out to dinner at HuHot as a family. So, we met Doug after work and went straight to dinner. Quayd ate and ate and ate. Three large plates of stirfry and appetizers. Quayd finished his second year of no candy or pop this week. So, he got pop for dinner tonight and drank 5 cups of peach fanta. On the way home, he and his dad stopped at Lee's and bought 2.5 pounds of taffy. When he got to the register to buy it, Quayd's good friend, Chase said, "I'm buying it for your birthday!" Quayd thought that was pretty cool of Chase. He ate half the bag tonight. Oh my. Talk about sugar shock. I told him that as long as he brushed his teeth for three minutes and that he could sleep it off tonight, it was fine with me. I'm sick thinking about it! He apologized a few minutes ago for being so picky about his birthday. I told him, "You weren't picky enough!!" He had a good day!
Now to Liza's arrival: I baked homemade bagels in the afternoon to kill time while waiting for Liza and Aylabelle to arrive. The kids had YM/YW service project, picking apples at Sister Smith's home. The bagels came out of the oven, just as they were ready to leave. I was able to make scrambled egg and cheese bagels for them to have a quick bite before leaving. I've made bagels before, but I've been inspired to become a Master Bagel maker since NYC. Oh, my. They were divine! They are time consuming but so worth the effort! I loved this quote: If it's not boiled, it's not a bagel, it's a roll with a hole in it.
Liza and Aylabelle arrived last night about about 8. They'd gotten into town and she'd stayed at Buddy's parents' home the first day. When we facetimed in the morning, Aylabelle was just barking. Her little eyes were swollen and puffy. Liza said she has never been this sick. One look at her and I called our doctor for an appointment! Liza and her mother-in-law, Sheree, took Aylabelle into the doctor and he confirmed that she has croup. It was the saddest thing I've ever seen. He gave her a steroid and an inhaler to be used this week.
Once they arrived last night, Aylabelle was just the saddest little thing. She cried everytime anyone looked at her. She just wanted her mommy, so I didn't even try to hold her. Doug and our good neighbor/former Bishop, Kim, gave her a priesthood blessing. That was a task in itself. She was so tired and achey. Liza got her to bed and I assumed that it would be a very long night for us all. She only woke twice that we heard and when she woke up this morning, she sounded much better. As the day went on, aside from her raspy voice, you would not have known she was sick. She was happy and playful.
She loves the kids. She loves her Grampy. She totally trusts me and came to me all day. That's because we facetime or skype every day. We had such a fun day. We didn't take her out to town until Quayd's dinner, but we did take two walks to the corner and let her play in the back yard with the dogs. She loves the puppies. Liza and I laughed so hard at Aylabelle and the kitty, however. She is apparently, not a cat lover. The kitten jumped up on the glider swing and Aylabelle would scoot it right off. Tango would just back up. Aylabelle would push him off again. This happened over and over. If the dogs jumped up, she'd smile and pet them. She made her opinion known, no doubt.
She also loved eating the grapes off the vine. Liza is used to feeding her storebought grapes, where she cuts them into pieces. However, Aylabelle would have none of that. Our vine-ripening grapes have soft skins and just explode when you try to break them. Aylabelle wanted to hold the vine and pull them off. It was adorable.
The kids are so excited to have Liza and Aylabelle here. ZJ made me laugh so hard today that I cackled. Here's the text conversation that we had today while she was at school:
ZJ: Can u plz come and get me?
Me: R u sick? R u bleeding out of your eyeballs? Did your arms fall off? Did your appendix rupture? (She has no appendix.)
ZJ: I'm dead. Something along that line. A little bit of each. LOL
Me: If the school calls an ambulance for you, have them call me on the way to the hospital, okay?
ZJ: Okay, I shall try. I'm just really cranky and tired.
Me: You'll still be alive. BUT, I love you.
ZJ: I know.
That girl cracks me up. She survived the day and now they have Fall Break, so no school till next week! Party time!
Liza made us egg salad sandwiches for lunch, we stayed home till dinnertime, just gabbing. My favorite part of the day was when the kids came home and we all sat in the backyard just gabbing while we waited for Doug to get off work. Aylabelle is so cute. She does cute things and then looks at us, waiting for our applause and praise. SO dang cute!
It was so nice to see her smile after last night!
Grammie lets Aylabelle play with her phone. It's me practicing, "When all else fails, ask Grammie!"
I don't think that it's possible to love any more than I love this girl!
My Liza Junior...ZJ and her baby, Zulu
She's growing up far too quickly!
The birthday boy!
Grace shared a story from her day at school that made me proud! She stood up to and asked someone to stop gossiping. She is just as beautiful on the inside as she is the out.
Liza and Aylabelle were facetiming while sitting next to each other. Aylabelle loved that!
Oh, I have to share one Doug funny... last night, I'm baking bagels. Doug walks into the kitchen. Out of nowhere, and I mean NOWHERE, he says, "I'm sad that John Denver died." I said, "Um. You do realize that John Denver died like twenty years ago, right?" He said, "Yeh, but I can still miss him." I love this man that has such a big heart.
After dinner, we came home and Liza introduced us to a new game called, Fluxx. Lots of fun! Just ordered our own from Amazon Prime! Quayd had a great birthday! I had a great family day! I have a great family, said Sophia, humbly!
Kelly called this afternoon and will be coming over on Sunday. We didn't want to expose Zaylee to croup. The doctor said it's highly contagious to children. By Sunday, she'll be fine. We'll probably go out for lunch or breakfast next week before Liza leaves too. I was glad to hear from Kelly! I am one lucky mom and grammie! Life is good! Live joyfully!
Be with those who help your being!
It's Quayd's 17th birthday! This has been a huge year for Quayd. This year, he passed the drivers test, but still hasn't gotten his license. He's in no hurry and we sure aren't rushing him! He went on his first date and was just asked to his first dance. He got a job and works hard! He's shown some amazing growth, physically, spiritually and emotionally! He's taller than his dad and so proud of it! He is such a great boy! His sense of humor keeps us laughing! His creativity is always in high gear. Quayd has a soundtrack in his head for life... everything, from doing dishes to riding his bike, he's got music going. He's made some great friends this year. One of the highlights of my year was seeing Quayd with his friends "hang out" by doing baptisms at the temple. He's still not completed that Eagle Project and has one year left to do it. He's not given up, but fitting it in with school and working the hours he does, it's going to be a challenge! OH MY WORD, I love this boy! Our lives without Quayd would be boring and dull! He keeps us on our toes!
Here's Quayd's birthday interview:
Happy Birthday, Bug! We love you!!!
I had a fun lunch date with Natalie, celebrating my birthday and running some errands. She's still redecorating and we did a little shopping for her while finding a cute Halloween item for my corner cabinet. I always love catching up with Nat... she was gone last week and I was gone the week before, so it was two weeks that we had not connected. Lovely!
I heard from Liza off and on all day as she traveled from Arizona with her mother-in-law. They should be here by now. I won't see her until tomorrow night, though! Can. Not. Wait! Until then, I have a family meeting about the cabin, more laundry to do and a few last minute things to get ready for her arrival. Have I mentioned that I'm excited to see my girls?!
Speaking of girls, I dropped by Kelly's over the weekend. I was able to see Zaylee for about five minutes. It's the first time we'd seen her since July 3. Zaylee seemed happy, Kelly looks so thin, the house was very clean. Zaylee needs a dresser. I think that's what we will give her for her birthday. We only spoke for a few minutes. I was just checking to see if she needed anything. I hope that we will get to see her while Liza and Aylabelle are here.
We took Quayd to work this afternoon and ran into Lee's for a few groceries. ZJ has been asking about SPAM. She's never had SPAM before and keeps wanting to try it. I told her that it's nasty and there's a reason we don't eat it. I remembered eating it as a little girl and liking it, but being married to GranolaMan, it's not something that I've bought in her lifetime. She told me, while walking down the aisles at Lee's that it's Number Three on her bucketlist. I grabbed a can and said we could have Chef's Salad and Spam sandwiches for dinner, so that she could cross it off. Then I told her, "If SPAM is number three, we need to work on that Bucket List a little." I think it will be a fun Family Home Evening activity. We'll do it next week with Liza here!
Best text of the day: In Logan! (with this photo attached!)
Patience never was one of my virtues!
It is not how much we have but how much we enjoy that makes happiness.
A few things that have really been on my mind since I got home...
I would love to return to New York. One thing I realized is that going again with Doug or Carol would be a totally different experience. Going with Doug, we'd spend a lot of time in museums and talking with people. Carol and I would do a lot of sightseeing, taste testing, finding ways to laugh together...probably by our own faux pas.However! I'm so so grateful for the opportunity of having gone with Katie and staying with LeAnna and the "real life" look at the city that I don't think we could have gotten otherwise. It was such a fabulous experience, unmatchable! I loved the entire trip! It's hard to believe that I was flying home at about this time one week ago. It was a life-changing experience. Even Doug has said that he sees it! SO grateful!
It's been a crazy week. Coming home, I had a total case of jet-lag or alcohol-less hangover. I think I'm still a bit sleep deprived. Thankfully, I've been able to rest at my will throughout the week. I got home and slept and slept and slept the first two days. It felt great to be home in my own bed. Life wasted no time "continuing" as soon as I walked in the door. Here's a few things that have happened since I got home...
Start each day with a positive thought!
Following our tour of Ground Zero, Katie still needed to get that Lego set for Jason before we headed back to Brooklyn to gather our things and head to the airport. Our flight did not leave until 7:30PM, so we didn't need to leave for the airport until 5. We still had all afternoon. We decided to just grab a bite to eat on the run. I had pizza. LeAnna grabbed sushi. Isn't she adorable!
Katie ate at McD's because they have a potty! ha! Remember, it's crazy that there are no potties in NY! Doug says that sounds like an opportunity... I'd pass, thank you! Not the best pizza I had in NY, but they had the nummy garlic knots that I grew up eating in Miama, so I brought home half a dozen for the kids and Doug to try. (Poor Katie had to smell them everytime I opened my carry-on bag.) Again, the city... the buildings... it's amazing!
We caught a subway and headed to Upper Manhattan. No sooner than the doors closed, a mariachi band started performing. They were good! I videotaped them singing so Doug could enjoy their music. I love subway performers!
We got to Rockefeller Center and went our separate ways. I had really wanted to see the inside of St. Patrick's Cathedral. It's under construction currently and there was scaffolding all around the outside of the building.
LeAnna and Katie went one way and I headed towards the church, with plans to meet back in a bit. As I turned the corner, I could see that there was a parade taking place on the street between where I was standing and the Cathedral. I'm not even sure how it happened, but the next thing I knew, I was in a crowd of people being herded through "cattle chutes" across the street, while the parade was called to a halt.
I mentioned to a police officer in the street that I wanted to go inside the church. She led me into a different "chute" and the next thing I knew, I was walking up some planks into St. Patricks. Um. Really? I could not believe what I saw next.
Remember, it's Sunday afternoon. And this is a church. And there were people inside. Worshipping. Lighting candles. Kneeling and crossing. And there was a priest. He was speaking latin. And there were people repeating him. In high school, one of my closest friends was from Queens and she was as Italian and as Catholic as could be. I knew these things from time spent with her. But, here was the thing... there were probably a hundred tourists walking around inside the church while people were worshipping!!!! Are you kidding me!?!? I felt terrible! There was no turning back. I had been cattle chuted inside and had to find a way out. Tourists were stepping over people who were praying to take pictures. I walked all the way to the back of the church, which was totally under construction on the inside, as well, with scaffolding and ladders and piles high of building materials. I do confess (no pun intended) that I did sneak a few photos of this magnificent cathedral, but I did it reverently and discreetly and could not get out of there quick enough. Although, a certain part of me wanted to stay, to be seated and enjoy thier worship ceremony. I could not believe my eyes! People being tourists and people worshipping and construction happening all at the same time! I've never felt so disrespectful in my life! Again... I have to say, the building was absolutely breathtaking! I would love to have walked through there for hours when it was in it's pristine condition and when there was no one praying! I was told by a few New Yorkers that people who worship there are used to tourists. Okey dokey then. The church, however, is magnificent, even with scaffolding!
From there, I came out at Saks Fifth Avenue and walked up the street, back to the Rock to meet Katie and LeAnna. Again, I wandered through a maze to get across the street to them while the parade was halted.
We went into the Magnolia Bakery, knowing that our time was coming to an end and we needed to get moving to make that plane. Katie and LeAnna bought me a coffeecake and a current scone and presented it to me outside at the bottom of the Rock and sang, "Happy Birthday" once more. I was overwhelmed with gratitude for this wonderful trip, my dream trip, and the fact that I was, indeed, being sung to on my birthday in NEW YORK CITY!!!! It doesn't get any better than that! (Well, the hair could have been a bit better!) This was my last photo in the city.
I took a selfie at the airport, looking like a woman who'd had less than 20 hours of sleep in a week, looking satisfied, a woman who's loved the excitement of the big city all of her life, but a woman who loves even more what was waiting for her at hom!
We caught a subway and then had a car drive us back to the Brownstone, grabbed our luggage which was packed and ready, said our thank yous and good-byes to LeAnna. She was the most incredible hostess! We headed to the airport, being driven by a Mexican driver, who shared his story of 9-11 and living in New York. He was a kind and caring man, my favorite driver of the entire trip.
We arrived at the airport, checked our luggage and Katie grabbed us some food to go while I listened for the boarding call. We literally had about ten minutes before we got on the plane. Good-bye, New York! Good-bye, AMAZING vacation!
I took a selfie at the airport and looked exhausted! I was ready for a nice long nap, a big hug from my sweetheart! However, the next five hours were not quite what I expected.
When we got to our seats, window and center, there was a very large man on the aisle seat. He did not even offer to move for us to be seated. We had to ask him. The flight attendant rolled her eyes at him, as well. We were seated and he never spoke a single word, other than, "Keep this arm rest down." Okey dokey then. He was large. And my rear end isn't tiny. So, it was very uncomfortable as he took his seat and part of mine. That I could live with, but the man turned on his iPad and started watching porn!!! Seriously, Mister? We had a very wonderful flight with little turbulence until coming over the Rocky Mountains. At one point, Katie and I both decided to take turns for a potty break. A five hour flight needs some leg movement and stretching anyway. The man would not move. I finally said, "I'm sorry, but we both need to get out." He was annoyed. Very. I went to the back of the plane and asked if there were any rules about watching porn on a plane where others had to view it as well. She followed me back and made a comment "There's a time and a place." He didn't turn it back on after that. As Katie said, "He was just rude." Yucky and rude.
We had one of the smoothest landest I can ever remember in SLC. Dave was waiting for us. We grabbed our luggage and met him outside. I was ready to be home! I didn't want it to end, but I was ready to see Doug and the kids! And to start getting ready for Liza's visit! It was almost 1 when we got to Dave and Katies, but I opted to keep on and drive home. Liza had said she'd stay up and we could chat while I drove. We talked until I pulled into the driveway and Doug (who had been sleeping, but woke up with the sound of the garage door) was waiting for me at the door with hugs and kisses and a perfectly clean house! We sat up and talked until about 3:30. Doug had arranged to go into work late on Monday morning, so we had a wonderful, uninterrupted visit.
We went to bed and slept a couple of hours until the school alarms started going off. The kids had lots of hugs and kisses, we had prayer and Doug drove them all to school on his way to work. I went back to sleep and slept until 12:15 when the phone rang. I went back to sleep after the call and slept until the alarm for the kids to come home from school went off. I took Quayd to work and the girls went to play. I took another nap and slept until Doug called and said he'd be home in an hour. We had dinner, I gave them their prizes and I went back to sleep for ten more hours. Can you say exhausted!?!
I have a few more thoughts and observations about the trip. It truly was life-changing for me. Some ways, I'll share tomorrow. Others, I'll keep to myself. It was a dream come true... one that I will be eternally grateful to Katie and LeAnna for their kindness, generousity and hospitality!
On Saturday evening and Sunday morning, we made our way to the 9-11 Memorial. I've had a very difficult time even wanting to download the photos from my camera to the laptop. I had no idea that this would impact me the way that it did. The pools are beautiful. I love water, in any form, but when you see these pools, they are not just a beautiful piece of architecture. They represent the almost 3000 lives that were lost on that horrid day. The names are carved into the surrounds of the water with lights underneath them. At night, it was an incredible sight.
Occasionally, you would see a white rose inserted into the name of one of the victims. We learned on Sunday morning that those roses were placed in the memorial on the name of the victim on their birthday. This is done by the Memorial staff, not by the family. I'm not sure if that made me feel better or worse.
This tree, we were told, was the one tree left standing and that had survived the fall of the Twin Towers. It's protected and brought a light of hope to all after the catastrophic events of that day.
I could not help but to look up at the new Freedom Tower, which will not even open until next month and see it beyond the top of the tree.
In many of the conversations that I had with New Yorkers, the building of this new Freedom Tower came up. I was amazed at how many people made the same comment, "I'm not sure that I'd want to work in that building. It's almost a sitting duck target... almost as though we are asking to be hit again... almost as though "they" are waiting for their chance to strike again. It was mentioned that there will probably be many offices that remain empty because of this concern/fear. A taxi driver commented, "It will be generations before they are over the fear." I hate to think of Americans being stunted by the "enemy", but I totally get it. The thought occurred to me several times while there, "How safe is this place today?"
The Memorial Museum was closing as we got there, so we opted to return on Sunday, finding it a befitting way to spend our Sabbath morning. I had no idea what would lie ahead. There would be no smiles on Sunday morning because seeing the museum was a far cry different than just seeing the pools and the Freedom Tower... a completely different setting and feeling.
Touring the museum brought total clarity to the horrific nightmare that this disaster was. I am a newshound. When something happens in the world, I'm glued to CNN and reading the internet at the same time, keeping up with the latest. I did not leave my TV for days... until Doug said, "Babe, you have to take a break." But. This. This was nothing like I could have ever dreamed. There has never been one single piece of news footage that could do justice to how horrific this event was. Again, the pools were magnificent, and the tower, spectacular, but inside that museum, it's a completely different environment.
I was amazed at the reverence that was felt in the building. People spoke in a whisper or not at all. There were tears. There was silence.
This wall, where the "Missing" posters were shared made my heart ache. Wedding photos, photos of fathers with babes in their arms... You could literally feel the helplessness of the survivors who were hoping for miracles.
I'd never seen this photo before. It was posted twice, at each level of the Survivor Stairs. A volenteer guide told us some chilling facts about those that were lost that day. It was too horrific to even share.
These are the actual stairs.
This tile wall has a significance. There is one blue tile for each victim who died that day. The color blue was chosen to represent the beautiful blue sky of the morning before the first plane struck. This wall was huge.
This fire truck shocked me. I took a few photos of it, as I walked around it. When I walked all the way to the other end, I realized that this was the front of the engine, not the back as I had assumed. It was not recognizable.
I think that this was one of the most touching moments of the morning for me. I stepped back and took this shot discreetly. There is not walking tour. You roam through the building at your own pace. There are volunteers here and there who will answer your questions if you ask. This little girl was asking a lot of questions. I was moved to tears as the volunteer got down to her level and just answered every question she had. I think that this is the first time it had occurred to me, children will hear about this in history class in years to come, while some will never forget the day that our world was changed. I've wished for 30 years now that I could ask my granddaddy where he was on the morning of the attack on Pearl Harbor and what his feelings were. My feelings are recorded and scrapbooked. I think it's important that we all take the time to do that for our posterity.
Inside the huge museum, which is large and spacious, there is an enclosed area that's not marked very well. I've spoken with several people who've been there and did not even know to go inside this part of the museum. This is where it gets very personal and intimate. Outside of this area, it's walls, twisted metal and mechanical debris. But, inside this separate part of the museum is a much more intimate look at the day. As you walk through this massive maze, there are audio bites, projected videos of every moment of the day. It begins with seeing photos of those who were inside the Trade Centers while hearing, overhead, their voice messages that were left to family members, explaining what had happened, saying that they were just fine, that they'd check back when things calmed down and so on. These people never made it out of the building alive. From there, you meander through, viewing the television newscasters sharing that "a" plane had crashed into the Tower. Then the next screen, "another" plane. And throughout the day, the news as it happened. There were artifacts and personal property of the victims, stories on boards and in photos of the victims.
We had been told that we could go through the museum in an hour. I think that a person could spend five or six hours inside this part of the museum alone. As I walked through, I took a few photos, until I overheard a volunteer explaining to another person that photos were not allowed inside this part of the museum. I put my camera away. I won't share them here. I thought about it later. This was about respecting those whose lives were lost. I walked and read and listened and viewed and after about 45 minutes, I was so completely overwhelmed with the magnitude of it all... seeing the personal effects of the victims and listening to story after story of personal experiences... I literally had to get out of there. I was in the middle and walk quickly, through the people, quite a way more through the maze to the exit. By the time I made it to the door, I just wanted to race outside and sob! I called Doug and just wept, telling him how painful this was and how I'd never even begun to have a clue as to how horrific this day was. It had become personal. I felt this overwhelming grief and pain. Doug kept saying, "Just breathe. Take a breath." At that moment, I hated the museum. It was awful. Painful and awful.
I was grateful to see LeAnna shortly after this and to get a text from Katie so that we could all meet back together again. Once I could breathe again and had gained my composure, I was grateful for the experience and glad that I'd seen it all. I would definitely go back to the museum...perhaps it would be less painful now that I am prepared. This was not just about facts and figures and statistics. It's a reality check from what we think we know happened and what really happened that morning. It has literally taken me four days to even look at these photos again. My heart aches for those who were there, who's loved ones were there. Our world changed forever that day. But, for most of us, even with all that the media offers, I know that we can't even begin to imagine what it was really like. This was a life-changing paradigm shift for me. I was grateful to walk outside, take a several deep breaths, look into those blue skies and see that Freedom Tower, to feel like I could breathe again.
I've decided that I'll write a separate post completely about Ground Zero. I, literally can't make myself go there without tears. It was seriously one of the most emotional experiences of my life. So, I will continue with our Day four, which followed spending an hour or more just walking around the original site of the World Trade Centers.
We took a subway and came right up at 5th Avenue, as in home of Saks Fifth Avenue, Rockefeller Center, St. Patricks Cathedral and many other familiar sites.
Our first challenge was to find a bathroom! Remember, this was after being rejected by the pizza brothers and the Burger Kng police 2 hours earlier! We went into an awesome store that I knew my girls would have gone crazy over! I took a short video panaramic of the store and texted it to them. Grace texted back, "I want to go there!" and ZJ texted, "WOW! That mall is awesome!" It was a store, not a mall. Both girls feel the need to go to NYC for some a serious shopping trip. The store was pretty fabulous... and their bathroom was lovely and we were welcome there without buying a $90 hoodie!
We passed Radio City Music Hall and the NBC studios are more in this area. The people! The city never sleeps, I'm convinced!
Once we were at the Rockefeller Center, we took a ton of pictures. Katie was excited to buy Jason a gift from the giant Lego Store but they were closing, so we decided to come back the next day. I loved being at this site and could only imagine the Christmas tree in December. I decided right then and there that my next trip (and there will be a next trip) to New York City will be in December to see all the lights and the ice skaters. A new item on my bucket list! YAY!
We had planned to go to the top of the Rock and see the city from above but it was late and we were hungry, so we stood at the bottom of the rock. Next trip!
As we walked up the street, Katie discovered Dylans Candy Bar, which is a seriously awesome candy shop, owned by Ralph Lauren's daughter. This store is huge! Three stories of nothing but candy... walls of candy, islands of candy, every kind of candy in the world!
My favorite part of our time in the store was the music playing... all loud and fun... Ghostbusters, Adams Family, Michael Jackson Thriller... When Thriller came on, there was a little black girl, about ten years old, and she entertained me through the whole song, dancing around the candy. I told her that she was really good and she ate it up, dancing even more. Too cute! A limo of teens came into the store, all dressed in formals, celebrating one girls 16th birthday. The birthday girl was wearing sweats and a tiara?? Go figure? There was a transvestite checker that was absolutely beautiful! Those legs! Only in NY? Being that my kids are on the $100 no candy chaallenge, I bought myself some buttered popcorn jelly bellies and went outside to sit down, give my foot a break and do some people watching. There was a gorgeous couple, an Asiant girl and a black man, both wo were stunning to look at and dressed to the nines. I'd noticed them inside and they came out right after me. Her six inch shoe was having issues, so they'd stepped outside to try to fix it. I told them how beautiful they were together and we started visiting. They were all dressed up to celebrate their first anniversary as a dating couple. We had a nice visit before they left and I was thrilled to have made some more NYC friends. Honestly, the people were my favorite part of the trip. I wanted to ask a million questions. No one could ever convince me that New Yorkers are anything but friendly! I met some amazing people... as long as I didn't try to use their potty without purchasing first!
I'd asked a week earlier on Facebook where were the don't miss hotspots in New York and Serendipity was one of the suggestions. Serendipity is one of my favorite chic flicks! As we were trying to decide what we could fit into our last twenty-four hours, LeAnna suggested Serendipity too! Katie and I said, "Let's do it!" While we were at the Candy Bar, LeAnna made a reservation for us. Serendipity was just up the block.
We sat outside for quite a while, people watching, talking about the movie and just enjoying the fun atmosphere. An hour later, at 11:15PM, we were invited into the most quaint little restaurant, named Serendipity, long before the movie. It's actually an ice cream parlor. Our server was patient with us as we debated and debated over what to have... the menu was so versatile. Finally, on his third attempt to see if we were ready, I told him to surprise me. I mentioned three items on the menu that looked fabulous and said, "I'll love whatever you bring me." Holy cow! When our meals were served, my plate was huge and I was having meatloaf for my midnight birthday dinner! It was two slices, the size of two ribeye steaks and half a bowl of mashed potatoes and gravy, following a wonderful salad. The man at the table next to us said, "Oh, I'm totally jealous." I was embarrassed by the size of it and said, "I didn't order it! I let the server choose!" The server added, "It's what I had for lunch yesterday and it's delicious!" And it was! I'm not even a big meatloaf fan, but this was, by far, the best meatloaf I've ever tasted. And no. I did not eat it all!
Katie ordered a BLT that literally had a pound of bacon on it. LeAnna and I were half-way done before she had even figured out and built her sandwich in a way that it was possible to eat it. It was not as pleasant of an experience for her.
All the while during dinner, we were looking at the magnificent desserts being carried around our table. Serendipity is known for their ice cream and we could definitely see why.
The man who had spoken to us about my meatloaf was with his wife, and six teenage girls, celebrating his daughter's birthday. Our dessert was $18, so this man spent almost $200 on dessert for these girls. What an exciting memory that would be for a young girl. It was just as exciting of a memory for this 56 year young girl! When they brought my birthday dessert, I could not believe my eyes!
The menu description: The Insanity Sundae (Go Nuts!): Southern pecan pie with hot fudge, butter pecan ice cream (my favorite), maple walnut topping, whipped cream and almond slices. The server brought it, and a frozen hot chocolate, and everyone on the entire floor sang "Happy Birthday" to me. It was 12:45AM, so it was officially my birthday. I could not have been happier. The three of us did not come even close to finishing either dessert, but it was certainly divine!
As were getting the check, Liza texted, "Are you still up?" I wrote back that not only were we up, we were having dessert at Serendipity and still had over an hour on the subway to get home. I loved sharing the moments with her, throughout my trip!
The subway was much fuller on the way home because it was the weekend, even though it was almost 2AM when we got off. That last little walk home felt heavenly after such a hearty meal at such a late hour, but literally, I wanted to be carried. My foot was telling me, "ENOUGH!" but everything else in me was saying, "One more day!!!"
I climbed into bed at about ten after 3 and noticed that Doug had sent me a Happy Birthday text while I was in the subway. What a wonderful way to begin my birthday... Serendipity and messages from Liza and Doug. The last time I looked at the clock, it was 3:22AM. Z~Z~Z~Z~Z~Z~Z~Z~Z~Z~Z~Z
When we woke up in upstate NY, it was still raining. I think, even harder. The wind had howled all night long. But, it was daylight and we could see! Once on the highway, we so glad that we had waited. The four hour drive, even in the fierce rain, was absolutely breathtaking! The leaves were brilliant yellows and golds and browns and reds, brilliant! There was a mist over the mountains and lots of foggy spots, which enhanced the mountainsides even more.
Eastern mountains are so different than the west. Both are beautiful in their own ways. The east has more of the rolling hills with mountains surrounding, where the west has the huge Rocky Mountains and flat valleys. The drive was incredible, even though it was a bit intense with the wipers on high all the way. LeAnna drove like a pro both in the mountains and the city when we returned!
When we got back into Brooklyn, we didn't want to waste a minute and got ready quickly to head back into the city. It was nice to still have the rental car because that was one less subway ride! I really found the subways fascinating and didn't mind riding them at all... actually, I could feel that rocking feeling all night long on our late nights and I quite enjoyed the subway performers! HOWEVER, the bazillion stairs were killer on my foot! Holy cow! With Ibuprofen 800s and lots of stops, I survived!
Doug's biggest concern every time we talked on the phone was how my foot was handling it... The stairs were the worst...30 steps down to one level and then back up another 20 steps then down another to the next platform. NO WONDER New Yorkers all looks so good! Had it not been for my dang foot, I'd have LOVED all that fun exercise! I put my foot up every chance I could! I was determined to endure and appreciated Katie and LeAnna's patience. LeAnna was so cute. She'd slow down, patiently wait and say, "Dang Chili's!" or "Dang that bathroom door!" Like I told Doug, "This is my life now. I can sit and let it pass by or deal with the pain and keep enjoying it. Which do you think I am going to do?" I wasn't going to miss this trip for anything!
I digress. The best news of the day was that while we went inside to drop off our luggage and freshen up, the rain disappeared, the skies opened and for the first time since we'd landed at JFK, the skies were blue and beautiful and it remained that way for the rest of our trip! LeAnna drove us into the city from Brooklyn, over the Brooklyn Bridge, into the financial district and Wall Street.
The Skyline is magnificent!
Having the car made for a much quicker arrival. LeAnna dropped us off at the Staten Island Ferry so that we could see the Statue of Liberty. She assured us that we could find Ground Zero all by ourselves from there when we were done while she returned the rental car in New Jersey.
Katie and I made it just in time for the ferry with only a few moments to wait. We went straight to the bow of the boat and had a beautiful view, as well as that lovely oceanic breeze in our faces! That breeze didn't do much for our hair in photos, but it was perfect day for pictures and the thrill! I LOVE THE WATER!
The Statue was smaller than I'd imagined. Most everything in the city was larger, but Lady Liberty was really not nearly as big as I'd expected. We enjoyed watching the boats in the harbor around it, the wind in our faces and we had a more serious conversation during the half hour trip each direction.
When we arrived back at Battery Park, we walked outside and met a very nice young black man who worked for one of the double-decker bus tour companies. We visited with him and the guy was so sweet. The ride was $80. He told us that it wasn't worth it for us to take the bus because it was a two-day pass and we'd never get our money's worth out of it. Instead, he pointed out a few hot spots from famous movies that were within our sight and sent us on our way down the the Wall Street Bull before heading to Ground Zero. I was impressed with the guy for being straight with us. He shook our hands and even walked down the street with us.
When we came up to the Bull, there were a ton of people there taking pictures of it. I thought it was rather odd to see the people taking pictures of themselves holding the bull's, shall we say, "Man parts". Really? Whatever flips your trigger, I guess? Katie and I opted just to get a shot of the whole bull.
Just beyond the Bull was a Green Army Man "statue", standing there on a "green puddle of paint dripping off his boots", just like the little toy army guys that kids play with. It was so lifelike!
All of a sudden, a little Asian girl went up to the statue and it moved!!! I've somehow missed the memo about Green Army Guy. I'd never head of him. Katie said he'd been in movies. This guy was painted totally green (like the Blue Man Group guys). He had tiny little slits for his eyes, nostril and mouth. That was it. He moved and I about jumped out of my skin. If you stood on one foot, he stood on one foot. He did whatever you did. People took turns having photos taken with him in some funky poses and everyone gave him cash after their photo. He was awesome!
This was one of the things I was move impressed with about New Yorkers. They are very innovative. I'd expected to see more homeless people. Other than two sitting with dogs and signs asking for money, and one man burrowed into a sleeping bag down in the subway (Can you say HOT AND SMELLY?), I did not see any other people just asking for handouts. There were subway performers, people selling bottled water, street dancers, all sorts of creative ways to make money without asking. I found that quite impressive.
As we headed up Wall Street, we passed a magnificent cemetery. I LOVE cemeteries and could have walked through this one for hours. The headstones were fascinating.
As we got closer, we started to see more "artifacts" from the 9-11. It was almost eerie to walk these streets, knowing all that had happened that beautiful September morning thirteen years ago. There was a sense of sadness for me, as I remembered people running in the opposite direction from those huge plumes of smoke and dust and ash. I hate 9-11.
As we turned off Wall Street to head down toward the 9-11 Memorial, there was a street market. We were supposed to meet LeAnna at Ground Zero, but Katie called and told her that we'd found some fun little shopping places. Katie shopped a lot during the trip, along the way. I bought my little take-home gifts for the family here. The girls got some funky over the shoulder bags/backpacks. Quayd got a pair of I HEART NY boxers. Doug's gift was more special...to be talked about later. I ended up getting a few other little things, even a Christmas gift or two.
While Katie and LeAnna continued to shop, I saw a police officer standing there just keeping his eyes open for anything and everything. Again, one of my biggest goals was to talk with the people of New York and get a real feel for them. This officer was very friendly and we had a good ten minute visit. Being only one block away from Ground Zero, it naturally came up in the conversation. I can't imagine these people, who we know knew people who were lost in that tragedy, having to work and revisit that tragedy every day, all these years later. The officer, another awesome Italian was so kind. I thanked him for protecting us all! He even agreed to let me take his picture! Have I mentioned that I love New Yorkers!? Well... most of them!
One thing that we learned the hard way... People in NYC don't care if you have to go potty! There are NOOOOOOOOO public bathrooms! They are there, but they are not for the public. Katie ran in to a Burger King on the corner and they told her that she had to buy something first! I found a pizza place while Katie was shopping and I had to tinkle! BAD! We'd planned on meeting and getting pizza after she was done, so I thought I'd just go inside, use the potty and wait. I had three men screaming at me, "WHERE ARE YOU GOING!!?!??!? WHAT ARE YOU DOIN!!?!?!?!? GET BACK HERE IN LINE!!!" I didn't even realize that they were talking to me. I was just walking through the dining area. This was a "fast food" not a sit down fancy restaurant! I said, "I'm going to the bathroom and then meeting my friends for pizza." The one guy, who'd followed me halfway to the back said, "YOU ORDER FIRST, THEN YOU GO to THE BATHROOM!" He was so rude about it that I said, "Wow! We can just get our pizza around the corner. Thanks, anyway!" FOR RUDE!!! I left. I was stunned. Later, I thought about it. I get it. If every person who goes to Ground Zero decides to go potty in their pizza place without buying, they'd spend more on toilet paper than food! BUT, did they have to be so rude about it? Live and learn. One of the VERY few negative experiences the whole trip. By the way, the pizza around the corner was delectible!!!
While I was upsetting the pizza guys, Katie and LeAnna walked down to the firestation, Ladder Ten, on the corner, directly across from the 9-11 Memorial. Katie had promised her brother-in-law a great photo of a NY fire truck for his collection. Ironically, a fireman opened the door, invited these two beautiful women, Katie and LeAnna, inside and gave them a real tour. Katie's camera battery had died, so she'd taken mine and had some great pix!
This is the station directly across the street from the World Trade Center Square. Many of the stories that we know are of this station.
There were many times when I'd just walk off and do my own thing, so that Katie and LeAnna had some sister time. One of these times, was a half hour that turned out to be the most powerful 30 minutes of my entire trip. A few doors from the firestation, standing and holding a huge glass door open was a beautiful black man with long cornrows that reached his lower back. He had gentle eyes and a beautiful smile. Me... shy person that I am... said, "Oh my word, you are a beautiful human being!" He thanked me with a beautiful accent. I asked him where he was from and he said, "Balize." We began a 30 minute conversation that I will never forget for the rest of my life. He blinked, dangit, but he was indeed, a magnificent looking man.
Me, always asking questions... one thing led to another. In the course of the conversation, I had discovered that he was married, had a 13 year old daughter, had been in America/NYC for 15 years and he'd worked here for all those years as a doorman. It was after discussing the fact that after fifteen years, I commented that he was probably like family to the residents of this building. As the words came out of my mouth, I realized... 15 years. 9-11 was thirteen years ago. He saw it in my eyes. I saw it in his. I asked, "Were you working here then?" Yes. "Were you hear that morning?" Yes. He then told me his experience and I literally wept as he shared. I can't even go there on the blog, but it was one of the most emotional stories I've ever heard. He saw it all... up close and personal. As the first plane hit the Tower, the door at his building shattered. He raced to the corner to see what was happening and while standing outside, literally, he was under the second plane, as it flew over him and into the second tower. Until that moment, no one knew that it was not an accident. From that moment on, the fear of "what if there's another? Which building? Where?" and then... the collapsing. Oh my gosh. I have chills just rethinking it. He shared some pretty horrific and frightening memories. Before we parted, I took his photo, shook his hands and called him "my friend". This experience with my new friend, Curtis, was truly a gift that I'll cherish. I walked away from Curtis and said a prayer of thanksgiving for meeting Curtis and for his kindness in sharing that very personal experience.
I met Katie and LeAnna in the gift shop and we walked to Ground Zero Memorial Pools. I think I'll stop here and continue later with one single post about the 9-11 Memorial. It was such an emotional experience that it doesn't feel right to talk fun and 9-11 in the same breath. To be continued.
When I woke up in the hotel that morning, the room was dark and empty! Katie and LeeAnna had gotten up, gotten dressed and went down for breakfast and I never heard a sound! Apparently, I needed the sleep. I was thankful for the rest! A few minutes later, they came back into the room with a waffle and some fresh fruit for me. We got ready for the day, taking our time, then headed to Palmyra.
Dave has an aunt, his dad's sister, who lives in Palmyra. Dave never really got to know her, but, he just adores her. She's 88 years old and goes by the name of "Happy". Katie hadn't seen her in 20 years and had only met her once, but we wanted to say hello to her while we were near. WHAT A DELIGHT! She's not LDS, but a very religious woman and she loves the Mormons. We had the best visit! This sweet woman is just awesome! She had photos everywhere and books and books of family history. She's lived in Palmyra for decades and loves the influence of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in the area. She told us everything about the church history sites that we had come to visit. We loved every minute of our visit.
I took lots of photos of some of the family history documents that she had for Dave and Katie while she prepared us a picnic. When we were ready to go, she handed us the box which included a 8-pack of the little mini-cans of diet coke, ham and cheese sandwiches, bananas, grapes, a bowl of fresh cut cantelope, a package of Halloween Oreos, coleslaw. She invited us to come back for dinner an d we offered to take her out for dinner, but she was content to stay home. What a sweetheart! Her name, Happy, was legit!
Our first tour site was at the Print Shop where the first 5000 Books of Mormon were printed. We walked in through the back door and were greeted by a senior male missionary who's name badge was a Cache Valley name. When I mentioned, "That's a Hyde Park, Utah name," this cute little sister missionary, who was seated in the room behind on the floor with a few other Sisters, leaped up and ran out to the desk! "Hyde Park!? Are you from Hyde Park!?" I responded, "No, I'm from Smithfield, about three miles north." She said, "I'm from Smithfield!!!" It turned out that she was the next door neighbor of Zaylee's foster family! She was a delight. We "friended" on Facebook so that I could share her photo with people in our old stake and her family. Kind of a fun experience!
She gave us a wonderful tour of the old Printing Press, where the first 5000 Books of Mormon were published. It was pretty interesting to see how this book came to be and to know some of the stories of what had gone into the effort. I had no idea, but the first Books of Mormon sold for $1.75, while others cost five cents. That's a lot of money to pay for a book that you were dubious about to begin with. I love the stories of the beginnings of the Church history!
After taking a few pictures, we headed to the Smith Farm a mile or two away from town. We decided to have Aunt Happy's picnic before taking the tour. It was so delish. It's funny that we are eating in all these fancy NYC restaurants and a simple ham and cheese sandwich tasted so divine! We had a few good laughs over a bee that was chasing Katie. The wind was blowing harder than I could even begin to describe.
We were told by a sister missionary at the farm said she had never seen it so windy in her seventeen months of serving there. We held on to our lunches like nothing else.
After lunch, we went inside the visitor center and began the tour. First, we visited the old Smith Farm log cabin. I have toured Kirtland, Ohio, Nauvoo, Illinois, all of the Utah pioneer visitors centers and never have I seen a cabin of it's like. It was much larger than I expected. The feelings that I had and thoughts while taking the tour were overwhelming. Knowing all that had happened here to Joseph and his family was humbling.
A moment that really stands out in my mind... The sister opened the back door to the cabin, where it overlooks the groves of trees behind, and it touched my heart to be in the same proximity of such sacred experiences.
Following the cabin, we walked to the larger Smith Home, which still bears the original walls and floors. I loved this home! I love Church History and love seeing the actual places so much. I wanted to soak in every inch of the home. The paint whitewash is the original, as were the floors. Just awesome!
We also toured the Brigham Young threshing barn which has been moved to Palmyra and rebuilt there, as well as a cooper shop. The stories told about these places are fascinating.
The wind continued to blow and there was a sign at the entrance to the path that leads out to the grove, warning that the grove is closed during high winds. We later learned that after we had entered, they closed the tour path. However, once we were inside the trees, it was calm as could be.
This was a place that I have wanted to visit since I was fourteen years old and I was finally there! Bucket List: Sacred Grove - CHECK! As we went into the grove, were were basically alone. I think that there were three other people in the grove that afternoon. One man alone and a couple that we never saw until the very end. I was so glad to be alone here. Katie went one way, LeeAnna went another and I was on my own until we met at the very end of the path.
We were there for over an hour and, without sharing the details, I will say that it was, indeed, a sacred experience of my own to always cherish! We met up near the end of the trails and walked together out of the grove, sharing a few of our thoughts while inside.
We realized that we were racing the clock. It was late afternoon and we still had a five and a half hour drive ahead of us, so we visited the LDS Temple and Hill Cumorah and the visitors center for just a short bit and were on our way. Rain was starting to fall and it was getting dark, so we decided we'd head back to NyC.
By 8PM, we found a restaurant in Syracuse called DelMonicos. It was an italian steak house. We had looked and looked for someplace to eat and had passed this place at the beginning of our search. Finally, we turned back around and we were so glad that we did! Dinner was wonderful. The building was very nice. All of the servers were black mini skirts with black lacy stockings, white shirts and black vests. The prices were high, like all food in NY. The walls had charicatures of all of the famous italians from Dean Martin to Leonardo DeCaprico. I also loved that Dean Martin was singing in the background! We all decided to be brave with our menu choices. I ordered the lasagna. It was called "One Pound Lasagna" and I did ask first if I could get a smaller portion. Not an option. So, we all agreed to share with each other. It was huuuuuge. Even after sharing with Katie and LeAnna having a bite or two, there was still half of the plate full left at the end.
In the photo, you can see that it's a full size oval dinner plate. You can see the salad in the background. Isn't that insane! It was divine!
We left Syracuse and it was pouring the rain. Seriously pouring and the wind was blowing so hard that the rental car was all over the road. After about twenty minutes on the freeway, Katie said that she had a bad feeling about us continuing on. We still had four hours of driving ahead of us and it was after nine oclock. We all agreed that it would be nice to get some real sleep and head out early in the morning.
Using our phones and iPad, we called around ahead looking for a hotel, only to find that there were no vacancies in the little town because there was an Irish Dance Festival. Only, it was so odd! We got off that exit and the town was D-E-A-D. The streets were filled with dark homes. There was no one driving. It was like the twilight zone! Quietest Irish Dance Festival we ever heard of! LeeAnna found one last number to try calling and they still had vacancies. Of course they did... the rooms were $179 a night! And it was 10PM!! At that point, we were all so tired, we just wanted a room! I said, "I'll negotiate!" Katie and I walked inside and asked this sweet Indian woman (who we decided was the owner later) if that was the best she could do and she gave us a whole ten dollars off! Some negotiator! Katie and I laughed over that. It was a beautiful brand new, three month old Best Western. The owner told us that we could use the pool even though it was after hours. We were just happy to have a place to lay our heads. We never made it back to the pool. I blogged, they slept, I showered and crawled into bed just before 3 while the wind continued to howl and the rain hit the windows all night long. Another late night, but another fantastic day! Perfect!
We were awake at 8:30,feeling quite refreshed after five hours of sleep and ready to go! We also were packed and ready to take our journey, later in the day, to upper New York State for our Church History experience. Since we were traveling with luggage, we had a car pick us up again and headed into the city! We had to be in line for our priority seating at the TV cooking show, "The Chew". The driver took us to a subway entrance and we got right on the subway. It was MUCH busier this early in the morning than it had been in the middle of the night. Lots more people on the train! We rode over the Manhattan bridge on the sub and could see the skyline! I was so excited!
On our ride into the city with so many people on the subway was more of what I'd always imagined it to be. As we got onto the last subway, three black men got on with us. One man, very friendly said, quite loudly, "Good morning, people! It's a beeeeautiful day in the city!" I was surprised at how loud he was! Most people didn't even react! Seriously? How do you not look at this guy!? And out of nowhere he started, along with the other two gentlemen, singing in beautiful harmony, "I'm gonna let it shine!" WOW! They were wonderful! I could have stayed on the subway with them for a while longer. LeeAnna reached into her wallet and gave them some money. They gave fist pumps to all three of us as we left the subway and said, "Have a great day!" with mega-enthusiasm! Apparently, subway performers are quite common. (I visited with one of the interns at The Chew and she told me that for the tourists, this is exciting and impressive but for the New Yorkers on their way to work, "We just want them to shut up and leave us alone." I get it, but I don't think I'd ever tire of three fun men singing to brighten my morning on the way to work! Awesome! (I got to the point that I actually hoped for subway performers. I quite liked them.)
We came out of the subway and looked up, just across the street in front of us and there was the Manhattan LDS Temple. I saw the beautiful statue of the Angel Moroni on the top of that corner building and started to cry! It was just an overwhelming feeling to see, in the midst of all this hubbub and excitement, a reminder of all that matters most to me - family, faith, God. Loved it! We crossed Broadway and went inside the LDS Building. This building, not only houses the temple, but two LDS Chapels, a Distribution Center, many classes, a cultural hall... and so on. Multi-purpose building! We took our luggage upstairs, found a specific place and left it there so that we could spend the rest of the day in the city.
We walked a few blocks to the ABC studios. "Kelly and Michael" was just ending. We could see inside the set as they opened the doors, which was fun. Next door is "the Chew" studios and next to that is "The View". The line/wait was two hours long. We had priority tickets and were actually among the first seated, but it was quite the wait.
Waiting in line on 42nd Street was one of my favorite parts of the city. Across the street on this quaint little quiet side street, there are the most beautiful high-rise buildings... obviously homes/apartments with the most incredible architecture. We stood in that line for over an hour and everytime I looked again at a building, I'd see new intricate designs on the building. I was in heaven! I want to go back to NYC with my camera and a blank agenda for about a month and do nothing but walk down the streets and take photos of the doors and architecture. It was incredible.
After an hour or so, we were led inside the building, about ten people at a time, went through the metal detectors, had security checks in our purses and bags, then we were sent into a waiting room. There was seating, a table with granola bars and bottled water for all of the guests and another lonnnnnng wait. I was able to visit with one of the producer interns, Katrina, she was adorable, for much of the time. (One of my goals for the trip was to talk with as many New Yorkers as possible.) After what felt like eternity, we were seated inside the studio.
Oh, have I mentioned that there was a light mist in the air most of the time. My hair. I gave up trying. Humidity and my hair = frizz and curl!
The Chew Studio seats about 150 guests at a time (I think I read that on a sign somewhere) and there is not a bad seat in the house. Oh my word, it studio was filled with the scent of steak grilling and all sorts of other foods that was being prepared for the show... the most delectable scents! The warm-up guy was pretty funny. Very NY. He was quick witted and fast thinking. He had us singing and clapping and laughing instantly. As each of the stars came out, they were introduced. Lots of cheering and applause. They had us applaud loudly. Then quietly. Then calmly. Then laugh. Then laugh hard for 20 second and clap... and so on. all of the audience footage is filmed before the show. We were told that our show will air on October 15th.
The cast/hosts of the show came out one by one. I've never been a regular Chew viewer, even though I tiVo record it every day. The topic for the day was "weekday Gourmet". As the show began, I counted 23 people who would run out on the stage in between commercials. Michael Symon spilled some broth all over the flattop stove while cooking the sauce to go over the steak. He didn't even flinch and kept cooking. As soon as the commercial break, the staff was right on it, cleaning that stovetop. During Mario Batali's segment, they were wiping and making everything look great off camera. During commercials, they powdered the shine on Michael's head. Carla was the most interactie with the audience... she came into the audience and danced and chatted. Michael actually brought a few plates of extra food into the audience. The "handler" kept us laughing and cheering. Michael and Clinton Kelly also visited with the guest a bit. Daphne had no interaction with the audience. She actually didn't interact much with anyone, not even the hosts. Maybe she had something else on her mind or had had a bad morning. It was a high energy show. A fun experience.
I've decided that, on the day that the show airs, October 15th (or the next night since the 15th is Quayd's birthday), I will prepare the food that was prepared on the show on the day for our family dinner, so that my family can experience the scents that we did AND so that we can taste it! It smelled divine!
We walked outside the studio, back onto 42nd Street and just is Central Park. Bucket List: Central Park: CHECK! We took a walk into the park, saw Tavern on the Green, took a ton of pix.
I was happy to see a carriage go by. I have always wanted to ride a carriage in Central Park but I want to do that with Doug, so it wasn't even tempting.
Central Park is huge! It was so interesting to walk from the hustle and bustle of the concrete city into this beautiful, quiet, green and lush park. We took a ton of pix and just enjoyed the peace.
We followed this little guy around our walk. The squirrels are so different than our little chipmunk kind guys in the west.
Could Katie be any cuter?
Following the park, we walked through the city and checked out some of the many lovely shops. On the way to Broadway, the doors! OH, the doors and these Brownstones!
I was grateful that Katie wanted to do some shopping, for it gave me a chance to sit and rest my foot and meet some great people! People watcher that I am, I loved being able to find a place to sit outside and just watch the people, chat here and there with a few. Awesome! I love New Yorkers!
We visited the Magnolia Bakery and had to have a treat. There was a television crew filming while we were there. This was something that we saw several places. People didn't pay much attention to it. The cakes and pastries and muffins were beautiful! I got a Key Lime cheesecake (large cupcake size)... beautiful! Look at these cakes!
We had a wonderful experience in Sabon, which is a store filled with natural soaps and potions. Very earthy and natural. Look at this beautiful "sink" in the center. A sweet young gal introduced us to some beautiful fragrances where we chose which we wanted to wash our hands and give them a gentle treatment of Lovely experience.
We peeked in and out of several little shops and boutiques. I was more interested in the architecture than the shopping. Did I mention that I love those doors!
We were getting hungry for real food, especially after The Chew, so we started looking for a place to eat lunch. We passed italian, mediteranean, asian, but nothing sounded "right" yet. When we were at the intersection of Broadway and across from the , we found "the Smith", which had an outdoor/right on the sidewalk dining. Perfect!
We were seated and served sparkling water or just chilled in wine bottles, linen napkins, just very "upscale". It was lovely! The menu was pretty pricey, but oh, my! We ordered two appetizers - friend green beans and fried portabella mushrooms, served with a ranch and some spicy sauce. WOW! Mushrooms make me almost as happy as cream cheese!
The menu selections included lots of things that left you reading the description before you have a clue what it is. Everything sounded wonderful! However, the people at the table next to us ordered cheeseburgers. Now that sounds funny, but you had to see them. WOW!!! They looked so good that all three of us ordered one and they were divine! We sat there watching the traffic and the people and just took all of the city in! I think just relaxing over lunch was my favorite part of that whole day.
After our lunch, we walked a block or two to the LDS Temple/Church building, grabbed our luggage and were ready to head to upstate New York for our day in Palmyra. Watching LeeAnna hail a taxi is fun! She's got chutzpah and our next adventure absolutely showed it! But first...
I decided that I needed to hail a taxi myself so that Katie could get a picture and I could then send Liza a text that said, "I hail!" (One of our favorite movies ever is What about Bob? In the movie, there's a scene where he says, "I sail, with a boat, on the water....." It's been years and we still laugh so hard! So, I sent Liza the text and picture, "I hail!" She immediately texted back, getting it completely, "Ahoy!!! You hail!!!! Like on the street with the cab in the city!!!!! AHOY!!!!" It made my day! I loved sharing videos, photos and texts with Liza and Doug the entire trip. so that they could share the moments, in a way, with me too.
We went into the LDS building and, while Katie and LeeAnna walked around a few minutes, I found a quiet hallway, layed down on a sofa and put my foot up in the air. No sooner than I to it up, a sister came to me and said I had to put it down. She was forgiving after my explanatiion and let me do it anyway.
Our next adventure was absolutely WILD! After LeeAnna's attempts to hail several taxi, and being ready to get on the road to Palmyra, LeeAnna decided to just hail a black car. Black cars are different than yellow taxi's. They have a flat rate whereas taxis are metered rides. In Brooklyn, where LeeAnna lives, she rides in the black cars more than taxi's. This whole transportation in NYC is so fascinating. You walk as much as you can, then grab a taxi to get you to another stop, hop out at a subway entrance, ride the subway a bit, come up and take another taxi. Whatever it takes to get you there. Transportation in the city is insanely expensive! It cost over $130 on the first day to get around!
ANYWAY... we hop into a black car and this very chatty foriegn driver starts talking. ANd talking. AND TALKING. He was non-stop talk. He asked where we were from then went on and on about us being Mormons, how many wives did our husbands have, he went on about being submissive and then he got out of control and starting talking sexually and extremely inappropriate for a stranger who was working to speak to his customers. He was immediately shut down by all three of us, then he went on about different topics. NON STOP TALKING.
This was bad enough, but his driving! OH MY WORD!!!! I honestly thought "I am going to die in NYC!" He passed on the left and right, in places that were not lanes, pulled in front of busses who had no choice but to slam their brakes to stop...he wove in and out, gunned it and slammed the brakes, OH MY WORD!!!! It was rush hour and the traffic was non-stop, but he managed to weave around in and between places that were designated not to be driven in. He did everything but drive on the sidewalks and I thought, a couple of times, that he was going to do that! It was the wildest ride of my LIFE!
As we were getting near the subway station, LeeAnna asked how much it would be. $35! THIRTY-FIVE DOLLARS to ride one mile! She said, "A taxi would have cost about $12." He argued that he got us there fast and on and on. She didn't let up and told him that he was taking advantage of us. Our super friendly cabdriver became an instant jerk! Of course, later, we thought of a thousand different things... like telling him that we'd call his company and tell them how inappropriate he had been in his conversation. (I think that the driving is expected, although, LeeAnna agreed that he was one of her wilder taxi rides.) It was really a sad joke... but it gave us something to talk about and laugh about later. Honestly, the only negative experience in the city. Other than him, to the this point, everyone has been very friendly.
We got out of his car, grabbed our luggage and were literally fifteen feet from the entrance to the subway that would take us to New Jersey (basically across the river). LeeAnna had rented a car in Jersey. The subway was solid packed, as in sardine style, with people getting off work at 5PM. We were way behind schedule but not too concerned about it, because as we said many times, "We're on vacation!"
When we got to New Jersey, we picked up the rental car at a huge mall. Rather than walk through the mall, I opted to sit outside and peoplewatch with my foot up on our luggage. Katie and LeeAnna were gone for about 45 minutes and I called Doug to visit with him about the day while watching all of the people come off the subway and walking into the mall. This melting pot of the USA is filled with some very beautiful people! I enjoyed the time on the phone with Doug and alone in my thoughts.
Our drive was long! It was dark when we started and in my mind, we had a two hour drive ahead of us. I was imagining a drive from Logan to Provo-ish. However, it was more like a drive from Logan to St. George. Five and a half hours. We talked a lot. Katie napped. I wrote the first blog entry on my iPad to later insert photos in the hotel room. LeeAnna listened to some fun music and a podcast or two. I love her taste in music and found some new music for Doug and I to enjoy together when I get home! Sweet!
It was 1AM when we arrived at the Hampton Inn in Victor NY. We'd had such a late and large lunch that we made one munchie stop on the way and called it good. While Katie and LeeAnna got ready for bed, I blogged and tryed to wind down some before I could fall asleep. It was about 2:30, the last time I looked at the clock! Another wonderful day filled with exciting new experiences! LOVE IT!!!
I'm still having computer issues and had more pix but giving up tonight. I'll add more later!
After all that delicious food, we took a taxi back to LeeAnna's, showered and got ready for an evening in the city. LeeAnna managed to score some awesome seats for Phantom of the Opera on Broadway. We had a car pick us up and drop us off at a Subway entrance. I have to share that I'd walked pass one near their salon and was almost "afraid" of that underground abyss! The unknown, ya know!
We went down underground, bought our Subway passes and hopped aboard. I'm certain that's not what a New Yorker would call it but it's what we did. I have to make a few comments about the subways. First. They smell funny. Very funny. Second. They are very warm. VERY warm. Third. From a germaphobe's perspective, they aren't nearly as bad as I expected. We went from subway to subway (LeeAnna has this all down! She's owns the city with her confidence!) We came out just across the street from the Phantom Theater. I'm amazed that which end of the subway you are on can make a difference in where you come up into the city. I LOVE the rocking/swaying feeling of the subway! Just saying.
When we walked outside and looked up at the Phantom of the Opera marquis and signs, I started to cry again! I was standing on Broadway and only minutes away from seeing Phantom of the Opera! Bucket List! Check!
The theater was much smaller than I expected. The set and stage were not as big or ornate as the production and theater in Vegas two years ago, which surprised me. BUT. When the performers began, I was so absolutely blown away! Best Carlotta of all the times I've seen it and even better, with the exception of Michael Crawford, the Phantom, a black man, was THE best I've heard. Loved him! It was a remarkable performance! I was surprised at a few of the liberties taken with the script, but it added humor and detail. As Act II began, I was feeling sad, like I always do, that it was going to end! It was over before I knew it. Shocker, Not, I realize, but I wept through most of it, as I have each time. BUT THIS TIME, it was on Broadway!
This was the first time I've seen an oval chandelier. It's always so fun to watch it raise and drop over the audience! LOVE IT!
Here's me...feeling verrrrrrrrrrrrrrry happy!
Following the performance and a few photos, we walked out of the theater in the crown, as every other performance was ending about the same time. Mamma Mia was in the theater next door. As we walked, more people joined the crazy crown on the sidewalks and spilled over onto the street, which was filled with pedicabs and carriages and police officers on horses... (Doug had told me to watch for them!) And PEOPLE! There were sooooooooooo many people!
I honestly think there were a million people as we turned that corner and saw TIMES SQUARE!
Times Square! Bucket List! Check!!! Oh my word! Katie and LeeAnna started laughing at me because I was crying AGAIN! Imagine that! Honestly, I am completely overwhelmed with joy and happiness and gratitude at every corner. I love this dream come true!!!
Oh my word! Times Square is like Las Vegas...brighter than daylight. It was midnight and it was solid packed with people. We walked around and took a ton of pictures and video. I was texting Liza to share the experience with her (which I do a lot because everything's better with Liza in it!)
Here's Katie and LeeAnna. Katie's talking with her family!
We toured the Gigantuous Toys R Us store until they closed and then decided to eat dinner (yes, dinner... when in NY...) at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Forrest Gump is one of Doug's favorite movies so I was excited to do that "for him". We were there until almost 1AM enjoying a great server, good food and lots of Diet Coke. I loved sitting there overlooking all the excitement of Times Square while we ate!
We went outside and took a few more pictures, since it was a bit (but not much) less crowded than when the shows were out. I was blown away by the people! Emeril was doing a cooking show in the morning and they were giving away passes for it. This was just outside the GMA studios, so I was excited to see all of that set up like I've watched so many times. Bubba Gump is just across and upstairs. so during our entire meal, we were able to watch this excitement below. Next time I see the DWTS dancers out there, I'll be able to say, "I was there!" Love it!
After more pictures, we headed back to the subway. Mind you, it was 1AM. In NYC. And we went to a SUBWAY! Again, LeeAnna is amazing! We went from train to train and made our way back to Brooklyn, ending up four blocks away from her home. On the subway, seated in the corner was a man who was sleeping. His mouth was wide open, he was leaning over against the wall and Katie and I looked at each other, "Is he dead?" We were sure that he was. LeeAnna said, "No, he's breathing. Look at his chest." This foreign man was laughing and acting like he was going to walk over and pour water in the man's open mouth. It was really kind of freaky. The man was TIRED! So were we but I don't see myself falling asleep on a subway. I hoped that he had a home to get off and go to and a bed to climb into.
It was 2:00 when we got out at our stop. We had to walk four blocks. It was a misty rain. We teased about the fact that it was 2 in the morning and we were taking subways and walking the streets of New York! It was actually kind of adventurous! AND we were too tired to worry! LeeAnna assured us that on a Wednesday night in the city, we were pretty safe.
My foot was throbbing that last four blocks! I've not complained but it's been the hardest part of the trip. We've taken extra taxis and subways because of it. I've put it up every chance I get, I've taken a lot of ibuprophen, and this is definitely the most I've walked in two years... and my foot and calves know it. I just told myself before we came that this is a dream come true and no amount of pain is stopping me! It might mean the person behind me waits a bit longer as I climb the subway stairs, but I'm not missing a thing!!! And that's all I have to say about that!
We climbed up the stairs to the brownstone and all were ready to crash! Physically, I was wasted, but emotionally, I was wide open! Over stimulated from all of the excitement, thrilled for the fun, overwhelmed with gratitude for being here! It was one of the most incredible days of my life! I had reason for all of the emotion. I texted with Liza a bit until she said, "Mom, you need some sleep." It was 3AM when I last looked at the clock. I am blessed! And joyful!
OH MY HECK! I LOVE THIS TOWN!!!!! We've had seven and a half hours of sleep in the last fourty-eight hours and we've not slowed down for anything! We are having a blast. Tonight, I'm at a hotel in upstate New York. We've taken a break from the big city to focus on something more important. We are touring Palmyra NY, which is a most important historical site in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I'll share more about that after our visit. Tonight, I want to try to get through Day One of our trip! Try being the operative word because, well, like I said, we've not slept much!
Katie and I had a little scare before leaving for the airport for the red-eye flight. Dave logged onto Jet Blue's website on his iPad and the Mobile Ap lists the flights in Eastern Standard time. At the time he logged on, the flight was listed at 9:30 not 11:30 and it was almost 9! That would have meant for one very fast trip to the airport in SLC and more than likely, a missed flight. After a phone call, we realized the problem and were able to relax and get there without a glitch. We boarded a completely full flight quite a rainstorm, which meant a shakey take-off. The flight was a bit turbulent across the entire country, and it was even raining when we landed, twenty minutes late at JFK.
We sat next to a very nice man from England. It was a lonnnnnnnnnnnnnnnng night! Less than thirty minutes of sleep on the plane. We joked that the least the pilot could have done was kept the plane at the angle we took off so that our seats could lean back! Katie and I enjoyed visiting for over half the flight and attempting to sleep the other half.
We landed in the rain and I was already bawling from excitement! The humidity on the East Coast is soooo consuming! Landing, getting our luggage and waiting for the to pick us up went off flawlessly. Our first impressions of the city were pretty surprising. The traffic! We were surprised at the many places along the road where homeless people just took shelter under a tree. My heart. It took us half an hour to drive about two miles. We couldn't see much of a skyline because of the clouds and rain, but the closer to Brooklyn we got, the more we could see.
Passing the Statue of Liberty out in the harbor brought tears to our eyes. It's far off in the distance and didn't look very large from the highway, but we saw it! WELCOME to NYC! I'm looking forward to a closer look on Saturday!
I think one of the things that I'm loving most about this trip is that we are staying with Katie's sister, LeeAnna who lives in Brooklyn. It's giving us two NYC experiences instead of one! We get to see NYC as a tourist and also from the perspective of a resident. LeeAnna lives in a lovely Brownstone in Brooklyn. She and her friend/roommate are opening a styling salon, also in Brooklyn. We get to see both worlds and I'm loving it!
After hellos and hugs and a tour of LeeAnna's TOTALLY AWESOME home, we took a 45 minute nap and headed to the city! We had a driver pick us up and take us to their salon. It's very "chic", not as in shabby, but as in very urban feeling of NY. I LOVED it! Part of the reason for this trip was for Katie to get a haircut and color, so this was first on the list. She looks GREAT! I loved it! The salon... still not quite ready for the grand opening in a couple of weeks! WOW!
I have to mention my own hair here. I'd known before coming that my hair would just kink and frizz right up as soon as I stepped off the plane and with the rain, it was twice as bad! C'est la vie! Let's just saying that my hair is in a New York State of Mind! Can you say frizz and curl!? I'd debated on cutting it before coming, BUT, as wild as it is, I'm glad that I waited to get home because I'd have been stressing over it. This way, I can just pull it up and be casual. As Doug says, "I'm still alive."
While Katie got her haircut, LeeAnna and I went to grab breakfast at Brownstone Bagel and Bread Co. WOW! Everything Bagels! SO tasty! And the cream cheese...oh my! *I should mention now that food will be a huge part of this trip! I'm sure LeeAnna thought I'd lost it because... who cries when they walk into their first Bagel shops?
After the haircut, we took a walk down the street to Dinosaur BBQ, (I know! We just ate bagels!) for lunch. I thought it was interesting that we were in Brooklyn, NY, eating Kansas City BBQ. OH my! So delish! We had fried green tomatoes with chow-chow! I had my iPad and showed the owner a photo of my counter covered with chow-chow and she said, "Bring us some, next time!" (I loved the "next time" idea!) Honestly, it was delish, although very different from mine. Dinner was fabulous! We enjoyed visiting with the staff and just enjoying being together.
chow-chow on what's left of a fried green tomato
LeeAnna suggested that, next, we take a walk down the street in the other direction to see this cute little icecream store with funky painted walls. I had noooo intention of eating icecream but when we got there and saw all of the crazy flavors, how could we not?! I ended up having a scoop of icecream with pretzels, potato chips and ritz crackers in it. Katie got a salty dark chocolate with brownies, flavored with orange extract. LeeAnna got Ooey Gooey Butter Cake ice cream. See. We had to try them! I still can't believe we ate Bagels, BBQ and icecream in three hours!
My foot has defintely restricted me a bit. Mostly on the stairs. Whenever I got the chance, I could. LeeAnna wanted to show Katie the roof, so I sat down atthe icecream shop and texted with Liza sharing the flavors of ice cream and telling her about the beginning of our day.
I think that one of my favorite things of the trip, repeatedly, is that I have received so many texts from Liza, Carol, Doug and my girls saying how excited and happy they all are for me to be here. Liza and ZJ have, literally cried, with me, in celebration as I thrill over every moment! It's been so fun to have their support!
It's 2AM. We need sleep. No spell check. No edit. I'm heading to bed. To be continued! I LOVE New York!
Denise and I went out for lunch before I head out on my trip to NEW YORK CITY!!! We had a good visit, catching up on her long weekend at Yellowstone and talking about my plans for NY. We ate at Center Street Grill, which happens to have the best burgers in the valley, in our opinion. Denise and I met at the north end of the valley and drove downtown in her truck, since her grandson was in his carseat in the back seat of her truck.
After lunch and a long gab, we walked back outside to the truck. Doug called as we were walking outside. She put Tatum into his carseat and I started to climb in, but noticed a cup in the passenger cupholder. Being helpful, I said, "I'll toss this drink for you." I grabbed it, walked back inside to a trash and dropped it in. As I was dropping it, I felt that the bottom of it was still cold! I hadn't realized that she'd brought her drink with her and set it down while she helped Tatum buckle up! I had brought mine and was going to put it into the cup holder, where this one was. Assuming because it was on the passenger side, that it was an old cup (which surprised me because Denise's husband keeps their vehicles detailed meticulously clean like a brand new dealership demo car).
I walked back to the truck and asked, "Did I just throw your drink away?" She said, "Um, YES!!! Why did you do that?!" I said, "I didn't realize it was your fresh drink. I was trying to be helpful!" She mocked and teased me the rest of our time together. "I'm parched, but you threw away my drink!" I teased back, "Oooooh, big word - parched! I'm impressed." We tease each other relentlessly. It was most humorous. Doug, still on the phone, for the first few minutes of it, laughed as we were both cackling and teasing and snorting over it. "You two have too much fun." Yes, we do. I love my friends... especially when they are so forgiving of my lame-o behavior!
We are flying on the red-eye, so last night, Katie and I decided to get ourselves some comfy yoga pants to fly in...something neither of us would ever consider going out in public in. BUT. Midnight. Dark plane. Why not be comfy!? I hit Kohls and found a few other fun things to wear on the trip, as well. I'm so excited I can hardly stand it!
The kids came in from school and ZJ seems to be most excited. Grace never wants me to leave. Quayd leans more Grace's direction. ZJ... She's counting the hours the way I do! "Mom! It's today!!!! You can't count today and you can't count tomorrow, it's today!" I love this child! She also informed me that "if anything happens, she's making some serious changes in this house immediately, starting with getting rid of that rug!" She hates the rug in the kitchen and asks me frequently to get rid of it. I fully expect it to be gone when I return. This girl. She didn't fall far from this tree, did she?
I'm packed and ready to go! A dream come true! Katie and I are still planning what we will do. We know two things for certain. We'll be in the audience of The Chew on Thursday morning and we are going to rent a car and go to Palmyra, NY for a little history from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints that night and Friday. SO looking forward to that! We're planning on Ground Zero and some NYC historical sites. Times Square. Central Park. A Broadway show or two. Who knows where we will end up? VERY excited! The list is long and I'm sure we won't be able to do half what we would like to, but like Doug said, "There'll be another NY trip in the future!" I love that man!
I am so blessed! LIVE JOYFULLY!
Productive and FUN Weekend update:
Friday: Doug worked all day, so I had lunch at Roadhouse with Wendy. We've not been together in forever without kids or men. It was nice to have a short visit. After the kids got home from school, Quayd changed clothes and headed straight to work. The girls and I met Doug at the theater for a matinee. We finally saw "the One Hundred Foot Journey". I knew nothing about this movie, other than the fact that I'd read my friend, Susan's comment about it on Facebook and a few other mentionings of it. The girls asked, "What's this movie about?" I said, "I have no clue, but it's supposed to be good." Oh, my word! We LOVED this movie. It's clean, it's uplifting, it's beautiful, it's inspiring. It's not your ordinary film... not action, not romance. It's just a sweet story that makes you laugh and cry and feel good when you leave the theater. I highly recommend it. My only advice is "Eat before you go!" There's food food food in the film and it all makes your mouth water! LOVED it! Will definitely add it to our DVD library
Saturday: Doug was up and off to work at 6AM. The rest of us slept in a bit and then got ready for the day. Quayd had to work and the girls and I got right to the last of our canning for this season. (Actually, Zeej did tell me that she's going to make some currant jam while I'm in NYC, but I am done!) I went outside in the pouring rain to pick the last of our peppers and some remaining tomatoes. Aren't they pretty!?
We had a great time in the kitchen all day. ZJ was so inspired by the movie the night before that she wanted to chop chop chop and that she did! She chopped up a storm and by the end of the day, I was quite impressed by how she could mince those peppers! Grace is the chief tomato skinner and stirrer. I bounce around the kitchen doing it all, teaching the girls and give lots of directions and explanations of why we are doing what we are doing. The girls soak it all in! We do make a good team in the kitchen.
Our goal was to have everything cleaned up and ready to process before Doug got home from work. Several times, I said, "I'm sooooo happyyyyyyyyyyy! Dad's gonna be thrilled!" Grace, at one point, said, "Mom, why do you like to impress Dad so much?" I responded, "It's not trying to impress him, it's showing him how much I love him because he loves to see us use every bit of the garden!" Grace asked if our garden is organic. I explained that we don't add any chemicals or do anything but natural to our garden and trees. She said, "That's why Dad likes it! It's natural!" She gets her dad!
Doug walked in and cheered and hugged and made a huge fuss over how much was done. All of the tomatoes were ready to process, the chow-chow was simmering and the kitchen was almost clean! Success! We ended up with 31 bottles (29 quarts total) of chow-chow and 16 quarts of tomatoes. We did more chow-chow this year than salsa, as it has become a staple at our table! Doug loves it on everything!
We were ready to start processing the tomatoes and chow-chow right just before 6PM, which was when the LDS Womens Broadcast began. I'd hoped that we'd be able to go out for a girls night out before the conference began but we were neck deep in canning until the last minute. SO. We showered, ordered Pizza, locked ourselves in the gallery and told Doug and Quayd (who worked til 7) to pretend that we were not home while we enjoyed the talks and our special night together.
The talks and music were wonderful, especially President Uchtdorf! Imagine that! It was a fun evening together, at home. We took notes in our Conference Journals, stopping to hit pause and write thoughts down as they were said. We also set a goal to write down all of the instructions or our own "to do" list as we heard the wise counsel of our leaders. It was a great evening and I was so proud of the girls. On Sunday, both won "prizes" in their Young Womens class because they were able to answer questions about the conference. They were glad that they'd taken notes and really listened!
Sunday: On Sunday, in Relief Society, we had a great lesson taught by a young mother who literally taught her lesson while holding her one year old baby. The baby is adorable. She touched the microphone and the chalkboard when Mom did. She did get down on the floor and play with Mom's i-Phone for a bit and pulled out the contents of the diaper bag. She's a few weeks older than Aylabelle and I love watching her little busyness. This sweet gal teaching comes to church without her husband. The baby wants Mommy, no one else, although others have tried. I loved this lesson. The sweet spirit of the mom, the cuteness of the baby, the wonderful lesson. I am so impressed by her ability to relay powerful messages with this cute little distraction on her hip! Very impressive! Great message!
ZJ surprised us when she stood up and worked her way over our laps to the stand and bore her testimony. I love that she's so brave and even more that she felt impressed to stand. LOVE THAT GIRL! She said she wanted to say more, but her knees were shaking too bad and she didn't want to fall down! LOVE HER!
Sunday dinner was a "concoction" of chow-chow, egg noodles, chopped ham. Oh my. The kids wolfed it down! Grace made our Sunday night treat, pumpkin bars with ice cream sandwiched in between. It's so fun having daughters that love to cook and be in the kitchen!
It really was a wonderful weekend. We were productive. We were happy. We worked together. We laughed a lot. Speaking of laughing, Quayd, who is working hard and wants to sleep more when he's home, made me laugh so hard last night. He has been officially relieved from dish duty since he works so many nights. The girls are not too thrilled because they now do them for a month at a time every other month. Quayd does Sunday only. Oh well. Their turns will come.
SO. Last night, he was doing dishes and I was checking out Pinterest for a recipe. I found this photo of a gorilla with a mean scowl on it's face, along with a quote that said, "The look your mother gives you just before you get a good a** whooping." Quayd had been being totally silly and taking forever in the kitchen, teasing his sisters while Grace made the dessert. I called him in and showed him the picture. I didn't say a word. I don't swear. I didn't have to. His eyes were shocked! He said, "I don't want an A** whooping, Mommy!" in a little baby voice. Then his eyes got even bigger! "OH MY GOSH!!!! MOM!!!!! I didn't mean to say A**!!!!!!" He doesn't swear either! I gave him the "gorilla" look. He went into the kitchen and I heard him telling the girls, "There was a picture of a gorilla giving the same look that Mom was and I just said the A word to Mom! Oh my gosh!!!!" They were dying. I was in the gallery trying not to maintain the "serious" Mom look and burst out laughing at his reaction! I really do have good kids who try to be their best! Bad mother moment.
We did have a little Kelly drama last night but all is well today... well... as well as it can be with Kelly. Yagottaluvit.
Loved President Uchtdorf's message to Live the gospel joyfully! Live joyfully, altogether, I say! Love it! LIVE Joyfully is better than live happy! I'm there!
Life is about moments. Don't wait for them. Create them.
Doug and I always say, "You afford what you want to afford"... in time and money. Today was one of those days... a lot was squeezed into one day!
Oh my word! What a day! Doug has been helping Taylor get a new car and a few surprises/complications arose... they sold the one she wanted. Oops. Anyway, this morning, Carol called and asked if I wanted to ride down to SLC with her and Taylor to look at cars. Before we left, we heard from the dealer that they'd found another of what she wanted, so we didn't need to go to SLC. BUT. Carol had a craving for Zupa's mushroom soup, so we decided to go to Layton (more than halfway to SL) anyway.
I chatted with a dear friend while I got ready and did my morning pick-up, then met Carol and Taylor at the dealership, they bought the car, we hopped in Carol's car and off we went. We made a day of it! I got home at about 7:30. Thankfully, there were leftovers for the family for dinner. The girls were at a volleyball game, Doug and Quayd were walking out the door for a meeting and hmm...I was alone. Crazy busy day!
We had a blast. Zupas for lunch, Taipan, Rodworks, a visit with Jon's parents and a side of the road produce market for some gigantuous cabbages for me to make my chowchow tomorrow.
We had to be back to the dealership by 7PM for Taylor to pick up her car. I watched the clock and thought we would never make it back in time. Carol realized, in the canyon, that she had to stop at Carol's for her granddaughter's carseat and I knew we wouldn't make it back by 7! Carol lives at the south end of the valley. The dealership is closer to my end of the valley. We drove through Logan and she did not hit one single red light. We pulled into the dealership at 7:00 on the dot! From there, Carol was picking up her granddaughter, going to dinner with her kids and then to a birthday party afer that. I was tired thinking about her schedule.
Carol teases me a lot about the fact that we are so different when it comes to schedules. I'm a freak about being on time. Early is on time! If I have a big event in the evening, I hate scheduling something for earlier in the day. What if they overlap!? What if I got delayed!? What if the first is so fun that I don't want to leave!? Carol, on the other hand, squeezes more into a day that I often do in a week! She can be at her Idaho home at ten, drive an hour north for lunch, then be back south at her Logan home by four (a two and half hour drive between homes) and then do what she had to and be back in Idaho by 8 for a gathering. I'm still reeling over the fact that , literally, two years ago, we drove from Phoenix, Arizona to Las Vegas and arrived 45 minutes before Phantom of the Opera started! We drove from Vegas the next morning to Utah (seven and a half hours) and she hosted a party at 6 that night at her home! HOW DOES SHE DO IT!?!? I'd have had to be in Vegas the day before the show and home a week before to host my party!
This is one of the beauties that I appreciate in our friendship! She mellows me out and helps me see that "it's alllll good" when I want to panic! What a gift my friends are to me as they help me "chillax". Love it!
Today was a perfect example! Oh my gosh, we had fun! We laughed and told crazy stories to Taylor and teased. I'm always amazed at how many times Carol and I speak the same words in unison about whatever we are talking about. And Tay just loves to tease us both. It was a great day racing from one thing to the next!
We bought four honking huge cabbages. I'll be canning for the next two days and call it good for this season because I'm expecting fall will arrive while I'm in NY!
Taipan was sort of a beautiful mess... the front was filled with fall decor and the main part of the store was filled with the beginnings of their magnificent Christmas trees. We briefly walked through the center and agreed that we want to enjoy a bit of fall before Christmas! There were only a few trees or beginnings of... looks like another beautiful holiday ahead of us! Honestly, though, not quite ready to start that yet! We'll go back in November!
It's been a big day! BUT A FUN ONE INDEED!! My goal for the night is to be in bed before midnight... a first in months!
One great piece of news, that I wanted to record for history! Before I left this morning, I checked the Indiana records for my drivers license progress and found that it had not even been documented. Something had gone wrong! I called and spoke with a very kind woman who walked me through the website and I reentered my information. She said that it would be up to twelve days to get the documentation recorded and my license corrected. Tonight, I came home and just thought I'd look to make sure it showed that I'd done it this time. I have a clean record!!! It's done! HAPPINESS!!! Tomorrow, before chowchow making, (If I can squeeze two things onto my calendar) I will run to the drivers license bureau and get mine renewed. It may not arrive before my trip, but I'll at least have documentation that I've done what I needed and it's on it's way. Hopefully, I won't end up like Tom Hanks in that movie where he lives in the airport for two weeks!
What a great day. LIVE HAPPY!
Your life is your message to the world.
Make sure it's inspiring!
I'm off to the dentist and to do a few things in preparation for my trip! One week from today, I'll be waking up in the Big Apple! I've got more salsa, chow chow and jam to make. I need to make sure all the bills are paid and any "home management" is taken care of before I go, there's laundry and food to buy before I go and arrangements for kids and pets and schedules that need to be made. The rest of this week is going to be a blur, getting ready! LIVE HAPPY... but even better...
Live life out loud with joy!
These two are best friends! How awesome to have such a great father/son relationship. Quayd's the first to tell anyone that Doug is the best dad in the world! Of course, the fact that he's such a champion son makes this relationship work all the better! Look how tall my boy is!!!
This was the first shot I took of the three kids together. The girls just naturally leaned on Quayd. Love it! I think it's my favorite!
There was a lot of silliness happening... here's Quayd saying, "Yeh, they're my sisters. You can date 'em... with my appoval."
This was the "Nana" pose. They were laughing so hard! Can you say animated?!
Great kids, I tell ya!... says the humble mom!
Quayd... He's all "Mr. C, Jr." I love it! I love him!
Grace... the princess. I love her hair in a braid like this but she looks much older than 15.75!
ZJ... the entertainer! We discovered her cute dimples have appeared since she got the braces on. She's really growing into her gigantic personality! This girl's smile...wow!
Quayd wanted to get a few shot of the girls and I. My favorite was the one where we were being silly instead of posed.
Oh my word, I'm a lucky gal!
Be kind. Be thoughtful. Be Genuine.
But, most of all...BE THANKFUL!
Holy cow, what an amazing earth we live on! Yesterday started out not so right... We all got up, got ready for church and arrived 15 minutes early and found an empty parking lot. We hadn't even give a thought to the fact that it was the morning of the Ogden LDS Temple Dedication that we'd been looking forward to for months. Between making salsa and making time with the kids, we had such a busy weekend that things slipped our minds... Literally. I had even asked Doug in bed earlier, "It's the 21st today, isn't it?", it never occured to us that it was the morning of the dedication. The worst part was that we were fifteen minutes early for church but we were almost an hour late for the dedication. We missed it completely!
So. We came home, kept our church clothes on and read scriptures together for an hour. We had a really good conversation about what we were reading. The kids always impress me with their comprehension and desire to understand. Scripture study with them is really fun... about 90% of the time. They are still normal teens, but for the most part, it usually is an uplifting experience for us all.
After scriptures, Doug and I decided to take the kids for a drive up the canyon. Over the past few days, my step-dad, Bill, who was always "Dad" to me, has come into the conversation several times. I have been really sad to realize how little the kids know about him. He was a most remarkable man, who I loved as much as any father could be loved. After Dad's death, we chose a special place in the canyon for a memorial spot. Doug and I thought it would be a nice Sunday afternoon drive to take the kids to that memorial spot, as well as show them where we had gotten engaged. We all decided to put on black or white shirts for me to take some pix, packed a picnic, grabbed the camera and were off...in the rain... to the canyon, hoping that the rain would settle down before our picnic time.
We headed up to Camp Lomia, up Logan Canyon. This was one of the first shots I took, just off the highway on the trail road. The photos do no justice to the magnificent scenery that we enjoyed, but here are a few of our discoveries along the way. Doug stopped the Expedition and said, "Babe, hop out and look what's above my side." This was it! WOW!
This is the summit at the top of that first mountain. This trail is very tame and so lovely, up until this point. We had our picnic and took a ton of family pictures just past this point. This clearing is where Doug wrote the words, "WILL YOU MARRY ME?" in the snow, then, got down on one knee, after several attempts to the top all winter and finally making it, and proposed to me. That was February 19, 1977! Any time of the year, this is a breathtaking view!
This is Dad's special memorial spot. Doug and I both knew exactly where it was immediately, even though it's been years and years since we've been here. We told stories about Dad all the way up to this spot and assured the kids that Grampa Bill would have been a grampa that they would have adored! I was so glad for this special time and memory!
After Dad's spot, we found a little campsite and pulled of the main path to have our picnic. It rained and we ate inside the Expedition, but it lightened up enough for us to take about 80 photos of the kids and each other. While we were eating, there were about a dozen beautiful bluebirds that surrounded us and appeared to have enjoyed our company, as much as we enjoyed theirs!
After our family photos, which I'll share tomorrow, we loaded back up and Doug asked, "Would you like to head up to Old Ephraim's Grave?" It's a popular site in the canyon that I've heard about for 37 years and never actually seen. He said, "We're already half way there." "SURE!!!" and off we went. Little did we know what the next few hours would involve!
We had barely started on the trail when we saw this little baby, who was followed by her mommy shortly after. There were all sorts of quotes from Bambi, of course, the most frequently quoted, "Mother? Mother?" We teased that Disney traumatized every child in America with that story! Then, the kids started quoting Disney movie lines and singing Frozen songs, which I put the halt on immediately! ;) Frozen Songs should be outlawed after the twentieth time the movie has been viewed!!
We headed up the dirt road/trail and thought that we were probably only a few miles away. My mind said that meant 15-20 minutes. Not so much! The rain started to fall again. Over the past few weeks, we've had more rain than we usually get in a full year. It's been record breaking. The trail road was washed away so terribly. The normally semi-smooth trail was almost non-stop jutting huuuuuge rocks where the water has washed away the soil around them. There were tire size ruts in the road and, with the rain, it was slippery, muddy and wet. This was certainly no "drive in the park", but we were far enough up that, even fearless Doug, questioned which would be worse, turning around or trying to finish the loop. There were a few spots that he seriously questioned if, even in the lowest gear of our 4-wheel drive, we would not be able to climb back up if we turned around. It made for a bit more intensity, for sure.
The kids teased that I would be holding on, white-knuckled one second, saying, "Slow! Careful!" and the next I would be saying, "OH MY GOSH! It's magnificent! Look at that! Isn't it beautiful!" Really. One second, we were nervous that we were going to slide off the slippery side of the the mountain and the next, I was taking pictures of spectacular scenic mountains!
Grace noticed this huge basketball size wasps nest. After I took the picture, Doug said, "Now I dare ya to go swat it!" HAR, HAR, HAR, Mr. C! I think not!
We talked plenty about bears and cougars that have been sighted in the canyons over the years. They are there and often, you hear stories of hikers who spotted them. So, I kept teasing, "There's a bear!" I couldn't resist when I saw this "Bear" up ahead and actually got a real reaction until we got past the shrubs to see him. Quayd was so serious... "Mom. That's a cow." Really, Quayd?
The tale of "Old Ephraim" is told in every fourth grade class in Utah history. I think that the highlight of my day was when the kids asked, "Dad!? Tell us the story! Dad always tells it the best!" Honestly, I knew that there was a big bear named Old Ephraim that was killed and it's skull is in the Smithsonian. That's all. Doug told us the story and it really is fascinating! Apparently, a Malad Idaho sheepherder/rancher had been tracking the bear for months after it had killed lots of cattle. In the end, the bear was caught in a trap, shot several times and would not go down. He continued after the man, trap still attached. The man, still in his long-handled underwear, kept shooting and started running. Shot in the head and in the heart several times, the bear finally fell, right at the feet of the man with the gun. Talk about scared! The bear stood as tall as the monument that the kids are standing in front of now. Doug told the story and I asked, "After he changed his shorts, what'd he do?"
The rain continued to fall after Old Ephraims. We decided that it would probably be safer to keep going down instead of going back. We passed two vehicles and stopped each other to ask about the road ahead. We were told that there was on spot that might be "iffy" about getting through. Shortly after what we knew was "the iffy spot", we turned a bend and the road was not so washed out, much smoother, not so rocky and we were able to go about 10-15 mph for some of it. We hoped that the other two vehicles turned around and returned this way instead of making the loop because the other side was really much more treacherous in several spots. We still had another hour but much less of an unnerving adventure. The leaves turned redder at this point of the drive and I told Doug, as we turned this bend, the entire trip was worth if for this sight alone!
After a few more miles, we looked down into a deep valley and saw this beautiful triple waterfall in the river. The mountain behind this river was massive! SO beautiful! BUT, we were out of the lush colors and into the sagebrush area where color becomes mostly grey again. The colors weren't quite turning here... different elevations, I guess.
From here, the road was fine, the rain stopped, and we were only fifteen more minutes to the highway. What we thought would be an hour drive took five and a half. CRAZY! BEAUTIFUL! SPECTACULAR! FRIGHTENING! FUNNY! UNEXPECTED! All in one afternoon! We definitely made a memory! "Remember the time we took a picnic and got lost in the mountains and thought we were going to end up in Wyoming!?" Not really, but for as long as this adventure lasted, we could have been more than half way to Cheyenne or Denver! When I closed my eyes last night to go to sleep, I saw lots of slippery slopes! But I also saw these four beautiful loves of my life! Of course, here... they were more silly loves of my life. (Liza saw these last night and said this one reminded her of the seen at the top of the mountain in the movie Twilight. Right!)
More pix tomorrow! LIFE HAPPY!
Pull off to the side of your journey and see how far you've come!
Doug had the day off! Love it when that happens! We got the kids off to school, took a nap and then got busy. Doug did things in the yard and garden, I ran to to town to find some new jeans for my trip. When I got home, we went to Black Pearl and tried their Curry Thai Chicken for lunch. OH MY GOSH! With sweet coconut milk as the base, Doug said it was like a dessert. So tasty! We came home and watched a movie together, sat on the backyard swing, planned and calendared the next six weeks and just talked. Days like today just don't get better!
The kids came in from school and sat out back with us while they told us about their day, then everyone went their own direction until dinner time. Quayd went straight to sleep after leftover Black Pearl for an afternoon snack. He'd been up since 5:30 yesterday and worked till midnight then was up again at 5:30 this morning. He woke up just for dinner, showered and went back to bed.
Everyone was in high spirit, it was a great day! Yagottaluvit! Tonight, the wind is blowing, a storm is expected and it's just divine! Our usual "Soup Day" is Sept 12, but I think we are good for a few more days. We may actually make it til I get back from New York to have "Soup Day", but I confess... I'm ready for some cornbread and tasty chowders and stews. It's always funny to me how we can't wait for that first fresh tomato sandwich and before long, that's gotten old and we are craving soups and pumpkin treats!
Highlights of my day:
It's a good day. LIVE HAPPY!
Do what makes your soul shine!
Here's four fun family ideas for this weekend...choose one and do it! I promise, it will be worth it!
Pick an old favorite movie and have a do-it yourself movie night popcorn bar!
Pop your popcorn and allow it to cool for about 5 minutes. Then, toss in some candy toppers...Reeses, Junior Mints, Hersheys, Gummy Bears, whatever your favorite candy is! Don't forget to have some "shakers"...pepper, cinnamon sugar, parmesan cheese for those who don't have a "sweet tooth".
Have a read-aloud party. Everyone brings their favorite childrens book. Gather up some treats and blankets. Each person reads there favorite book to the family. Discuss each book... who's your favorite character? What's your favorite part? How did it make you feel when you first read it? Why did you choose it? Would you have ended it differently?
Make a timeline for each family member. Get a roll of newsprint (local paper has end pieces, usually for free or near nothing) Give everyone their own color marker. Start with the year your family began and mark the dates of anniversaries, births, moves, major life changes, then project the future for graduations, missions, marriages, you name it. Roll it up in a scroll, put it away and store it. Don't forget it's there and in years to come, pull it out and see how "on track" everyone is!
Have each member of the family make a list of five things they appreciate about each other person in the family and list three favorite memories of each person. Share them with each other. Be a HAPPY family for the day! Build each other up! Hug a lot! Love each other!
Wake up with determination, Go to bed with Satisfaction!
I didn't mention that we came home from Idaho to three very proud kids. The house was clean, their jobs were done, the rules had been followed. All was well! We were very proud of them, as they were proud of themselves. As Doug says often, "We've got great kids!"
Another proud moment, Grace texted me today from school: I got 100% on my Biology test!!! She'd studied hard and worked hard to do it! I sent her several congrats texts and so did Doug. She was one happy camper!
ZJ and I went to her Young Womens activity together tonight... a mother/daughter icecream social. We had a nice time. The moms were asked to come prepared to tell two things about their daughters. Then, a game was played where the girls had to answer questions about what had been shared by the moms. My two things about ZJ:
She was proud of herself as I shared the facts. It was a fun evening together. We ran to McD's for lack of time to have a quick bite before going to the church. ZJ's decided that she's going to be healthy and opted for nothing over something from McD's. I told her that she needed to eat something and we were in a huge hurry, so she had a grilled chicken wrap. I'm proud of her self-discipline! She even passed on a Diet Coke! I'm kicking myself for not getting a picture of us together tonight! We were having too good of a time. We have some wonderful young womens leaders who work hard to make things special for the girls!
Grace surprised me today, as well, when she announced that she's going to take our $100 no pop or candy for a year challenge! She's decided to be healthier, as well. Good girls!
I do love being a mom! I'm one of the lucky ones who gets to be a mom longer than most. I am blessed!
Oh, a last thought about the EVENT CENTER post... I was in no way intending to be rude about the Bar. My issue was that they should have advertised it as such. If they'd have said, "Come join us in the backyard/alley of our bar for an afternoon concert, that would have been a whole other story. It was the title "Event Center" and "Courtyard" that got me. I was talking with a friend in the ward tonight and he said, "When I see a courtyard, I see ivy growing up lovely walls and flowers and fountains." I showed him the pictures and he laughed. As Doug always says, "Under-promise and OVER-deliver" and people will be much happier. Just sayin.
Oh! And I apologize for the typos in that post! I tried five times and it kept saving bits and pieces, so I'd have to retype around what saved. I found all sorts of errors when I read it to Doug tonight. Sorry!
That's it for tonight. I'm calling it a night early! (Well, 11PM is early for me!) Live happy!
After rewatching a video that I took of the "courtyard", I counted 63 people there after the first band had played about four songs. We chose to sit in someone's back yard, across the alley in the shade rather than the VIP "area". There was a guy on a bicycle on the other side of the orange tape, all ready for a free show. Robert said, "Define Courtyard?" Sun, heat, flies, dumpster smells, smoke, no seats. Stand in a gravel alley. No real stage. Some burlap taped to some posts in a 6'x15' area with a big sign that said "VIP AREA" and we saw a few VIPs carry their own barstools out of the bar. It was 82 degrees in the sun in a smelly alley. Three bands to go before Collin and the first one started 40 minutes late.
I was concerned about Robert, who just had brain surgery and 6 weeks of chemo and radiation. With my foot and Robert recouping, NONE OF US WANTED TO BE THERE AT THAT POINT!!! We'd gone through so much to be here and didn't want to miss Collin but there was no way we would sit there four more hours. It was just crazy. While we sat there, listening to the first band, which was barely tolerable, Robert joked, "I'll buy dinner annnnnyyyyywherrrrrrrrrrrrrre you guys want if we go now!" SOLD! Doug said! I'm not sure who was most excited about that offer! We were outta there.
Months ago, before Carol and Robert were even married, we planned this weekend! I've been so excited for Doug to go up to Idaho and see Robert's ranch and dairy and business. We also had a big "event" to attend, which will be tomorrow's blog entry! Doug and I took off as soon as he got in from work and headed north. We made several arrangements for the kids and they begged us to trust them to stay alone. This is something that I've never done in my life with the bigs or the babes...left them without someone staying with them. They assured us that they were trustworthy (never was there a doubt about that) and that they were capable/mature enough. We left, with me a bit teary-eyed and my cellphone in hand so that they could text if they needed us. I'd also made arrangements for our neighbor/friend to be "on-call" in case of an emergency.
Found this quote on Pinterest and thought that it was perfect for this blog entry!
Robert's home is almost three hours north. Carol and I texted back and forth the entire drive. We were like two little kids on Christmas Eve, "Are you here yet!?" "Where are you now?" At one point, I said,"Doug's driving 76." She wrote back, "Um. You do know that the speed limit is 80, don't you?" Doug gave it a little more gas! Then we were driving through the farming communities, the same thing happened. I said, "He's going 56." She said, "It's a 60!" Again, he put the pedal to the metal. We had fun texting and laughing along the way.
When we arrived, OH MY! Robert had prepared smoked Tri-Tip beef. We had a delicious dinner, cleaned up the kitchen and took a little ride to see a few sights, including Carol's nephew's amazing home. By the time we got back, we got our suits on and hopped in the hottub for three hours until almost midnight. We talked and laughed and just had a wonderful evening! And then, we slept like babies!
We woke up to biscuits and sausage gravy and fresh peaches and cream, got dressed and headed out to take a tour of Robert's dairy farm. He has over 3000 dairy cows and it's quite the operation. I'd not been in a dairy barn since the summer that Doug and I were married. That dairy milked four cows at a time on each side. Robert's dairy milks thirty-six on each side all day long, every day, twice a day. It was fascinating! And it was amazing to see what technology has added to milking cows! My favorite part of the dairy tour was seeing the baby calves which were, some of them, only hours old. Doug loved learning about and watching the mixing of the grains in huge dumptruck size trucks that have built-in augers to mix. WOW!! So interesting to listen to Doug and Robert talk about the different grains and machinery. Total man stuff, but fascinating.
After touring the dairy, we drove out to Robert's ranch. This is his little peace of heaven on earth. WOW! I'd been there and was so excited for Doug to see it. I knew that he'd be in love! The ride included a drive to the reservoir, 13 bumpy miles of laughs and gab and then a little rest stop at their little two bedroom "cabin" getaway. No cellphones, no internet, no TV. No need! It truly is a magnificent view in every direction and as peaceful of a place as you would ever find on this earth. Perfection! Love it!
Doug and Robert talked and talked farming and ranching in the front of the truck, while Carol and I were having our own "girl talk" in the back seat of the pick-up.
Following the tour, we headed toward Twin Falls, Idaho to view the Shoshone Falls. The Perrine Bridge over the Snake River Canyon is A.MAZ.ING!!! It's 486 feet above the river and 1500 feet long. This is the bridge that Evil Knievel tried to jump on a motorcycle in 1974. (Tried but didn't succeed because his parachute opened too early.) It's also become a world class BASE jumping site. Rober taught us that BASE jumping is the acromym for Building Antenna Structure Earth. I never knew that!
This statue was carved out of the vocanic rock on the edge of the cliffs. I wish the photo did it justice. It was huge and beautiful!
So, here's the long shot of the bridge down to the river.
We watched this group of about nine people walk across the bridge with what looked like parachutes on their backs. The first guy climbed up on the ledge.
And he jumped. You could hear the first parachute "swoosh" before the second opened. This is the worst of the pix because he blends in but look for the jumper just below the center of the bridge. Doug was amazed that the chutes begin to open immediately, but they do not open until the jumper was more than half way down.
Here's the next guy... a little more detectable.
And yet another. Much more obvious.
I zoomed on this one. It was amazing!
More zoom. Is that awesome or what?!
Here's a shot of them landing. They go straight down but when they get close to the water, they pull hard right and land on a grassy area next to the river bed.
LOVED this red and black chute! You could see him clearly all the time!
I would LOVE to try this! The chute isn't really packed up, but loose before they even jump, so you pretty much know it will open. Robert did say that death is no stranger to this bridge.
It looked like they were going to land right in the water every time until the very last minute!
I'm guessing it's the same feeling as parasailing by the time you get near the water. I loved parasailing over the Pacific in Mexico, so I think I'd enjoy this. The jump might give me heart failure, but was a thrill to ride the rest of the ride!
Here's where they land and then they hike the trail back to the top!
Here's my good looking man, who had noooooo desire to base jump!
After watching the BASE Jumpers, we drove out to the Shoshone Falls. Carol had told us how beautiful and impressive the falls were. We got there and had a good laugh. Today... not so much. The water was not "falling". Here's a photo from Google of what they are supposed to look like.
And here's what we saw. Still beautiful, but lacking in a bit of the luster. ha!
Carol and Robert, the awesome hosts/wonderful friends!
Doug and I.
What a magnificent and wonderful world we live in! Every turn brings some new beauty! LOVE THAT ABOUT LIFE!! No water in the falls and then, oh boy, the adventure really got interesting! To be continued! LIVE HAPPY!!
It's a wild, wonderful world...
Follow your heart and let the adventure unfold!
For some random reason, my computer booted right up tonight! It's staying on and actually not shutting down yet! I need to transfer to that external harddrive while I have the chance and thought I'd try to fit in a blog! Here's my favorite photo of the past two weeks! I love this boy! I love this dog!
Oh! I wanted to post a picture of the Super Moon, although the one that I had on the morning that it was so red and just at the top of the mountains would have been so much better! It's been fun to watch it this past week. I don't like the thought that I'd be 105 when it comes around again. And no. I do not want to live to be 105! Not unless they develop a miracle version of Diet Coke that stops aging... one that's not called DEATH! I digress... the moon!
I woke up at 4:30 and could not go back to sleep. It's so hard for me to sleep when I know that I have a big day ahead or I need to be up early. For some reason, last night, it never even crossed my mind that I'd have so much to do before leaving this morning. I went to sleep by 12:30 with no problem, but, once I was awakened at 4:30, my mind would not slow down. I took the kids to school at 6:05 and thought I'd lie down and sleep another hour before getting going. Not so much. I was so aggravated at myself! I calmed down, got ready and picked Denise up and we were on our way.
I was touched as we drove to SLC to see so many flags, flying at half-mast, in memory of those whose lives were lost on Sept. 11, 2001. That day has such a powerful and significant meaning to each and every American.
We thought, before we left town, that we'd stop for a Diet Coke for breakfast. I pulled up to the window at Carl's Jr. and ordered two cokes. That's all. $4.71!!! Are you kidding me!? They are $1 at the McDonalds across the street! No thanks! I pulled away, Coke-less and Denise was laughing so hard! I know, it's only $3, but really? We could have a whole breakfast combo for that! It gave us something to laugh about all day long. We drove on to Brigham City and stopped at a gas station to fill up (Gas is less over the mountain, outside of the valley, always!) Carol's sister-in-law manages that convenient store/gas station, so I always enjoy stopping there for gas just to say hello to Janet. What a sweetheart she is! This stop turned out to be a real blessing, which I'll share in a bit.
We made it to SLC for my doctor appointment with a few minutes to spare. Thankfully. It was at a huge hospital and I had no clue where I was going. By the time I'd driven 100 miles to the appointment, my foot was on fire! Then the doctor poked and prodded and bent and twisted until I was ready to cry. I'd have had to have Denise drive, if it weren't for cruise-control. The diagnosis... nerve damage. This was not news. The solution... time and or live with it. Maybe it's time to try some more natural solutions since six injections, physical therapy and multiple medications have not had one big of effect! Sadness!
We stopped for lunch, after much debate at Inn N Out Burgers. We are in the big city, where we can eat anything in the world, but we don't have Inn N Out in the valley either, and it sounded good and fast! So, we rested a bit, enjoyed our burgers, gabbed some more and laughed at the fact that our burgers were cheaper than that breakfast Coke.
Since we were nearby, we made a quick stop at Taipan. I have been in need of two storage containers to replace some 37 year old yellow and lime green tupperware canisters that had broken lids. I found these two cute containers for my powdered sugar and brown sugar! Much better! Love them!
We also stopped at a fruit stand in Brigham City and picked up a basketball size head of cabbage and one fresh peach. One, that was the size of a softball, bigger than any of the hundreds on our tree this summer. It was a small peach year everywhere, the lady told me. This one begged to differ!
Carol checked in with me on our way home and shared the news that Robert's MRI did not show any growth, nor any shrinkage on his brain tumor. I hate cancer. PERIOD. We are looking forward to some serious fun with Robert and Carol this weekend!
When I got home, I barely closed my eyes for a 15 minute catnap before starting dinner. No sooner than my head hit the pillow, Liza called to tell me a little surprise!!!! WELL! NOT SO LITTLE!!!! Her mother-in-law is going to visit them in Arizona for Aylabelle's birthday. (I will be returning from NYC that morning and won't be there, which Liza has "given me permission" to miss since she's only one and won't know the difference.) BEST NEWS!!! Buddy's mom is driving down and she's offered to let Liza come back with her, if we'll be responsible for getting her home! SO EXCITED! I get to see my girls in a month!!!
While we were on the phone, the landline rang. It was one of the tellers at our bank. She called to ask me if I'd been in Brigham City today. I told her that I'd been to SLC for a doctor appointment and stopped to gas up in Brigham City. I had paid cash, so I could not imagine why the bank would be calling. She then explained that a man had gotten gas there and found an envelope on the ground. He picked it up and looked inside to find cash and a bank receipt... no name, only part of the account number. There was no one around. He took the envelope home, called the bank and explained that he'd found it. He asked them if they could give him contact information. They could not give it to him, but took his number and said that they'd give it to me. I called the man after dinner. He told me that he had found this money and asked how we would like him to get it back to me. I thanked the man profusely. Ironically... this money, this cash, was our tithing! I always get it out and keep it in the envelope until we pay our tithing on Sunday. What an amazing thing to know that there was someone so honest!!!! We had a good little visit and he will drop the cash in the mail tomorrow. Is that awesome or what!?!?!? We are blessed with so many tender mercies every day!!! LOVE THEM!
I made dinner and spent some time with the kids, insisting that everyone goes to bed early! It's been a long day. We need the rest! Early morning seminary is kicking us all in the pants. October 27th, the end of the first quarter can't come soon enough! Neither can this weekend! Neither can my NYC trip! Neither can my birthday! Neither can Liza's visit! Christmas can wait a little. There, see how I'm working on developing patience.
A few little things and I'm calling it a day!
Attitude is the difference between an ordeal and adventure!
ETA: This is a long long story. But, really, it's one of those time that I have to get it out there so I can laugh... either that or hold it in and cry! wink, wink!!!
My drivers license expires on my birthday. Being that I'll be in NYC on my birthday, I wanted to get the license renewed before my trip or else my birthday gift from the State of Utah will be taking the drivers test. THAT is not going to happen! So, this morning, after two weeks of procrastination, I forced myself to drive to the DMV. What is it about that place that no one ever wants to go there!?
I went in before lunch time, stood in line while I filled out the lengthy paperwork, waited my half hour in another line and finally was called to the counter for my turn. We went through the paperwork, had my photo taken, I signed the new license, took the eye test and passed it without a flaw, then pulled out my debit card to pay the $25 fee and then walk out and wait three weeks for the new license to arrive in the mail. No problemo, right? Not so much.
As I was ready to slide my debit card, pay and be on my way, the DMV lady asked me, "Have you ever lived in Indiana?" I said "Yes, about twenty years ago." I asked why, literally, thinking, "Did I know her there or something?" She then said, "I'm sorry. I can't renew your license. The DMV in Indiana reports that your Indiana license was suspended. I said, "WHAT!?!?!?!?!" I explained that I didn't even think I'd ever gotten an Indiana license. I thought I'd kept my Utah license valid. Also, I share that this is my third Utah license renewal since then. Why would this be an issue now and appear now, twenty years later?
The gal was very kind. She gave me the Indiana DMV phone number and what was supposedly my DL number on a sticky note. She said that I could make the call and if there's a mistake, we could just complete the transaction. Why can't things ever be that simple?
I was mortified! After all the years of me telling Kelly, "DON'T BREAK THE LAW!!!", I find that I'm driving on a suspended license?!? I had no clue what this could be about but, I assumed it had something to do with an accident that I had just a few weeks before leaving Indiana, in a rainstorm, when I hydroplaned into the car in front of me when they slammed their brakes to make a turn with no signal. No injuries. BUT. I got the citation because I was the one who hit.
I walked outside and made the call in my truck for privacy. Five minutes of waittime, then the Indiana DMV woman was not friendly. AT ALL. Here's how the conversation went: Your name? I gave it. Your Indiana Driver License Number? I gave it. Your current address? I gave it. Your Social Security Number? I gave it. Your date of birth? I gave it. Then she asked me the stumper, "The address on the Indiana License?"
I said, "SERIOUSLY? That was twenty years ago?" Very stoic, "The address, Mam?" I told her the address that we lived in last, for almost two years, in Indiana. No, that's not it. "Well, we lived on an Amish farm the first two months in ___." No, that's not it. I explained that we did live in a home for eight weeks while we waited for our final home to be ready. I had no clue what that address was. It was only eight weeks AND it was twenty years ago. You have no idea? Don't you keep records? I explained that I keep records for three years. I don't keep things from twenty years ago. I said, "Wait! It was something Pioneerish because when we arrived there, I thought it was ironic that Utah being all about Pioneers and we'd land on a road that was about Pioneers. She was like ice. "No, it's not Pioneer." I said, "It was some sort of compound word or two words. She said, "Well, you got that. It is a compound word." I'm sitting there thinking, "Seriously, Lady? I gave you every detail you asked for and I can tell you this much but you can't work with me here? Why would anyone be calling 20 years later to dig up this information if it were not legit???"
LONG LONG story short... 40 minutes, she would not budge. I kept guessing. This is comical as I retell it... Pioneer Way? Pilgram Road? Handcart Lane? Something-ValleyDale? When she finally said, "Dale is right." ARE YOU KIDDING ME? STILL NOT ENOUGH??? Then she asked, "Do you have the house numbers? I finally knew that we were getting nowhere fast and said I'd have to do some homework and get back with her. I explained my time crunch...that I have to wait three weeks here for my Utah license to come in the mail and that I'm flying in just a few weeks and need a valid license. Her response was, "Go to our website, get form ASASD0FA9DS0F903R23423023234234TLMNOP, print it, fill it out, snail mail it back to us and we can review it. We'll open your case and mail you the info you need." Again, I explained the time issues I had. She no care!
We hung up and I had the idea to use Google Maps. I remembered that this home was at the south end of the town. I zoomed in and started looking at streets. I used the Sattelite map and was able to find the actual home. PRAIRIE VIEW!!! I knew it had to do with Pioneers! I could see the dormers on the two story home. It was a cul de sac in a brand new subdivision with about a dozen homes on large acre size lots twenty years ago. Today, there are a ton of homes, but I found it. However, satellite maps don't show the mailboxes with house numbers.
I did my grocery shopping and called again as soon as I got home. It was two hours later and I got a much friendlier helper this time. I explained the situation, told her the correct answers to all of the questions and again, we came to the Indiana address. I told her the street name and explained that I had no way of knowing the house numbers. She put me on hold, spoke with her supervisor and returned to say that this one time, we could "open the case" and get the details. I thanked her profusely, fully expecting that she would find a clerical error and all would be well. Not so much.
Apparently, there were two incidents. One, a speeding ticket, in August 1994 and the accident in October 1994. The speeding ticket I remembered clearly. Dale, then 16, was at a party with school friends. He'd been instructed that if he was ever at an event of any kind where inappropriate things were happening, he was to call and we'd come and get him immediately. I passed an Amish buggy as I drove to pick him up and a hidden policecar pulled out of the trees and got me for going 46 in a 35. When I went to court, the judge asked, "Guilty or Not Guilty?" I'd said, "Guilty but, may I explain?" The judge, a woman, said, "You can explain but it won't change anything once you plead guilty." I explained and her response was, "That's the best excuse for speeding I've ever heard." She waived the fine and called it good. Apparently, that was never cleared from the records.
The second was the accident and again, apparently, there was no record of insurance. The gal explained that neither showed any proof of insurance. I could do one of two things. I could either produce proof of insurance OR I could pay $187.50 today and write a letter, fill out a form and show three forms of proof that I no longer live in Indiana. This will take two weeks to be changed on the computer after they receive it and then I can return to get a license here in Utah. OH MY WORD!!!! This is twenty years ago!
I did have to laugh, however, at the gal. At the end of the phone call, she said, "You'll probably want to think about those numbers though before you call back?" I asked, "What numbers?" She said, "Before you call back. Maybe some numbers like 15174. I'd probably remember those numbers." She laughed and I realized that she was telling me the house number!!!! This way, when I call again, I can just breeze through and pay them the money. UNBELIEVABLE!!
Doug called and I told him the whole long story. He remembered a different insurance company than I did. I remembered our Utah insurance company, but didn't remember ever transferring it. Doug remembered the company paying for the repairs on the other car in the accident. I called them first. They had no record of us ever being customers. No records of claims or accidents or anything of the like. I thought maybe Doug was wrong and called the other. Both in Indiana. This woman was so kind. She went through the computer back to the 80s. 45 minutes later, she did find us in the computer as "New" Clients as of December of 1994, in UTAH, when we returned from Indiana. She "guessed" that the company had listed us as new clients because at that time, the agent would have received a larger commission if we were new and not just transfers. Either way, this doesn't help my case today.
And so. In the morning, I'll be faxing three forms of proof of current Utah address and Form #ASD2U340834N3023R2F924H234234234LMNNOP, and making a debit card payment over the phone for $187.50 to cover the fact that there's no proof of insurance on two driving incidents, the only two I've had in my whole 37 years of marriage, from twenty years ago so that I can get my drivers license renewed!!!! Because I've got an extra $187.50 to throw away, right? As Grace says, "Whatevs!" I'm going to NY and if my license hasn't arrived, I may have to stay there a few extra days before they let me on the plane to return. Worse things could happen, right?
Whodathunkit!?!? I wake up and go to get my license renewed and find out that I'm a criminal of twenty years, driving without a legitimate license! HA! Never a dull moment at the Corbridges! Regardless, LIVE HAPPY!!!!!
Someday, everything will make perfect sense.
So, for now, laugh at the confusion,
smile through the tears
and keep reminding yourself that everything happens for a reason.
Doug was home all weekend and that makes it harder for me to make time to blog. It's so awesome when he's home and we have nothing huge on the calendar because we get busy and get so much done! We spent the weekend working around the house. The garage is now spotless! YAY! We took a load in the trailer to the Deseret Industries. We delivered the old washer to a recycle place. Next major project around the house is the storage room, but I think we will wait until after my birthday trip to do that and then we can go through everything, preparing for the holiday decorating too. My goal this fall is to go through my seventeen Christmas bins and get rid of a lot of stuff! I'm over the decorate every inch. It's time to share it with my girls and simplify! Until then, I've still got a ton of cabin insurance stuff to do.
I need to thank Carol and her sister, Mary Ann, for the inspiration and motivation! You could literally host a dinner party in Mary Ann's garage, and ours needed some serious attention! It's been too long! Mary Ann has just bought another dream home in the valley. On Friday morning, Carol and I went out for lunch and then to Mary Ann's for a tour of her new home. OH. MY. WORD! As expected, because Mary Ann has the magic touch, it's fabulous! I told her that whenever I leave her home, I always come home and want to clean mine. We both said at the same time, "And mine [yours] is already clean!" It's true, but her simplistic elegance always inspires me immensely! I'm a total believer that no matter what size your home is or what your budget is, you can work your own magic and make it fabulous! I always feel grateful for my own home when I come home from Mary Ann's and want to make it even better. She really does inspire me. While there, she sent me home with two fun decor items which will, both, eventually end up on a tablescape!
Speaking of tablescapes, that was another thing I got done this weekend...a simple September tablescape. October, December and January are always my favorites. As I was polishing the antique table (which I bought from Mary Ann a few years ago), before setting it, I told Doug that this table is my favorite piece of furniture. I love it!
We had a fun date at the Bluebird Restaurant, which is the place that Doug's parents held their wedding reception back in 1952. We'd gone for a drive around the valley and then decided to stop there for a hot fudge sundae and a banana split. Not dressed up. No make-up. Worked all day. Tired. Spontaneous, but, we didn't even care. Like today's quote, if we wait till the perfect moment to enjoy life, we miss a lot of moments! When we got there, the plan was that we would sit at the old fashioned counter, like in the 50's and have our ice cream treats... only small instead of regular size. But, we saw that the evening special was this fabulous parmesan crusted pork loin. I'd had it while at lunch with lunch bunch and loved it! I'd gone on about it to Doug, so we decided that we would be seated, split a dinner meal and still have dessert. We were so full when we were done but Doug loved it as much as I did. We've never split a meal before in our lives. Kind of fun to eat and still almost have room for dessert!
Sunday dinner was a huge hit. I loved when Grace said, "This is a TEN, Mom!" I made chicken fajitas, Cilantro Lime Brown Rice, Fresh Guacamole and chips. Oh my heck! The rice. Here's the recipe. Everyone loved it! I've decided to start using brown rice, since it's healthier for us all. Here's my version of the rice. It was a hit!
Cilantro Lime Rice