After a full week of sending Carol silly texts every few minutes about leaving, and her countless calm responses such as, "Help me. " and "It's going to be a long week", she called yesterday morning at 7:25. Her first words were almost sung, "I can't believe it's tomorrrooooow!" I complacently responded, "What is?" Shocked, she said, probably thinking I was still asleep, "Um, our trip." I said, "Oh, is that tomorrow?" Her response: "I kill ya!" It's no longer tomorrow! It's today! In just hours! I'm packed! Treats made! Connie's caramels packed! Legs shaved! Kids and hubby taken care of! House ready! It's time! Woohooo! In just a few hours, Carol, Taylor and I will probably gain ten pounds each eating road treats and then burn them all off laughing and having fun as we travel and play in a hotel room, being silly girlfriends! Tomorrow night, I'll be with my girl, Liza and her hubby, Buddy in Arizona! It's been a long two weeks waiting! AT LAST!
I am seriously and literally aghast at an experience I had yesterday morning. After running errands together, I stopped to drop Denise off at her truck. We sat, gabbing in my truck for another half hour. It is a large parking lot with four rows parking rows and several exits out of it. I was parked in the lane, not a parking space, behind Denise's truck. With the exception of another truck, there was only one other car parked anywhere than against the building. At one point, as a courtesy, I backed up a few parking spaces to make it easier for an older man to back his truck out. He had plenty of space, but I did it just as a courtesy. BECAUSE I'M NICE! LOL
Twenty minutes later, Denise and I are still gabbing in my truck, again with only a few cars parked right up against the front doors of the store on the opposite side of the parking lot. Our windows were rolled down, when I heard this woman's voice, "Could you move?!" Denise and I both thought she was joking. I totally thought that it was someone I knew, being funny, because there was another exit just two car lengths away from where I was. I TRULY HAD NO IDEA that when I had backed up for the little old man, I was too close to the exit/entrance. In the half hour that we were there, we'd seen no one else coming or going.
SO, the woman says, "Could you move?!?" I turned to see who was teasing me, certain that it was someone I knew. I realized that this was not a friend and this woman was serious. I also realized, for the first time, that I was too close to one of the several exits. Immediately, I started to apologize profusely, "I'm so sorry! Oh my gosh,I had no idea I was blocking the way. I'm sorry!" as I was starting my truck to move. LITERALLY, as I was shifting into drive and apologizing, the woman yells, "THEN MOVE YOU STUPID B****!!!!"
When she said those words, you could have heard Denise gasp from a mile away! We were so stunned! The woman then, peels out, squealing her tires, running over the curb, into the grass, over the second curb and then flies away. Literally. The woman could have turned her wheel 2 " and gone out another exit that was right there. Doug was certain that that kind of driving probably did some damage to her car.
Denise and I were so stunned! And then we started to laugh. Out loud! I said, "Wouldn't you want to live with her?!?!" OH. MY. HECK! I laughed at the whole situation. But. For the rest of the day, I couldn't stop thinking of this woman who has to be so miserable in her life that she would react that way to a total stranger who was apologizing for an unintentional offense! Talk about a short fuse! I said to my brother, "Who does that!?" Rick said, "That woman!" Un.Be.Lieve.Able!
Which leads me to today's little sentiment, in the midst of all my excitement for taking my trip. Seriously. Someone was having a bad day. I feel bad that I didn't help with my careless mistake. But, SERIOUSLY? I wouldn't recognize the woman if she brought me a plate of cookies right now. The lady had someone in the car with her. I'm not sure if it was male or female. I'm not sure if they were an adult or a child. And she probably drove away saying SERIOUSLY?? about me. But, SERIOUSLY? I'm still stunned.
I remember years ago taking a class from Steven Covey, before he was "STEVEN COVEY". He taught the principle of being proactive. He said, "Your life doesn't just "happen." Whether you know it or not, it is carefully designed by you. The choices, after all, are yours. You choose happiness. You choose sadness. You choose decisiveness. You choose ambivalence. You choose success. You choose failure. You choose courage. You choose fear. Just remember that every moment, every situation, provides a new choice. And in doing so, it gives you a perfect opportunity to do things differently to produce more positive results. Instead of reacting to or worrying about conditions over which they have little or no control, proactive people focus their time and energy on things they can control."
Eta by Sophia: Proactive people don't get their undies in a bunch over petty little things like bad driving, poor parking, or women who smile when they are apologizing!
This lady was definitely reactive, not proactive! If I had it to do over again, A: I'd have parked correctly. B: I'd have said to the woman, "I don't know who pooped in your oatmeal, but Have a great day anyway!" as she was driving away. If I'm ever "flipped off" on the road for a driving mistake, I always smile and wave! I always feel better about the whole situation instead of upset by it. It's so much more simple to handle it that way.
That's all. I just had to share the experience and laugh about it in retrospect. Life is still good. After all, I'm leaving for Arizona...today!
A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.
Other than laundry and the morning routine, I literally did nothing yesterday but play... I played with the kids, with Rick, with Doug. And it was fun! Now, today, I'll be doing doubletime. Today, I'm meeting Denise for breakfast, then running to Sam's Club and the grocery store, getting my crown permanently seated and the rest of the day will be spent in the kitchen with the girls, making some fun treats to leave with the family and some to take on our trip tomorrow!!!!
Here's a random ten ramblings....
A daughter may outgrow your lap but she'll never outgrow your heart!
Some Wednesday ramblings....
Life is good!
Do small things with great love.
Today is my sweetheart's 58th birthday. We celebrated last night with just the three babes at home. Tuesdays are our craziest days with piano lessons, opera, Young Womens and Scouts. So, we had a quiet party at home alone. Doug hadn't requested anything specific for his birthday, so I decided to make apple pie ala mode. When he called later in the day, I asked if he had any suggestions and he said, "How 'bout Apple Pie ala Mode?" Done! When he came in from work, Doug did the most shocking thing I've seen him do in a long time... he took one look at the pie and broke off a big piece of the fluted crust! Normally, he doesn't even eat the crust, but to break it off a perfect pie before it was even served!? Grace said, "Dad! That's like a baby's first birthday cake where they can do whatever they want to with it!" When we were deciding whether to have it before or after dinner, Doug chose "Both!" And so, for an appetizer, apple pie ala mode and then again for dessert. Done! I had to laugh when I teased him about the crust, he said, "I learned it from the master, you, who slices the heart right out of the watermelon. No comment. ;)
Here's Doug's 58 year birthday interview:
I WANT: sleep!
I HAVE: a tired butt. (He was sitting on the most uncomfortable chair in the house.)
I WISH: upon a star.
I HATE: nothin.
I MISS: the moon. We haven't had it for a few days.
I HEAR: red wing black birds.
I WONDER: how many geese pass through Cache Valley.
I REGRET: Not having time to count them.
I AM NOT: a good counter.
I DANCE: with you.
I SING: baritone-alto. (He has a great voice.)
I CRY: when I feel the Spirit.
I AM NOT ALWAYS: sleepy. Sometimes I'm awaker than I was.
I MAKE WITH MY HANDS: our living.
I WRITE: sloppily and in my own devised shorthand.
I CONFUSE: that one duck with the other duck. I always get them mixed up.
I NEED: a duck book.
I SHOULD: get a duck tag this fall, then we could have roast duck. (That's not gonna happen! He is so not a hunter!)
I START: more things than I finish. (He was on one.)
How old will you be this year? 58er than I was.
What is your biggest pet peeve? People with a lot of pet peeves.
Favorite color: White
Favorite foods: Fruits and veggies and fish, whole grains, everything you make!
Favorite beverage: The universal solvent. Water. (I thought he was joking about Melaleuca Oil.)
Favorite cold cereal: My royal special oatmeal. Do you want me to share the recipe? (I tried to stop him!) It would be really good if they ate it too. First you start out with water. Raisins. Dried plums. Dried apricots, dried apples, some cinnamon, nutmeg, cayenne pepper, dried tomatoes, molasses, 4 tbsp. homemade pear sauce, peanut butter, 1 cup bran, 2 cups oatmeal. (He's totally serious, as he's telling me all of this.) It's called "Doug's Royal Oatmeal." Optional ingredients: coconut. Cherry juice, 1 Tbsp Pero, whole flax seed. That should be enough to last ten days in your morning blender drink. (Honestly, he makes this every Sunday night and then lets it set up and coagulate in a giant tupperware bowl, then he puts a glob of it in his blender drink with fresh spinach, carrots, broccoli, banana, apple and one other fruit every morning of his life.)
Favorite Smell: Spring, the Cottonwood trees
Favorite time of day: 3:00 When I see your smile and you give me a kiss after work.
What is your favorite game? See who can ride with one snowmobile ski in the air the longest - Goodbye to the High-fax. (whatever that means)
Do you play an instrument? I can play a rubber band.
What was the last movie you saw? Over the Hedge with the kids.
What is your favorite article of clothing? My sport jacket. (I had to laugh at this because he only wears it once or twice a year. And it's old, old, old. He really needs a new one. Maybe that was a hint??)
What is your dream vacation? Cross-country skiing at the ranch. And a cruise with the family.
What do you love most about being a Dad? Spending time with the kids, swimming.
What do you love most about being a husband? Time with you.
If you were an animal what would you be? A wolf because they get to howl at the moon. Wait. I do.
What is your favorite "me- time" activity? Reading or cross-country skiing up Green Canyon. Refueling myself, it's good exercise.
What is one of your weaknesses? Name it.
What would choose for dinner every night? Salmon. Broccoli. Your spinach salad. Your dutch apple pie.
What is the emotion you feel the most? Hope and joy!
Do you consider yourself outgoing? I'm outgoinger than I used to be.
What are some of your talents? There's that one day that I was almost tactful. (Honestly, Doug is THE most tactful person I've ever met in my lifetime. He could tell anyone the worst thing in the world and they'd walk away feeling good about it.)
What is a word or phrase you overuse? 38% and Fantabulous! Any word with the letters "e-r" on the end of it.
What was the hardest thing that happened to you this past year? Balancing work and family.
What is the best thing that happened to you this year? You're still putting up with me. I got an A health rating for our insurance. Time at the ranch.
Something you learned this past year? the power of example. That people who are crazy enough to think they can change the future are the ones who do. (He loved reading the Steve Jobs biography.)
What was your favorite thing about being 57 years old? Whenever I thought of my age, I thought of the classic 57 chevy. (Funny because at 56, he said it made him think of his 56 Ford pickup.)
What are you most excited about being 58 years old? It's gonna be our best year yet!
Is there anything else you want to say about turning 58? I have 58 books to read. How am I gonna do that? I'm looking forward to getting some good exercise everyday!
What advise do you have to give at 58? Be 38% less critical! Think 38 %bigger!
Doug is absolutely the most perfect man on this earth for me! I adore him! I watch the clock each day and wait for him to come home, to call me during his breaks and lunch and to wake up because I love every minute of life by his side. I am blessed to have this man as my eternal mate! I love you, Babe! Happy Birthday!
The most important thing a father can do for his children is love their mother. (He does!)
As mentioned yesterday, Gracie called Saturday, "the Best Day EVER!" We had a blast and made every single minute count!!!
Saturday morning, we left early enough to gas up and then drive through McD's for a quick On the Go breakfast. For the past several months, Grace has awaited a day that just the two of us could go to my favorite decorating places that she hears me go on about so often. So, naturally, Taipan was first one the list. While there, we found this cute little poncho on sale and the two things that she really loved for her room were the wrong colors. So, we passed. Just as we were at the check-out, Grace discovered "the biggest strawberries in the world!", chocolate covered. Of course, we had to have one!
We waited until we got into the Expedition to eat them. I laughed out loud as Grace had her first taste! She took her first bite, closed her eyes and said, "Oh, my goodness! That made me feel all shivery!" I relate, Grace. I relate!
After Taipan, we headed to Secret Haven at the Rock Loft. There has been much change in this quaint little out of the way boutique. There is less decor and more clothing/accessory type product on display. It's still beautiful, as always, but just less of the beauty that makes it worth the drive.
Following Secret Haven, we went on a whirlwind shopping therapy at Target. We both had a few items in mind to find. Grace had no luck. She's been saving her money since Christmas for a few things, so she was anxious and hopeful, but no luck. I did pick up a few things for my trip to Arizona, but we were wishing we knew were a Kohls was as we left Target. We walked out into the parking lot and lo, and behold, there was a Kohls in the parking lot!!! Please pass where that came from? We had no time left for shopping because we had a big date in less than an hour!
We raced to lunch with "Miss Marilyn", Gracie's hero. Grace coined the name, "Magical Miss Marilyn" a few years ago. Marilyn and I had talked on the phone after Taipan to make sure we were both on the same page, schedule-wise, and I'd told her about Gracie's strawberry experience. Marilyn met us at Cheesecake Factory for lunch in South Salt Lake. We chatted during the almost hour wait, while watching the servers dish up cheesecake after cheesecake. The entire time, Gracie's eyes just got bigger and bigger! After her pasta alfredo was all gone, she enjoyed Lemon Raspberry Cheesecake, eating every bite, except the one she shared with Miss Marilyn. The girl is definitely a dessert girl!
I would be remiss to not mention that I, all but, licked my plate clean from the Lettuce Wraps. Honestly and truly, the best lettuce wraps I've ever enjoyed! I had to call Liza and ask her if there is a Cheesecake Factory near her home in Arizona because we'll be enjoying them while together next week for sure! By the way, the best way to eat lettuce wraps is to cut it all up, mix it all up, toss it in the sauces and serve it as a salad! OH MY!
After saying goodbye to Marilyn, we headed downtown SLC to the LDS Conference Center for the Young Women's Broadcast. Grace was so excited for the entire experience. We parked right next to the building, which was really great when the event was over. We waited in line less than ten minutes before we were able to enter the building. And then, the hour wait before the broadcast began was spent, mostly, reading. We'd both brought along a book for the wait. I'd hoped we could close our eyes for a minute before because it had been such a big day but we were both too excited for the experience to close our eyes.
Grace reached over and touched my arm as President Monson, President Eyring and President Uchtdorf entered the room. She told me that it made her feel "peace". A side note of my own: I had brought my camera in, although we were instructed no photographs once the broadcast began. So, while we waited, I played with the camera, zooming in on these three amazingly wonderful men and this was my favorite shot of all. To me, it speaks of happiness, inner peace and joy.
From this shot, you can see that we were a mile away from the podium. We were actually on the terrace, not the top balcony, but I'm excited that my camera does such a great job. The girls in the choir were all dressed in pastel yellow, pink and salmon. It was a sight to behold. Grace and I had been on the lookout through all of our shopping for a new yellow blouse for me. When the choir walked in, I leaned over and whispered to Grace, "No wonder we couldn't find a yellow blouse. They were all bought for the choir!" This gave her the giggles.
The music and the spoken word of the Women's Broadcast were splendid. I was so thrilled to share the experience with my daughter. I loved seeing 30,000 other young women who share the same beliefs and values as Grace and was thrilled when she acknowledged that the girls who were there were girls who want to do what is right and keep Heavenly Father's commandments. It led to great discussion on the way home. What an awesome experience!
We were able to leave the Conference Center immediately. We waited about ten minutes for a phone call from the YW President to make sure that no one needed a ride home and we were headed home. We beat the crowds and made great time because of our parking location and reconnected with Carol and Taylor again to meet at Kohls in Logan and we shopped until 11PM. Taylor, who is a super-shopper helped Grace find several new things at great prices! I got some new things to wear on our trip... best part of it all, I'm two sizes smaller than last fall! Sweet! After that, we hit Lee's Marketplace to pick up what Grace needed to make strawberry shortcake for Sunday dessert, a school assignment to cook for her family.
A few other ramblings about the day:
This Subway sign was available for sale at Secret Haven at the Rock Loft in Kaysville Utah.
Previously posted in March 2008. Today, March 24, 2012, this is post 2574.
I can't believe it! 1000 blog entries! It seems like I've been blogging forever! I am the first to say that blogging has brought me more pleasure than I ever dreamed. Being that I've always been a journal-keeper, blogging has only enhanced that passion. It's become a part of our lives... my family and friends say, probably more than anything else, "Put that in your blog!" I admit, I have been told a few times, "DO NOT put that in your blog!", but for the most part, everyone is supportive of it. One of my favorite things is a phone call from a friend who says "I made your blog today!" or when I get an email telling me that a recent recipe was a hit at their office party or family gathering. It makes my day! I've written about the reasons and importance of keeping a journal many times, so I won't go there today. However, I will say, if you don't blog or keep a journal, at least, keep a small notebook with you all the time and record thoughts, blessings, little promptings and impressions that matter to you and your loved ones. One day, you'll be thrilled that you did!
I took a moment and scanned furiously through my first 1000 entries and remembered things, thoughts and feelings that I'd experienced, that without the blog, I'm certain would have been long forgotten and never remembered. A few of those things:
And for all of those and many more reasons, I blog. Since Mom's illness, I've been asked and reminded a lot lately to "take time for me". Blogging is what I do for me! I have felt blessed with the ability to convey my thoughts and feelings. I've been blessed by friends and relationships that have grown as a result of my blogging. I've been able to connect with several old friends and family from my past. All this and more, as a result of the energy I've put into if this past few years and I would not want to miss one moment that I've put into it or one blessing that I've gotten out of it! Enough said about that!
To look backward for a while is to refresh the eye, to restore it, and to render it the more fit for its prime function of looking forward.
The roof is done and it looks great! Doug and I were so happy check off that big task on our To Do list! DONE! YAYYYY! And a HUUUUUUUUUUUGE thank you to my brother, Rick and our friend/neighbor, Dave. We couldn't have done it without them! It looks great! My favorite part of the day...watching Rick teaching Quayd how to use the air nail gun. Quayd thought that being on the roof was cool, but handling the tools was the best! Love it! I look at this photo of him and I see a young man, not a little boy anymore. Love him so much!!
Rick is such a riot. He proposed to four women in ten minutes while we were picking up a few more supplies for the roof and stopping for a drink at McD's. He reminds me of my dad in his younger days, when he'd tell servers and store clerks that he'd waited his entire life to meet them and knew that they were the one, then proposing...total strangers. Making their day, making them laugh. As much as Rick wants to deny it, he's Dad made over. I love them both and pray for the day that they can make amends. Enough said about that. This picture, pretty much, defines Rick's personality.
Today, Natalie and I are going to Salt Lake City. She has an appointment and we're going to make a day of it. Then tomorrow, Gracie and I are heading right back down to the big city for a special girls day out. We'll be visiting all of our favorite decorating stores, looking for spring clothes, meeting "Miss Marilyn" for lunch and then attending the LDS General Young Women's Broadcast. Grace is so excited for the entire day. She wanted to sit down and make a written plan of all the things and places we need to see and do. I'm hoping to make it a day that she will always remember!
By the way, she's got the contact lenses perfected. She gets them in and out in no time. It's been so much fun to watch her, as she proudly masters this new task!
Notice those beautiful blue skies and sleeveless family. We'll have a few more snowstorms, I'm certain, but spring is definitely here! I'm planning on a wonderful weekend, anyway around it. Make every moment count! That's more than enough said!
Life is better when you're laughing!
Be too positive to be doubtful, too optimistic to be fearful and too determined to be defeated.
Not my favorite Tuesday ever. The good news was that Brett didn't have to do a root canal. The bad news was that the crown prep was agony. Almost three hours with a block in my mouth to keep it open while he worked on my back molar. Thank heavens for pain meds!
HAPPINESS!!! Carol had invited me, weeks ago, to come along when she visits her mother and some good friends of ours in Arizona over spring break. I was dying that I wouldn't be going with her! But, I didn't see a way of leaving the babes for their spring break. They have high hopes for some time at the ranch. Last week, Wendy informed me that they are not going away for spring break this year and since I tended her kids when she and Stott went to Miami last fall, she offered to tend the babes, so that I could go and spend the week with Liza!!! I leaped up doing the happy dance, but still holding my breath that it would come together.
Life is good! VERY good. Even when your mouth throbs and you can't swallow without getting teary eyed from the pain! This too shall pass!
Some people look for a beautiful place. Others make a place beautiful.
First, I had to clear it with Doug. Eight days without a mom in the home isn't always fun. Doug teased me, "Are you sure you want to go?" Am I sure that I want to take a road trip with Carol? That I want to spend a week with Liza and Buddy? Hmmmm? Let me think about it? OF COURSE I WANT TO GO! It will be hard to leave the family for that long, but I also need to be with Liza! I texted Liza to let her know and my phone rang immediately, "That's not something you tell me in a text!!!!" I'd texted because I thought they were on the road on their way to Denver to meet their new baby niece!"
Then, we had to clear it with the kids. I wanted them to be comfortable with my absence. I explained that sometimes, it's hard to be mom to bigs and babes because they need me all the time, but Liza needs her mom too, at times. And I need Liza. But, we only get a few days a year now. Quayd was all over the idea. ZJ was "okay" with it. Grace was a little teary, but she's good with it, for my sake. The thought of spending their days with the B's has them all excited. Grace was quite excited when Wendy mentioned sleepovers. I'd not planned on that. Wendy's words, "That's what family is for." We are so blessed!
We're still fine-tuning the plan. I'm working on menus and daily lists for them to keep on top of things... not that any of my lists will even be looked at while I'm away! BUT. I do know that when I come home, everything will be in perfect order. They may take a vacation from bedmaking and daily chores... it will be a vacation for them too. And I'm not going to concern myself with it! I'm just sooooooooo excited!
Liza and I are texting each other throughout the days with our plans of possibilities. We skyped yesterday and it turns out that on one of the days while I am their, the Relief Society Homemaking Night activity will be visiting her home for organizing ideas. Whoever is in charge of this activity had dropped by her home for a moment, months ago. When she asked Liza if she would be willing to share, the lady said that the minute she had heard of the activity, she knew that Liza was the one to ask! A proud mama moment, indeed! And now I'll get to be there to help her with the evening. It will be fun! Perfect timing!
In others news, Grace is taking her contacts in and out in less than ten minutes now. She wore them to school and kept them in ten hours today. This was the final adjustment day. She can now wear them all day, every day. She's quite the proud girl!
I'm not one of the bazillion people who will be standing in line this weekend for The Hunger Games. I could not get into the books. I'm sure I will see the movie but not anytime soon. And that's okay with me! After a few books in a row, dealing with the Haulocast, I had my fill and wanted nothing to do with them again. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas still brings me to tears. No thanks. I'll take a romantic comedy any day!
With ZJ's birthday over, I have one week to plan for Doug's! He's getting better and better with age! And being that he started off so awesome, that's pretty great!
And last but not least, the weather is supposed to be in the 70s the rest of the week! The roof work begins! Happiness!
ZJ is eleven! AMAZING! She was in diapers only yesterday! She's sensitive, tender-hearted, brave and bold. She doesn't miss a thing in any conversation, whether it's between Doug and I or I'm on the phone with Denise or Carol or Wendy. She wants to be in the know.
ZJ is our most mature child. She's responsible and loves to be in charge. She can be asked where anything in the house is and 99.9% of the time, she can tell you. She can do laundry, cook a meal, clean a bathroom as well as her mother! She's very self-motivated. Example: She'll decide that she wants/needs something from the store, determine how much money she needs for it and then come to Doug or I and ask, "What can I do to earn $5 today?" And she will keep asking for more jobs then working until she has what she wants.
She is our negotiator. She saw a beautiful bedroom on Pinterest in December and said that she wanted a room like that. I told her that this room was very clean and organized and if she wanted a room like that, she'd have to prove to me that she was responsible enough to keep it looking like that photo. She bargained with me. "If I can keep my room like that for six months, could I have that room?" It's been three months. I've not had to tell her to clean her room once. She's got drawers and closet organized, she picks up every day, makes her bed the second she gets out of it, hangs her clothes. I guess I'll be making a trip to Ikea mid-summer for the shelving she has in mind!
ZJ is also very outspoken. A few weeks ago, I pointed blame at her for something she'd not done and she let me know, respectfully, that I was wrong. She's not afraid to seek "justice and liberty for all", when it's deserved. And she's eleven! Help me when she's 15!
She's creative as can be. Her new sewing machine has been busy since Christmas morning. She's made a point of "re-making" all of her Barbie clothes so that they are now modest. She's not afraid to cut and tuck and sew up a storm, creating anything that crosses her mind at the moment! In the kitchen, she's not intimidated by any recipe in any cookbook and often, she decides that she doesn't need a recipe, she'll "just make one up".
ZJ is definitely a daddy's girl. She's not afraid to haul manure, shovel compost, get dirty working in the yard with her dad. When she wakes up in the morning or comes in from school, it's always Doug who gets the first hug and kiss. She adores her dad... perhaps because she, more than any of our six children, has him wrapped around her finger! She's a little bit tomboy, but very girlie, in that she tries on five outfits for school every morning until she gets it just right and she loves doing things with her hair. She can't wait for Young Womens where she can be with the big girls!
And last but not least, I couldn't not mention that she has a powerful and strong testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ. She wants to keep the commandments and notices when others are not. She's not afraid to tell her big sister Kelly that her clothes are not modest or that she's making bad choices. She wants everyone to "do what is right". Again, that outspokenness comes out. She's our little red personality.
We celebrated ZJ's eleventh birthday, like every other birthday... dinner out, the treasure hunt and dessert. When all was said and done, ZJ went to bed with a huge smile on her face! As soon as we got home from dinner, it was time for the treasure hunt. I simplified the clues a bit since the last few times, we've taken forever to find the gifts! Once found, ZJ opened her gifts. Nana and the B's joined us for the fun. I was impressed and touched when ZJ opened her gift from A ~ a hand stitched pillow.
These two little girls are joined at the hip. It will be hard to see ZJ at the middle school next year, leaving A is a year behind Zeej in school. ouch! Following "the birthday song", we had ZJ's choice, yellow cake and cream cheese frosting with mint chocolate chip icecream. It was a fun day for ZJ and she couldn't have been happier with all of the events of the day! Score 1 for Mom! Love it!
ZJ's birthday interview:
I WANT: art paint, new heelies and more skates. (She got watercolor paint and paper, a new iPod, some sewing things, jewelry, piano music, some cash and a few other things.)
I HAVE: Go-Go.
I WISH: I could fly because then I could fly to school.
I HATE: when my sister goes in my room.
I MISS: Fancy. (Always the same answer.)
I HEAR: stories about tons of stuff.
I WONDER: if the future is gonna have flying limousines.
I REGRET: hitting my brother and sister when I get mad.
I AM NOT: a fancy person.
I DANCE: to Taylor Swift.
I SING: Karaoke.
I CRY: When I'm sad.
I AM NOT ALWAYS: fierce.
I MAKE WITH MY HANDS: clay models and I sew!
I WRITE: persuasive letters.
I CONFUSE: Math.
I NEED: a new mattress because mine's lumpy.
I SHOULD: hmm. I should have my own pet rat. (NOT GONNA HAPPEN, ZEEJ!)
I START: sleeping in in the summer. Right now, I have to wake up too early.
How old will you be this year? Eleven!!
Nicknames: Zeej. Peabrain. Alyssa is Pineapple-head and Carly is Banana-breath.
Are you taller than your mother? No.
Do you cry often during movies? It depends if it's sad.
What is your biggest pet peeve? Um. Hmmm. When I have to clean up my sister's room because I can't stand being in it when it's messy.
Favorite color: Aqua and lime green!
Favorite foods: Tacos and Spaghetti and, also, Poppy Seed Spinach Salad. I love that stuff.
Favorite beverage: hmm. Sprite.
Favorite cold cereal: Um, um...Honey Nut Cheerios.
Favorite Smells: Thanksgiving Day and Mom's cookies baking in the oven and gingerbread and creme' brulee candle that is burning in the family room. (Love Scentinel candles!)
Favorite time of day: When I get home from school because I don't have to do my math or the boring stuff.
What is your favorite game? Ball Tag.
What book are you reading now? 39 Clues, Book 1, because Gracie's making me. I like it though, kind of. She keeps nagging me about it and telling me "Hey, guess what, this happened!" So, I just read it so she will lay off. (TOO FUNNY. There's 39 books!)
Do you play an instrument? Yes, piano. I wish I could play a harmonica. (Last year, it was the bagpipe. Please pass where these came from?)
What was the last movie you saw? Back to the Future last week at the ranch.
What is your favorite article of clothing? Silky things.
What is your dream vacation? Going to Hawaii because it's tropical and it's warm and there's no snow and there's tons of beaches.
What do you love most about Dad? His voice. He reads to us and he's funny. He works so hard for us.
What do you love most about Mom? Her voice and she's very crafty and she is fun to play cards with and she's also funny.
If you were an animal what would you be? A dog because they are fluffy and cute. I'd like to be a Maltese or a Bishon Frees.
What is your favorite "me- time" activity? I like to sew and write in my journal.
What is one of your weaknesses? "Okay, you promise you won't tell anyone?" I said, except the blog. She said, "Okay, my weakness is that I'm very talkative." "Oh, and I'm not very good at punctuation, except periods and question marks."
What would choose for dinner every night? I'd wouldn't really get used to that. Like if I had something for dinner every night, I would get tired of it. I could probably eat pizza for lunch every day.
What is the emotion you feel the most? Happiness.
Do you consider yourself outgoing? I could say so, actually.
What are some of your talents? Sewing, cooking, decorating sometimes, crafting.
What is a word or phrase you overuse? Darnit.
What was the hardest thing that happened to you this past year? Um. Hmm. Not going to recess because I have math.
What is the best thing that happened to you this year? Umm. I' m turning eleven!
The best thing learned this past year? Hmmm. About friendship. If someone doesn't want to be your friend, you just have to let it go and they'll go, Heyyyy, and they'll just come back.
What was your favorite thing about being ten years old? It was an even number. HAHA!
What are you most excited about being eleven years old? Now I'm not ten! I'm older.
Is there anything else you want to say about turning eleven? Hmm.I'm excited!
It was a fabulous weekend! Honestly, there was not one thing that I would change about the wedding. Madi was so happy with everything. She looked gorgeous! I'm waiting for her cousin, the photographer, to send me a few photos to share. I was too busy doing what needed to be done to take many photos and when I did grab my camera, the battery died after about three shots! So, I had to use my old camera, which barely focuses and has a mind of it's own. grrrr! Here's a few weekend highlights....
Friday ~ Doug and I headed into town to do the last minute errands... picking up the Sonic ice, Madi's slip to wear under her bridal gown, to help her dress for her bridal photos and then to hall to finish the last minute decorations and "to-do" lists. Everything went very smoothly all afternoon.
The candy bar was as cute as could be. Everyone thought it was such a clever idea. Madi's colors, purple and silver, were just fun!
The little flower girls were adorable! They didn't sprinkle too many flowers, once they realized that all eyes were on them, but they were so dang cute that no one noticed! A favorite moment was the little practice/lesson on how to be a flower girl when MaKayla tossed about three petals and then just dumped the basket of flowers out in one spot. "What were we all thinking, doing it one at a time?! This was so much more simple!"
I loved this shot of Carol, Madi and MaKayla. Carol, as always, was the gracious hostess to everyone. I couldn't help but think of Jon throughout the day. I lost the $100 No Crying bet before I had Madi's dress laced up the back! Carol was so safe in her offer! She knows me so well!
Here's a shot of Doug and Kevin, who is Jon's brother. Doug has the greatest respect for both Jon and Carol's family. Doug and I were the only non-related guests at the wedding. We feel quite comfortable with both their families. Carol's oldest brother is also my dear friend, Natalie's step-father. We think the world of Nat's mother and Gary. Carol's mother was my Relief Society President when I was in my late 20s. She's been one of my heroes for the past 25 years! Carol's sister, Mary Ann, is, truly, one of my heroes in life. I adore her sense of style and creativity, but even more, her wisdom. She's an amazing example of womanhood at it's best! Jon's sister, Janet, has always made me feel like a friend, not her sister-in-law's friend. Doug and I just love both of their families! I was touched by the many times Carol's family expressed appreciation for my friendship with Carol. I can't imagine my life without Carol!
Following the wedding and the send-off, we packed and loaded everything, all the while debating on dinner plans. We'd all been going at it for nine hours and no one had eaten anything but cake and candies. The car and two trucks were so full that we had to unload at Carol's before we could even all fit in a vehicle to go and eat. Once at the house, while trying to decide where we should go, I said to Carol, "We're all so dang tired, I don't think anyone cares where we eat. We could even just get out of these church clothes, wind down here and order Piz---" "DONE!!!" The word "pizza" was not even out of my mouth! We all got back into our comfy clothes, and collapsed just to talk and decompress.
While we were just chilling and revisiting the entire day, we noticed that Doug was no where to be found. Doug had noticed that a ton of leaves had blown into Carol's garage during the earlier windstorm. While Carol and I were inside, whining, proudly, I might add, about our aching feet and legs and backs, we realized that Doug was outside sweeping out her garage. And when he came inside, he offered lotion footrubs with lotion for Carol, Taylor and I. I do adore this man!
We ate and talked and ate some more. As wonderful as the entire day was, I have to say that the three hours of unwinding after the affair will probably go down in my archives of time, as one of my favorite times ever with Carol. Her son, Matt, and his fiancee, Bryndi came in after dinner and we all discussed marriage, in general, with lots of tales from Jon and Carol's and Doug's and my own marraige, as well as other marriage wisdom. I adore Carol's kids. Matt, that night, impressed me more than ever, and I was surprised several times, to see how much like his dad, he is becoming. Good times.
When I got home, Carol sent me my favorite text ever, thanking Doug and I for everything. It made me cry!
And since I'm mentioning gratitude, I have to mention that there are not too many men in this world who would drop everything in their own busy lives, to go and help with one of their wife's best friends' daughter's wedding. Doug worked his heart out without complaint, all day long! He is so giving and kind and loving and I do not let a day go by that I don't express my gratitude to him and to Heavenly Father for allowing me to have this amazing man as my eternal companion! He's awesome! As we climbed into bed at 2AM, I told him that he gets the "Husband of the Year" award, every day, every year!
I loved this weekend! Every minute of it! Saturday, we unwound, worked around the house, did a little birthday shopping for ZJ. Sunday was our ward conference. Sunday night dinner and games with the B's. Fun stuff. Now, today, we celebrate ZJ's 11th birthday! Interview and pix tomorrow. I can't believe my baby is eleven!!! Enough said... well, till tomorrow!
The happiest moments my heart knows are those
in which it is pouring forth its affections
to a few esteemed characters.
When I was a young woman, I seldom owned anything of which to be proud. When I was old enough to work in a shop in St. Louis and live on my own, most of my wage was sent home to provide for my younger brothers and sisters, for my parents had not even their health by this time. When I was married, I came to my husband's farm with all that I owned packed in a single crate. Everything I saw, or tasted, or touched around me belonged to my husband. I felt like the air in that big house, needed and used, but not seen.
God sent an answer to me in worship that spring, when an old woman told me she wanted the gardens cleaned around her house, and if I would do the work, I might have flower bulbs and starts of roses as my pay. My husband pretended to think the idea rather foolish, as I was needed on the farm, but he was patient with me and moving starts to a newly tilled bed by our farmhouse. He was older than I, and I think he understood that I needed something of my own.
Those roses were the finest things I'd been given in my life and I tended them carefully all spring. As days lengthened, the roses grew well and blossomed in the summer heat, as did I. Coming a and out of the house, I would look at them - something that belonged to me, growing in soil that belonged to him.
Even passing folk admired my roses, for my work made the blooms large and full. Once, a poor hired lady came with a bouquet of roses and wildflowers clasped in her hands. She told me that her children had sneaked into my garden and picked them for her, and that they would be punished. I bade her not to scold the children, for I was proud to give them this gift. She smiled and thanked me, and told me that, with so many children, she had no time for tending roses.
I did not understand her words until my own children were born. When the first was a babe, I took her outside and let her play in an empty wash barrel so I could have time for tending my roses. I was often cross with her cries when I was at my work. As she grew, and as my second child was born, I understood what the hired lady had told me - that motherhood leaves no time for selfish pleasures. Only time for tending others.
My roses grew wild and died as I busied myself with feeding and diapering, nursery rhymes and sickbeds. I missed those bright blooms that had been mine and felt it unfair that I must leave my hard workcore there to die. I did not think of it over much. My mind and heart were occupied with sorrows and joys of motherhood.
The day came, it seemed in no time, when my children were grown and gone and I again found time to tend the roses. I could labor over them from dawn until dusk with no children to feed, no husband needing meals and few passersby on the old road. My flowers have come thick and full and beautiful again. From time to time, I see neighbor children come to pick them when I am silent in my house. I close my eyes and listen to their laughter and think that the best times of my life, the times that passed by me the most quickly were the times when the roses grew wild.
I so relate. Enough said.
He who knows others is learned; he who knows himself is wise.
What an exciting day! It was crazy busy, but wild. ZJ's school had their ski day and, as usual, she opted not to go on the class ski trip. This year, Doug's been under such pressure at work that cross-country skiing with Dad was not an option, so I took it from there. We went shopping and out to lunch together, which suited her just fine since she has a birthday in three days!
Quayd and Grace also stayed home from school too because Quayd had a dental exam and both of them had eye exams. Our awesome dentist gave good news... no cavities. The bad news, however... the pain that Quayd has been experiencing is that he's "teething"...getting his wisdom teeth and 12 year molars at the same time. Thankfully, this will pass!
We went straight from the dentist to the opthamologist. Both Quayd and Grace needed new lenses, which was no surprise since this is the age where their eyes make the biggest changes. However, after the exam, the option of contact lenses was mentioned. I'd discussed this with the doctor during my exam yesterday. We reviewed Quayd's bad experience, last year, when the doctor couldn't even get them in. He has had nothing good to say about that since. So, I highly doubted that he would want to try again anytime soon. Although the doctor had told me that 13 year old girls would always want to go for it, Grace shocked me when she said yes! A...because she's heard nothing but Quayd's experience and B... I just didn't think she would be interested. SHOCKER! They both wanted to try.
The assistant took Grace away for about three minutes and she came back wearing her new contacts, just as proud as could be. The doctor put Quayd's in. He was much braver and confident this attempt and they went right in. However, then came the training to teach them how to put them in and take them out on their own. We had arrived for the appointment at 1:45. We left the office at 5:00! It, literally, took them that long to do this on their own. Gracie took almost an hour to get them out on her own and then she had to get the back in. It was another 90 minutes trying to get the first one back in. After she got it in, she put the second one in on the first try! She was so thrilled and just hugged me so big. It was definitely a proud moment!
Two things about Grace that touched me immensely. First, I watched her closely as she attempted over and over. Several times, I heard her softly saying to herself, "Come on, I can do this. I know I can." I loved her self-confidence and I'm, honestly, not sure whether I was more was so pleased or surprised to see her strong determination! But, even better than that... she would look over at Quayd, who was struggling so much and she'd say, "Good job, Quayd! " "You're doing great, Quayd!" This brought tears to my eyes. She didn't want her success to overshadow her brother's attempts.
Quayd tried and tried to take them out on his own. He did manage to get one out, but, after 90 minutes, we went for a little walk on our own "to give his eyes a rest". I told him that the doctor had said boys usually don't get into the whole contact experience until they are 16ish. He's got two years and no rush. I told him that he could continue to try if he wanted, but, if he wanted to wait until school starts next fall, we could come in and try again. He could be proud of his attempt and there was no shame in waiting at all. He was disappointed in himself, but I reassured him that he had been a champ about the whole experience! He'd at least gotten them in, which was huge progress over last year's attempt. He decided to wait till end of summer and try again. I could see his disappointment, but also saw his relief once he made the decision. In minutes, he was back to his iTouch and doing his own thing while Grace continued to get them in on her own. And again, Gracie turned to him and said, "It's okay, Quayd! You gave it a great try!'
When all was said and done, I made a huge fuss over his cavity-free dental experience and the fact that he is getting wisdom teeth already,the fact that he's growing up way too fast and that he'd even attempted to do something most boys don't until they are a few years older! He was great with that. A good ending for both Quayd and Grace!
Finally, we raced home, hours later than expected, but worth the delay and started loading everything into the truck to prepare for Madi's wedding. We began at 6Pm and worked until after midnight, decorating and organizing. Other than a quick run to Arby's drive-thru at about 9Pm, it was all work and lots of laughs. Everything looked great when we left. There's still work to be done tomorrow, but we're almost there! There was lots of teasing and laughs, some tears and much teamwork!
Carol has said she'll pay me $100 if I don't cry during the whole wedding. Her kids, as I've mentioned many times, watch me instead of the movie because they love that I cry over every little thing. Carol said, confidently, "I'll give you a thousand dollars if you don't cry!" She is pretty safe, being that I cried as we just did a verbal walk-through of the ceremony to make sure that nothing has been forgotten. I can't believe she's all grown up and today, she's getting married today!
I have a pretty consise list of things to get done before we meet this afternoon and finish up, then we get to enjoy the wedding! It is a good day! Enough said!
There are no ordinary moments.
A highlight of the day ~ watching Doug and my favorite Brother-in-Law Alan up on the roof! Alan is beautiful, inside and out. And I heart him! We've put off doing the new roof until after the forecasted next stormy five days, but looking at the sky today, we might should have gone ahead and went for it! Alan go the drip lines (I think that's what they call it??) up last night and now it's time for shingles. Again, glad that I'm just baking goodies and bringing drinks to the "help"!
I had my eye appointment yesterday morning. I've been treated for glaucoma for the past three years, but it's a strong possibility that the enlarged optic nerves just run in our family. Mom has definite glaucoma. Therefore, my doctor treats me with a "better safe than sorry" approach. So far, it's working! THANK HEAVENS.
After the two hour work up yesterday morning, Denise was waiting for me outside in the hospital parking lot and off, we went, to Coppermill for lunch and a little birthday shopping for ZJ. While shopping and I started feeling light-headed. I was talking with Doug on the phone at the time and told him that I needed to go. The next thing I knew, I was lying on the floor of the BookTable. (Before my hysterectomy, years ago, I'd faint all the time, every day, up to 13 times a day.) After a few minutes, I was up and we were back to the business of birthday shopping.
An hour later, at ShopKo, I felt lightheaded again. This time, I sat down before I reached the fainting point! My eyes, still dilated, were "foggy" and I was seeing stars. I called the doctor and he told me to get home and lie down for a few hours. (He will see me again today when I take the babes in for eye exams.)
Denise was so worried and kept insisting that she was going to drive me home. (Remember that I was with her when she had both strokes last year and she was so adamant that I not take her to the hospital, even angry, but grateful, when I did anyway.) I kept insisting that I was fine and could drive home. Finally, we went back to the hospital where I had parked before my doctor's appointment. Next, Denise offered to follow me home and, I finally convinced her that we could just talk on the phone until I got home. I joked that if I stopped talking, she could call 911. Decision made!
So, we're talking away on the phone, as I drove back roads all the way from Logan. Ten minutes later, I told her again that I was fine, that I was almost home, just by Skyview High School. She said, "I know. I'm right behind you." I looked in my rearview mirror and sure enough, she was behind me! She'd followed me that entire way and I had totally been oblivious! We laughed the rest of the way to the house and she came in for a little visit. It's great to have friends that care, and even more fun when you can laugh at yourselves together! I can't imagine my life without Denise!
I did what the doctor said and rested for a couple of hours, but was still "seeing stars" when Doug came home. He was really worried about my strange symptoms, made me take an aspirin (the first time in our 35 years of marriage that he's suggested taking something...I think he was worried that I was going to have a stroke!) Then, he took us all out for dinner, where we met Carol and were able to just relax and talk about the wedding. TOMORROW!
After dinner, the headache was gone, my eyes started to adjust and I felt like myself again! So strange and who knows what that was all about!? I guess I'll see what the doc says this morning. Go figure. I attribute the recovery to the laughs and good time with Doug and Carol. Later, when we were getting ready for bed, Doug was smiling and said, "The friendship you have with Carol is such a unique and beautiful thing." He went on to share his observations of how we are so fun to watch when we are together. We do have fun.
My favorite thing of the day: texting with Liza all day long. She was at work and I had a wild hair to send her a cellphone photo of my hair. Then my shoe. Then my foot in the doctor's office. Then, the doctor's computer, my TV, my doorknob, my remote, my straw, Carol's pasta, our dessert, our dirty napkins and finally, my nightgown (a closeup of the fabric.) At the end of the night, after the nightgown, she sent me a text, "I loved spending the day with you." I love to "play" with Liza. She's my girl. My daughter, my friend!
Today, the kids are home for eye exams and dental appointments. I've got a little surprise in mind to make the day special for them too. The new roof will be waiting for the stormy weather to pass. And now... it's time to create a wedding! Life is good! Crazy. Full of surprises. Busy. But, so dang good!
Friends are angels following you through life.
Gracie has an upcoming assignment to cook at girls camp in June and she thinks that she needs to be Paula Dean before she goes. Last week, on the night of Madi's bridal shower, she called me and told me that she'd made dinner all on her own. When I asked what, she informed me that she'd found a "Great recipe" for "Tiny Spicy Stir-fry". Doug said it was great. When she came in from school yesterday, she asked if I had plans for dinner. I told her that we were having Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup. She said she could help. I told her that it was already prepared. Her response, "Well. That's planned."
Gracie is always full of her own little twists on words. She's such a reader and quite eloquent but she's also very creative in her vocabulary. She constantly comes up with combinations of words that make perfect sense to her and bring laughter to Doug and I. We call them Gracie-isms. Her teachers have noted them since she was in Kindergarten.
This story is a bit "off-colored" but I had to share. It's totally Grace. A few weeks ago, the kids had a sleep-over at Nana's. When they came home, they all three raced immediately to my side to share their upset with Nana! "She wouldn't listen!!!" Apparently, Quayd had pushed Gracie's buttons too many times and she said, "Stop it, you, Bastard!" My mother FREAKED. Now, mind you. My mother could out-cuss a sailor. (And she does...often.) As Gracie said the words, Mom absolutely went nutso on the kids. "We don't talk that way in my house! You may be able to speak like that with your mom, but not with me!!!" Excuse me, mother?
Here's the thing. Gracie did not even know that this was a "bad word". She's never heard that word spoken in our home. She tried and tried to explain to Nana, "But, I didn't know it was a bad word." But Nana was too busy freaking out over it to listen. I had to fight back a grin at how devastated she was that she'd said said "a bad word". I asked her, "Well, Gracie, where did you hear this word?" She said, "Will Turner says it in Pirates of the Caribbean! I didn't know it was bad, just that he said it when he was mad!"
I'm glad that she realizes, now, that this was not an appropriate way to speak. I felt good that it wasn't something she hears in our home. We speak calmly and courteously to each other and I'm certain she won't repeat it again. I was not surprised that my mother did not listen long enough to hear her explanation. That's how I was raised. I was mostly amused at my mother's "You can say that in front of your mom, but not me." Oh, Ruby, Ruby. The flavor you bring into our lives.
But, my sentiment here is that often, we are so busy not listening to reason that we don't hear anything at all. As I said, I was raised that way. Many many times, I'd say, "But, I thought that...." and would be interrupted with, "Well! You shouldn't think!!!" OR I would say, "But, I didn't think that..." and would hear, "Well, you should think!" I felt like I couldn't win for losing! It was frustrating as a child, and even moreso as a teenager. I'm not judging my mother, I'm just stating the facts.
Doug sets a wonderful example of hearing the whole story before jumping to conclusions or making a decision. He gets the facts first, then ponders them all, then he makes a decision or determines a response. And more often than not, he's made the right response or decision because he has taken the time to get the facts and then patiently thought about them before speaking. Being that I was raised the way I was, this is something that I continually have to work on. Six kids later, and I'm still working on it. It's a good practice. Listen. Think. Then speak. Just saying.
Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you'd have preferred to talk.
The kids were waiting for their dad to come in from work on Friday afternoon. I'd told them, "I think he wants to take us out for dinner tonight." They were sitting there, quite excited about the possibilities of Pizza Pie Cafe when Doug came in and said, "You guys have five minutes to get your electronics and anything else you want to put in a back pack because that's when we are leaving for the ranch." At first, they sat staring, not sure that's what Dad had said. Then they realized that he was serious and they went screaming past, slowing down for a quick hug, to their rooms to grab iPods, books, slippers and winter coats. Everything else was packed and in the truck. It was quite comical. Calls from their rooms,"Mom, what about our jammies?" "They're in the truck!" "What about our pillows?" "In the truck!" "What about food?" It's in the truck!", each time with squeals of "This is the best surprise ever!" and my favorite, ZJ's "This is better than DisneyWorld!!!"
We'd warned the kids already that driving up to the cabin might be impossible, which would mean that we would have to haul the entire truck (which was F-U-L-L) up the hill on foot because we weren't sure how much snow we'd find there. The snow was hip deep. Doug's biggest concern was the snowbanks on the edge of the road, left by a winter of snowplowing. It was a few feet deep, and frozen pretty crusty, but the driveway looked like it had been plowed at least once this winter and was only 1-2 feet deep. This was our first winter trip to the ranch in the Expedition. And it won't be the last! He shifted the truck into 4-Wheel Drive and began his ascent up the hill. It took about eight tries, about ten feet each try and then he flew up to the top of the hill. The whole process took about ten minutes. There was so much squealing and laughter, rocking and rolling all the way. Quayd pulled out his Touch and recorded the last two climbs, where we made it all the way to the top of the hill. It was hysterical. I was seriously a bit motion sick and I have never had that experience in my life, even after riding a double-loop, triple corkscrew rollercoaster thirteen times in a row without getting off, years ago! This ride, however was even better than that! As Quayd put it, our "teeth hurt!" from laughing! The second minute of the video actually captured us as we reached the top. Too much fun!
After that eventful arrival, we unloaded, had dinner and watched Cheaper By the Dozen (Steve Martin version) and got ready for bed. It was almost 1 when we went to bed, but at 6:30 in the morning, everyone was up and ready to roll. Or should I say "Slide". The kids were outside tubing down the hill! AT. 6:30. IN THE MORNING. That's why the moon is up in the pictures!
After lunch, they went for a fun walk up to the top of the mountain behind the cabin and loft. When they returned, Quayd couldn't wait tell me his "faith experience". When I packed, I'd seriously not expected that much snow since it was in the 60s when we left home! The fact that I didn't pack their boots didn't slow the kids down. They were determined to make it to the top of the mountain behind the houses, even though the snow was hip-deep and the later it got in the day, very slushy, making them sink with every step. About half way up the hill, Quayd's feet were soaked to the bone. ZJ gave up and came back down. Quayd and Grace, still determined to make it to the top, decided to say a prayer. Quayd said the prayer and they told me that he'd thanked Heavenly Father that we were such a happy family, that we could come to the ranch and he asked for help in getting to the top of the hill. No sooner than he'd said the prayer, he thought to look inside one of the rarely opened pockets of his coat. He felt inside and told me, "There was this fabric?" He then pulled out a pair of dry socks. Socks that had been in the coat for two years, one of the first times he'd worn it. He'd not seen them or remembered them in all that time. And they were just what he needed at that moment. He put on the dry socks, they made it to the top and back home with a deepened testimony of prayer and tender mercies. (I love it when this happens! I love that they thought to pray and I, especially, love that their prayer was answered immediately!)
Saturday night, we had a Back to the Future Marathon, a first for the kids. They loved the third one most. Gracie spent as much of the weekend reading, as I did. She's reading a series that has 39 volumes and wants to read them all! Help me!
Sunday morning, we held a little "devotional" for the kids since we were not attending church. We'd watched the sunrise the day before when they went tubing. So, I gave a short message about the difference between watching the day get lighter a little at a time, like the sunrise, and flipping on a light switch where we can see everything immediately. I told them that Satan loves to entice us slowly like the sunrise. This way, we adjust, or desensitize, to things before we realize that he's ensnared us in his plan. We talked about different things that we can slowly be caught in that snare. The kids were full of ideas. It went well.
Later, we had a little activity where we listened to music of all different kinds, closed our eyes and talked about what we imagined when we heard it. I was surprised at how right on they were. We played classical, scores from movies, all sorts of music, including some pretty hardrock. They all commented on how quickly the "spirit" would leave when listening to the rock. During "the Love theme" from Dances with Wolves, Gracie said, "That music makes me want to have a hug." During another battle scene from the "Braveheart" soundtrack, they said that it sounded like a Battle. They talked about how the string instruments made them feel certain ways...Flutes sounded like leaves falling or water in a creek, drums and the bass were "strong". A fun activity for us all.
In the afternoon, we played games, ate lasagna, played some more and then later in the evening, we watched Cheaper by the Dozen 2 and Titanic (minus the love scene and the painting scene), then the extras about how it was made. Another late night, but we planned on sleeping in.... if you call 7AM sleeping in.
After breakfast, Doug and the kids went hiking and I enjoyed some solitude, reading "The Distant Hours" by Kate Morton on my Kindle before starting to clean and pack. I spent much of the morning thinking about Liza and Buddy and their special day. Buddy being called to the Bishopric was awesome, but even better was that they got to spend the weekend with Buddy's dad and brother, Max. I was happy for them, but missed being there for this occasion. BTW, each Bishop has two counselors, who are advisers, administrative assistants with their own responsibilities in the ward. The calling is quite time consuming. In our ward, our counselors are absolutely wonderful men, who I'd call in a heartbeat for any wisdom, counsel, assistance and know that we could depend on them for exactly that! Buddy will be wonderful!
Before we left, the kids wanted to do a bit more sledding down the hill, which was fine with me, as long as they were willing to ride home in whatever they tubed in since the truck was loaded. Barefeet and blankets made that fine! We were home by 4, unpacked and eating leftovers in time to shower for bedtime. And everyone but me was in bed by 8! Sleeping! Soundly!!!
It was a relaxing weekend. No stress, no worries, no bothers, just downtime. Good food, lots of games and laughs, naps, movies, reading, talking and fun. MUCH needed downtime! And the babes are already talking about "next time!"
A quick bit of rambling...
Our attitude towards life determines life's attitude toward us.
I can finally share the news. We're still at the ranch and wishing that we were in Arizona yesterday with Buddy and Liza. Buddy's dad and brother, Max were there. It would have been wonderful for us to be with them too. Buddy was called to serve as the Second Counselor to the Bishop in their LDS Ward. I'm a little nervous for Buddy, as he is a full time college student, works two jobs, has an internship with the Harlem Globetrotters and now this calling, which will be very time-demanding. But. If anyone can do it, and do it well, it will be Buddy! We're so proud of him for his diligence!
We'll be home later today! I'm hoping that I'll have lots of fun pix at the ranch and good or exciting tales to tell when we get home. Life is good...especially at the ranch!!!!
The happiness that is genuinely satisfying is accompanied
by the fullest exercise of our faculties and the fullest realization
of the world in which we live.
Almost every day, after school, I'll look out the window to see if Gracie is coming up the street and this is the picture I see. She walks two blocks, book in hand, head down, baby stepping all the way home as she reads. She walks in, kisses me hello and says, "Guess what's happening!?" and shares the latest things she is reading. This makes this mama happy! Enough said!
Wish I'd have gotten back with the camera before she got so close!
Previously posted in 2006
Doug took the day off and we’ve spent it together doing some serious dejunking. It makes me feel good! It makes me happy. The dejunking.And Doug! We did the dreaded storage room today. UGH. It is the catch-all room... the "I don’t know where else to put it, so toss it in their" room, the "we’ll get around to it" room. Tonight, it is the clean room!! HAPPINESS!
Doug did most of the work, I was more the "supervisor". I’m feeling a little better today but not well enough to make fifty trips up and down the stairs hauling trashbags and boxes like he did. I do love that man. He is always so willing and supportive on anything I want to do. We are a great team! We’re peas and carrots, peanut butter and jelly, diet coke and lime! HA! I can’t imagine life without him!
While he did the bedtime routine with the babes, I got a wild hair and changed out all of the pictures in my frames in the scrapbook room. The room is covered with pix. COVERED. (You can see what I mean if you click on the link to left of my scrapbook room, even though that’s a year and a half ago. Gee, maybe I should get a wild hair to redo the pix on my blog!)
I made a B&W copy of this fun photo to frame. Doug and I were on one of our little getaways before babes. I love this photo. It’s on the Oregon coast. Another thing on my "Things to do in my lifetime" list was to see the redwoods and the Oregon coastline. Check!
Looking at this photo takes me back to another time in my life. Before Babes. It was our "empty nest" period. Liza was still living at home but she worked, went to school, dated and was pretty responsible to be left alone while Doug and I honeymooned. Over and over and over. That year, we took several little trips and it was one of the most romantic times of our life. I think about that now and am ever so grateful that we did have a taste of that magic before we became parents again. As always, I don’t regret for one second that we are parents again. But, I do appreciate that we were able to enjoy a few years where money wasn’t an issue, time was ours and life was a little more carefree!
As I think about that period, I also feel that Heavenly Father had his hand in letting Doug and I fall in love over and over again. Being young parents or old parents of young children (haha!) does not always allow for romance, date nights or even something as simple as time for a few moments of uninterrupted conversation. Today, we spent time together dejunking the yucky room in the house. The babes were playing in their rooms. We talked, we organized, we laughed. It wasn’t quite what most people would consider romantic but I enjoyed every minute of it. There are a lot of days nowadays that this is all we get. I’ll take it! Enough said!
Love is like a friendship caught on fire. In the beginning a flame, very pretty, often hot and fierce, but still only light and flickering. As love grows older, our hearts mature and our love becomes as coals, deep-buring and unquenchable.
Doug and I have decided that we will surprise the kids, since we didn't go to the ranch over Presidents Day weekend, and take them tonight. They have no idea. When they come home from school, I'll have everything packed and loaded in the truck. When Doug walks in right behind ZJ, he's going to say, "You've got five minutes to put whatever you want in your backpacks to take to the ranch!" They will be thrilled! HAPPINESS! My brother, Rick is going to hold down the fort here at home. We will have a few days of stress-free, unplugged time together! I'm thinking that we've earned it! YAAAAAAY! Can't wait for the school bell to ring! It will be a crazy busy day getting ready and squeezing in lunch with Denise, but worth all of the effort for some down time filled with movies, books, games and treats with the people I love the most! Have I mentioned HAPPINESS?!?!?
Speaking of happiness, I had a fun lunch with a friend yesterday. And we laughed. Out loud. And it felt good! Sherrie, our server/friend, said she'd not noticed me there until she heard my laugh. She said, "I heard that laugh and knew it was you!" That's a good thing, I hope?
Speaking of happiness, Carol and I were chatting on the phone while she was suit shopping for her boys to wear at Madi's wedding. Carol mentioned the rest of her evening's plans and invited me to meet them for a late dinner. I checked with Doug to see if he minded. He said, "Go! Have fun!" (I heart him!) And so, we ended up at Pizza Pie Cafe, my kids new favorite place. We've only been a few times and it's been d-e-a-d when we've been there. Little did I realize that this is a "happening place" on Thursday nights, Karaoke Night! And this is a college town. OH. MY. HECK. It was loud, it was crowded, it was crazy. Before long, Madi joined us, then Matt's fiance and her mom came too. Fun stuff! And we laughed. HARD! Carol and I even threatened the boys that we might get up and sing together, which made them quite nervous... Two old ladies singing Tim McGraw and Faith Hill songs. SCARY! I couldn't contain myself when some kid started singing, "I like BIG Butts" and I had to stand up and do a little dance. We did laugh and it felt great! I love Carol's kids! I love our time together...especially when we can tease the boys!
Speaking of laughs, there's a lady who works in a local store in the valley. She's very kind. Very perky. VERY loud. And she has this laugh. You can hear that cackle from anywhere in the store. AND it's often. I've often heard comments about "the lady with that laugh". A few weeks ago, I was in the store and could hear that laugh from the very back. Then again in the middle. And several other times. While in a long line waiting to pay, I watched the lady. She was talking to every person who was in her proximity. She touched people. And she'd laugh. With every one of them. I admit, I've been annoyed before by the laugh. But, after watching her for over five minutes, interacting with several people, all of whom walked away from her smiling, I decide that I love her laugh. This woman is cheerful. She's happy. And she makes others happy. I like her laugh, after all. I like the lady. She's someone I'd like to have working for me, rather than the checker who never even says "thank you". I want to be more like the laugh lady. Enough said.
The greatest part of our happiness depends on our dispositions, not our circumstances.
Yesterday included an intense morning with serious Kelly/Kevin drama. For the record, Kevin has Zaylee now, with his word that we will be working together to protect Zaylee from the unpleasantness of their ugly situation. I'll not be blogging any details, but I am appreciative of the many continued prayers in Zaylee's behalf. Enough said about that.
By noon, I was at Carol's getting things ready for the shower while she was still at school teaching. I enjoyed the alone, quiet time to get my head into the bridal shower and away from other things. Madi's shower was so much fun! The shower was, after dinner hour, from 6-8. I wanted enough food for anyone who came without dinner, and yet light enough for someone who'd just eaten.
The shower menu :
Avocado Chicken Salad in mini-pie shells
Brie Bites with Jalapeno Jelly
Lemon Pound Cake
Heart-shaped Brownies with Cream Cheese frosting and strawberries
Grape Juice and 7-Up
Here's a shot of the food as it was being set up. I had so many last minute things to do that I didn't get to the camera
Due to all of the other things in my life at the time, the menu was simple, but heavenly! Madi received lovely gifts. I loved her movie bucket! The most practical gift, which I'd have never thought of buying as a gift, was a nice heating pad. VERY original. Always needed, something every home should have. Great idea!
I was surprised that I knew almost everyone who came to the shower. I've spoken and done a few things in her ward over the years, even had game night with a few of Carol's neighbors. As I sat through the shower visiting, it was fun to reminisce about all the years that we've been friends. I remembered the baby shower that I gave Carol when she was expecting Madi. Old friends are best friends!
The chicken salad, OH MY GOSH! Several people asked for the recipe and one even called after she got home, so I'd have to say it was a hit. And it was so simple!
Chicken Avacodo Salad
3 rotissarie chickens (from Sam's Club
3 limes (next time, I'd even use four)
5 chopped avocados (the recipe called for 2 or 3, but the avocado made it!)
1 large bunch of cilantro
1 bunch of green onions
mayonnaise (I used about a quart)
lots and lots of salt and pepper
Debone and shred the chicken into tiny tiny pieces. Chop the green onions (I chop from the very top to the very end and use it all.) Chop the cilantro. Add the mayo and stir until it's as "wet" as you want it. Salt and pepper to taste. I made the salad the night before but added the avocados a few hours before. Add lots more pepper on top as a garnish. Enjoy!
I served the salad on mini pie shells. (I used refrigerated pie crust, cut them in circles using a kids size glass, pressed them into mini-muffin tins and baked them.) However. We tried the extra, after the shower on crackers and I liked that even better! Should have done that in the first place, like Denise and Marilyn both suggested. LOVED it! Seriously, the best chicken salad I've ever had and a great change from the grape/celery/cashew version of chicken salad. OH MY!
The brownies were so nummy! I used my secret brownie recipe, frosted them with cream cheese frosting, minus the cocoa and then put a slice of strawberry on top, cut like a little heart. The strawberries were so huge that I sliced them instead of putting halves on them, which was cuter but it was supposed to be fingerfood and those would have required and knife and fork! Oh my heck, this has to be one of my favorite treats in the world. I'd baked them in the heart shape muffin tin that friend, Marilyn bought me a few years ago. SO cute!
One of the my favorite moments of the evening was when a second lady was asking for my secret brownie recipe. (As most people that know me know, I created it and plan on printing it on my funeral program, but don't give it away to anyone.) The first lady who asked was still standing there. (I'd played as Carol's partner at game night in this friend's home years ago). As the second lady asked, Madi was passing by the conversation. Simultaneously, Joan said, "Don't ask." and Madi said, "Good luck with that." Madi teased me the other day, "Ya know, Soph, since we are BFFs and I am getting married, a great wedding gift would be your secret brownie recipe." As always, I said, "Sorry, but you're invited to my funeral."
A few thoughts on bridal showers... gift cards and cash are awesome! It's easier on the giver and it's always appreciated by the receiver because it makes getting big ticket items better. Madi and Doug are hoping to buy a new queen size bed. Also, I've decided that open houses are so much more fun than a sit down shower with games. Even though I am a die-hard game player, it was so much nicer to be able to visit with everyone as they came in and out at different times. People can just stay as long or short as they need. The more casual atmosphere allows people to mingle and mix with others that they wouldn't get to if seated in a large circle during a structured shower. I liked this.
Carol's son, Matt is getting married in June and I will be hosting a shower for his fiance. I've loved getting to know Bryndi, her mom and sister over the past few months. It was fun visiting with them last night too!
What I'm trying to say is that it was just plain and simple, a fun night! It was great to have my mind occupied and busy, it was great to be with Carol and her fam, it was great to see people who are just awesome. It was great to feel like myself, to have a reason to celebrate and be happy! Enough said! Make that salad! Soon!
Everything will be okay in the end, so, if it isn't ok, then, it isn't the end!
I can't go into any details but I will say this much because of the many wonderful friends who've called and emailed in concern. Kelly and Kevin separated and are getting a divorce. It's U-G-L-Y. We have Zaylee for the time being, but that could change at any moment because they both legally have the right to take her at any time. It's been rough. I foresee an ugly custody battle between the two of them. Right now, all Doug and I want is for Zaylee to be safe, unexposed to her parents nasty battles.
We will do everything that we can to protect Zaylee and let the "battle" take place out of her presence. Thankfully, for now, they both realize that she's best off with us. Zaylee is happy and loves every minute here with our family. Doug has said repeatedly this week, "And chances are, as always, they'll kiss and make up before the day's end." As a child who went through several divorces between both parents and their marriages, I wish my mom and dad had have not stayed together "for the sake of the kids" for all those years. Life was much better once they were apart and no longer battling daily. My personal opinion (as a child who lived through it), if it's inevitable, just do it and get it over with so that everyone can move on with their lives in a healthier and happier manner. Just saying.
And one last thing...we have made it very clear to both, Kelly and Kevin, we do not want details, we do not want to hear "he said, she said". We do not want their drama impacting our lives in any other way that taking care of Zaylee. Leave the drama far from our home. As Doug said, "Our home has been dedicated as a place of peace, a refuge from the world and that is the way it will remain." I heart him.
On to other things....
ZJ came in from school today, sobbing. She was devastated because she'd borrowed Quayd's art portfolio to carry her own artwork to school in a few days ago. She was so excited that he'd let her take it. She filled it with the works of art that she's been so diligently creating for the past year. After school, in the midst of a high-wind blizzard-like snowstorm, the portfolio was caught in a gust of wind, opened and all of her art blew in every direction. She said that several friends went racing to retrieve it and they were able to salvage two pieces and his portfolio, although it came home looking a bit "under the weather". All of her other art has blown halfway to Wyoming by now. She was heartbroken, still crying at bedtime. Her eyes were so swollen and red, I just wanted to cry with her. Life really can be rough.
On a happy note, I am almost prepared for Madi's shower. I made the most amazing chicken salad I've ever tried. Seriously, good stuff. I'll share the recipe tomorrow. It's no ordinary chicken salad! WOW! I've also made darling heart-shaped brownies, a lemon pound cake, little mini-pie shells and other goodies. Tomorrow, brie bites, favors and other goodies to be completed.
Oh my. ZJ was helping me clean up, as I baked and prepared shower treats. She walked past the container that had the first 24 mini-pie shells, which were cooling. I watched, crying out, "Nooo! Noooo! Noooooo!" as the container, somehow, caught on the dishtowel, slid off the counter, on to the floor, breaking and crumbling the shells into pieces. Zeej was still crying from the art fiasco and started apologizing profusely. I calmly tried to assure her, "It was an accident, it's not your fault at all, it could have happened to anyone." As I'm trying to convince her that it was just fine, and cleaning up the mess on the floor, I realized that the next 24 shells were in the oven burning!!! I'll be making more of those tomorrow. Help me! Wait. That's was supposed to be the happy note???
On another note... Carol and I went to see "This Means War" last week. Oh my gosh. Don't waste your money or your time. I was so disappointed that this was a Reese Witherspoon show. We love her! However, the best friend in the show is vulgar and crude. 1 F-bomb, a dozen crude sexual remarks, a few scenes that I'd love to be able to forget. We both sat there saying, "Hating this" and even debated walking out, but like a train wreck, we stuck it out to the, in hopes that it would improve. Wish I had a do-over on that one. I've walked out of several this past year, and this one should have been included. Just sayin'.
We have had a blizzard white-out type day. It's supposed to be warming up for the rest of the week after tomorrow mornings last storm. March has certainly come in like a lion!
Okay, seriously.... something positive. Here's a few happy thoughts that we've fit in between many tears this week...
Really. It has been a rough week. With Madi's shower today, the wedding next week, the new roof arrangements, the family surprise, the dentist, (I survived), and lots of other things going on, it's been stressful. BUT, there's also been many tender mercies... supportive friends, lots of Zaylee hugs and loves and giggles, Doug has been wonderful and protective, Rick makes me laugh and the babes never cease to amaze us with their perspective on Kelly's situation or with their tenderness when they know that their mom is hurting. (How is it that kids can be so wise!?) As rough as it's been, I'm so grateful for the many tender mercies. Again, thanks for the continued prayers. Enough said.
Our problems are opportunities to discover God’s solutions.
Thank you for the phone calls and emails that I received yesterday. People are so good. Friends are amazing. It's crazy here. I can't really get into things yet. It wouldn't be appropriate. Again, thank you. For today, a quick ten....
Not gonna beat around the bush. It's been a rough weekend. Life is happening. BIGtime. And unfortunately, we are caught smack dab in the middle. We're all safe and fine. The babes are fine. Sorry to be so cryptic. No details at this time, but, we could use a few extra prayers. Thanks. I keep reminding myself that we are here on this earth to be tested and to face adversity so that we can grow and learn. Learning time. Enough said.
If you break your neck, if you have nothing to eat, if your house is on fire,
then you got a problem. Everything else is inconvenience.
Not gonna beat around the bush. It's been a rough weekend. Life is happening. BIGtime. And unfortunately, we are caught smack dab in the middle. We're all safe and fine. The babes are fine. Sorry to be so cryptic. No details at this time, but, we could use a few extra prayers. Thanks. I keep reminding myself that we are here on this earth to be tested and to face adversity so that we can grow and learn. Learning time. Enough said.
If you break your neck, if you have nothing to eat, if your house is on fire,
then you got a problem. Everything else is inconvenience.
Hide not your talents, they for use were made. What's a sun-dial in the shade?
Our Stake Relief Society celebration could not have been any more perfect! I was thrilled to be able to be a small part of it! But, my part was minimal. Some of the sisters had worked for weeks preparing for this lovely event. The theme of the evening was "Celebrating Women" and that, we did! The keynote speaker for the evening was Susan Aarington Madsen, who is a renowned LDS author, with many of her writings regarding the history of the LDS Church. She is a walking encyclopedia of church history, as her father was the Church Historian for decades. She followed in his footsteps, indeed. She gave a fascinating talk about women in LDS history...the mother's of the Presidents of the Church.
Following Susan's talk, our Stake President, Michael Oliverson, spoke about the women in his life, including his mother, grandmother, Primary teachers and then his wife. President Oliverson reminds me of Deiter F. Uchtdoft, without the accent. He's a very handsome man with a gentle spirit, a keen wit and a smile that is priceless. When he spoke of his wife, he expressed that he was certain he would "hear about it" when he got home. During the refreshments and time for lingering in the displays, I assured him that, while she was probably a bit embarrassed, she loved every word he spoke. He's a good man.
The two musical numbers were lovely, the food was wonderful, and the displays of antiques and talents. Oh my! Five sisters were selected from each ward to share a talent. Our Stake Relief Society President commented in her remarks that this represented 10-15% of the women in our Stake. Amazing, if this is what we saw, I can only imagine if everyone brought their talents! Here's a taste. Look at this fabulous quilt! I was drooling over that old Singer sewing machine, but the quilt, Oh my gosh, it was breathtaking!
This was probably my favorite display of all. This "suit", worn in the 1940's was complete with the gloves, shoes, jewelry and hat. But, the best part of the display was the photo, from 1940 of the sister wearing the actual outfit. CLASSY! SO sharp! Loved it!
Gracie couldn't keep her eyes off the dress on the left below. Worn in the 1950's, Gracie thought that it would be a perfect prom dress. She loved it! The pioneer dress to the left of it was worn in the 1800s. I wish I'd have gotten a close shot of the hat table. They were beautiful! And check out that old iron. Can you just imagine having to heat the iron on a stove between ironings. And it weighs a ton!
Our ward's display... Angela's beautiful stained glass door, Nyla's scrapbooks, Christie's amazingly beautiful photography and Tanya's homemade,economical, recyclable diapers. And my tablescape, below.
Here's my table. I used a flash for some pix and didn't for others. Wish I'd have not used it on all of them! I couldn't wait to come home and redo my tablescape table for the month of March using elements of this tablescape. I had many wonderful compliments on the table but my favorite was from Sister Williams. "I recognized your table. Not the articles, but I knew the author." She's a sweet and kind woman! Love her!
Grace and I spent the day together. She stayed home since it was ski day and she had no desire to go skiing. (Although the non-stop snow for the past 24 hours would have made it the perfect ski day!). We spent the morning at the church, setting up the displays. Once done, we went to her only choice for lunch at Chili's, followed by an afternoon of shopping. I have to make note that Gracie ordered a Molten Lava dessert and, for the first time ever, she was full halfway through it!
At some point, she was thinking about all of the displays back at the church and she said, "Mom, you have all of those talents. You sew, you craft, you cook. You can do everything." We talked about it at length... Some of us is born with God-given talents. Some may be able to sing like an angel. Others' creativity may spill over. Others may be organized. Some are born teachers, some are born artists. But, not all talents can be displayed on a table.
I shared with Grace that one of her best talents is her compassion and understanding for others. Some people are great listeners. Some people have great wisdom and insight. Some are patient. It's easy to look at someone who is "pretty" or sings well or plays piano wonderfully and compare ourselves to that kind of talent. But. And it's a BIG but! The person who listens, the person who is quick to help others, the person who has a great attitude has talents that are every bit as admirable. Not all talents can be set on a table to be "wowed" about. The important thing...make the most of the talents you've been blessed with and continue to learn and develop others along the way. Everyone benefits! Enough said.
The most exciting place to discover talent is within yourself.
It's been a big day. SO much going on. It's 11:06 and I still have two hours of work to do before I hit the hay. SO. Therefore and in behalf, a quick rambling list....Ten in ten words or less...