Sunday, February 11, 2018

Planning

It has been pretty quiet around here since I returned home.  The kids are used to me "cracking the whip" with them again.  I have been so worried about "parenting" them right but I'm beginning to relax.  It is an imperfect world after all and that applies to me and that's OK.  Isn't it?  The kids are good and happy to be involved in our world.  They like family time and seem to be pretty uninterested in doing much in the way of activities with friends outside of school.  I'm thinking that will change with a little more time. 

I believe I mentioned that Layne bought me a new stove top for my birthday.  It is installed, and I love it!  He did several other sweet things for me while I was in California.  When I am gone, he seems to get inspired about doing unexpected things that he thinks I will like.  And I do! 

Layne has introduced the idea of getting our house painted this summer.  So my mind is alive with ideas for colors.  I've scoured the neighborhood, looking for inspiration.  I've made copies of the house to color in a variety of ways for us to look at and, hopefully, decide.  I keep thinking about it.  Such possibilities!  Here's a picture of the house as it is now. 


So the coming months will bring three family weddings, and a house to paint. And no doubt a few more things that will come up along the way.  I'm feeling good, so bring it on! 

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

A Work Errand

Son Reed and wife Dorothy have decided to move to a bigger home.  Dorothy's mother, Linda, is now living with them and they needed space to accommodate her.  So they have decided to sell their home and move into a larger rental.  Dorothy is recovering from Thyroid surgery and is feeling a bit poorly.  So it came to me that I should make a trip to Brentwood to help out. 

Layne made all the arrangements for me to go last Monday.  He listed me for an early stand-by flight and rented a car for me, to be picked up at the airport.  We were up at 3:30 AM to get me to the airport in time for a 6 AM flight.  It went perfectly and I found myself in San Francisco somewhere around 7 AM.  Perfect.  I took the train to the car rental by the airport.  A lovely Polynesian woman named Ali told me that the reservation was for a car at another location.  What?  I would need to take a taxi to the other Hertz location, just up the freeway.  So I took the train back to the terminal and took a taxi.  The driver heard my story with some sympathy and volunteered to wait while I checked out the other location.  It turned out to be a very small facility, with a very limited number of cars.  My reservation was there all right...for noon.  There was not a car to be had before then.  I asked if the reservation could be transferred to the airport location.  I asked if our prepaid reservation could be transferred as well.  Hum.  It's not going to be easy, I was told.  I would need to called the main office to try and arrange it. 

I was very happy that my taxi man waited for me.  I decided that I'd get my car at the airport location no matter how it turned out.  So off we went, back to the original location.  Ali took a look at me, now some hour or so later, and said she'd take care of me.  And so she did.  She transferred the money and added a reasonable charge at this more expensive location.  She smoothed it all over.  What a lovely woman!  I got the pick of the budget priced cars.  I picked out a red one, of course, and was finally off to Brentwood. 

An hour and a half later I arrived at Reed and Dorothy's new place.  Its a nice place.  Full of boxes and my lovely family.  Dorothy and I set to work at once, packing up the old place, boxing up various belongings and cleaning as we went.  Here's a shot of Dorothy and Bruce, in the old house.


Dorothy and I worked at both houses all of three days.  Audrey helped out too.  We managed to get just about everything out of the old house and into the new.  In between I enjoyed a little bond or two with my grandsons.  Bruce, 7, read to me and we laughed a lot.  Perhaps that is why he invited me to his basketball practice.  We made a little connection!  Here he is, in the new house.


Timmy is my more elusive grandson, but we had a few sweet exchanges.  Vincent is almost 16 and quite a handsome lad.  He's easy going and undemanding.  He's calm in every circumstance, even when his confused Grandma Linda punches him at unpredictable times.  Here he is.


Grandson James, his lady Alejandra and baby Alex came over most evenings.  James is wonderful with his little son.  Alex is bright-eyed and responsive.  Oh, and adorable.  See for yourself!


I had a great visit with Reed too.  In all, I felt that the trip was a very sweet one.  And exhausting.  I got up at 4:30 AM to come home last Thursday.  But I made that flight also and got back home just after 11:00 AM.  I was so happy to see Layne.  When I'm on a trip and he is home, he just about always does something a little extra.  This time he scrubbed down my old stove top.  And a few other cleaning projects.  The kids seemed to be a little sorry that I was back!  Hum.  It didn't take long to figure out why.  Layne ran a pretty loose ship while I was gone.  More treats and TV; less discipline.  At first I felt kinda bad about it.  But why shouldn't he spoil the kids a little.  They loved it and it turned out to be a sweet bonding experience for all three of them.  So, maybe I can make another trip with no worries about the home fires!

After a two hour nap, I felt almost normal.  The days since my return have been filled with activities and projects.  Its January.  I always want to sort things out at the beginning of a new year.  Then there's my birthday.  I am now 75!  Somehow that feels like a line has been crossed.  It suddenly feels like a pretty old age to be.  How could that have happened so fast?  Mortal time whizzes by while we are not looking.  To celebrate my older age, Layne bought me a new stovetop.  His cleaning job on my old one will hopefully make it useful for someone else.  Today was my first experience using the new stove top.  It was great!  I love it!  And so here stands a 75 years old with a new cooking device.  Pretty fun.  Each of my children gave me a Birthday gift this year.  Did they know I was going to hit this amazing age?  I'm not sure.  But I so enjoyed their sweet sentiments.  I feel celebrated!






Sunday, January 14, 2018

Winter Warmth

As I sit here, the sun is shining through the window and there is no sign of snow.  The temperature today is 46 degrees.  It is almost like the beginning of spring!  There has been very little precipitation and what has come is mostly rain.  What an amazing contrast to last winter!

I am finally feeling almost normal.  Almost.  Still not perfectly healthy but definitely getting there.  Our January is full of changes.  Besides a very warm winter, we have lost our wonderful prophet, Thomas Monson.  He has led the Church in love, with emphasis on the importance and joy of relationships.  He was 90 when he passed away earlier this month.  We will miss seeing his face and hearing his words, delivered in his own unique way.  Changes are coming. 


 

On Tuesday a special broadcast from Salt Lake will undoubtedly announce our new prophet.  We anticipate that it will be Elder Nelson.  He is a vibrant 93 years old!

While we are on the subject of changes, our ward has been realigned again.  That is the third time since we moved here 5 years ago.  Today was our first time meeting since the change.  There seemed to be more people than we had before.  Strange, isn't it?  Usually ward changes create smaller units.  We seem to have grown.  Several people I especially love are gone now.  Gone from the ward that is.  A new ward has been formed in the stake.  So, more re-shuffling.  More change. 

I am beginning to relax in my mothering of Seth and Angelica.  A little bit.  They are naturally good kids so it isn't hard to parent them.  I think I tend to go overboard in my oversight of their device use.  Working with pornography addiction for the past several years has made me painfully aware of its invasion into lives of device users, especially the young.  It seems especially effective at seducing the young and vulnerable.  Thus its tentacles are more and more specialized at reaching them.  It alarms me. 

Seth was asked by some of the kids from his Taiwanese school to send them a picture of him for some sort of recognition of him there.  He had me take a series of pictures and settled on this one.


"Grandma, I'm trying not to look so skinny," he says.  But he is skinny, in spite of all we do to feed him.  Besides, what is wrong with skinny, I'd like to know.  Most of us in the US would like a little more of that.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Post Holidays

I was full of plans for celebrating Christmas with Seth and Angelica.  After all, they have never experienced an American Christmas.  While the area came alive with Christmas, from lights all over to happy shoppers, we tended to languish at home, struggling with the "holiday bug".  And so Christmas was a little underwhelming.  Still, I think the kids enjoyed it.  But it was definitely minimal.  For the last several weeks, sleep has been my ultimate high.  Sad, isn't it?  But today, after 2 1/2 weeks of feeling low, I'm beginning to feel somewhat better.  Yes.  I'll live.  So you may be thinking that I'm a bit of a whiner.  I suppose you would be right to think so.  So I'll end my extended rant now.

The kids decided that they wanted to sleep in the living room in Christmas Eve.  Why not?  So here is Seth, settling in.  Angelica set up her bed on the couch but soon wound up on the floor, next to Seth.



Cliff and Audrey drove to our house a couple of days after Christmas, bringing Rayne and fiance Dominic, and Allegra.  Grandson Chase, Morgan and son Hunter also drove here from Utah.  We had a wonderful time with them.  Celebrating a post Christmas with them was better than Christmas, for reasons already reviewed above.  Here is our second Christmas morning, with the Adams-Hart gang.  Note little Hunter, carrying out his job of putting the wrapping paper in the trash bag.


The kids--Rayne, Chase and partners--had their time here pretty well filled in.  They went shopping, and tubbing in the snow. Here they are, sliding down a nearby hillside.  Dom is leading the pack.  Looks like fun!




Of course, we went to Caldwell to walk through the amazing Christmas light display.  It never fails to impress.  Here are the beautiful lights of Caldwell, Idaho.

 Angelica, posing on one of the bridges.
Allegra, Seth and Cliff, holding Hunter.

 Here most  of us are:  Audrey, Chase, Morgan, Layne, Dom, Rayne, Seth, Angelica, Allegra and Cliff with Hunter.  I took the picture.

In between all the activity, there was time for some frolicking in the snow.  Angelica got a snowball smack in the face!  



I was sad to see everyone go just a few days after they arrived.  Well, everyone except Allegra, who stayed with us.  She spent a week or so with us, waiting for grandson Scott to drive here to pick her up for the drive to Rexburg and the beginning of another semester at BYUI. 

Allegra was a life-saver as she took over much of the cooking and did some fun things with the kids.  I was so happy for it since I was not perky.  Scotty arrived this past Friday night, as planned.  He brought his fiance, Jessica, along as well.  She will be our third Jessica!  She is a lovely girl.  I believe they can be very happy together.  They plan to marry in April.  Wow.  This year three of our grandchildren plan to marry!  I'm amazed that this could be.  Our college kids left Saturday morning and safely deposited at school. 

Scott, Jessica and Allegra, about to leave for school.

 

Layne is at a Church meeting tonight to learn about yet another change in ward boundaries.  That will be three changes in our ward since coming here.  This is a high growth area for sure.  So we will soon have more changes to adjust to.  Change.  I sometimes wonder why it is so hard, since it is impossible to avoid.  What changes await us in 2018 I wonder...

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Almost Christmas


MERRY CHRISTMAS!
Angelica and Seth as Mary and Joseph, created several years ago.

The kids' Christmas concerts are over.  Our singing performances are over.  The gifts are wrapped.  I think we are ready for the Big Day.  Except that Layne caught some kind of a bug and has shared it with all of us.  So we four are sitting around in a daze.  I'm so glad we are ready for Christmas because all I want to do is sit and stare.  Actually that isn't much fun either but it beats moving.  I think we are all on the mend.  It has been a long time since I've been sick with anything.  I'm feeling a little bummed about this.



We had our first snow of the season last night.  It is beautiful outside, with white everywhere, being reflected by a bright sun.  More snow is due tomorrow.  Maybe we will have a winter after all.  I'm kind of excited about having a white Christmas.  Or I would be if I didn't feel crummy.  I like the idea of it.



The kids have finally admitted that they are excited about Christmas.  Angelica has picked out the gift she wants to open on Christmas Eve.  I miss our California family at this time of year, but I think we will have some fun with Seth and Angelica.  So, to all of you we wish a very, MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Christmas is Coming

We entered December with high expectations.  At least I did.  There is so much I'd like to do to celebrate the season.  Then there are the usual pressures:  gifts for everyone, cards to friends, something special for neighbors and those in the Church we look out for.  For some reason all of these activities have worn me down a little bit.  I suppose I still worry that we will not provide the right experiences for Seth and Angelica.  I am relaxing a little bit, but worries still crowd my thoughts at times.  The kids are involved in their school choirs and so we will attend two school Christmas concerts.  It'll be fun and inspiring I imagine.  Angelica is supposed to wear a "Christmasy" top.  She chose a Santa style, and here she is with Seth modeling it.  She looks pretty cute in it.


There is plenty of horse play that goes on here.  Allegra is deep in the middle of it.


Allegra has been with us since September and has been such a help with the kids. They love her and will so miss her when she goes home for Christmas this coming weekend.  I feel blessed with this family of mine.  All of them are good people doing things that are productive and positive.  For the most part.  Allegra, our lovely redhead, will soon be gone.  She will be so missed!



My singing group, the Treble Clef Singers, are in the midst of our Christmas concert, repeated several times a day for two weeks.  Wow.  It is exhausting.  But it has been good for me; I've overcome much of my fear of singing in front of people.  Of course the folks in convalescent homes are appreciative no matter how we sing.  But I think we sound pretty good!  Our group still loves Layne.  He sings a solo in every one of our concert series.  He's good too!  Here's our group at one of our performances.


Time moves quickly on.  Our grandchildren are growing up and starting families of their own.  Sometimes I can't believe that I could be a seventy-something...already.  Our grandson Scott proposed to his girlfriend over Thanksgiving and they plan to marry this coming spring.  Along with grandson James and granddaughter Rayne.  Wow.  Imagine the possibilities for great-grandchildren they will bring.  How could this have happened so soon?  Here's Scott and his Jessica.  Jessica.  She will be our third Jessica in the immediate family.  Branching out, she becomes the fifth!




Sunday, November 26, 2017

Giving Thanks

Son Ben and his Jessica offered to host a family Thanksgiving this year.  It promised to be a little bit special as almost all of our family planned to attend.  So our little group of Layne, me, Allegra, Seth and Angelica drove to California on Monday.  It was a lovely drive, even with the bay area traffic.  Except for a bit of white-knuckle driving over the Sierras...by me.  It was rainy and foggy the whole way.  But it all cleared up as we drove out of the mountains.  We stayed at Audrey and Cliff's, as we usually do. They are our kids with space, so it is fun to stay with them and enjoy a room of our own. 

I planned to see our foster daughter, Michelle, my cousin Judy and friend Lynn Hooker but all I managed to see was Lyn.  Returning from her home in San Leandro was a bit of a nightmare as it was bumper to bumper all the way home.  The Bay Area is a traffic nightmare just about any time you choose to join it.

But not on Thanksgiving.  We drove to Palo Alto, to Ben and Jessica's, with very little traffic.  When we are there and driving, this is a situation worth mentioning!  They had a beautiful set-up, with tables set with china and goblets for all.  Steamers kept the food warm and there was plenty of it. 


The joy of it was having so many of our family there.  Only Gerald and Frances were missing of our children and several grandchildren were not there.  But it was a bigger family group than we have had for awhile.  There was a good spirit there as well, as the kids all mingled together and got along well.

There were a couple of years when 4 grandchildren were born in the same year.  Here is one bunch:
Miles, Seth, Vincent and Jacqueline.


And here's another bunch:  Angelica, Alexis, Timothy and Peyton.  You might be able to tell that Timmy wasn't quite as keen on having his picture taken!


There was quite a bit of happy mixing of the adults too.  There was a sweet spirit throughout the day, it seemed to me.  Here is most of the family in attendance.  I love these people!


Jacqueline took a bunch of pictures which I don't have yet, but here are a couple more that I took.  Here are my girls, Jessica and Audrey.


Granddaughter Rayne and me, holding our latest great-grandson, Alex.


I do love Idaho but I miss being so close to family.  It was a dream for me to be with so many of them for one wonderful day.  Here's daughter-in-law Dorothy with her first grandchild and son of son James.  Dorothy and Alex:



Here's a close-up of Alex.  He's a gentle little soul with big brown eyes.  I love him already.


There are more pictures to come when I get Ben's.  We had a wonderful time.  We headed home on Friday and got the house cleaned up and all decorated for Christmas!  What a great time of year!