Saturday, December 25, 2010

Magic Moments

Christmas Eve this year was awesome - and also a recognizable milestone.  My kids are grown up.
You may think I'd realize it because most of them are taller than I, but it creeps up on you so gradually it takes a moment in time to recognize it.

We had a very nice dinner and then a scripture discussion before the pie was served.  The night took on a really spectacular view when Michael and Jeffrey began playing a piece that Michael made up.  The chords are really cool sounding.  Michael on the piano and Jeffrey on his old guitar.  Actually they kept making it up.  Nate walked in to the room, liked what he heard and joined in with his bass guitar and they convinced Rebekah to pull out her flute from six years ago and play along.  After Andrew and Rachel came home from shopping they urged Rachel to grab her clarinet and Andrew to jump on the keyboard - and oh by the way could he come up with some words to go with it?

The video I have of each additonal player is really cool, but of course not for public display until more practice and effort has gone in to it.   But as a mom - my heart is full to watch and listen to the talents of my family emerging and growing.  It was really an awesome experience.

The kids were laughing on the computer and doing some last minute Christmas wrapping when Jeffrey and I decided to go to bed.  After the family prayer there came a moment when I paused to say something and  couldn't figure out what to say, when Nathan said with a grin on his face, "You want us to turn back into little children and have an exciting Christmas night."

Ahh, that was it!  They were clearly getting ready to play some games and go on with their night as we went to bed and the roles had changed and they were in charge of their own happiness and I was going to bed to wait for the excitment of the new day.  My youngest is twelve and having fun with her siblings but quite over the "magic" of anticipation and the oldest are adults.

When did it all happen?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

It's in who you know!

Choose your friends wisely.  If you walk with the right friend she will tell you where to get the stuff you want, where it is on sale and sometimes even go with you!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The REAL story of the runaway Gingerbread men

I'm pretty sure I've narrowed down the clues to this classic - young men were at their grandmother's home and came up with a really cool story for their mom when she came to pick them up. I'll bet she said, "And then what happened?" several times.

The plan this year was to make gingerbread men, with loaves of bread and homemade freezer jam for our friends.  When the bread came out of the oven, I was upstairs wrapping presents and when I came down the braided bread was half finished though I was able to save some for their dad's supper.   Now gingerbread has to set for about 2 hours before you can cut them out and bake them.  Luckily they only bake for 7 minutes so you basically have to wait around.  Well no one was around for the rolling and cutting but just as soon as those gingerbread men came out of the oven - they tried to run away.  I had to guard them with a spatula, a look, and a firm no.  I ignored criticism of flat heads, misshapen arms, juggled hands that tried to knock the gingerbread off (so it would break) till I  told the kids to scram.  If you happen to get a gingerbread man this year just know it came out of Fort Knox.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Marissa and Andy married!

The tender feelings of a mother who is thankful for the Lord's blessings in allowing her to see this daughter married.   We're all thankful for the care, time, effort and service that Carol Nielson has given to so many, many of us. Joy in hard times.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Walking with Laura can really be fun!

It all depends on WHERE you walk!!!!

Dana and Laura

Jumping the bowling balls on Bowling Ball Beach

Bowling Ball beach is really a great place to walk, explore and have fun.  We stayed at a friend of Laura's home at Sea Ranch on the Mendicino coast and had a fabulous time at beaches all day!  There was a nice hot tub, good food, great friends, the song of the surf, and grand vistas at every corner.  What a wonderful way to feel gratitude for those who made it all possible to live in a land we can run around freely in.  Nothing like sleeping in a warm comfortable bed and waking up with friends, eating, conversing and building sand castles!

Sand Castles on Walk-on Beach

Laura and Dana walking

Fabulous view from the Hogan's home

Saturday, October 30, 2010

It's that time of year!

Since I'm strictly prohibited from posting pictures on facebook, I certainly didn't mention there were other places I could put them.

This is what happens when you aren't a child and you aren't a teenager - just that middle schooler wanting to trick-or-treat but not old enough to go out to the all night parties.   I actually had to talk Rachel into a party because she didn't know what she wanted to do since we're not keen on Sunday trick-or-treating  and I'm totally not keen about the older kids parties.   She got to have five of her nicest friends to come to a party and sleep-over.
They actually slept
It is cold and flu season and I found myself fighting a cold for the past two days and maybe I regretted a little bit having screaming, running around the house -kids, for the night instead of a quiet book or watching TV...........

After breakfast

But it was totally worth it and so much fun!

Worm and dirt - Yummy! Courtsey of Alyssa
You are only a kid once and I love having my last kid being a kid!

Saturday, October 23, 2010


Pomegranates... just the name renders up images of soccer, fall, Thanksgiving around the corner!  Regg brought us over a few with his fresh fruit run today, yummy raspberries, strawberries and some pomegranates.
In past years when we came home from soccer games on Saturdays, a man would always be on the corner selling his pomegranates until his three trees fruit was gone.  We would try to get there early because they were big and delicious.  He wasn't there last year and the store bought are not as ripe, big, or sweet.
Rebekah and Rachel were at the table tonight dicussing the merits of the best way to harvest the seeds.  Rebekah preferrs the more rapid approach while Rachel likes to pull out each seed without squirts or pop outs.  Rebekah scooped up a spoonful with a "Uh huh, but look who's eating them now?!"  Rachel said she would enjoy each one.  Being the last child, Rachel has learned how to protect her own and when her dad came in the room she put her hand up and said a firm, "No." before he could get a word out.  While we are all laughing she picks up her cup in one hand and the plate with peelings in the other to throw them out.  Not leaving even a chance of pickings for anyone!  She enjoyed ever one.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Donna elopes and I get praise!

New chapter in my sister's life
 On October 9 my sister Donna and Parley Estes got married.  They have known each other for quite a while and thought about marriage for many months, then his brother planned to get married on the 8th and when they saw all the family traveling from Texas to Utah they thought why not join them?
So after the reception they announced they were getting married tomorrow and everyone who wanted to stay could see them get married.  Luckily for our side of the family we had three days more notice.
On Wednesday when I heard there would be punch and cake I talked it over with Laura and asked why people would think of sweet things first and wasn't there something else that could be served that would be more exciting and delicious.  Yes, and
Boy did she come through for me!
Chicken and Cashew Croissant Sandwiches and a Spinach Artichoke Dip  (I'll post both recipes in just a bit - you'll probably want to use them sometime!)

So on Thursday I ran over to Costco and Winco and got ingredients and Rachel, Rebekah and I set out early Friday morning, got there in the late afternoon and then helped set the reception and fell in bed that night.  Got up early Saturday to see Donna and Parley married, had lunch with Nate who had come down on Friday from Rexburg and Andrew who came by bus from Provo that morning, and Rachel and Rebekah who were already with me.  Then that night we helped finish setting up the reception and enjoyed meeting with family and friends - the kids had fun decorating the couples car with whipped cream, oreos, balloons etc.
When I got to the kitchen, it was obvious that others thought the same as I as there were fruit baskets, nuts, rolls and other food to go with the punch and cake.
 In the clean up and reflection process I got numerous complements on the sandwiches and especially the dip - Thanks Laura! - quite a few family members wanted the recipe.
Victorian theme

Sisters helping Donna get ready

Just about there!

Life is good and here's to the new couple!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Susy the Sister my mom prayed for

My mother had lots of brothers and finally a sister at the end of their family - when she had a girl first she prayed very hard to have a sister for her little girl to grow up with.  What a wonderful gift for us to have each other. A year and 2 weeks apart.  Nothing like after dark sharing secrets and going to school and camp together, sharing clothes, make-up, shoes and coats - having good times. Nothing like anticipating and sharing the dreams for the future together.   She's been my oldest best friend.  
While she came on business to California, I ran down to spend a day or so when she wasn't in meetings.  She told me all about washers, dryers and what to look for in a good dishwasher.  We also laughed, talked, and shared a few frustrations.  Kept each other awake during church and caught up on her life.
Sometimes we laugh at the simple expectations of our childhood and how much more we discovered we really wanted out of marriage and family than we could have imagined as children.  I miss her when  we're apart.  The curious thing is when I pray for a sister or that kind of connection myself, I run into great 'sisters' where I am!
 I never thought I'd have so many other 'sisters' that could make my life so complete.  When the children were young someone would call up and say she had to get out of the house did I want to go to the park with her and some other mothers?  A group of us sisters were talking at Relief Society function and ended up camping for mothers day - for the next 15 years.  Due to kid commitments I didn't go this year and I miss them.  My life is so richly blessed in so many ways because of  prayers that are constantly answer in ways I could never imagine.  
Ah, and then there are the "sisters" that we bear and raise.  My two girls are sisters as they change and enhance my life with their unique characteristics and talents.
In health, in style, in childcare, on the Internet, at school, teaching, volunteering, work, everything that makes my life fun fulfilling and special all comes with sisters.  I can't ask for what I really need because I don't know I need it beforehand I just pray and enjoy the blessings.
Thank you Lord for all my wonderful sisters!

Heart Full

We're going to miss Jim on our daily walks
The past two months have been up and down on the emotional richter scale.  One day while walking by last month, Jim told us his wife had fallen in the night and he found her the next morning and when they examined her at the hospital they found she had had a stroke.  For the next two weeks we watched a dramatic change come over Jim.  He had been slowly ambling over his yard wishing he could do more and by the end of the 2 weeks he'd gone to sitting, sitting with a blanket, sitting with his feet up wrapped in blankets, to sitting with oxygen.  He would report how Madge was doing each day because his son would come everyday and bring him where he needed to go.
I went to Utah and when Laura and I went walking he told us she died.  Ahhh, he was so sad and so were we.  Two days later he threw away the oxygen and hardly used the walker.  I was hopeful that his heart was doing better and his legs were less swollen.  We visited for a little longer when we went by.  He seemed to be shaky on his feet and reported falling a few times.  We'd watch for his cane to hand to him when he showed us pictures on his walls and told us about his life.
I went to Texas to drive back with my daughter and found out Jim died the night I got back home.  Every time I leave something bad happens.
89 years old, married for 60 plus and left a heartbroken son and some very sad neighbors.

I wonder what he said when he met Madge again.

I wonder if he'll remember us and all his neighbors who loved him.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Laura is doing it again!

Mountains of fruit, bowls and bowls of salad, cookies (hundreds) all individually packaged, and a huge list of things to remember to put in the car tomorrow.   She is catering the Concord High Senior Picnic. She isn't doing the hamburgers though she is bringing the grill.  It is awesome to watch a genius at work.  How she can make the mounds of groceries disappear and reappear as recognizable delicious food is fantastic.   Laura starts out with a list (after her daughter told her what she wanted) then organizes it into stores.  So we hop into her van and pick up ingredients from different places - this lady really knows her stores and which will give her the better deal.  Some of the owners know her personally and she knows just who to ask for the best produce (or please reserve 7 3lb packages of chopped romaine for Monday).  Then there is a place in her dinning room and front entry that the boxes and sacks usually end up.  Baking and preparing are meticulous with gloves and precise cuts.  (Not my scoop melon and chop up - no Laura's are all square approximately the same size!)  Her mother-in-law (Grandma Nausin) supplies an extra oven, refrigerator and makes up huge batch of Snickerdoodles.  There are special sized muffin cups, cookie sleeves, matching napkins and exactly what plates and cups go together.  I watch Laura slice and dice, copy exactly what she does and then try to speed up the operation.   But it's her presentation that takes the prize!  Laura brings her own utensils, serving bowls, platters etc. and a picnic is really poetry when it's done!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Don't Put That On Your Blog

Twice in one week
I'm taking someone's picture and they immediately say, "Don't put that on your blog!" So a few people -very few- know that I have a blog and that I occasionally post on it.  So what is this big deal about the hordes from the public (yeah right) finding out a few things about their life?
My children - who don't get on - all have informed me they don't want to be featured here or there.  My husband doesn't want stories about him put on, my sister says maybe but not much, my greater family I don't ask, - so I'm left with...... my friends!  Except some of them don't want to be the main scoop either.
Maybe I'll go to the dog park and look around.......

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I think I'm a Lizard

I've noticed this summer that I change personalities when I'm with other ladies.  Sometimes I talk a lot, sometimes I'm quiet, it seems to depend on who I'm with.  At girls camp,  with my mom, with my best friend, even with my sister - I adapt to a person that I may not be with another person.  Rebekah, my daughter says I try to please everybody - including salesperson (she thinks that's going too far).  I never really noticed until she pointed it out and now I've been looking all this summer what I do when I'm with different people.
Chameleons change for protection - but I don't feel threatened, nor do I have an extra tail.  I do acquire different skills.
Years ago I was friends with Ann Brown and we would go to look at wood working tools and I got all kinds of things for the cub scouts I worked with.  Every Christmas I would watch over her shoulder and help out with all kinds of nifty gadgets like wind chimes and wooden benches. I gave away really cool stuff.   She could always come up with any tie slide I could dream up.
Now I'm walking with Laura and seeing all kinds of flowers and my front yard actually looks nice more often. I've had fun going to huge gardens and touring old houses.   Mealtimes have improved immensely.  I was looking at Bonnie Mattson's table and wondering if I should get some matching napkins to go with my plates.  I'll be seeing my sister Susy this weekend and I'll probably end up doing somethings she likes and coming home with something special.
I think my photography is the only talent that doesn't come from somebody else ----- but you know my mom paints pictures.....

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Did you know there is a BEACH at Lake Tahoe?!!

This summer has been great doing the California tourist thing! 
I walked across the Golden Gate Bridge -( it is really orange/red).....
played with the kids at Boardwalk in Santa Cruz (burn at the beach)....

 and then Rachel, Diane Chambers and I went to Lake Tahoe.  Now having been in California for more than 20 years I've had many friends 'go to Tahoe' for the weekend, a day trip, or a week and heard what fun it is.
 A beach surrounded by mountains and trees and alpine forests.  Wind, sun, puffy clouds and jet skis, canoes, kayak, speed boats, pleasure boats, fishermen, and water skiers!  There is even a huge paddle boat.  Those in the know said the sand was driven up and dumped there.

I couldn't resist asking these boys to jump for me - no I have no idea who they are - just boys having fun!

Late in the afternoon the clouds came and thunder and a bit of lightening, so we went home after a bit of sight-seeing.  For those in the know I about had heart failure hugging the car door between Emerald bay and another lake up there - two cliffs with a tiny road in between.
I love California!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Didn't walk with Laura last week,

 but I did walk a lot......a whole lot.  Up hill down hill and across camp back and forth.    Girls camp is really a wonderful place to be.  The elements are the same each year.  Something bad always happens, a miracle two, three or four takes place, blessings are given, and prayers are answered.  Walnut Creek Stake Girls camp is mostly a hiking camp and as such as adverse conditions are built into the structure of the program.  You can't take ten to twenty girls, sleep in the mountains, jump off boulders into ice melted lakes, cook your own food and not have stress and aches and pains somewhere along the line.  So answers to prayers are very important and real.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

What do You do in the Summertime?

 Having a dog is really fun, having a dog who loves water is superb!  Add a few boys in the mix -

Friday, June 11, 2010

Nice job somebody did - watch this

Bonnie really has some great things on her blog, so check out this commercial on youtube. I have no idea where it was shown initially. I love it!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Creating a City

Girls Camp preparation are under way and have been for many months. It is now getting down to crunch time. Jeffrey asked how many man hours it took to prepare. I just started laughing. We are creating a city (in President Hunt's words) and going over details and asking volunteers and girls to create a safe, fun, spiritual, adventurous week in the woods is fun and a little mind boggling. Ahhh, I'm off to the level 1 pre-camp meeting.....

and to think I only do the paperwork....

maybe a little art work....

how many preparation hours are spent for one week in the year?

Friday, May 28, 2010

Picking up Andrew

We arrived in the City of Brotherly Love, and toured Independence Hall and the surrounding areas of our country's history, it was great. The really wonderful part of the trip was joining up with Andrew and meeting his Mission President and his wife to say goodbye to two years of work and dedication to the Lord.

We met a few of the people Andrew had association and interactions with. This is Rosa in Reading. She is a strong beautiful person.

Andrew has a love for this family also in Reading and I personally was amazed to find they hadn't been members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints for years.

The lady on the left had a miraculous experience with her daughter and knew the Elders message was important. I loved talking and getting to know the people who Andrew had taught.

What a great family in Scraton, Pennsylvania! They were fun, warm and happy.

The members in Scraton were unique and hospitable. The stories they told of their conversions were fantastic. I loved being there and would love to meet any of them again. The lady on the left invited us to dinner and had to leave before we got there to take her father to the hospital. Well the others showed up and had a get together and carried on until she came home! They were all friendly, warm and just the people you would want to back you up. I could really live there.

Then we traveled from the top of his mission down to almost the bottom in Delaware. We met with the missionaries who were in Andrew's last area (with his former companion Elder Chan) and their investigators and new converts. Wow what a day. They went around the circle and told me how they had met Andrew and each gave a warm testimony. What a wonderful day as a mother and a member of the church. Life is really sweet!

Then we went out in the country and met this family that has a baby that was born in January, only 2 pounds and is the cutest healthy little girl. I fell in love with all the kids.

We also met with another lady that Andrew had been teaching but she didn't want her picture anywhere, but the love she had for Andrew was genuine and heartfelt. A great visit and soul filling.