Monday, September 30, 2013

The Cougar that became a Beaver

Today was Rachel's first day at OSU! I am so grateful that she is going back to get a second degree. This major will not be easy, but she will be able to work in a rewarding field that will bring her a lot of joy. I'm grateful that she has a desire to help others and is willing to make this sacrifice...she'll do great!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Good people

Today in Sacrament meeting one of the sisters in our ward that uses a walker for walking bore her testimony. I noticed when she was finished one of the brethren left his seat in order to open the chapel door for her so that she could easily exit and return to her seat.

I love noticing when others are thoughtful and serve others.

That got me to thinking about our road trip, and the nice things that people did for us. We were treated kindly, and I am grateful for that. I also noticed that when we went out of our way to do something for someone else they were super appreciative.

Being nice/kind/thoughtful/considerate doesn't take a whole lot of work or energy - it can be as simple as opening a door for someone who would struggle otherwise, or letting little boys watch you make pasta and then making their day by giving them a sample.

Easy-peasy, but so rewarding!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

RS Broadcast

Tonight was our General Relief Society Broadcast. I ended up watching it from the comfort of our home. That is something I've never done before. It was a nice change, though I'll probably attend next year. All of the talks were really great, especially President Monson's. He was so sweet when he spoke about his wife, Francis, and how he misses her. His main topic was prayer, and he bore testimony that Heavenly Father loves us and is aware of our needs. We all need reminders of that; I'm grateful that our Prophet felt impressed to share that with us. I'm so grateful to be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Joy and Sadness

Yesterday after Pat picked me up from the airport he let me know that one of his co-worker's wives, Sandy, passed away on Tuesday. Larry, the co-worker, is a good friend of ours, we knew Sandy a little. She had a lot of health problems and has been in and out of the hospital over the past few months due to having strokes.

Sandy and Larry love anything that I bake, so Pat always makes a special effort to give Larry two of anything he brings into the office. Last Monday he brought in the pumpkin bars that I made, and Larry took them home to Sandy. Usually Larry will call Sandy to let her know that he's got a special treat from us, she'll put the coffee on for them, then she'll go and sit on their front porch (they live in the country) and wait for him to come home with their treat. The same thing happened on Monday. Larry told Pat that she licked her fingers because she loved the frosting so much, well, and the pumpkin bars.

Tuesday when Larry was with Sandy she was having a difficult time catching her breath. Apparently she was unable to at one point and just stopped breathing.

I can only imagine how that must have felt for both of them. I'm so sad that they had to experience that, but grateful they were together and she wasn't alone. She just stopped breathing, and he was there with her, which is comforting.

Larry was going to have to make some difficult decisions - whether to put her in a care home or not. That decision is not something he will have to worry about now, and she won't have to be away from him in a home somewhere.

I hope this doesn't sound morbid, at all, because it isn't meant to be. It just struck me so quickly how happy I was for her - no more pain, just peace. And then it struck me how sad I am for Larry. He is going to miss Sandy. A LOT.

It'll be awhile before I bake anything for him; I'll let him have some time to heal. I'm hoping that once I do it will be a sweet memory of Sandy for him.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Hard work

One of the greatest lessons one can learn in life is that hard work truly does pay. While it may not be immediate, and it may not be in a monetary form, it pays in the sense that it makes one feel good about themselves. Today I am grateful that Craig received an award from work for his hard work. It's great to be noticed by others, but what really matters is the feeling that it gives you inside for a job well done.

Good job, Craig! Well done. :)

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Tired, but grateful

We are back in Eugene tonight. I'm grateful for the opportunity to have spent time with Amy and family, and for mine and Rachel's road trip. I'm grateful that Pat and I missed each other. I'm grateful for the beauty we were able to see, the new experiences we shared...and while I'm tired tonight I'm pleased with everything that we did. I am looking forward to being home with my Sweetie again. Good night all!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Poulsbo, Bainbridge & Seattle

We spent a lovely morning riding the ferry to visit Poulsbo and Bainbridge. (Thought we were going to miss it due to getting lost, but didn't - grateful for that and Rachel's cool head since I was a bit freaked out - I HATE being late!) Rach is in love with Poulsbo! Seriously. It's a quaint little Scandinavian town. We went to a bakery that Angie told us about and were able to eat some pastries that I remember eating when I was young, either from relatives or Solvang. Yum! We shopped at a few fun stores and met some really nice, helpful people. The town was super cute too! Bainbridge was where we caught the ferry to go to Seattle. We didn't spend as much time there since we wanted to get to Seattle for lunch. In Seattle we went to Ivar's for lunch (very yummy), and to Pike's Place Market. It was fun to watch the fish mongers throw the fish to each other! They sold beautiful fresh flowers and a variety of crafts there. It was a great place to visit and I'd wished that I could take some flowers home with me. I'm grateful for the great day we had. We are both pretty tired from our adventures, and looking forward to seeing Tillamook then returning to Eugene.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Beautiful Vancouver

This morning we drove twenty minutes and left behind the USA. When we returned the border guard welcomed us back! Yay! We loved being in Canada, but we also loved coming home. The Vancouver area is lovely. We've noticed that when we've been to Canada we've always admired how clean their cities are. The people seemed very nice as well. I'd have to say that our favorite part of the drive was going to Stanley Park. Simply put: it's gorgeous. When we arrived in Vancouver it was raining pretty good; when the sun broke out it was an answer to my prayers - literally. I'm so grateful that such a simple prayer could be answered so that we could enjoy the beauty that we saw.

Sunday, September 22, 2013


Today was the major part of our road trip. We began in Portland, went to Mt Rainier, then on to Seattle, finally stopping for the night in Bellingham. Rach and I have been marveling at the absolute beauty of this state! It's as if when the USA was created they saved much of the beauty for just this area. Oh, I know there are other beautiful areas in our country, and I love and am grateful for those as well. But to put so much beauty in one area...that rarely happens! Now if it just wasn't SO rainy! ;)

Saturday, September 21, 2013


Amy, Rach and I spent today in Portland, Oregon. We began our trip by doing family initiatories in the Portland temple last night. After sharing that wonderful experience we went to Kell's for an Irish dinner that was fabulous! Then we just hung out at our hotel last night. After breakfast this morning we made some shopping stops: a large bookstore, and Penzey's (a spice shop), then we drove around in the pouring rain looking at the downtown area. We stopped at Elephant's Deli - a fun place to eat, then we went to the rose garden in Washington park. After that we had some time to kill before Brad and the boys joined us at the park for a brief playtime (due to serious rain!) so we looked at homes. After being rained out we went to get dinner at our restaurant of choice, which wasn't serving dinner yet, so we found an Italian restaurant that had great food...and the boys got to watch them make pasta! After dinner we said our goodbyes and their family returned to Eugene, while Rach and I returned to our hotel. On the drive back Rach asked me what the best part of the day was...spending time with them was my favorite thing of all. I'm grateful for our time together, especially in the temple.

Friday, September 20, 2013


Yesterday morning I was greeted by Gavin at 7:30 with, "Good morning, Nana! It's time to get up!" Then, this morning. James shyly came in to snuggle with me, along with his sock monkey and the Cat in the Hat. Later I was sitting on the couch and jack decided it was time for snuggles with Nana, soon Gav joined him. I love snuggles with our grandkids!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

New house!

Amy's realtor met us at their new home that they are in the process of purchasing today. The house is perfect for their family! Her realtor was sweet and basically asked if I approved! I guess as the mother of the purchaser she wanted to know if I felt that it suits certainly does! I could see how much the boys will love the roomy-ness and the backyard. Their laundry room is one I'm envious of! I'm grateful they are in a position of being able to afford this home, and I'm happy for them. :)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Dinner and a movie

Brad and Amy are celebrating their ninth anniversary today! Since I was already coming up for my road trip with Rach I thought it'd be nice to babysit for them tonight. To make it fun for the boys we got them happy meals and let them eat picnic style while we watched "Monsters Inc." I'm grateful they enjoyed the evening, that is until Jack went upstairs searching for mommy who was nowhere to be found! Poor baby, you'd think he 'lost' his best friend. Oh wait, he did! Luckily Sissy held him and convinced him to have one of Nana's homemade pumpkin bars. That saved the day...along with snuggles and bedtime.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Warm and fuzzy

I love the feeling that you get when you think of family member's at times. For no apparent reason at all they just pop into your mind and you feel all warm and fuzzy, and a flood of love comes to you for that particular person. I'm grateful for moments like those.

Monday, September 16, 2013


Several years ago we decided to get our passports, you know, in case we ever decided to go anywhere. Well, that didn't happen. However, we have used them to go to places like Niagara Falls, since they have cracked down on border crossers there. We actually used them last time we were in New York, a little over a year ago. Prior to that all we ever needed was our driver's license - that is no longer the case. Since Rach and I are going to Canada again, this time to Vancouver, I had to get my passport out today. I sure am grateful we have those! Maybe it's not something super fun like Ireland, or Sweden, or New Zealand...but at least we have them for Canada. :)

Sunday, September 15, 2013


Last night I saw that a friend had posted the following on facebook. What a great way to look at parenting, and most especially loving your child for who they are. I am grateful for the insights this person shared.

Happy reading!

Written by a Pre-School Teacher – It says it all!
I was on a parenting bulletin board recently and read a post by a mother who was worried that her 4 1/2 year old did not know enough. “What should a 4 year old know?” she asked.
Most of the answers left me not only saddened but pretty soundly annoyed. One mom posted a laundry list of all of the things her son knew. Counting to 100, planets, how to write his first and last name, and on and on. Others chimed in with how much more their children already knew, some who were only three. A few posted URL’s to lists of what each age should know. The fewest yet said that each child develops at his own pace and not to worry.
It bothered me greatly to see these mothers responding to a worried mom by adding to her concern, with lists of all the things their children could do that hers couldn’t. We are such a competitive culture that even our pre-schoolers have become trophies and bragging rights. Childhood shouldn’t be a race.
So here, I offer my list of what a 4 year old should know.
She should know that she is loved wholly and unconditionally, all of the time.
He should know that he is safe and he should know how to keep himself safe in public, with others, and in varied situations. He should know that he can trust his instincts about people and that he never has to do something that doesn’t feel right, no matter who is asking. He should know his personal rights and that his family will back them up.
She should know how to laugh, act silly, be goofy and use her imagination. She should know that it is always okay to paint the sky orange and give cats 6 legs.
He should know his own interests and be encouraged to follow them. If he could care less about learning his numbers, his parents should realize he’ll learn them accidentally soon enough and let him immerse himself instead in rocket ships, drawing, dinosaurs or playing in the mud.
She should know that the world is magical and that so is she. She should know that she’s wonderful, brilliant, creative, compassionate and marvellous. She should know that it’s just as worthy to spend the day outside making daisy chains, mud pies and fairy houses as it is to practice phonics. Scratch that– way more worthy.
But more important, here’s what parents need to know.
That every child learns to walk, talk, read and do algebra at his own pace and that it will have no bearing on how well he walks, talks, reads or does algebra.
That the single biggest predictor of high academic achievement and high ACT scores is reading to children. Not flash cards, not workbooks, not fancy preschools, not blinking toys or computers, but mom or dad taking the time every day or night (or both!) to sit and read them wonderful books.
That being the smartest or most accomplished kid in class has never had any bearing on being the happiest. We are so caught up in trying to give our children “advantages” that we’re giving them lives as multi-tasked and stressful as ours. One of the biggest advantages we can give our children is a simple, carefree childhood.
That our children deserve to be surrounded by books, nature, art supplies and the freedom to explore them. Most of us could get rid of 90% of our children’s toys and they wouldn’t be missed, but some things are important– building toys like lego and blocks, creative toys like all types of art materials (good stuff), musical instruments (real ones and multicultural ones), dress up clothes and books, books, books. (Incidentally, much of this can be picked up quite cheaply at thrift shops.) They need to have the freedom to explore with these things too– to play with scoops of dried beans in the high chair (supervised, of course), to knead bread and make messes, to use paint and play dough and glitter at the kitchen table while we make supper even though it gets everywhere, to have a spot in the yard where it’s absolutely fine to dig up all the grass and make a mud pit.
That our children need more of us. We have become so good at saying that we need to take care of ourselves that some of us have used it as an excuse to have the rest of the world take care of our kids. Yes, we all need undisturbed baths, time with friends, sanity breaks and an occasional life outside of parenthood. But we live in a time when parenting magazines recommend trying to commit to 10 minutes a day with each child and scheduling one Saturday a month as family day. That’s not okay! Our children don’t need Nintendos, computers, after school activities, ballet lessons, play groups and soccer practice nearly as much as they need US. They need fathers who sit and listen to their days, mothers who join in and make crafts with them, parents who take the time to read them stories and act like idiots with them. They need us to take walks with them and not mind the .1 MPH pace of a toddler on a spring night. They deserve to help us make supper even though it takes twice as long and makes it twice as much work. They deserve to know that they’re a priority for us and that we truly love to be with them.

Saturday, September 14, 2013


My husband is a generous person. He just is, and I am grateful that he is. When he sees a need in our family he does his best to help take care of that need. Every once in a while I am the beneficiary of his generosity. Last night we were discussing my upcoming trip to Oregon/Washington/and Vancouver BC, and the fact that it will most likely be raining during some of my trip. He decided that we should go to Bass Pro here in town and pick up some things for my trip - a rain-proof jacket, a fleece, and some water-proofing for my shoes.

This was not a cheap undertaking so I balked at the idea. However, I finally caved and let him have his way! ;) He was quite pleased with the purchases we made, as am I. Mostly I am pleased with this expression of love through his generous spirit. I married a great man - I chose wisely.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Technological advancements

I spent this morning at my Dentist's office...getting a crown on a tooth that's been really sensitive for the past six weeks. Most everyone knows that this is not a "fun" process. However, the technological advancements are truly a wonder! While I was sitting in the dental chair they began taking pictures of my teeth, upper and lower, in the affected section. Minutes later Dr Trueb was on his computer screen playing with the images, eventually forming my new tooth! He explained that I'd be hearing a machine at work for about 15 minutes which would be creating the crown. It's amazing! I'm so grateful that a) I could get a new crown for my formerly cracked tooth, and b) for the ease of having my crown created, oh, and c) my awesome dentist.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Attitude of Gratitude

Life can be trying. Sometimes it is because of choices we've made; other times it is because of choices others have made that influence our lives; and sometimes it just is.

Without going into detail I will share that I am struggling. We all struggle, right? Life isn't a road of ease, at least I've never known it to be. By struggling, for me, I mean that I am simply having a difficult time. Nothing big is going on. I have faith that I will get through this; I always do, with the help of our Father in Heaven, The Savior, and the Holy Ghost - combined.

So, the question is, How? How do I get through this trying time? What do I do to ease this burden?

My answer, what works best for me is this: having an attitude of gratitude. There are times during the day where I mumble and grumble to myself, and that helps no one, especially me. Seriously, it damages my spirit.

As I have pondered this, and prayed about it the answer I've received is to be humble in my gratitude. Thinking of all the things I have to be grateful for just isn't enough, not right now. Instead I have to need to be deeply aware of my blessings, and deeply grateful.

As I do this, and sincerely, mindfully, work through this trial, I believe I will find joy. I believe I will experience a greater love for others, and hopefully become more Christ-like. This will be a journey, it may be a long journey, but it will be a rewarding one because I am determined to change, to be better, and to truly and humbly appreciate the many blessings I have been given in my life.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Remembering 9/11

While I am not grateful for the horrific act that took place on American soil twelve years ago today, I am grateful for those who willingly gave their lives; and for those who pause to remember those innocents that lost their lives. I am also grateful for those who continue to serve on behalf of our freedom. We should always remember, and never forget.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


Growing up in So Cal (mostly) made it so that Mexican food was in abundance. I seriously have no memory of when I first ate it. What I do remember is that tacos have always been a favorite of mine. Our family had your typical ground beef with taco seasoning, lettuce, tomato, cheese and sour cream . In high school I ate tacos at a friend's and they had chili on their tacos. They were amazing! I had never been adventurous and added any beans! Our family always had Rosarita refried beans on the side, so adding chili was a revelation! As we raised our kids I found that I could stretch our budget even further by adding refried beans to our tacos, along with the meat, lettuce, tomato and cheese. These days I make homemade refried beans, use various meats, have salsa available, and do not fry the corn tortillas. However, Pat chooses not to use the meat or the salsa, and he is perfectly content with his tacos. :) I am grateful for tacos and their yummy versatility.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Piano Guys + Star Wars = Awesome!

I am a fan of Star Wars, the music, the movies, the story. So, the other night when watching PBS and seeing this awesome portrayal of Star Wars music I just had to share. I texted our kids and asked them to show their kids. I don't know if any of them have. Music is important and I love that the Piano Guys make it more enjoyable, and hopefully influence my grandkids to pick up a musical instrument...someday. :)

I'm grateful for this:

Go watch it, you'll love it!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Missionary and Family History work

Pat has had a rather busy Sunday. It could have been even busier, but others are involved in this work so it turned out to be fine for him. About three weeks ago one of the High Council members mentioned at their Stake meeting that he was going to have a booth at the Bean Festival in Tracy this weekend. They were required to have the booth Saturday and Sunday, but he knew they wouldn't be doing it on Sunday. So, he asked if those in charge of Family History and Missionary work for the Stake would like to have the booth. The answer was an enthusiastic 'Yes!'

Today is that Bean Festival. Pat went early this morning to get it set up. He is there now closing it down. One of the most wonderful things about this is how the Family History leader in Tracy took it and ran with it. While Pat had to do a good deal of organizing, and phone calling to get everything set up he didn't have to do everything. Many volunteers manned the booth throughout the day; along with the missionaries being there to share the gospel.

I love, and am grateful for, how the work of the Lord overlaps one another. Once you get new members excited about their family history you help them to gain a clearer vision of what is important in life, and in the eternities.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Exciting News!

A friend of ours just became engaged to his long-time love. Back when Brad and Amy first lived with us I remember Paige and Eric coming over for a game night (five years ago?). We noticed a spark between them, and apparently they had just started dating. Eric has been a good friend of Craig's for a decent amount of time now, something like ten years. Amy knew Eric when she was in young women's. Since that time Craig, Amy, Brad and Rach have all become good friends of his; as have we, for as much as adults can be friends with young adults. :)

In fact Eric and Paige almost became engaged back then, but to due to circumstances (she went away to school, among other things) they didn't. Eric was heart broken. Seriously, we were so sad for him.

A few months ago Eric moved out to Orem, where Paige lives, and they struck up their relationship again (probably one of the important reasons he moved there)! I texted him a little bit ago, telling them congratulations, and he said they are really excited. (of course!) Then he said he hopes we are around November 30th! We wouldn't miss it Eric! We would not miss it!

I'm so grateful for life's moments when you can receive happy news like this. It's just wonderful.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Kitchen supplies and ingredients

This morning I made chocolate chip banana bread. After getting all the ingredients out, using various bowls, measuring cups and spoons, plus the pan to bake the bread in, I realize that I am grateful for the abundance of kitchen supplies and ingredients that we have on hand. We have four sets of measuring cups, 3 of liquid measuring cups, and 4 of measuring spoons. We also have several bread pans. Then there's my kitchen aid that makes everything easier when it comes to baking. Yup, I am grateful for the things we have in our kitchen that allow me to do what I love doing - baking and cooking. :)

Thursday, September 5, 2013


The other day I realized that I've nearly reached 1,000 posts on this blog. Once that realization sunk in I also decided that #1,000 will be the end of this blog. So, here's to my next 54 posts; it's been fun, rewarding, and obviously gratifying. I'm grateful for the past posts, since they are a part of my life. And, I'm certain these last future posts I will be grateful for as well.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Getting caught up

Haven't you found that going on vacation, or just away, can be exhausting? First you make all the preparations; in my case it's the packing, the cleaning, the gathering things to take with us to give to our family members, and then there's the making sure my mom is stocked with plenty of food and that her laundry is done, etc, etc, etc.

Once you get home you have the unpacking, the organizing, the getting caught up on laundry, budgeting, mail, grocery shopping, and any other 'things' that you may need to take care of. By the time 10 am rolls around you feel exhausted! (since you are also recuperating from the long trek you made the day before!)

Yes, vacations are exhausting. However, they are totally worth it when you get to: celebrate your two year old granddaughter's birthday, be there when a granddaughter is blessed, watch your grandkids play together and love one another, and spend time with family members; cooking, laughing, eating, seeing sights, and just taking it all in.

So, while it's exhausting, it's also something to be grateful for that you 'get' to do. What a privilege to be able to go and visit family and be with them for special occasions. My, we are blessed.

Now, if only we could live closer to our family members. If can dream, right?

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Safely home

On our way home we saw several accidents, and were delayed forty minutes due to a serious accident when we were just an hour from home. When we would complain even a little we quickly corrected ourselves. We weren't in an accident, we were safe. That is a lot to be grateful for.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Last hurrah

Today was our last day to spend with our family from Utah and Idaho. While it was a great day, there was quite a bit of drama. It's to be expected since all the children were pretty tired by now. We've had some pretty full days with lots of fun and late nights for little ones. They played, they bonded, they giggled, and they cried. Mostly though they loved...each other, their aunt and uncle, and us. :) Now that is something to be grateful for!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Baby blessing

This morning we were able to attend Sam and Linzi's ward to be there for Maci's blessing. It is a joy to see my husband and our sons worthily exercise the Priesthood of God. Maci's blessing was beautiful; it's obvious that she has an especially sweet spirit. We also loved being there with five of our other grandchildren. They all behaved really well. It was also great to be there with Linzi's family. All in all it was a great day, and blessing. :)