Sunday, July 31, 2011

50th Anniversary Party

September 1, 1961
Doyle and Anna
My Parents on their wedding day

Mom and Dad

My Parents at their 50th Anniversary Party.

The paparazzi

Feeding each other Anniversary cake (made and decorated by Tina)
My parents 50th wedding anniversary party was held on Thursday July 28th.  This was the first day of our family reunion.  It was held in my sister Jenny's yard.  Here's how it happened.
1.  We gathered
2.  We had dinner outside on beautifully decorated tables.  Neighbors helped serve and clear.
3.  Jenny introduced the program.
4.  Ray gave a very nice tribute to my parents.
5.  We all sang "No Empty Chairs" by Orrin Hatch and Janice Kapp Perry
6.  Tina gave  her tribute and the beautiful quilt she spent hours and hours making for them.  Unfortunately my camera was in the car.
7.  We sang two verses of "You are My Sunshine" and some people got the giggles over the rather tragic second verse.
8.  I read my tribute (It was a poem I wrote for their anniversary).
9.  Brian and Jenny gave their tributes.
10.  Kayli, Trisa, Alexandrea, and I sang "Happily Ever After" by Jenny Phillips outside on the steps while Tia played it on the piano in the house (and sang) and Audrey turned pages and sang.  We perhaps needed more volume and a bit more practice.
11.  We took a break for family pictures.
12.  My parents cut the cake while they had their picture taken a zillion times and then fed the cake to each other.
13.  We all ate cake, except Dan who is allergic and so he had Oreos, and Derek because it was too late and maybe others that I'm not aware of because really I didn't ask everyone if they had cake!
14.  We had a dance.  I wondered how a dance would work out but it ended up being fun.  Connor was great and kept asking his sisters to dance.  He tried asking one of his cousins once, but she turned him down and so he stuck to his sisters.  Derek danced with me.  Isn't he nice?  We got to pick songs and so Brian had us dancing to "Stayin' Alive".  We tried the chicken dance too -- which was funny.  Dan did do some of his moves, but everyone was so busy doing their own moves that they didn't notice. 
15.  After the dance we eventually got everyone situated and to sleep.  It really was a very well done and happy event for my very deserving parents.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

R.I.P. Dear Old Couch

Couch has been with us for nearly sixteen years.  It has served as a couch, a bed, a trampoline, a balance beam, and a fort.  It's pillows have been used for reclining on the couch and on the floor.  It has been there for us when we were sick, or needed a rest.  I do not think it has ever been truly beautiful, but it has been very serviceable and has been with us so long that it almost feels like we are throwing out a member of the family.  Almost.

Saturday Derek and Connor walked downtown to get Connor's bike after it was repaired at our local bike shop.  Derek took his bike too and so afterwards they took a little ride around and decided to stop at our local furniture store.  My beautiful cedar chest came from there, and we have been in a few times before just to look at things.  Derek and Connor tried out couches and chose two that they approved of.  Later Derek told me about their adventure and said that I could go down and look at the couches and pick one of the two approved ones if I liked.  We've been talking about getting a new one for years.

Kayli and Connor came with me.  I liked the one in the window display best.  It was green, very comfortable and looked nice to me.  The other one was the brown color I had planned on getting, but I did not think it was as comfortable.  So, I wanted the green one, but it wouldn't match the two recliners that we had recovered.  No problem, I could pick any cloth and order it -- except choosing what color to do a couch with those little cloth samples is daunting to me.  That's how we ended up with the first one that I didn't think turned out too beautifully! 

The solution?  I tried out the love seat.  It reclines on both sides.  I embarrassed Kayli and Connor by mentioning to the nice store owner lady that I liked the love seat because I could snuggle with Derek better on it than I could while sitting next to him in matching recliners.  I called Derek twice, about adding a love seat and about the pillows.  He was very accomodating and figured out where we could move the recliners.

The nice lady was very amused by it all and was surprised when I decided to take the love seat, the couch, and the pillows that were on display.  They delivered the same day and the pillows were thrown in free.  She didn't know what she would put in its place in the window.  I'll have to go down and see.  So now we have a new couch which has some big "shoes" to fill.  It can't possibly be as fun because it won't be okay with me if it is used as a trampoline or a balance beam.  The boys will really miss that.  R.I.P. dear old couch.  Welcome to the new!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Compassionate Michelle

When I think of Michelle, I like to think of how compassionate she has been to me when I needed it.  There was a time, when my thyroid was off, that I would have days where I would hide in my house crying.  I tried to keep busy, and to shake off the depression, but sometimes I couldn't.  In desperation I would call Derek, who needed to work.  He would suggest that I call Michelle, or one of my other sisters-in-law.  It is hard to want to call anyone when you are afraid you might cry at them.  I hate to shatter the grand illusion that I am perfectly in control and happy all of the time!  Still, I would do as Derek suggested and call Michelle.  She was always very understanding, and I felt that she understood how I was feeling.  I always felt better, and like I could handle the day, after I talked to her.  She made me feel as if me calling her was a gift even though I felt like I was the one who benefited the most.  I am doing fine most of the time now, but Michelle still checks to see how I am.  I am not good at calling her very often, but when I do she always sounds happy to hear from me.  It is nice to feel loved.

Michelle is also gifted at writing.  I have received notes from her that I have loved.  She also writes a blog.  When I read the things she writes I can see her intelligence shining through.  Michelle is smart.  She graduated Magna Cum Laude from BYU.  She was just trying to do her best, and was surprised when she received that distinction.

Michelle has been in the family for enough years to have 5 children.  Getting those children here took extreme courage, and faith.  I think many people would have been done after having one pregnancy like hers, but she and Trent felt like there were more children for them and Michelle was willing to be incredibly sick for 9 months at a time to get them.  Michelle loves her children and enjoys the good things that they do.

Michelle is a wonderful person.  She is not perfect.  She occasionally says outrageous things.  But nobody is more aware of her imperfections than she is, and I think that is what helps her to be able to be compassionate to others when she sees their need.  Michelle is fun.  She has a contagious laugh.  She has a beautiful voice.  She likes making things (like jewelry), and she enjoys cooking.  Because Michelle has been compassionate, and helped me find my smile again on days that it was lost, and because I love her, I hope that today she will have lots to laugh and smile about.  Happy Birthday Michelle!

Monday, July 18, 2011

How to be the Best Mother-in-law Ever

My Mother-in-law is second from the right.  This was almost 5 years ago, but it is a good picture of her and of my own good Mom.
I am not a mother-in-law yet, but I feel like I know how to be a really great one because I have had the blessing of having a wonderful mother-in-law for over 23 years.  Today is her birthday and so in honor of her I am going to tell you some of the things she has done over the years that qualify her as the best mother-in-law ever in my eyes.

She welcomed me into her family, and has always treated me like one of her own.

When Derek and I were very poor newlyweds there was a time when I could have gone through my closet and told you where almost every piece of clothing in it came from.  A rather shocking percentage would have been from my Mother-in-law.  She would come by bringing me a "Spring Present", or a present for some other occasion that most people don't get presents for.  I wonder what I would have worn had she not come up with so many occasions?

My mother-in-law is a compassionate person and a very good listener.  Sometimes I have been embarrassed to discover that I have spent a few hours with her and mostly talked about me!  It is so easy to talk to someone who is interested, and she is genuinely interested in people, but more especially the people that she loves.

I really couldn't count the number of times that she has, at very little, or no notice, dropped her own plans for the day and come running to help out with whatever it is that I needed that day.  Sometimes it was to tend at short notice.  Sometimes it was to listen when I needed a listener.  Sometimes it was to deal with some pregnancy related challenge.  Whatever the need, I always knew that if she could, she would meet it.

My mother-in-law is very good at being present.  By this I mean, if it is important to a family member, she will be there if she can and it will also be important to her.  Her motto is "It is all about family", and we are her priority.  She is there for birthdays and anniversaries.  She is there for baby births, blessings, and baptisms.  She is there for ball games, dance recitals and concerts.  Holidays are for family too and she is at the heart of it all.  With 11 children, 10 children in law, and 46 grandchildren (with 2 on the way), plus her own brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews, etc. this is rather an impressive thing to be a part of.

She loves the gospel of Jesus Christ and shares that love through the things she does and says.  She is currently on a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints being an example in yet another way.  Is it any wonder that I love her, and feel that she is the best mother-in-law ever?  I honor her.  I hope when I am a Mother-in-law I will be like her.  I also hope she has a very happy birthday.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Trip to the Cabin

Derek's parents have a cabin which Derek and I and some of our children were able to go stay in for one night on July 8th.  The lowlights were:  The wasp sting on Kayli's forehead that made her eyes swell up for a few days after we were home.  The wasp sting on my hand that wasn't nearly as bad as Kayli's -- but it still can't count as a highlight!  A four wheeler crash into the bushes that left Jake with a bruised chin and leg.
Poor Jake
These were still outweighed by the good things.  Highlights were: A nice four wheeler ride the evening we got there, and getting back to the cabin while it was sprinkling but before it was pouring rain.  Cinnamon rolls.  Some of the family seeing the bat that only makes an appearance when our family is there.  Kayli (15) wanting Dan (4) to sleep beside her so she wouldn't be afraid of the bat.  Beautiful sunshine and scenery that we enjoyed on Saturday as we rode around on the four wheelers.  Derek giving us a tour (again) of the property his parents had when he was young before the cabin was built.  Safe travel home.
Dan, who LOVES four wheelers

Monday, July 11, 2011

Independence Day

On the 4th of July, instead of reading the newspaper while I ate breakfast, I decided to read The Declaration of Independence.  My favorite words are still the famous ones, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these, are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

After breakfast we pursued happines by heading to Payson Canyon to go on a hike.  Unfortunately, we do not all have the same idea of what a "short" hike is.  It seemed a lot like our usual hike which, I guess, is short for Derek, and super long for Dan.  Jake decided to hike fast and was the first one up the trail with Tia, and the first one back to the car with Kayli.  Tia, on the way back, stayed with Dan and me.  Dan was tired before we were done hiking up the trail and got carried part of the way by Connor, part of the way by his Dad, and part of the way by his Mom.

Next we headed to Payson Canyon park to have a picnic.  There we discussed the reasons for the American Revolution so we could feel like our children were properly educated.  After eating, Derek and some of the kids headed off to explore.  I went to be with them due to Kayli and Connor's encouragement.  I really was done hiking.  My attitude was a bit on the patheticly lazy side.  After everyone who wanted to had swung from a rope and taken the "ninja training course", which was climbing around on some tree trunks, we headed home to watch a move (or nap in front of a movie--which is what I did).

Our last adventure was a cookout.  We made tin foil dinners in the fire pit (using charcoal) and Derek, Connor, and Tia had "manly smores" which Connor had learned about during a scout activity.  Manly Smores are mushrooms wrapped in bacon and cooked over the fire, and then wrapped in cheese.  Derek, Connor and Tia learned a bit about how not to wrap too much bacon around that mushroom.  Except for the burnt or raw parts of bacon the smores were a hit.  The corn on the cob was delicious too.  For the most part our pursuit of happiness was very successful and it was a happy 4th.

***Fireworks were not done on the 4th because of the wind, and they weren't done the next day because of the rain, but they were done the day after that.  You have to love those fireworks that emit sparks and not squealy noises that hurt your ears!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Vacation Part Last

Derek is comforting Dan who got "yelled" at for walking too close to the curb.  He was scaring his mother, as were his older brothers.  They all walked more toward the inside of the sidewalk after that.

Tia, Connor, Kayli, Mom/Grandma, a random man.  We were on the Freedom Walk in Boston in front of a church.  Maybe the South church?  I think they said that Benjamin Franklin was baptized there.  It was a historical famous person anyhow:)

This was going to be a picture of a bunch of people lined up looking straight up at the walls of a tall building (like they did in NYC) but I snapped the picture too late and we get Dad / Grandpa in his hat instead.

Along the walk we stopped at a cemetery.  It was probably everyone's favorite point in the walk.  Shady, quiet, and interesting.  This is Dan with his Grandma.

This is an example of a common picture on a tomb stone.  Skulls with wings were common.  Interesting spellings were common too.

Derek and Jake examining a broken tomb stone.

I kept missing the pictures of Jake cleaning off the tomb stones.


Connor and Kayli

The side of Tia.
What you do not see in these pictures:

Well, it is obvious that you do not see the rest of our walk.  We went to an old church that had boxes for families to sit in like I read about in novels.  They were wooden boxes with doors and benches on three sides inside of the box.  We went to the public gardens and decided we didn't want to go on the swan boats after all and everyone wanted to go back to "Grandma's" house.  We went to a park that evening where everyone had a good time swinging and playing on the playground. 

You also do not see in any pictures the good food that was provided for us by Derek's parents and Diana and Bryon.  We ate well and were thankful.

It was a good trip.  Trisa has more pictures on facebook if you are her "friend". 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Vacation Tour Part 2

Connor (and Bryon on the right) in front of Harry Potter--Times Square 

Trisa at the fountain by Ground Zero

Kayli, Trisa, Bryon (close to ground zero)

William (in red) Jake (in yellow)

Connor, Derek, Jake, Dan, Kayli, Trisa, Diana, Bryon, Tia

Same group, different angle

Dallin, William and Claire

Me belatedly trying to take a picture of ground zero with myself in it:)

The new World Trade Center, 52 of its 104 floors are built.

Connor, Derek and Trisa on the ferry back to Staten Island

NYC from the departing ferry

Someone took my camera and got a picture of me, Tia and the back of Trisa
Things the pictures don't show:

Dan perking up when he found a dirty string on the ground to play with.  He carried it around, and swung it around, and accidentally hit people that I apologized to, and finally put it in my purse.  I thought he had forgotten about it but when we started walking around Boston he pulled it back out and it kept him entertained again.  It was a little gross, but it sure helped him be happier!  He has played with it here at home too.  Maybe I should wash it?

Me getting a tad panicked when I couldn't see Derek and the boys in the crowded Disney store on Times Square when I knew Derek didn't have his phone.  Thankfully they showed up again.  We had stopped there for a bit of a break.

Dan falling asleep on the Subway.

On the way to NJ on Friday Kayli and Trisa hitting one another over and over in the car (violent I know!) while yelling things like "Double A, Split 2, Out of State!"  They were, of course, playing a game.  If they couldn't find something that fit the rules Kayli would make something up and count it -- "BUS!"  I forgot to check for bruises later but their arms still seem to work okay.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Vacation Picture Tour Part One

Friday Morning walk in Granby, MA

Claire and Dan in NJ holding hands as they played in the yard.

Tia and Trisa on the Staten Island Ferry

Kayli on the Staten Island Ferry.
Jake in the background.

Lady Liberty

Diana, William, Dallin, Jake

Jake and Dan on the Subway in NYC

Jake, Dallin, Bryon -- NYC Subway

The Angel Moroni, NYC LDS Temple

Connor and his buddy Uncle Bryon (Our guide) in Central park

Tia, Central Park

Dan, who posed every time I pointed a camera at him.  Central Park.

Kayli showing how much she loves having a camera pointed at her.

Claire hides in Central Park

Dan also enjoyed hiding in Central Park.

What the pictures to not show:
**Kayli and I racing out of the big white van to see who could hug Grandma first.  I won because there was a door on my side of the van.
**Derek's parents "mission house" that was built in the 1800s and has lots of fascinating things like a cistern in the basement and a spooky attic (okay, so I never went up there).
**Derek's parents sneaking down the extremely squeaky stairs so they wouldn't wake us up.
**The swarm of mosquitoes that cut our walk a little short in Granby.
**William valiantly trying to keep up in NYC with the help of his amazing Mom, even though he had a mysterious fever the whole time we were there that was kept at bay with ibuprofen. 
**Dan crying when we didn't let him join the other 1000 (roughly) children at the playground.
**Everyone standing by a corner of a tall building staring up and Dan proclaiming that several buildings in NYC and Boston are the tallest in the whole world.