Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Uncle Jordan

Jordan is having his tenth birthday today, which means that he is actually 40.  I'm not sure if he has feelings of gloom and doom over being forty, but forty sounds pretty young to me so it shouldn't be too tragic.  My children get a kick out of saying that Uncle Jordan is ten, but since he is the father of four, I think forty sounds better!
I used this picture for Angela's blog, but since they are married it works for Jordan too!
Jordan was a teenager when I met him, and he was a member of the quartet that played at Derek's and my reception (along with other brothers).  He went to Alaska the summer after his high school graduation and worked with smelly fish. He came back before Trisa was born, when I was stuck in bed, and he was brought to visit me before he got to go home, and so I was one of the few who got to see him sporting a nice beard.  Derek was working and missed it, and it was shaved off quickly and has never returned.

Jordan served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Samoa and, through practice, became one of the few brothers who can sit cross legged without his knees pointing at the ceiling, though he still doesn't think it is very comfortable.

After coming home, and attending BYU for a while, Jordan started dating Angela.  Eventually they decided to get married in the Jordan River Temple so that they could live happily ever after.  I'm particularly glad about that because Angela is great.  Of course, living happily ever after takes some work and there bumps along the road for everyone, but Jordan and Angela work together to handle challenges, and are generally happy. 

Now Jordan works for the same company as Derek, and we are fortunate to have him and his family living in the same town as us so that we can see them regularly.  Jordan and Angela are good at helping with lots of things.  I happen to know that Jordan spent hours working in his parent's yard last time they were on a mission, even going over early in the morning before work.  I admire this because we are in charge of the yard this time and I never once got up early to go over and work in the yard (sorry Mom and Dad!).   I also know that Jordan has gone over late at night to help his parents.  He's helped at regular hours too.  He is a good person, who works hard and is a lot of fun.

This next week Jordan and Derek "get" to be in a flash mob at their company's National Convention.  I believe they are supposed to dance toward the stage, but I fully expect that both brothers will be walking along hoping nobody is looking at them.  They're supposed to hold someone's hand too but they aren't too keen on that idea.  Their wives are not attending after all!  At a different convention Jordan did a 70's dance on stage, in a cruise ship, in front of lots of people, costume and all.  It is unfortunate (for everyone except maybe Jordan) that I do not own the video.  He was really nervous, but he nailed his part.  It was great.

Ah, happy memories for me, and a happy birthday to Jordan. 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Trip to the Sun

Saturday the 18th of February we took a trip to St. George, where it was sunnier than here, and where we were generally spoiled by Quinn and Tonya and the cousins.  We were slightly evil guests in that we arrived with a sick Dan.  He had a horrible cold, but fortunately, he perked up by Sunday and was obviously better by Monday when he was back to talking a mile a minute.  He still managed to go on a good walk with us when we went to see some Indian houses and such on Saturday.  Here he is getting a ride during a part of our adventure.
Picture courtesy of Tonya and her ipad
We all needed a break, and spending time with our St. George relatives is fun for all of us.  We got to see Trisa briefly for lunch on the way there.  She was disappointed that her work schedule prevented her from coming to St. George too.

*Derek enjoyed being far away from work, visiting with Quinn, and getting to read a book.
*Sherie enjoyed visiting with Tonya, playing on our electronics side by side or together even though Tonya creams me at any word game.  It is fun to watch her impressive speed.  I also enjoyed trying out a couple of electric guitars.  I'll be sticking with the acoustic guitar even though bar chords are easier on the electric.
*Tia enjoyed not being at home for a while and getting to visit with her fun Aunt and Uncle and cousins.
*Kayli said she had a really good time and was glad that we went.
*Connor helped Porter take care of the neighbors dog and house and they made us all laugh with their stories on the few occasions we saw them.
*Jake played with Haven and since I didn't see him much I am sure he had a good time.
*Dan got better, and then talked, and talked, and talked, and sometimes played too.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Uncle Alex

Alex is the youngest of my children's uncles.  He would be 29 today, but in my memory he is always 6.  He is the Uncle that none of my children remember because he passed away before they were born, but perhaps they visited with him in heaven before coming down to Earth for their turn.  He is a well loved son and brother who is one of Heavenly Father's valiant sons, whose life's test was over sooner than most.  We are all looking forward to seeing him again, and finding out which brother he looks the most like.  I've heard more than one brother assume that he would have looked like them.

I am Alex' first sister-in-law and had the privilege of knowing him for a little while.  He thought Fox in Sox was a strange book.  It's one of my favorites.  If I remember right, he liked Henny Penny, which I have read to Dan several times and which I think is a bit morbid.  So, maybe our tastes in books weren't exactly the same, but he liked me anyway.

Alex planned a party for his sixth birthday.  I would have been engaged to Derek by then.  He wanted to invite me and Kathy (who was Derek's former girlfriend).  His Mom gently suggested that maybe only Sherie should be invited this time, but I got a good chuckle over it.

Derek and I usually went to his parent's house to visit every weekend.  When Alex would hear we were coming he would run and put his shoes on to prevent Derek from tickling his feet.  It never prevented the tickling however, because Derek was perfectly capable of taking Alex's shoes back off!

One of my favorite memories of Alex is when Mom C. had just gotten home from grocery shopping and was bringing groceries in from the garage.  Mom was wearing a coat (red I think) and Alex had his head up underneath it.  Mom was pretending she couldn't find Alex anywhere and he was giggling up a storm right behind her.  I didn't have siblings that were that much younger than me and I had never seen anything like it.  It was so fun to watch what a good time he was having with such a silly, and simple game.

My other good memory, though a bit harder, is about Alex's good family.  Alex had cancer, and eventually he was very sick.  Maybe because I was not always sure how to act, or what to say when I was with him, I was very impressed with his family.  His brothers and sisters would do whatever they could to keep him entertained and it never seemed awkward to me.  It was just them, being their normal entertaining selves, for their normal, but sick, little brother.

If Alex had gotten to stay with us, what would he be like?  I expect he would be like his other family members.  He would have a good sense of humor, a love of children, and a kind heart.  I expect he is like that as he fulfills his mission in heaven.  And, like his family, he also has a love of our Savior.

Hopefully on his birthday he knows just how much we all love him, miss him, and are trying hard to follow our Savior so that we can be with him again.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Poem for a Friend

Blessed Day

There's a warm breeze blowing by,
And there's sunshine in the sky.
There is laughter in the wind.
There are angels that are friends.

Flowers' scent is in the breeze.
There are blossoms on the trees.
There is water flowing by.
Fluffy clouds are in the sky.

Happy days are still ahead.
Joyful paths where we'll be led.
Peace to find and love to feel.
Heaven's love is very real.

Hold your head up and be glad.
There are good times with the bad.
Light will chase the dark away
And leave, for you, a blessed day.
Poem by Sherie
Written for Shellie

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Love and Sunshine

Valentines Day was full of good things and good people at our house.  Derek left me a note that I love, and he had already given me flowers and boots!  The kids loved their books and Trisa liked her phone call and the card that got to her late.  Derek got a magazine, a note, and a song I wrote and performed for him and the family.  Maybe I'll share that on another occasion.
Flowers that were delivered with the words "It's okay if they die".
(or something similar).  I have a new Rosey though the other one hopefully survived the winter.

I have been writing a little more lately, and so here is a poem I wrote a few minutes ago.  Enjoy!

Standing in the Sun

How do I find some joy today?
How can I see morning lights first ray,
When it seems that the clouds are thick and deep?
Where is the peace I seek?

Where can I find a hope that's deep?
How when I feel so very weak?
Where do I go when the path's unclear?
How do I conquer fear?

I reach through the darkness to the light.
I step out boldly into the night.
I hold my head up in spite of pain.
And I find sunshine in the rain.

I see in my mind my Savior's face.
I feel in my heart His loving grace.
I reach out my hands to His wounded ones.
And then I am standing in the sun.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Jake and the Birthday Pheasant

Jake's birthday was on Sunday, but he had a party on Friday with three cousins (Mitch, Ethan, and Travis) and his good friend Brennan.  We went to Krispy Kreme and had doughnuts, and then came home where they played games and then ate pizza and then played some more.  Jake had a great time.
Dan gave Jake a folded and stapled piece of paper that is "cool" because it twirls when you drop it from up high.

Brennan gave Jake a cool Lego truck.

Mitchell and Ethan gave Jake a cool Lego truck of a different color,
 and some delicious treats that are probably already gone.

Travis gave Jake some Pokemon cards which got opened immediately.
One of the trucks has been assembled too.
On Sunday, we decided to wait until after church to have Jake open his presents.  Thankfully a pheasant showed up in the yard to make the morning fun.  Jake saw it first and ran and got his camera while I ran and got the other kids.  The pheasant walked around for a while (in the back yard) and then jumped up on the trampoline.  When Connor and I were running out the front door early for church we stopped to admire the pheasant foot prints that were all over in the fresh snow.  I ran and got my camera because the footprints were perfect arrows, but unfortunately the pictures were missing when I went to find them today and the footprints have long since been rained and snowed away.
Jake got an angry bird shirt which I think Dan likes better than he does.

This is a "Pokedex" which would be a nightmare for me to read.
Jake loves it.  He got another book too -- it was of the story variety and
was one he had requested.

This is the "in honor of Jake movie" RIO.  We'll watch it tonight in the continued birthday celebrations.

This is Jake's rip stick. 
We figured it would be a good gift for Jake since he has incredible balance.
  Kayli and Connor were jealous.
Maybe that will make Jake enjoy it more?
At snack time (3 p.m.) it was time to have birthday dessert.  Jake wanted brownies and ice cream and so we all had that except Dan who had "Dan safe chocolate cookies" and sorbet (known as "Dan ice cream" at our house).
Since Jake is our blond Italian son, we had lasagna for his birthday dinner.  Jake's birthday ended with a late night snack.  It's apparently easier to sleep with a late night snack!
Happy birthday to my ten year old, and still super, Jake!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Uncle Leon

Leon and other spooky family members at the annual Halloween party.
This is the best picture of Leon I could find on my computer.
Sorry Leon.  It doesn't show your incredible height.

Leon joined the family when I was feeling, and looking, a bit large.  He married Derek's sister Megan four days before Connor was born.  I accidentally offended him once by thinking that he was the same height as Derek.  Leon is taller.  I used to think he was shy too, but apparently that isn't true either.  After all of these years I am still not a Leon expert, but I have learned a few things about him.

He likes sports a lot and he is good at sharing that love, and his skills, with his children and with other children too.  In the city leagues he has coached every sport his children have played (soccer, baseball, and basketball).  He has done particularly well at sharing the love of sports with his son Isaac, who is a sports enthusiast.  Leon and Isaac love to watch BYU play -- if they win.  Otherwise they both might be sent into fits of depressed grumpiness for a while.

Leon loves playing in water.  His family (the one he grew up in) has gone to Lake Powell every year for I don't know how long and they continue to go every year.  He and Megan worked out a way that Leon can teach his kids how to swim at a local hotel's pool.  Megan has said that Leon is a very hands-on Dad.  He loves his kids and takes time to play with them and teach them.

I asked my kids what they know about Uncle Leon and they said "He loves sports", and "He's a fun uncle".  I didn't exactly get specifics in how he is fun -- but he must be because they said so.  Yesterday I had his son Mitch in the car and all of the boys were in the car playing the game where you find the alphabet, in order, on the signs and license plates that you see.  Mitch informed us that his Dad had been playing that game since he was a boy and and that he was really good at it.  He demonstrated how fast his Dad could find the alphabet.  It was pretty fast!

You know Leon is a good guy because his wife loves to talk to him and because he is a scout master who is willing to go off on winter camping trips volunarily -- on his birthday.

I hope he has a less scout-oriented celebration planned for his birthday too.  Happy Birthday Leon!


Apparently it is the black ants that are the more tasty ants.  My bad.  Still, this is a "fact" that I hope I'll never have to test for myself!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

A Few Good Men: Starting with Uncle Jeff

Jeff is my sister Jenny's husband.  He was born the same year I was (on Feb. 7), but I didn't meet him until after I'd heard several fun dating stories from Jenny.  Jeff is an energetic, fun uncle for my children.  At family reunions, even though he has on occasion been obviously tired, he has found the energy to go out and play with the kids.  I don't know what they do because, when I'm obviously tired, I almost always opt for going to bed.  Whatever is done, you can count on Jeff doing it with infectious enthusiasm.

Jeff likes learning about things and explaining how "totally rad" they are to anyone who is interested.  Only he would know that the red ants taste better than the black ones -- ewww!  He's always been a climber and enjoys it as a hobby.  I think he uses his safety gear most of the time, but I know there were times in his past when he wasn't so careful.  Luckily he seems to have the skills of an agile monkey.

Jeff works with computers.  He's a programmer and he mostly is able to work from home.  He's taken to doing yoga with Jenny and, from yoga, climbing, and yard work, they both have lots of muscles.  Jenny and Jeff have five children.  They work hard to teach their children what is right, and they lead by example.  Jenny and Jeff are both thoughtful people who like to help others.

One of my favorite things about Jeff is the opportunity I've had on many occasions to hear him pray.  He has the gift of gratitude.  He is very thankful for everything he has, and when he prays it feels like a bit of heaven has entered the room.  I really don't know how else to describe it.

The world would truly be a wonderful place if all of the men were like the ones that I have been blessed to know.  I am thankful for Uncle Jeff.
Happy Belated Birthday Jeff!

p.s. Just kidding Jeff, but there is a spider on your shoulder!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Inspired by a Friend

My friend, on her blog, reported a tender mercy yesterday.  I was very thankful for the tender mercy that she shared, and for the fact that it felt good for me to hear of a blessing someone else received.  So, since I have been struggling with knowing what to write lately, I thought I would share some things that I have been thankful for in the last couple of weeks.  These have been busy weeks.  I've been tired, and have often felt overwhelmed, but there are always more things to be thankful for than not and here are some of mine.

1.  The Christian radio station.  When the music channels let me down, hearing discussions on listening to the promptings of the Spirit, and other good topics, were helpful to me during my drives around.
2.  My African, Latin dance video.  I wouldn't really want anyone to watch me do it, but it is surprisingly fun.  It's a lot easier to get myself to exercise when it feels like play.
3.  The dentist for helping take care of my kids' teeth.
4.  The temple.  I love to be there.
5.  My Family.  They are good people who try hard to do what is right.  They like to help other people, and they like to help each other -- including me.
6.  The fireplace.  We sit by it often and I am thankful every morning that Connor turned the fire on so that it is warm for me.  (It's a gas fireplace)
7.  Good neighbors who come and help if we need them.  Derek needed some extra muscles and the neighbor came right over to help.
8.  Primary Children.  They make me smile.
9.  My bed.  It's warm comfortable.
10.  My toothbrush.  I am totally looking forward to using it right now!

I am, of course, thankful for all of you!