Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Getting Her Wiggles Out

Emma has a lot of energy. She makes me tired. I love that little gal, but she is always on the go and wanting to know what we are doing next. I know that Heavenly Father has a sense of humor because he sent her to me last, when He very well knew that I would be worn out. I look forward to the day when I can sit down and have a chat with Him about this in the next life :)

In the meantime...we signed Emma up for indoor soccer to help get her Winter wiggles out. She is playing with a lot of the girls from her other soccer team and tonight was their first game. She was ON FIRE. The final score was 9-3 and she scored 8 of the 9 goals and the other one she had an assist on. Greg said it was because she had all that energy built up inside her from not playing for a couple of months - ha! Whatever it was, it was fun to watch. Hopefully I will remember to take my camera next time to capture some of her fierce moves. Then you can see what I am talking about.

Primary Moment - December 26, 2010

Okay...another post about Primary. Stop reading if you are sick of this :)

Moment #1 of the week: During Sharing Time we played a game of Jeopardy to help the kids review some of the things we have been talking about this year. One of the questions was "How will Jesus come again?" Little Jane from the Sunbeam class was very excited about this answer. She stood up, stretched out her arms and burst out "He will come in a beautiful cloud!!!" How cute is that?

Moment #2 of the week: During opening exercises we sang the song "I know that my Savior loves me". Why is it every time I hear those little angels sing this song that I get teary-eyed? It really touches me. I honestly think that the reason I feel this way is because they sing this song with such belief. It is their testimony. They have no doubt in their hearts that He lives. Such pure faith. This is why I love Primary :)

Monday, December 27, 2010

Merry Christmas

*All the kids...Jenni, Cordell, Tara, Austin, Emma, Josh, Christopher & Sam*

Christmas was good :) I loved the spirit of Christmas I felt this year. I honestly think that I was more in tune with feeling the true spirit of Christmas because I stayed out of the stores so much. One of the few times I actually went to the mall, I was wishing that I had been with Dayna like I had done in years past. Shopping just was not the same. I even let Josh order all his stuff online...I just handed over the card and told him to go for it (don't worry...he had a limit.) I just really had a hard time getting in the shopping mode. Crazy...I know.

Christmas day we went to Greg's brother's home with all of his side of the family. It was fun but honestly, I just want to stay home next year with our little family. I think I am just ready for something new. Greg and I have decided that from now on, Christmas day will be spent at home. It just simplifies things.

Below are some pictures that I took while at Steve's home. Enjoy!

*Emma & Abigail*

Align Center*Tara & Austin*

*Christoper, Sam, Cordell & Jenni*

*Jenni getting ready to blow out the candles on her "Key Lime Birthday Pie"*

*More of the gang*

*Emma making a silly face*

*Josh making a strange face...that kid is hard to get in front of a camera*

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Kitties

For some strange reason my cats LOVE to sit under the Christmas tree. I am not sure what the deal is. Perhaps the lights? The sparkly ornaments? The pretty presents? Something has them captivated. You can pretty much find them anytime of day snoozing under the shelter of the boughs. Crazy cats...

***Notice how chunky Mr. Scribbles has become since my dad was here. My dad got him hooked on canned cat food and he fattened, oops, I mean "fluffed" up nicely***

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Primary Moment

Since I have had this new calling I have been trying to find something each week in Primary that either makes me smile or teaches me something. I made a promise to myself that I would record these moments so that someday I can look back on these memories and smile. This is one of those moments. So...if this kind of thing bores you, stop reading :)

Last Sunday cute little Brielle from the Sunbeam class had been asked to give the opening prayer. She bravely got up front all by herself and said the sweetest, most sincere little prayer. In her prayer she asked (and I quote) "...that the Holy Ghost be with us today..." Now how many 3-4 year old children would say that without a parent/adult prompting them? What amazing children we have coming to the earth and amazing parents that are teaching them the important things of life. Thanks Brielle for making me smile. You really touched me.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Good Will Toward Men

Today I had a lot to do. Last night it snowed, a lot. Not a good combination when one has a busy schedule.

When I got up and saw all the snow outside I knew that I would be digging out the car before I could leave. Not a fun way to start a busy day. However, I put on my boots, coat and grabbed the snow shovel and found my buried car. I then shoveled the snow away from the car so that I could actually leave the driveway. I guess I did not do a good enough job because I only got half way out of the driveway before becoming stuck. Really stuck. As I sent Emma into the house to wake up Josh to come help me, two kind young men came up to me and asked if I needed help. Did I ever. They spent the next 30 minutes or so digging me out. Not only did those men offer to help, but another gal from my ward drove by and stopped her car and came over to help also. Before long I was on my way and free from the snowy mess that had previously surrounded me.

How blessed I am. It seems that whenever something goes wrong I always have little angels sent to help me out. Today these angels actually appeared out of no where...at least two of them did. And all they wanted was a "thank-you".

When I finally came home from my errands I noticed that not only was my driveway cleared, but the sidewalks all around the block had been cleared too. I walked in the door and found Josh and started talking to him. I quickly discovered that he had taken the snow blower out and not only cleared our walkways, but the entire block! I did not even have to suggest it...he just did it. Maybe he really has been listening and learning all this time. Makes a mom proud :)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

'Tis The Season

Yesterday I had a crazy busy day. I spent my morning madly getting housework and Primary stuff complete and then went to Emma's Christmas Sing at her school. She did a great job! Another "last" to check off my list :(

Every year our elementary school has each class sing to their parents various Christmas songs. Emma did great, but my favorite moment has nothing to do with her. I had to attend by myself this time and as I was sitting there watching the little first grade class file in I spotted little Trevor C. from my old Primary class. As he looked out at all the people he looked like he was seriously going to hurl. This cute little boy is scared to get up in front a lots of people. Anyway...after a few moments I realized that his parents must have attended the morning performance because I could see he was looking ANYWHERE for a familiar face. I could tell he was scared to death. After a little bit he spotted me and suddenly a big smile crossed his face that melted my heart. For the rest of his class performance he was waving and smiling at me...cute stuff. Even after he was done and he was filing out of the room, he kept his eyes on me and was still waving. LOVE THAT KID. How grateful I am that I was able to teach that wonderful little class last year.

Here is a picture of Emma with her BFF, Casey Ann. We love her too :)
After the performance I had been asked to help with Emma's class Christmas party. We had a blast! We played the candy bar game with the gloves and the candy bar that was wrapped a million times that they had to unwrap. We also played our version of "Minute To Win It". Below are some of the pictures from that game. One game they had to move a Christmas ornament with air from waving a box lid.
Another game they had to get a cookie from the top of their forehead into their mouths without touching it. Funny.
The last game they had to blow Christmas cards across a table and try to get just one flap to hang over the edge. Not many succeeded in that one.
And finally one of the moms told a story where the kids where passing their gifts around left and right according to what the story told them. They loved it!
Here is Ty working his snow fairy hat and shades that he got as a gift. If you knew Ty, you would see how perfect this was for him.
Emma's friend, Ashley was sporting some pretty snazzy socks that I had to get a picture of. When I snapped it I realized her shoes were pretty neat too.
This picture is as we were all walking home. Maddie, Ashley, Casey Ann, Jaycee, Stormy, Ashley and Emma.
After the school party I had an hour before Greg and I had to run down to Provo for a wedding reception for one of my Laurels. We then drove back home and attended a neighborhood party that we go to every year. It is a White Elephant gift exchange and every year it gets better and better. Let's just say what happens at this party, stays at this party ;) We played another version of "Minute To Win It" there...that must be the game of the year or something. By the end of the evening, Greg and I both came home and dropped. Fun day but very tiring.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Love Notes...Williamson Style

The other day when I logged onto the computer to check my email, I had a quick note from Greg. This is what it said:

"Dawna, Heads up, cat crap in the front room—did not have time to deal with it this morning. Sorry. Love you, Greg"

Ahhhh.....isn't that the stuff that love notes are made of? I got a good laugh out of it and had already discovered and cleaned up the "present" left by Maddie during the night right by the front door. Poor thing...she tried to get out, but didn't quite make it.

Later that evening I told Greg I got a chuckle out of his email. He laughed too. I told him he missed his calling as a Hallmark card writer.

I guess when you have been married for almost 25 years there just isn't much fluff left. And you know what? I am okay with that.

Neat Little Quote

I read this quote today by James E Faust about Santa Claus. LOVE IT. When my children had their hearts broken and finally learned the truth about Santa, I always would tell them that he actually is real. That Santa is really the spirit of Christmas. This quote by President Faust says it so well. (Click on the image to make it bigger and easier to read).

Monday, December 13, 2010

Letters To Santa

This past week I finally have myself semi-put back together. I have been a bit frazzled since leaving to take my dad home and a few days ago I realized I needed to get down to business and focus on Christmas...shopping to be more exact. I asked Josh and Emma to please write me up their Christmas lists so I could get to work. This is what Emma came up with.

Dear Santa,

What I need for Christmas this year is $$$ for clothes and head bands (at least 4). Boots would be nice too, but not like the ones you got me last year, a little taller this time please and tan. Please make sure I also get some skinny jeans. Some kind of knee socks and some mascara and make up would be great too. Thanks!

Love, Emma (your fav :D )

Very practical, don't you think? I was pleasantly surprised. Maybe Christmas will be easy this year and we can focus more on what the season is really all about.

Josh, on the other hand, was a bit more out there. That boy loves to push the limits :) Gotta love him! He also had the opportunity to be a 'Santa's Elf" in his AP English class. I guess they had a bunch of letters from children who have written in to Santa expecting a response. The kids in the classroom write those responses. Josh had a ball with this assignment. He told me some of the letters are pretty funny. I guess a few even switched the letters around in Santa's name and mistakenly wrote "Dear Satan"...Funny. Josh named himself Tinsel and was able to respond to a number of letters. What a great experience :)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Dawna & Roy's Most Excellent Adventure

I survived. That about sums up the past week. My dad decided it was time to head back west to Astoria to take him home and I was the chosen one to drive him there. I am still not sure how that happened. I don't recall anyone asking me...I was just told I was taking him home. Oh well, it all turned out okay and I finally made it back home after a week of bad weather, bad roads and a missed flight. Crazy stuff.

About two weeks ago my dad decided that he was "better" and it was time to go home. I still have my doubts about his recovery, but am I to argue? We made the necessary arrangements and decided that Monday, November 29th was the day. I felt really good about it. However, on Sunday we were slammed with a horrible snow storm and my dad decided that we should wait until Tuesday to leave. Looking back, I wish I had stood my ground. I had had a great feeling about leaving on Monday and I should have stuck to it. I didn't. I caved and we (my dad, me and his two cats) left on Tuesday instead and by evening we found ourselves in (and I quote the news from Idaho) "The worst snow storm since 1894"...figures. Had we left on Monday, we would have been fine. What a hard lesson to learn about listening to the spirit.

We were stuck in Caldwell, Idaho in a hotel from Tuesday evening until Thursday early afternoon. The snow was so bad that I-84 was shut down between Caldwell and Baker City. We could not even leave if we wanted to. By Thursday afternoon I overheard some truckers talking in the lobby about how they had just driven through I-84 and that the roads were not too bad. I ran back to my room, packed up my dad, the cats and loaded all the luggage in the car and began to head west once again. I knew we would not make it over the Blue Mountains, but I wanted to at least make it to Baker City...which we did. That little trip usually takes about 2 hours. That day it took 3. The roads were awful and I said many prayers that we would somehow arrive safely. We did and set up camp once again to wait out the snow storm that arrived just as we pulled in to town.

I was discouraged. All I could see anywhere was snow. On the ground, in the sky on the roads...everywhere. I remember at one point leaving my dad and the cats in our room and going out for a walk. By now it was Thursday and I knew that I would not catching my flight home the next day. I cried. I was drained and although I was enjoying my time with my dad I just wanted this trip to be over and to be home with my family. I called my mom and cried some more. Thank goodness my mom has always been there for me to talk through things and help me out. I was mentally and emotionally exhausted and she was great. Thanks mom :)

Before I went back to my room, I said a silent prayer that somehow we would be able to get home soon. I remember pleading with my Father in Heaven to please hear my prayer. I then began to think how selfish I was. I started to think about the pioneers and how they had crossed the plains in much harsher conditions. Who was I to murmur and think my journey was hard? Putting it into perspective helped tremendously. I had a warm room and bed to sleep in. I had plenty of food to eat and great company. I had a car to drive through the snow, not a handcart to pull. My Father taught me a great lesson that night.

The next morning I woke up and looked out the window expecting to see snow all around. What a surprise to look out and see the most beautiful blue sky and sunshine. No clouds anywhere. What a miracle :) When my dad saw this he said "Dawna, we are busting out of here!" Ha! And we did. We drove all the way to Astoria that day with only encountering about 1 mile of bad roads. An answered prayer.

I changed my flight and arrived home this evening all safe and sound. Looking back this week seems more like a month. This morning as I was talking to my mom she quoted me a scripture that I have thought about a lot today. It is:

"Wherefore ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope and love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward...and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father, ye shall have eternal life." (2 Nephi 31:20)

This trip taught me many things. Patience being the biggest. It also taught me to always have hope. I can't tell you how discouraged I was becoming just sitting in a hotel room waiting for the weather to pass. My mom told me that we just need to have a "perfect hope" that all will be well and it was. Maybe not in the time period I desired, but in the Lord's time. It also taught me that people are more important than anything. Spending time with my dad was fun. Yes, at times I thought I would loose my mind and I am sure he felt the same way too, but I feel like I grew a little closer to him these past few months and especially these past few days.

As I sat on the plane on the way home tonight, I was filled with conflicting emotions. Tears because I was tired. Tears because I was happy to be going home to my family. Tears because I was leaving my dad all alone. Tears of gratitude for a Heavenly Father that loves me a watches over me...ALWAYS. And tears from knowing that this experience with my dad is far from over. Only the first chapter has closed.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Heading Home

Tomorrow I leave to take my dad back home. What a crazy couple of months I have had. I was talking to Greg the other day and realized that this all began on October 3rd when I went to Boise to take care of my mom for her back procedure and I will be returning home from Astoria on December 3rd...exactly two months later.

I would love to say that I have been strong and not murmured at all during this experience, but that would be lying. I have shed many tears and dropped from exhaustion into bed many times throughout these past few weeks. Greg has listened patiently to me as well as my mom and sister. It has not been easy, but it has been soooo worth it. If asked again, I would do it again without hesitation. Crazy...I know. But what can I say? I love my parents and would do anything for either of them.

I know that one day I will look back and be so grateful for all that we have experienced together since that awful day I flew into Astoria to take care of him. I will miss staying up late watching movies, football, basketball and just talking. I will miss our "art session" of painting & drawing. I will miss just driving in the car together with the quiet comfort of just being together and not speaking any words. I will miss making him his meals and reminding him to check his blood sugar levels three times a day. I will miss his cats...well at least one of them ;) I will miss helping him put his coat on each day and taking him shopping. I will miss his stories. I will miss watching him shuffle along and waiting for him to catch up to me. I will miss eating milkshakes together at 10 pm at night and loving every sip of it. I will probably miss just about everything about these past few months and my home will soon feel very quiet and empty. How grateful I am for memories :)

I told Greg that after I arrive home on Friday evening I plan to come home, put on my jammies and stay in them until church late Sunday morning. Yes, I am very tired, but not too tired to be grateful. Thanks dad for letting me help you out :)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Game Day :)

Emma came home from school the other day wearing this shirt. Brave girl. One of her friends is an avid Utah fan and asked her to wear this at school last week. Funny. Our home is blue...true blue. At least the men feel that way. Honestly, I don't think any of us gals really care. Just give me some good football snacks and I am happy :)

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Today is Thanksgiving. How grateful I am for a day to remember to say "thanks". I was having a conversation with a friend recently about the holiday season. She mentioned that she wished that Thanksgiving would just go away and that we could dive right into Christmas. This made me a bit sad. How many people really feel that way? What a tragedy. Have we really become so busy that it does not seem important to say "Thank you" and acknowledge all that our creator has provided for us?

I read a great quote today on a friend's blog by George Washington (Thank you Rachel):

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor...Now, therefore, I do appoint Thursday, the 26th day of November 1789... that we may all unite to
render unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection.

I hope that my Heavenly Father knows all that I am grateful for: My Savior, my family, my friends, my home...everything. As I was standing in line shopping for food for our family's Thanksgiving feast, I got a little teary eyed. I began to think of all the food that He provides for each of us. How lucky we are that we can fill our carts with anything that we desire. I am sure many people in the world do not share this luxury. Rather humbling when you think about it. I pray that I never take anything in this life for granted and that I never forget to tell my creator and all those who impact my life as well as my family's life - "Thanks".

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Another Funny

The other day Emma and I were in the car. I turned on the radio to an oldies station. They were playing 80's music...you know...the music I used to listen to in high school and college. Sad. I'm an oldie :( Anyway, the song "Juke Box Hero" by Foreigner came on. I turned it up. After the song had played for a bit Emma asked me "Mom, what is a Juicebox hero? " Hee hee, that girl is funny.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Painting Again

This is my favorite picture of my dad. I guess it is probably because he is doing what I remember him doing most of my life..producing art.

I remember as a little girl going to visit him at Clatsop Community College down the stairs to the old Art Department. I remember the smell; paint mingled with cement floors. MMMMM...what a wonderful smell. I loved that smell. A few days ago I pulled out my watercolors and began to paint for the first time in many, many years. As I was preparing my paint pallet, I opened up a tube of paint and immediately I remembered that smell. Isn't it funny how a smell can take you back to a place and time?

My dad has been helping me begin my watercoloring again and I we have been having a great time. I had forgotten so many techniques it is sad. However, I am happy to report that I am a quick study and it is quickly returning. Right now I am working on a painting of an old building I saw in Kamas on the way home from a family outing. It is developing and I like it. I told my dad that if it does not turn out, I am going to paint and repaint it until I am satisfied.

What a great memory I will have someday of my dad giving me these "remedial art lessons" - ha! Even though this experience has had it's difficult moments, the good ones like this, seem to make it all worth while.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Closing Another Chapter

Today was our ward's annual Primary Program and also Emma's last program. Kind of sad. Another chapter closed. No more children in Primary Programs. We are on to better and bigger things, perhaps grandchildren in Primary Programs? (No, this is not an announcement - ha!).

Emma told a touching story about a modern day miracle that our family experienced. She made me cry. Jenni, Tara, Greg and Cordell cried too. At least I had company. What a sweet, tender spirit she has. I am glad she is ours :)

I came home from church today and immediately changed into my pj's...it was that kind of day. I was wiped out and didn't really care that it was only 3:30 in the afternoon. Greg shook his head at me, but who cares? Seriously, I am not going anywhere and if I had my way, I would have gone to bed right then. I had Tara snap a picture of Emma and myself so that I could remember her last day as a a Primary Program gal.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Quiet and Simple

These past few weeks I have not had much time to myself. Anyone that knows me realized that I love my daily walks. With my dad needing my care, I have not really had many walks lately and I miss them. While on my walks I do a lot of thinking and clearing my mind. It is great therapy for me. I miss my "Be Still" time.

When I was in Astoria with my dad I spent a couple of hours by myself driving around the old countryside by my childhood farm. I stopped the car at one point and got out. There is nothing quite like quiet in the country. All I could hear were cows mooing periodically...nothing else. Nothing. It was wonderful. When I got out of the car the stillness really had a impact on me. Having lived in a city for the past couple of decades I had not realized how noisy it really is. I all at once realized how much I miss the sound of "quiet". It was very soothing. It made life focus into perspective once again.

The pictures above is of a farm I used to ride my bike past many times as a child. I love the simple country life. I have told my mom many times that I am just a simple country girl and I really do not need a lot of fluff in my life. I like simple. That day as I stood looking at this barn I realized once again how much my heart aches to embrace the simple things in life. Simple things like quiet all around me...clean air to breathe...appreciating God's creations...family to love and be loved by...simple yet important things.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Meet Sam

This is Sam. He weighs 40 lbs...yep...40 lbs. He is one of my dad's two cats that came with us to Utah. I think I am falling for this guy. Every morning he sits waiting for me outside my bedroom door. As soon as he sees me he instantly starts to purr and rub his head against my leg to tell me "Good Morning!" How could anyone not respond to that?

My dad took him in as a stray that came to his sliding glass door every day for a couple of weeks looking for food. He has an injured ear and my dad felt sorry for him and one day opened the door and let him in. I think that I would have done the same. My dad told me tonight that he thinks that Sam is in love with me. Guess what? I love him too :) My dad also told me that when he can't take care of him anymore, he wants me to have him. Sure! No problem. I would not want him anywhere else. Sam Williamson...kind of has a ring to it...don't you think?

Friday, November 5, 2010

A Friend

Over a year and a half ago, Emma had me help her submit a story to "The Friend" magazine. She wanted to share a story for the "Trying To Be Like Jesus" section. I had her write it, then I edited it, snapped a photo of her to submit with the story and then uploaded it into internet land. We looked for months to see if it was to be published with no luck. We actually had forgotten about it until the other day.

Emma received a phone call from a cousin telling her that there was a picture of her and a story in "The Friend" magazine for November 2010. Surprise! It finally showed up! She was excited and it was kind of funny to see how much she has changed since the picture was taken. I guess good things really do come to those who wait :)

(I tried to link and copy the page from online at lds.org with no luck...oh well...)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Another Halloween has come and gone. They seem to be flying by faster and faster each year. We had a nice Halloween...quiet and enjoyable. The day started at Emma's school where they held the annual Halloween Parade. This is my last year attending a Halloween parade. As I was sitting waiting for it to begin, I realized that I have been going to these for 18 years...holy cow. The picture above is of Emma with some of her friends as she marched by our spot. Jenni and Tara joined me in marking our families end of this tradition.
This is Mr Bezzant. He is doing great and back to teaching. I was really happy to see him. He is a good dude.
Oh Casey Ann...I just love you. You always make me happy. As she walked by us she was chattering so much that this is the only decent picture that I got of her. That girl is funny.
My friend, Marja, is an aide at the school and she went all out and dressed to kill. I loved it and had to snap a picture. Pretty spooky...huh?

Josh dressed up as a Sumo wrestler and it was (as Josh would say...) "epic". However, he did not want any pictures taken of him, so I do not have any to post. Just imagine a very round, diaper clad, young man and you should be able to create a pretty accurate mental image.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

He Is Here For A While

Well...the verdict is in. I took my dad to the doctor today and it looks like he is here at least until December 2nd. Wow. The doctor told me that if he was younger he would definitely be a candidate for surgery. But because of his age, they are just having him do physical therapy until he can have a better range of motion. His shoulder will never be the same and I guess that is okay. At least he is in good spirits and improving some each day.

And...I am SO HAPPY that I packed his cats. He would be so sad without them. However, I feel at times that my home has become wild kingdom with all these felines running around. Kind of crazy, but it makes him happy.

I guess the main thing we have to worry about now is whether or not the roads will be clear to drive on when he is actually is given the okay to go back. I guess we just have to wait and see.

Bonus because of this experience: Thanksgiving with my Dad :) And, if the roads remain snowy he may even be here for Christams :0) Woohoo!!!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Catalpa Tree

When I was in Astoria last week I spent an afternoon driving around Olney snapping pictures to use in possible future paintings. While I was out driving around, I stopped at the top of the driveway to my old home. As I got out of the car to look around, I was greeted by the present owner of our old farm. He invited me down the driveway (it was a long road) to take a tour of my old childhood home.

As I got out of my car at the end of the driveway, I turned around and this is what I saw. Crazy as it seems, I became teary-eyed just from the sight of this marvelous tree. For some reason, I was very sentimental as I stood there remembering all the times Dayna and I had climbed that tree as children and sat up in the limbs in the small tree fort our dad had made us. I loved this tree. It is now so large and majestic looking. The tree fort is gone and the limbs have grown longer, but I still consider it "my tree". Always will.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

It Has Been Interesting

These past two weeks have been interesting...very tiring, but still interesting. I think that one day I will look back on this experience and smile. At least I hope so. However, I have to admit that many times throughout these past few days I have felt tears close to the surface and a feeling of just wanting to lay down and collapse. I never dreamed that a trip to Oregon would be this draining - physically and emotionally. Unfortunately this experience is not over. It is just in a different geographical location.

I want to record some of my feelings and thoughts that I have had running through my head while on this trip, so please forgive me as I indulge myself a a bit and record them on my blog. After all, this is my journal.

When I arrived in Portland Kirk was waiting for me at the baggage claim terminal. He had left dad asleep in the car in the parking garage. I was so startled by what I saw when I finally laid eyes on my father. He was slumped over in his seat sleeping soundly and had no idea what was going on around him. When he woke up it really did not seem like him. Something significant had changed. He was just a shadow of the man I had seen just mere weeks before. It broke my heart.

Funny how our bodies hold our spirits captive. Now when I look at my dad I see him in some kind of physical prison - trapped in a body that won't allow him to do what he wants to do. His hands are too shaky to produce art, his feet shuffle when he walks and his parts of his memory are slowly fading. I think to myself "where is the man I remember?" It sometimes takes a lot of digging, but glimpses of him are still there.

My dad is so unsteady on his feet that he never went upstairs in his apartment the entire time that I was there. He just can't manage the stairs. At night he slept in his recliner. He wanted to sleep there because it took pressure off his shoulder where he had fallen. I was too scared to leave him alone, so I slept beside him on his couch. I was worried that he would fall in the middle of the night and I would not hear him. Because of his prostate cancer, he has to get up numerous times throughout the night to go to the bathroom. He was in such bad shape that he could not even stand up from his chair without some kind of help. I was up three to four times each night just to help him stand up. Sad.

In addition, he could not put on his shirt, socks and shoes each day. The expression "Labor of Love" took on an entirely new meaning to me. Each time that I would put his socks on, I thought of my Savior and how he had served people throughout his entire life. What a priviledge to be able to serve my dad in some kind of small way...even if it is just putting on his socks. We really do love the people we serve. When I was helping him I often had the thought run through my mind that someday when he has past away I will remember performing this small act of service for him and be grateful that I did it. It will be a wonderful memory.

Our trip to Utah was long and tiring. Especially when you throw in two cats. Dad loves his cats and the thought of being without them for months was too much for him to consider. So...I packed up the cats. That made the drive even longer, but it was for a good cause. They make him happy and that is what is important.

Since arriving home I have felt so tired that I can't even find words to adequately describe my fatigue. The first night home was the worst. I had not had a complete night's sleep for many days and it all was finally beginning to hit me. My dad has been staying at Mark's home (a block away) because I have too many stairs. Max and Sam are staying at my home because Mark's house has too many dogs. In the days, I go get my dad and he comes over to stay with me(and his cats) while Mark is gone. The first night home I took dad over to Mark's to go to bed. I then came home and tried to get the cats to settle down. Max kept wanting to sleep in my bed, which is a big NO. Greg hates cats in bed and so do I. I finally closed my bedroom door behind me so that Greg could get some sleep and went downstairs and laid on the couch with Max and Sam. And that is where I spent the rest of the night. That is when I finally had my mini breakdown. It felt good to finally be able to cry and just let it all out. I was beat and just needed a moment to release. Funny how crying seems to have enabled me to keep pushing forward and move on.

I don't know what lays in front of me concerning my dad. He may be here for a few weeks or maybe forever. At any rate, I do know that he has changed. I guess we all will at some point. He is different in so many ways, yet he is also the same. I love his deep laugh when he tells a good story (which he did many times throughout our trip to Utah), I love talking about art with him. Many times on our trip I would point things out to him and ask him what techniques he would use to paint it. Such knowledge and talent. I love hearing stories from his childhood and learning things about him that I never knew. It still amazes me that I have known him for 45 year and still there are things I have not heard before. I love that he trusts me. He has told me things and allowed me to do things for him that I know he would not allow others to do.

Yes, it has been a very long, interesting couple of weeks. I am not sure what is in front of me, but thankfully I only have to find out one day at a time.

Friday, October 15, 2010

A Crazy Week

I finally have some time from my crazy merry-go-round of life to post an update of our family. Here are some of the significant things that we have been doing in the last little while.

1. Emma ran for student council and won! (Big smile...) I was able to see her give her speech Tuesday in front of the school and she did great. Jenni, Tara and Austin also came. Isn't it great that these kids support each other so well? I am blessed.

2. I arrived in Oregon to find my dad in pretty bad shape. Poor guy. Kirk met me at the airport and we headed straight to Astoria. When we arrived I had my dad test his blood sugar levels and they were through the roof. However, I am now happy to report that today we finally seem to have them under control. He is still not close to where he needs to be to live by himself, but at least there is some improvement. I am also worried about his feet. They are so swollen. This is not good. I am getting him into a doctor ASAP in Utah to take a look.

I am also happy to report that my dad is agreeing to drive back to Utah with me to stay for at least a month. This also means that Sam and Max (his two rather large cats) are coming too. I am heading out to the vet in a minute to get some traquilizers for the cats so that we can calmly make the trip. Maybe I need some too :)

3. Today is Christopher's 23rd birthday. I called him this morning to wish him a Happy B-Day and he was having a great day. I sure love that kid. I feel so bad that I am so far away, but we will soon have our big family dinner celebration. I am thankful that he is old enough to understand that I needed to be here with my dad. Once again...I am blessed.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

What A Great Dude

I am heading out again early, early Wednesday morning. My poor family. I just returned from a seven day trip to Boise and in two more days I am heading out for five more days in Oregon. Kind of stinks. The only bright spot is that I will soon be eating some Fultano's Pizza and some fresh halibut...yummmmm. Oh yeah, and I get to see my dad too :)

When I received the phone call from Mark telling me that dad had requested me to come take care of him, I have to be honest...I was a bit worried about telling Greg that I would essentially be home for a minute and then be leaving again...for FIVE MORE DAYS. I felt really bad for him. Whenever I leave he never complains, but I know it is hard for him. He told me that this last time he did not sleep good without me here. He was up worrying about everything. Ha...welcome to my life :) So...when I called and told him that I would once again be boarding a plane that sweet man totally surprised me. His reply? "What do you do? Your father needs you...I love you and you need to go." What a great dude.

Friday, October 8, 2010

A Late Night Phone Call

Last night just as I was falling asleep, my brother, Mark called. When you hear the phone ring at 11:10 pm it is never a good thing. He then told me that my dad had fallen and was at the Emergency Room in Astoria. Evidentally Mark had been trying to get ahold of my dad for two hours on the phone and no one answered (Mark was in Utah). He finally decided to call the police and asked them to check in on him. Somehow it was determined that he was in the ER and that he had dislocated his shoulder and had a nasty cut on his head that required stitches. Mark then told me that my other brother, Kirk, was on his was to Astoria to stay with my dad until we could decide what to do. (Kirk lives in St Helens, about 1 1/2 hours away).

What an awful nights sleep I had. I was worried about my dad and here I was hundreds of miles away and all I could do for him was say many prayers and shed many tears. What a horrible, helpless feeling.

This morning Mark called back to give us an update. It appears that dad will need someone to care for him for a while. His shoulder is taped to his torso and he can't even get out of a chair without some kind of help. He has requested me to come help him, so it looks like I am hopping onto another plane sometime in the next couple of days to help him out. Now I know why my mom and I were stopped from making our little trip to Oregon.

Heavenly Father knew that I could not have physically endured so much stress in such a short amount of time. If I had traveled with my mom and Aunt Karen I would have been wiped out by just taking care of them. Each of them have physical limitations that would have made that trip hard. Heavenly Father knew that I would be heading back to Astoria to take care of my father as soon as I had returned and that I would need all my strength just for that task. It appears now that we may actually be moving him permantly to some kind of assisted living facility in Utah (fingers crossed). This is going to be a very exhausting process. He has so much in his little apartment that it makes my head hurt just thinking of moving him.

How grateful I am for a father in heaven who knows all...beginning from end. And while the task ahead of me seems rather difficult, I know that both me and my dad will be strengthened by Him and that all will be well.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

A Little Miracle

Okay...I have been a bit humbled. I received a phone call today from the office of the doctor that my mom is scheduled to see on October 20th. You know, the one who told me that there was no way mom would be able to see him before I left to return to Utah. Today they told me that they had a cancelation and that they could see her tomorrow. Wow...what a little miracle. How thankful I am that Heavenly Father heard our plea and made this possible. And...it's a good thing I controlled my tongue and didn't tell off that doctor's secretary yesterday like I really wanted to :)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Quick Update

I arrived in Boise just a few days ago and since my arrival I have found myself really, really, really tired. I seem to be beyond fatigued. I am not sure what my problem is.

My mom is still in a lot of pain and I am very discouraged with her doctors. They just don't get it. Her fracture is such that they are not able to perform the procedure that they have done on her previous fracture. Bummer. So...she is waiting to get into a specialist to see what they can do to stop her pain. In other words, she will continue to be in pain until October 20th (the date of her appointment). I leave on Saturday. I am a bit worried about leaving her here alone until she gets to see the physician. I am glad that Dayna lives close by and checks on her frequently. My mom also has a great neighbor that watches out for her, so hopefully she will be well cared for until they can resolve this issue.

Dayna has been having some health problems as well, and received some test results yesterday that enocuraged us a bit. I had been having some sad thoughts about the possibility of having my twin face some rather serious health issues. Thankfully, that does not seem to be the case. Another blessing from my Heavenly Father.

In a way, I am relieved that we were not able to head out west as we had planned. Can you imagine if my mom had fractured her vertebrae while in Oregon? That would have been BAD. I am also so tired that I am not sure I could have driven 9 hours after flying in to Boise in the same day as we had originally planned. I was so exhaused just from the trip here. I am not sure it really would have been safe. I really think that someone was just looking out for us. Oh well...maybe we will get back out to the northwest someday. And hopefully we will all be healthy and able to enjoy every minute of it.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Change of Plans

Next week I will be in Boise again. I had planned on sitting on the river front in Astoria, Oregon with my mom and Aunt Karen, but I guess it was just not meant to be. I am a little sad. Especially after talking to my dad today and finding out that it was 70 degrees and clear blue skies there today. Perfect weather for Astoria. Nothing sounds better than just sitting on a river bank and watching ships go by and listening to their wonderful fog horns at night. I hope there are fog horns in heaven. I love that sound.

My mom hurt her back a couple of days ago and fractured a vertebrae and needs to have it repaired. So...instead of having a fun, family history trip to the northwest with her, I am heading to Boise to take care of her. Sure, it will still be fun. We will still visit and laugh and have a great time, but it is not Astoria. She is sad too. I feel bad for her. I guess it was just not meant to be. I think she feels the same way about the northwest and misses it too. There is just something about it that pulls at our hearts. I don't think that will ever change.

For some reason I love this old town. I have a lot of ancestors that are buried in that area and a lot of family history. My grandmother was born in Astoria. My great grandfather was a gill net fisherman on the Columbia River. My grandpa was raised not far from Astoria. It is just home to me. Always has been, always will be. If I could travel anywhere in the world, that is where I would go. Hands down. No hesitation. To me, it is heaven.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Meatloaf Mystery...And A Recipe Too

A couple of days ago I made the most amazing meatloaf for dinner. It was delicious! What made it even better was that it was a HEALTHY recipe. I was surprised how much my family loved this recipe. It is definitely a keeper. In addition to being quite tasty, I also have a funny story that goes along with it.

The day after we had this for dinner, Jenni came home from work for lunch. She started looking in the fridge for the leftover meatloaf. She could not find it and then called me into the kitchen to see if I could locate it. No luck. I finally decided that Greg must have packed it for his lunch when he woke up early in the morning. We did not really think about it again until later that evening.

Greg came home from work and asks me where the leftover meatloaf is. I said "I thought you took it to work." No, he didn't. He could not find it anywhere either. We were stumped.

Later that night Greg was in the kitchen and announced that he had finally found the missing meatloaf....in the kitchen cupboard. Evidently, he had taken it out of the fridge to pack some for his lunch. He then for some strange reason put it in the cupboard and forgot about it. Nice. That man cracks me up! I keep teasing him by telling him that now I have proof that he is old AND crazy :)

Since the meatloaf was such an incredible hit with our family, I thought I would share the recipe. It is really very, very good. I don't usually care for meatloaf, but this one was a winner. I also love that it has a serving of vegies in it as well as being only 250 calories per serving. Not too shabby.


  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced (1 cup)
  • 8 ounces white button mushrooms, finely diced
  • 1 small carrot, finely grated
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds extra-lean ground beef (90% lean or higher)
  • 3/4 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 8-ounce can no-salt added tomato sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon prepared mustard
  • 1 tablespoon unsulphered molasses


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Heat the oil in a large skillet, add the onion and mushrooms and cook until the liquid is evaporated and the mushrooms begin to brown about 8 minutes. Stir in the carrots, tomato paste, thyme and garlic and cook, stirring, 2 minutes more. Allow to cool completely.

In a large bowl combine the beef, oats, eggs, Worcestershire sauce, mushroom mixture, salt and pepper. Mix until just well combined. Transfer the mixture to a 9x13 inch baking dish and shape into a loaf about 5 inches wide and 2 inches high.

In a small bowl whisk the tomato sauce, molasses and mustard and pour over the meatloaf.

Cook the meatloaf until a meat thermometer registers 160 degrees, about 55-60 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest 15 minutes before slicing.

Serving Size: one 1-inch thick slice

Per Serving:

Calories 250; Total Fat 12 g; (Sat Fat 4 g, Mono Fat 5.5 g, Poly Fat 1 g) ; Protein 21 g; Carb 14 g; Fiber 2 g; Cholesterol 110 mg; Sodium 370 mg

Friday, September 24, 2010

Family Funnies

Yesterday my family was on fire. It must have been a full moon or something. Some of the stuff they were saying had me laughing quite a bit. Here are two of my favorites:

1. I was tucking Emma into bed for the night and she had just said her nightly prayers and in her prayer asked that her former teacher, Mr. Bezzant, be blessed to not be paralyzed anymore. (He had fallen off a roof last year and has had a difficult recovery). After the prayer she turned to me and in a very matter of fact manner said " Is it paralyzed or hypnotized?...I get those two mixed up."

2. I was driving to Provo with Jenni early last night. As we were driving down I told her how much fun college was back in the day and that BYU is not the same as it was back when I attended. She then told me "Yeah...I loved it then too." "Really?" I said, "That is funny because you weren't even BORN yet." We laughed a lot over that one.

I love that Heavenly Father gave us a sense of humor. Life would be far too boring without some laughter every once in a while.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Some Mountain Fun

Last weekend our family went up to Kamas to Austin's family cabin. We had a blast. Here are some of the pictures. Above Josh, Emma and Casey on the four wheeler.
Casey downing a rather well-topped waffle.
Upon my arrival I was greeted by Christoper who ran out to my car and announced that Josh had already wrecked on the four-wheeler. That boy. Evidently he ran into some kind of barb-wire fence and this is what happened. Can you say tetanus shot?
Yes, we learned a game with face cards...Golf. I have to say that I was pretty good at it. However, the hand above is Casey's. We took a picture because it is probably with worst hand in history. The odds of having THREE jokers are pretty crazy. Poor girl...Don't worry, there was no poker or money changing hands. Purely innocent stuff.
Emma, Casey and Cordell down at the river trying to decided whether to jump in or not. The water was rather cold.
They decided to jump in! Brrrrrr. They did not stay in long :)
Josh reading down by the river. Such a Josh moment.
Emma showing me her muddy bum.
Cordell found a hook and some fishing line and decided to make a fishing pole. No fish though. I think the gals were too loud for any fish to be anywhere close.
Watching football at the cabin. You can see Greg on the deck grilling chicken for our yummy chicken tacos. You will also notice that I do not have many pictures of Christopher, Sam, Austin or Tara. None of them wanted their pictures taken...thus I do not have any!
More watching football.
Casey, Cordell and Jenni keeping score on a paper plate of our Golf game.

On the way home I stopped and snapped this picture. This is my next subject for drawing. What do you think? I kind of like it. Obviously the telephone pole will not be in the final product. I love the fence with the grass growing over it.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Smiles & Waves

Yesterday was the first time that I have conducted Primary in a very long time. I wasn't nervous until about 5 minutes before Primary was to begin. I was watching all the children and teachers file in and my heart started to go a little crazy. Just as I thought I might very well throw up, I looked to the back of the room and there they were. My cute little CTR 6 class that I had just been released from teaching was sitting there trying to get my attention. They were all sitting there so darn cute. Each of them was smiling at me and trying to be reverent as they slyly waved at me. Oh, how I love each of those children. They are going to be such valiant missionaries and moms for the Lord someday. They are truly special. How could my day get even better after seeing that glorious site? It did...

As I was giving the presidency message I became very emotional. I was reading a poem that President Monson has quoted many times in conference about showing love for others. As I was reading I realized how incredibly quiet the room was. You could literally hear a pin drop. I know people use that terminology all the time, but for real...you really could have heard one. It was the very definition of still. I was thinking to myself "How can 80 children plus all those adults be so quiet?" As I realized how amazingly quiet it was, I all at once felt an overwhelming sense of love from my Heavenly Father for each of those children in that room. How this touched me. I could hardly speak. It was such an intense feeling of pure love. The spirit was incredibly strong. It was wonderful. How can anyone not feel the spirit when they come in those Primary doors? Each of those children is precious and I know it sounds a little crazy, but I already love EACH of them. And while I can't teach my cute little CTR 6 class anymore, I still will look forward to seeing each of their smiling faces every Sunday. And maybe if I am lucky, one will wave at me periodically. Yes...Primary is a wonderful place to be.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Heading To The Mountains

I am excited. In less than two hours we are packing up the cars and heading up past Kamas to Austin's family cabin. Tara and Austin made arrangements for our family to hang out at the cabin and eat lots of food. Emma is bringing Casey Ann and everyone else in the family is coming too...all ten of us. It should be fun! Four wheeling, playing in the river, Smores, movies, reading books and thanks to satellite TV we can even watch the U of U and BYU games. Sounds like a little slice of heaven. I will be sure to post pictures after we return :)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Homecoming 2010

Last Saturday was Homecoming for Josh's high school. School just started a few weeks ago. I can't believe that Homecoming was so early this year. Josh asked Jamie before school even started because so dance was so close to the start of school. They had a great time and were with a really fun group of kids. They had dinner at the Wirtz's where Deanna did her magic once again and prepared a delicious meal. The boys also had arranged ahead of time to have our neighbor, Holli, come take some pictures for them. They are really cute and show some of the kids' fun personalities.

I love how this group of kids does so many things together. All but one of them is from our ward...pretty cool. I was also happy to see that Josh's cousin and my niece, Taylir, was in the group too.

Jamie and Josh. Josh was bugged by his tie flapping about. Maybe we will do some PhotoShop.

McKay, Taylir, Jamie, Josh, Bailey, Josh W, James and Ashley
I'm loving the high-tops, Taylir!
This is the cute sign that Deanna made for the front door. Pretty clever!

Deanna and her daughter, Sarah preparing the food.