Thursday, February 25, 2010

Another Trip...

Last night I received a phone call from my brother, Mark. He was in Portland, Oregon and informed me that he had just visited with my Dad and said that Dad is ready to have me fly back out to help him with some more things. He then told me that he wants me to come a week from Sunday...Holy cow! I just returned from Idaho helping my mom and visiting with Dayna. I feel like I have traveled non-stop since the end of January, but I am coming to realize that this is what this stage of my life is going to be like.

The good news is that Dad wants me to help him set his art studio back up! That means that he is feeling good enough to start painting and working on his bronzes once again...Yipee! I am excited to get him going and give him something productive to do each day. While I was talking to Mark we realized that I would not be able to physically move everything into that room by myself and that I would need some help. Mark came up with the idea of having Greg come with me so that he can hang the light fixtures and move the big tables etc. What a great idea! I usually am not able to have Greg come because of the logistics of kids...namely Emma. So...I got on the phone and made some quick arrangements for Emma and within a matter of minutes had everything figured out. Everything just fell into place. Jenni is going to help with Emma as well as Marja, the Freitas' and the Eggett's. Josh will be fine as long as Jenni is here at night. The only thing that worries me about Josh is that he will have free reign of the car. I have half a mind to secretly write down the mileage while we are gone just to see what happens :) S.C.A.R.Y!!! I just hope I have a car to come home too-EKKK!

So...not only do I get to go visit with my father again, but I also get a "mini get-away" with my husband -- cool. I can't really remember the last time that just Greg and I went to Oregon together...maybe our honeymoon???

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Weekend With Dayna & Mom

Last week I had the opportunity to go to McCall, Idaho with my mom and twin sister, Dayna. Dayna was in charge of a work conference at the Shore Lodge and asked my mom and I to come along. We really had a great time. I had never been to McCall before and can I just say this is a really beautiful, quaint, city. Our lodge was situated on the lake and our room overlooked the lake as well. The top picture shows my mom and Dayna just outside our patio. The snow is covering the frozen lake. On numerous occasions we saw people on the lake cross country skiing and some just walking around. It was gorgeous! Even the drive up there was breathtaking. On the way home I had Dayna pull over a couple of times to snap some pictures. Perhaps I will use them someday to paint. Thanks Dayna for the fun weekend! Can't wait to do it again sometime!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Jenni Goes Green

Last night at the dinner table we were talking about the Olympics. Greg mentioned that they were not getting much snow in Vancouver and were having to use snow machines to make much of it. He then said that some of the machines were having problems producing the snow and that those machines were "Green". Jenni then asked "I don't get it...Why do the machines have to be green? Can't they be blue or yellow?" Yep...Jenni strikes again. Ha! We all got a good laugh and we then proceeded to explain to Jenni that the machines were "Green" because they were environmentally friendly. I love having her back home with us. Life would be so serious without her here to lighten it up every once in a while. Love ya Jenni! (Side note...she was laughing too after we explained it and she is the one that suggested I put this on my blog!)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Sixteen Years Ago Today

Sixteen years ago today, our family received a phone call that I will never forget. It was my niece, Samantha's, second birthday. She had been at her babysitters and had been taking a nap. She past away without warning during that nap.

I remember getting all the children ready to go to Samantha's second birthday party we were to have that evening at McDonalds. I then received a phone call (I actually can't even tell who called...crazy) telling me that Samantha had past away and that Steve and June (her parents) were at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center with her little body. The feelings that raced through my mind are indescribable. I quickly called Greg who went immediately to be with his heartbroken brother. I ran next door and asked the Lee family to please watch my four children(ages 6-6 months) so that I could join Greg at the hospital. I then drove to the hospital to be with Steve, June, Greg and the numerous other family members that had gathered. I will never forget walking into the room and seeing the utter devastation and sadness on June's face as she held her little girl. It makes me tear up now thinking about it.

Greg was a rock. He helped his brother do everything in the coming days...write the obituary, secure a plot in the cemetery, work with the funeral home...everything. I never saw him cry once until the funeral. I think he just knew he needed to be strong until everything was taken care of. He was wonderful.

I really had a hard time. I had babysat this little girl for almost the entire duration of her little life. When she was six weeks old June had asked me to watch her while she returned to work. I continued caring for Samantha until about two months prior to her passing away. I had received a really strong impression that I needed to stop caring for her. I remember telling June that I felt it was time for me to stop watching her and she was actually pretty upset and did not understand why. I actually did not really understand either, but I knew the spirit was talking to me and that I needed to listen. How thankful that I did. I cannot imagine the terror my four little children would have experienced if Samantha had been in our home when this happened. How grateful I am for promptings of the spirit.

I had also been asked by June to help dress Samantha's little body in preparation for the burial. This was a something that I really struggled with. Because of her sudden death, an autopsy had been performed and I was very concerned with what I was going to see. The thought of her little body not perfect anymore was very troubling for me. I remember the night before we were to go dress her, I prayed to my Father in heaven to please strengthen me to get through this experience and to be strong for June.

The next morning as I was beginning to wake up, yet not quite completely coherent, I had a very insightful dream. I dreamed that I was at the funeral home along with the other family members that had gathered to dress her sweet, little, body. Samantha was laying on a table and all of us were surrounding her and quietly crying and about to begin the task of dressing her. It was at this moment that Samantha suddenly sat up and started to smile and slowly got down from the table. I remember telling her to please sit still, we needed to get these clothes on her body. At this point she began to run around the room laughing and we all struggled to put the white dress on her. At this moment in my dream, I woke up. A feeling of warmth and love spread throughout my entire body and I all at once knew that whatever I was to see at the funeral home that day, it was not Samantha. She was happy and in a far better place. She was perfect and her tiny body was perfect as well. I knew that she lived.

I will forever treasure this experience as well as the time that I spent watching this child for almost two years during her short mortal stay on earth. Happy Birthday Samantha! We love you and can't wait to see you again and give you a big hug!!!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Eve 2010

Last night we had the opportunity to experience the "House of Wirtz" least that is what I am now going to call it. Actually we (Greg and I) were invited to the Wirtz's for dinner. Mark was stuck in Portland because of President's Day weekend and so they invited Lezlie along as well. We really had a great time. I had heard many rumors about Bishop Wirtz's fantabulous cooking, but wow...I was not prepared for what my taste buds encountered! It was incredible...much better than dinner at a restaurant. Greg and I both came home completely stuffed and even this morning I have no desire to eat anything. I think I may be good until Friday :) Thank you Jeff & Deanna for the great evening of food and company. It was wonderful!

Tara and Austin went away for their first Valentine's Day weekend together. It is strange not to have heard from her in a couple of days, but oh well...they are growing up. Christopher and Sam spent yesterday together as well. I am sure they all had a great weekend.

Jenni and Cordell had a three part Valentine's Day celebration. Friday was dinner, a carriage ride around temple square complete with Mt Dew in champagne glasses and Jr. Mints. After Cordell took Jenni to Barnes & Noble and told her to pick out a book. When I asked her why she told me that he wants her to start reading more. Ha! I love that kid! They were meeting last night for part 2...haven't heard a report yet so I really can't report anything. I do know that Cordell's parents are having a Valentine dinner tonight and that will be part 3. I hope she had a great time. I am sure I will be hearing all about it later tonight.

Josh spent last night at Sadie Hawkins. I fell asleep before he arrived home, so I have yet to get the details. However, when I got up this morning there was a marriage certificate and ring sitting on the kitchen table. Hmmmm...perhaps they went to Vegas???

Emma spent the evening with her good friend, Ashley, while we went to the Wirtz's. I almost forgot that I needed a place for her to go. It is rare that I don't have at least one babysitter here. When I finally realized that she was going to be alone, I actually kind of panicked. Thankfully Ashley's family was willing to have her come by for a few hours. She is old enough to stay her by herself, but I know she would have been freaking out a bit. And I would have been worried about her the whole time.

Happy Valentine's Day to everyone! Give those people you love a big hug!!!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Signs That Spring Is Coming

For anyone that reads my blog regularly, it comes as no surprise to hear me say that I am soooo ready for Spring this year. It has been a long, cold winter for me and I really want to feel those 100 degree days again. sit by the pool and sip lemonade, to feel the kiss of a sunburn on my shoulders and to have nights when the sun goes down AFTER 9 pm...doesn't it sound heavenly?

Well....I am very happy to proclaim that Spring is on it's way! On my walk yesterday I found four items of evidence that I would love to share.

1. People running/walking outside without jackets. I know...this seems small, but I can attest to the fact that it has actually been warm enough outside to only wear a t-shirt while exercising. That is something that we could not say just a few weeks ago.

2. Birds singing!!! Not just chirping while looking for food, they were actually SINGING. Music to my ears :)

3. People outside working in their yards. I have yet to hear a lawn mower fire up, but hey, it is still February.

4. (This one is the best one yet...) Pansies blooming in flowerbeds. Now these are not freshly planted pansies, but rather flowers planted last fall that are coming back to life after a miserably cold winter. I saw them on my walk and can I just tell you what joy filled my soul? To actually see a flower. It brought a smile to my face.

As Barry Manilow says..."Looks like we made it!" Winter almost complete :)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Another School Dance

Last night we received a very loud knock at our door around 7pm. My first thought was "this is Family Home Evening night, who would be knocking at our door?" Josh ran to open it and to his surpirse this is what he found. He has been asked to another girl's choice dance. The note with the fishies said "Of all the fishes in the sea, I want you to go to the dance with me!" Very cute and he was excited to be asked by such a cute girl but here is my question.......Whatever just happened to asking a date to a dance with a phone call? None of this fancy, pancy stuff that takes just way too much thought, money and energy?

Our kids have been asked to dances in some very creative ways...Bails of hay on the doorstep, pizza's delivered with incrypted messages, gallons of ice cream, cold cereal, large bags of popcorn (okay-that one was very cute!) that have to be rifled through to find who the prospecitve date actually is and the list goes on and on. AND to top it all off, we have to ANSWER in the same creative fashion. I have to admit that we have come up with some doosies. I think my favorite and easist answer we did was this:

Jenni had been asked with a bale of hay plopped on the doorstep with a sign stapled to a stick that read "Hay! Will you go to the dance with me?" We promptly loaded the hay into the Epedition and drove it to the young man's home and dropped it on HIS doorstep with a new sign that said "Hay'll Ya!" Okay...maybe that is boarderline swearing and that was a bad thing to teach Jenni, but it was easy and the boy loved it. (After re-reading this I think I am doing way too much justification and need to repent-whoops!)

So...if anyone out there has any fresh ideas on how to answer Josh's date, please share!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Talapia Parmesan

I love fish! However, my family really doesn't. My sister in law found this great recipe and after introducing it to my family I have some converts! It is easy and tastes amazing. I thought it was certainly worth sharing. Give it a try, maybe your family will be swayed too. (I found this recipe and picture posted on the blog "My Sister's Cafe"...check them out. They must have thought the recipe was really worth sharing as well. My sister in law originally found the recipe at great site)

Tilapia Parmesan

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (fresh, not the Kraft kind)
1/4 cup butter, softened
3 T mayonnaise
2 T fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/8 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp celery salt
2 lbs tilapia fillets
Juice of 2 lemons

Preheat broiler. Grease broiling pan or line with foil. In a small bowl, mix together Parmesan cheese, butter, mayonnaise, and lemon juice. Season the cheese mixture with basil, pepper, onion powder, and celery salt. Mix well and set aside. Arrange fillets in a single layer on prepared pan. Sqeaze the juice from two lemons over fillets and sprinkle with fresh ground pepper. Broil a few inches form the heat for 2-3 minutes. Flip fillets over and broil for a couple more minutes. Remove from oven and cover with Parmesan cheese mixture. Broil for 2 more minutes or until topping is browned and fish flakes easily with a fork. Do not overcook the fish. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

She Knows He Lives

A couple of days ago I was playing the piano. Emma and her friend, Casey happened to be in the same room with me working on a project for school. I started to play the new song that we are learning in Primary called "I Know That My Savior Loves Me". As I began to play this song, Emma and Casey both started to sing the words. This alone made me smile. But there was more... I was still playing the song when I heard Emma tell Casey "This is my favorite part of the song". That caught my attention and I looked to see what part of the song this was. The words said:

I did not touch Him or sit on His knee,
But Jesus is real to me

After we had finished the song, I turned to Emma and asked her why that was her favorite part. She quickly replied "Because I have not touched Him or sat on His knee, but I know He's real."

That really got me. Wow. You can see why these little spirits were saved for this period of time on the earth. What insights they have. I know that when I was her age I may have felt something while singing the song, but I would not have been able to verbalize or quite understand it.

As my friend Deanna would say...that was my "flower" for the day.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Happy Birthday Emma & Austin

Today is Emma's 11th birthday! Hard to believe that in one short year she will be a Beehive. Wow...where has the time gone? This is our families "off" year for birthdays which means that we just have a family party. I LOVE off years :) No crazy birthday parties to plan, just a good dinner with the family. We actually had her dinner last night because it was a day that everyone (well almost everyone) could make it. Logistically it is becoming difficult to get everyone together, but we do what we can. Emma requested her favorite meal of chili slaw dogs, which is definitely NOT my favorite meal. And because I was the cook, I added an extra meal to the menu of marinated pork chops with rice and tomatoes, rolls and salad-much better. Austin's birthday is February 10th, so we celebrated his big day as well. He was grateful for the meal alternative to chili slaw dogs ;)

After dinner we played a vigorous version of "The Candy Bar Game". It always amazes me the competitive sides that show themselves at these kind of things. Greg was determined to end up with his beloved Grape Heads. Sadly, he failed but I did not. They are safely stashed away and perhaps if he is good I will share. Perhaps. Everyone was out for blood and nobody was off limits. We certainly had a great time and laughed way too much. The pictures I took of Emma and Austin blowing the candles on their cakes did not turn out. Not sure how that happened. Oh well...

Jenni and Cordell could not make it. They were in Kaysville attending a baptism of one of Cordell's good friends. However, they did make a phone call to Emma that we put on speaker phone. They sang their version of "Happy Birthday" to her and it was pretty darn cute. One of the pictures below shows the phone ;)

Another picture show Christopher trying to give Josh a hug. Josh was having no part of that. He actually turned the tables on Christopher and pinned him to the floor. Who would have thought that Josh would have that in him? I guess there is a reason that Greg lovingly refers to Josh as his "Bouncing Baby Badger"-ha!

The top picture is from early today when I took Emma one of her favorite meals-Chinese food from Whistle Wok. I met her in the lunch room with all her friends and we all sang to her once again. Happy Birthday Emma and Austin! We love you!!!