Saturday, January 30, 2010

Mission Accomplished!

This past week I have been in Astoria, Oregon getting things organized for my dad. If you have read any of my previous posts, you know that I was not exactly looking forward to this trip. However, I am happy to report that I had a terrific time!

Yes, it is true that my dad is declining in his health. He is not close to the man he was just a year and a half ago. He is very unsteady on his feet, sleeps a lot, should not be driving, has agreed to have meals brought in once a day and even allowed us to set up a housekeeper to come clean twice a month. If you have ever met me dad, allowing us to do anything for him is quite a feat. I feel that my mission was accomplished!

I also am happy to say that we had a fantastic visit. I really enjoyed spending time with him. We talked about so many things and laughed a lot too. I was worried that this trip would be very stressful because of the list of things I had to get done. This was not the case at all. Yes, the first two days of paperwork and phone calls were not too thrilling, but after that, we had a great time.

I even learned some things about him that I had never heard of before. I loved listening to the stories of his trips to Europe many years ago. I never knew that he had visited over 14 many people can say that? He told me where his passports are located so that I can take a peak at all his stamps on my next visit. He also gave me some short history lessons about the Roman Empire (he was a Art History teacher at Clatsop Community College for over 30 years). I have always been fascinated about this period and loved listening to him tell me about the Roman government and the fall of it. We talked about his childhood and his conversion to the church. What a mighty change the gospel can make in a families' life. He told me stories about his life in the army with his twin brother. More stories about the numerous places he was employed throughout his childhood and teenage years. We talked about gospel related topics as well. What a educational feast I enjoyed!

We tentatively agreed that I need to start coming out every couple of months to help him out. I am now really looking forward to it. I feel like I need to write these stories down or at least tape record them for my children and their children. I am so blessed to be able to spend some wonderful quality time with him at this period of his life.

All in all, it was a great visit. I checked off every item from my list that I wanted to complete and I also was able to have memorable conversations with my dad. What more could I have asked for?

She Missed Me!

I arrived home last night to find this on Emma's wipe board in her room. Ahhhh...she really missed me :)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Flying Home

I am heading out to visit my dad tomorrow. He has not been in the best of health and we (my siblings and myself) have decided that it is time for someone to fly out there and help him get some things in order. I am not sure what I am going to find. That scares me a little. My dad has been very vibrant and healthy most of his life. However, these past two years have really done him in. Personal trials, diabetes and cancer have been the most obvious culprits of his decline, but I am worried that I may find out more.

I always enjoy my visits with him, but feel like this one may be different. Funny how my brothers and sister and myself always worried more about our mother's health. In contrast, she now seems much healthier than my dad.

It is hard seeing your parents struggle with their mortality. I have yet to loose either of them and just can't seem to imagine life without having them just a phone call away. I think that is why I am so uneasy about this trip. I just don't want to face it. I keep thinking of a friend of mine who recently unexpectedly lost her dear father. She has been a strong, wise, amazing woman while dealing with this lose. I am just not sure I am ready to deal with something like that. I guess you never really are. You just learn to deal with what Heavenly Father places before you and pray that somehow you will get through it.

So, while I am usually really giddy about any trip to Oregon, tonight I am not. I am sad. I have been thinking a lot about the opportunity I have tomorrow to fly home to Astoria. I think I am so sad because I have come to realize that before too many more years, my parents will be flying home too.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Standing A Little Taller

A few weeks ago Emma asked Jenni and Jenni's boyfriend, Cordell, to tuck her into bed. (Yes, we still tuck her into bed...what can I say? She is the baby!)

Jenni and Emma sleep in the same room. We have a bunk bed set in there with a double bed on the bottom and a single on the top. Emma sleeps on the bottom bunk. Jenni and Cordell decided to tell her some stories before saying "Goodnight" to her. So...Cordell and Jenni crawled in the bed on either side of her. While they were telling her a "bedtime story" Cordell happened to glance up and saw a little book was tucked into the boards that held up the top bunk. When he looked closer he realized that it was Gordon B. Hinckley's book, "Stand A Little Taller". He then asked Emma why this was stuck up there. Her reply was very matter of fact..."I read this at night with my scriptures. I like this book because I can understand it and sometimes I can't understand the scriptures".

Now, I had no idea that she had that little booked tucked away in her bunk bed or that she was reading it. That child never ceases to amaze me. What a little angel. How grateful I am for good children who strive to stand a little taller. This experience really touched me. It made me realize how blessed our family is and what amazing spirits we have in our home.

On a side note...Cordell bought her a new book very similar to "Stand A Little Taller" for Christmas. It must have touched him too :)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Best Friends

When I was three years old my family moved from Salt Lake to Astoria, Oregon. I can still vividly remember my first Sunday in our new ward. I remember standing in the foyer with Dayna after all the meetings, looking for my parents. While we were looking around this cute blond girl about our age came towards us with her father. I can still hear Brother Oja saying "Look at these nice twin girls, Cathy. Why don't you introduce yourself to them?" That was the beginning of a 41 year friendship.

I can recall many years of sleepovers, cruising, talking about boys, stake dances, ward activities, riding bikes in Olney, eating pizza from Olney Store ( in the rain), stalking the Bjork brothers, swimming at Tapiola Pool, playing kick the can at Tapiola Park late at night with (gasp) boys, trick or treating together, eating dilly bars at Dairy Queen, cookouts on the beach and at Coffenbury Lake, climbing the Astor Column, going to our first temple together in Oakland, California while in Young Woman's, attending Ricks College together, and the list just keeps going on and on.

I think my favorite memory is when Dayna and I flew to Oregon to surprise Cathy at her father's funeral. After the funeral all three of us climbed the Astor Column (thinking we were still teenagers and this would not be a big deal...boy were we wrong! Our age showed that day!) and when we reached the top, we just leaned against the railing and talked and talked while looking out over the vast, beautiful view in front us. What a great memory.

I love that we are still in contact. It is true that we don't talk often, but whenever we go to Astoria, visiting the Oja's is a top priority. And when we get together with Cathy it is like time has stood still since our last visit and nothing has changed at all.

Cathy sent me this photo for Christmas of her and her cute husband, Tom. They both work for May Trucking and evidently decked out a truck for the it! Who says that friendship never lasts???

Monday, January 4, 2010

More Vanilla Joy Stuff...

I know...I blog about this website a lot. What can I say? They have some great giveaways! I have won a few things on this site and who does not like getting something free? Today Kelsey announced a new giveaway for a "Flirty Apron". These are the cutest aprons! Go to her site at and check them out!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Wedding Photos...Finally!

We finally have the wedding pictures back! I think they turned out rather good. I picked out some of my favorites to share...enjoy!