July 30, 2010

Brittany and Ili are coming this weekend!

Mike, Marci and the cuties are coming too!

It is one of those rare times when my whole family with be together

and I will be one happy momma :)


Sunday, August 1st is Brit's birthday!

It will be so fun to celebrate all together.

Happy Birthday

Brittany !


I found a few pictures

that I thought would be fun to share

on your special day!

I can't believe you are 30!


I am so happy to spend your special day with you!

I love you, Mom

July 28, 2010


One year and

over 22,000 hits

on my blog

I know there are blogs that get that many hits in a week.

But I am coming from a place where I didn't even want to start a blog

for fear no one would read it

and then I would feel, well . . . . sort of sad.

So thank you for reading

and super thanks for commenting;

It makes me happy.

and thanks for your blogs too,

I know and appreciate the effort you put into them.

Your blogs enrich my life;

and that alone, makes blogs worthwhile.


I met my goal to blog for one year,

3 times a week (most weeks).

It feels good.

I have no plans to stop blogging,

but my self inflicted pressure is off.

I am going to have the past year's blog printed and bound;

after that,

we'll just see what happens

July 26, 2010


I don't know if I hate change more than anyone else

we are all creatures of habit

creatures of security

but I can sure speak for myself
when I say I dislike it.

change, that is.

I don't mind small changes, like rearranging the furniture and fashion trends. But lately, my life has been chock full of
big change.... the kind that rocks my foundation. It seemed to start with moving the Texas, after being a California girl for 50 years. It was a fun adventure until our business went south, taking our life savings with it.
Then, we lost Tom,
then Wyatt,

and dad had a stroke

all in the space of a year.

And the latest: facing the fact that my parents must move from the home they built, lived in, loved, and raised 4 daughters. A 41 year stay, that spanned careers, birthday parties, wedding receptions and great-grandchildren has come to an end. Their longtime nest is too much for them to handle now. They, and we, their daughters, are very sad to face this reality. We have tried to find another way, but the march of time and inevitability has taken over. The wolf: growing elderly, is at their door.

I am going to Fresno in 2 weeks to help my parents move into an assisted living facility. It is beautiful and elegant and honors their dignity. But it means leaving their home. The hardest thing was hearing my mom cry on the phone when I asked her about it. She had to hand the receiver off to dad and I listened to him try to be brave as he reasoned that this move is what is best. His head knows it's true; his heart wasn't fully convinced. If there is one thing dad and mom always have made clear, it is that they want to die peacefully in the place they love best, their home. . . . and now that will not happen. My dad, who has always been strong and in charge, now sounds weaker and resigned.

I hate that.

I will photograph their home and all of its lovely rooms before we dissemble the best of it to move into their new place., To ease the transition, my sister Marsha and I will do our best to make their new apartment feel just like their old home. I am sad because this signals the end of an era and the beginning of their last days, or hopefully, years, on this earth.

I hate that.

Then I will photograph their new place . . . and I am sure it will look beautiful with all of their things in it. I'll keep a stiff upper lip and be strong for them and offer encouraging words that convince them, and myself, that this is a good thing. . . . because it really is the best thing for them now. I will focus on the positives: they are in beautiful, safe facility and we have peace of mind that they are getting the help they need with cooking, cleaning and being checked on often.

As daughters, we will keep looking forward, taking one day at a time, knowing more change is to come.
This kind of change is hard and

I hate it.


The previous emotions were my initial reaction, written 5 days ago. As I re-read them today, it sounds a little dramatic, but that is how I was feeling at the time. Change is a process, and I am happy to report that we are all adjusting well, dare I say, even excited about the move. This new facility is really beautiful, I hear the food is fantastic, and every need is met.... every whim catered to. I would swear my parents are moving onto a luxury cruise ship, complete with a European chef and perky cruise director.

So . . .

everything is going to be okay

after all

and I am looking forward to visiting them on the SS Fairwinds.

their new place is called the Fairwinds,


isn't that funny? it even sounds like a cruise ship.

July 24, 2010

Jennifer, Me, Marsha, Susan - May 2010

Happy Birthday !!

to my dear sister


July 23, 2010

The Center of the Universe


This is Hills & Dales.

It's a mile and a half from my house, on Loop 1604.

Hills & Dales is about as Texas as it gets . . .

the kind of place that perpetuates certain stereotypes.

It looks like this most of the time:


but on warm Wednesday evenings,

it looks like this:


Wednesday is Bike Night

I drive by Hills & Dales nearly every day, though I have never pulled in. . . it really isn't my style. But that doesn't keep it from putting a smile on my face. On Wednesday night, it is a snapshot of carefree lifestyle. Folks outdoors relaxing at wooden picnic tables and mingling in the warm sunset, enjoying the "world's greatest selection of beer". Some fitted head to toe in leather, others in Texas uniform: jeans, boots, plaid shirt (sleeves optional), and ball cap. I imagine them swapping "bike" stories of their adventures on the highway.

I have to admit, there is a certain romance in the freedom of biking down the open road; unencumbered with responsibility, heading for parts unknown. And of course, there is no better place to do that than Texas.

Steve and I used to say that someday we would buy a motorcycle with a sidecar; he would drive and I would be the passenger (in a cute leather outfit). We were half joking, half serious; it was years ago when anything and everything seemed possible. Now that I have reached (in truth, passed) the age we imagined ourselves doing that sort of thing, I would rather watch the crowd at Hills and Dales than participate.

Not that we wouldn't fit in, they are all mature folks and I am guessing they are about as close to the open road lifestyle as I am. Wednesday night is, most likely, a nice break from their jobs as lawyers and accountants. Really, it just isn't my style . . . I don't drink beer, and I don't think head to toe black leather is my, (or Steve's) best look. But there is something that comes over me when I pass by the carefree Wednesday night crowd. Seeing them, reminds me to stop once in awhile, take a deep breath, and enjoy some leisure time.

. . . . . . and on this Summer morning, that means sitting in my Adirondack chair, looking off my back porch at the lush green beauty of nature, and being thankful that, at this moment, the best things in life are free. No leather outfit, no Harley, just me, fresh air, a good book, and the dogs.

July 21, 2010


this is Ruth

She was my mother's childhood doll.

Mom named her Ruth, after her older sister.

When I turned eight, Ruth became mine.


Ruth sits on my nightstand.

and She is getting old and cracked.


I know she should be in a display case,

but I like having her near me;

it feels like I am close to my mother.


July 19, 2010

It is summertime

and I am reminded of my favorite vacation:

Republica Dominicana


This young Dominican came to the window of our car at a stop light

offering delicious chicken empanadas

Until the fall of 1997, I had no idea where The Dominican Republic was located on this great earth. A letter addressed to my son, Michael, from the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints calling him to serve a mission there, sent my geographically challenged family straight to our globe. We were thrilled to discover it was on a tropical island in the middle of the Caribbean Sea. Then and there, we decided we would return with him some day soon after his mission.

Only mothers of missionaries know the emotional dichotomy that tugs as you send your first child, and only son, away with your heart to spend 2 years in unknown territory doing exactly what you hoped he would choose to do at this juncture in his 19 year old life. We know the ache when we pass his empty room and the pride and satisfaction of knowing he is committed, and brave, enough to take this on. We know how it feels to desperately want to speak to him and hug him and how foolish it feels to clutch the fax machine when it rings on Monday, knowing it connects you to another fax machine four thousand miles away that he is simultaneously touching, as he sends his weekly letter. We know, how your heart pounds and eyes moisten as his precious handwritten words begin to appear. And missionary mothers know, all too well, how important it is to comply with the minimal contact rules so he can stay focused and not give in to a homesick battle of his own.


So when the day comes that you get to see him again and your pride swells and your excited arms wrap around a new young man who is mature and self possessed and dignified and the apple you sent away has returned polished and dipped in gold, you thank the heavenly guided experience that made him the new man that now stands before you and you want to hear about and see and share every bit of it with him.

In May 2001 we took the trip of a lifetime.

It was a wonderful, binding experience for our family,

Here are some favorite moments. . . .

This is the first church in the Americas;

it was built by Christopher Columbus


Prior to our visit, I didn't know
that when Christopher Columbus discovered America in 1492,
he had actually landed in the Dominican Republic.

He established the capital city, Santo Domingo

he built this fort to protect the city from pirates,


El Conde

The main shopping district in Old Town


LDS Temple


Many things are still done the old way


I love my Dominican figurines


and my handcrafted jewelry

Amber (the DR is called The Amber Coast)------------Black Coral & Pink Conch

This stone is Larimar, it is found-------------------------------pestle and mortar
exclusively in the Dominican Republic------------------------------------------------

The multi-stone necklace & earrings and the pestle & mortar

are gifts Michael brought me from his mission

The Dominican Republic is home to Punta Cana,

one of the most beautiful beaches in the world



Mike dove into the Caribbean and brought this beauty up for me

It is a Queen Conch

(on a dinner plate so you can see how huge it is)


We gave the conch meat to a local man (it is a delicacy there) but some residue was left inside the shell. When we got to the airport, it started to smell

. . . .ooooh the stench.

We wrapped the suitcase in plastic bags, nothing helped.

Our family still has a good laugh remembering how people's expressions changed
if they got close enough to smell that bag.

(Sorry folks, nothing was going to stop me from getting my treasure home)



We have been fortunate enough to visit the Dominican Republic twice

Warm, muggy summer weather always reminds me of it;

we call it D.R. weather,

and south Texas has a lot of it.

I hope to visit the Dominican Republic again someday.

I know when Mike sees this post, he will want to go again too!


July 16, 2010

We had a fun week

visiting with Mike, Marci, and the babies.

The golfers in the group didn't waste any time getting out there on the course;

(I'm pretty sure they golfed every day of the visit)


then, a relaxing afternoon at the pool.


Later, we all had a yummy mexican dinner on Riverwalk.



Our table near the water had a lovely view;


the sunlight through the trees and reflecting off the water

was especially beautiful that evening.





The next day, Papa and I had some special time with the babies

while Mike and Marci had some special time with each other

on an overnight date.

Tradition dictated that we take a train ride at the park;




Preston was old enough on this visit

to really love the ride!



afterward, we all wanted a treat, so Papa suggested the Target diner.

It was sooo fun . . . I think we just started a new tradition;

it's hard to beat a bag of popcorn and a cherry Icee


the dishwasher has been broken, so we have lots of paper plates around;

they are great for crafts!



and Preston loves the little fire engine

I salvaged from a neighbor's trash pile

Why do people throw away perfectly good stuff?


there were many hours of puzzle time


Toward the end of the visit,

Mike went through the house collecting all the laundry

(he got some good stuff :)


We had so much fun

I will miss you!

Come back soon!


About Me

My photo
I married my high school sweetheart 34 years ago in the LDS Temple. I have 4 children (3 married, and a 14 year old) and 6 grandchildren. I lived my entire life in California, until 6 years ago. I now reside in San Antonio, Texas. The most important thing to me is my family; I have invested the most in them and it has paid great dividends. I love doing anything creative that beautifies my surroundings and I love nature. I minored in Art and majored in Interior Design at BYU, yet, my profession is a Tax Preparer.

Steve and I

Steve and I

Steve and I

Steve and I
Pismo Beach

Our Family

Our Family

Mike, Marci & Family

Mike, Marci & Family

Brittany & Ili

Brittany & Ili

Zach & Chrissy

Zach & Chrissy