Sep 11, 2017

Remembering... 40 years ago

Sunday was Miss Fiona's 4th birthday and Grammie has earned the privilege of being the birthday cake baker! I love this new role! But, actually, it is just returning to a very old role; a 40-year old tradition.

My sweet Mama gave me her cake decorating books and tips (because SHE wanted to learn to decorate cakes) so I could make sweet cakes for my children. I've reflected at how very kind this was of her.

This was my first grand attempt for Tony's 5th birthday. He wanted a cowboy and Indians theme for his party. Back then, when money was so tight, the 5th birthday was the first one where we had a *friends* party for our children.

I went and bought a new decorating tip just to make all of these fun balls on his cake.

(This is the same tip that I pulled out Saturday to create Miss Fiona's master-piece featured in a separate post!)

As I scanned and edited these old photos, yellowed with time, I started having memories pour forth from these simple images.

I think this photo is the one that really got me. The casual observer only sees Tony and Bekah with his party cake and cupcakes for his friends party.

I see-
  • my old Formica table with gold flowered chairs that we bought or acquired when we moved to our trailer in 1974.
  • on the window sill is the start of the first shamrock plant I ever had. Mike had been at a week-long training seminar in Shalishan, Oregon in January and brought back the funny little bulbs for me. It is potted in a Lucerne sour cream container.
  • also on the window sill is a start of my Mom's Christmas cactus, tucked in behind my stylish curtains.
  • out the window I can see our 1970 Chevy Vega, parked at the curb. It was my favorite green.
  • Tony's #17 jersey is one I made him. Mike's favorite number was 17.
And this one of my darling family.

  • Amanda is 11 months old, Bekah is 3.5. I love how interested Tony's sisters are in his special gifts and how he is sharing the experience with them.
  • our not-too-long green shag carpet.
  • my little rocking chair from when I was a tiny girl.
I'm so grateful for these happy memories.

And as long as we are on the memory train I had to share these photos of my darling Tony and his 2nd birthday cake.

I like doing things ahead of time... doing things last minute stresses me out too much. Fortunately I learned this lesson early on in my life and usually avoid a lot of stress...

but not this time.

We'd only lived in Priest River Idaho for 3 months when Tony's 2nd birthday came rolling around.

(Isn't he darling? I love his sleepy morning face!)

Grammy, my Mom, got him this red wagon for his special day.

He's put his favorite toys and his special quilt, made by Auntie Ann, in his new ride.

I'd made a fabulous cake for him. It had homemade marshmallow frosting that came up in beautiful peeks with swirls of dark chocolate on the top and sides. I put it, for safe and secret keeping, on top of the refrigerator.

Imagine my disappointment when I went to get the cake and found that the heat of the fridge had melted all of the marshmallow frosting down around the bottom of the cake. Luckily I had it in a cake-cover-plastic-deal and was able to smear the, now milk chocolate, frosting back up over the cake.

Funny story, but here's the thing... Tony was thrilled that his 21-year old Mommie had made him a special cake for his special day.

I'm so grateful for all the memories that came pouring out along with Fiona's special birthday cake!

Sep 10, 2017

Happy Birthday Miss Fiona!

Somehow I've ended up with the wonderful job of Chief-birthday-cake-baker for some of my grandchildren. I love this job! The Mamas and, now with input from the birthday child herself, find a cake they want Grammie to duplicate.

For some wonderful, unknown reason I have been blessed with being a pretty good copy artist. I am so grateful for the many talents the Lord has blessed me with.

Camille and Fiona found the wonderful PURPLE party cake. The original had multicolored sprinkles that we couldn't find locally, but Camille and the Bitties went out Friday night and found a good substitute at Zonkos (aka Zurchers)! Sixlets.

Behold Miss Fiona's special PURPLE birthday cake.

This Bitty-girl was so thrilled when she found her wonderful cake, hiding under Grammie's make-shift cake carrier! (This is my great-aunt Esther's cake pedestal and it doesn't fit in my regular cake carrier so I yoinked a big plastic bucket I keep my Victorio strainer in. It is just right for a Miss Fiona to fit in, too!!)

We gathered in their backyard on this delightful late summer afternoon! Precious Sophie (and Jessica) brought Fiona this ballet costume. It was the PERFECT party dress for this wonderful girl.





Dig in...

And the special ombre layers inside. (this is the same recipe that Bekah made for me on my birthday- Whipped Cream Cake)

This, THIS is a very happy and blessed Grammie...

Jun 13, 2017

Those Flynn Boys

As I sat down and started looking at photos to write this post I was overwhelmed with a wave of emotion! I accept that my children are all grown into responsible, competent adults but now my grandchildren are going and doing the same darned thing (which is exactly what they are supposed to do... but... but)

JUNE 6, 2017

It sent my mind back to these little boys that made me a Grammie. Prior to Tadhg's birth I'd planned on being Nana, but when I held that darling little red-head I said *Your Grammie loves you!* And I knew that is who I REALLY was!

And it seems like just yesterday that these little monkey-boys were these darling, mischievous little people!

FALL 2003

Now when I call for the Flynn boys after church for our obligatory photo op these are the big men that tower over their little Grammie!


And here is the happiest part of this photo... when I called for the *Flynn boys* to step outside for a photo Curtis stepped right in. I'm so grateful that he knows he is also one of my boys!! (And Bekah and I didn't even coordinate our wardrobe choices!)

We had a wonderful, eventful, yet very busy, 6 days together. Wednesday was Caden's graduation from high school. The weather was delightfully cool for a change.

Thursday we went down to Fresno to the temple and to shop. Tadhg is the selfie-king!!

Friday we were busy. Saturday they got the house ready for Tadhg's open house and we shopped. Sunday, after Tadhg's missionary report in Sacrament meeting, they had friends over for a tasty lunch. I loved when I took a break in the kitchen and found this puppy pile of boys on the couch!

Now I'm trying to come to grips with the fact that likely the next time I visit there will only be one Flynn boy left at home.

May 7, 2017

Cover Down

We live at the mouth of Hobble Creek Canyon, tucked right up in a little area called Spring Cove (there's a spring-fed pond just 2-doors down from us). Usually the canyon breeze is just a delightful treat, bringing in a nice movement of air and the scent of wonderful things from the neighborhood. But ever so often that breeze becomes wicked and goes on the war-path... this is not the first, nor last, wind damage we've had. (Previously we've lost trees, fences and 60% of our roof). 

Last night I was concerned about the fabric of our deck cover as this is its third season and the fabric only lasts 2 season. But I've been dragging my feet buying a new one. I was not expecting to get up and find THIS!

Boy, am I glad I procrastinated!

I would not be a happy camper-ette if I'd just spent $120 that got shredded!

The wind just ripped those welds right apart! and toppled the whole thing! I noticed it pulled part of the down spout with it.

When I went out to get these photos I noticed that it also blew apart the solar lights from the gate posts.

I've been wanting to do something different to cover the deck... now I guess I have a clean slate, don't I?

Apr 24, 2017

Happy Bakers

It's been several months since I've gotten to have the Bitties at my house for Grammie day, I usually go to their house. There is something wonderful about welcoming them into MY domain. As I was walking this morning I thought, "What should we do today?" Mama was bringing the trolley (double stroller), but it looked like rain. I decided that baking bread was always a good idea and we haven't done that for over a year.

They arrived just before lunch so I had frozen bing cherries waiting for them on the counter (which needed to be warmed up, too cold!) Fiona was delighted with the purple cherry juice left in the bottom of her bowl (and Grammie was delighted with Liam's remaining cherries!) But as soon a sausage appeared on the counter it was all about the sausage for Liam!

Now I have to tell you about the sweet little apron that Fiona has on in this pix! A couple of weeks ago I got a surprise package from my sister, Sue.

As soon as I saw my old ducky apron I started to cry! I wore this so many times when I was my Mama's A#1 expert helper! So many sweet memories flooded back. I was so pleased that Sue still had it these 60+ years later! (I likely gave it to Cindy when she was a little girl, that is where all of my favorite things went!)

We had a little play time outside... until it started to rain (Yay for rain!), but no trolley walk today!

When I suggested bread making Fiona was still too wrapped up in playing so my first assistant was this very able-bodied boy. Both of these children are so smart and capable! He unwrapped the butter all by himself (Hiam do it! Yes, Hiam, he can't say Ls yet!)

When Fiona joined us a few minutes later she wanted her usual pink apron, "it's so beautiful!" And these obliging Bitties share back and forth so nicely!

They took turns putting in all of the ingredients (Yes, they used that word!) to make the dough! Every once in a while one or both of them would put their hands on their hips and say, "Hmmm!" Makes me laugh!! They did it all, even the egg cracking!

Grammie is always very liberal with tastes along the journey... isn't that what it's all about? Fiona did all of this spreading by herself! Such a confident big girl!

I gave them both a little knife to cut off tastes. Liam was so pleased to spread his own little sample.

 All told we made three loaves: one for eating now, one to go home with the Bitties and one for Grammie and Grampy to enjoy at their leisure! There was only about 3" left of that first loaf by the time we'd all, including Mommy, had our fill.

I revel in these marvelous times that I get to spend with my darling grandchildren! In the last two weeks I've had this treat with big (Ashton) and small (Fiona, Liam and Emmy). There is such a sweetness in being with these marvelous people.

I am such a blessed Grammie!

Apr 21, 2017

Happiness is- Tony

Happy Birthday to my wonderful Tony! He would be 45 today. This is the wonderful person who made me a mother.

(I went looking for a photo of me at 45 and I could only find two, neither one blog worthy. Moms don't end up with many photos of themselves, do they?)

In the 1960s there was a cartoon panel titled Happiness Is... My Gramma used to cut out the ones she thought were pertinent to me and send them to me!

So a few years later when my Mom and I saw this little outfit that said *Happiness Is* we had to get it for Tony's blessing outfit. My Mama, the best handiwork woman I know, added *TONY*!

Happiness truly is Tony! He was born, after a 26 hour labor, with a congenital defect, gastroschisis. In 1972 the prognosis was bleak. We were told he would not live beyond 24 hours, but, if, by some miracle he did, his abdomen would look like a road map from all of the surgeries.

Long story short (that's about all I'm up for this day) through faith, prayer and the tender mercies of the Lord, Jesus Christ, Tony only had 2 surgeries, one to contain the intestines and one to close his abdomen! He was the Miracle Baby of Ped 3B.

I am so blessed that I got to keep Tony here for 9 years 3 months 13 days. I feel that Tony wasn't meant for this world, but the Lord granted me more time before taking him back home.  I am so very grateful that this wonderful man is a very real part of my family. I, and his siblings, frequently feel him close, watching over us and cheering us on.

I am so blessed!

Apr 4, 2017

Certain Women

I've been thinking about this post ever since I listened to Linda K Burton's talk Certain Women in the General Women's Broadcast. I even sat down one night to create a graphic and write this post and found, much to my dismay, that I didn't have any suitable photos to use. (How could that be? It's like I stopped taking photos!)

Frequently there will be conference talks that just speak to my heart, and this is one of them. Sister Burton used the biblical descriptor of *certain women*, some named, some unnamed, who had strong abiding testimonies of the Savior, Jesus Christ and His divine mission.

She gave the definition of *certain women* and it called to MY CERTAIN WOMAN HEART!

In the next few days I shared MY certain testimony that Jesus is the very Son of God and my personal Savior with members of my family.

Now I share it again, with all of you.

I know that Jesus Christ is the very Son of God. He was born, lived a perfect life, accepted willingly to bear the burden of all the pain, sickness, sins and grief of ALL who will come unto Him, repent, be baptized, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost and endure faithfully to the end. He love EACH of His children perfectly. He wants us to be successful and return to live with Him and our Heavenly Father again. He will comfort us through all our trials, he will never leave us alone and he will never test us beyond our abilities.

I am so very grateful for my loving Savior and His selfless atonement.

Mar 9, 2017

Park Day

I LOVE taking *my* Bitties to the park! When their Mama was their age I took her and her sibs to the park so I've done lots of parks over the years.

Orem has a brand new park that is OVER THE TOP!  It is the All-Together Playground. It is 1.5 miles from their house so an easy walk for this Grammie and the Bitties in their trolley (stroller). Today was DE-lightful! One of those rare 65Âș days that come around one-in-a-while in March. We made a quick stop at Target for bagels and Bunny milk and arrived mid afternoon.

I've never seen a nicer park! Let's start with the fact that it is completely fenced in... only one way in or out! Always happy news for this Grammie! There is this wonderful composite soft cushion under every thing.

The kids found so many things that I couldn't keep up with photos of all of them... plus trying to keep an eye on this busy girl! She climbed up, around and exited all by herself.

She is absolutely fearless! She took off her shoes and socks to get down with some serious climbing!

My favorite was when three boys, all older than her watched her climb, successfully to the top of this beehive, ALL BY HERSELF and said to one another that they didn't dare try.

This little pixie-princess has me absolutely smitten!

On our way home, at the corner by Target, Fiona looked at me and nicely asked for a shake! Well, how could I refuse? We trekked across the parking lot to the Wendy's and got baby-shakes and a small order of fries. Were they ever happy little children.

Liam is not one whit behind his sister. He took his first taste of his requested (yes, just 2 and requested!) vanilla shake, smacked his lips appreciatively and said, "Yummy!" with a smile guaranteed to melt any Grammie's heart.

And even though this Grammie walks EVERY DAY I, stupidly, wore the wrong shoes and had barking piggies by the time we got back to their house. I drew up a basin of warm Epsom salts foot bath and IMMEDIATELY had two little foot sore companions, who, incidentally, rode in the trolley the whole time!

Let's just say there is now a damp spot on the carpet right about there!

When Mommy got home from work I showed her the photos and commented that Fiona is fearless. Her response was, YES! You'd never see Liam riding on the canopy of the trolley!

Wait? What??

Well, 10 days ago on Tuesday-last, when the Bitties were at Grammie's house we went for a walk (we usually do) but Grammie's trolley has oddly gotten too small for these two Bitties. We tried several different configurations but nothing was working. Finally Grammie had a bright idea. Fiona could ride on the canopy. It was great sport riding the trolley horse. We made it safely all the way down the steep hill, got this photo and then...


I changed speed too quickly and that DANG trolley horse bucked her right off, straight forward and onto her beautiful little face. Everything went into slow-mo as I watched her skid and somersault on the frozen asphalt! I quickly scooped her up, called 911-Grampy, and we both, Fiona and Grammie cried! 

This poor little lamb! I was just sick! We got her home, got an ice pack, called Mama and put Healer-Harley on the job! (Fiona says, I love Harley! He helps me feel better!)

This was that brave little face on day 3. We've both agreed that we will never do that again!

Fortunately, we know about Vitamin E and her little face looks almost better today. Only one small scab left on her forehead and new pink skin on her precious little nose. (see photos above)

I'm so grateful that these precious babies are so close and I get to be with them frequently. I'm so grateful that this little precious girl was not hurt badly!!

Feb 12, 2017

Plumbing Woes

On Friday, laster-week (2/3), I decided to get really crazy and take down my Christmas decoration! (Yes, I know, let's not be hasty!) As part of that job I decided to mop the floors since much of the furniture was already moved to facilitate that task.  I used up the last of the mopping product I use and decided I would look NOW to see if I remembered correctly- was there more under the sink?

It was providential that I made that inspection. Our kitchen sink is situated in the corner of the room on a 45 degree angle to the walls; thus making a very deep cabinet. I took out the trash can (it has to live there to keep one naughty dog out of it). I looked at the nice red gingham-checked shelf liner that I installed when I replaced the faucet a few years ago and SOMETHING just didn't look right! As I stood there trying to puzzle it out it finally dawned on me that the shelf had warped down! OMSH! There must be a leak!

Out came all of the bottles, baskets and cans that live under there. Yes, it was quite wet. I peeled up the shelf liner... YIKES it is very wet!! I finally located the source of the problem! This dirty bounder was leaking at BOTH the on/off valve and the compression valve! The on/off valve had a pin-hole leak that was spraying against the side of the cupboard and then seeping down under the shelf liner, plus down the hole into the dungeon!

I'm not sure why this valve was even in the line as, fortunately, there was a saddle valve on the cold water source pipe and I could turn off the water there.

Now that I'd temporarily stemmed the flood I went to the dungeon to see how wet it was down there!

Not good, but not horrible! The leak couldn't have been going too long or the whole place would have been a mess.

Unfortunately there were several things that were wet! A jute rug was lying flat on the floor and, although wrapped in plastic, soaked up a good portion of the water, also a 26 yard roll of upholstery fabric, chair cushions, a couple of sweat shirts that were practically dripping and then several other items that were wrapped in such a way that, although wet on the outside of the plastic, were not wet inside.

Gordon helped me lug all of this up the stairs and into the garage. I'd deal with the drying out part later, when it stopped raining.

 The most damaged items were two of these antique rubbings from the Cambodian Temple, Angkor Wat. Gordon's mom bought them when they lived there and had them framed before coming back to the States.

Wouldn't you know it? That which is the most irreplaceable!

This one had water damage on the back but it hadn't seeped through to the actual rubbing yet. These went into the family room to dry.

Next day I  spread out the rug and upholstery yardage in the garage and, after 4 days of rain, nothing was drying out! We had a sunny day on Wednesday (2/8) so as soon as we got home from the Temple Gordon helped me move the rug onto the deck and we spread out the fabric on the grass. There were big wet spots in the garage where these had been.

About 7 pm I *folded* up the fabric and schlepped it inside so it didn't get wet from the dew. I left the rug as it was still wet.

They were predicting rain so Thursday night I rolled up the rug and dragged it into the dining room. 

As soon as I got back from my daily walk Friday morning I took the fabric back out to the deck so I started rolling it back onto the slightly bent cardboard center roll. Since I'd folded it up by dragging the ends together, again and again, I was able to unfold and roll. It took me a full 20 minutes!

But I was successful. Louisa May Alcott did her best, along with Marme, Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy, to help me complete the task. (I love to be read to! Thank you Audible.)

I trussed up the two rolls like so many piggies and dragged them back down in the dungeon. I'll use the jute rug on the deck this summer, it is too smelly for indoor use. I still don't know what I'm going to do with the fabric that I've hauled around for the 15 years! Maybe Deseret Industries or Habitat for Humanity?

Amid all the damp drama I also had to replace the float mechanism in my not-even-five-year-old-toilet. I'm a little tired of DIY this week.

**So I started this post in good humor but about an hour ago I heard that a huge area south of Lake Oroville is under a mandatory evacuation order as it looks like the emergency spillway is going to fail. I'm just sick! It makes my little problem come into very sharp focus. They are in my prayers.