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.

Feb 10, 2017

Lions, [No] Tigers and Bears, Oh My!

Yesterday, for the first time in decades, Grammie went to the Zoo! Sweet Stephanie suggested that we take the little people to the zoo. What a fabulous idea! (My boys did an awesome job of choosing me daughters!)

The last time I visited Hogle Zoo was when I was a teenager! MY littles and I used to go frequently to the LA Zoo when they were children.

Our first stop was the giraffe exhibit! The middle-size giraffe was licking (yes, LICKING) the building. If you are able to zoom in you can see her dark blue tongue.

Just the size differences made me wonder if this was a little family. Plus, I've never seen such a light-colored giraffe as the licker!

I asked Steph to take a photo of me and she commented... how did you do this with your own three little ones. Well, I didn't go very many places when they were this young!

Our next stop was this huge stylized elephant statue. At first Liam wanted nothing to do with this behemoth. He is very leery of animals and stomping elephants in particular! Aren't these the most beautiful girls?

By the time we visited the statue later he was brave enough to get out and see it up close. I think it helped that when he saw the real elephants they weren't stomping at all, but napping! One was even lying down!

Our next stop was the lions! Yeah for lions! It was fun to see that there were several adult females, an adult male (or two?) and two juveniles, one of each sex. The little male was just starting to grow his ruff! So cute.

Camille's school just did a production of Lion King Jr (and they were the sound managers) so we discussed which lion was which character! This very agreeable fellow was lying right on the other side of this glass. The big muddy paw smear on his side of the glass was not lost on this Grammie!

 Miss Emmy also got a close view of this big boy!

Fiona enjoyed the animal statues almost as much as the actual animals.

THIS PHOTO!  There's a little deja vu here! (Seal watching.)

It is so evocative of one taken of MY littles almost 28 years ago... Spencer, Camille and Stuart at Disneyland August 1989.

The otter exhibit was next, but not an otter to be found. They did, however, find a dandy log to climb on and play peek-a-boo through knot holes. These sweet cousins, who are 19 weeks apart, often look like cousin-twins!

But this is the animal that Fiona most wanted to see! The paw-ler bear! This dandy girl put on quite a show just for *her* Fiona! She'd push off backwards and float for about 15 feet then...

flip over and swim back in the other direction on her stomach.

Back and forth, back and forth. I took a video of it and the kids eagerly followed her progress.

She finally got out, shook off and then relieved herself. "That paw-ler bear is going potty!" Fiona announced. (Which is also why we knew this bear was a girl.) We thought it very proper of her NOT to make peeps in the swimming pool!

Auntie Nie-Nie treated us to garlic knots at the zoo Beastro and a carousel ride, sans Liam and Grammie. Those animals are just too scary!

We had a lovely afternoon. And, not surprisingly all three babies were asleep within 5 minutes of getting into the cars to drive home.

Jan 17, 2017

Memories of Christmases Past

Yes, I know that it is now January 17 and Christmas was almost a month ago but this is a post that needs to be written instead of just inserted into my 2016 Blog book as I've done with other photos.

I always decorate early for Christmas, well, early for me! As soon as we've had our Thanksgiving, always on the 3rd Sunday in November, I love to bring out my favorite Christmas things. And they are always up for a couple of months. When Spencer was a child I usually had to *quick-take-down-Christmas* so we could have his birthday party on the 22nd! (And, yes, they are still up this year.)

I have A LOT, TOTES-FULL, of Christmas decorations. Many of them never emerge from the dungeon... I just don't have the heart to get them out. So about 4 totes are labeled *YES*.When I saw this lovely, living in one of the *YES* totes, I knew I wanted to put it out this year.

Decades ago rotten rodents got into the, then, cardboard box of Christmas decorations and chewed holes in this treasure, along with other items that are irreplaceable.

Reading this tag that my Mama taped there 43 years ago feels like a message coming through time. I know she still wishes me love, peace and joy. She knew all too well the heartache that comes at Christmas time when you have loved ones who have gone on before. Her mother died on December 19, 1927 when my Mama was only 14.

I briefly considered putting it on the floor, around my 3 trees, before realizing that if it was there it would get too much abuse from one *stupid-dog* Harley as he launched himself off the chair to go bark at the latest distraction he'd spied.

I settled on putting it on the chest with one of my creches on top. Why hadn't I thought about that before?

I may have hit on a new tradition. It has been so happy to have a little bit of my Mama around this season.

Jan 8, 2017

It's All About My Finger!

 I've said this before, I'm pretty sure that most people really don't care what I blog about BUT since this is MY blog I get to choose what goes here! I kinda like that!

I've been editing my way though my 2016 blog book and have gotten to all of the drama about hacking off the side of my finger last June with my rotary cutter. I took lots of photos, few of which turned up here, on Instagram or Facebook. I save the gnarly ones, or should I say I save my friends from the gnarly ones. The brave of heart can come read my blog book if they are really that interested.

I've added periodic photo updates on the healing process to my book. It is still startling to me how long it took to finally heal. I guess that was a whole-hunk-a-lot-o-skin to grow back. I'm just grateful for a strong and healthy body. I didn't have any infections or complications. I do still have some soreness on the outside of that poor little fingee!

I was showing Deborah and Camille my finger while they were here at Christmas time and told them that previously this had been my favorite finger.

They laughed! Who has a favorite finger? Well, me I guess! I just liked the shape of the finger, the nail bed and slight twist to it. Odd, but there you are.

So this is the healed digit tonight- nearly 7 months later.

I still have a flat, hard spot right along the cuticle where I think it is still trying to fill in that gaping hole.

But this is the one that shows just how much is still gone. It used to be plump on both sides!

And you know I always have a funny story...

We had a spiral cut ham while Spencer's family was here. It was delicious! I normally put the ham bone aside to make split-pea soup but the sliced ham went so fast that I pulled it out of the freezer and was going to slice up what was left. Deb was sitting at the counter talking to me. With my first cut I absentmindedly put the sharp blade right on the nail of that same finger...

Deb said, "Grammie, I'm taking that knife away from you!"

Thanks for saving me from myself sweetie!!