Saturday, December 31, 2011


This was the year of the dice game for us!  We received three different dice games for Christmas.

This one is called Left Center Right.  Each person starts with three tokens.  The dice has a  left, center, right and a dot on it.  There are three dice.  If you a roll "left" give a token to the person on your left, if you roll "right" you give to the person on your right, if you roll "center" it goes in the middle and is out of play.  The  best is the dot, because you get to keep your token.  The last person with any tokens win.  This game was fun and was a fast play.

Moose Spotting (Mike collects moose, thus the game) was fun too.  You get so many points for finding a moose when you roll.  This was fun and went fast also and is great for those times you just want a quick little game.

Farkle is such a funny word!!!  This game involves both risk and chance.  You roll dice to get points,  but if you roll and can't count any dice you get a Farkle and have to give up your turn!  This game was fast and fun too!!

Okay, so let's roll!!

Thursday, December 29, 2011


Our friend Jeremy invited Evan to go ocean kayaking at Avila Beach on Monday.  Evan was excited to go.  He had been kayaking one time before with Jeremy when he was in Boy Scouts.  Evan is not a swimmer, so of course he had on a life jacket as there is always the chance of a tip over.  

Out to San Luis Bay they go smooth as silk. They went out past Harford Pier near Whale Rock where they saw lots of cute sea otters. 

Doesn't that look relaxing. 

Time to come back in. 

Oh man, a tip over into the cold ocean water!  I am so glad that Jeremy is strong.  

(Please forgive my shaky video-photography.  Our other friends Jim and Jordan happened to be a the beach too, and borrowed one of Jeremy's kayaks.  They are first to come in on this video.  They made it safe coming in but had tipped going out. Little Jordan had to be coached to get right back on.  I am glad he did!)

This picture just seems to say, "Wow, I can't believe that happened".

Evan came up with a smile on his face!!  We helped dry him off and sat in the warm sun for a while.  Then guess what!!  They went out again!!  And they tipped again coming back in!! 

Later at dinner, we had the following conversation. 
Me:  Wow, Evan you must really trust Jeremy to go out kayaking with him.  
Evan:  Of course!!  Jeremy is my friend and friends trust friends!!

Thanks, Jeremy, I am so glad you are Evan's friend and he can trust you!  We trust you too!!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas 1976 and 2011

Just the three of us, Mike, Evan and I were home for Christmas this year.  The last time we had only three home for Christmas was 1976.   The year 1976 was filled with life changing events.  We had our first little one, David who was born in August. I ended my nursing career to become a stay-at-home mom. The end of September Mike was discharged from the Navy after serving for six years in the nuclear power program.  He was ready now to start his career. It took a few months to secure a job.  Finally, he found a job with PG&E at the Humboldt Bay Power Plant.   When Christmas came along that year, we had just moved from Vallejo, California to Eureka, California a few days before Christmas.  We rented a tiny little house, bought a tree on Christmas Eve and learned that for little ones Christmas is all about brightly colored wrapping paper and boxes.  Who needs toys??

Let me at the wrapping paper!
David loved the tree! 

Thirty-five years, 6 children and 8 grandchildren later found us home again for Christmas with just three people.  This time it was Evan at home. We enjoy his child-like innocence.  Of course, he had to get something Star Wars for Christmas!!  No wrapping paper or boxes for Evan. 

We started the season by decorating our home.  Mike loves to put up the Christmas lights and decorations.   This year we decided to hang the big ornaments that usually go on the trees on the house.  I loved it!  It came out beautiful. 

Night-time view

We went to Mesa, Arizona for a few days to celebrate with Rachel the completion of her Master's of Education degree.  It was in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in English as a Second Language.  (Say that three times fast!)   We had a Christmas devotional with Rachel and Joey before heading home.  As always we enjoyed visiting and loved the winter desert weather.  

 Rachel and Joey have two pups, Sasha and Lily.  Lily became Evan's friend!  Sasha wasn't so sure about the wheelchair. 

I love the hoods on the Master graduates! 

 Rachel was smiling pretty big during the ceremony. 

 It takes support from a loving husband to earn a Masters degree while working.  Rachel and Joey celebrating together. 

 We had fun celebrating Rachel's graduation too!!  

Now we are home getting ready for a New Year that I am sure will bring more life changing experiences.  Mike will officially be retired on January 1st. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Click to make bigger.

I love this little pilgrim girl, my daughter April, drew when she was in the second grade!!   She came home from school one day and brought me the paper and said that was her picture on the front page.  At first I didn't believe it.   How could her picture be on the front page and I didn't know about it first??  Anyway, I read the caption and had to apologize.  Then I went to go admire the real thing on the window front.  After a few weeks April brought home the original. It is one of my treasured possessions!  

I am thankful for so many blessings.  I just finished reading a book about a slave called "Someone Knows My Name".  It has really made me think deeply about all the modern conveniences I take for granted.  For instance running water, and electricity.  

Wishing you all a most Blessed Thanksgiving. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Retirement Ahead

It is foggy this morning and still dark outside as my wonderful husband leaves to head out for his last day of work.  For the past 35 years he has worked for PG&E a local public utility, The last 31 years he has been at Diablo Canyon Power Plant.  The hours have many times been long and grueling.  The job is filled with tension and stress.  But, he did it to provide for our family.  Words can not express my gratitude for his sacrifice for our family.  I am especially glad that he was able to provide for our family so that I could stay home and raise our children.  In The Family: A Proclamation to the World it states:

"By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families."
What a blessing to have a husband and father who understood the importance of his role in Heavenly Father's plan.  

Thank you, Mike.  I hope you have an enjoyable retirement.  I am sure we have many wonderful adventures before us. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Learning From Little Ones

 Earlier in the month Kyle and his baby brother Joshua and their parents came to visit us. Little ones don't get much cuter than this!! 

 Kyle is obsessed with stickers.  Can you see them on his shirt??  That is Kyle's favorite place to stick stickers!!   I liked the idea too!!  Much better than my curio cabinet!!  

 And this little one is just full of chubby cuteness!! 

 Kyle also loves to play chase. I almost caught him here!!  

When Kyle woke up, both mornings he was here, I was the only one up.  The house was still quiet and he let me cuddle him.  Oh, it feels so good to cuddle a little one!!  It was only for a minute or two at the most, but I loved it.  This first evening they were here, Katie and Brad went out for dinner to celebrate their anniversary.  About a half hour after they left Kyle started wondering around the house whimpering and crying.  I know he was looking for his mommy, but couldn't find her.  So, sad.  The next morning after our little cuddle,  he went down the hall and peeked into the bedroom.  Yep, mommy and daddy were still there, so he quietly closed the door and was happy as can be.  

What did I learn?  Well, we are here on Earth, away from our Heavenly Father. Somehow ,just knowing He is there can help us to have peace and comfort in this life.  Just like when we are little knowing Mommy and Daddy are nearby gives us comfort. 

 And this little one, well my oh my!!  He does babble so sweetly doesn't he?? He is adorable!  However, if he is away from his mommy and his tummy is grumbling. WATCH OUT!!  Joshua does NOT like to take a bottle.  I knew he was hungry, he cried and cried and cried and I tried and tried and tried to feed him a bottle. But to no avail. I know what he needed, but he had to take it himself.  I had no way help him.  Grandpa walked around with him and talked to him, and he took little cat naps, but he was NOT a happy camper, he was hungry!!  

Our Heavenly Father provides spiritual nourishment for us, through the Spirit, the scriptures and the words of Latter-Day Prophets.  But, we have to partake of these things.  He can not force them on us.  If we fill ourselves we are happy!!

Thank you, my little ones for teaching me. Came back often I miss you!!   

Monday, August 8, 2011


MOM!!  Evan yelled as we were getting ready for church yesterday.  I calmly headed to his room and told him "my, it sounds urgent"!  He was on his bed putting on his pants (that is how you get dressed when your legs don't work).  Almost panicky he says, "a spider just crawled into my pant leg!!  Luckily, he hadn't put them on yet.  Oh, I guess I should tell you that Evan is extremely afraid of spiders!!  Well, anyway, I took the pants, turned the pant legs inside out and a cute little brown spider crawls out unto the bed.  I grabbed a tissue smushed the spider and flushed it down the toilet.  Now, I have to say that usually I just grab a spider catcher, and let it go outside.  Spiders don't really bug me (ha ha, pun intended) and I like the way they eat the nasty mosquitoes!  But, the spider catcher wasn't nearby and I didn't want Evan freaking out to bad.  When all was said and done I ask Evan, "Well, what kind of mom am I".  Thinking in my head he would say awesome or wonderful or something like that.  "Heroic!" he exclaims!!  So, there you go, if you squash an itsy bitsy spider that is so much smaller than you are and save the day you can be heroic too!! 

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Faces really don't get any cuter than these two little ones, Thomas and Corbin do they? I love their big innocent brown eyes!

After a few days in the Redwoods, Mike and I spent some time with April and her family. 

We sure love her two little boys and enjoyed spending time with them.  We went to the park.  Can you believe little Corbin? He feel asleep on the way to the park and continued to sleep with all the noise around?  We played bocce ball, and went for walks.  We also went shopping and just hung out.  We realized a couple of things about Thomas.  He does NOT like to play Grandpa's game of wild footsies.  Mikes chases the little ones and tickles their feet.  Thomas would say "NO", if Mike pointed to his wild footsies. Then Thomas would point to his brother Corbin to let Grandpa know he had the wild footsies to chase.  Too funny!!

Early one morning Mike and I went for a walk around the Sacramento temple grounds.  We found these invaders within the temple gates.  Look at those antlers.  Those guys were hungry!!

Our July was busy and fun.  We enjoyed seeing family that we miss so much.  As they say "there is no place like home" and we were happy to come back to our home and the cool air of the Central Coast.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Flying Through the Redwood Forest

While Evan attend Camp Harmon in the Santa Cruz mountains, Mike and I were able to spend a couple of days by ourselves.
We decided to try the Redwood Canopy Tours. This is a zipline through the redwood forest.  Actually, it is several ziplines, six to be exact.  You go from platform to platform via zipline.  The highest platform is about only 146 feet above the ground. It sounded fun and scary all at the same time.  You can get a better feel for what we did by clicking on the Redwood Canopy Tour hyperlink.

First thing they do is get you set up in a harness, helmet and gloves.  You see it's all very safe.  Then you have a practice line where they teach you the correct way to zip.  You can see the practice line there in the background by our tour guide.   I volunteered to be the first to give it a try.  And I immediately had forgotten the instructions on how to brake myself.  Good thing we got to practice.  I had to do a lot of deep breathing and talk myself into not being scared to death. 

The first two zips were pretty scary. My biggest fear was being stuck out in the middle of the line and having to pull myself in with my arms.  I just didn't want to be hanging there. But, they teach you how to go fast and I didn't have a problem.  So, then I just decided to enjoy the ride!!

The trees were beautiful and there was a creek below.  At each platform our guides would teach about the amazing redwood forest. 
We even had this amazing rope bridge to cross at the same time there were people zipping by overhead!!

 I was actually sad to see the time end, and I definitely want to do this again next year. 

After the zipline we drove to Big Basin State Park to hike around. 

We found a pretty little waterfall to enjoy.

I love being in the redwood trees.  It was so relaxing.


Thursday, August 4, 2011

The month of July was fun for us because we were able to see each of our children and grandchildren. We also were able to spend time in the Temple with each one of our adult children. Now, that was really special!! I think I broke my personal record for number of visits to the Temple in one month. The grand number was four. At four different Temples!!

We started in the Mount Timpanogos Temple in Utah. All three of our sons were there with us. What a special treat!

I was able to spend some time by myself in the Saint George Utah Temple. We have been on the grounds of this temple numerous times and toured the Visitors Center that is onsite. However, I had never entered in before. This historic temple is extremely beautiful inside and I had a wonderful uplifting time.

A few days later we met our two youngest daughters Katie and Rachel along with their husbands to attend the Redlands California Temple. I love the stained glass in this temple. (Thank you, Rachel and Joey for driving the long hours from Mesa to make this happen.)

Then the very next weekend we went with April to the Sacramento California Temple. It was wonderful sitting in the Celestial Room with her.

These four temples now have a special place in my heart. I love the Temple and the peace and Spirit I feel inside.

This short video explains the blessings of the temple. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Musical Playground

One afternoon while in Moab we discovered a wonderful park.  

At first it seemed like just any ordinary park.  However, in a distant corner there was magic just waiting to happen!! 

Musical magic!!  We had found a musical park, filled with wonderful instruments!!

There were xylophones of all shapes and sizes.  

 And there were drums....

and gongs....

All just waiting for children of all ages and sizes to create melodies and harmonies galore! 

Andrew took to playing the drums very seriously!!  If you listen in the background that is Spencer playing "Ode to Joy" on one of the xylophones. 

Evan loved playing the bells. 

These bells spun and sounded just like wind chimes.  So beautiful! 

And the gongs added to the other music in the background!

I can't tell you much I loved this park.  It inspired me so much!! The kids have a blast running here and there trying out the different musical instruments.  I really want something like this in my community.  So, I have been talking to some people and have some ideas.  We will see what happens.  You can see more about these wonderful instruments here at by clicking on Freenotes

Oh, and to end our musical adventure, Evan got stuck in the sand in his power wheelchair.   (I would have made the park more accessible, some of the instruments sat in the sand)  Anyway, we had to get him into his manual wheelchair to push his power chair out of the sand.  Not sure how it all happened, but then  David decided he could race Evan.  Here is how that went down!!

 Go Evan!!!

Disclaimer:  I apologize for the quality of the pictures and video, there was a smudge on my lens and I couldn't really tell because the sun was so bright.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Arches and Canyons

After a few days playing in the Provo area we headed to Moab, Utah with David and family, to visit Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park.  I have been wanting to go there for several years now but never had the chance.  It was well worth the wait. 

Our first stop was a Prehistoric Museum in the Price, Utah.  Evan had a close call, but luckily survived.

Leah, Spencer, Andrew and Evan enjoyed all the fossils and artifacts at this museum.

Arches National Park did not disappoint me.  It was amazing.  So many wonders to see.  Like this rock.  How did it get there??  How does it balance??

It was fun touring the park with David and his family.  This rock is actually called "Balanced Rock". 

Evan enjoyed the Park as well. 

This group of rocks is called "The Gossipers".  Can't you just hear them talking??

This reminded me of Half Dome in Yosemite. 

 The next day we headed out to Island in the Sky part of Canyonlands National Park. 

Pictures just do not do this place justice.  It was so beautiful. 

You see could for miles and miles. 

We stayed in a cabin along the Colorado River.  It was running fast and high. 

I love how early in the morning the rocks reflect in the water. 

We also took time to visit Dead Horse Point State Park.  It had more amazing views.

And the Colorado River was really close.  The story goes that there was wild horses who were left on this point. They could not figure out the way to get down and they died for lack of water, with the water right below them.  So sad.

This bumble bee was having a grand old time.

We also saw amazing Native American rock paintings.  This is a bear with a small hunter in the front and rear. 

This painting shows people with weapons and different animals

 Every afternoon we had thunder storms.  I loved it, it kept the air from getting unbearably hot!!  Evan hated it!  The last night that David and family camped a huge monsoon passed by, just at dinner time.  They were camping in a tent near our cabin.  We rushed in to eat our dinner inside.  The dinner by the way was one of Sariah's creations.  Pork chops with sweet potatoes in a foil dinner.  Yummy!! 

The very best part of the storms are the rainbows that follow. 

One evening, Mike, Evan and I took a cruise down the Colorado.

It was just at sunset time and so peaceful and beautiful!!

On our way home we stopped at a city along the Green River for lunch.  This was our view from the restaurant.  The river here was flowing high too.

The Museum across from the restaurant had this huge watermelon float.  

These are just some silly boys I know...

and their adorable sister.   
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