Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Birthday To My Favorite Son

Today I want to wish you a very Happy Birthday and describe you along the way:










Happy & Husbandly*



You-nique **

Jaunty ***



I hope your day is as special as you are. I love you!

* A word you made up, but that fits none the less.
** You try coming up with another adjective that starts with Y.
*** Bet you didn't see that one coming. It means 'having a self-confident air.'

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Summer Fun Continues

In late August, my daughter and her boys came to visit us for almost two weeks. When we had last seen Little Buddy, in Lake Tahoe, he hadn't been very happy. He didn't willingly come to any of us and he preferred, in fact demanded, to spend all of his time with his mommy. When I picked them up at the airport I decided that I would just ignore Little Buddy and let him come to me in his own time. The Rock Star came running (literally) out of the terminal and jumped into my arms. He gave me the biggest bear hug, all the while telling me how much he loved me, how much he had missed me and how excited he was to be here. Of course my heart melted. My daughter told me that he had been telling everyone on the plane that he was coming to see his Grandma. About that time, I felt a little hand patting me on the leg. I looked down and Little Buddy was grinning from ear to ear. I bent down and hugged him and we were best friends for the rest of the visit. Apparently, if you do things the Little Buddy's way it works out better for everyone.

We had a busy week. The weather started out boiling so we went to the pool. The Rock Star promptly got stung by a bee and screamed bloody murder. In his mind that bee must have been the size of a B52 bomber for all the ruckus he made. Grandpa got the stinger out immediately, but he still needed the lifeguard to put three band aids on his foot. We spent a lot of time in the pool, the spa and at my sister's pool.

We planned a beach trip with my son and daughter-in-law. Of course it was freezing that day. We made the best of it and the boys seemed to have a good time, even if the rest of us wished we had parkas!

Of course we had to visit Grandpa at work. That just goes without saying. It is also imperative that each and every helicopter is properly sat in. I just adore the first picture of Grandpa and his boys.

Our son-in-law arrived and we ended their visit with a camping trip. We had a big group. Our son and daughter-in-law joined us, along with her parents and several of our friends. The boys made new friends with Nevaeh and Trinity. They played for hours, went fishing and made s'mores. There was a huge pile of rocks near our campsite that all of the kids climbed on. Little Buddy followed, climbed to the top and screamed "Dad" while waving frantically. Almost as if to say, "Look at me. I'm all grown up and playing with the big kids." About every 5 minutes he would scream dad again. He was so excited to be playing with the bigger kids. The Rock Star caught his first fish. Little Buddy slept in a tent for the first time and The Rock Star slept on the top bunk in the trailer with Grandma and Grandpa. THAT was something special! The adults played a ladder golf tournament. We all ate way too much and the weekend went way too fast.

When the weekend was over, it was time for my daughter and her family to head back to 'that other state that they live in' so that the Rock Star could start pre-school. Hubby and I went home to prepare to leave for another vacation in just a few days. More on that to follow, but we were definitely blessed to have some quality time this summer with family and friends.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Summer 2010

Wow! According to the calendar, it's fall. According to the thermometer on my patio, in the shade, it's finally summer. It's currently 96 degrees. A great improvement from yesterday's record breaking 109. I'm ready for fall, but certainly enjoyed all that the summer had to offer.

We started out the summer camping at Pinezanita with some of our good friends over Memorial Day weekend. It's a great way to kick off the summer season each year and it's close to home. It gives us a chance to relax and get the trailer out of storage.

In July we went to Lake Tahoe. Hubby and I were at the cabin for 2 full weeks. Our daughter and her boys for 11 days. Our son and daughter-in-law for a week and our son-in-law for 5 days. The cabin was a little crowded, but we had a good time. We got to visit family in Reno. My cousin and her husband came up for the day and some great friends from Auburn spent a day with us too.

We packed a lot of fun into the time we had together as a family. I invite you to take a look:

The next time I blog I will share with you my daughter's visit in September and our Labor Day camping trip.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Happy Happy Birthday

I just wanted to wish my beautiful daughter a very Happy 29th Birthday!! I do have one question though. How is it that I'm turning 29 again and now you're turning 29? Oh well, math never was my strong point.

This picture was taken this weekend while we were all camping together. I think it's obvious that I need to learn some basic math skills.......

I hope you have a wonderful day! I love you!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Rock Star Is 4!!!!

Dear Rock Star,

Wow, how time flies. It seems like just yesterday when I was writing this post about how I had blinked my eyes and you had turned 3. I even said in it that before I knew it I would be wishing you a Happy 4th Birthday.
Just to put it into perspective, here are a couple of pictures that show just how big you've gotten:

This year you grew in leaps and bounds. You went from calling me Damma to Dramma to Grandma. I think when you said Grandma correctly, the first time, a little piece of me felt sad. There aren't many words that you can't say correctly now. You talk constantly and you are so funny. I shared some of the funny things you have said in this post.

You started pre-school. In the beginning you weren't so sure that it was something that you wanted to keep doing, but by the end you were sad that you had to take a summer break. You learned to recognize all of your letters. You made new friends and started expanding your world.

Your personality melts my heart. In so many ways you are like your Uncle Jon when he was a little boy. You have such a tender little heart. When I hurt my back sledding with you in January, you were such a sweet little boy. You worried about Grandma and asked repeatedly if I was ok and if I was getting better. You sat right beside me and gave me extra hugs and kisses.

On your special day this year we should all be together at Lake Tahoe. You have been so excited to go. You talk about going rafting with your grandpa and jumping in the cold water. He talks about taking you fishing and creek hopping. I've even heard some talk about going crawdadding. I can't wait to take pictures of you and your brother as you explore all that Tahoe has to offer. I am happy that we all get to share your special day with you. You have requested that we go to dinner at The Bridgetender so that we can sit right by the river. You want 'dirt cake' with 'worms and rats' in it for dessert. You told your mommy that you want 'fire' on top of the cake. What a fun day this should be.

I can't even begin to tell you just how much I love you. It has been a joy and a privilege to watch you grow and change over the past 4 years. You are the one who made me a grandma. I love you and wish you a fun filled year ahead.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Get Better N

I was reminded today of how quickly life can change. This is the story of two friendships and, for me, this is a reminder to never take anything for granted.

A couple of years ago, I met a woman I'll call K while I was out walking my dog. Our dogs were instantly drawn to each other. Both are large, gentle breed dogs. We would run into each other so frequently that we began to talk and share our lives. Our dogs would walk side by side or play together at the park or in my front yard. We have a lot in common, K and I. Our children went to school together, my old boss is a member of the church K's husband pastors, both she and her husband and my husband and I have a love for travel. After vacations we eagerly meet, while out walking, to give one another the details of our trips. K and her husband are beautiful people, inside and out, and often running into them is one of the highlights of my day.

Running into their dog, N, is definitely one of the highlights of my dog, Sierra's day. Sierra is getting older and her walks have become shorter, but she always has energy when N is around. They've become such good buddy's that often N won't take a dog cookie from K when offered it, preferring to drop it and let Sierra have it. He is quite the gentleman. Just last Thursday, N and Sierra shared a good roll in the damp grass together in my front yard.

I received a phone call from K this morning telling me that N is very very sick and is fighting for his life. N has contracted an auto-immune disease and the vet doesn't know if he is going to make it. K says that there were no symptoms of anything being wrong. N was fine one moment and gravely ill several hours later. N is only 6 years old and in the prime of his life. There is a multitude of good sniffs that N hasn't sniffed yet. There are balls to chase, grass to roll in and cookies that still need to be shared with Sierra.

While K and her husband were sitting with N yesterday they were trying to talk to him and encourage him to get better. They asked him where each of their children were and he would move his eyes around the room. Then, for some reason, they asked him where Sierra was. He picked up his head and looked around the room. He was looking for his doggy girlfriend and he had perked up slightly.

K asked me today if she could come and rub a towel on Sierra to take to the vet's to have N sleep with. She thought that since he seemed to respond to her name that perhaps he would really respond to her scent. Of course I agreed. I then got the idea to get one of Sierra's stuffed toys and send it to the vet with K. Sierra chewed on it some and layed on it and got it good and doggy gross. K came over and rubbed a towel all over Sierra, wrapped the stuffed toy in it, and headed to the vet to sit with her precious N.

I know, that to many, N is just a dog, but this story just touches my heart. Because of two dogs that needed to be walked, I made a new friend. From N's response, when hearing Sierra's name, it's obvious that two dogs made friends as well. Get well N. We are praying for you. The trails are still calling your name.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Conversations With A Three Year Old

I was able to recently spend about 2.5 weeks with my grandsons. Part of the time they were here and then I spent a week with them while my son-in-law was out of the country. I have determined that my oldest grandson, The Rock Star, is a motor mouth. He comes by it naturally. After all, his mommy never shut up and well, she might have gotten it from me. I'm told that my mom was also quite the conversationalist when she was little. So, it's a long line of DNA and that's just on one side of the family. Basically, if the Rock Star's eyes are open his mouth is moving. Some of the conversations are down right hilarious.

One morning I was getting him ready to go to visit his cousins. I told him that I had a hair appointment. This was the conversation that followed:

Rock Star: Gramma, why do you have to go do somping to your hair.
Me: Because I need to make myself beautiful.
Rock Star: But, gramma, you already are beautiful!
And that is why he will always be my favorite "oldest" grandson.
One day we went to visit his grandpa at work. Afterwards I asked him if he wanted to go to the mall to walk around and have some lunch. He said yes. When we got to the parking structure the following was heard from the backseat:

Rock Star: (attitude galore in his voice and muttered just audibly) This better be good.
Me: What better be good?
Rock Star: The Mall. (said like someone resigning them self to cleaning toilets with their toothbrush)
I laughed out loud. I couldn't help myself. I honestly thought I had a 13 year old in the backseat.
In the mornings, after he woke up, he would come and lay in bed with me. Usually it was too early for him to be up and making noise so I would turn on cartoons. He would watch and I would try and steal a few more minutes of sleep. One night he and his grandpa had slept in a tent in the family room. This is a common occurrence when he sleeps at our house. It is too cute to watch the two of them embark on an adventure right in the family room. Several trips ago, while sleeping in the tent, The Rock Star had a bad dream. He dreamt that a wolf was in the family room and it bit his hand. Ever since then he has had to make sure that there is no wolf in the family room. This particular morning when he came into my room the following conversation took place:

Me: Is Grandpa still asleep?
Rock Star: Nope, he is laying in his sweeping bag with the flashing light on.
Me: Why is he doing that?
Rock Star: He always watches for the woof when we sleep in the tent. He doesn't want it to get me.

When I was at his house there were several more adorable conversations. Sometimes I'm not even sure how his little brain thinks the way it does. The thought processes are beyond funny.

One of the days while I was visiting it was warm. My daughter noticed a trail of ants in the living room, just inside the door. She went to look for ant spray. The Rock Star instantly went into 'man of the house' mode. He carefully inspected the situation. Then he looked at me. I was sitting clear across the room. The following directions occurred:

Rock Star: Grandma, get EVERYTHING up on the couch so the ants can't pinch you!

I'm pretty sure I looked like I was hiding from a rodent, but I was certainly safe.

One morning he came downstairs and made the following statement:

"Grandma, Mom was a weird child."
One day I was curling my hair. I had half of it down so that I could curl it and the other half was standing straight up in the air with a clip in it. It looked a lot like a palm tree on top of my head. The Rock Star and I had the following conversation:

Me: Should I go out like this?

Rock Star: Yes

Me: Does my hair look good like this:

Rock Star: NO!!!

Typical man. He was going to let me make a fool of myself.

The Rock Star had pre- school one day and it was his day for show and tell. Fewer and fewer of his words are said incorrectly. When they are they are still so cute. I try to type them the way he says them. Like somping for something and woof for wolf etc. This particular day he came to show me what he was taking to school:

The Rock Star: Grandma, I'm taking my Terrible-dactyl to pea-school for show and tell.

He had to go to the pediatrician while I was visiting. While we were driving he asked his mom if he had to have a shot. She told him that she didn't think he did. A few moments went by and then this came from the back seat:

Rock Star: This is just not a good day. Am I having a bad hair day?
Then there is the magazine cover. My son-in-law receives a publication of Biblical Archeology Review. It had come in the mail and was laying on the kitchen counter. The Rock Star found it and was looking at the cover. On the cover were several statues. One of them was shown from the front and the other two or three from the back. These are old, biblical time statues. They are not wearing any clothes. Here is the conversation:

The Rock Star: Mom????

Mom: What?

The Rock Star: (very quietly) Look.....bums.

My daughter tried to explain to him that they weren't real people, but that they were statues. How do you explain a statue to a 3 year old? We are certain he thought his dad was receiving something totally dirty. My daughter can't wait until he tells the entire church about his daddy's magazines with 'bums.'
Last, but not least, is my favorite. We were driving and my daughter was telling me a story about a conversation she had had recently with my son-in-law.

My Daughter: And then Troy said that I was ornery.

The Rock Star: Who's horny?

Still laughing. Surprised we didn't get into an accident.

There is never a dull moment when The Rock Star is around. You have to watch everything that you say. He hears and repeats everything, but he sure can make you laugh.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

God Does Not Promise Skies Always Blue!

The last few years our family has been through a lot. We lost my mom to cancer, our daughter and family moved to 'that other state,' taking our grandson with them and then they found themselves in the middle of a contested adoption. Along the way, there have been other daily nuisances to deal with, but those are just the big things. Of course there has been joy along the way as well. My son married the love of his life and some aspects of the adoption were just as much a joy as a trial.

That's just it, people think that when they become a Christian, everything is going to be perfect. That knowing and walking with Jesus will somehow give us a pass from all of the hurt, pain and ugliness that is life on this earth. Nothing could be farther from the truth. In fact, Jesus tells us that just the opposite will happen.

Just this week, in a monthly publication we receive called the Silver Star, I stumbled upon the following article. It is written by Chaplain Carey Norman and posted with his permission:

The first century stoic Epictetus penned these insightful words, "It isn't your problems that are bothering you, it is the way you are looking at them."

A contemporary writer shared the same thought with these words, "Most of our difficulties in life boil down to 10 percent circumstances and 90 percent perspective."

Contrary to what a few of those flamboyant television evangelists with their permanent smiles would have us believe (i.e. "walk with God and you'll never have a care" or "if you have enough faith, you'll always be healthy and wealthy"), God never promised any of his children a divine exemption from problems, trials, disappointments, or hardship. In fact, Jesus plainly taught us, "In this world, you shall have tribulation." Difficulty, trial, and suffering are a part of the human experience. There's just no getting around that reality of life.

What then should be our perspective toward such things? Groaning about our woes? Complaining about our lot in life? Blaming others and God for our difficulties? Unfortunately, many of us choose to respond to life's setbacks in such ways. In fact, complaining seems to have become a favorite American past time.

Many of us spend an inordinate amount of time complaining about the job, the boss, the government, the Chargers, the wife, the kids....well, you get the picture. Although many of us seem to enjoy our griping and complaining, in all my years of ministry, I've never seen groaning, complaining or blaming others improve any one's situation. On the other hand, I have seen such responses make bad situations even worse.

As strange as it might seem to us at first glance, the Bible actually encourages us to respond to life's difficulties with joy. The apostle James writes, "Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials; knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance."

James is not encouraging us to become masochists who love pain and who can't wait for life's next disappointment. What he is challenging us to understand is that God allows trial in our lives for a good purpose, namely, to produce endurance, staying power, and spiritual stamina. There's an old saying in the weightlifting business, "No Pain? No Gain!" In other words, if the muscles aren't hurting, not much real value is coming from the workout. That slogan fits our situation in life as well.

Most of us have experienced difficult and challenging periods in our lives. Given the choice, most of us would probably not want to go through them again. Yet, at the same time, we can often look back and say, "While I didn't enjoy the problems, I did learn a lot about life from them, and I can honestly say that I'm a stronger and better person because of them."

Understanding that God allows trials in our lives, not to break us but to make us the people He wants us to be can go a long way in helping us not only to endure the hard time, but even to find some measure of joy and satisfaction in the midst of the them.

I think old Epictetus was on to something when he said, "It isn't your problems that are bothering you, it is the way you are looking at them."

As Grandparents, we walked the path of this contested adoption right along side our daughter and son-in-law. Everyday we prayed for the desires of our hearts and, of course, that would be to keep our little grandson right where he was. We also prayed that ultimately God's will would be done and that He would give us the strength and the faith to get through whatever His plan was. As most of you know, Little Buddy is going to stay right where he is. The whole story isn't ours to tell, but God worked in a mighty way providing an outcome that none of saw coming. That is the beauty of a relationship with our heavenly Father. Just when we think we have something all figured out He lets us know that we are clueless.

Through all of this we tried to make sure that we were a witness to our faith. To give God the glory on the bad days as well as the good. We tried to show others that we believed that, whatever the outcome, we served a perfect God. A God who doesn't make mistakes. We certainly didn't succeed all of the time. We didn't even come close. We had our moments when we were simply 'over it.' That being said, we tried not to ask why them? Our daughter and son-in-law never wavered in their faith. Our little grandson's faith was developing under the weight of this trial and what an amazing faith he has. They KNEW that God was in control of this every step of the way and that they were right where God wanted them to be. They didn't ask for it, but they didn't question it either. We are so proud of the witness they were during this whole process.

Thank you to all of the people who came alongside us in this journey. Lifting us up when we needed it, listening when we needed it, praying without ceasing and just letting us know that you were there. It meant the world to us. Special thanks to my sister's on the Women's Ministry Board, the men on the Elder Board, our amazing Life Group and all those who prayed beside us for these past 14 months. (Teri, I would have never made it without those morning pancakes.) What a comfort and a joy to have you in our lives! We love all of you!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

'Officially' Introducing Our Grandson!!!!!

This morning, in a judge's chamber, in that other state our daughter and family live in, Little Buddy officially became a forever member of our family!

It's been a long road Little Buddy! Grandma and Grandpa are so happy for your Daddy, Mommy and big Brother! We can't wait to give you a kiss as our 'official' grandson. We Love You!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Happy Birthday Buddy!

One year ago today God blessed our family with an amazing gift. You were born! Your mommy and daddy named you Matthew David and in that moment they became parents again, we welcomed another grandson and The Rock Star became a big brother. The moment that we held you we fell in love with you. Your were perfect in every way.

When you, mommy and daddy left the hospital we were blessed to have you stay with us for a few days before you went home to Utah. Then Grandma got to drive home to Utah with you, mommy and your brother. Papa and Grandma both wish that we could see you and your brother all the time. We are lucky to be able to see you as much as we do. I thought I'd share our visits with you. You can see just how fast you have grown up.

The next time we saw you was at Easter. You were already developing a cute little personality. You were starting to smile and you loved to cuddle. Grandma and Papa were so thankful for the time we got to spend with you. We went on an Easter egg hunt and spent time at a couple of parks, but most of all we just loved holding you.

The next time we saw you was in July. You were almost 5 months old. You had changed so much. You were laughing out loud and trying to sit up by yourself. I'm pretty sure you were rolling over by then too. Your brother had taken to calling you 'Little Buddy.'We think that you think that is what you real name is because that is what we all call you. We had so much fun with you on that trip. You loved baths and the opportunity to kick and kick until you got the person giving you the bath soaking wet.

You loved water in general and we enjoyed a day at the pool.

Grandma and papa would take you and your brother on long walks after dinner. Sometimes we ended up at the park. You already liked the slides.

Mommy even introduced you to solids while we were there because she knew how much we would want to watch.
In August you came for a quick visit. Grandma and Papa took you to the beach. You thought it was a lot of fun, but decided to sleep through it. You loved the spa and going for walks in the stroller. You were trying really hard to crawl and you were sitting up all by yourself.

In September when you came you were almost 7 months old. By now it was apparant that you were a real charmer. You knew how to work a room and people couldn't help but comment on how cute you were. We were busy while you were here. We went to the pool and the Wild Animal Park.

We took you to see Papa's helicopters and you could sit up in them like a big boy.

You were crawling everywhere too!

And you danced with your mommy at your Uncle's wedding.

You were even one of the only males allowed at MVCC's Women's Retreat.

In October, Grandma got to come to Utah for your mommy's Women's Retreat. An added bonus was seeing you for a few days. You were trying to figure out how to pull yourself up to stand. I told your mom that she was going to be in a world of trouble because you were in a big hurry to be a big boy.

The next time we saw you, it was Christmas. You were taking steps, getting into everything. Feeding yourself and growing like a weed. You loved to torment the dog and your brother.

You looked so cute in your Christmas outfit.

And in the matching outfits Grandma bought you and your brother.

We took you out to watch mommy and Papa blow snow off of the driveway one morning. The noise of the snow blower promptly put you to sleep.

We had a great visit. The best part was getting one of your hugs.

In February, you came to visit Grandma and Papa. While you were here we went to the Wild Animal Park and Sea World. You are walking everywhere and trying so hard to be as big as your brother.

Your visit was just three weeks before your actual birthday so we decided that we should celebrate with friends and family while you were here.. What a fun day you had. I doubt that any little boy has enjoyed their birthday cake more.

You even tried to open a few of your presents, but found it to be tiring work.

Today you will officially be one. Mommy and Daddy have chosen today to dedicate you to the Lord. Grandma and Papa wish that we could be there to celebrate with you. Even though we don't get to see you as often as we would like, we treasure the times we do spend together! We are so blessed to have you as our grandson! We hope that we get to see you tons this year! Before any of us know it, you will be two. We can't wait to see you change and grow and become a toddler. Have a very Happy Birthday Little Buddy! We love you!