Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!!!

Merry Christmas to all of our family and friends.  We have had a very fun December, filled with traditions of the season.  Women's Christmas Dinner, dinner parties, white elephant exchanges, shopping, decorating, baking, Christmas light viewing, fires in the fireplace, gift wrapping and, well, you get the picture.  Tonight we enjoyed Mountain View's Christmas Eve Candlelight service.  It always helps me to be able to relax and rein myself in to focus on what is really important about Christmas.  The birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Perhaps Dr. Seuss summed it up best when he wrote:

Then the Grinch thought of something that he hadn't before.  What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store?  What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more?

Thanking Jesus for the real reason for the season.

Merry Christmas everyone.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

We Love You Sierra!

Today we had to make the painful decision to have our 14 year old Golden Retriever, Sierra, put to sleep.  She was no longer able to get up and down without help and she was clearly telling us that she was hurting.  It only seemed right to love her enough to end her pain.

She was an amazing dog.  She became part of our family in August of 1998.  She was an adorable puppy.  Full of energy and as mischievous as they come.  We affectionately nicknamed her 'Devil Dog.' 
She destroyed many a drip system because her love for water demanded that she chew on the hoses.  There are puppy teeth marks on the leg of one of my kitchen table chairs because the leg 'just hopped in her mouth.'  She refused to learn her name because, if she did, she would be required to listen.  She had a habit of stealing things and swallowing them whole.  Lucky for her, they usually came out the next day looking exactly like they went in.  (Sorry if that's TMI).  I distinctly remember a pair of knee high nylons and a scrunchy that she stole right out of my friends hair.  When scolded, in those early days, she would silently talk back by moving her mouth up and down while staring at you. Just about the time we thought she was going to be the death of us, she outgrew the puppy stage and became the best dog we have ever owned.

She knew how to love unconditionally.  She adored our daughter, and spent an entire day laying in a recliner chair after Lori had her wisdom teeth pulled.  She wasn't allowed on furniture, but her need to be close to Lori, to make sure she was ok, threw that rule temporarily out the window.  When Lori went away to school, Sierra missed her so much that she got sick.  The vet diagnosed her as being depressed.  She loved Lori that much.  The first time Lori came home from school Sierra laid in her lap and wouldn't get up.

Our son was always difficult to get up in the mornings.  If I really wanted to annoy him, I'd send Sierra into his room to wake him up.  She would get up on his bed with him.  Slowly, she would take over the entire bed until she had pushed him out.  She loved him enough to tolerate how irritated he got over that entire process.  Once he was up, she had no problem laying her head on his pillow and taking over the bed.  When he went away to school she had already figured out that she would survive his being gone.  That both of the kids would come and go and she would see them often.  When he would come home she would lean up against his legs and cry and carry on to welcome him home.

She loved Jon and I and wanted to spend every waking moment near us.  If Jon was working in the yard, she was laying somewhere near by. Every night when Jon got home from work she would meet him at the door with a stuffed toy hanging out of her mouth.  She would walk along behind him and push it into his legs as if to say, "Look what I brought you."  Often, she would catch an unfortunate bunny in the back yard and bring that to us too.  She loved me enough to go on my weight loss journey with me.  Getting up at O dark hundred to walk 3 plus miles  I sometimes think that all that walking kept her young longer.  She never once complained, or said she wanted to sleep in that morning.  In fact, if I decided that I didn't want to go for a walk that day she would stare at me and shame me into going.

She loved to go camping with us.  We bought a trailer about 8 years ago and she went on every trip we ever went on.  She would stake her claim to laying under the dining room table and happily settle in for the weekend.  She didn't care what the weather was like.  She didn't mind the down pours we had in Pismo or the thunderstorms in Big Bear.  Any day camping was a good day.  She was born for adventure.

She loved going to Lake Tahoe.  She was probably never happier then when we were there.  If we pulled up and stopped along the side of the lake she would jump out and run as fast as possible to take herself swimming.  She would swim after a ball or a stick for hours.  She never grew tired of it.  She loved to raft down the Truckee river.  She would contentedly lay in the yard of the cabin for hours, knowing that her beloved lake was nearby.  She loved going on long evening walks in the cool mountain air.  Bringing her home from there was always hard because it seemed she was meant to be there.

She loved kids.  She was so good and tolerant of both of our grandsons.  When Garrett was learning to stand, he would grab fists full of her hair to pull up.  She let them climb all over her and she never got snappy with them.  Sometimes she had that look.  The one that said, "Seriously, people, do you not see that these beasts are crawling all over me?"  She would give them a kiss and patiently wait for them to lose interest in her.  She would let them play with all of her toys and gently take treats from them.

She had her own friends too.  First there was her cousin, Sandy.  Sandy was a black lab/ golden retriever mix.  She was a dark mirror image of Sierra.  They would play for hours when they were younger.  Sandy was waiting for Sierra in Doggie Heaven today.  I'm sure, by now, Sierra is swimming and Sandy is standing on the shore glaring at her, because Sandy didn't like water.  Maybe something changed in heaven :)  The only pictures I have of them are of a light and a dark blur rolling in the grass.

 Then there was Bogey.  Bogey was a golden retriever that we met while we were out walking.  The two of them lived to play in the dirty, stinky creek on the trail near our house.  I became friends with Bogey's owner and we walked together nearly every day. When he moved away Sierra missed him like crazy.

 Next came Beckham.  Beck (as he is affectionately called) is Sierra's nephew.  He is Lori and Troy's dog.  He is a Golden Retriever and he and Sierra shared many adventures together.  They loved to swim in Lake Tahoe.   She would even share a large stick with him. She happily shared her spot under the trailer table with him while we were all stuck in the trailer during a thunder storm in Big Bear.  Older and wiser, she often looked amused at some of his shenanigans, knowing that they were just going to get him into trouble.

There was Nicholas.  Nicholas was a Newfoundland.  Huge, handsome and gentle all rolled into a slobbery playmate.  They walked together and played at the park.  Nicholas would not take a treat from his owner until Sierra had been given one first.  A true gentleman.  Nicholas was also waiting for Sierra today.  I'm sure there is some damp, green grass that they are rolling in together. 

This past weekend she got to meet her niece.  Jon and Heather's first puppy, Kona.  Kona is a mix of breeds and a sweet, smart, adorable little puppy.  Sierra wasn't too interested in playing, but I have a feeling that she may have given Kona some tips about how to behave just enough to stay on your owners good side.

When I think about how Sierra approached life and about her disposition I realize that she has silently taught me a great lesson.  To love with all of your heart and to enjoy what each and every day brings.  There wasn't a day that she didn't take time to stop and smell the roses (and the plants and the fire hydrants.)   

Our life is going to seem very empty for awhile.  While 14 years is a long time for a big dog it wasn't nearly long enough.  There are so many places she would have loved to go.  So many trails she would have loved to have explored.  I choose to believe that there is a special place for these special animals.  Hopefully, I will see her again someday.  I choose to believe that she is getting a head start on picking out the lakes we will swim in, the rivers we will raft down and the trails we will explore together. 

We love you Sierra!  Thank you for enriching our lives in ways you could never ever begin to understand.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Happy 6th Birthday Rock Star!

Today you are officially 6.  Oh, I know your Mommy will say, "Not until such and such time tonight."  I'm not sure how the actual time can escape me.  Anyway, how is it that you are already 6?  How did 5 fly by so quickly?

You are an amazing little boy.  You were the best 5 year old ever.  Grandma and Grandpa love you more than words can ever say.  We are excited to watch what 6 will bring and so very thankful that God decided you should be our Grandson. 

Pictures often say more than words, so here are a few highlights of our year together:

We can't wait to see all of the pictures from next year.  We love you Rock Star!  Have the best birthday ever!

Grandma and Grandpa

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Photo Project Catch Up

I am super behind in posting my 52 week photo project pictures.  So, here they are in one big post:

They are backwards by week though:

Week 21:  This is where I live-

Week 20:  Place of Solitude-

Week 19:  A Sunny Day-

Week 18:  A Bug's Life-

Week 17:  From the Hip-

Week 16:  Planet Earth-

Thursday, April 19, 2012

52 Week Photo Project. Week 15: In Flight

This week's theme was 'In Flight.' I had several pictures that I couldn't decide between. I finally chose this one:

This was taken at the Naval Aviation Celebration in San Diego last year.  

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The 52 Week Photo Project. Week 14: Softness

The theme this week is Softness.  I thought for awhile about what I wanted to photograph.  I wasn't sure if I wanted to try and show softness through the lens quality or through interpretation.  I was thinking about what represents 'softness' to me.  I started thinking about the relationship between Franklin, the stuffed animal, and my grandson, affectionately known here as The Rock Star. 

Franklin is a stuffed turtle from the Franklin books.  The Rock Star LOVES him.  Franklin lives at Grandma's house, where he patiently waits for visits from TRS (the rock star).  TRS lives in another state, where is patiently waits for visits from Franklin.  Between visits, Franklin sits on a shelf in our office.  He has been known to talk to TRS on Skype.  TRS asks about him when we talk on the phone.  Whenever there is room in my suitcase, Franklin travels to visit TRS.  The rule is that he only visits, because if he stayed there he wouldn't be as special.  TRS is almost 6.  Franklin's days of being special to him are probably numbered, much like Woody and Buzz from the Toy Story movies.  For now, Franklin and TRS have a very special bond and it shows the softness of a little boy's heart.  Franklin depicts softness simply by virtue of being soft, but putting the two together spells out softness in a whole new dimension. 

Franklin rides in the car with TRS whenever they are together.  Franklin has had minor surgery on his bottom to sew up a spot where he had been loved to stuffing exposure.  Franklin has slept with TRS at Grandma's house, his house, the cabin at Lake Tahoe and the bunk bed in the old trailer.  He has waited for him in the hotel at Disneyland and in the car too many places to mention.  He shows up in countless pictures.  Often dangling by a foot.  Their adventures are as special to Franklin as they are to TRS.  Here is a picture of the two of them visiting Grandpa's work:

Someday, TRS will come to visit and he won't take Franklin off of the shelf.  I pray that day doesn't come any time soon.  We are going on vacation together this summer.  I have to make sure there is room in my suitcase for Franklin.  We are going to have too much fun to leave him behind.

Monday, April 9, 2012

52 Week Photo Project, Week 13: 'Messy'

Last June while we were visiting our daughter in Utah, we went to Leatherby's. When my children were little, we had one here in Southern California. The ice cream is great and the portions are messy and huge. After a day of hiking last summer, we all decided that we needed to visit their local Leatherby's. The ice cream was just as tasty as I remembered it to be and the portions were still huge. You can probably tell from the picture how messy it was.  Hubby and I shared this:

I hope it makes all of you just as hungry as it does me.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Week 12: "Spring Has Sprung'

The theme for week 12 of the 52 Week Photo Project is 'Spring Has Sprung.'  I knew what I wanted to do for this theme as soon as I saw it.  Every year the San Diego Zoo's Safari Park (Wild Animal Park for those of us who still like to call Costco Price Club) has an Exhibit they call Butterfly Jungle.  It lasts for about 3 weeks and is home to some beautiful varieties of Butterflies.  This year we went on opening day and were in the first group of people to go in at 9:00 am.  I quickly discovered that, while there were less people in the enclosure when you get in first, many of the butterflies weren't even awake yet.  It took them several minutes to begin to fly around.  Some of the species with the most vibrant colors were no where to be found.  I did get some pretty pictures of some of the others.  Here is my favorite:

 I enjoy this exhibit so much that I just may have to go back again this year.

I'm all caught up with the project and it's only Monday.  I can't wait to see what the theme is this Friday.

Week 11: Night

The theme for Week 11 of the 52 Week Photo Project was 'Night.'  This picture was taken last summer at California Adventure:

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Week 10: 'Guess What?'

The theme for Week 10 of the 52 Week Photo Project was 'Guess What?'  Here is my selection:

This week's theme is 'Night.' 

Monday, March 5, 2012

Week 9: "Eternal Love'

Week 9's theme is "Eternal Love.'  Here is my choice:

We received this as a white elephant gift several years ago.  It is an old license plate that someone painted over.  I kept it, thoroughly expecting to re-white-elephant it.  Instead, it has ended up in our trailer.  We hang it from our awning as a way to show our faith.  This weekend I walked around a campground holding it and looking for the perfect place to photograph it. 

I think that it's relevance to the theme is self-explanatory, but just in case someone is reading my blog who isn't familiar with the verse:

' For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.'  John 3:16 NIV

The fact that God loved me so much that he would give His only Son to die for my sins, so that I could live for all eternity, pretty much sums up 'eternal love.'

Week 8: 'Rule of Thirds'

The theme for week 8 was 'rule of thirds.'  Rule of Thirds is a photography concept where the picture is divided into thirds.  Instead of centering your subject, you set if off to one third of the photo.  This can be done vertically or horizontally or both.  This was fun.  I realized that I nearly always center my subjects.  I probably won't do that quite as much any more.  I took a ton of pictures for this week and finally settled on this one:

This picture was taken at Carlsbad State Beach where we were camping for the weekend. 

Week 7 : 'Taboo'

Week 7's theme for the 52 Week Photo Project was Taboo.  I had a little trouble with that one.  I finally realized that all of my favorite snacky foods are taboo.  Especially if I want anyone to see any pictures of me on our upcoming summer trip.  So, this was my photo choice for Taboo:

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Happy Birthday Little Buddy!

Dear Buddy,
Wow!  It is hard to believe that you are 3 years old today.  That just doesn't seem possible.  Three isn't a baby anymore.  Three is standing on the threshold of so many new experiences and milestones.

You have grown in leaps and bounds this year.  You are speaking in complete sentences.  Nothing brightens my day like answering the phone to find you on the other end.  Today you told me that you 'wuved me to the moon and back' and that your mommy was making you 'mickey mouse pancakes from Disneyland.'

Grandma and Grandpa love spending time with you.  We enjoy every minute we are together.  We love watching you play at the beach.  We love riding Dumbo and the Carousel with you at Disneyland.  We love watching your face light up when you see the Gorillas and Lions at the Zoo or Safari Park.  We love to play with you, read books to you and 'nuggle' with you before bed.  We love the way you giggle and give kisses.  Your laugh is infectious and your smile brightens a room.

We hope that you love being three and experiencing everything that this year will bring.  We love you to the moon and back!  Happy Birthday!

Grandma & Grandpa

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Week 6: 'Finding Beauty In Unexpected Places'

I actually took this picture the week the theme was 'Use your imagination.'  I was in my backyard, sitting in a chair and looking up at the clouds.  I was going for the use of imagination while looking at the clouds.  I sat like that for quite awhile.  I took several pictures of the clouds, but none of them looked like anything to me except, well.....clouds.  While my camera was pointed upward, I noticed these in one of the trees in the yard:

There isn't a leaf on any of the trees in my yard.  Somehow, a few of whatever these things are had managed to remain through the winds and the rain.  A quiet reminder of what the tree looked like in the spring, summer and into the fall.  It was as if Mother Nature was decorating an otherwise barren tree.  I found them to be beautiful and unexpected this time of year.

Can't wait for the theme for week 7.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Week 5 'Shades of Yellow'

This weeks theme was shades of yellow.  I knew what picture I was going to use as soon as the theme was posted.  Last year we had gone to the Carlsbad Flower Fields for the afternoon.  The colors were beautiful.  I took this picture while we were there:

Next weeks theme is 'Finding the beauty in unexpected places.'  I think I might have a picture for that theme as well.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The 52 Week Photo Project - Week 4

This weeks theme was 'Use Your Imagination.'  My first thought was clouds.  I wanted to lay on my back and take pictures, all the while trying to figure out if I was looking at animals, plants or people.  I took those pictures, but I wasn't that happy with them.  Nothing looked like anything.  Except maybe, well, clouds.  My second thought was Legos.  We have a bucket of Duplos that my two favorite boys play with when they come to visit Grandma and Grandpa.  I dumped them on the lawn, took advantage of the natural light and this is what I got:

I wanted to sit on the lawn and play Duplos, but I was pretty sure passersby would think I was a little odd.  My grandsons will be here for the next couple of days.  Maybe I'll sit on the lawn and play with my Duplos.

Next weeks theme....'Shades of Yellow.'  Hmmmmmmmm

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The 52 Week Photo Project - Week 3

'Now That's Funny' was this weeks theme. I knew instantly what picture I would use for this theme. I took it last summer while we were at Disneyland. We were on a ride and I asked my daughter and her family to smile for me just one more time that day. I cropped my other grandson out of this picture because he was looking behind him and all you can see is the back of his head. My daughter and her husband are smiling and posing all unsuspecting. When I took the picture I didn't even realize what the Little Buddy was doing. It wasn't until I downloaded them to my computer that I realized that he was acting silly in the picture. The funniest part, to me, is that he was not prompted in any way to do what he is doing. He wasn't even 2 1/2 in this picture. No one taught him to make that face. He just did it. It must be in little boy DNA to act goofy.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The 52 Week Photo Project, Week 2

This weeks theme is 'Resolutions.'

This year, I resolve to seek the beauty of God's creation and praise Him for it:

I find such peace when I am photographing the beauty of God's creation. I hope to be able to capture some of the amazing things God has created as we move through 2012.