Sunday, March 18, 2012

Meet My New Best Friend

A week ago the sun came out and the wind stopped long enough that I ventured out into the yards. I started in the front yard and began raking leaves. They were everywhere and it was a mess. Then I remembered the blower that Daniel and Dalynn gave us several years ago for Christmas. In the fall I usually blow the leaves into piles and then load them up in the garbage cans. We take out 10-16 large garbage bags of leaves.
I went to get it out of the box and realized I had not just a "blower". It was a "sucker", as well. At least that's what it would do if I would just reassembed it. All along, there in the box were the tubes and the bag to suck all the leaves right up. I read the manual and put it together and lo and behold, it sucks leaves right up off the lawn and out of the garden beds. I was so excited I vaccumed up a whole bag full. When I dumped it into the garbage I saw how absolutely wonderfully it mulched the leaves. I could use it to cover the flower beds. After that I scattered every bag of mulched up leaves in the flower beds and loved doing it. I held back and didn't go around the neighborhood sucking up everyone's leaves. Maybe I'll do that next time. Thank you Daniel and Danlynn.

I even trimmed the apricot tree and cleaned off the patio. Expecting more snow, I left the table and chairs covered. Sure enough, three more inches fell this morning.

The Wall of Fame

Our Wall of Fame is upgrading and expanding. After many (too many) years of light oak wood frames on our dinning room wall, I finally bought new frames and they look so good.

Now we just need to update the pictures. If you have one you'd like in the frame, please let me know.
This change came about after Patrick gave me a new picture for Christmas. It's framed in darker walnut and I really like it so I thought I'd go with walnut throughout. When you look down the wall it reminds me of a fine art gallery. What do you think?

Kitchen - Old and New

Did I say, "I love my new kitchen?" Well, I do. I actually got to grout it myself. Ok, I just grouted a little bit of it, but I think I did ok. They say if you can't see it, you did good but it's kind of shiny in the picture. After that, I put my favorite recipe card on the front of my recipe holder. I don't know how many years I've had it but it's still my favorite one.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Sweet Sister's Sweet Retreat

One day I got a call from Peggy saying, "It must be time for another Sister's Retreat". My mind immediately agrees and I think, "Where should we go?" There are so many warm, wonderful places to visit in February or March. I imagine us in St. George or Las Vegas or Phoenix or on a beach or just about anywhere other than Idaho.
She then suggests we meet here at my house.???? This isn't what I was thinking at all. My house is in Idaho and it's cold and besides, my house isn't clean enough for company. I tell her it wouldn't be much fun here!

I'm imagining what's going to have to happen to get this place put together for company. There's bedding to wash, beds to make, bathrooms to scrub, vacumning to do, furniture to move.... After all, we just had family home for Christmas, not to mention, Tessha moving out (sort of), Gracie coming home from her mission and sorting through her things and then taking some of them and moving on to Provo, Alisha home for a month and ..... It goes on and on. Add to that, I usually only get a couple of weekends a month to do anything besides school and pharmacy, so when would I have time to clean up and moved everything in order to have more company?

I'm sure they'd rather go somewhere else and have more fun than coming here.
She says, she doesn't think so. She says, she's already talked with Margie and Penny and after all, they could come here and rip down old, ugly wallpaper, paint walls and redecorate. You can't do that in a condo somewhere. I have to admit I liked the idea of new paint in place of "ugly wallpaper so it really did sound wonderful.

My family has been after me for, let's see now, we've lived here for 11 years. Yap, that's it, about 11 years, to get rid of the "ugly wallpaper" in our kitchen dinning and living room. Our dog, (when we had a dog about 11 years ago) had ripped part of the wallpaper off by the back doors and it'd been like that ever since. It was always something that I'd do some day. In fact, maybe two years ago Tessha and I went paint shopping and came home with several paint samples. We looked through them over and over and when we'd settled on a few of them she put them on the dinning room wall for me to "comtemplate on". They stayed there no matter how many meals we sat at the table looking at them. In time, I came to like a couple colors more than the others and would comment on them, but that's as far as it went. I sort of, kind of knew what colors I liked best. Good enough???

Well, I had told Peggy about this situation as we joked on the phone one afternoon and she blew it all out of proportion. She talked with Margie and Penny and they decided it would become a Sister's Retreat Project. Can you imagine? Giving up time together by the pool for painting my kitchen?

That's just what they had in mind and after a sweet "wouldn't you really rather do something else" talk with Margie, it was decided. We would spend our next Sister's Retreat here at my house. They would bring supplies and I would wash sheets. How fun is that?

It was a blast!!!!

I can't remember laughing so much (maybe back in college- maybe not even then).

Penny wasn't feeling well so she didn't get to come but Peggy and Margie showed up in our drive late Friday night. I had just gotten home from the pharmacy and there they were, paint brushes and all.

Saturday morning (I won't say "early") after breakfast of waffles, eggs and bacon, (kind of traditional Sister Retreat style) we set out for the stores. We needed paint and other things before we could really "get into it". We spent time visiting, laughing, buying paints and comtemplating our tasks and then decided we should drive to Rigby and see Shelly.

Shelly has recently relocated to another home in Rigby and we are now allowed(encouraged) to visit her - all thanks to Dave and Dodie!! So, while we were together we thought a visit with her would be fun.

We drove up and stopped by my classroom before picking up Shelly. We took her over to Dodie's and the five of us had a wonderful visit together. Eventually, we had to take Shelly home and we headed back this way. After all, we had lots of work to do.

I hadn't hardly turned around after getting home before Peggy and Marige were hard at work stripping off the wallpaper. I wish I had more pictures but it's hard to stop and take pictures when so much excitment is taking place.

Down came the "ugly wallpaper" and out came the paint. One wall painted and dry and, "Oh no, the paint isn't the color that we picked out." In fact, it's really not want we wanted at all. Oh no, it's late Saturday night. Oh no!

I go to bed and think on it. I can be happy with it. It's not the color I really liked but I can be happy with it. In the morning I say, "it's ok" but my sweet sisters so "No,it's not." "It's not what you wanted. We'll take it back." By this time we realize that as much as we wanted to go to church together, in order to get the kitchen back to working conditions, we would have to work morning, noon and night. After all, we had "an ox in the mier" and we needed to get it out.

In reality, they knew they had to leave Monday afternoon and it wasn't going to be done if we didn't get to it. They didn't want to leave me "half baked", so to speak. So..... with the love of my sisters we went back to Lowe's and explained about the paint. I have to say, I love Lowe's. They have been wonderful through many a project and again they came to the rescue. It took some time but they got the color I wanted and home again we went.

This time it was perfect! I love it! Can I say that again? I love it!! We painted and painted, trimmed and painted.

It took us most of the day but it looked good. Peggy cleaned the blinds throughly. Thanks to Jenni's suggestions of a paint edger we felt good about the edges before we went to bed for the night. I have to say, Margie was amazng! If I had a question, she had an answer. She knew what I didn't know and better yet, she even knew how to do it. And, "do it" she did! What a woman!! Both of them were my moral support in every way.

Monday morning we made another run to Lowe's and got new blinds, and outlet plates to replace the old ones. They even stayed to the very last minute before leaving me. They hung the blinds and switched out the outlet plates. They were by the side the whole time and I loved the support and great suggestions!!! It really would have never happened without their help.

We finished the kitchen, decided to leave the dinning room wall the way it is for now and then they'll come back later this summer and we'll do the living room. Now I'm SOOO excited for another Sister's Retreat in Idaho. I can't wait. Now, I look at my kitchen and smile!!! (even sort of giggle inside!)

I look at my living room and dream! It really will happen because I have sisters who like to "retreat". Aren't I just about the luckiest lady around. Actually, I am just really, really blessed!!

I have to add an afterward event here.

Peggy's birthday is Tuesday, March 6th and last week I sent her a card I'd been keeping for her. She and Mark had just returned from a wonderful vacation in Cabo with Kelly and Julia. She had the time of her life and told me all about how wonderful it was there.

I had this card that had a picture of a beach umbrella in the sand by a beach chair on the cover. Inside, it says, "Go to your Happy Place." So, I added, "Can I come, too? Happy Birthday!"

After she got it in the mail, she replied with an email and this is what she had to say....

"Yes! I can see it now!
We are strolling down the beach together.
We see the exact spot we're headed to lay out our towels, that is before building our dream castle.
In time, after loads of giggling with Margie, Penny, and Shelly, we race to the warm water to catch a few waves.
We feel so light, so happy, (so skinny in our bikinis; like that part - hehehe)
as we take a long rest in the sun with our eyes closed to hear the ocean roar!


How about:
Margie, you and I giggling and laughing in your kitchen while tearing down wallpaper, prepping, and painting!!!!

I loved that HAPPY PLACE!

or eating at the Trellis Cafe before golf-carting the gardens

or shopping together in St. George and finding matching blouses

or eating raspberries shakes at Bear Lake


or attending a concert together at the Thanksgiving Point Waterfalls gardens with our daughters

or attending the Shakespearean Festival together in Cedar City

or, or, or,

It's so easy, so delightful to go to happy places with you, Sandy-- even while just everyday praying for you, for us, for all those we love!

Thanks for the amazing birthday card SIS!
Love you!

Right on, Sister!! Happy Places and Sister's Sweet Retreats Forever!!!
Love you all!!

Fish and Freezer

When your life is so full of the necessarities of life you tend to rejoice over the small things. I treasure the time I have at home even if it's to clean the fish tank or defrost the freezer. I was able to do both of those things one weekend in Jan. Oh my goodness, how good it felt to see them clean once more. (Not to mention the blessing of warm weather- warm enough to defrost a freezer out in the garage in the month of January!) :-)

And Seth Returns - If Only For a Weekend

Mid January we get this call from Seth saying he's coming home. What? He's in Germany for school and we haven't seen him (except on Skype Christmas day) since August. But now, he's coming home? you ask. Yes! Coming home to see his sweet Alaisa.

Seth met Ali while going to ISU and as he says, they were "good friends".
Now, she's a bit more than just a "good friend" and he's coming back to Idaho to visit her. She had her tonsils out and he thought a visit would cheer her up so he flew into Boise and stayed a few days with her family there and then they drove over to our side of the state for a weekend. Ali has family in the Idaho Falls and Rigby area so she stayed with her granma and Seth stayed with us.

We got to visit with both of them and they went to Church with us Sunday morning.
It was so good to see Seth (clean shaven this time) and visit more with Ali. We had met her once before but this time we really got to talk. It was so fun!!! I'm amazed at what a sweetheart she is. She's so kind and patient! She wonderful with Seth and levelheaded. Did I mention she has her Bachelor Degree and hopes to be a Speech Pathologist??? True, but it's not the only reason to love her.

Thanks Ali, for bringing Seth home - if only for a weekend.

A Wonderful Week in Baltimore

On Wednesday night, Feb. 8th, I had just closed up the pharmacy with Joe when I got a phone message from Dalynn. "Could (I) please come to Baltimore?" Daniel was in the hospital and Dalynn wondered if I could come help with the girls. Could I come? Of course, I could come. I spoke to Joe right then and there and it was arranged. I would take a week off and head to Baltimore. I called Luke and he kindly arranged the flights. I just happened to have one leg of the flight already on hand so on Thursday morning I flew to Denver and then got a Southwest flight to Baltimore. Dalynn picked me up and we headed straight to the hospital. It was good to see Daniel for a few minutes and then we went on to their home.

Talk about a fun week... Mika, Ember and little Maren kept me entertained the whole time. We had tea parties,

went to McDonalds in Reisterstown, did a little shopping and found some pretty fairies, went to visit Papa and went out to dinner with Mama at Apple Bees.

One experience I have to write about happened the day before I was to return home. Dalynn had come home to take us all in to see Daniel and then we went to a McDonalds close by; pretty much "downtown Baltimore". It was clean and friendly but maybe not in the best location. Anyway, we got our lunches and I had my little black zipper bag so I paid. We ate and talked and then cleared our table and left. When we got home I was getting ready to purchase a shuttle ticket from the SL airport to IF so I went to get my card out of my bag and couldn't find it anywhere. I told Dalynn and the girls and we all searched the house! No bag! We knew I had had it at McDonalds so Dalynn looked up the resturant phone number and called to see if they had found it after we left. Nope, no bag. Oh my goodness!! My life was pretty much in there. All my cards, my temple recommend, my license (ID) that I would need to even board a plane to get home, my car key, cash for the trip. You name it and it was probably in my black bag. And now, no bag! My heart dropped! How was I going to get home?? How would I replace all that I had lost.

Dalynn asked the girls to come kneel down with us for prayer. Mika offered to say the prayer and it was the sweetest one I'd heard. She simply asked Heavenly Father to help us find "Granma's purse so I would be happy". Then Dalynn said we should just get in the car and go back to see if it was there since she wasn't sure she had called the right McDonalds. I was so pleased that she would do that. It was another hour ride there and then home again, but she suggested it so we went. I was a bundle of nerves hoping beyond hope that it was there but pretty much knowing it wouldn't be and worried sick about how I would "fix this one". It would be so easy for someone to just pick it up and walk out. There were plenty of reasons to do so if they had looked inside. I was almost beside my self with fear.

When we got there, Dalynn and I went inside and up to the counter. I said to one of the ladies, "We were here for lunch a bit ago and I wonder if you found a little black bag I might have left?" Before I had even finished speaking I could see a spark of something in her eye and in a flash I realized that she knew what I was talking about. I felt like I was passing out for a second. I can't explain the feeling I had when I thought she might even know what I was talking about. She was excited as she said, "Oh, it's yours." "Yes, we have it." "We tried to get ahold of you, but....." There it was, my little black zipper bag, right in her hands and she was giving it to me. It really was like someone was giving me my life back. My first thought was "Now I can go home." What a relief! What a miracle.

Through the whole thing Dalynn had been an island of peace and reassurance. She said she really did think that we would find it after all. Wow!

When we got back into the car, I looked at Mika and told her that she could always remember how Heavenly Father answered her prayer and helped us find my bag. What a wonderful blessing for all of us! Thank you Dalynn for your faith and support. Thank you Mika for your sweet prayer. Thank you Ember and Maren for your patience.

After that, I was able to schedule a shuttle ride home and Luke helped me list for flights home. The flights into SL were full all day Thursday the 16th, probably because it was the weekend before Presidents Day and people were heading west to go skiing over the three day weekend. I got out of BWI and into DEN but had to fly into Phoenix and stay the night there before flying into Salt Lake the next day. Dan picked me up at the IF airport on Friday morning and it was good to see him again. I had missed him for a little over a week. But, I sure had fun for a week in Baltimore and will never forget the miracle of Sweet Mika's prayer.