Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's/Carnivore's Day

Poor Jim!

Last Thursday, I got some bad news. I thought I was taking my car in to have the front brake pads changed. A couple hours later I got the phone call from the service place. By the time they were done with my car, the front AND rear pads were changed, the front rotors were turned and the back rotors were replaced! It ended up costing WAY more than we expected.

Because of the expense, I wasn't able to get all the things for Jim that I wanted to for Father's Day. He is such a great dad for our family and I wanted to express that with gifts. I guess words will have to do this year.

I really appreciate all the hard work he does to provide for us in every way. He is so patient with me and my shortcomings. He is a great example to our boys of what a man should be. He is always cheerful and helps me out with whatever I ask. He loves me and the boys unconditionally. He is so handy around the house. He is a great husband, father, brother and son.

I was able to go get the Father's Day groceries before the fiasco with the brakes so at least I can feed him like he deserves to be fed on Father's Day.

This is what he got for breakfast: Ham steak, eggs, hash browns, toast and his favorite fruits.

And he ate the WHOLE thing!

This was dinner, after church: Las Vegas Steak (Seasoned, bacon wrapped fillet from Don's Meats), Ribs (seasoned with Butt Rub (really, that's what it's called) also from Don's Meats), Roasted Red Potatoes, Grilled Pineapple, and a Salad.

This was dessert, Strawberry Cheesecake Torte. We were glad to share it with our friends because we were just too full from all the other tasty food of the day.

OK, so maybe I overdid his meat intake for the day. I'm really not trying to kill him! And he LOVED it. I guess that's what counts.

Thanks, Jim! You are the best DAD!!!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Best Two (or Five) Years

I don't write (or talk) about my sister Lisa much but I probably should. She is such an inspiration to me and our whole family. I love and miss her so much.

It was a normal day in November of 2005. Lisa got all dressed up to go on a date with her dear, sweet husband. The are big fans of Al Jarreau and they were going to go to dinner and see his concert. She kissed her kids goodbye for the last time in this life. I don't need to go into the details. It happened suddenly and without warning. She was there and then she was gone.

For most people, this would have been the beginning of a great tragedy. She left behind the love of her life and four little (at the time) kids, the youngest was three. Thankfully, we know that our Heavenly Father has a plan and we know that life on this earth is only a small part of that great plan. Instead, the family was bathed in love and service from friends, family and neighbors, and they thrived. That's how life should be. We should all help each other get through the tough times.

Because they handled things so well, they were great examples of faith to others in their neighborhood. There was one family in particular. Bentley, my sister's oldest son, has a best friend names Tyler. Tyler started going to church with Bentley. He felt the love of his Savior there. Tyler accepted the gospel and was baptized. He lead the way for the rest of his family; his mom, dad and little sister. They were also baptized. Tyler wanted to share that gospel with others so he decided to serve a two year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He is exactly one year older than Bentley. He has been gone one year. Now Bentley is 19, the age in which most young men start their two years of service. He also wanted to share the Savior's love with others and decided to serve a mission. In mid-April he got his call to serve the people of Tuscon, AZ. It's not as far from home as some missionaries go but it is where he should be.

A couple of weekends ago, I was able to drive down, accompanied by the three boys, to St George and Las Vegas to visit family and attend the temple with Bentley and other family members in preparation for his missionary service. Because of the strength and example of my sister's family, Tyler's parents were also able to go to the temple. What a blessing for everyone there! We also got to hear Bentley give his farewell talk in church. It was a wonderful weekend. It was full of good times, spiritual experiences and lots of hugs.

Thanks to my brother, R.P., and his lovely wife, Mariah, we had a place to crash. This is my three big boys and their two little boys. We always have a great time when we visit them in St George.

We were supposed to leave for home right after church and lunch but the cousins wanted to spend a few more hours together. We were invited to go swim at this beautiful pool that belongs to one of Bentley's friends. It was great fun in a beautiful setting!

Here's the cousins together (for a split second!) From the left is Josh (mine), Kyle (mine), Chloe on Kyle's lap (Lisa's), Ava (Lisa's), Austin (mine) and Bailey (Lisa's). Bentley was MIA.

It was in the 90's yet they all ended up in the hot tub! (I cant figure out how to get that picture to turn the right way, sorry)

On our way out of Vegas, we took my sister some pretty spring flowers for Memorial Day.

A couple of days ago, Bentley was headed to the Missionary Training Center in Provo, UT. He flew into Salt Lake City so we went to the airport for one last hug. I am so glad we did! He looked great. He was ready and excited to get to work.

Here he is coming out of the "restricted area". We went with him to the baggage claim area and waited with him until his shuttle left.

Just enough time to sneak in a group picture.

Losing my sister was a hard thing. But these past five and a half years seem to have gone by pretty fast. There are still times when I would love to call her. That's when I just think of what I want her to know and hope she is listening, and knowing her, she is. I know she is also watching over her family. There are some things that they have missed by not having a mom in their home the last five years. But that is such a short time compared to the eternity they will be able to spend together in the next life. I am grateful for the lessons that we have learned in the last five years. The good things that have happened might have happened if she was still with us but they might not have happened and that would be sad. Tyler is on his mission teaching people the true gospel of Jesus Christ and now Bentley is following in his footsteps. Tyler's family has been able to go to the temple and be sealed together for all eternity, just as Lisa's family is. There have been some great blessings that have come out of this trial. There always are. We just need to have the faith to look for them.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

130,000 Miles and Counting

I had a great weekend! Details will come soon.

One event I couldn't overlook is the mileage on my mini-van. On this last trip to visit family in St George and Las Vegas, we turned over 130,00 miles.

Our dear, sweet Chrysler Town & Country has served us well for eight long years. It is our second mini-van. Jim was resistant to buying both. Before gas prices went through the roof, he talked about buying me a Tahoe. In the last year or so he has talked about buying me an Accord. But I love my mini-van. Here are a few reasons why:

  • I love that we fit very comfortably. On this last trip we were without Jim so I had one boy in the front (shotgun), one boy in the middle and one in the back. There was absolutely no touching whatsoever. Even when we have Jim with us there can be at least one seat between each of them, still avoiding most touching.
  • I love that I can go "big grocery shopping" (Costco AND Wal-Mart plus any other places I may need to stop) in one trip without having to stop at home and unload, even if Kyle's GIANT baseball bag is in the back (usually accompanied by a blanket, a few chairs and possibly a cooler) and even if I have to load up 200 lbs of water softener salt.
  • I love the integrated child seats that I can use for the children of my friends. There is no car seat shuffle.
  • I love that I can drive carpool when needed. I probably won't need to soon because the boys will be able to drive themselves :( but I love that I can help out other moms if I need to.
  • It has a great sound system. We (me and the three boys) like to turn it up loud and feel the sub-woofer.
Those are just a few things. I really think everyone should try a mini-van. If you are not convinced you are a mini-van person, maybe it's because you are just not quite cool enough. And to that I say I feel sorry for you. Maybe this video clip will change your mind: