Thursday, April 16, 2015

A Baptism and Hawaiian Adventurers

Time to go back to Hawaii for three reasons: 1) our sweet Elsie’s baptism and 2) Jonah and Aja are setting off for their next adventure and 3) it is pretty ugly and cold in Park City and warm and lush in Hawaii!

This family never ceases to amaze us an had put a new roof on their cute Hawaiian house, sanded the cement and added huge big windows in their dining/all purpose room at the back of the house, cleared out closets, bleached walls and baseboards and put everything they didn’t want to take on their at least nine-month adventure in a nice dry space under the house.

We were glad to be able to help just a little bit around the edges to get them ready to leave their cozy house as they take off for Europe with their five extraordinary kids. Aja just takes it all in stride as though it was nothing different than what she has been doing every summer when they rent their house while they spend the summer on the mainland.

The wrap-up is no small deal though…last swim meet, last meeting with their delightful congregation at church, last few days at school for their two elementary kids, last Joy School for three-year old Po, last scout meeting for Jonah and Camden, last Young Women’s meeting for Aja.

Grandfather was immediately “crowned” by the little girls as soon as we stepped in the door and the fun just never stopped. Baby Ezra, who is a solid brick of gold when it comes to babies and his mom, who is the same when it comes to mothers. This family creates never-ending delight!

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This little joyful little girl is pretty happy by something her her Grandfather (who is obviously sitting next to her in his favorite shoes) said. 

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Jonah does a magnificent job with their morning devotional every morning, reading scriptures from his iPhone just before the elementary kids leave for school. And Camden, though mostly horizontal,  soaks in every word and answers the myriads of questions Jonah asks with perfection!

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Jonah has also become an amazing tennis player!  He plays every day!  They somehow managed to take time out of the tasks at home and play a little doubles with Grandfather, Aja and Ana.

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While Ezra figured out how the Macadamia Nut Cracker worked and explored the area!

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Ezra also spends quite a lot of time here, playing games with us until he gets “ready”!

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We slipped away for a couple of hours  for a little sun on the beach over by the famous Mama’s Fish House.

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One of our favorite things is walking the kids to school. Here is Elsie, an astonishing artist with her latest creation just outside the door of her schoolroom (with her little side-kick Po peaking around the side. 

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The kids spend a lot of time on their trampoline with friends. These three girls jumped with Ezra sitting in the middle  for an hour….until he was entirely exhausted and needed a little R&R in the tub!

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On Saturday morning, it was so great to be at Ana’s last swim meet where she won the 200 meter race and came in third in the Individual Medley race. She has become an outstanding swimmer!

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Then Saturday evening, we enjoyed “the main event”, which was Elsie’s baptism. Grand father gave a terrific talk on baptism and Ana gave an excellent talk on the Holy Ghost just before the confirmation.

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After the meeting all Elsie’s little friends from the war simply drenched her with candy leis (a ward tradition and a sugar-averse mother’s dream)! As you can see, Elsie was heavy-laden and delighted!

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Po just cannot wait to get her hands on that candy!

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The next day was this family’s last Sunday with their ward family. It was Fast Sunday, which means that church members fast for two meals for a particular purpose (often for a  family member or friend in need) and then give the money they would have spent on food to the bishop to distribute to the poor. Speakers come from the audience as those who feel prompted go to the microphone and express their feelings for Jesus Christ and their families. Ana did a magnificent job and quoted Helaman 5:12 from memory and her grandfather talked about the importance of “Wonder.”

Jonah taught Ana’s class because the teacher wasn’t there and Richard and I sat in and soaked in his excellent lesson!  The kids were eager participants and so respectful and attentive! All 13 year olds except one 14 year old.

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Aja, an excellent musician, played the organ beautifully and was released as the Ward Music Chairman, Jonah as a Cub Scout leader and Aniston as the Beehive President. They are going to leave a hole in the ward family!

After the meeting we all headed for a gorgeous spot on Maui, THOMPSON ROAD!

On the way the Jacaranda trees were showing off their gorgeous purple flowers at every turn!

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A drive down Thompson Road is like going to the Scottish Highlands for a few hours!

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See Oprah’s nice little house and guest house at the end of the road:

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We are going to miss this fabulous family at the reunion this summer:

Camden must have seen a snake.

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We were invited to break our fast by sharing a delicious dinner at the home of the Eyre Family’s dear friends, along with the missionaries. Jonah’s bean burritos with homemade wheat tortillas were a hit as usual!

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And then Grandfather and I were off to take Ana to Hana to take her final tests. More on that coming next! 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Easter at Temple Square

Easter has been more memorable this year than most!  Not only did we get to celebrate the actual day with our oldest two daughters and their families, but our third daughter inspired us to be more dedicated about reading about life of Jesus Christ in a book called Jesus the Christ by James E Talmage ( after whom our third son Talmadge was named). Every morning Richard and I read together during the last couple of weeks before Easter and beyond. Wow was there ever a lot to ponder there! We loved what we learned about our beloved Savior!

In addition we had the splendid privilege of spending the weekend with our two oldest daughters and their stellar families. 

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It was also the General Conference of our Church in Salt Lake City which always falls on the first Sunday of April, which just happened to be Easter this year, so we got a double dose of JOY!

We ate together, laughed together, worshipped together and enjoyed every minute of being together….food, fun and great conversations!

On Saturday night the girls and I even squeezed in a fun party with my sister Lenna (third from the left and some of the girls in her family who live in the area. It was so terrific to be together for 90 minutes of catching up and enjoying being together!

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I’m not sure who had the most fun…. these cousins above who hadn’t seen each other for a long time or their kids below….some of whom ran outside and made a quick lip-sync video together! 

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These guys, leaving for the semi-annual Priesthood meeting were ready to join their other three “bros” (Jared, Ashton and Isaac) in the Conference Center on Saturday night

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Sunday was a perfect Easter morning with glorious flowers on Temple Square and an even more glorious morning of listing to our prophet and apostles giving us impeccable words of wisdom to inspire us and motivate us to be better! Sitting in that hall with 21,000 other people made for quite a day to remember!

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The Easter Bunny managed to fin his way to our little condo downtown and the kids were not disappointed!

 

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The Temple Grounds were positively spectacular! The gorgeous blossoms from the week before gave way to the lush flower gardens while those thousands of people milled around the grounds!

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BEAUTIES!

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How lucky are we to be the parents of these two beautiful women who are making a delightful difference in the world at 71toes.com and powerofmoms.com!

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It couldn’t have been a more perfect weekend to commemorate and celebrate the life and sacrifice of our Savior Jesus Christ!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Music and Sports with the Grandkids

WOW! Grandkids are so fun! Last week we had a grand time with the Looslis and the Pothiers as they participated in many learning activities with  music, sports and tumbling. We are having a grundle of fun with these great kids. It seems like yesterday that they were babies and suddenly they are classical music enthusiasts and outstanding  athletes, among a lot of other gifts and talents!

Last week we got our fill!

I hadn’t had a Grammie Date with the twins, Oliver and Silas in a long time so we got together along with their mom Saren, who drove them there from Ogden… to Symphony Hall, to hear the symphony perform Peter and the Wolf by Sergei Prokoviev. Those boys along with several of their cousins had acted out that fun piece of music together at Grammie Camp. So they knew the story line and, having listened to it many times, could sing the themes of each of the characters represented by the music before they got there. Besides the main attraction, we heard three delightful stories based on fables, beautifully narrated while the music of the orchestra created the stories in our minds.The twins loved it! Oliver could still hear the music with his eyes closed (see below).

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As much as they enjoyed the music, I think they loved being in that gorgeous building even more. They climbed the stairs to the top and reveled in the beautiful gold leaf and creative architecture. It was a good chance to tell them the story of Grandfather’s hand in that building as he ran the successful bond election many years ago that made ti possible to build Symphony Hall. They got to meet the Statue of Maurice Abravanel and who adored their grandfather whose talents to get the community on board through the election made the creation of the hall possible.

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A couple of days later we were off to Arizona to see our champion volleyball player, 17 year old Max and our undefeated tennis player, 16 year old Elle play for their high school teams!  It slammed me back into the days when we spent myriads of hours a week sitting in the bleachers watching our boys play basketball and hockey in High School.  I regret that we didn’t get our girls more involved with sports when they were teenagers.

But Elle is doing a fine job making up for our failures. Here she is with her tennis team (the beauty 3rd from the right) including her cute (much shorter) doubles partner (2nd from the left). They play #1 singles and Elle plays #3 Singles. They are undefeated! We got to see a terrific two hour match where Elle came out on top 7/5, 7/5.  Elle’s grandfather, who is a tennis “nut” iis thrilled and I am amazed!

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Even thought this Highland Volleyball team lost by two points in a five set match (due, of course to some rrrrreally bad calls by the referee), it was a joy to see Max play!  Shawni and Josh got better pictures than I did, but this is all I have of the magnficent #10!  This team came in 3rd out of 37 teams at a Volleyball tournament in California last week during spring break. Max was elected to be on the All-Tourney team. We (and his parents) of course, are “bursting our buttons.” 

Blurry below because he was moving faster than the speed of light as he went for the kill. Richard figured that he made at least six kills and too man blocks than we count! Can you believe he can get that 6’7”, 215 pound body that far off the ground?

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Below Max is the tall guy in right in the middle of the huddle. I have no idea what that snowman is doing there. In Arizona? I don’t think it’s their mascot. LOL 

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We went straight from the games to “Tumbling” (we love that word)! This cute Grace and her little Sister Claire didi incredible forward and backward flips, backbends and positively astonishing feats with their bodies with such competent (and demanding) instructors. Such fun to watch!

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As you can see, tumbling is pretty important to Claire. this is the schedule she has posted by her bed:

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We squeezed in quite a lot of other fun too!  We took these three to Cinderella, even though two of them had already seen it!  What a movie. I lost a lot of tears over that beauty! We thought it was simply delicious! Couldn’t have taught a better moral to the story: Have Courage and Be Kind! Awesome! 

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Family devotionals are at 6:40 a.m. There’s such a nice spirit in the room, even though it may look as though some are still asleep! They are pretty smart scriptorians!

 

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Helping with homework was fun too….especially braille homework! 

 

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This awesome mama may look gorgeous but she doesn’t feel very well!  She has Valley Fever, which she got from inhaling spores somewhere in the desert. That developed into pneumonia which sent her to bed for about five days, unable to lift her head!  With Hoshimotos, her immune system is down and it has sent her for a loop!  She has had two CAT scans and we are waiting for results on the second one any day. She is exhausted and just keeps on keeping on! She’s really trying to get more sleep which would help! She is one tough and gritty cookie!  We love this girl!

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We arrived back to SL just in time to head for Ogden the next evening for a fabulous music program they have organized there for kids. It’s called Music Detectives designed for 4-6 graders.

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Four times a year the Utah Symphony travels to Ogden and clever instructors teach the kids what they are going to see and hear before the concert starts (among other musical things) After a half an hour orientation they are sent into the Browning Center to hear the Symphony. In this case they heard a brilliant pianist play the remarkable Beethoven 2nd Piano Concerto. Armed with clipboards where they can draw what they heard and answer questions about the music, they sat mesmerized by the music! The twins and Eliza were engaged and delighted with what they were learning!

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They even gave the kids binoculars so they could see up close and personal during the performance!

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Alter they heard the Concerto, they were ushered off to the same room, singing the theme of the piece and while Saren and I heard an incredible rendition of an orchestral suite based on The Ring by Wagner, the same instructor had fun with the kids, talking about what they had heard and playing music jeopardy, which they were thrilled by (and so were Saren and I).

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It was a magical evening of music! 

How lucky are we to be able to see all these grandkids learning, growing, experiencing life at it’s finest? We are truly blessed!