Friday, January 3, 2014
We had a wonderful Christmas with all our children and grandchildren around us, as well as my parents. We now have 11 grandchildren and 2 more are on the way, so our family continues to grow. I waited until the last minute, like usual, to come up with an idea of what to give the grandkids for Christmas this year and finally came up with machine embroidering t-shirts for each of them. I first thought of doing something different for each one but then as my time grew short abandoned that idea and embroidered the same thing on each t-shirt but in a different color for each child. Not much, but I hope they will like their shirts anyway. I truly enjoyed getting together with everyone, even with all the noise and commotion. On Christmas Eve, we gathered at our house for dinner and then the reading of the Christmas stories, "The Night Before Christmas" and the true story of Christmas from Luke 2 and Matthew 2. We also lit the candles on the German Nativity Pyramid that my 6th son brought home from his mission in Germany. The little kids really liked that: the "fire", the twirling of the figures, and the shadows on the ceiling. Then most of them went home. My 2nd son and his wife and son stayed here with us, as did my parents, visiting from Minnesota and Wyoming, respectively (enjoying the warmer Arizona weather!). In the morning, we ate breakfast and then opened presents, each enjoying what we received. In the afternoon, we all went to my daughter's house for Christmas dinner with everyone and socializing. The food was great and the company was better! All in all, it was wonderful to be together.
New Year's was quieter as everyone else was gone to their own homes, or in my parents' case, to my sister's home. My husband and I barely managed to stay up til midnight but we did and greeted the new year together and then went to bed.
So that's all for now, just a brief update. Hopefully the next one won't be so long in coming.
Sunday, March 4, 2012
Tuesday after voting in the primary election, I again went to my daughter-in-law's and joined them in a trip to the zoo (the doctor had said that her son was ok to go out and be with other kids as long as they were over 6 months old). Her oldest son, the 4 year old, pre-school class was going to the zoo and they said that siblings could come too. Of course his younger brothers wanted to come too and my DIL said she didn't think she could handle the 3 boys alone, so I went along to help her out. Even with the 2 of us, we sometimes couldn't keep up with the boys. Luckily the youngest is only 9 months old and was either in the stroller or the sling most of the time. We spent 4 hours at the zoo, going from one end to the other, the only area we didn't get to was the desert area, but since we live in the desert, that didn't seem to be too great a loss. We did get to the petting zoo (there were only goats to pet, I thought that there had been other animals to pet when I had gone with my own kids' classes to the zoo), the rain forest (Tropics trail) area, the savanna (Africa trail) area, as well as the lake area. We saw lions, and tigers, and bears (oh my!) as well as tortoises, giraffes, rhinos, elephants, and zebras (the boys favorite), and lots of different kinds of monkeys (apes, primates, whatever their classification is)-tamarins, orangutans, gorillas, baboons, and mandrills, as well as something that looked like a chimp but the sign said it was something else. Lots of animals at the zoo! Luckily the weather was nice-not too hot and not too cool (upper 60's or low 70's) and there were clouds for part of the day as well. By the time we left, our feet were hurting but the boys were still going strong, or at least that is what they wanted us to think-they fell asleep on the way home, or one of them did, the other 2 were almost there. I had to quickly get back to my car and head home as it was my oldest son's birthday and my husband offered to have him come over for one last birthday dinner at home (he gets remarried in two weeks), and I had still to fix the dinner plus my visiting teachers were coming to see me! I got home and briefly washed up and started to get things fixed for dinner, visited with my visiting teacher when she came (her partner had gotten sick and didn't come), and then finished fixing dinner, but didn't get it all ready before my son, his son, and his fiancèe showed up, but we were eating not too long after they got here. My youngest son showed up on his bike and asked where he was supposed to vote so we told him how to get there and even let him use our car to get there as there was only 15 minutes left to vote and his bike's handlebars were loose. He came back after voting and grabbed some of the food and called his wife to join us which she did (she had been getting their car from the repair shop and, with the help of friend, returning her mom's car). My grandson didn't really like the meat for the dinner so my youngest son and his wife ate it! Then we invited my next to the youngest son's wife (this son was on his yearly training for the National Guard) to join us for the dessert and when she came we all had strawberry shortcake after which everyone went home. I am quickly getting used to being able to send everyone home!
Wednesday I was able to stay home but instead of working on the baby quilt, I worked on the cover for my oldest son's wedding book. I've made 3 covers previously with very few problems, but this time I had to unpick stitches 5 times!!! I'm glad this is the last one I'll have to make! I use my embroidery sewing machine to embroider their names, wedding date, and temple for the front of the book as well as quilting motifs around that and on the back. I kept getting the placement of the quilting motifs wrong but finally got it all done, it's not perfect but will do-after picking it out 5 times, I thought it would be better to just stop instead of making it perfect. That evening my husband and I went to the temple and did baptisms for family names. Since that didn't take as long as we thought it would, we also helped with sealings (not family names though). That made a good end to the day.
Thursday and Friday were my regular days for babysitting my daughter's boys and so I was home doing that. While the baby slept, I managed to get the fabric cut out one day and then the appliques ironed on the squares the second day so I might get this baby quilt done in time. But I will have two more to do-one for May and one for August-my 3rd son and his wife announced that they are expecting and due in August and they just found out it is another girl. That will make a total of 7 grandsons and 3 granddaughters for us by the end of the year!
Saturday my husband and I went to my middle son's house, the one with the 3 boys, and while my husband helped him with his computer, I played with the older two boys, the youngest was napping. Once done there, we did some grocery shopping, man, our food bill has gone down a lot since it is just the two of us now (well, most of the time)! That evening we went to the temple again to be with our soon to be daughter-in-law as she went through for the first time. We also got to meet more of her family, including her dad who served his mission in Peru the same time that my husband was serving his mission there so when they met they talked about places and people from Peru. It was another good ending to a busy day.
So as you can see, we (I) had a busy week but it was all good! Also this week, my 2nd son took the bar exam in Minnesota, and my middle son found out that his contract will be renewed so it looks like he will have his job for another year, something they are relieved about (and us too)! Always something going on! But we are happy and blessed so there are no complaints here!
Sunday, February 5, 2012
Here's a brief rundown of happenings since I last wrote (ok, so maybe not so brief, meaning this is NOT a short post).
In July 2011, my youngest son came home from his LDS Church mission in the Philippines. I think for several weeks after getting home he suffered from culture shock. He says that there is so much here that we take for granted that they don't have there, at least not in the areas that he served in. Things like reliable transportation and electricity: cars and other vehicles broke down a lot there, and there were also lots of brownouts for no reason. There were typhoons that caused lots of damage and also total loss of electricity for weeks at a time. And even when there were no typhoons, there was lots of rain, hard to get used to for a boy from the desert of Arizona. He also missed potatoes! There were lots of other foods that he missed but potatoes was one of the major ones. He sent home a list of foods he would like to have when he got back and it took us 2 or 3 months to have all of them, having one a day! But he now seems adjusted for the most part.
In August school started up again for my oldest grandson and my sons in college. My next oldest grandson again went to preschool. Lots of learning going on in the family!
In September my daughter had her second child, another little boy, and now I have the same gender mix of grandchildren that I have of children: 6 boys and one girl. Now that she went back to work after her maternity leave, I get to take care of her little boys. That's two or three times a week (she's a nurse and doesn't work every day), and the boys and I do lots of things together like water plants, play in the backyard, read books, watch tv, make cookies, and stuff like that. Mostly it's the almost 3 year old doing those things with me while the 4 month old watches or naps.
Sometime in either September or October, my youngest son announced his engagement to a young lady that he had been writing to during his mission. They've known each other since they were sophomores in high school, I just didn't realize that they were that good of friends! So now there was a wedding to plan for and they set the date for the Saturday before Thanksgiving. They weren't letting any grass grow under their feet!
I can't remember when, but my next to the youngest son and his wife announced that they were expecting! Yay, another grandchild on the way.
In October my oldest son started dating a young lady that was in one of his classes and who is also related through marriage to one of his good friends from school. Things went along pretty quickly and they announced their engagement on the Sunday after Thanksgiving. They plan on getting married in mid-March.
In the first part of November, my parents returned from their LDS Church mission in South Korea. They made it home just in time to join us for...
... my youngest son's wedding and things were going along just fine with all the plans and such. Until the day of the wedding when we found out that all the flowers we had bought for decorating had gotten frozen in the church refrigerator!!! So we had to scramble and find some more in the few hours before the reception. Luckily, between her mother and me, we found some in the right colors and quantities and thus were saved. Seems like something always happens to shake things up! I guess it gives us something to remember!! But other than that, things went really well. The bride was beautiful and the groom was handsome, the temple ceremony was wonderful, and the rest of the evening was great as well. They made their first home in a little studio apartment that was so small that they left most of their wedding gifts here at our house (but I resisted the temptation to try any of them out!). I think it was around this time that my 2nd son and his wife announced that they were expecting. Our family is growing by leaps and bounds!
Then Thanksgiving came and it was a fairly quiet dinner with just my husband and myself and our son-in-law and his two boys (my daughter had to work)--the smallest group here in a long time for a holiday dinner. But the food was good and there was lots of it! The rest of the family came for our Sunday dinner where we had leftover Thanksgiving dinner. By the time the weekend was over, some of my family had had 3 Thanksgiving dinners! Good thing we all love turkey and the trimmings!
The day after Thanksgiving, we started putting up our Christmas decorations and on Sunday when everyone was here, we all decorated the tree. With so many little kids, the majority of the decorations were kind of low on the tree but I didn't mind at all. I think that they liked seeing the decorations that their parents had made when they were little kids, especially the ones with photos. It gives them a chance to realize that their parents were once kids too. That week my next to the youngest son and his wife found out that their coming baby is a girl! So now there will be two granddaughters. The week before Christmas, my parents joined us again (they are making the rounds of visiting all their kids) as did my 2nd son and his wife-they came all the way from the cold of Minnesota. I've gotten used to the Arizona winters and sometimes forget that others have to deal with cold and snow. Anyway, for Christmas everyone gathered here both on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. One of my daughters-in-law suggested that we have all the grandkids act out the Christmas story as my husband read it and so that's what we decided to do. It was a fun, funny, and wonderful evening. We had Joseph and Mary, and three wise men, although one of them kept saying he was a shepherd even though he brought a gift and not a sheep. The two youngest grandkids just watched, too big to be the baby and not still enough to be sheep. I hope we will do this every year from now on.
Since Christmas was on a Sunday, we all went to church before opening presents. I sang in the choir and the music and speakers were wonderful. We then went back to our house and were joined by all the kids and their families for the present opening. That was lots of fun and crazy too. Some of the families left for a little while (to try to get little ones to take naps) and then they all regrouped here for our big Christmas dinner. And as we were getting ready to sit down to eat, we realized that we had forgotten to cook the potatoes!!! So our food storage came to the rescue and we quickly made up some potato flakes to stand in for the mashed potatoes. It took almost the whole #10 can full to make enough for all of us (there were 25 of us) and when they were smothered in gravy, they didn't taste too bad. I've NEVER forgotten the potatoes before, I guess there is always a first time for everything. The rest of the food was great and it was so nice to have everyone here, even if it was crazy.
The day after Christmas we all gathered again for family pictures that I had scheduled but it turns out that many of us were sick! I hope the food didn't do it! In talking around, it was decided that it wasn't the food, it was just a flu bug that they all got, since not everyone who got sick ate the same things. But they all managed to stay upright long enough for the pictures and those turned out pretty good.
Just before Christmas, my oldest son graduated from college (finally) with his bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering. He also got a job working for a laser etching company (?) in north Scottsdale so will have to commute every day but at least he has a job!!
In January, those going back to school did that. My oldest grandson turned eight and got baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints with his father doing the baptizing and confirming and his grandfathers being the witnesses. Well, we were all witnesses but the grandpas were the designated witnesses. Most of our side of the family was there, and a lot of his mother's family were there and so were his soon to be stepmother and step grandparents. I'm glad that they came too, even though they left before I could meet them. They are trying to be a part of his life and I think that's great. I'm also glad that his mother's family were there as they are a big part of his life and we want them to realize that. It made for a big group but that's was the church is all about, bringing us to Christ and bringing families together.
A week or so after that, our 2nd son and his wife called us and told us that they just returned from the doctor and they had found out that they are having a boy! My son said that they were going name the baby after his grandfather (my husband's father) and I think that's great. They just need to decide on a middle name. My daughter-in-law said that it won't be my son's name as there are too many of them in the family already (one of her brothers has the same name). We'll see what they decide on.
Towards the end of January, my oldest son and his son moved out of here and into their own place. When he first got divorced, we told him they could stay here for a while, thinking it would be 6 months to a year, but it turned out to be 7 1/2 years! It was time, especially since he now was graduated and has a job. So now we are empty-nesters! It has been kind of quiet around here without them but I think we (my husband and I) can get used to it. We love all our kids dearly, but they need to be out on their own with their own families and their own lives.
I forgot to say that my 3rd son and his family bought a nice house in Mesa and are all moved and settling in. My next to the youngest son and his wife also bought a house, in Tempe, and are working on getting it fixed the way they want and then they will move in, hopefully by the end of the month. They offered to rent the extra bedroom out to my youngest son and his wife who jumped at the opportunity as with the bedroom and bathroom at that house, they would have more space than in their studio apartment, plus they would have a real kitchen to use instead of just a hotplate and a mini-fridge. So their part of the house got fixed up first and they moved in last week.
Now we are in February and getting things ready for one more wedding. Life just keeps happening and things just keep going along. I just have to keep reminding myself that this is how life is and to go with it. In the midst of all these goings on, I have been making and/or planning baby quilts, trying to finish the quilting on the large quilt I finished the top for last year, and making little gifts for other family members. It seems there is never a dull moment around here but for now, that's fine. We are all happy and healthy and know that we are so blessed. What more can I ask for?
Sunday, June 5, 2011
Isn't he a cutie??
Isn't he handsome in his uniform? But you'll notice that this was taken before his new rank badge was sewn on (while he was still at Ft. LW).
Here he is with his two brothers and his dad. This little family now has half of my grandkids! But that will change come October as my daughter will have her second little one then.
Another happening is that my number 5 son graduated from his AIT (Advanced Individual Training) in the Heavy Construction Engineering Course at Fort Leonard Wood in March. He was suprised to receive the only promotion in his group at graduation so he is now a PFC (private first class) and guess what he brought home for me??? His new rank badges for me to sew onto his dress uniform! I thought I was done sewing on badges when my youngest son got his Eagle Scout award. Not so, apparently.
A third happening is that my daughter-in-law graduated from ASU with her bachelor's degree in music education. Now she is searching for a music teaching job. Wish her luck, please!
The happy graduate and her hubby, in the sun, it was hot that day!
A fourth happening is that my daughter-in-law and I got our hair cut. We both went from waist length hair to shoulder length (well, hers is below her shoulders and mine is above my shoulders). We both donated the trimmed off locks to Locks of Love.
After. Boy, don't I look like a granny with those glasses!?!
Let's see, anything else newsworthy? Hmm. I guess that's about it for news. Well, I did celebrate another birthday, we won't say which one :-), and it was nice to get well wishes from my friends and family.
I have been sewing and making things and am in the middle of making the new grandbaby's quilt. He arrived before I even finished cutting it out, that's how behind I am! But I did finally start sewing it together so that's something I suppose.
That's all for now!
Monday, January 31, 2011
Saturday, June 5, 2010
When we showed someone this picture, they said that I looked like a typical college graduate with my sunglasses and all!
Two weeks after my son's graduation, my oldest grandson graduated from kindergarten! It was fun to see him with his class as they sang songs and recited different poems about what they had been learning.
Here he is marching in with some of his classmates.
And this is him getting his "diploma" from his teacher.
The 3 graduation ceremonies were VERY different from each other but each was special in it's own way and well worth the time spent to attend them.
While all this was going on, we are also in the midst of preparations for 2 weddings in July. The first one, on the 3rd, is that of my 2nd son (his second marriage), his wedding will be in the St. Paul, Minnesota temple so we are flying back there for that. It will be the first time I've been to Minnesota! The other wedding, on the 8th, is that of my 5th son, the one that just returned from his mission to Germany. His girlfriend waited the whole 2 years for him and within 3 weeks of his homecoming, they were engaged. They are getting married here at the Mesa temple so we are more involved in the plans for this wedding but even so, we really haven't had too much to do-one of the perks of being the parents of the groom(s)!
In between all of these goings on, I'm also trying to work on my current quilt. I don't know how some people can finish a quilt in just a month or so, I certainly am NOT one of those people! I have managed to get all the stitch and flip parts done and am now working on sewing some of them to each other and then they will be sewn into the squares. It is a slow process for me but it will get done, eventually. So a lot has gone on and a lot is still to come but I guess that's life. We wouldn't want to be bored!