Saturday, December 28, 2013

Pickleball Tourney

Dave has become quite the amazing Pickleball player. He has only been playing for a couple of months and already is better than most people that have been playing for years. He has always been very gifted athletically and has always excelled at any sport he tries  (with the exception of ice skating -haha).  But anything else he really is a natural and very talented.  He is also one of the best ping pong players I have ever seen and so I think that is why Pickleball came so easy for him.  A lot of the strategy is the same. 

 His brother Scott's wife Carolyn is also quite good at it.  She has been playing for a few years and so when I heard about a tournament that was being held in a nearby city, I signed him up for it and she signed up as his double's partner.  He was excited (I think) at least until he injured his shoulder (yes from playing Pickleball).  He took off a good month to six weeks to let it heal some, but was still not back to normal when the tourney came around.  I was afraid he was going to bag it, but he went ahead and competed anyway.  For a first tournament, he did really well.  He was teamed up with someone that was on a lower skill level than him but played at his level and so that didn't help him in the men's doubles.  But on the mixed doubles, he and Carolyn did great!  I think they ended up in fourth place when all was said and done in their division.  I could tell his shoulder was really starting to hurt when he started to play left handed.  It's a tough and very competitive game, and they really did well.  They could have gone all the way and won their division, but they ended up losing their last game by a couple points.  I was very proud of them both!    
Carolyn won the GOLD MEDAL in the women's doubles in her division!  I was so proud of her!  She was very happy!  

It was a VERY long day!  Dave arrived at 7 a.m. and didn't finish until almost 10 p.m. I had a lot of fun watching but even I was ready to go home and I had only been there half the time.  

I am excited to see how far he can go with it.  I just hope his shoulder will heal so he can play at the level he is capable of and it won't hold him back.  Dang injuries!  

Monday, December 2, 2013

8 Years Ago...

Time - it reminds us of things that we might otherwise not mark if we didn't have a set way to remind us of them.  
Eight years has come and gone since I last saw my Tyson.  If it wasn't for anniversaries on things like this, then the time would still come and go, but sometimes I think we would tend to forget a lot of things.  Anniversaries (or Angelversary in this case) force us to stop and really think back.  Even though this day eight years ago was a very, very painful one, it still is a day worth remembering.  The funny thing is, it has almost transformed into a day of my friends remembering me, and wishing me well and telling me how much they love me.  But truly, that is what friends do.  They mourn with those that mourn, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort.  Every year when this day rolls around, I do mourn, and I do stand in need of comfort.  I have been blessed with some very amazing friends that even after eight years, they still remember.  I have always been amazed by that.  They always send me flowers, chocolate, or something else that makes me feel loved and supported or something that reminds me of Tyson.  Knowing that those things are going to come to me that day, actually makes it much less of a traumatic day.  I feel very blessed for that.  

We don't have too many traditions to commemorate this day like we do his birthday, other than we always put up our lighted Christmas palm tree in the front yard.  I feel like his birthday should be a day to celebrate his life and Tyson's Angelversary more of a day of keeping him close in our hearts...

What I have found for me, is that the week leading up to this day often seems harder than the actual day.  And every year is different.  There have been some years where I have just wanted to cry every minute of the entire day and other years where I have felt so comforted and at peace without shedding a tear.  Those years are usually the ones where the days before leading up to it are full of tears. haha

There is and always will be a very large hole in our family and in our hearts that Tyson used to fill.  Nothing will ever change that.  But even on days like today, my main focus is still that I was so very blessed to have the 17 years that I did with that boy.  I will always be incredibly grateful for that.  

Happy Angelversary bud!  I hope you are up there spreading your smile and cute giggle like you always did down here.  I miss you desperately....

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Friends Who Are Beacons!

*I'm trying to do some catching up!  So my next few posts will mostly be back tracking from December.

We have been blessed with a lot of great friends in our life.  And a few great home teachers over the years.  But none come close to the ones we have now.  We really love our visits with our home teachers and we know that is a rarity - haha.  Brother Packer keeps us laughing the entire time he is here.  He has a very unique sense of humor that just cracks me up.  
Each holiday season he goes above and beyond what a home teacher needs to do and invites our family along with the Coleman family (our other home teacher) over to watch a movie in his high tech movie room and have yummy treats.  I think the first year we watched some oldies like Little Rascals and some others that I can't recall right now. One year we watched Ben Hur.  All four hours of it!  The time went by fast because it really is a great movie!  I loved that my boys HAD to be exposed to it because at their ages now, I know there is no way they would ever sit down and watch it. Last year we watched MY favorite movie of all time, It's a Wonderful Life!  In color!  And on Blu-Ray!  Dave had never seen it in it's entirety and so once again I was so thrilled that we had the opportunity to watch it.  This year, we watched Miracle on 34th Street (the original on Blu Ray, of course!).  We watched some oldies of Jack Benny as a preview.  Pretty funny stuff!  I can't believe I didn't get a photo of that part of the evening!  But suffice it to say, it was a lot of fun and entertaining!  

The best part of each movie night is after when Bro. Packer gives us a tour of his wood shop to show us what amazing projects he has been working on.  We are ALWAYS in awe of the creativity, talent, and unbelievable skills that he possesses.  He is incredibly gifted.  His wife Jill is also amazing.  She is an artist and can do anything creative as well.  They make quite a team.  This year he had a Bear Cottage fully furnished and decorated inside and out.  I am kicking myself that I didn't get a photo of it!  But the big surprise was when he told us that he had something for us!  He moved the Bear Cottage and then pointed to a corner in his shop where was a box with a big bow on it.  He told us that he wanted to do something for us to thank us for all we have done for his family.  Us?  Hmm... it should be the other way around!  He said how much he has appreciated our family and that Dave has been very helpful medical wise and in other ways and so they had a gift of appreciation for us.  We removed the wrappings and inside we found THIS:
I must say I was SPEECHLESS!  A rarity, I know, but there were no words!  I was in awe first of all that they could create something so amazingly beautiful and second that they would give it to us!!!  The shingles and the wood on the top of the lighthouse is purple wood!  It is a very expensive wood called Purpleheart and comes from Brazil and the rain forest.  How cool is that? 


When I think of the hours and hours of time and tedious work, I feel so humbled.  I am pretty sure no one ever has, nor ever will again, give us something as incredible as this.  I was just blown away!  I am still not sure how to accept a gift of this magnitude.  It truly was a gift of love.  Like I said, there are just no words to express how grateful we are and how special it is to us.
Just wow!

I knew exactly where I wanted to put it and I was hoping it would fit.
It did!  I knew it needed to go on my piano next to my Thomas Kinkade lighthouse picture.

The details are amazing.  He even added a light that simulates the fennel lens.  It even rotates! 
I LOVE turning it on at night. It makes the whole room seem so cozy and peaceful.

The lights inside the Keeper's house look purple!  What more could I ask? ☺

I know what my boys will be fighting over when we are no longer here!

I am still in shock and awe and know we don't deserve such a generous gift, but I sure do love it!   It's nice to have friends that have gifts they don't hide but let shine forth and share with others.  These friends are definitely shining beacons to us!

Just wow!

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas!

Oh yes it is!  And the more it looks like Christmas, the more my blood pressure rises.  But, as much as I wish I could, there is no stopping it now.  I am never fully prepared when this season hits.  It seems to come around faster and faster each year.  I have to say that Christmas has never been my favorite holiday.  Well, actually it probably was when I was a kid and had zero pressure, but now that I am an adult, mom, wife, in-law, and tradition fanatic, it has become - to put it simply - 


Every year I am determined that I will get a huge jump start on it and every year I am still wishing I had started even sooner.  This year I actually had a ton of my shopping and almost all of my ideas done by Thanksgiving.  My goal has always been to have it ALL done by Thanksgiving so I can sit back and just ENJOY the rest of the season.  THAT has NEVER happened and quite frankly, I am sure it never will.  I have not yet discovered the answer to being able to fit in all the extra that this season requires AND keep on doing everything else I am already doing.  The math just doesn't work.  MAYBE if I started the day after Christmas each year and tried to get as much done as I can, then I could make it.  But, I am SO not in the mood to shop once it's over, so I highly doubt that is going to happen either.  Instead, I just let out a very loud groan and get on with it. 

Here are a few of my many faces of this HO-HO-HO season...

We always get a REAL tree.  I almost had everyone talked into FINALLY getting an artificial one this year thinking Dave would be the biggest protester, but it was the boys that didn't want to go that route.  I told them how nice it would be to not have to string all those lights on it each year and then having to take them all off again, but they still wanted the real thing. So off we went to get our tree.  We found a really tall one this year.  Our ceiling is 18 feet high and the tree is about 16 and half feet!  We always get a pretty tall one, but I think this year's holds the record.     

   As keeping with TRADITION, we always go eat at VILLAGE INN after we get the tree.  So far, we haven't had anyone try and steal the tree off the top of the car yet. 

It almost touches the ceiling this year.  I think it's beautiful!  It has taken me several years to like the look of the Charlie Brown tree.  We had many marital wars over what tree to get before we built this house. I always wanted the really gorgeous full and bushy ones.  Dave has always liked the tall skinny ones.  Once we built the house with the tall ceiling, we really had no choice but to get the tall skinny ones.  But I do like the look of them now. 

And here it is all decorated!

Oh my!  Look at these GORGEOUS PURPLE GLITTERY BALLS!  I am so in love with these!  I have the dearest friend who gave me these!  She is the most generous woman I know and I was so shocked but so happy when I opened these!  She always knows EXACTLY what to get me too!  Oh man, I love these things!  I need to get some stands for them but haven't had time to look yet. 

This time of the year is so busy with so much going on and to top it all off for some crazy reason they decided to have McKay's football banquet now as well.  The food was good, but it was freezing in the gym.  McKay lettered as a junior!  We are so proud of him!  I can't believe he will be a senior next year at this time!  And two years from now, he will be a missionary celebrating Christmas in who knows where!

We gave Dave's parents a night out to dinner and to go see Voice Male with us again this year.  They do put on a good concert and we had some yummy food at Goodwood's BBQ.  Somehow I forgot to get a picture at dinner.
A traditional part of their concert, is when they sing Rubber Ducky and the audience goes wild throwing rubber ducks of all sizes and shapes onto the stage.  Some of them don't quite make it.  AMAZINGLY enough this year, a PURPLE ducky hit me from behind.  I couldn't believe I got a purple ducky.  I guess I could have thrown it up on stage to help it finish it's journey, but I know fate when I see it and that purple ducky was meant to be mine!  He came home with me along with a couple others that were on the floor as we walked out. 

Oh my this winter started out F R E E Z I N G !!!!   We have had a lot of below zero temps already and it's only December!  Last year it at least waited until January or February to freeze our biscuits off!  It was minus 13 the other morning.  MINUS. 13. I decided to bag my run that day!  Brrrrrr!!!!!!!!!!!!

At least Mr. Cat is smart enough to stay inside and cuddle up and take a long winter's nap!

We have had a lot of snow already as well.  The yummy food photo below is one I took to send to Taylor of a feast we had on a Sunday.  I'm not sure if he appreciates us always sending him photos of our yummy dinners.  But he sends photos of his too, so I guess we're even, other than I don't drool over the ones he sends and I'm pretty sure he does over ours! 

It was so cold and windy one Saturday that I had Dave take me to the hospital so I could run on the treadmill there (aka dreadmill) since it was my day for my long run.  While he was off getting a key, I decided to shovel the walks.  When he got back he saw me out doing this.  I'm sure he was wishing I would have done it at our house before we left but hey, that's what my boys are for!  haha

Preparing our neighborhood gifts this year.
We wash you a Merry Christmas....

Even though I do NOT look forward to winter coming each year, last year I made a Hot Chocolate Station and I DO look forward to getting it out when it turns chilly.  We love hot cocoa around our house and this just makes it seem a little more special. 

I made my brother's family their own Hot Chocolate Station this year for Christmas.  It had a bit more room on the tray and so I added some cute mugs and more topping jars. 

Mr. Cat has seemed to become a bit more loveable since it got cold.  He is a wimp when it comes to going outside on cold days and so he spends most of his time indoors which means more quality family time.  If I wasn't a runner, I would be right there with him on most days. When I am cold, you can find me in front of my fireplace in my bedroom trying to warm up. Unless of course, Mr. Cat is snuggled up on the couch, and then I will be right there with him.  

My niece Tanae is leaving to serve a mission to Austrailia for our church and so we gathered at their home as a family to wish her well.  My cute, cute, little nephew Isaac is so much fun.  He is such a tease and I am so in love with that kid.  Dave got a few photos of me trying to tickle him.  
He cracks me up!  Look at that face!

We had our Ward Christmas Party and Dave (the Bishop) got to take a few minutes and speak.  That's him at the microphone.  Hard to tell, but it is, I promise. 

Santa always makes a quick visit at the party as well, and in keeping with tradition, I grabbed Bonnie and tried to find Mona but she hadn't arrived yet.  So, I started to grab others to be in the photo with us.  Audrey and her sister Ashley were good sports, but we had to practically force Colleen to join us.  I'm so glad she did, now that she has moved away. =(  We all match and we didn't even plan it that way.  I am not sure what Santa is thinking with all of these women sitting on his lap.  But I don't think he was complaining.  lol

Oh my!  Look who we found out on our long run!!!  What are the odds?  Luckily Jen thought to take a photo with him.  This is one of my favorite pictures ever!  He was more than happy to comply.  Interestingly enough after we ran off we noticed he was going door to door from house to house.  Maybe checking up on the little kiddos to see if they were being naughty or nice.  He was also leaving things in envelopes in their mailboxes as well, so who knows what he was really up to.  ;)

The Sunday before Christmas.  
We are matchy-matchy again this year just like we were last year.

Oh-oh...this post is getting a little too mushy! 
Time to bid adieu!


Saturday, November 30, 2013

Gobble Gobble til' Ya Wobble Wobble

This year was our year to have Thanksgiving with Dave's family.  His sister Karen hosted it at her house in Kaysville in her new home.  She just moved back here with her family from Arizona and they haven't been part of our Thanksgiving since leaving Utah about 20 years ago.  They did come back eight years ago, the year Tyson passed away, but that was the last time we were together with them on this holiday.  We were all so excited to finally have them back here.  It was a lot of fun.  No matter what we are doing, I always have fun with Karen.

This year I was assigned to make the traditional green bean casserole, baked beans, a lemon pie, and a veggie tray.  The only thing of the four that was photo worthy was the veggie tray.  I saw a photo of this (no, not on Pinterest- shocking I know!) from a friend and I fell in love with it.  I was excited to make it.  I think it turned out pretty fun!
It's larger than it appears in the previous photo.

The fun and games started way before we sat down to eat.  They are playing HedBanz.

Some of the cousins. 
We were missing Skyler (working in Hawaii and by working, I mean on Thanksgiving Day too - he had an eel he caught for his feast),Taylor (serving a mission in Brazil), Weston (serving a mission in Reno), Rachel (serving a mission in Albania), all of Brian's kids (they were at their mom's house), Kimber, Jason, and Kylah (living in Oregon), and Julie's family who lives in Las Vegas.  But, we still had three full tables! 

Click to enlarge

I loved watching Bryce hold his newest cousin Alexandra.  He has always loved babies and they always love him.

 The adults.  Just missing Dave's sister Julie and her family.

Isaac's after dinner creation!

Having some fun!

Have I mentioned how much I love this kid!  He LOVES teasing me and I love teasing him back. He calls me Aunt Joey and I call him Newt - short for Sir Isaac Newton.  We have lots of fun!  He reminds me so much of Skyler when he was that age.

And...have I mentioned I have THEE cutest nieces and nephews on the planet?!  I seriously do!  Look at this doll!  Alexandra Rose.  Isn't she just a beauty?

A couple more of Bryce and Alexandra.  She is just soooooo stinkin' cute!

I can definitely say I gobbled until I wobbled!  And then some.....
There is just nothing like getting together with family to celebrate holidays.  I have been so blessed with a such a great family!  Dave's, my own, and my immediate family.  I LOVE Thanksgiving and I think the practice of gratitude is such an important principle to instill in our children.  I honestly believe gratitude is the secret to happiness.  When we are grateful we are happy.  When we focus on what we have, we can't focus on what we don't.  And I for one, have SO much to be grateful for!

However, I feel like this holiday, is being totally kicked aside and trampled on.  I am not happy that the stores have now started to open right ON Thanksgiving Day!  Thanksgiving is a family day, not a day to shop!  I understand it is against the law to do that in some states and I am tempted to move to one of those.  I think it is just SO wrong to take a holiday that is supposed to focus on being grateful and force Black Friday upon us- the one day when people show their greed more than any other day of the year.  It is almost an oxymoron.  

It really saddens me.  So much so, that I refused to go shopping on Thanksgiving Day.  I think those employees should be home enjoying the holiday with their families instead of having to work!  It's just wrong in so many ways!  But that's just me.  I know a lot of families do it together and so they are at least together.  But, no one will ever convince me it is right. 

I have always been a big Black Friday shopper but I used to enjoy it more when the sales began at 6 a.m.!  Then they just kept getting earlier and earlier, with each store trying to get you into their store first.  Now, I just enjoy sleeping in and I eventually hit the stores on Friday, but not until about 7 a.m. and amazingly, I have always found what I needed without having to get up at 3 a.m. and stand in a freezing cold line for hours.  So maybe I should be grateful the stores have moved it away from the early Friday morning and now start either on Thursday or at midnight on Friday.  I'm perfectly happy sleeping through all the craziness!

This year, I did end up standing in a freezing cold line for an hour or so though.  Honeyville Farms had their Bosch Mixers on sale and only had eight at the price advertised.  Mine is 31 years old and is on it's last leg.  It sounds like it is going to explode when I turn it on now.  It's definitely time for a new one, but I have avoided it because they aren't cheap.  So Dave and I headed to get in line a little before 7 a.m. and his sister Linda was already in line and informed us that we were probably number nine.  That meant no Bosch on the ad price.  But even before Dave knew that, he was ready to head back home.  He kept telling me how it wasn't worth it to stand there and freeze to save a few bucks.  I informed him it was worth it to stand there and save over a hundred bucks though.  He still wasn't convinced because he knew the odds of us even getting one were slim.  He was right.  But then we talked to a lady who had some coupons for one item at 25% off.  If we used that, then even if we weren't one of the first eight we could still get one and it would only be $20 more.

This isn't mine, but what mine looks like
The new Bosch
  So I ran home while he stood in line and printed off some coupons.  I saw a worker go in and asked him if they had plenty in stock so it would be worth my time to wait in line or if they only had the eight.  He told me they had plenty and that I could use the coupon on one.  Yippee!  Suddenly it was all worth standing there freezing to death.  Some guy had been there since 3 a.m.!  Now, even I wouldn't do that just to save a hundred bucks!  I DO have my limits!  ;)

Long story short, (yeah right like it even has a chance to be short after all I wrote above!) we got inside and after the eight were gone, they only had about two left in stock. They were gone when I got to them and was certain we missed out.  So much for they had plenty in stock!  Then I saw Dave come around the corner carrying one.  Yea!  I was so excited I almost knocked it out of his hands!  I love going home on Black Friday happy and not disappointed.  Dave headed off to work and I headed off to Shopko and Walmart.  Then I was DONE with my Black Friday.  I used to shop all day. It's just not worth it to me anymore and besides, I have Cyber Monday to look forward to!  I prefer shopping online to fighting the crowds any day!  And you don't even have to find a parking place or stand outside freezing in a long line. So I came home and cleaned my garage and my pantry.  That felt just as good as saving a lot of money.  Well...almost.


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