The Energizer Cowboys who kept things humming at the reunion

The Energizer Cowboys who kept things humming at the reunion
These kids know how to have fun!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Merry Christmas 2011

Dear Family and Friends,
       We are really slow getting these out this year, but it’s a good thing we do these yearly Christmas letters, otherwise I’m afraid we would lose contact with some of you.  We enjoy hearing from you and catching up on your latest escapades.  We hope you are all healthy, wealthy and wise.  Maybe two out of the three would suffice. 

Instead of a trip this fall, we did some home improvements.  We tiled our front entry way, and also poured a new patio and side walk, and we had our garage resided.  We hired Rob’s golfing buddy Dave Moore to do the work and we were really pleased with the results.  We dyed the cement a reddish color and imprinted the cement so it blends with the flagstone we already had. Once the patio was completed, Janet felt the garden area also needed attention so she planted more flowers, hauled rocks for a border and had Anthony prune the choke-cherry trees.  She wants to put in a fire pit on the south of the patio so Steve already has work lined up for next spring.

We raised another big garden this year and it was fairly successful.   Steve put in a raspberry and strawberry patch.  We are going to focus on producing more fruit and less vegetables.  We have several different fruit trees, but because of neglect the harvest was small. Janet also filled all of our bottles again this year; the final 50 were filled with pumpkin!

Janet has been the quilt guild president this year, and has had a lot of added responsibilities.  The group has been very pro-active with community service projects: baby blankets for the two hospitals, a quilt camp for youth, quilt tying at Farm Days, made quilts for two fallen officers and another 2 quilts for a Cancer fund raiser and fire victims.  Laurie and Brendan stayed in Blanding June 1-4 so Laurie could participate in Quilt Camp with Grandma. We had a lot of fun. The guild meets monthly.  Even though they are a wonderful group of ladies to work with, she’s glad the year is about over.   
We still run an addiction recovery class for the LDS church and have seen some success.  We’ve had fairly good attendance and the group is very supportive of each other.  This past summer our ward was dissolved (some say translated) and the members were divided up into three different wards.  We were again called to serve as the YSA advisors in the Fifth Ward.   The college dorms are in that ward, so we have about 45 young singles to shepherd.  We attend the Young Single branch most of the time so we can interact with kids we’re working with.  We also help teach the Temple Preparation class there.  We’ve been hosting a Sunday dinner, in addition to a game night at least once a month with the kids.  We enjoy working with them and hope we are a positive influence in their lives. Often our home is a bed and breakfast for YSA in transit.  Steve continues to serve in the Monticello, Utah Temple each Tuesday.

In April we returned to Ganado where we served our mission, to attend the dedication of an addition to the LDS chapel.  This doubled the size of the building and it is very nice.  There were over 175 in attendance at the dedication. They had a wonderful dinner after the meetings so we were able to see and visit with many of our old friends. It was wonderful visiting with former missionaries and other special friends there.  We are hoping Corey and Vanisha will pursue their plans for serving missions.  The Lord truly needs valiant servants in the latter days.  There is so much wickedness in the world, we all need to “rise and shine forth” if we hope to combat it.

In May we went with a large group of Blanding friends to Branson, Mo.  The bus picked us up right in Blanding!  That’s the way I like to take trips.  No driving, no waiting at airports, and our reservations were taken care of.  It took three day to drive to Branson we saw several interesting sights along way.  We spent three days in Branson and saw nine different shows.  On the return trip we visited the Will Rogers Museum, and also the site of the Oklahoma City bombing.  We had excellent accommodations and had a very enjoyable trip.
In June we held our family reunion at Abajo Haven, six miles north of Blanding.  It had four real nice cabins so not all of our family had to sleep in tents. Amy and Andrew were in charge of the reunion this year and planned lots of fun activities.  We ate good meal, played games, hiked and swam in Recapture Reservoir and at the new Blanding pool.  It was great to have all of the family together: 16 adults and 24 grandkids.

Other family highlights this year included: CJ getting his driver’s license; Sage and Daniel were both baptized in July; Jens Quentin was born May; Anthony successfully completed Law School in Dec. and is gearing up for the Bar Exam in March. We also made two trips to Phoenix to visit Quent and Anthony’s families this year, plus family trips up north and to Las Vegas.

In Aug. we went to Blackfoot, Idaho for a Murphy family reunion. It was good seeing many of the Arnold, Keeler and Jensen families there as well and catching up on the news. We also met up with Janet’s classmates at Heisi, and got to go see the Keeler Farm on Antelope.  We’re planning our family reunion activity there next summer. In Sept. Janet caught a ride to Tooele and tended Nathan and Tammy’s children so Tammy could join Nathan in Washington D.C. for a few days.  Janet had several fun outings with Laurie and Brendan and Autumn and Amy and their kids.  She also reconnected with some of her college roommates.  That same weekend we attended our missionary reunion and saw both of our mission presidents and their wives, plus many of the senior missionaries we knew in the Arizona Phoenix Mission. Recently all of the missions that reached into the reservation were combined into the Farmington Mission.  Four Elders are assigned to Blanding and we’ve been helping them quite a bit.

This year has been one of wonderful highs but also some great sorrows regarding the little boy we hoped Rob and  Kathryn could adopt. Travis’s bio- father petitioned the courts for custody earlier this year and even though he missed the deadline for filing, was not married and only worked part time, the judge in Denver still gave temporary custody to Travis’s father on Aug 28th the day he turned one.  Travis had been in their family since birth.  You can imagine the sadness that was. The judge allowed Rob and Kathryn to visit him every two week, but on Nov. 01, the judge gave permanent custody to Travis’s father.   This has been heartbreaking for Rob, Kathryn and Ethan and the rest of us.  We pray that he is being cared for and raised with love.  But we know it will not be the same quality of life he had with Rob and Kathryn’s family.  Kathryn also lost her father this past year, after a valiant fight with pulmonary disease, so there are two big holes in their lives.  

We’re still working on several history projects, though Janet got a couple of books published earlier this year. She compiled a history of all of her sewing and quilting projects over a lifetime, as well as a tribute book about Lem Redd.  Maybe this winter we’ll have some free time to really concentrate on it.  Janet has nearly completed scanning our slide collection (3000+) and is now transcribing her Brother Clint’s letters.  I’m working on my life story. 

We are very thankful as we reflect on the past 44 years of life together, that God and his gospel have played such an important part in our lives.  We are so thankful that our children, are passing on gospel traditions to their children.  We know we didn’t do everything right, but we kept trying during those hard years.  Without a belief in God, and knowledge of his Son Jesus Christ, the world and its problems would be overwhelming.  We truly feel the peace and joy that the gospel brings. We pray that its light is reaching into your life as well.

 Love, Steve and Janet Wilcox                  

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day

It was a little somber this Christmas, not because of those who shared it with us, but because of those who weren't there.  We couldn't help but remember last Christmas Eve, sharing it with both Lem Redd and Travis.  So there was a big empty spot in our hearts for them.  But through the hope we have in Christ, we know that all things can be made whole again.  Christmas Eve we had dinner with Lila and Rob's family and a program, and then the next morning Rob's family came over to open presents.  This is the quilt I made for Ethan out of his T-shirts.
It was a hard stretch, but I even put Buckaroo colors of orange and black on the back!

What every golfer needs--a golf tie!
Grandpa and his "Seize the Nap" shirt

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Gingerbread houses 2011 style

While we were at Autumn's we kept the energy of Christmas alive, by making Gingerbread houses from scratch.  Autumn made the houses using the pattern she gave all of us all last year, then we helped the kids make the houses.

The next week when Anthony and Ashley's family came to visit we repeated the activity, and had a lot of fun trying it on our own.  If I'd known how easy it really was, I would have done it with my own kids years ago.
 Since they were in transit going and coming to and from Mesa, we ended up giving their houses to our neighbor's children.  So nothing went to waste, I'm sure. 

We found out that Anthony and Ashley are also expecting a baby in 2012, and in February found out that it too, will be a little girl.

Christmas Announcement -- New baby coming

A special part of the family Christmas party on Dec. 18 was the announcement from Nathan and Tammy that they are expecting a baby in May.  This is the clever poem they shared at the end of the Nativity reenactment the family did.

Twas a night in the Springtime so fresh and so bright,
The snow had all melted to everyone’s delight.
The layette had been washed and folded with care,
In hopes that a little one soon would be there.

Us kids were nestled all snug in our beds,
While visions of summer vacation danced in our heads.
Pa was a sleeping and snoring so loud,
While Ma kept a wondering “Will three be a crowd?”

Then all of a sudden I was woken from sleep,
By that blasted phone and some insensitive creep.
I asked myself who the caller could be,
As the name “Uncle Theron” flashed on caller I.D.

With his favorite question already to ask,
I knew in a moment I was up for the task.
More rapid than Armstrong, Theron’s voice came in clear,
He asked the same question with his usual sneer.

“Now uncle I’ve told you ‘nunya’ time and again,
Nor more asking, my patience is running quite thin.
Be patient with mama and papa too,
They’ll get it together they know what to do!”

I hung up the phone and went back to my bed,
Pulled up the covers and placed a pillow under my head.
I’d just begun REM and started to dream,
When down from the hall I heard my pa scream.

Then all of a sudden I heard mama say,
“Get the car started, our surprise is on the way!”
The bags were all gathered and thrown in the car,
Then off to the clinic; I hope it’s not far.

Dad was a racing with speed to the max,
Mama hollered, “hurry!” Papa said, “just breathe and relax.”
Then on to the birth center before it gets late,
To meet our surprise, she’s due on May 8th.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Merry Christmas Celebrations

We had a White Christmas in Blanding!
We were also blessed to have good traveling weather the week before Christmas, so were able to whizz up to the Wasatch Front to visit our kids' families up there.  We stayed with Chris's family Wed. the 14th and  Sun. 18th which we enjoyed very much.  I was able to work with Kylee for several hours getting her started on her first quilt.  We probably should have practiced "driving" the her new machine a little bit first, but she did pretty well. We were also able to attend her choir program Thurs. morning.  See if you can find her!

Pam's Grandma Prevost lost one of her sons tragically that week, so we took time to go visit her as well.  Two other friends of ours, Melissa Tatro a former Blanding teacher, and Anita Nez from Cornfield, also lost sons tragically just before Christmas.  It is always hard to call and talk about death, but from our experience, we knew how helpful that is, and took time to do it.

We stayed the other days with Autumn, and even got to try out their Wellness Center, and tended for them so they could go celebrate their anniversary on the 16th.  The family party on the 18th turned out really fun and Amy and Andrew pulled in some new activities.  It was nice to reinact the Nativity Story with so many of the family participating.  The adults made a good choir, and the kids did really well, as did the innkeepers with no room!

Of course, the main activity was eating a delicious brunch of waffles and breakfast meats and fruits.  Amy and Andrew initiated our "new Belgium waffle maker"..which we are enjoying now.

We played some games with the kids before eating, and then afterwards the children exchanged presents, and were visited by that Jolly Old Man himself.
Visiting and playing basketball were also on the traditional agenda. 

Little Buddies Daniel and Gannon

Granddaughters model their pre-christmas fashion accessories, made by Cheri Shumway.

The traditional pinata ended the morning's festivities along with teasing Uncle Scrooge.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Thanksgiving on the Mesa

Logan the Explorer enjoyed being a mountain goat!
We had a great Thanksgiving with wonderful weather, great visitors, and fun activities.  Nathan & Tammy, Rob & Kathryn, and Anthony& Ashley and their families all arrived Wed. night, so we got to do things with them thru Sunday.  We had a delicious dinner Thursday, and also invited Brother Larry Dennison to come join us.  He was #14 for dinner.  He used to go hunting with Steve in the early days, and knows our family pretty well.  He's all alone now, and I think he enjoyed being with us. He even stayed and played the games.
  Everyone helped with the food prep: Ashley with her signature Corn bread dressing, Tammy with yummy Frog Eye Salad, and Kathryn with delicious white rolls.  We had two kinds of turkey which we munched on all weekend. Steve smoked a turkey earlier in the week and we cooked it on Wed. On the last day I made shredded Mexican taco filling with the last of the turkey.  I had never fixed left over turkey that way, but it was delicious with some black beans in it and seasoning.  It was good both as a burrito and as a taco.  It was great not having left-overs, and I appreciated everyone helping to eat up all the things in the fridge before they left.
    I hope you all have been writing in your Gratitude Journals, and keep encouraging each other to do so every day.  I'm a firm believer that grateful people are happy people.  While I was getting desserts ready, and loading the dishwasher, we had everyone, including Bro. Dennison start their gratitude journal.  I've written in ours several times since then.  I think pretty much everyone wrote that day, and hopefully, have continued.  I don't know if Steve has added any more, however.  I hope he sees this and remembers it's a daily habit! 

We also played a "hot potato" gratitude game with our stuffed fabric cornicopia veggies and fruits.  One of the kids started it by identifying the first letter of the fruit, and said something they were thankful for that started with that lettr, then he tossed it to another person, and it went round and round, until we had saturated the letter with all the blessings we could think of.  Once we got through playing, we went back to the table for dessert.
    Later we played several whole group games: The West Wind Blows, Name bopper, Categories, and Chinese writing.  Who knew that Anthony could speak Chinese!  We had a ton of fun, and laughed a lot.  It was good for all of us.  It was so fun playing games with the grandkids, and seeing their sense of humor coming through, and making jokes along with their parents.  We all need more humor in our lives and less harshness.
    Coyote calling, of course, was one of the activities of the weekend, as well as target practice with the kids (they weren't the targets -- they were shooting too!). 
We went on a hike at Bluff Bench and Recapture Pocket, made a few "Black Friday" trips to Alco! and visited and played table games.  We found the can Chris's family hid last Easter with the GPS co-ordinates.  It didn't look like anyone had found it yet.

Who are those crazy explorers?

Hiking on the slick rocks above Bluff
The only thing missing was a cook and a kitchen cleanup crew, so I could just goof off too.  But my energy has been better lately, so I survived it all. Dad was a huge help running errands, and cooking breakfast.

On Saturday we invited Sister Stubbs' Grandkids, and Charlotta Lacy's kids for the Pinata break.  We also played games with them. Some of the older kids didn't get a turn, as it broke before it got to them, but it was still fun.  Thanks, Ashley for providing that.

That evening a young man we've been helping with, was baptized, and we both participated in that.  He's been coming out to all the YSA activities, and really loves it.  We even got him to Institute on Thursday.  He came to the YSA branch for the first time today.  He has really needed friends his age, and seems really happy to have found a nitche in the gospel. 
   Anthony and Nathan's families went to church with us, then headed for home after Sac. meeting. Thanks everyone for changing the sheets, and cleaning up so well. We loved having everyone come and all the help you gave.  Sometimes I'm so worn out after a big visit, it takes me days to recover, but we did better this time.

 Monday we went to the Lowe Family concert in Monticello with Ethan and Kathryn. Rob was headed to Las Vegas for Swat team training. He got back on Friday. So he was gone quite awhile. Ethan was a little sick that night, but seems to have gotten better.  The concert was their Branson format, so some people felt it was too long, but I loved it and felt we really got our moneys worth!!
We got snow yesterday, so it really looks like Christmas in Blanding now!  We'll we've gotta run--it's break-the-fast at the YSA branch, and we're taking several things for those hungry appetites.  Love and kisses, Grandma! 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Patio: Before and After

We spent 20 or so years of wishing our outdoor entertaining area was not only more attractive, but less dangerous,  Finally we went ahead this year and hired Dave Moore, a friend of Rob's, to do phase #1 of the rennovation.

We had done several improvements in the past.  When we moved to this house in 1973 there were two big elm trees in the back yard. We debarked them, so we could get rid of  the source of all the little seedlings they send out in the garden and flower beds.  Ringing or debarking kills the food source to trees, and eventually they die. This picture also shows a wire fence around the little Maple tree which Pete and Charlotte Black had planted shortly before we bought this home from them.  It is now a large tree.

There was also a big elm tree on the north side that we debarked as well.  On the north was a larger maple tree which the Blacks had also planted.  The south lawn was planted in grass.   I can remember having a sleep out on the south side with the kids a couple of times, and facing TV to the window and opening the panes, so we could watch a movie outside. 
One Sunday before we took the elm trees out, Aaron was sick and had stayed home.  He was probably 7 or 8 at the time and a big wind storm came in and blew the tree over; fortunately it blew into the closeline and not the house.  We were so thankful that it didn't break the window or hurt Aaron in some way.  It was scary enough for him as it was.

At one time Steve built a three- tiered strawberry bed about where the pond is now, but it was too shady for the plants to do well.

About 1983 there was a flash flood which washed away the wooden decking out at a marina UNDC was building, and Silvia Stubbs and I went down to the UNDC lumberyard and bought some of the plankings which you can see in the picture above.   We used these as  "temporary" sidewalks and part of the patio on the south side, and so it remained until this year. 
    Rob helped me put the flagstone the fall of 2000 prior to Autumn's wedding.  Steve put the fishpond in about 2003 before Andrew's reception.
Here is what the patio looked like prior to its face lift the summer or 2011.  Pretty hodgepodge.

 A few years ago, Steve and I added sand to paint, hoping to create a stucco texture to the west wall of the garage.  It looked great for about 2 years, but then it started to flake off as you can see in the picture above.  In this year's refurbishing of the patio we also added siding to the garage.

During the two weeks I was in Northern Utah helping the kids, Dave and Virgil Steve did most of the concrete and siding work.  Here is what it's like now.

Where once we had wooden walkways we now have a nice red stamped cement sidewalk, which wraps around the corner.

I plan on painting the rest of the back porch cement on the west, to match the side walk.  But that may not happen until next spring.  They also took out and then repoured the section of the side walk that was jutting up on the south; it had been such a hazzard.

This is how the cement looks now in the patio.  As you can see in the picture, they also poured a nice wall on the south where the grill will go.   The empty space on the garage wall is for a painting which Steve will do.  We're still looking for the perfect scene for him to paint, so if you find a good one, let us know!

The garage looks lots better now, though was taken before the flashing went up on the eaves.  We don't have a new window in yet.

                                                     Looking west on the Patio.
Our other project this summer included a tiled entry way. We bought the time last December in Farmington, but evidently that the guy who helped us at Home Depot in Dec. didn't compute enough tile for the pattern I wanted.  I tried, several plan "B" patterns in the process of trying to make what we had work, but I didn't like any of them.

In July when Anthony and Ashley made a quick visit, we made a flying trip to Corez to try and find some matching tile.  At House of Carpets we found lots of free tile in their boneyard, and hauled home about 25 pieces.  I did end up using some of them, but the light colors didn't match, so Steve and I made a 2nd trip to Cortez in September, and got a totally different center color, which he liked better.  It had more red in it. 

Next I got my free tile pieces out and kept moving the them around, and experimenting until, I was able to come up with  a Navajo type design, which Virgil was able to replicate.

I think Virgil Steve did an excellent job on it. I'm so happy with the design and color.  The center blue tiles were the ones we found in Cortez on the first trip.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Thoughts and reflections on Women's Conference 2011

Starting with the Women's Gen. Broadcast the week before General Conference, I tried something different and used my laptop to take notes while I listened.  I felt I was much more engaged, and gleaned some things useful in my own life, and ideas for our extended family as well.  I've always taken notes in the past, but my penmanship is so bad now, I can hardly read it.  Too many years typing on the computer!

Women's Broadcast:  I especially appreciated Pres. Uchtdorf's talk:
Pres. Uchtdorf: In garden, noticed little flower a forget-me-not. Analogy –using it to teach us what not to forget:

1. Forget not to be patient with yourself –Those you think are perfect , are not! Some expectations are impossible to be met… Enjoy your successes, don’t punish self. Be thankful for small success in your home, church callings,

2. Forget not the difference between good sacrifices, and poor sacrifices; dedicating time for lesson is good, -- hand stitching the scripture on a potholder is foolish, time and energy should be spent on things that matter most.

3. Forget not to be happy now. Charlie & the Chocolate factory: Willie Wonka hit message in chocolates. Yearning to find the “golden ticket.” The candy bar itself, can still be enjoyed, even without the golden ticket--key to happiness. Seek after things that are lovely, good report and praiseworthy. Don’t keep looking for glorious roses, and miss the simple elegance of forget-me-nots. While in pursuit of goals, enjoy beauty and joy in each day

4. Forget not the Why of the gospel: Duties that “must” be done vs. following Christ along the path, a light, a pathway, which illuminates the way: The majesty and power of the gospel is the “Why” we committed to as a foundational part of our lives, and then life is no longer a burden; cast our eyes not on ground, but enjoy the beauty of each day.. Find the joy of the Why. The what and how, marks the way, but the Why of obedience, sanctifies our actions. Magnifies small acts of obedience into concecration

5. Forget not that the Lord loves you. You are not forgotten. No matter how overshadowed you may be fears or worries..He loves you with an infinite love. You are loved by the King, you are daughters of his kingdom. “He made man a little lower than the angels..” He loves you sisters, because you are his children. Allow his love into your life, it can heal any heart, soften any sorrow. You are closer than to heaven than you suppose. Treasure the gift of service, strengthen homes and family. Notice the little things that can bring you joy. Don’t wait for a golden ticket, to be happy.

 Julie Beck’s talk

Told of the valiant women of pioneer times who helped in every way possible when others were destitute…[My own gg grandfather Henderson was one of several young men in need in the winter of 1851 when he first came to the Salt Lake Valley.  John Taylor's wife took care of 18 young men. Often she sent them out to hunt and they came back with badgers or crows… It was a long, cold winter, yet she did the best she could.]  Here is the entry:
[From Heart Throbs of the West, Vol 12: Robert finally located in the home of Brother John Taylor. Here with eighteen other young men, he remained the greater part of the winter. He tells how it was for Sister Taylor to secure enough food to supply the healthy appetites of the nineteen rugged young men who were just becoming accustomed to Utah’s high climate. Each boy would try to secure something to eat during the day. Perchance one would bring home a big, black crow, a badger or something that could be eaten. All hands took part in helping to dress and prepare what came. Sister Taylor was a very capable cook. All conditions considered, it was a very well spent winter; for here he attended his first conference in Zion and eagerly assimilated the wonderful instructions given by the church leaders. ]

Sometimes I think we are really sacrificing to feed and entertain 8-12 young singles a couple of times each month.  But Sister Taylor had 19 young singles every day to feed during one whole winter!

She quoted Pres. Monson: Pres. Monson “strive with faith to fulfill—spirit of the law, achieve the miraculous.  Sis. Beck added: I hope my granddaughters will accomplish miracles…that will be recognized by the Lord.  I am sure our granddaughters have that capability too, and I'm so thankful their parents are following the Proclamation on the Family, and teaching all their children to walk in God's ways.

New Relief Society book aligns in unity worldwide sisters of the gospel: who we are, what we’ll do, what we’ll defend…inspiring examples.  We can lead the sisters of the world. Apply principles and patterns of Relief Society.

Sister Allred: Spoke of the establishment of RS in Nauvoo—Apostle Paul, “Greatest of all gifts is Charity"" Vaunted not itself, rejoiceth in truth. These principles have been endorsed throughout world

Pure love of Christ (love as Christ would) List traits, which do I need to work on?
Charity a state of the heart. Charity refines those who practice it…prepares us for the Celestial kingdom…What qualities will help us? Prayer, goodly love, read scriptures daily

Feed my sheep..those in need; compassion for the hungry, sick, Wear the mantle of charity—patience with those letting us down, accepting shortcomings.. Willing to serve when it is not convenient; don’t have to be assigned, it becomes part of our very nature;

Visiting teaching designed to: love, minister, serve others: (What can I do to help ___________?)

Examples: took sister to hospital often, tended child; another taught a sister to read; Chairity is Kind, seeketh not her own…Makes our own difficulties seem less difficult.. “Angles cannot be restrained from being your associates” Small acts of charity have a healing power in lives of others, and in our own lives.
She invited sisters to plea for a desire to be filled with charity..including in "your own family."

Barbara Thomas:

Cleave unto the covenants we have made with the Savior.. She told of cleaning out parents' house, reading their patriarchal blessings. Sisters can find great joy in keeping covenants—examples in new RS book. Baptism covenants: bear one another burdens, mourn with others,
Sisters in Nauvoo anticipated how the temple would bring them out of darkness into the light. We covenant to do and be good. Joy and protection come to those who do this.

Ammon—instruments bringing many others to Christ. “My joy is full.” Even in the face of trials. Couple in Ukraine going to Frieburg temple. 26 hr. ride each way.

When people sift through our belongings will they have a witness of how we kept our covenants? Joy, comfort, peace, protection, help in times of trial..

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

September Trip to SLC--Began and ended with a Bang

Sidney, Mike and Caroline Christensen--my chauffeurs
Back in the long ago past when I needed a ride up north, and Dad couldn't go, I'd call KUTA and have them announce I was looking for a ride--and I was always successful, even finding a ride to Idaho a couple of times.  Nowadays, it's e-mail and Facebook that I use to hitch a ride, and still find Blanding people so kind and accommodating. 

I traveled with the Christensen's this time, and it turned into a 12 hr. ride, starting with a serious blowout on Soldier Summit.  Luckily, Mike controlled the car well, and we had room to park on the side, with a good view to the very steep slope and canyon below.  We felt very blessed and protected, though inconvenienced.  Unluckily, the spare was flat too.  Luckily someone stopped and took him down to Helper.  Unluckily the canned gas he bought to inflate the spare was defective.  Luckily, there was enough air supply to allow us to limp along, back to Price, where they ended up buying four new tires.  It was 9 PM by the time we got to Tooele, and Nathan's home.

After a quick crash course on Brendan and Laurie's schedules, eating patterns, homework, house rules, and gizmo-gadget instructions, I was ready to start a very fun week of tending.  I walked the kids to school each morning, and also walked them home--not that they needed it, but I wanted to keep on target with my own exercise, and encourage theirs as well.  I droveTammy to the airport, and learned the idiosycrancies about their van that morning. Drove up to Autumn's before heading home and helped her a bit on kitchen patrol.  Also got some shopping done before I headed back to Tooele.  Found some great bargains at the new grocery store in Stansbury Park.   Cream of chicken for .59 a can--so got several cases, as well as other food storage items.

That night the kids and I did a major cup-cake decorating project to help Autumn with the bake sale part of the Cub Scout fundraiser Friday.  We had a lot of fun creating weird  Halloween Ghouls.  Shown here: the kids celebrate their accomplishment.  We saved about 10 or so for next week when Grandpa and their parents returned. 

The next day I started my history project for my brother Clinton.  I want him to be remembered as more than a birth and a death date. So decided I needed to do something about it.  Over the week, I got all of Dad's letters to him scanned, and about 3 months of Clint's mission letters typed up.
We all packed the night before, for our "sleepover" trip Friday night at Autumns.  I picked the kids up right after school, and we got there in time to help cleanup the "creative cake studio" that had been going on all day at the Jeppsons.   All of the cousins had fun playing together, and talking instead of sleeping!
These are Autumn's two cakes which were prize winners; they brought in over $50 for the Cubs.

We all had a lot of fun at the Cake Auction, and I donated about $50 to the ward, to feed our sugar addictions.  The cake on the left is a delicious cheese cake I won, and the Sunflower cake was bought by Theron.  We became well acquainted with Misha (girl in red shirt on the left) who was baptized the next morning.  Autumn had fellowshipped her for several months, first inviting her to go to Girls Camp this summer.  Then inviting her to church, and then to hear the missionary lessons.

 We hadn't planned to go to the baptism, so hadn't brought clothes, so after the auction we made a flying trip to Kohls bargain racks at 9 PM to find something for all 3 of us to wear.  So Brendan got an early birthday present.
The next day we went to Misha's baptism, and helped Autumn get the refreshments ready. Theron left Friday for a Mountain Bike race down south.  He took 1st place.  The baptism was really nice, and her relatives from Idaho came down for it, as well as her parents.  We hope she will be an influence for reactivation of many people in her family. 

We had an hour or so, to wind down and let Hinckley take a nap before we began the next Sat. activity at Gardner Village.  We met Andrew and Amy's family there and had a great time, as we pursued a gaggle of hags dressed as witches.  They were scattered all over the Village, so it was pretty fun and a beautiful day.
Once the kids had identified a dozen or so specific witches, on their scavenger sheet, they got a bargain cookie at the bakery. 

 There were many, many photo ops during the day and the kids had a lot of fun I think.

We finally got back to Tooele about 6 PM.  After getting things put away, some supper and the kids to bed, I watched the General RS Women's conference, which Tammy had set to record.  It was really the end to a perfect day. 

Sun. -Tues. were pretty calm days.  I worked on my brother's project, visited most of the intriquing stores in Tooele, got a pedicure,  and we  played games each evening.  I finally beat the kids on Wii bowling.  The kids are very good to settle right down after school and do their homework and reading.  We had a good time together. 

Both Nathan and Tamara flew home on Wed. after having spent a great week together in Washington DC.  Dad also drove up on Wed.  Thursday we drove to Kaysville and stayed with the Andrew and Amy. Steve even got to eat hot lunch with Madison and enjoyed it very much.  I spent most of the day making a wide variety of peace jams: (orange, jalepeno, raspberry mix) and eating as many of the fresh peaches as I could.
    On Friday we did a little shopping for the B-B-que Sat., then went to Autumn's.   Steve stayed and played with the kids, while I met my BYU college roomates at the Cheesefactory for a great lunch visit.  We roomed together my Senior year.  Judy (next to me) just got back from Greece in June and lives in Fruit Heights. Ann lives in Payson, and Marsha lives in So. Jordan -- I think.

I rushed home, and the got ready for our mission reunion which was held at the U of U Institute building.
Friday Sept. 20 we attended our mission reunion and saw quite a few of senior couples that we met on our mission. On the way back to Autumn's we listened to the last three minutes of BYU- USU football game which was a pretty exciting comeback for the Y.

Jessica and Paul Ziel's family came down from Idaho and stayed with Autumn as well. They went to a reunion of his law school class, and also went to the game. Autumn watched Audrey for them. We had a good time catching up on their lives.  Though we were saddened to learn of the sad death of our cousin, Darrell Marley on Sept. 27.  He was 51.

Nathan and Tamara and kids came in for the delicious rib BBQue that Steve fixed, Everyone brought something delicious and we had a fun time visiting, and the kids played.  Nathan and Steve went to the Priesthood session, and the Ziels headed back to Idaho.

Saturday we all listened to all sessions of conference. This time I typed my notes onto my lap top which helped me focus, and usually stay awake!   On the other hand, the kids had all kinds of fun things to keep them awake:  Shown here: Peyton, Matthew, Brendan, Laurie, Hunter, Isaac, and Hinckley and Audrey below.
   Anthony brought Logan over Sunday morning early, so she could play with the kids, and after morning conference he came back and visited for a little bit.  He's staying in Altamont helping the in-laws during his fall break.

We drove to Provo during the last part of afternoon conference, and helped celebrate Kylee's 11th birthday.  We had a good visit with Chris and Pam's family. 

Left Monday morning. We got home about 2:30 pm.

 The patio is finished, the side walk is poured and they are just finishing up the siding on the garage. It is completely covered so you can't see any of the old wood. Every thing looks real good and we are happy with the work Dave and his crew did.  ("ll do a separate blog on that remodel job.)


Can't wait to get some of that yummy Cake!!