Saturday, December 21, 2013

Thanksgiving in Utah

We did the 12 Days of Christmas for William, NaKya and Addie.  12 Christmas books:) They love books, so here is a jump start on some fun holiday reading.
We met Papa at the Brick Oven for some lunch.  It was a beautiful day in Provo, UT.
Kids will be kids. Grant has missed his siblings so much this fall.  They love each other and always have a good time together.
And here is the little precious angel we couldn't wait to see!  Little Miss Addie!
Total and complete picture overload with this little sweetie.

Addie loves her comfy Uncle Garrett...he's a big teddy bear.
We drove up to Salt Lake to see the lights at Temple Square.  It was chilly, but we loved the fresh air. Little Miss Addie was all cozy in her coat and next to her daddy.
Addie loves the sound of water and loved the giant waterfall at the conference center.
One Grant ever serious?  Well, practically never when I am taking pictures:(
We really did have a great time being tourists.
Happy much?  These three are the cutest family.  And that baby is the center of their world.
We were happy to spend some quality family time at Temple Square.  It was a beautiful, crisp night.
Riding on Daddy's shoulders.
Little Miss Sunshine.
The most beautiful Salt Lake Temple.
The gang.
We had lunch one day at Texas Roadhouse...yummy.  Dad and and Grant had to catch the end of the Michigan/Ohio st. game.
Addie is loved by everyone.  Her Uncles adore her.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Being the Disney fans that we are, I thought a Mickey Mouse quilt for our grand kids would be appropriate. At this point we have one precious baby grand daughter. But we are certain other grand children will come:)  This will stay at Grandma and Grandpa's house.  I'm not a professional quilter, but I think this will bring joy and comfort to some grand babies:)  It was a blast to make.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

 On the road again...this time I drove 23+ hours to Rexburg.  Bill and I decided that Garrett could really benefit from having a car in Rexburg. Because I don't have any serious commitments here---no job or school, it made the most sense for me to make the trip.  I loaded up with audio books and snacks and headed out early on Saturday.
 By Sunday I had more than half of the trip behind me.  Much of the drive was rural with nothing much to look at.  This, however, is Jackson Hole...I have only ever heard of it.  It was such a quaint little town.  I'd love to go again.  This time in the summer time.
 Just outside of town the Teton Pass begins...It was unbelievable!  A 10% grade up...which obviously was a 10% grade down the other side.  It was snowing...I was a little stressed.  But all went well.  I stayed wide awake, thanks to drinking huge amounts of Diet Coke and listening to 3 entire books....oh, there were lots of snacks consumed as well.  Whatever it took to keep me awake and entertained:)
I took zero pictures of Garrett and myself...I'm not the best at remembering to take pictures.  But he was excited to finally have his own transportation.  We loaded him up with 240 pounds of bagged rock salt in the bed of the truck and some new windshield wipers...he has a nice snow scrapper and hopefully he'll be ok in the snow.  The only way to learn how to drive in the stuff, is to actually do it.  I am tired of traveling...happy to be home again.
 On October 26th our Stake participated in a "day of service".  Grant's best friend, Kyle Steele, came with us.  It was a blessing having him with us.  Grant was mush happier to be there because he had a friend with him.We volunteered at a cemetery in Farmersville, a town north of where we live.
  It was interesting work.  Many of the head stones had settled and were uneven. Some were even over grown with grass.  The task was to uncover and level the grave markers.  Some of the markers were easier to level than others. 
 These lovely ladies beautified the area...they picked up trash and pulled weeds. (Sarah and Becca Hay and Jillian Gardner.)
This group owns the cemetery.  They call themselves the "Odd Fellows".  I visited with one of the men for quite a while.  They are basically a service organization who began caring for widows.  Really, really good people. It was an honor to serve them.
Because I had a milestone of a birthday coming up, I decided to plan a trip to visit some wonderful friends...I landed in Cincinnati, Ohio and drove two hours to the Indianapolis area, Fishers to be exact, to visit an old friend from BYU Married Student Housing...Heather Kinard.  We have kept in touch over the years through Christmas cards and phone calls, but have only seen each other a handful of times over the past 20 or so years.
Not the safest thing ever...snapping pictures while driving. I don't recommend my children doing this...or my husband.
Heather and I headed downtown to have lunch with Dave (her "other" half.) He gave me a little tour of the downtown area.  What a beautiful city.  Not a big place...just my size.  It was clean and not crowded.  Indy reminds me of Portland, Oregon.  I loved it!
 This statue is in the center of town...because I have a short memory, I cannot remember the significance of it.  I do remember that at Christmas time, they string lights from this thing and it becomes a giant, amazing Christmas tree!
The Indianapolis area will soon be blessed with a temple!  It is about 15 minutes from Dave and Heather's home and sits within their stake boundaries.  Dave is the Stake President there so he will be closely involved in this process.  It's an exciting time for the Church members in this area.  They currently are in the Louisville Temple District.  About a 2 hour drive.  This will be awesome!
And here we are on the Kinard's front porch.  They have an awesome house!  I felt so at home while I was there. Heather and I always joke about our parallel or mirror many similarities.  Being in her home reinforced those feelings...same taste in decorating, same comfortable feeling, same washer and dryer and the same love of Japanese Cherry Blossom from Bath and Body Works! We are like twins from different mothers:) We think alike. I just wish I were as darling and young-looking as she is:)  I have some pretty cute friends.  I had a wonderful time in Indiana.  A couple of days of non-stop talking and sharing, was just what I needed!
And this was much of the view outside my window as I traveled the 3 hours east towards Jennie's house in Georgetown, KY.  It was an awesome chilly, rainy, fall day. I stopped twice along the way to answer Nature's call...old age is setting in...both of those stops were at Cracker Barrel restaurants.  I love their country store and have been known to purchase clothing such luck this time:(
Kentucky, here I come!
Because my birthday was coming up, the Jenkins decorated for me!  How thoughtful was that?!
Jennie had these printed off for me...boy do I feel old looking at the price of things...!  A stamp now costs .48.  When I was born a stamp was only .05!
She even included some pictures of us on a couple of trips we took and this cute can of suckers with the caption that reads "It sucks to be 50!" Ha Ha!!! She'll know soon enough!
 Jennie treated me to a visit to Shaker Village.  It was so interesting.  This lady was amazing! She sang old Shaker hymns and told of the history of the Shakers.  There are only 3 Shakers still living...the men and women weren't allowed to, no procreation.  They died off eventually...duh.

We also went to a little town called Midway and shopped and had lunch.  It was a great trip to KY.  The Jenkins made me feel special.  Jen even made me an awesome chocolate/salted caramel cake.  Lots of good time visiting and hanging out.  I am blessed by wonderful friends! Just wished we lived closer.
The awesome long escalator at the Cincinnati was actually much longer...It reminded me of the long ones in London.  So cool.  Although it was great seeing my friends, I really missed my family and was happy to be heading home.  As much as I love my friends, I love my family more...I am truly blessed.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

When a person passes from this earth, we reflect on that person's life, how they lived and the impact they had on our lives.  Unfortunately, I have had this opportunity with members of my family, with whom I had a close bond.  Starting with my dear Grandma, Ona Shippen, and her kind loving ways. And then my Grandpa, Tom Shippen, and his tough exterior, yet unwavering faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ. And then my mom, who was one of my best friends and biggest cheerleaders, who stared down challenges and walked through life's storms with unbelievable strength.

Most recently with the passing of Bill's mom, I have reflected on the woman she was and the incredible influence she had on the lives of so many. Although she was my mother in law, we were very close. I learned so much from her.  She taught me how to be a mother in law. She taught me to not sweat the small stuff. She taught me how to love unconditionally.  She taught me that baby blessings and baptisms and ordinations and  Eagle Scout awards and high school graduations and missionary farewells and homecomings are events too important to miss. She taught me that sharing a meal together as a family is more important than serving a fancy's about the love that goes into the preparation. Many joke about Mom not being a great cook.  I was always satisfied by everything she prepared and served.

The 21-gun salute that was performed for her at her grave side service, was a perfect example of how she lived her life.  I am guessing that her association with the veterans in St. George came as an assignment for work (she ran Senator Orrin Hatch's Southern Utah office), yet, although it was work, she was dealing with people.  And she loved, and was loyal to, those she served. And they knew it.  This overwhelming honor came as a result of her loyalty.

On a trip to St. George last spring, I was reading in Mom and Dad's bedroom and noticed on the bookshelf a row of copies of the Book of Mormon.  There were several (more than 10) and each had a label on the binding.  On those labels were written words like, "faith", "forgiveness", "prayer", etc.  She had studied the Book of Mormon many times and focused on a different topic each time.  Simply amazing. Her love for and testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ was obvious.

I had the opportunity to spend time off and on over the past 2-3 years in Mom and Dad's home while visiting our kids in college nearby.  It was not unusual for Mom to disappear into the office to do a batch of "indexing" for family history.  She would also visit the sisters in her ward regularly...not just her visiting teaching route, but others who needed extra love and encouragement.  I appreciated her example of quietly serving the Lord by serving those around her.

Mom also was always full of gratitude.  We loved to travel with Mom and Dad and included them in  trips to Hawaii, Disney World and a couple of cruises...cherished memories for sure.  It was perfectly normal to receive a "Thank You" in the mail from her.  She would even send "thank yous" to the kids if they had given up their bed to them on a visit to our home.  Mom never missed an opportunity to say "Thank You."  I loved that about her.  It made perfect sense to me to receive these kind notes in the mail. However, I had no idea that she was sending kind notes to a variety of people.  To a Stake President who had touched her in some way during his remarks in Stake Conference, or a kind Bishop who served their ward tirelessly, or a young woman who had shared a sweet testimony.  She showered people with her love.  And the beauty of it all?...she did it quietly.  I never witnessed these cards being written.  She moved  quietly, always being grateful, always looking for ways to lift someone up, never wanting or needing recognition.  I loved that about her.

She was strong, courageous, kind, faithful, compassionate, incredibly smart, hard-working...but most of all she was humble.  As I reflect on Mom's life and attributes, I feel incredibly blessed to be married to Bill, who I have come to realize more than ever, possesses all of his mom's finest traits.  Marreen Casper is one of my heroes. I miss her, but am so grateful that I invested time into getting to know her and that our children knew her well too. We have been blessed by her presence in our lives.  'Til we meet again...

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Little Baby A

 The bright spot of the weekend was seeing our sweet little Addie.  We could not wait to get our hands on her! She fussed, slept, smiled, cooed and we loved it all! She is an angel. There were a lot of people around so we had little time to ourselves with her. However, we did have a bit of time in the hotel room to hang out, visit and bond.  It was so wonderful.
 Papa and Grandma had only Skyped with William and NaKya and Addie, so this was his first time meeting her.  Although she cried the first time he held her, it looks like she settled down. Great Grandpa approved:)
 This is our lame attempt at a 5-generation photo...Great Grandma was pretty unaware of anyone and anything.  But, it's the best we could do.
 And THIS is our JOY!
 Uncle Garrett and Uncle Grant only love Addie a little bit...NOT! They adore her.

 We are so proud of William and NaKya. They are amazing parents.  Addie is very well taken care of.  They handle things as if they had been parenting for years.  Bravo!
Just as we have done with previous babies in our family, we lay them on the floor and watch them do basically nothing...and yet, it is amazing! It was incredibly hard leaving her in Utah with her awesome parents.  We miss her tremendously.