Sunday, May 31, 2015


Our ward, along with the lexington park ward, have been asked to provide the choir for stake conference coming up.  We are requested to have 50 voices.   The Bishop got up in sacrament meeting a few weeks back and told us all that it was our responsibility.  That the Lord wanted us to sing and it didn't matter if we could sing or I joined.  As did Hannah and Grace.  Hannah can sing well.  Grace is little so I'm not sure yet.  I definitely am terrible.  Like Scuttle the seagull on the Little Mermaid bad.  But I am going.  The songs are beautiful and I can feel the Spirit as we practice. Jennifer is an amazing director and I have the sneaking suspicion that we will do fine.  I am excepting my obedience to be rewarded with a decent enough effort to not hurt the over all effect. 

I was asked to teach gospel doctrine class today.  I was nervous. It's on my very short list of callings I do not want. GD teacher. I prepared but didn't know how it would go.  
After the lesson was over I felt fine about it.  I am not a scriptorian and I don't think it was deep and wonderful but it was okay and it's done. I learned a lot this week preparing so that was nice.

Tonight after dinner we paraded the neighborhood again.  The evening was lovely and I enjoyed the walk and the talk.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Cookie money day!

Today was our big day! The day we spent our cookie money. The girls wanted an outing in the city.  We went to the movies and saw "tomorrowland", which I liked.  We went to lunch at Sakura and then went ice skating! This has been a fun day. Our little troop has been so awesome!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Summer time !!

Hectic has become the theme song around here.  So much to do.  So much to get done.  So many things to treasure and enjoy.

Yesterday we went to the pool with the Streeters in the evening.  So nice.
Tonight the girls washed the car and then went to the pool.  Yesterday they weeded Arden's garden.  Chores are more fun with two!
Grace and Arden washing the car
Today was a full day.  As soon as I got everyone out the door and off to school I came home and Jamie came over.  She is painting for us and she's doing an awesome job.  She got started and I told her I was going visiting teaching so I left.  Dixie and I had two appointments but the first one took over 2 hours so we had to cancel the second.  During those two hours I got a call from Jodie, who is leaving town for a wedding and who just ordered new pitchers for the church and who needed to get them to Kitty for a different wedding tomorrow night and could she bring them to me to get to her. Sure.
Then I got a call from Jennifer, who was having a showing on her home (also for sale) and could she come over and just have a place to sit with her book and her dog.  Sure.
Finally Dixie and I finished our visit and drove home.  I invited her in to see the paint and we were greeted by two poodles (well Z is a mix but you know) and Ashley (the Guinea pig who also had to leave the house) and Jennifer and Jamie and my house in such a torn up construction zone. I had to just laugh.  I made sandwiches and we sat and had strawberry pie and watched James work and talked and had so much fun.
Jenna in the DR
This evening we went to Christianna's graduation party.  Then while we were on our way Rob got a text from Pete saying he had dropped by so after the party we went there to say hi and visited for another hour.

How I will miss my friends and our life here.

Clayna took a trip to the Dominican Republic this week.  I've seen a few photos and talked with them once and it sounds like they are having a fun adventure! Can't wait to hear all the details when they get back!

getting ready for some cruising fun!
This cute girl is getting ready for summer and is getting too grown up . Crazy!
love these 3
Sierra, Noah and Andrea
Sierra has been spending some time in Arizona with Andrea and her family.  I am looking forward to seeing her soon!  It's hot there, in AZ!  Look how cute and big Noah is getting!!

Thursday, May 28, 2015


 When I was growing up going to stake dances was my favorite activity.  Especially when I was 14-16 years old.  My friends and I would look forward to them all month, and plan for them . That Saturday night was sacred and we wouldn't miss it for the world.  I remember having so much fun and dancing a lot.  I remember Scott, something or other, who always wore racing gloves and a leather jacket. Super dorky but he smelled good and was a good dancer.  I remember Evan was tried to kiss me on the dance floor!  What?!? I remember Lane who was tall and handsome and later went on a mission and we wrote letters to each other.  And Jon, who's mom thought we were a cute couple and who I could talk to all night long and never run out of things to say...and he was pretty cute too!  I danced with boys in my ward who were my friends, and who I from time to time had a secret or not so secret crush on.  I remember swaying to the slow songs and how dreamy it was.

After we would go out to eat.  Sometimes to Denny's, but sometimes to Marie Calendars (my favorite).  I would almost always order their strawberry pie and it was SO good.

Then I never ate it again for a long long time.  But that memory stayed with me and a few weeks ago I made one and it was SO good!  Since then I've made it two more times.  Including for dessert tonight.  Yumm!

a cup of sugar, a cup of water, a T of corn starch, boil until it thickens.  Add in a small box of jello.  Slice up strawberries until they are heaping in a pre-made graham cracker crust.  Poor the syrup over it and let it set up.  Delicious!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

konmari method of cleaning (or tidying up as a OCD compulsion)

We are going to swim every day until we move.  We need to take advantage of our beautiful pool, across the street, and maintenance free (for me anyway).  This year both Hannah and Ethan are old enough to go on their own, and Hannah is old enough to take Grace.  They went tonight and had a nice swim.

It's been a whirlwind...there is so much to do when you are moving, and none of it very fun frankly.  
Today I found adoptive parents for the gerbils.  A cute little girl in our neighborhood and her family.  We also sold our canoe! and I traded a hutch for a bathroom paint job:)  I have more things to sell and need to take pictures of them and put it on facebook.

I hired a painter last week, today I found a better one for less $$.  Sweet!  Hired her instead, feeling pretty happy about it.

We need an electrician and a dumpster.

Today someone came to look at the house, a friend of a friend.  She loved it but we'll see.  I would consider it a huge miracle if we sold before it's even on the market, after I finished being in shock.  

Things do seem to be coming together smoothly so far.  Which is a good sign.

I Japanese tidy-ed several rooms, which resulted in 3 trips to the thrift store with my flex filled to capacity.  There's more to go.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day

We have begun the pre-moving purge. One of the silver linings to moving is the discarding of things you don't really need.
After a fun morning of throwing things away we went to the combined ward memorial day picnic. It was a lot of fun! Weather was perfect and we enjoyed visiting with friends and eating tasty food.

Ethan presented the colors. The kids ran around with their friends.
Near the end Rob and Grace left to take out the kayak.
It was a nice day.
They caught two sting rays! Crazy!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

International Dinner

The very first Sunday we lived in Maryland, six summers ago, the Martines family invited us for dinner.  Chelsea and Hannah became fast friends.

Shortly there after they came up with the "international dinner" plan.  They wanted to cook dinner all by themselves for our families.  They did such an awesome job.  We did it every month for awhile, then every now and then.  It's been fun and tasty every time.

Tonight we had what will probably be the last "international dinner".  They chose to make soul food and did the whole thing by themselves.  Ellie has graduated to be a cook too :)
Hannah (15), Ellie (14), Chelsea (16)
Chelsea (11), Grace (4), Hannah (10)

After dinner we decided to take a walk, to help us digest our food, before dessert.  We grabbed the Streeters, who had been over helping to cook but didn't have dinner here, and happened upon Michelle talking a walk with her girls. We all strolled the neighborhood together in a cheerful parade.

Hannah called it our little pioneer trek.

Then we came home and sat around the on the back deck visiting until 11pm.  The teens went next door to watch a movie, the kids ran amok, and the grown ups talked and talked.  We watched the fireflies and the stars and pretty much didn't want the night to end.

Gettysburg Tournament

Saturday, May 23, 2015

then and now

Crazy!  Luke and Leah Skywalker.  Time flies!

pool fun

little polar bear
During our morning walk we enjoyed watching all the runners.  It was our annual memorial day weekend "life is good in the hood" 5K.  Our neighborhood is really fun on holidays.  Everyone goes all out.  We got to say "hi" to lots of friends and lots of puppies.

Hannah had her One Acts last night and she did awesome.  I really enjoyed her performance.  After she slept over at Holly's because Holly was going to a wedding today and Han did her hair.  Yesterday Laura (Holly's mom) and I took the girls out of school to lunch...because they were crying all morning, and all the night before.  (and all today)

So I picked Han up at 11 and then we went grocery shopping.  After that I took Grace to the pool, it's opening day.  She and Arden swam, even though it was only 63 degrees (air temp).  I thought it was way too chilly but I'm not one to stand in the way of some frozen fun.

(Grace has taken the news surprisingly badly, She really doesn't want to move, really loves STEM, loves scouts, loves her friends and said "well great, Dad's career is going to be fine but what about mine?? How am I going to get into vet school without STEM?")
After swimming we went to IKEA.  We wanted to buy a cute bed frame for Hannah.  They were sold out?? What? How does a warehouse store sell out?  SO disappointing.
On the way home we stopped for Rita's and then when we got home the girls went next door to watch movies with the Streeters.

Meanwhile Rob and Ethan left yesterday for a soccer tournament in Gettysburg.  They played, and lost, 4 games.  It's about 9:30 pm and they just got home.  Ethan said it was super fun.  He enjoyed playing and being with the team.

Friday, May 22, 2015


We are moving back to California, where I grew up, and where Rob and I met.  This is awesome for Rob, the job is on his bucket list of dream career opportunities and is the next step on his path.  I am really proud of him.  He's a hard worker and a smart man.  He's a good engineer and a good manger.  He's driven and focused and not afraid of conflict, while at the same time good at defusing it.  He is able to lead his team and motivate them and keep things stable and moving forward.  He is a huge asset to the company and I am so pleased for him and proud to be by his side in this journey.

We have always made his career our top commitment and been willing to move for advancement and opportunity.  This move will be our hardest.  We have the huge silver lining, no, gold lining of being close(r) to family.  We will be a nice days drive from mom and dad and Dani and the grandkids and Sierra.  We will be close enough to all my siblings to see them and to be together for important stuff.  We will be really close to Anna.  For this I am grateful.
At the same time it takes us away from Clayna and Abba and Nana and UB. That part is sad.

The desert.  Well, it is what it is.  I didn't hate it when I lived there before.  I haven't missed it, at all.  It's not forever. ...hopefully.

We have enjoyed a real season of abundance here in beautiful Maryland. I can honestly say that each day I have marvelled and enjoyed the beauty of this land.  The greens are sparkly and lush.  The trees block your view from all else and lend a feeling of enchantment to an afternoon stroll or a drive to the store.  The water is beautiful and so close.  We have often just gone there to sit and to look and to enjoy. (Rob will miss the water, and the fishing).
Our home is beautiful and has served us well.  We have enjoyed many meals with friends, firesides and ward gatherings, parties and visitors here. ( I hope it sells quickly.)
Our opportunities to serve have been many and rewarding.  I love my calling as stake young women's president.  It's been a joyful time for me.  I have learned a lot and have been so blessed to work with amazing, talented, stalwart men and women.  The Lord has work for us where ever we go.  That's the good news.
Girl scouting has been a great, unexpected, wonderful service opportunity too.  Grace has benefited so much from her 4 years of scouting and I have enjoyed very much my year as a troop leader.  It's gone well and it's been a lot of fun.
I love my little job.  I certainly don't mind being a full time stay at home mom though and consider that one of the biggest blessings of my life.  I am ever grateful that Rob provides for us and that I can stay home and be chauffeur, laundress, cook, sounding board, party planner, TV watcher :) bon bon eater, etc.  Giving tours is fun and I am happy I had this short time to do it.
The schools here have been amazing for the kids.  The schools there are not as good.  They will have to be motivated and disciplined to get a good education.
STEM for Ethan and Grace have been a wonderful fit.  Culinary and theater and just the level of excellence have been great for Hannah.
We have such wonderful, dear friends. That is the hard part of any move.  Leaving people you love.  Leaving TX was very hard.  Leaving here will be very hard.  We have been blessed.
I love the east coast.  I love the history and we have enjoyed seeing a lot of places that have resonated with me.  Seeing where our country started and being in a place where lives were lived and lost for freedom's cause is moving.  We love our nations capital.  We have enjoyed the cities and the diversity here.  We have enjoyed the south and it's hospitality and mentality of friendliness. It's all been very very good.
We have been changed for good and will always treasure this time.

So now we gird up our loins and fresh courage take and move forward.  There were A LOT of tears as we told the children (Hannah) and a lot of sad feelings and a sense of loss but the future is full of promise and opportunities and we look forward to serving and living and growing. Bloom where you are planted, go forward in faith, we can do hard things, joy in the journey and all that.

I feel the worst for our sweet Hannah.  Right before your junior year is a terrible time to move.  (We've lived that nightmare once before.)  She is very involved in school and church and is giving up a lot.  She is head of the prom committee for next year, and costume crew head for next year, and involved in many activities, and culinary, and seminary, and yw class president and and and.  She's a busy, involved, teen with many leadership opportunities and many many wonderful friends.  It will be a big, and hard change for her. She can do it and it'll be fine.  Just hard.

So Rob leaves soon and we will sell the house and follow. Guess there is lots of work to do ahead.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Break in the rain

So we ran out to enjoy the evening.   Did a little fishing.  Took some pictures.  Ate a lobster roll.  Love it.

into every life a little rain must fall

I don't know if it's because I am working outside this spring or what but my allergies have been terrible.  I take zyrtec every morning and then I take benadryl around the clock.  I am still sneezing and watery eyed and congested and itchy.  Some times of the day worse than others.  I will be happy to see spring pass and take with it it's pollen!

Because of that I had to back out of Grace's Elm Beach overnight field trip.  It's a really fun one that gets a lot of parents on it.  I had planned to go but last night could seriously hardly see for the sneezing and watering.  Grace was bummed but not as upset as I thought she'd be.  She and I do a lot of things together so my hope is she'll remember that.

Elm's Beach is lovely....but today it's been pouring rain all day:( , and it's chilly.  I don't know how much fun they are having.
Elm's on a sunny day

Before I even had everyone out the door today Hannah called to tell me that all the high schoolers were being sent home, the school had no power, and could she bring some friends home and cook for them.  I said okay and got home to these cute girls and their new plan to go to the movies and see Pitch Perfect 2.  I was game so off we went.  

I can't say that I liked the movie but they did and they are cute and fun to hang out with.  Don't you love Chelsea's "popcorn pants"??

Yesterday my friend Janet posted this verse.  I usually read the Bible in the King James Version but I loved these words and this understanding of His words. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

the end of a journey

Tonight we had our last Tuesday night meeting of the girl scout year.  We also finished our second journey.  The last thing we had to do was a community service project.  The girls really wanted to do something to help animals.  They thought about rescuing sea turtles or cleaning oil slick covered birds.  We couldn't find anything on the scope they wanted to do, within our time frame and abilities.  Then we had the great idea of holding a puppywash.  We offered it up to our neighborhood and the girls came prepared with shampoo and towels . We had an awesome time.  We washed 12 dogs (and 7 girls), ate 23 Popsicles, filled up two kiddie pools (twice) and laughed a million times.  We had some great dogs visit us.  My two favs (besides Ziva of course ) were a cute little English Bulldog named Putzy and a Black Russian Terrier named Chaos.
puppy wash fun!

Katie, Reagan, Samantha, Grace, Fiona
Ava and Grace
Today was a hot day.  I gave a tour and the kids were pooped before we even began.  Ben, one of our sailors, got very sick from the heat and had to go home.  I felt fine but was sweaty and sticky when we were done.
Being outside all day is turning me brown :)


Yesterday was a hot one. Jodie and I went walking in the morning and I about melted.

I had a nice long Skype with Dani and the kids though. And on a somewhat related note our pool opens this weekend and that will be awesome!

Last night we had pizza for dinner. Apparently so did Jenna and Clayton. Jenna's pizza picture was cute. We did not take a picture of our pizza.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Ethan's field trip

 We took Ethan to school this morning to go on a field trip to WV.  They are stopping at Seneca Caverns on the way up and then spending the week in Green Bank WV studying at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory.  We miss him already.
Today was a beautiful Sunday.  I enjoyed the talks at Sacrament meeting so much.  Our first talk was by a wonderful young man who has had some struggles but who is now doing so much better.  It made me so happy to see him up there and speaking and sharing his thoughts.   Next we had a talk by another young man, this one from the Anacostia ward.  He joined the church when he was 16 years old.  Yesterday he got his mission call to Accra Ghana!  I'm so excited for him.  After high school he went to WY with a family in their ward who moved there and offered to let him work for them to save money for his mission.  He did and now he's ready to serve the Lord. Following them was Brother Merril who gave a very good talk as well.  He spoke about following the prophet and told a story about one of his great grandfathers, Orson Hyde.  Orson Hyde was an apostle in the early church.  He was a trusted companion to Joseph Smith, served faithfully, went on several missions and  also was sent to dedicate the land in Jerusalem for the work of the Lord.  When he returned home he had some struggles, including health struggles, and eventually lost his faith and was one of the signers of a letter stating the Joseph Smith was a fallen prophet which lead to the greater persecution of the church and the prophet's imprisonment in Liberty Jail.  Eventually he saw the error of his ways and repented.  Joseph and the other members of the church forgave him and he came back in full fellowship and was even reinstated as an apostle.  He spent the rest of his life serving faithfully.

The whole theme of the day, at least to me it seemed, was on the beautiful gift we have been given to repent and change. (the actual topic was on prophets).  Each of us needs the forgiveness of the Savior.  We need to change and become like Him.  We need to repent.  We need to let each other change and grow and become better. These three men exemplified that.  Our wayward teen, doing well now.  Maricio, who grew up a young black man, raised by a single mom and not a member, in Anacostia,  now going to be a missionary.  And Brother Orson, who's fall caused so much pain and suffering for so many but who humbly acknowledged that he was wrong and who was allowed to repent and change. What wonderful lessons in this glorious principle of the gospel!

On another note tonight we had youth conference meetings and they went well.  I am excited for youth conference!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Fun with the grands!

Ethan playing defensive mid
The boys had a great time camping and then went straight to Ethan's soccer game.  Abba and I got up early and went to watch him!

we won 7-0

When everyone was home and showered we made a plan for the day.  We went to beautiful historic St Mary's City and walked around.
Of course I always love it there!  Also Ethan bought me a necklace I've been looking at in the gift shop for awhile :)

After we went to Dicks then to Texas Roadhouse for dinner.

Ashby, Arden and Grace
After that Grace went next door to trampoline.  The boys went to the movies, Nana and Hannah went shopping, I talked to Dani on Skype and it started to rain.

Good times!

Movie watching fun!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Camping and induction

May is half over. It's warmer and buggy out. Soon it will be hot and school will be out!
Tonight Ethan and Dad went on the stake  Aaronic Priesthood Commemorative Camp out. This is their tent hammocks. Hopefully they are having a great time and staying out of poison ivy. 
Hannah had her thespian society induction. It was quite a lovely ceremony and she was very excited! Nana and Abba and UB came to watch her and the four of us had a fun time attending.

Since the boys are gone I'll have a little Grace having a sleep over in my bed.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

the pace of life.

I drove to work this morning and just enjoyed the view.  The greens are magnificent right now.  I passed an osprey making short work of a fish, some vultures devouring a skunk (phew!), a deer, a darling little black bird with red patches on his wings and some other little critters.  Spring brings them all out.

Work was fun.  My class was a little chatty today but it was okay.

Hannah went to Lydia's birthday party.  Tracie throws the most amazing parties.  I love to see what she's cooked up!
They have the longest, one lane wide, driveway thorough the trees .  On the way out I got stuck behind 3 buggies . It took awhile.

Nana and Abba and UB arrived today.  We are excited to have them visiting.
southern Maryland traffic jam
Pollen is everywhere.  It's the time of year when there is a layer of yellow dusting everything and it's gross and itchy!
Hannah and her cool art work from Lydia's party
This picture says Hannah's name in Gallifreyan.

Ethan has poison ivy.  Sunday afternoon we went for a walk and he grabbed some leaves off a tree that happened to be from an poison ivy plant:(  We stopped and washed his hands right away but he must of have got some on him any way.  Maybe it was on his shirt and when he pulled his shirt off it brushed on his face.  Anyway he has a nice itchy rash now.  Poor guy.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Birthday Boy

Today we celebrated 45 years for this great guy. Grace did some pet sitting and saved her money to buy him a fishing reel. I got him a nice picture for his desk at work. 

I asked him how he wanted to celebrate and he said with some burgers on the grill and some sunset sailing. 

We had a great time. The wind was perfect. We got up to 5.1 knots and the water was splashing over the bow. We watched fish jump and Ospreys hunt and did some chatting and some looking and enjoying.

Monday, May 11, 2015

and she treasured them in her heart

A precious gift is one of words of appreciation.  It makes me so very glad when the girls express their feelings of love to me.  I like to know that I did okay by them and will treasure those thoughts and sweet memories for always.

 I am a most fortunate mom because the children the Lord gave me are smart and kind and obedient and fun to be with.  They have been 90% delightful to raise and take care of, with only a few bad days here and there.  That is pretty unusual and very very lucky!