Monday, March 31, 2008

This is not an April's Fool!

I really finally did it! The laundry room has been cleaned, painted, and revamped. The thing that I have been threatening to do for years has finally come to pass. It was the only room (besides the insides of closets) to have the original over 20 years old Navajo white paint. There are not any befores just afters. Befores would have simply been too embarrassing!

When I went to Target to get an organizer for the brooms and mops, I happened across the red boxes with black chalkboard paint. I could not pass them up. A perfect match for the cupboard door insets I had painted.
I still have the old white shelf from Janae's bedroom that I want to put over the washer and dryer. Dave, could you help me find the studs as that would definitely be the best way to mount it. Thanks to Ryan for putting the dryer back in place. I guarantee that neither Dad or I could have climbed out from behind up and over the washer. Remember how the plumber left a mess when he replaced the plumbing behind the washer. My solution to cover up the gap was a broken picture frame which I sticky tacked around the inset box.
Notice that there is still a hole in the wall. The original owners had planned to put an ironing board cabinet in. We couldn't find one to fit, so attached a fold down ironing board to the wall over the hole. I took it down and I'm taking it to DI. Can anyone out there help me out with a solution? Maybe some little shelves with molding. I'm open to all ideas. Please plan to see my new laundry room in person soon!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

New blooms for the last week of March

Very little happened this week until I decided to blog instead of go to bed. While my pictures were uploading, I heard a giant bang, checked out my window and saw nothing, and then a parade of firetrucks followed by a circling helicopter arrived in the neighborhood. I'm in my nightgown so have chosen not to venture outside to see for myself. Your father did not even stir one bit. He had a very busy day. He was up early helping with a ward roofing project, mowed his lawn and did a bunch of yard work, went with me to Phoenix, and then went to the office building to wash windows in preparation for sunscreens to be installed on Monday. While there, he also changed a bunch of outside light bulbs and worked on some carpeting in one space that had water damage. It was a full 12 hour day. He deserves to sleep soundly. I plan to join him soon. Back to the pictures. These new blooms were the most exciting thing going on around our house this week. This is a day lily and I hurriedly snapped it's picture because it will only last a day. It is well named.
The passion vine also began blooming this week. The butterflies love this plant.
I planted this as a one gallon plant last Spring. I was rewarded with only a cluster of three flowers all last year. As you can see, this trumpet vine is enjoying life a bit more this year.
We also had our first hibiscus blooms of 2008 this week
This bougianvilla bush has been covered with blooms for awhile. It was arching over the hibiscus bloom and I couldn't resist.

TJ, Heather, and Toby need to come and eat their peas raw while they are tiny and sweet. Maybe on Monday for FHE. I almost forgot to mention the best part of this afternoon. I had a short visit from Eveline and girls who had come to spend a couple of days at the end of their Spring break. They had been swimming at Eric's, but still looked beautiful. It was so good to see them again.

I guess the drama is over outside. All is quiet and the helicopter has disappeared. I hope that it was nothing serious. The boom was really LOUD! Goodnight.

Monday, March 24, 2008

The Egg Hunt

After a tasty ham dinner inside, the family moved out front for the 2nd annual "Grandkids Easter Egg Hunt." Busy moms made sure the kids, food, and other necessities made it to grandma's house. Both forgot the Easter baskets. Their husbands made fun of my Walmart bag solution. Suggestion number two met with a better response. I managed to find five plain gift bags with handles. I couldn't quit visualize gift bags proclaiming "Happy Birthday" or "Congratulations" or even "Merry Christmas" on this special early Easter.
Sadie's dad helped her out with a bit of finger pointing.
Toby was everywhere. He was smart enough to wear his shoes which greatly helped his hunt through Grandpa's desert side of the garden. Barefooted Heather and Ruby also ventured into the gravel and rocks, until Ruby proclaimed, "I think it's better to walk on the sidewalk!"
TJ made out like a bandit. It took him no time to fill up his "bag."
Sadie and Ruby wore flowery spring dresses that made them a standout in Grandpa's front yard paradise.

The Booty

After the hunt, they emptied and explored their "bags" on the benches under the ash tree.
Grandpa Glen helped Ruby examine the goodies. Sadie preferred candy eggs to toy eggs.
Heather's bounty proved to be too much for the "bag." Notice the spillage from the corner. She started the transfer to a plastic "bag."

Whoo, that was lots of work. Let's lie on Grandpa's perfect lawn and take a break while everyone snaps our picture. Notice that Sadie pretty much can't stay still! Now it's time for strawberry shortcake. Yum!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Rabbit Tales

Let me share the tale of these two rabbits. They were a painting project back in my painting days that I just couldn't seem to make time for. I was pregnant with Nathan and had just been released as ward RS president. The kids had a long weekend off from school for Easter. I wasn't too excited about a road trip with the family since I was 8 months big. Glen and my mom, Velva, decided to take the kids and go to southern Arizona without me. They had a great trip visiting sites such as a missile silo and Kitt's Peak to see the giant telescopes. I was pretty happy to have some quiet time for myself and decided it was time to paint these rabbits for Easter. It was a great time to paint with no interruptions or needs to meet except my own. By the time they arrived back home, the rabbits were finished. They continue to make me happy at Easter time.

Friday, March 21, 2008

"Horton" earns many stars

TJ, Heather and I went to the movies today. On the way in, they were trying to talk me into another movie. I stayed strong! On the way out our conversation went like this:

Me: "If five stars were possible, how many stars would you give "Horton Hears a Who?"
TJ: "I give it a billion stars!"
Heather: "I give it a GOOGLE."

The consensus is that we can highly recommend this movie. Finally, they have managed to bring a Seuss book to the big screen without trashing it! TJ especially liked the villainous bird, Heather liked the mayor's wife and darling 96 daughters, and I just loved Horton even though he had Jim Carrey's voice. Horton's heart is pure gold. (Janae - the bedroom of those 96 daughters may bring back a certain childhood dream of yours:)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Spring Blooms for Spring

On this official first day of Spring, this is what you will find blooming out back.
HAPPY SPRING! Potato vine
Black-eyed Susan vine
Glen's wall garden
Snail vine

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Butterfly Sightings

This beauty was sighted at the Desert Bontanical Garden at approximately 2 pm. TJ, Heather, Ruby, and I went on our own Spring Break field trip, the main attraction being the seasonal Butterfly Pavilion at the Garden.
We loved our informal, but informational trip. TJ, true to his interest in all things, stands near an informational sign with many great facts. For instance, there are 326 different species of butterflies in Arizona. Also, true to form, TJ already knew most of these facts. So smart!
We brought this little "butterfly" with us. Almost everyone we passed commented, "Are you a butterfly?" Ruby always retorted, "I'm not a butterfly. I'm just wearing wings!"
Heather is sitting "oh, so still" in hopes of a butterfly landing right on her very person. It was not to be.
Ruby must have worn the right outfit because this is her third landing which I just happened to catch with the camera. She had already been visited by an orange butterfly and a white butterfly. She was all set with her green shirt, flowered skirt, and of course, the wings. We had a great time!

More butterfly shots

The yellow stickers showed that we had paid for the privilege of entering the Butterfly Pavilion at will. Good thing, because we had to leave for a potty stop.
If you look very closely on the left, Ruby is sitting next to a real beauty.
I loved the markings on the wings of this butterfly. TJ could probably identify it for us.
The girls also tried to use Heather's butterfly clip to attract more friends. They placed it on a rock, on the edge of a sign, etc. Apparently, butterflies know the real deal as there were no takers.
This eastern swallowtail was the largest butterfly we saw. It was way up high. TJ was very intrigued.

Final butterfly things

Heather was able to give us a very good lesson on the life cycle of the butterfly. I love how they are all little sponges just soaking up everything that they are learning at school.

Our final shots before leaving for home. Someone was very artistic with their backdrops.
TJ as a monarch butterfly.
Heather as a caterpillar.
Ruby as a monarch.

We didn't manage to get out of the garden without butterfly mood rings for the girls and an identification book for TJ. I had planned ahead for a surprise in the car for each child. The girls were thrilled with their new Fancy Nancy books. This new title includes a visit to the butterfly pavilion. TJ received a butterfly pop-up book by Robert Sabuda. As I turned onto the Galvin Parkway headed home, I overheard Heather from the back seat saying, "When you go on a trip with grandma, you get a wonderful surprise!"

I much prefer these field trips with grandkids vs. those with a bus load of 4th graders!

Monday, March 17, 2008

St. Patricks Day - my "ho, hum" holiday

I've never much cared for this holiday. As a child, it meant avoiding getting pinched and it seems I always did, wearing of the green or not. As a teacher, I was just grateful that it always fell during Spring Break! Today I wore my red shirt and red shoes (new and sooo cute by Teva.) We haven't much Irish in us, only the Fitzgerald line on your dad's side. Your dad bought this purple shamrock plant a couple of weeks ago. My plant that weekend was a bleeding heart. The shamrock plant has had delicate lavender blooms. Hopefully, mine will someday have red heart shaped blooms, just like Grandma B's.
This is my most charming, latest project. Today, let's call it a little Irish cottage. I landscaped it a week ago with small succulents, sand, and small rocks. I should have taken a picture a few days later when I discovered a dead bird in this small garden. It had the feel of a real bad science fiction flick or monster movie, but it would have provided a bit of scale for everyone. My hero, Glen, removed the bird from this peaceful resting place. To where, I did not ask.
Our project of this weekend was these lovely hanging baskets. These are one of your dad's dreams. They hopefully will grow into a great big hanging balls of foliage. Today, especially, notice the bright green sweet potato vines. Please ignore the pigeons in the background and maybe they will go away!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

White shortalls was what she wanted

Since Janae told us all more than we could possibly already know about her birthday, I am merely adding a picture for possible inclusion under "Notable BD gifts." Here we are at the happiest place on earth on Spring Break 1992, shortly after Janae's 10th birthday. Please notice, she is indeed wearing the now infamous white shortalls, still very white and pristine. I have a feeling that the fanny pack may also be new, but I'm not sure, Janae will have to fill us in.

This photo could also be used to illustrate her also mentioned four handsome brothers (before starting to loose their hair.) Perhaps it could be even be titled, "My mother 10 years after her 10 year high school reunion." Or, "My brother, Nathan, the cutest little boy in the whole world."

Oh, those were happy times. I miss them often, but enjoy all the new people who have joined us and all the present day memories in the making. Janae, however, did fail to mention one very important "Notable shared birthday." Sweet Baby James, one of her mom's favorite singers who helped her get through junior college. I would go into the MCC library and check out earphones and his music to listen to while I decompressed and did my homework.

So sweetie, add James Taylor to your shared BD list.

Now for the sentimental stuff. I made a blessing dress while pregnant with you (it won a ribbon at the county fair by the way) because I already had three boys and I needed to be ready for my girl. I also had made pink lace trimmed nightgowns and your father really was worried about my sanity if you came out a boy. But you didn't, and you were beautiful, and you looked nothing like your brothers but more like your father's side cousins, and I was ecstatic and could not sleep. Your brothers also adored you and your father adored you and your grandmas adored you. You have been a blessing in my life and I am so grateful that we have had the chance to do the mother/daughter part of life. You are definitely one of my "tender mercies."

Friday, March 7, 2008

Little snippets from outside

This is my favorite piece of yard art. We found it last Fall at Costco Home. We also bought the geraniums, because of their interesting foilage, at the same time. They took several months to flower, but it was worth the wait. The blooms are an amazing orange color.
It may not be officially Spring, but it was definitely time to store the Winter flag. In Arizona one must cram Fall, Winter, and Spring into the six months that are not SUMMER.
The blue pots along the west side of the pool are full of these cheerful beauties.
The grandkids "Peas in a Pot" are doing well. From left to right, Heather's, TJ's, and then Toby's. They water them everytime they come over. Grandpa fills in when the visits are too far apart.
This is what happens to broccoli when your church calling calls you for days and the broccoli doesn't get harvested. The bees don't mind at all and the small yellow flowers are really quite lovely. We fed 30 missionaries at a zone conference on Tuesday after the enrichment meeting on Saturday. Luckily, all the food prep worked for both. It's been good to have time to spend a couple of days outside again.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

My Kids on a Sunday Night

Emilia and Ryan leave with a few leftovers and the remainder of delicious "pudim" which Emilia made. It was very much like flan and very good.
Eric relaxes with Toby and his now "ipod" uploaded with Primary songs.
Sally and Dave cuddle up for a picture. Dave had fun skimming through out latest magazines. He was sick on Saturday. He caught it from his girls.
As you can see my grandkids are much more exciting than their parents. The girls get some dancing in before heading home. Sadie was so thrilled to be included.
Handsome TJ displays his beading work before going home. Afterall, tomorrow is Monday when work and school start over again. We have a family dinner/party time at least one Sunday a month, usually fast Sunday. I always miss Andrew and Janae and the boys and wish that they could join in our fun, too.