Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween Missionary Trivia

Missionaries and Halloween, you say. How do those two fit together?

Halloween 1970 Elder Glen Jensen enters the Missionary Home in Salt Lake City. He has been called to serve in the Uraguay Paraguay Mission. Grandpa Raymond watches on the left. Aunt LaRee stands in the white coat on the right. Glen and his mother had traveled from California to Utah a few days before and Glen had spent some time up at Strawberry Reservoir with Grandpa Raymond helping him re roof his fishing trailer. Glen was the first missionary in some time to leave from the Hawthorne, California ward. Remember, this was also during the Viet Nam War and a nationwide draft was in place. Glen, through the luck of the draw, had been given a call up number in the 300's. Interesting fact: Glen also saw President Nixon on this day as he passed by in a car on the streets of SLC. Watergate and Nixon's resignation were still in the future.

Halloween 1996 Ryan receives his mission call in the mail. All the extended family gathers around after school and before the trick or treating to watch him open it. We opened the window to make more room for everyone to share the moment. Nathan seems to have the primo position. The call: Salvador Brazil North Mission. And now we know that it also meant that we would eventually have Emilia Julia in our family! Emilia has some great pictures of her hometown on her blog today. Both she and Ryan have traveled those streets.

Did you notice her? The pregnant ghost on the table. No announcement this time, just Halloween decor.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Halloween memories

I'm no longer making costumes in October, but I am doing some reminiscing. Today I scanned a few pictures to share with you. This picture was taken in Utah in 1978. Eric is the clown in yellow, my first costume. I am holding baby Ryan. Are you able to name all of your Jensen cousins?

The older three boys had moved on in their trick or treating style when this Ostler cousins' picture was taken in 1993. Nathan is the jailbird in the back while Janae wears all of her Halloween attire from top to bottom. Nathan was able to be a jailbird for several years. I made three of those costumes one year so that David, Janae, and Nathan could match. Can you name the rest of you cousins?

As you can tell, the costumes ended up in a box and were recycled. Janae is now wearing the clown costume. The Star Wars costumes were perhaps the height of my costuming career. Eric is the Imperial Guard, David is Darth Vadar, and Ryan an Ewok. The Ewok costume sans the hood, also served Ryan well when he was a dancing bear for the kindergarten circus. He danced his heart out to "Footloose."

My favorite Halloween trip was the year we drove to Dewey, Arizona with the Bunker clan to pick a pumpkin from a "real" pumpkin patch. It was a great day! Remember when Nathan and Kyle were pretty much connected at the hip. Great cousins and Good friends!

Janae loved this witch's hat. She wore it over and over. Thank goodness she could work her love of all things Mickey Mouse into her costume. I made the pumpkin goodie bags when I had three little boys. It looks like Janae finally got her hands on one. The plastic pumpkin she is holding in the clown costume has been in the family for over 25 years. Grandma J labeled it the "Love Pumpkin," filled it full of candy, and mailed it to us in Bountiful when she lived in California to the delight of three little boys. It's carried candy at Halloween every year since.

My easiest costume to make was this ghost. Nathan insisted that he just wanted a ghost costume where you cut out the eyes (perhaps from watching the Charlie Brown Halloween special or maybe ET.) I took him to Hancock's Fabrics and let him wander around until he found the "right" ghost material. He cut out the eye holes and was set to go. I added the sash so that he could stay put together.

That ceramic jack-o-lantern was also made by Grandma J and her friend Nellie Parker and has been a part of our Halloween decor forever. There is also a ceramic ghost with eyes which light up. It has a definite baby bump, so I used the pregnant ghost to announce the impending arrival of some of you.

I hope that you are making great Halloween memories with your little ones. These were the pictures that I could find. I know that there are many more in your albums that have made their way to your homes. Maybe you can do some reminiscing of your own.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The vacation before the blog, Part IV

I decided that today was the day to share the last portion of our long ago vacation, before the title would become, "The vacation before the blog which has now been in existence for over a year." That would truly be embarrassing. Above you will find Glen posing in a replica of the fort at Jamestown. We arrived shortly after Queen Elizabeth personally visited in honor of Jamestown's 400th birthday. We had just days earlier gazed on the White House as guests gathered to dine with her and Bush 43. Our visit was enhanced by all the articles in news magazines and "The Smithsonian" regarding this special birthday which we had read on the plane. Before arriving in Jamestown, we had driven from Richmond along the James River. It was so interesting to view plantations and homes which had been in existence since the 1600's.

A bit of family history information: the Ricks family, who were Quakers, first settled in this area, Isle of Wight County, in the 1600's before moving from near the James River into what became North Carolina. Descendants then followed Daniel Boone (Boone opened up this part of the wilderness to many settlers) into Trigg County, Kentucky before finally making their way to Illinois where they became introduced to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints with whom they migrated to the west. If you managed to follow along while reading this poorly constructed paragraph, you might enjoy venturing here.

Not far from Jamestown, we stayed in Williamsburg in one of the historic houses. The floors may have been a bit uneven, the bathroom and shower very small, but all that was compensated for as we were able to step out of our lodging onto the streets of Colonial Williamsburg. Our early May visit was enhanced by beautiful gardens and comfortable temperatures.

If Glen had been willing, I would have stood in front of every flower bed to have my picture taken. I was in nirvana.

There were many shops to explore. My favorite was the Seamstress Shop. Two women (the younger, an apprentice) were sewing by hand costumes and clothing for those who "work" here. If I did not already have a life and a family almost 2000 miles away, I would have been looking for the sign up sheet. They start early in the day and can sew only until nightfall for no electricity is allowed. They worked right next to the windows. I explained my English smocking obsession and they seemed to be impressed!

We so enjoyed the reenactments of historical events. Having just visited the homes of Governor Jefferson and General Washington, I could very much imagine their young selves helping to mold a new republic.

One of our "do overs" given the chance to redo our vacation, would be to allow more time for this part of our trip. We ran out of time to visit Yorktown, part of the historic triangle in this part of Virginia. We instead had a drive to make to Norfolk to catch a plane for home.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I'm becoming my mother

Heather experienced a solo "grandkid sleepover" on Friday night. She brought two counted cross stitch kits with her. Her request, "Grandma, can you show me how to do this?" Wow, I thought, you are only six. This takes fine motor skills, threading needles, counting stitches, following a charted picture with symbols for different colors, and concentration. Then I remembered Velva patiently showing Janae how to do counted cross stitch 20 years ago and answered, "Yes, I can."

I quickly remembered that Heather is one of my little left-handed sweeties. "It's okay Grandma, I can use both hands. I can do it like you." So, she's ambidextrous at this age just like her Aunt Janae. (Janae, does it still work that way for you?) We proceeded. She was amazing. She watched carefully. She was soon threading her own needle. She counted carefully and marked off the boxes carefully as she progressed row by row. She got it, she loved it, and she stayed with it. I will never doubt her again.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Happy Birthday to "Hot" Andrew

Happy Birthday Andrew! Too bad you had to work on your birthday, but I could tell you enjoyed your birthday dinner last night (especially Glen's famous home grilled steak.) Thanks for becoming a part of the family, even if it meant being a very warm groom at an August wedding in sunny Arizona.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Arizona fall colors

The bougainvillea get more vibrant everyday. It's amazing what cooler nights allow to happen.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

For Lowell - pomegranate pictures

Dear Lowell,
Thank you for the pomegranate tree seedling you brought home from Bunkerville many moons ago. As you can see, it has turned into quite the little producer. It also elicits questions from passerbys. Glen is very connected to this tree. He trims it so it arches over the gate to the backyard. Lately we've been getting "bonked" on the head as the pomegranates get heavier and heavier. It's a good "bonk." I just wanted to share.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Glen's cousin, Bob, died suddenly

We received news this week of the sudden passing of Glen's cousin Bob currently of Twin Falls, Idaho. He died of a heart attack while walking his dogs on Monday morning. He was just 55 and it has been sobering news for both of us. We last saw him up on the mountain above Beaver in August 2007. Glen has many happy memories of him from his boyhood. You may read his obituary here.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

If Ryan were to build a house

I saw this on Martha Stewart today. If Ryan were ever to build his own house, balloons would probably be his choice for materials as well. I honestly believe that he could make a balloon house!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Once a Cougar, always a Cougar

Upon becoming disullistioned with our local paper, we began subscribing to US Today. I don't study the sports section like Glen does, but he insisted that I read this. It was interesting to read how Max Hall (of our own Mesa, AZ Mountain View HS) decided to make the switch from ASU to BYU after his mission. When we watched them play UCLA early in the season Glen and I agreed that they seemed to be playing "perfect" football. It's nice to read that they are doing so on purpose. Go Cougars!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Ryan's Velva

This morning shortly before nine, I was handed the Sacrament Meeting program. As I took my seat and looked at the cover I saw in bold letters the date, October 12, 2008 and I realized that my mother had passed away nine years prior on this date. It was a great day of baby blessings, sincere testimonies, and talk of ministering angels and mortal angels as Bro. Jeffery Holland's conference talk of last weekend was remembered. Velva was my mortal angel and is now my ministering angel. She still lifts me up as I remember her advice (which was rarely given but always imparted with great wisdom) and ponder on her life of example and great fortitude. And in rare, quiet moments I feel her near me and I receive comfort and strength.

My son, Ryan, created this portrait of my mother from her last formal picture. It was a photo which I buried in a drawer for it brought me pain in her last years of dementia. The eyes did not seem to be her eyes. Ryan used his art and helped me look at it another way. Now her soul speaks to me of enduring 'til the end and of life sometimes being hard but always worth it. I am so blessed to know of the "Plan of Happiness" and the eternal joys it offers.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Summer survivors

My grandchildren and their parents are glad that change is in the air. You can feel it early in the morning and again in the evening as the sun goes down. We will all once again be summer survivors like these cosmos. Their fate seemed one of certain doom as their neighbors succumbed under the relentless sun. Then cooler days and a revival. This week they simply stunned me. A miracle!

This morning I continued my cool, early morning gardening cleanup in preparation for the glorious months ahead. Today was the day to attack the strawberry pots. Look what I found. More hope. More al fresco dining, more good books on the outside sofa in the afternoon sun, more errands run mid-day, more grandkid Primary sing-a-longs before a lit fireplace, more fresh items from the garden other than just basil, more time outside in comfort.

Today on our myfamily site, my cousin had posted pictures of the Idaho ranch in October, not my usual visiting season. It was potato harvest and there was brown and more brown and even snow on the Tetons in the distance. It hit me suddenly how a few degrees latitude and feet altitude can make such a difference in how one experiences "seasons." I'm a Arizona summer survivor who will now be rewarded with 6 to 7 months of lovely weather. But when it starts to heat up again, I will look forward to summer, for one main reason only. The pool will warm up and I will have 5 to 6 months of daily lap swims in my own backyard with the other summer survivors.

The vines have been excellent summer survivors. I find it appropriate that they somehow left a circle, a symbol of the circle of life and renewal.

And then just before noon, the doorbell rang. The heirloom tomato plants had arrived from the gentler clime of California (Laurel's Heirloom Tomatoes, and no, we are not related.) More hope for a delicious home grown tomato at Christmas. Ruby and Heather, we may have red, orange, and even yellow cherry tomatoes to share before the year is over. Another reward for surviving summer.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Raymond "reigns" on his birthday

Some say you look like a "little" Glen. I think that you look you, but also like a Hummel figurine. Grandpa likes to tickle your feet, too. It hard to believe that you are now three.

You still like to "get cozy" with the soft green blanket. You also like to be "king" of our bed.

We are delighted that you love music. We can't wait to see where this love might lead you.

Happy Birthday little one. You are rapidly becoming not so little. We love you!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The stars are lining up for December

Nathan has been dating a beautiful girl named Nichelle. He came home to Arizona for his cousin's wedding. Nichelle came, too. He took her to see the Diamondbacks play.

Dave and Sally went to the Diamondbacks game, too, not just because Dave and Nate are brothers, but because Sally and Nichelle are BEST FRIENDS!

On Sunday, those who came to dinner (left over RS Broadcast Dinner) lined up for pictures before they left for the airport.
Ryan, Emilia, Nathan, Nichelle, Me and Glen

Aunt Lynette had stayed after the wedding to have more visiting time. She poses, too. Ryan S. had arrived to take Nathan and Nichelle to see his parents who would then take all three to the airport so they would be ready for Monday work and school.

On Tuesday, the ring arrived and Nathan decided to make things OFFICIAL.
He called more than once as he excitedly told me of his plans.

Good friend Tara helped him create this romantic spot for the proposal.

And Nichelle said, "YES!"

They will be married on December 27th in the San Diego Temple.

AND if that isn't enough good news, Eric and Susan received word of a baby girl available for adoption. She is due on December 16th!