Friday, April 30, 2010

Hollyhocks and great-grandma Lucy

I have always adored this painting. That is why a small print hangs in the master bedroom in Provo. It reminds me of my Scottish great grandma Lucy, mother of my paternal grandfather. She lived a block or so just north of the Old Rock Schoolhouse in Sugar City. Sometimes I would walk to her house instead of taking the bus home from school. I loved spending time with her. I loved the garden plantings which surrounded her house, especially the hollyhocks that lined the back walkway. I imagine that I am the little girl in the painting (not hard to do since my mother kept my dark hair in french braids.)

I've always wanted to grow hollyhocks. I planted some plants from the nursery two years ago. This year they just volunteered! They are making me very happy!

Monday, April 26, 2010

350,000 tulips celebrate 35 years

Yesterday was our 35th wedding anniversary. We celebrated in Utah over the weekend. We've celebrated our anniversary several times while visiting Utah. When one gets married at the end of a BYU semester in April, twenty some years later they will find themselves celebrating the graduation of BYU student children as well as their anniversary several times over the years. In fact, it will become somewhat of a tradition for just the two of you to sneak away to Temple Square to see the tulips sometime during the graduation festivities in honor of your wedding day.

There were no graduations this year, but Glen was in Salt Lake City on a business trip so I flew up Friday afternoon to join him in celebrating our day by seeing the tulips! It just seemed like the right thing to do!

The gardeners at Temple Square and the office building plaza have an artist eye. The combinations of tulips and other spring flowers are just stunning. My pictures don't even begin to do the flower beds justice.

Doesn't this reflecting pool look like it belongs in our backyard?

Glen and I were basically the only couple in jeans and tennis shoes early on a Saturday morning. Everyone else seemed to be in church clothes as they attended the temple or came to join a wedding party. After being stopped by and visiting with three sets of sister missionaries we politely declined more or we could have spent all our time with the sisters!

Here is the view from in front of the visitor's center. I just remembered that we forgot to enter and walk up to the Christus statue, the spot where Glen asked me to marry him! The trees in bloom were also beautiful.

We then crossed South Temple to visit the new Deseret Book store.

There is a wonderful display in the front of the store honoring the Tabernacle Choir.

This is the plaza outside the store. There is a great deal of construction going on in downtown Salt Lake City.

I liked the unfinished colorful buildings amongst the gray.

Our next stop was Thanksgiving Point in Utah County. Glen's sister, Wylene, wanted to catch a ride back to St. George with us later, so we talked her into meeting up with us at the Point.

She brought Leanna, Peyton, Malia, and Malia's mom, Lindsi with her. It was not only the Tulip Festival but Dutch Days, too, so it was pretty crowded. I guess we have become spoiled by our quiet weekday visits in the past.

Peyton and Malia had a splashing good time in the secret garden. It doesn't seem as secret when the trees are without leaves!

Monet's garden pond was just barely getting back the lily pads and the fish were few, but the girls still had fun feeding the koi.

Malia copies the brass girl tip toeing her way across the stream.

Glen is happiest with his grandchildren, even when he has to borrow some from his sister!

We spent the night in St. George, visited Phil and Lynette on the way out of town the next morning, and spent our time driving across the Navajo Reservation discussing what we might have wanted to change about our 35 years of marriage. There wasn't much!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Garden salad

I am mostly sharing this photo with you because looking at Nichelle's car makes me feel sad and irritated, not just for myself but for N & N, too.

This salad is made up veggies, ALL of which are from my garden. This is a bit trickier than it appears. You are looking at the first cucumber of the season which has finally arrived to join the cherry tomatoes which have been available a handful at a time for weeks. Usually I don't have lettuce by the end of April (having gone to seed), but this year I replanted in March just to see how it would go. Viola, a complete "from the garden" salad!

Now I'm hoping for enough tomatoes to make salsa before the cilantro goes to seed. See, it really is tricky coordinating timing and praying for cooperating weather!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Sober thoughts

Life really can change in a minute. Nichelle left for work Monday morning and not even five minutes later Nate received a phone call from a sobbing hysterical wife. She was certain that her baby was no more. Thankfully, that turned out not to be true. But, instead of a routine week of work and settling into a new house followed by a fun trip to San Diego for a baby shower, Nichelle spent two days in the hospital monitoring her baby boy followed by a oral surgeon visit which basically closed her mouth for weeks. When the air bag deployed, it broke her jaw. Certainly not the way one would prefer to spend her last five weeks of pregnancy.

It's been a tough year for we Jensen women. It started with a thyroid biopsy for Susan followed by a thyroidectomy and diagnosis of cancer which has been treated with radioactive iodine. February brought my own health crisis and gall bladder surgery. And now we pray for Nichelle and her little one. I keep reminding myself that life is a series of lessons which help us reach our true potential and teach us to have empathy for others. As a mother, I also better understand a loving Father in Heaven who gave His Son to help us survive our mortal life journey and I have empathy for how hard it must be for Him to watch us in our struggles.

Glen's been gone for a little over an hour and it will be a week before I see him again. I already miss him and he has called me two times. It makes me wonder how it's possible for Brad Baker to deal with his separation from his sweet Sara. He talks a bit about it here.

Faith enables one to become stronger as they take simple steps forward, one day (even hour) at a time. Just remember to keep moving with gratitude for every little blessing! Every one!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

N & N's new house

We were up early today. First stop, an early morning walk through the rose gardens at MCC. The roses were beautiful and in full bloom. After breakfast quiches at Mimi's Cafe, we were off to exchange services with Nate. Glen helped him spray his weed crop and I finished my pantry shelf project, then Nate came and helped us clean out our garage and took a load to DI. I am now officially parked in the garage once again!

These pictures of N & N's house are for Janae in far off St. Kitts. The small window is a formal dining area (their office area) and the big window is the living room with a floor to ceiling white rock fireplace. These are adjoining spaces so it is a nice large area with a vaulted ceiling. In the basement (currently without carpet) there is a large family room with fireplace under the LR and a separate space that Nichelle will use as a craft room under the formal dining area.

This is the back of the house. L to R, master bedroom window with a large window well underneath for two bedrooms in the basement. Patio window is their kitchen window and the middle door leads to the eat-in dining area of kitchen. The next door is to a big storage area for outdoor equipment, etc., and on the backside of this storage area is a spacious shelved (which I covered with contact paper :) pantry which is accessed from the kitchen area. They have lots of storage!

There are several fruit trees in the backyard as well as this massive tree. The baby's room is located between the MB and LR. The stairwell goes down between the kitchen and formal DR. There is a third bedroom downstairs under the baby's room as well as a large bathroom/laundry room. They really did get a lot of square footage for their money and with time they will get all their projects completed. It certainly beats the little two bedroom apartment!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Oh, what a beautiful morning. . .

Glen walked back into the house at 6:30 this morning and announced, "It really is a most beautiful morning." I found some shoes and headed on out with my camera. This time of year in Arizona is really the most spectacular time in our garden.

The rose arbor has become what I first dreamed it could be. Those beautiful red roses also smell so good!

The petunias planted last October in the window box are enjoying the extra sun.

The hollyhocks are beginning to bloom.

The English mallow has been blooming for some time now.

I then headed out back. The lavender smells amazing. I just planted a bunch of blue pots in every variety of lavender that I could find. I'll share a picture later when they are all blooming.

I loved the colors on these violas. I put a few about the place and then went back for more. I guess others loved them, too, for there were no more to be found.

The trumpet vines are also in flower.

This one is climbing up the palm tree. Way, way up the neighbor's palm tree.

Glen's bougainvillea is spectacular.

He has fuchsia blooming in the greenhouse.

And my late start garden is coming along. I hope the 90's stay away for quite sometime. I heard that New York City hit 90 yesterday. They can have it!

Strawberries anyone?

I planted geraniums all along the back pool wall last October. We have enjoyed all the vibrant color.

A couple of weeks ago when we were driving back into the Valley of Sun after a trip to Utah, my nose was sooooo happy! The best part about being in Arizona in late March and April (along with the possibility of desert wildflowers) is the smell of all the citrus trees blooming. As we sped along the 202 towards home, I put my window down and inhaled over and over again.

Ah, home!!

Monday, April 5, 2010

April Madness

We didn't really experience March Madness, but the first five days of April have been a bit on the busy, mad side. All of my siblings were in town for a Nyborg/Foote Reunion sponsored by Velva's family. Janis was in charge of this one and she planned a full agenda of four days of fun which included General Conference viewing, Easter Pageant attendance, outdoor and Easter activities, and great meals at four different homes. Aunts, uncles, and cousins came from far away to experience our beautiful weather and sunshine. They were so smart to have spent Easter in the sunshine because if they had remained home it would have been Easter in the snow.

Late Sunday afternoon as extended family members began their travels home, Grandpa Glen sponsored his annual Easter egg hunt in his beautiful garden for his grandchildren.

Miss Julianna went straight for the dark chocolate. I am even now trying to get the stains out of her new dress! For a first time hunter, she had impressive skills.

TJ was hoping to find some cash in those eggs. I was so busy putting the final touches on our Easter dinner, I forgot to ask if he had success.

Heather had some great "girl" time with her cousins this weekend. Heather loves girl time!

Toby also found success. He has been having some grandpa/grandma time the last two days. Today makes a week since his mom, Susan, had the radioactive iodine treatment for her thyroid cancer. She was asked not to be around her children for 7 days. Luckily, the children had many other activities to distract them. She is slowly feeling better but missing her little ones.

Ruby is a master hunter. She even gave out good hints to the other hunters.

Sadie, that is a very full basket! Did your daddy help you just a little?

My little sweethearts! Julianna couldn't sit still long enough for this photo!

Special thanks to these egg fillers and hiders. Nichelle and Nate did a great job making it fun for their nieces and nephews. Next year they will have a little boy joining in on all the fun!

For more pictures of the reunion and Easter activities go HERE, HERE and HERE.