Sunday, June 29, 2008

He spoke, we listened and he touched our hearts

Nathan spoke today in sacrament meeting. He spoke from his heart and it touched ours.

These are the extended family members who came to hear him and to share this special time.

Also a shot of his immediate family members. Somehow Eric and his family slipped away out of the opposite side of the church. We managed to catch them later tonight after a family dinner of mashed potatoes and noodles.

We all agree that it is wonderful to have him back home with us.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Elder Jensen "finally" arrives home

Elder Jensen's final leg on his trip home grew very long. He called collect from Dallas this morning before six. They had missed their connecting flight due to not enough time to make it through customs and security. (His luggage had made the flight, however, and was waiting for him in Phoenix.) He gave me the next possible time for a standby flight. Several collect calls later he finally boarded a flight after noon Dallas time. As you can see from the board, even that flight was delayed and Elder Jensen finally made an appearance at 1:20 PM.

This is my smile after "arrived" appeared next to his flight. The several hour wait was over.

Janae's son, Raymond, and I wonder if that is the plane we have been waiting for.

He and his traveling companion, Elder Fletcher, come up the walkway.

I thought that I would squeeze the stuffing out of him I was so glad to see him.

Nathan was all smiles as well and looked great even though he had been in transit for hours.

His sister welcomed him home with a smile and a new baby, Henry, whom he met for the first time.

That is Henry's proud father in the background. Nate's cousin, Sarah, is holding Henry. She will be leaving on a mission of her own in five weeks.

Brother David was also happy to see him again.

Sister-in-law Sally and daughter Ruby were thrilled to have him home.

Daughter Sadie also met Nathan for the first time.

And finally back at the office where brother Ryan had been holding down the fort, Nathan gives him a hug. Big brother Eric had been at the house just before, but I was busy preparing food and not snapping pictures.

Nathan poses by his welcome home sign which TJ, Toby, and Heather. They had helped me make the sign at our grandkids sleepover a week earlier. Nathan's delayed arrival time meant that they were not able to come to the airport.

We then met with the stake president for his release (a very emotional time for Nate as well as his mom and dad) and still had time for a trip to the Beehive Clothing store before it closed. He's had many visitors come by the house and it feels soooo good to have him home again. While I blog, he is over meeting his new sister-in-law, Emilia. Perhaps she has fixed him something to eat Brazilian style after her 12 hours of work today. I might have gone along for the ride, but I knew the Portuguese would be flowing at Ryan and Emilia's house tonight.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Morning trauma . . . and a bit of drama

At 5:30 this morning we were awakened by a roaring chain saw. I rolled over and asked, "Do you think they have decided to trim the palm trees?" A grunt was my reply. The roar made me happy because we have been experiencing what I call "palm snow storms" daily. This is the time of year they try to replicate themselves by sending out 6 to 8 foot shoots which flower in tiny little white blossoms, hence the "snow." This later leads to bee bee size black seeds by the thousands. Our wonderful backyard neighbors have 16 giant palms, so do the math and multiply the mess. You probably recognized that I was able to quote for you the entire life cycle of said palms. This is because they were not trimmed until much later last year. I finally bought a powerful indoor/outdoor vacuum to deal with the "snow" last year. I hate the mess. I love the ambiance and shade they provide for our side of the fence.

Now for the trauma/drama. The trimmer had started on the street side. As he made his way around their yard I realized that he would soon be over my greenhouse which was not there the year before. It's made from polycarbonate, thin polycarbonate which might not be up to gigantic palm fronds falling from 50 feet. Glen is usually home longer on Tuesday mornings and I was grateful for his Spanish language skills. He pointed out the green house and explained that he had to be careful. Good thing. You should have seen the fronds landing hard on our other neighbor's outdoor ramada roof.
We also quickly added some padding, just in case. So here is the thing. He was really careful and we realized that he did have the skills to direct the fall of the fronds. Only two items land on our side of the fence. He moves on to the next tree and fronds are flying everywhere, mostly into our backyard. They take out our tiki torches and mangle our plants. He continues on for the last two trees. Was he planning on coming into our yard to clean up? We have no idea, so Glen starts sending them through the fence part that hasn't been heightened. I think the palm trimmer knew he had a good thing going. Glen was picking up all his mess. I do know that Glen will not be asking him to trim the palms at his office building. Not a very good way to get to get referrals!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Life comes at you fast!

Here we are, a little family excited about our new home and soon to be filled new swimming pool. It was 17 years ago and now that 4 year old on the left is coming home from his mission.
These were good, busy days for your dad and I. We loved watching you grow and develop. We were amazed by your energy and love of life. We still are. And now we are amazed by your children, our grandchildren. I took Eric's kids on his birthday for a grand kids sleep over. During their visit, I realized that life really does come at you fast. Heather was all suited up and ready to swim laps with me at 8:00 am. TJ didn't want to swim, but asked to watch the History Channel instead. Toby didn't ask about mom and dad or home even once. This grandparenting has moved to a whole new level. I realize that TJ is now the same age as Janae in this picture. Nathan is just a few months older than Toby. TJ will most likely be the next Jensen missionary and it's less than 10 years away. My, oh, my! Elder Jensen will meet the three new members of our family that have joined us over the last two years. Little did I know how outdated that all important family picture that we had taken before Nathan left would soon be . Please, just always remember how much I love each and every one of you and how precious each memory is to me!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Eric's very first birthday picture

Happy Birthday Eric! Here you are 32 years ago about right now. Your dad and I were pretty excited to have you finally join our family. You were six days past your due date and Grandma Velva had almost used up her vacation time waiting for you. Your father was excited that he would indeed be a father for Father's Day. I, of course, had read every book I could find on natural child birth and nursing. In the above picture, I had made it through the natural child birth part (it took a bit of mind control) and would soon be on to the nursing. Good thing you were a good little nurser, it made things easier. This is probably way more than you wanted to know.

Anyway, oldest son, thanks for making us parents and for being a good son. We hope that your day is extra special and that your party tomorrow night rocks. We also wish you many more birthdays and Father's Days of your own.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Elder Jensen reports home sooner than expected!

A registered letter came today from Nathan's mission president asking that we make sure someone greets him at the airport. At the bottom of the page were departure and arrival dates one day sooner that his previous travel plans! I quickly went to the web site to confirm, and yes, things have changed. Elder Jensen arrives home on THURSDAY, June 26 at 7:50 am!!!!!!!
Thought you would like to know and my email is not letting me pull up my addresses for a forward.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Bamboo Aficionado

I'm not sure when his love affair with that giant grass, bamboo, began. Perhaps it was in his childhood backyard in Hawthorne. A trip to San Diego warranted another visit to the Quail Botanical Garden in Encinas. A year ago February, we came for a premier visit right after a record freeze. He claimed that we needed to see if the frozen plants had recovered. But I knew the real reason for our trip. He missed the bamboo garden. He wanted a picture of himself in front of that giant bamboo plant in the background.
He also wanted to show off this giant bamboo.
He needed a second shot up close to show the correct perspective.
And then there was the bamboo bench.
And one of the variegated bamboo.

Need more bamboo? Just come visit and gaze at the bamboo fencing on the back wall behind the pool. Or ask him about his black bamboo. He will gladly relate its history and take you out on the street side to show it to you up close and personal.

By the way, the gardens were fully recovered from the record cold. I'll bring you "Blooms from Quail" another time.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Our Dancing Queen

It was a great time watching Ruby light up the stage at her dance recital. It was a big affair, perhaps bigger than her parents had imagined, but Ruby loved her costume, moment in the spotlight, and flowers. We loved Ruby.
Her family was proud.
Her grandmas were proud.
Her neighbor Ella was proud.
And Sadie had fun dancing "in the aisles" so to speak.

There were dancers of all ages, lots of dancers. It looked like it was big business. The venue was the Queen Creek Center for the Arts. Programs were $7 and one could also buy commemorative clothing and other keepsakes. The kids demonstrated lots of talent, but I couldn't help wondering about the costumes becoming skimpier and skimpier and the moves more suggestive as the dancers got older. Things have changed since my dancing days, not that I ever had any talent, but I do remember a step or two from my Sugar City dancing days. I just feel like kids are losing their childhood innocence too quickly these days.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Sometimes you pay too much to be happy

When I found this chandelier with its elongated form and a perfect fit for our rectangular cove over our rectangular dining table, I was ecstatic - even though I felt it was overpriced. Still do. But it was the perfect thing for the space. I refused to buy the shades offered by the same company, also overpriced. I went to Lowe's and found the gold checked shades marked down to half price. All eight were the same price as just one of the above red shades. A deal. As you can see from the picture, that was not the end of the story. Every time I turned on this light I thought, "I wonder how the red shades would have looked in this room." Sometimes I would voice my thoughts. Glen would say, "Go order the shades right now." After several months of "I can't pay that much for lamp shades!", I put on the patriotic table cloth for the season. It needed red shades. They arrived yesterday, and yes, they are overpriced. I even think that the Lowe's shades are better quality, but I am so happy! They look like they belong.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Rocking with Grandpa

Lately on visits, this is what Grandpa and Sadie like to do. They rock and rock.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Tired of the bathroom, try Glen's blooms

Glen picked up this plant on a whim at Wal-mart. We usually don't buy from Wal-mart, because the plants sometimes don't seem as well cared for. I'm not sure what this is called, but the fuzzy leaved plant finally bloomed this week.
The plumbago is also blooming profusely.
A couple of months ago the doorbell rang. When I went to the door I was greeted by two large tall boxes, so tall that I could not see out of the high door window. I opened the door to these words, "Live Plants." I brought them inside and waited for an explanation. Glen came home so happy to see that his "crape myrtle trees" had arrived from North Carolina. I think that our somewhat cooler weather this year has helped them to get a good start and now they are blooming. He ordered "Fire Engine Red" and "Dynamite Red." I am at a loss to know the difference.
This one got planted in Glen's desert rock garden while the other is on the north side of the lawn. It will be interesting to see which one fares best.
Finally, a shot of his "wall of color." The bougainvillea are also putting off many new blooms. If you look carefully back by the Italian cypress trees, the potato vine has nearly reached the top.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

New bathroom now open

Notice the shower head for tall people.
Remember, just 24 days until Nate.
It's a bit hard to get a whole bathroom in one shot. Here is the new mirror reflecting my elbow. The tile trim was an after thought and creative solution to the marble being standard size when the old tile wasn't. We had four inches to fill above the tub enclosure. It seemed only fitting that the sink receive equal treatment. All in all, a happy mistake.

We hope these pictures will entice guests to come and spend some time with us. We are no longer embarrassed to offer you a collapsing bath tub.