Sunday, December 21, 2008

Out of the Mouths of Sunbeams

Pat and I were recently called to teach the "Sunbeam" class (age four) at church. Today during "sharing time" one of our Primary leaders was teaching a short lesson to the whole group about the Nativity. She had placed an empty stable on the table and the scene figurines in a basket. The idea was to invite a child up one at a time and have him choose a figurine, identify it and place it in the stable. When our Nephi Butt (yes, that is his name) came up, he chose a female figure with wings. When he was asked who it was he looked at it, thought for a moment and announced, "It's a mom!" Do you hear that all you mothers out there?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Nice Christmas-themed experience

Today I stopped at Walgreen's to buy some batteries for my guitar tuner. They are button-type and I had bought and returned two packages previously that had apparently expired because they did not work. So to be sure, I brought the tuner in and moved away from the cash register to a waist-high display of boxes and put the batteries in. They worked! I should also mention that I had also gotten $20 (in two 10s)as my change. I had plunked all my stuff down when I began to work with the tuner. Then an old friend and colleague from Santa Rita High School came in the store and we visited for a while. So with that distraction and me excited that the batteries were good, I gathered up my stuff and went to the car leaving the two ten dollar bills on the box.

When I got home and did not find the money, I was pretty sure what had happened. So I got ready for work and stopped at the store. The manager said that, yes a customer had found the bills and turned them in. The customer asked that if no one claimed the money, would the manager put it in the Salvation Army kettle at the front door. I was so impressed at the anonymous person's honesty that I asked for a five and five ones and placed a dollar in the kettle myself as I left. I guess I wanted to keep the karma cycle going!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Wedding bells for Scotty!

Yesterday was an important day for our son Scott. He proposed to Miss Sarah Washburn! Scott and Sarah haven't been dating long (about 8 weeks) but have "hit it off" wonderfully. He met her for a picnic lunch near the Park Place Mall where we all work and when she came back from changing into her work clothes, Scott got down on one knee and proposed with a beautiful ring. She was very surprised because she did not know that he had gotten the ring. Their wedding will be in the Mesa, Arizona temple on January 2nd.

Sarah is a beautiful girl (see Halloween post below for her picture) and we love her. She attends the U of A majoring in psychology. She also plays the viola. None of us has ever seen Scott so twitterpated and it is cute. They seem to be a great match. Pat and I are going over to her parents' house tomorrow night to do some wedding brainstorming. Sarah has passed the "sister test" (meaning they all approve) and even Carlie's daughter Ellena runs to her when she comes over. We are all thrilled to see her become a member of our family.

What an honor, Your Honor!

Last Tuesday my group, the Due West Trio performed at the Westin La Paloma resort here in Tucson for a convention for U.S. Appeals Court judges. The event was outside on a patio and the night was beautiful. The guests ate, drank and mingled while we played western music. Then a little old woman walked over to us and gave us the thumbs up and stage-whispered, "You're great! I love your music!" We nodded in acknowledgment and I leaned over to my partner Rena and asked, "Do you know who that is? That's Sandra Day O'Connor!" Wow. At our break Tim O'Connor, Rena and I made a beeline over to meet Justice O'Connor. For those of you who may not know, she was the first woman ever to be appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court and she is quite the historical figure. I told her that I knew that she surely had heard this many times before but that I was a teacher as is my wife and that many thousands of us all over the world had used her example to teach young girls that they can accomplish great things. She responded that it was nice to hear and, "Look at me now. I'm just an unemployed old cowgirl!" The judge who was escorting her then said, "You should see her (daily) schedule. She is very busy." So we made her a gift of our three CDs and went back to performing. She was gracious and friendly and I count myself fortunate to have met her (plus, she is now a Due West Trio fan!).

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A Veritable Hive of Activity...

Here are Pat and I in our Halloween costumes. She as a cute 50's poodle skirt girl and me as an aging Indiana Jones (I held in my gut until the picture was snapped!). Also pictured are Scott as Dagobah Luke Skywalker and his intended, the beautiful Sarah Washburn as Barbie.

One week from now our house will be filled with kids, grandkids and lots of noise, and we can't wait! Tina and Jon and their three kids will arrive in Arizona this Friday and drive down to Tucson to stay with us Sunday the 23rd. Wendy also flies in to Tucson on Sunday and everyone will be here for the entire Thanksgiving week. We are trying to figure out how to squeeze in as much fun and visiting as we can in those days.

Among other things Wendy will be consulting with her mom and sisters about her upcoming wedding to Chad Adams. They originally thought they would plan it for November, 2009. Then after considering how long a 1 year engagement would really be, they decided on June. THEN, the date changed to the first week in February. That is the latest news so far. Stay tuned...

And now, elsewhere in the family rumor mill... It appears that Scott and the lovely Sarah are also considering tying the knot. We obtained this information about our son who currently lives in our house, from his sisters who don't. Well, at least we found out. Apparently, they have been ring shopping and are looking at a late winter, early spring event. A parents, we are pretty chill about the whole thing because in Wendy's case, she is handling most of the planning herself and in Scott's, we are the parents of the groom. Sarah also told Pat that her mom already has 3 of her sisters' weddings under her belt.

News flash!!! Scott just called from Sarah's house where he officially talked to her father (just the two of them alone). Apparently, her folks were a little surprised (of course, they are not in Scott's sisters' network) that they are planning a wedding so soon (maybe January). They are not opposed to it as I'm sure they are fond of Scott (who wouldn't be?).

So a lot remains to be seen but it is exciting. We are proud of all our kids and are thrilled with the wonderful mates they are choosing!

Friday, October 10, 2008

overheard conversation.... again

i was talking to tina on the phone yesterday while the kids were coloring. this is about how the conversation went:

tina- you know what would work best on that, maryn? markers. (pause) hmm...
seth- mom, you put them on top of the fridge because you said we weren't going to use them again.

you can't get away with anything.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Unpaid Speech Writers

It seems Dave and I will do just about anything for a free haircut! CC has called us to help with homework, watch the girls, make apricot and strawberry jam, design birthday party treasure hunts but this last request was new! McKenna is running for student body treasurer and needed a speech written by tomorrow! Dave and I put our heads together and came up with this Pulitzer winning masterpeice!

Hi, my name is McKenna Thompson. I am running for student body treasurer. You should vote for me because I KNOW how to keep track of money! Right now I have $5.35 in my pocket (slap your pocket). My sister has $4.10 in her pocket and Mr. Holmes (principal) won’t tell me how much he has but if you elect me treasurer, I promise you I will know exactly how much money student council has and I will keep very good track of it. Vote for McKenna Thompson for treasurer! (I told her she should throw the $5.35 in pennies in her pocket out to the crowd!)

Good luck McKenna in your campaign! Come on crowd... don't you think it is worth a couple of haircuts???

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

cue the theme music- indiana! dr.jones

this last week ellena started saying Papa, which is what she calls dad. dad, of course, is just eating it all up.
today i took her to dollar movie day at the cheap theaters where we saw indiana jones. when indie first appeared on the screen, ellena looked and said "papa!". when i asked her, "is that your papa?" she wasn't too sure anymore. she looked very confused.
reference below post of daddy, dressed in his dr. jones' best. you definitely won ellena over.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Viva Differentiated Instruction!!

Last Saturday morning Pat and I packed up the RAV4 and drove to Las Vegas for a 4 day national teacher's seminar on D.I. My school picked up the tab for my transportation, room at the Riviera and a per diem for food. Pat enrolled and paid tuition on her own because the classes and workshops they offered looked very interesting.

We had hoped to get there in time to get in a session at the L.V. temple the first night (more on that later) but it took us about 30 minutes to get across Hoover Dam , crawling behind a line of cars. We did see the enormous bridge under construction there which will bypass the dam someday. So we got to the hotel and took a walk down the strip. It was about 114 degrees as we walked about a mile to the beautiful Palazzo hotel, next to the Venetian where we bought tickets for the Broadway show "Jersey Boys" for Monday night. It would be our one splurge (about $70 a ticket). After buying the tickets we crossed the street to a food court and had a burger and cheese steak at Johnny Rocket's.

Each day we each attended four 70 minute sessions given by expert presenters who were former teachers, administrators, etc. relating to about every topic you can think of in education. Most were very good, informative and full of practical ideas, only a couple were not that great. Our lunch break on Sunday found us waiting in line at the hotel's food court with thousands of other teachers. There was also a trade show in the ballroom with many vendor booths offering tons of teacher stuff. Pat found some treasures.

That night we decided to get tickets to a Neil Diamond tribute show there at the Riviera ( we got a big discount because we were with the teacher group). The performer was Jay White and he did a show (about 1 1/2 hours) performing the hits with a four piece band. It was a great show and we were all singing and clapping along. After the show we walked across the street to Circus Circus and spent too much money (but had a lot of fun) winning some stuffed animals for granddaughter Ellena at the midway games. We also watched a couple of the trapeze and other circus acts.

At lunch Monday, as we sat at a much coveted table, Pat spotted a young couple (teachers) who had brought their cute little chubby baby to the conference. She went up and told them they could have our place. She is such a grandma! After a short nap we boarded the "Deuce", a double decker bus that moves up and down the strip for $2 a ride and got off at the Palazzo for our show. "Jersey Boys" was so good, great music and story about the Four Seasons, the 1960's pop harmony group featuring Frankie Valli. It did however have its share of rough "Jersey language"! After the show we ate at the Italian restaurant there called "Carnevino". It was wonderful (the overhead music was "The White Album", no kidding). We split a salad, some bow tie pasta and a New York strip steak along with some veggies and risotto cakes. It was pretty elegant (and delicious) and rounded out our splurge evening at about $300 (dinner and show) and it was worth it.

On Tuesday after our classes we hoped to go to the temple but Pat suggested we call first just in case. Sure enough, it was closed for cleaning and maintenance. Too bad. We decided to try the hotel's buffet for dinner. Years ago Las Vegas was known for cheap (maybe $3.99) buffets all over town. No more. Our meal was $16.99 each. It was pretty good but nothing to write home about. After dinner we got back on the Deuce and headed down the strip again. We saw the dancing waters show outside of the Bellagio and wandered through New York New York. It is a fun place with an interior that looked like NY streets with corner deli's, street lamps, Central Park, etc. We got in line for their roller coaster but changed our minds when we saw that it cost $14 apiece! We crossed over to the MGM and started walking again. We visited the 4 story M&M store and the Coke store and headed back to the Riviera. After our classes Wednesday, we headed home most of the was talking about ideas we had learned that we can use in the classroom. It was a very fun time together.

So, some thoughts on the famous Sin City... There is lots to do and see, it is very bright and flashy but it still has a very dark side. Everyone is solicited at some point on the street for some decidedly non-family activities. It is VERY expensive to eat and stay. We are not gamblers (not a penny on this trip) but I can see where that could be fun for those folks I don't know... strictly from a vacation standpoint, I think I'll take San Diego anytime.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Lost and found... with a happy ending

Fourth of July and nobody was home at our house. Rachel and Scott were both out and Pat and I were in Taylor, AZ where the Due West Trio was performing. Our little terrier, Jaxx was locked in the backyard as usual. The sun went down, the fireworks started popping in the neighborhood and Jaxx began to get nervous.

We have a heavy wrought iron gate which closes in the yard but it has been off a hinge and in need of repair for some time now. A non-panicked Jaxx would not normally be able to budge it. So after surely scratching at the Arcadia door to no avail he began to shoulder his way out the gate and off he ran. The kids really did not notice him missing until the next day and everybody started looking. Pat and I got home late afternoon Saturday and Wendy, her boyfriend Chad, Scott and I all went in separate cars and combed the neighborhood searching and calling his name. Rachel was at work and said she was going to cruise the Nielson's neighborhood. No luck.

We called Pima County Animal Control, the City Pound (because they typically pick up a number of scared strays every Fourth) and went on the websites to check and report him missing. In short, we did everything we knew to do.

Then, Sunday afternoon we got a call from a woman who said she had found him. We were all very happy with the news! She lived at Houghton and Camino Quince. Jaxx had run there (crossing Houghton and Broadway, both very busy streets) and scratched on her door. So he must have spent at least one night alone and a mile from home.

Rachel and I drove to the corner and Jaxx seemed pretty happy to see us. Of course, I offered to reward the lady but she refused and was very gracious.

So there was a happy ending to what could have been a very sad story!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Indy for a day

Anyone who knows me knows that I am an incurable ham (although I have heard of cured hams!). And my children will remember many Halloweens that I dressed in costume to take them trick-or-treating or to go to a Halloween party. I just find it fun.

So yesterday, in keeping with a sort of personal tradition Pat and I have, we met to see a movie on Grading Day after we finished our school stuff. And the movie was, of course, the new "Indiana Jones and Kingdom of the Crystal Skull". So, I naturally decided to dress as Indiana Jones to attend the movie. To Pat's credit, she walked next to me the whole time. What a good sport.

Since I was running a little late and we wanted to get good seats, Pat went ahead to the theater and bought the tickets. She gave mine to Scott who was working at Dillard's and got in line. While she was waiting, Pat struck up a conversation with some folks. They asked if she thought I was going to be able to find her in line. She replied, "Don't worry. You'll know who he is. He's dressed like Indiana Jones"! I came along later to pick up my ticket (and embarrass Scott in front of his co-workers) and walked through the food court to the theater. I got lots of smiles and comments (and some parents pointing me out to their little kids). I had not shaved since the previous Sunday to help complete the image and of course ran into our stake president and his wife! He was not surprised in the least to see me like that. He knows me pretty well!

We saw the film and enjoyed it. It is a little short on plot but the special effects , fight scenes, car chases and explosions pretty much made up for it for us. After the movie, I was in the hallway waiting for Pat come out of the restroom when I noticed a young family standing nearby with a couple of boys that had just seen the movie too. The five year old was looking over at me and whispering to his mom. She was saying, "It's OK. Go ahead!" So he came up to me and timidly reached out his hand for me to shake. It was sweet and made my day.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Yay for Chipotle!

I received an email from a colleague today at school that Chipotle was serving free burritos, salads, etc to Arizona teachers for Teacher Appreciation Day! I told Pat and Carlie (and Ellena)and I met her there and Rachel was close behind. I was the only one who really had my required TUSD ID but Pat showed her state-required fingerprint card and we got our free stuff! It was delicious as usual and very nice of Chipotle. We thanked them.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Generous gift from Beatle-phile brother

On my day off this week (Thursday)a large box arrived at my house. Actually, guitar-sized! I opened it and it was indeed a beautiful new guitar . The guitar pictured in the link is actually an Epiphone model but it is identical to mine. It is a Tokai copy of the Gibson J160E that John Lennon used to play on stage.

The story is that when my brothers and I went to West Covina over Easter to help Dad move to his new place, Robert brought this and another acoustic so he and I could jam which we did! I called him when I opened the box to thank him and he said that he had seen the picture he took of me posing with the Tokai with a mile-wide grin and thought that I should have it! He said that he had too many guitars and I didn't have enough! So he sent it along with a hard-shell case. Well, I was speechless (for once in my life). That night I headed right over to my friend Jerry Figuiera's house (another Beatle fan) and showed him and we also jammed a bit. I love it and have already played many Beatle songs on it. Thanks, Rob!

It was thirty years ago today...

Today is Pat's and my 30th wedding anniversary. Here some things we have done together over those years: Bought three new cars and a half dozen used ones. Bought two houses, rented two and rented an apartment and the upstairs of a house. Received four college degrees. Traveled through twelve states and two countries (Mexico and Italy). Served in many church callings. Bought a used dryer, a new washer and dryer and a new water heater. Put on an entire new roof on our house. Hiked to Havasupai Falls in the Grand Canyon. Spent many summer weekends camping during family reunions. Seen James Taylor (3 times) Neil Diamond, Allison Krauss and Union Station, The Four Tops, The Temptations, Huey Lewis and the News, and The Jetts in concert. Laughed a lot, cried a little, fought even less. Buried three of our parents. Been to Disneyland a couple dozen times, Kartchner Caverns twice and Sea World, San Diego Wild Animal Park, Knott's Berry Farm, Old Tucson Studios, The Arizona Sonora Desert Museum (where we lost Wendy and found her again), the Grand Canyon and Colossal Cave once each. Owned two dogs. Made and served hundreds (maybe thousands) of snow cones. Hosted about 50 kids' birthday parties. Bought about 25 live Christmas trees. Been to about ten Arizona Diamondback games. Put in and maintained a large vegetable garden. Attended many school plays, musicals and singers' shows. Walked out of a show in Las Vegas. Been teachers for about 20 combined years. Attended the temple weddings of two of our daughters. And most importantly, welcomed into our family five beautiful, talented and precious children... and (so far) four sweet-beyond-description grandchildren.

In the future we plan to... Serve a full-time mission for the Church. Go on a cruise to the western Caribbean (February of 2009). Visit Hawaii and return to Europe some day. Attend the temple weddings of our other three children. Hopefully welcome yet more grandchildren into our family. Wear out our lives in the service of others!

It has been a fun run so far and we look forward to many more years ahead.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Very Pun-ny

Dad and I were attending the mandatory camp meeting after church last Sunday. The leaders were introducing the new theme for camp as B.L.I.S.S. (being linked in the strength of sisterhood). They were explaining the stake had first chosen BLING and had even written a rap to go with it but President Alston KO'd it as too worldly. He wanted them to chose something that had a scripture reference, so they chose 'bliss' instead. I saw President Nielsen after the meeting and said there was a scripture reference for 'bling'! It is "Bling your tithes and offerings to the storehouse..." He told me I had been hanging around Dad too long!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

To the Bat Cave..!

Last Friday night we had some overnight guests at the old Bertoglio hacienda. Pat's twin Pam and her husband Jeff came in from Pennsylvania. Also billeted with us were Pat's sister Sharon, brother Bob and his wife Karen and sister-in-law Jane who was accompanied by her 8 year old grandson, Dylan. Dylan's grandma had taken him to the toy store where he bought (with his own money) an Lego Star Wars spaceship which he and I began to work on right away. I'm not as good at these new-fangled Legos as with the old-school ones!

Pat whipped up some of her famous and delicious tortilla soup and we all ate. That night we got out the Wii video game and made our arms sore playing sports; bowling, tennis, and baseball. We also introduced Jeff to "Guitar Hero". We sat around and watched old 16mm home movies of Pat's folks' trip to Hawaii and second generation "hot rod" races.

In the morning after a hearty breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon, pancakes and waffles we all piled into cars and after the arrival of yet another sister, Diana and her husband Lou, and caravaned 45 miles and minutes east to tour the famous Kartchner Caverns. You may not know that Pat's family is related to the Kartchners, the original owners of the land where the caves are located. Lois Martineau Kartchner was Pat's dad's oldest sister. There are two caves to visit but one closes down for a few weeks every year as it turns into a "bat nursery" which cannot be disturbed. So we went through the other tour (the second time for Pat and me) and everyone seemed to really enjoy it. The ranger did require that all the contents of Dylan's jean pockets be carried by an adult (which turned out to be me). They keep a strict control of what could possibly be left in the cave. So I carried Lego R2D2 and Luke (and his light saber) along with a marble egg and stand and two sea shells. Pat says that the ranger (a lady) had to have been a former schoolteacher to know that if and 8-year-old boy had something in his hands, he had stuff in his pockets that could be potentially permanently installed among the wonders of the cave.

After the tour we watched the visitors center movie and got back into our cars. Jane and Sharon and Dylan drove on to Tombstone to tourist around and the rest of us headed back to Tucson. There, Bob and Karen and Diana and Lou headed back to Phoenix and points north leaving Pam and Jeff with us. We persuaded them to stay the night and took them to Midtown Molina's for some good Mexican food (what you have to do in Tucson with out-of-town guests.

When we got home we played Mexican train (a domino game... not really a must with out-of-town guests) with Scott when he came home from work, ate ice cream and generally stayed up too late and laughed a lot. It was very fun visiting with all the relatives. And Pam and Jeff talked us into going on a cruise with them next year! They have been a couple of times and have raved (like every other cruiser anybody has ever talked to) about the experience. We are going to the western Carribean. We are very excited and told Pam to pay the deposit when they got home before we changed our minds! Please come back for more visits, you family folks! It was such fun and too short!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

to my darlings

i just saw this on my news feed for the "funny quote of the day":

"Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city."

Love you all! :)


Friday, April 4, 2008

we love papa

yesterday trevor and i were working on our taxes in the office, and took turns distracting ellena from wanting to 'help'. i gave her dad's newest cd, '10 winters and 10 springs' to look at. she kept pointing to her papa and smiling, laughing and kissing the picture.

loves her papa so good!

Friday, March 28, 2008

The End of the Grovecenter Era

A couple of days ago escrow closed on the home my siblings and I grew up in on Grovecenter St. in West Covina, California. My parents bought it is May of 1955, the only house they ever bought. They paid $14,700 and struggled with that high initial monthly mortgage payment of $85. It sold for $430,000.

Pat, Rachel and I drove over to California along with my brothers and their wives to help clear out the house for the sale. My sister Tricia had been down a couple of times prior and had gone through a lot of Mom and Dad's things. In fact, she told me as we planned our trip there that she was surprised that they had not accumulated more stuff over their 53 years there. But as it turned out, we filled at least 8 large plastic leaf bags with all manner of stuff not to mention many items for Goodwill or Salvation Army to pick up. Pat sat with Dad at his desk for a pretty long time and helped consolidate his enormous collection of paperwork (spread over his desk in the den, his desk in the back bedroom and the kitchen table). We shredded LOTS of documents and he got organized!

Dad had told us that a neighbor (who works for U-Haul) had promised to have a truck at his house for us to use to move Dad and his furniture to his new place, a retirement center in San Dimas called Atria. But Friday night came and went, no truck. So first thing Saturday morning I rented a 17 foot truck and we started loading. By now my brother Doug had arrived with his large son Nicholas and another large friend and they started in. We made two trips, the first with furniture and the second with boxes. Everybody pitched in and things went amazingly smooth. We had cleaned out the cupboards of dishes, small appliances, silverware, etc. Most of that was taken by my brother Robert and he was very happy to have it! There were other knickknacks we all sort of gleaned. Mom had some antique teacups and saucers and other such stuff and we picked them up for the granddaughters.

When we got to Dad's new place, "job one" was to set up his new apartment. We arranged furniture and lamps a couple of times, got his beds set up and made and stocked his closets and bathrooms. We wanted to make it seem "like home" as soon as possible.

Dad put us up in the Radisson (formerly Embassy) Suites and it was very comfortable. Robert brought two acoustic guitars and we stayed up late a couple of nights singing Beatles, Buddy Holly and Merle Haggard songs. It was SO fun. We also all went out to BJ's Brewery for a big family dinner which was also fun. My brother John stayed on a few days to arrange the cancellation of the utilities in Dad's name, transfer his phone number, and arrange for a dumpster to be delivered to the house. I think this weekend, Doug and Nicholas are going over to fill it with all the leftover junk and trash.

In all the hubbub, We all noticed that Dad seemed a little detached. Well, who can blame him? So many years in the same place and then to be shuffled, perhaps a little hastily to a two-room apartment. We didn't mean for it to be hasty. I just think we wanted to take advantage of everyone there and available to help. When we finally left him on the fifth floor Sunday, Pat started to get teary and said, "I hate to leave him alone!" But after all he is only 10 minutes from his old house, all his friends including Betty are close by and we know he will be checked on and will have three decent meals a day. Betty has since been there to visit him at least once.

So, the Grovecenter days are over but life is change, isn't it?. I know that Pat and I and our kids have great memories of visiting Grandma and Grandpa Bertoglio in that house (they have all told me that recently). We do and will continue to worry about Dad. My sister-in-law Janice, who is a nurse and has worked with older folks, thinks that he may be suffering with TEA or TIA (I didn't catch the acronym) which apparently are small strokes which may explain his rather passive demeanor through all this. Maybe or maybe not. But I believe we can help keep his spirits high by being in touch. I know he loves to send and receive letters and get phone calls. Please email or call me or Pat for his new address. His phone number is the same. Thanks, props and muchas smooches to all my sibs and their wives and sig others for their tireless work, love and concern for Dad. Y'all did a yeoman's job. And thank goodness for Doug and Pat both being such organized types ("type A"?). They really helped keep us and the move in line. Rachel also pitched in during this project even though she had hoped to meet a friend there in SoCal and head off to Magic Mountain. It didn't work out though. Still I think it was fun for her to see her uncles, aunts and cousins.

If this experience has done anything for me, it is to reinforce my belief that family is of the utmost importance in this life.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Books, books, and more books!

Mark you calendars... Mom is blogging!

I read 3 books on the road trip to California this weekend and no they weren't picture books! I finished The Gift by Richard Paul Evans just before Casa Grande. I had started it while still at home. I was bawling like a baby at the end! It also had a great quote that made me laugh out loud and I had to read it to Dave. Einstein said insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result! I'm sure he was thinking about the laws of physics and such and how they don't change. But in the book, it was about the relationship with the character's mother and no matter how much he tried, he was never going to change her! Reminded me of a certain person I work with!

I then started A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks and finished it in bed that night! It was good and I didn't figure it out until the very end. I should have seen it coming though... Always great love stories!

On the way home I read The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. I had read A Thousand Splendid Suns by the same author last summer. They were both very riveting and dark yet informative. Neither one of them had a 'happily ever after' ending. I suppose since they are both set in Afghanistan, that whole country still does not have a happily ever after ending yet. There is resolution but maybe it is just resignation to the circumstances that exist as the story ends. The writer is very clever with his humorous side stories.

The week before that I read 3 more books! It is my escape from the stress of work! Now I have 3 more books to return and check out some new ones! Any good suggestions??? I will pretty much read anything! Scott just gave me Cat's Cradle by Vonnegut. Isn't that a song by Harry Chapin???

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Mission Anniverssary

Yesterday, March 15 was my "mission anniversary", the day I left home in 1975 to fly to Salt Lake City to the then-mission home for the three day stay to begin my mission. It was a very stressful morning as my parents got up early to drive me to LAX to catch my flight. I said goodbye to my younger brother Doug who was still in bed. Mom later told me that he cried as he lay there for some time that morning. My parents were upset and confused at my leaving for two years. It happened that a general authority, a member of the Quorum of the Seventy, Elder Rex D. Pinegar was in the airport with his wife about to board the same flight. They spoke briefly with my parents and tried to comfort them somewhat. Especially Sister Pinegar tried to relate to Mom as a mother herself since she had a son going into the mission field (to Hungary, I think) at the same time. They were very sweet to my folks and corresponded by letter with them a few times while I was out.

I thought about all this on my "anniversary" because this week all my siblings are converging on the now-sold family home to help move Dad into an assisted living facility in nearby San Dimas. It is a major transition for him and on a lesser scale for me as this was our family home. Mom has been gone now for three years and my joining the church was always hard for her to accept which I always wished wasn't the case. But I also had lots of support in my ward there on the corner of Badillo and Lark Ellen. The ward members there encouraged me and when it came time to go, donated a substantial amount of money toward my support in the mission field. The Elder's quorum there also supported me the entire two years with monthly donations.

I am so grateful to all those who helped me during this stage. The recently-deceased president of our church, Gordon B. Hinckley often said that everything good that came to him in life came because of his choosing to serve a mission. Well, I won't say that everything good in my life came from that experience. I had hard-working, devoted parents who taught me work ethic, honesty, manners and etiquette (thanks, Mom!) and many other great qualities. My membership in the church and my subsequent mission experience taught me the truths of the gospel, people skills, patience, the Spanish language which has provided me with lots of opportunities, both job-related and otherwise and many other valuable things. It led me to attend Brigham Young University where I found the love of my life and the future mother of my beautiful children. It brought me direction and purpose.

So it will be great to visit with my sibs and Dad and reminisce a bit this week. Toward the end of her life and even just before her passing Mom always encouraged us, her children to get together more. She hoped we would draw together as family.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Fun and noise with the girls and boys in Illinois

Pat, Scott, Rachel and I all took a half-day on Wednesday, February 20, left the car in the Park-n-Save and flew to the Indianapolis airport by way of Dallas/Fort Worth. We arrived at 11:00 PM local time and asked the Enterprise clerk if our rented Chevy Cobalt would be big enough for four of us with baggage. No. Could he find us a bigger car for maybe the same price? Yes. A Kia mini-van. It turned out to be the perfect size. He said the shuttle would be waiting outside to take us to the lot. So we wheeled our bags outside to wait and it was FREEZING! It seemed that every other company's shuttle passed us twice before ours arrived.

After two hours on the freeway we arrived at the Stone house about 1AM to hugs and kisses from Tina and Jon (she had not seen Scott since he returned from his mission). They even woke up Seth to take him potty and he gave us sleepy hugs. Finally we got our sleeping arrangements made and went to sleep after a long day!

The next two days it snowed constantly (more than T & J remembered it snowing that whole winter thus far) day and night so we stayed pretty close to home. We had ordered Seth's birthday presents online and had them delivered to Champaign. They were Star Wars Transformers! Darth Vader/Death Star and the Millennium (Seth pronounced it "Milliken") Falcon/Han Solo and Chewie. Scott, Jon and I could not wait for Saturday so we prevailed on the moms to have his birthday on Friday. Grandma made Mickey Mouse pancakes, went to Chipotle for dinner, had cake and ice cream and finally opened presents! Seth loved them! We determined that not counting the time he was asleep (when the adult boys played) Seth always had a transformer in his hands. And so Maryn would not feel left out, Grandma made her a Care Bear rag quilt and two matching throw pillows. She loved them and carried them around too. Jonas got new jammies but did not seem overly excited about them.

On Saturday morning we took the boogie board-style sled to the local park and and went sliding on the one hill in town! It was the dirt mound left over when the city dug the community swimming pool. Go to Tina's blog for the video. Back at the house we built a snowman (also on the video). Nights found us staying up way too late playing Settlers of Catan and Mexican Train. Jonas took more and more steps and was very cute. One night Jon made us a delicious chicken pasta dish and also sushi. Tina made some wonderful chicken chili on Sunday (just right for cold days!).

With hugs and tears we left for the airport after lunch arriving in Tucson at about 1:30AM which made for a pretty droopy work and school day Monday. But it was a wonderful time. We so love all our wonderful children and grandchildren and miss those who are far away (looking at you too, Wendy!) We are grateful and pray for them every day!

One more thing... We can't visit Tina and Jon without reporting a "Seth-ism" or two, or in this case, a "Maryn-ism" The kids were dressed and ready to leave for church and when Maryn saw Seth, she said, "Seth, you look pretty!" Seth replied, "No, Maryn. I'm a boy!" "Well," says Maryn, "You are 'boy-pretty'".

Friday, February 15, 2008

Snow joke!

After several days of beautiful low 70's weather here in Tucson, a winter storm moved in today and we got some snow even in the lower elevations! It didn't stick but it was fun to watch. Pat and I along with Scott and Rachel will be winging our way to Illinois next Wednesday to spend our "Rodeo" vacation long weekend visiting Tina, Jon and the kids. The weather there according to the reports has been COLD! Well, we will stay warm it by holding the grandkids close the whole time! We are so excited to see them!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Sour Cream Sugar Cookies

Who knows who I got this recipe from but it is great! Request from Tina, Wendy already called for it. What better place to share it!
Sour Cream Sugar Cookies
1/2 c. shortening
1 c. sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 2/3 c. flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 c. sour cream
It isn't necessary to chill. Roll out on floured surface. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes.


Sunday, February 10, 2008

subbing in Primary

Everyone tells me I need to post something. I say "like what happened to me in Primary today???" I have been subbing in Sunbeams the last 3 weeks because the old teacher was called to Young Womens. These 4 children were with me in nursery all last year. I was holding a little girl on my lap (she shall remain anonymous)and noticed she was digging for gold. She struck it rich! I caught her hand just as she was trying to flick it off. I fished in my bag for a tissue and remedied the situation. At least I though I did, she found another one on the other side! At least she didn't try to eat it!

thanks for the fire truck!

and jammies (not pictured)

Thursday, February 7, 2008

happy birthday ellena!

Ellena turned 1 today! We had blueberry pancakes for breakfast, and had a cake smashing. Don't let this picture fool you-- it took her a while, and some help from daddy, to really get into this cake. She just kept sticking in her fingers and licking the frosting. Check our Thompson Family blog for more pictures.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Happy Homecoming!

On Thursday, January 10th, Pat, Rachel, Wendy and I took a half-day off school (not Wendy; she took a half-day off from sleeping in... she was on vacation!) to go to Tucson International Airport and pick up our son Scott. He returned from Oklahoma after serving an honorable two year mission there for our church. We stopped on the way at a store to get balloons, markers and poster board for the big welcome. Carlie and Trevor (and baby Ellena) had gone ahead in their car. As we were pulling into the airport parking lot, Carlie called to say that Scott was already at the baggage carousel with Trevor. His flight had arrived early! We hurried in and there he was. There were kisses and hugs all around. As with all missionary families, we had spoken to him by phone only twice a year, received weekly emails and seen snapshots for the duration of his service (two years) but had had no face-to-face visits.
One of Scott's companions from the mission field, Robert Caranza, who is from nearby Marana, Arizona and had returned some time before was also there with another friend. Scott had already told us that the first thing he wanted to do was to have lunch at In-and-Out Burger so away we went.
That evening at 6, Scott had an appointment with the Stake Presidency to be officially released (meaning that his tenure as a missionary with all the attendant rules and responsibilities had officially ended). He received some counsel and a blessing from President Ric Nielsen. He went home to change into some "civilian" clothes and we all went out to dinner at Midtown Molina's, an old and popular Mexican restaurant.
Now, he is home and settled in to his new room. Wendy took off for the Sundance Film Festival and then home to Seattle and it was fun having her visit. I think it was also fun for Scott to have her here during the day to do stuff with. He is closing in on a job and plans to take some Pima Community College on-line courses. He reported his mission in our ward's sacrament meeting on January 20th. He gave a fine talk and we were so happy that several of our dearest friends and family members were able to be here. We are proud of him and are so pleased to have him among us again.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Wendy's Last Night in Town

Daughter #3 Wendy, resident of Seattle has been home with us in Tucson since January 6th. She came for the occasion of our son Scott's return from his mission. She has kept us entertained and Scott occupied these last weeks. So tomorrow she heads back to Seattle by way of the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. She and Scott have been renting a couple of movies per night (Scott needs to catch up after his two year movie dearth) and tonight she asked him to go to the video store and get two more. Scott said no, partly because the store was to close in 10 minutes and also because he had TIVO'd Mel Gibson's "When We Were Soldiers" and they could watch that. Wendy protested and asked, "Is that a Viet Nam movie? I don't like those movies; everybody is so...sweaty."

Friday, January 4, 2008

Marray Kreemmay!

We had a great family Christmas, although small in number. It was nice to have present opening at about 10-ish, so we could all look our best... maybe. Here is Grandma opening 1 of 2 presents that she didn't hand pick herself (the rest she already knew!). Dad calls me his "shopping service"... Mom tells me what she wants, I go buy it and wrap it, and Dad gives me the money. I think it's a great system. I am quite skilled at spending other people's money.
Here is Papa opening just what he wanted.... Graham Crackers. To his surprise, the cookies had been removed and replaced with Hairspray. The movie, not the beauty essential.
Rach is uber excited about her hoodie that she had to wait forever for. Seriously, 3 weeks is an eternity in teen-years.
Ellena loved her books. I sometimes have to hide a few so she doesn't ask for the same book all day long.
Yay for water toys!

We loved being able to talk to Elder Scotty too, and can't wait for him to get home!