Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Time for my absolutely favorite holiday! All about family and the things we are grateful for which for me is family #1 of course. No decorating, no presents to buy, no commercialization. I love it. It's all about family, gratitude and, of course, turkey -my favorite meal- can't wait!! I don't even mind cooking the turkey and trimmings....ymmmm! We are in the most beautiful setting for our holiday this year. We are staying at the Cliff Lodge in Snowbird and there is snow on the mountains and it is gorgeous! I drove out with Kelly, Jody, Ammon and Cohen last Friday. We spent the night in Elko and arrived on Saturday. It was so great to see Alex again! Chris, Kalie, Madison and Kyle got here Tuesday morning and Lee got here that night after shooting a big elk in Montana. Matt and Kasey and family surprised everyone and came at the last minute to visit his family and ours today. All we need is Lindsey, Alan and Izzy to be complete. We are so blessed to have so much family here with us to celebrate this special time. I just came in from watching Madison and Ammon sledding down a tiny hill. Hilarious! They are fearless and loving it. Kyle likes to "swim" in the snow and Cohen just likes to wander. Can't wait till Kaden, Alexa, and Sienna get up here. How grateful I am for the good things in my life: my wonderful family, precious granchildren, great husband, good friends and the Gospel that makes it all more meaningful. Hope each of you has a wonderful Thanksgiving as you celebrate with those you love most!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Kasey with Alexa and Kaden in Kaui 2005 Kelly, Chris and Kasey
Kasey at another Birthday (center) with Kelly and Lindsey

My beautiful Kasey was born 28 years ago on November 16, 1978. She was a beauty right from the start. I remember them handing her to me and thinking -" Wow! That is one beautiful little baby. And she's mine!! Sad to say, I wasn't keeping even a lame journal at the time she was born so I don't have any exact thoughts to share. I remember we were living above Lee's parents garage though when I went in labor in the early morning hours. I woke Lee up and we hurried to Eureka, about 20 minutes away. I was in full blown labor by the time they put me in the wheelchair, panting and blowing away. It must have been a full moon because the maternity ward was packed. They put me on a guerney in the hall behind some folding screens and I labored away for about another 45 minutes then off to delivery. Kasey was born in 3 hours from start to finish. Nice.
Kasey was an adorable child, very helpful with the younger children and very smart. At the age of 2 she decided her name was "Butch" and would answer that when asked what her name was. That stuck as a nickname till she got about 10 and hated it.
One thing I remember about Kasey is her hilarious statements to us! One night Lee said to her (she was 5), "I just have one thing to say to you Kasey-you're my girl and I love your!" Her response was, "That's two things." He then kissed her three times and as he left her room she said, "I'm wiping two of those off!" My mom read Kasey a story about being a good loser and then asked Kasey if she was a good loser. Kasey thought about it a minute and replied, "I'm a good winner!" Typical Kasey.
At the age of 11 she complained of headaches and was diagnosed with a brain tumor. It was a benign astrocytoma but we spent 2 scary weeks in Oakland's Children's hospital. Her courage during this time was exceptional and her complete acceptance of having her hair shaved amazed me. She even decided to not wear the wig we bought her and just went around beautifully bald. I have always been so grateful she survived the experience of brain surgery and definitely felt the effects of prayer and Priesthood blessings at that time.
Kasey has been such a wonderful daughter and friend. I just got back from Iowa and always enjoy our times together. She is a great mother, wife, sister, and daughter. I am so proud of who she has become and so grateful to have her as my daughter. Have a wonderful day honey. I love you very, very much!!!

P.S. Sorry the pictures aren't the best - I have better ones somewhere but we are living out of boxes right now!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Last week I was lucky enough to get away for a few days to Iowa and visit Kasey and family. Now Iowa's not the most exciting place in the world to visit but as I chased down Alexa and Kaden in their car (Alexa was driving and it was insane!) I couldn't help but think-it doesn't get any better than this-spending time with my grandchildren!!! They were so cute and hilarious. Sienna is just...perfect. She smiles ALL the time. If she catches your eye, she bursts into the cutest smile with the cutest left sided dimple. I adore her. Alexa is our ditzy diva-she is one absolutely hilarious 3 year old going on 13 year old . She would chatter away to me as if we were teenage friends or BFF's. She always wanted to be with me, have me buckle her in, nap with her, whatever. The things she would tell me were hilarious-at least what I understood, she talks so dramatically and so fast that I only get about 1/2 of it! Kaden turned 5 while I was there and he is a very intelligent and sweet boy. He tries to not act too excited that his grandma is there but I did hear him tell a friend at school when we went to lunch, "That's my grandma!" He also quietly let me know he wanted me to take a nap with him sometime too. It was so cute that he had noticed Alexa's monopolizing of me. He was the first grandchild and holds a special place in my heart. I am fortunate to take several vacations to many interesting and tropical places but nothing beats the absolute joy of being around little ones who call me Grandma or GranPam and just want to hang with me. Pure bliss.
P.S. It's an added bonus to spend time with Kasey and Matt. Kasey and I had a lot of fun and got a lot done in a short time. I taught her basic sewing, we had lunches out, shopped and revamped her bedroom coverings.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Alex is 19 today-hard to believe!! Hope you have a wonderful day-wish you were here so I could fix your special birthday dinner. Your first birthday away from home, so sad...

Here's what I wrote in my journal on 1/12/87: "Lee and I decided last night to have another baby. If all goes as it has in the past, I should be pregnant this time next month. It's taken a while to come to this decision. We are real comfortable with the four we have now and it's so easy to do things. I have been reading lots of church books and scriptures lately and have come to believe that we have no good reason to not have more children. I'm not too old, I'm healthy, we can afford more and can give a child a good, loving home and the Gospel. It finally seemed to very selfish and ungrateful to not have another child. Since I came to this conclusion I have felt so peaceful and excited about a new baby. " Alex was born 10 months later on 11/3/87 in Fortuna, California. She was my only epidural birth so it is truly a blissful memory. I started going into labor on Nov. 2nd in the evening and since we were 45 minutes away (I wanted a certain doctor so was willing to go the distance), I went in to be evaluated and the contractions stopped. They decided to keep me overnight and start me on Pitocin in the morning. I had an IV started in the about 1:00 with Pitocin, then the epidural and literally felt nothing until it was time to push her out at 3:15. I was playing cards and laughing on the video most of the time. A great experience-much different than my 4 previous childbirths. This is what I wrote about her that day: "She's a dinker-5 lbs. 13 1/2 ounces - so cute! We named her Alexandra Lee and will call her Ali or Alex- all I can say is, why did I wait so long to have another one? I love her to pieces!! Everyone is crazy over her and is always hanging around waiting for her to wake up so they can hold her!"

Alex has been a pure delight for Lee and I. She has always been confident, usually happy and very, very mellow. I used to say I could count on one hand the times she got upset with me. It's gone over to the second hand now. I'm not sure if she's not as mellow or I'm just more frustrating. When she was born the couple in the room next to us had a boy and I remember Lee asking if they wanted to trade. The funny thing is Lee has been so attached to Alex since she was born. She used to call him every day at work and want to know what they were going to do that day. He made her sack lunches every day and would draw pictures on the bags. Everything was centered on Alley Cat. The worst thing that happened in his life is that she grew up. I remember him playing Barbies with her, their riding bikes together after his work and her sitting almost on his lap in his truck. He about died when she turned 10 and all of that suddenly ended, on her part. She dropped him like a bad habit and he still hasn't gotten over it. The best part for me was that was when she became my girl. We have shopped together, gone to the lake together, gone to movies and lunches, amusement parks, Lion King, Wicked, Back Street Boys and 'N' Sync concerts and watched tons of reality tv together. It has been so fun and I miss her so much. She's always been my excuse to have a great time.
I am so proud of how strong in the gospel she's been and what a great example she's been to everyone around her. She is smart, beautiful and fun to be around. I love you so much, Alex. Have a wonderful birthday!