Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Survivor and Sweet 16

Our dog Claire is a survivor! She almost died the week of Melinda and Landan's wedding. She had "issues" during our drive south i January. Now, she has survived being boarded while we were back home for Michael's procedure.

While we were away we considered that as far as Claire was concerned, "No news was good news." We were in very late from our trip back and had not had our full complement of sleep. When the alarm went off this morning we groggily pulled ourselves out of bed. Me to go to water aerobics, Michael to help the groomer at the boarding kennel groom Claire before bringing her home.

Michael reported that she did fine while were were gone. It was fortunate for Claire and the groomer that we'd already arranged for Michael to help. After the fiasco in December when we tried to get her groomed, we knew that it probably couldn't be accomplished without another set of hands.

I heard the garage door go up and the Yukon drive in. Michael, with a few scratches and covered in hair, and Claire, now covered in very little hair, were home. Michael indicated that it had indeed been difficult for all concerned, but clothes can be washed and scratches heal. Claire's wardrobe has expanded. She's now sporting a plaid bandana and looks like she's lost 5 pounds (or more of fur/hair).

We've now had her for 15 years. When we adopted her on February 11, 1995 the vet said that she was a young adult, a year old. So that means she's now Sweet 16. Her health, for now, seems stable. She's mostly deaf and mostly blind, but she doesn't seem to be in any pain. She gets around fairly well too. Some of her other issues can be attributed to canine senility. I won't say she's a shadow of her former self, because there are occasional flashes where we see "Claire," but she's an elderly dog. I hope when it's her time to go that she can just go to sleep.

She's a good dog,


I Love Swimmings

During their visit in January Michael and/or I would accompany Carynn and Ty (and later Jamie) to our community pool. Carynn had packed Ty's lifejacket and swimmer diapers so we were all set for fun.

Ty loved the warm water of the pool. Sometimes he would count (he's quite good at counting) and jump from the side of the pool to his Mom or whoever was in the pool. Near the end of their stay he didn't wait to finish counting but just jumped in. He did fairly well with not running, though he often walked quickly once he climbed up out of the pool. He didn't mind the spa, but it was much hotter than the pool.

On one of their last visits to the pool, Jamie had just rinsed Ty off and had him wrapped up in the beachtowel. He was leaning back in his Daddy's arms when he called out, "I love swimmings! This is not a typographical error. He used the plural I think (only my opinion) to describe his multiple experiences with swimming. I still smile at the pure joy on his voice as he exclaimed about his experiences I couldn't help but give him a kiss and a hug.

Sweet memory,



Papa and Ty have a game. Papa (Michael) has played it with our children and most any other child that's game for his game. In this game Michael starts to say something or to do something and then suddenly stops, frozen or stuck. What the child or children have to do to get him un-stuck is to clap their hands together. Ty's been getting Papa un-stuck for a while now.

On the way to the airport for our return back to the land of sunshine, Papa started playing the stuck game. Ty would clap. Then (and I could almost see the idea forming in his head) Ty decided that he would get "stuck" himself. He'd start to talk and then stop with his mouth open. I tried to clap to get him un-stuck, but he didn't want me to un-stick him. It was Papa or nothing. Ty's Stuck Game went on for quite a while. He was quite taken with it and would laugh (I love his laugh) delightedly. Sometimes Papa AND Ty would be stuck at the same time. That's when I'd come to the rescue and un-stick one of them.

Be careful that you always have someone around to un-stick you!



Ty has discovered pockets. I was speaking with Carynn a week or so ago and she handed the phone to Ty. He told me something which I couldn't quite understand. Carynn translated for me and told me he was telling me about what was in his pockets.

I witnessed this firsthand when we flew back home and Carynn and Ty picked us up at the airport. I was sitting in front with Carynn. Michael was in the back seat near Ty. I asked Ty to see what was in his pockets. He carefully reached his hand into his left pants pocket and pulled it out tightly closed. I asked him if I could see what was in his hand. He opened it up and I saw two crinkled, partly dried plant leaves and a mangled sticker. I asked him if I could hold them. He put them into my outstretched hand. I examined the pretty leaves and looked at the sticker that was not as mangled as I had originally thought. On the sticker were two cartoon bees. I thanked Ty for letting me look at everything and then returned the leaves and sticker to him. He put them back in his pocket. I asked to see what was in his other pocket. He pulled out a Target receipt that his mom had given him, showed it to me and put it back in his pocket.

Fast forward a few days later to our home. Everyone is downstairs and Ty is playing in the toy cupboard. Remembering his fondness for Duplos/Legos I pull ours out from a shelf and Ty and I start playing with them. He began to put his favorites into his pockets. I laughed and allowed him to do that. We even went upstairs (where Papa was watching the Olympics) and showed him Ty's treasures (Legos). Back downstairs and more play time. When it was time to clean up I expected Ty to try to take the Legos home, but no, he pulled them from his jacket AND pants pockets and put them away.

Fast forward to a day later...Carynn, Ty and I are out on a lunching expedition. Ty is happy because not only does he have on pants with pockets but a jacket with pockets too. He's concerned because he can only get his hand into his left side jacket pocket. I help him find his right side jacket pocket and he beams happily. At the Mexican restaurant he tries unsuccessfully to fit the crayon bucket the restaurant provided for distraction purposes into his pocket, but it does not fit. He makes do by using the chip basket and placing his favorite things in it-a sort of basket pocket.

I think I'm going to have to add some pockets to his quiet book.


Sunday, February 14, 2010

PAINTAPALOOZA -the Saga Finally Ends

I determined to paint the laundry room after Carynn, Jamie and Ty left and while Michael was in Seattle to speak at the funeral of his former boss. The prep work took me longer than the painting! I did finally finish later Tuesday night.

I had also decided to make the corner sink/vanity a focal point instead of a sore thumb. It wasn't that it was ugly, but it did not match the original cabinetry and as I knew that there was really no way I could get it to look like the original cabinets I chose to paint it a glorious blue. I started this on Wednesday and it was a process, that's for sure. I ended up doing the final touches on Thursday and then as it was TOO glorious of a blue, I muted it a bit with some Olde English Scratch Cover. It dulled it just enough to give it a distressed look. I ditched the old handles and found some simpler ones at Home Depot (of course) for $1.69 each.

The piece de resistance was my Van Gogh. Yes, I now have a Van Gogh. I admit it was another DI find. It's actually a "composition" piece. The print itself was in an ugly gold frame. The frame that I wanted to put it in had an ugly print in it, but a great mat, so presto changeo-ugly print covered up and ugly frame donated back to DI. There was only one small problem... as I was putting it al back together, I didn't realize my own strength and broke the glass. It was also unfortunate that it wasn't a small break. Michael was very kind and while we were out, we stopped at a glass place. The nice man there priced me out a bargain on the glass, cut the broken glass into two pieces so I could salvage them as tops to protect my end tables AND even installed the glass in the frame for me. I'll definitely recommend them to anyone that needs glass or windows. Grand total for my print was going to be $6.00, with the glass replacement (including tax), it's closer to $24.00. Still not bad for a 24" x 30" piece of art.

The only room left to paint is the garage and I'm not touching it!



Carynn and I jumped back into Paintapalooza mode after I got back. The only rooms left to paint were the master bedroom and the laundry room. We made the trip to Home Depot (the Yukon can probably get there on auto pilot by now) and determined to paint the room green. We checked out the paint samples and I picked one out called "Turtle Dove" by Behr. We had the associate mix up 2 gallons in that shade. Unfortunately, when we went to pick it up it didn't look like Turtle Dove.

Another associate said he'd work with us to get the color we wanted or that he'd mix up something new for us. As the color just below Turtle Dove was Mountain Haze I said let's go for that one. He informed me that while they were very similar, Turtle Dove had yellow in it and Mountain Haze didn't. We told him to go ahead and mix up one gallon and we'd check it out.

It's true, the color was not quite Mountain Haze, but I liked it. I dubbed it Turtle Haze (since it's a combination) and had him mix up the other gallon to match it. We got home and began prepping and then painting. Carynn took a cute picture of Ty holding both the paint roller and the small paint roller. He was ready to be a two fisted painter! We started painting after he was in bed. I LOVE the color! It's a soft green that goes well with all the greens that are in the room and also makes the white trim POP!

We determined when we finished painting the bedroom that we wouldn't paint anymore. I told Carynn that I would finish the laundry room myself.

On one of our trips out, Carynn spotted some curtain panels on sale at Target. I bought two of them and made two valances for the master bedrrom. They look SO much better than the old rose ones (which have now been donated to Deseret Industries) and finish off the room nicely. I put together one of my bargain lamps from Home Depot, added an easel (found at Tai Pan Trading) to my antique mirror, moved the ficus in from the livingroom into our bedroom. The finishing touches were filling a $2.00 basket from Deseret Industries (DI) with $4.00 greenery (also from DI),using two of the small pillows from the couch with the basket of greenery to mask the cords from the TV under the sofa table and adding one of the runners from Melinda and Landan's wedding as an accent on top of the sofa table.

A later trip to DI I found a two shelf wicker unit (peach, but now spray painted white) that I could use in the vanity area in the master. It works really well as a medicine cabinet and will stay as a medicine cabinet until we decide to invest in a "real" one.

Almost done!


Wedding Time for William Part 2

One of the things with any wedding is the logistics...getting everyone where they need to be and on tie. Add the fact that you're doing it not from your home but from a hotel makes it a bit more complicated.

Grady left early to get William and his best man to the temple. Grady asked that I help get the troops on the road so I worked toward that end. With everything there is a human element so we had some human elements, but we got to the temple in good time. It really was one of those cases of hurry up and wait. Which we did.

It was nice to have had the dinner the night before so those of us that hadn't met Heather's family could get to meet them. It made it much nicer that morning as we were waiting...we knew who each other were.

Marla is one of the bravest women I know. She has had significant health issues for years and isn't really ambulatory unless she's supported by a walker. Since it was going to be a long day (and a long night) she was in a wheelchair. We were grateful for blue skies. And though it was cold (30's) it wasn't bitterly cold as it had been a few days before the wedding. Grady was very solicitous of her comfort and tried to keep her as warm as possible. She was so happy to be able to be at her son's wedding.

The officiator (sealer) for William and Heather did a wonderful job. He was funny and sincere. His counsel was for them and for us. He admonished William and Heather to squeeze (hug)each other often, to hold hands and to cuddle. I should have written sooner as I can't remember everything that he said anymore, but I know it made me think that I should be better at letting my husband know just how important he is to me.

After we all congratulated the bridal couple it was time for pictures. As Heather's family needed to get back to the church to finish getting ready for the reception, they did their group pictures first. Then it was our family's turn. Then it was time for the the bridal party, and then finally the bride and groom.

We left as soon as we could and had a late lunch at Applebee's. (Thanks Bro for paying for mine). Then we had time for a quick rest before we left for the reception. We wanted to get there early to help and so Phillip, James and I did. Grady, Marla, MJ and baby Weston got there right when the reception started which worked out well.

Highlights of the Wedding Reception for me included:
My nephew James teaching me a new dance step
Dancing with baby Weston (He's very light on his feet)
Dancing with my brother
A poignant few moments where Marla got out of her wheelchair and was able to dance with her son, the groom. You knew that she was hurting-her feet are twisted and she's always in pain-but she was able to dance with her son on his special day. I cried then (I was dancing with baby Weston so it was easier to mask my tears) and I'm tearing up now remembering it.
A very funny moment when William was welcomed into the family by being tricked into thinking he was touching Heather's leg to take off the garter (they had said it's a family tradition to have the groom close his eyes while he takes off the garter) and then watching William recoil with shock when Heather's uncle switched places with her and William touched his leg. I haven't laughed so hard in a long time.
Getting to meet some of Marla's family that I had heard of over the years but had never met

At the end of the reception we all went out to see them off. Since William is legally blind, Heather drove them off into the sunset. Grady took Marla, Marjory and the baby back to the hotel right after this. Phillip, James and I stayed a bit to help with the clean-up.

Sunday morning Marla's brother took me to the airport since he and his son were leaving that morning too. I had an uneventful trip home and was very pleased to see that Paintapalooza Part 2 (the guest bedroom/office) was NOT vibrant after all, but a lovely soft yellow color. I was exhausted but happy that I could be there to represent our family.


Wedding Time for William and Paintapalooza Part 2

That first week of January was very busy indeed. Between Paintapalooza, shopping trips, sightseeing trips, whew...Then it was time for me to head to Denver for my nephew William's wedding. I'd been teasing my brother and family by saying, Denver in January?!? William's wife-to-be Heather desired a winter wedding so that's what they had. But I still would say to all that would listen: "Yeah I know you want a winter wedding; but Denver in January?"

Smooth sailing (flying) on my plane ride and I met up with my nephew James (he'd flown over from Salt Lake City) at Baggage Claim and then my brother and nephew Phillip as we played the divide and conquer strategy-Phillip drove one car, James another and then Grady and I rented a car (later to be used by William and Heather for their honeymoon trip).

We checked into the hotel, headed to the church and we hit the floor running. I had offered to do the groom's pre-wedding dinner as Grady's wife has significant health issues (more on that later). Heather's family and extended family were there decorating half of the cultural hall. Grady and I started setting up the half we'd be using for the dinner. I had brought with me the table runners I'd made for Melinda and Landan's wedding to use for table decorations. Grady and Marla rented other items we needed for decoration (tablecloths) and dinner (roasters).

I had hoped to go to Costco with Grady since he doesn't have a Costco card to get the last minute items that he couldn't get from the Base BX; but it took us longer to get the rental car and check in at the hotel so I sent him alone and he's now a Costco member. I used the time getting the chicken ready to go and setting the table. As soon as James got there he helped and Heather and William did too.

to be continued...

Paintapalooza Part 2
After I arrived safely in Denver, I called Michael and let him know. He let me know that he and Carynn had gone to Home Depot to get the paint for the guest bedroom/office area. He also made sure to tell me that they had picked a VIBRANT color. According to Michael he helped with the painting. According to Carynn-Michael did the prep work and Carynn did the painting. I was a bit anxious to see the color.

Back to the wedding
I had determined to do the same menu that my friend Joann and I had devised for the Abrams groom's dinner. This is Parmesan Chicken, baby carrots, mixed salad with dressing, Costco rolls and Costco cheesecake. For drinks we did Countrytime Lemonade with Lemon Lime. We had planned for 50-60 people. Unfortunately the kids were WAY off on their count and we had 30 people. We therefore had no issues with enough food, that's for sure.

I'd like to say that we pulled it off without any hitches, but there were a few. Not to go into a lot of detail...Let's just say that the Alpha Female from the bride's family and the Alpha Female (Me) from the Groom's family decided that it might be better if we didn't share the same space at the same time. We played "nice" (well most of the time), but I doubt that I'll be on her Christmas card list....

My brother's children were champs! They pitched in and did all that was asked of them and more that evening. I can't say enough about how helpful they were and how good it was to spend some time with them. Heather's uncles were helpful with clean-up (They were also baking the wedding cake at the same time) so that helped us get out of there at a decent time. We were back at the hotel by 10:00 PM.

I was very pleased to see that I had brought bubble bath with me and I took advantage of the tub for a good soak. I finished a book, said my prayers and set my alarm for 7:00 AM.

More later-


Monday, February 1, 2010

Leaving on a Jet Plane -Michael

I'm a bit out of chronological order, but I'm still running with the jet plane theme so thought I'd complete the thread, to use computer speak.

Michael had his turn to leave on a jet plane too. His former boss had passed away and he had been asked to do the eulogy for the funeral in the Seattle area. So..the day after C, J & T left, it was Michael's turn to leave on a jet plane. First, he had to leave on the shuttle. It was his "maiden voyage" on the shuttle, but he did quite well, both ways. Which may not sound like a big deal, and isn't when you're going TO the airport; it's finding the right place to catch the shuttle on the way back that can be a bit tricky.Having done the shuttle thing myself at least 3 times, I was able to walk him through it using telephone technology. You know, how did we get things done before cell phones?

I'd like to say that he had a good time, and I guess in a way he did. He did enjoy reconnecting with some folks that he hadn't seen in a while. His former boss was/is a good man and Michael was pleased to be able to help the family by sharing some of his thoughts.

As a bonus he was also able to visit Lynette while he was there. It was a short trip and I was glad that he got home before all the storms started to hit.

No more jet planes for at least three weeks!


Leaving on a Jet Plane -Carynn, Jamie & Ty

I haven't written a lot about Ty's adventures while visiting us. I promise I will. But since I was writing about planes, etc. I thought I'd share about Ty's first airplane ride.

Carynn and Ty drove down with us January 3 & 4. Jamie flew down January 15. They all flew back home on January 18. The morning that they were leaving they determined to leave early so they could do some exploring in Las Vegas. They left before 11 AM. They encountered no problems on their way down to Vegas and parked the car so that they could check out the some sights.

They visited the aquarium at Mandalay Bay, watched the fountains at the Bellagio and did a lot of walking. Ty did a lot of riding in his umbrella stroller.

They checked in their rental car and rode the shuttle to the airport. Because they had Ty with them they were able to get in the family line to go through security. After that they got to ride the tram to their gate. I heard from Carynn that Ty enjoyed all of his transportation adventures. They kept him occupied in the gate area and took him exploring too.

They had chosen an evening flight hoping that would work better for Ty's schedule. Unfortunately their flight was delayed an hour. Carynn mentioned that as they were boarding the plane they got a few looks. You know the kind of look that says, "Oh no, not a 2 year old on the flight!" Carynn also mentioned that there were nice people who said things like, "Hey, I have kids too.etc..."

Well, our little guy was very tired after his exciting day so he SLEPT THE ENTIRE FLIGHT. What a great experience for all of them to have with his first time flying!

It was a Bon Voyage all right!


Leaving on a Jet Plane -Shanna

So in between rounds of Paintapalooza, shopping, cleaning, cooking, having fun with Ty, it was no time at all before I boarded the 6 AM shuttle to head to the airport. Now, you may remember that I had gotten to bed at 2:30 AM the morning I was leaving. After 2 hours of sleep it was time to get up, get dressed, and get out the door.

I had said goodbye to Carynn when she went to bed (at 1:30 AM) and I had said good night to Ty when he went to bed, so we (Michael and I) didn't disturb the sleeping cuties when we left at 5:15 AM. Oh, I said goodbye to Michael in the car. :)

I had thought to sleep on the way to the airport (it's nearly a two hour drive), so I strategically placed myself in the very back of the van thinking I might have it to myself. Well, just as we were getting ready to pull out the driver said that we had a person that was on her way and should be there in a few minutes. She ended up being my seat mate. So, I didn't sleep but enjoyed a fascinating conversation about all kinds of things....Turns out my seatmate had done the flowers for Celine Dion's show while she was in Las Vegas. So though I had no sleep, it was no problem.

Speaking of no problem, I was able to get my baggage and myself checked in without a problem. There were no problems on the flight either. The flight wasn't terribly crowded so there was even an empty seat between me and the guy on my row. I read most all of the time (I don't usually sleep on short flights) and ate the lunch that I had packed.

My nephew met me at baggage claim at the Denver airport. My bags made it, which I was especially pleased as I had some of the table runners from Melinda and Landan's wedding reception in the fishing rod tube that I was returning to my brother. (The rest of them were in my big bag. I brought them to use on the tables at the groom's rehearsal dinner.) We met his dad (my brother) and one of my other nephews and then it was the whirlwind of getting ready for my other nephew's rehearsal dinner, which I had offered to cook. More on that on another post.

No turbulence here!