Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A different kind of Christmas - 2011

The theme for our Christmas card and also this year's family Christmas ornament is:

It's interesting that I purchased the Christmas 2011 ornaments (see above) just after Christmas 2010 when Carynn and I were in St. George. (We found them at one of our favorite St. George places-Taipan Trading.) I put them away and I guess had "kind of" forgotten about them, but they and what they represent must have been at the back of my mind as that's what I ending up choosing as the theme for our Christmas card for this year. I like this on so many levels. Believing that Christ is our Savior; Believing that our Family can be together forever; Believing that we can, we will, we must all go on after Lynette's death; Believing.

As hard as it may be at times LIFE does go on.

Here's what we did for Christmas this year:

I made these denim and flannel rag quilts for everyone for Christmas this year. I used denim from all of our old jeans that I had saved over the years. As I wrote in the letters I gave with the quilts-"This quilt has been YEARS in the making." It was nice to get them done!

From left to right in front of me:
Blue & red striped denim: Michael and I
Green and brown pirate Ships and striped flannel prints: Lynette
(I mailed Lynette's quilt to her fiance' Chris)
Red cherries on white w/turquoise and turquoise & red flannel: Carynn, Jamie & Ty
Brown United States frontier map flannel and striped flannel prints: Bret, Laura & Ethan
Random colors and all kinds of flannel prints: Melinda and Landan

A different kind of Christmas Part 1

We celebrated Christmas in Liberty Lake on Saturday, December 10 with Carynn, Jamie, Ty and Melinda as Michael and I were supposed to leave for warmer climes the following week. Landan is still in the Middle East we miss him! Here are some pictures from our pre-Christmas Christmas-
Our children have always enjoyed arranging the little Nativity set that we always place on the kitchen counter every year. Ty carries on that arranging and rearranging tradition.

The Hudson Family - Christmas 2011

Melinda and Michael striking a pose

All warm and snuggly in their quilts

A different kind of Christmas Part 2

Michael ended up having some dental and other issues so we changed our plans and didn't leave for those warmer climes I talked about until Christmas Day. Yes, it was unusual to be traveling ON Christmas. But since it was not going to be like any Christmas we'd ever experienced anyway, we traveled on it. We were blessed with moderate (for the time of year) weather and great roads. We called the children wherever they were (Washington, Utah, Nevada) and wished them a Merry Christmas. We spent the night at a Motel 6 in the Pocatello area.

A different kind of Christmas Part 3

We arrived at Bret, Laura and Ethan's place around 1 PM on December 26. Now begins Christmas Part 3.

Ethan has grown so much in the 3 1/2 months since we'd seen him last. We really like how Bret and Laura have stamped their own personalities and showcased their talents in their home. We miss them when we can't be with them and are so glad that we could see them, if not on Christmas, soon after. We shared gifts and good food and were happy to be together.

In the photo below Ethan plays with a reindeer plush animal that one of my friends sent him.

That night the Miller trio (B, L & E) took the Miller duo (M & S) to see the lights on Temple Square. It had been years since Michael and I had viewed them; the last time I believe was when we lived in Utah-which would have been Christmas 1995. It was wonderful to be there. There were hundreds of other people there too, but it just added to the atmosphere. It's interesting that I found it reverent and joyous.

We also ran into Sister Eden Lake, a daughter of one of my friend's, who is serving a mission on Temple Square. That was fun too!

Yes, it was a different kind of Christmas, but the important part of Christmas is the message of hope, peace and love that it brings or can bring to each of us if we will let it. It's a message we should remember every day.

As I said earlier- BELIEVE!


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Lynette Lorane Miller

30 years ago today our daughter Lynette Lorane Miller was born in Yakima, Washington.
This is one of my favorite pictures of Lynette. I love her smile and how her eyes shine.
9 weeks ago today Lynette passed away. It has been the hardest thing I have ever experienced. I know what it is like to have a child die. Lynette's oldest sister Lindsay died as a 2 week old infant. I understand the grieving process, but it is so much harder the more time you have with them. 30 plus years of memories (after all I was pregnant with her for 9 months).

What has sustained me has been my faith, my family and my friends. Lynette's friends have played a role in the initial healing and grieving process too. Carynn and I organized the Lynette Miller Memorial LAFF (Laughter, Art, Films, Food) Festival to run from November 17 through the 20th. It has been a blessing to me to see how family and friends have celebrated her and supported us.

November 17 was and is a good day. I have felt peace, I have felt joy amidst the sadness and I have felt comfort in the knowledge that Lynette is okay where she is and that I can be okay here too.

I love you my sunshine girl.

aka NS

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Time for Preschoola

Yes, you read the heading right....It's time for Preschoola. That's what Ty calls preschool. The picture above was taken when we went to an Open House prior to Ty's first day of preschool. Papa and I couldn't resist the opportunity to see where Ty would spend his time. Note that he's wearing his backpack. Such a big boy!

While Papa was taking pictures of Ty, Ty thought he would take a picture of Papa too!

Ty is really enjoying all the learning opportunities that are a part of preschoola. So far he's painted, baked, played, counted, and played some more.

I say, "Yay to Preschoola!"


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Ethan is a year old!

Courtesy of his parents here are Ethan's 12 month stats-

Height: 30.75 inches
Weight: 21.13 pounds
One tooth
Still 100% Adorable

Pictured above with his beautiful mom at his 1st birthday party

You are loved so very much Ethan!


Saturday, September 3, 2011

Birthday time again

August is birthday month for 4 (that's right 4) family members.
My birthday is August 11:
It was handy blowing out only two candles. Yes, that's right, I'm 56 years old!

Carynn's birthday is August 21. This is how she looked the day she was born:
Here she is now with her sweet boy. It's hard to believe my little one is 32!

Ethan's birthday is August 26.
I remember waiting for him to arrive
safely last year. Here he is at his 1st birthday party.
He doesn't look too sure about the cake.

I think he likes his presents for sure. Happy Birthday Ethan!

My baby sister Karra's birthday is also in August. She was born on a hot summer day in Arizona on August 27. My brother and I traveled to Yakima/Selah to visit my mom and my sisters and their families. Karra and her family have just recently moved to Yakima so we were able to see their new place. Since we don't often have the time to be together we celebrated ALL of our birthdays. It was great to have we 4 sibs together. My mom's countenance always beams when she has her 4 around her.

Happy Birthday to ALL!

Love you forever,

NS (aka August birthday girl)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Nana goes to Camp

I was very grateful that I had the opportunity to serve at our Stake YW Camp this year. I didn't get asked to help until June and camp was July 25-29, so it made for a very busy month and a half. It was wonderful to serve with the women I served with and to work with some very dedicated young women.

I don't have any pictures yet, but let's just say my good time was documented.

Here's to camp!


Friday, July 22, 2011

Time with B, L & Little E

We were so thankful that Bret, Laura and Ethan were able to visit this summer. It was wonderful to have some time with them.
There was hammock time

and cousin time.

There was definitely bath time!

My personal favorite-Nana time.

And of course there had to be some Papa time too!

There's a hymn called "Improve the Shining Moments" in our church hymnbook. The second verse is a great reminder. It goes: Time flies on wings of lightning; We cannot call it back. It comes, then passes forward along its onward track. And if we are not mindful, the chance will fade away, for life is quick in passing. 'Tis as a single day.

I'm very grateful that our Utah trio made time to have time with us during summer time. They are loved so much.

Remember to be mindful and take time.


Monday, July 4, 2011

Of mail and lakes and walks and time spent with Ty

Michael and I had Ty while Carynn and Jamie were "Ma and Pa" for a youth conference trek. We had him from Sunday night to Friday afternoon. We had a wonderful time; and though he missed his mom and dad alot I think he had a wonderful time too. Here's some of the things we did.

1. We started a tradition! When his parents were away in March every morning Ty would look outside his room and there would be mail for him from his mom and dad. Well, every morning while they were away on the trek Ty would look outside his door and there would be mail in his basket. The mail consisted of a note with a goodie or toy from his mom and dad. So now that we've done it twice, it's officially a tradition. Ty LOVES mail. (Nana loves mail too!) The bubble gun was one of his "mail" items.

2. We went up to the cabin on Monday and had a wonderful time. Ty helped Papa fish. We also played with cars and had snacks, watched movies and played on the beach. Ty was wearing his rain boots when we first went down to the beach. He was able to walk in the water a little ways because he was wearing them. Oops, he walked out a little too deep for the boots and then the boots were wet inside AND outside. Boots and little boys can be dried off so they were. It was still a bit too cold to swim in the lake, but it sure was fun being there.

3. Ty loves helping Papa in the yard. We had a major plumbing disaster (major to us anyway), and we had excavating equipment in our side yard to help find the problem (broken sewer line from the house to the septic tank). After the plumbers, equipment operators, etc. got done with their part there was still lots of clean-up. Ty likes to use the small shovel, rake and what he calls a "cracker" (forked tool for weeding) to help. He used the "cracker" to "crack up" dried mud and as another digging tool. I was his assistant. Ty always likes to help, but he also says, "I need to take a little break." Papa needs to take little breaks too sometimes.

4. Ty and I sometimes take walks on the paths around our home. We've been doing this for a while now. We like discovering flowers and pine cones and rocks and other interesting things like that.

5. Ty has such a great imagination! We practice using his imagination when we play. He and I had a fun time doing that with toys and books during his time with us.

6. He's such a sweetie! Carynn and Jamie have his night time rituals down to a science. They are such faithful parents. He always has prayer and a story (or stories) each night. Sometimes he gets a little drink (a very little one) so as not to have "issues" in the middle of the night.

The following picture is my current favorite of Ty.

And a wonderful time was had by all! (Yes, I used "wonderful" alot in this post.)


PS. Carynn and Jamie had a wonderful time too.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

More Ty-isms

I should have titled this more Ty-ias. Because that's Ty's favorite suffix right now. I've heard these come out of his mouth.Try them on for size.

Obvious: Momia, Daddia, Papaia, Nanaia. Melinda is still Mina (sounds like meena)

Others: Bearia, giraffia, tigeria (these are all animals that live on his bed). Every now and then he'll come up with a new one.

Byia for nowia,


Ethan is 9 months old!

August 26, 2010
Welcome to the World, Ethan Thomas!

May 26, 2011
You're getting to be such a big boy!

Ethan had his 9 month check-up on June 1. His parents report that it was a "happier" check-up since it was a "no shots" check-up. Here are his stats:
Weight-19.81 pounds
Height-28.5 inches
100% Precious

We were able to Skype with Ethan recently (his daddy and mommy helped). It was fun to interact with him. I love technology!

Skype: The next best thing to being there.


Saturday, June 4, 2011

Fireman Ty

Children grow and change so quickly. Ty is wearing his fireman (firefighter if you want to be PC) raincoat and hat that his Aunt Lynette sent to him. So cute!

But then, he is so cute!


Sunday, May 8, 2011

Ethan Time

Top of the list of my favorite things we did on the way home was stopping by to see Bret, Laura and Ethan. Here are some great pictures of my favorite grandson born on August 26:

It was fun feeding him. I made the bib, by the way.

Ethan with two of his favorite "girls."

Happy Boy

So kissable

I LOVE making Ethan laugh.

I just wish I could see him more often. He is a delight!


Monday, May 2, 2011

Kitchen Craziness

Late last fall we determined to do a small kitchen remodel-(counter tops, new sink and stove top). We were fortunate in that a lot of the work was able to be done while we were away so we didn't have to deal with it. Special thanks to our home teacher and his wife for being our representatives and supervisors to the granite crew.

I picked out the granite when I came home to watch Ty in March. Things were well underway by the time we got home late on Easter Sunday.

Let the craziness begin:
Too much water, not enough water, too much water again
The water had been turned off through out the home which was a good thing because when we went to turn it on when we got back late Sunday night there was a major leak in one of the water supply tubes. So the water got turned back off because of course, Home Depot is not open late on Sunday night. I had some water in gallon jugs for emergency purposes. This qualified as an emergency, so we used it. Michael got a new shut off valve on Monday and took care of that little situation and then.....the MAIN water supply shut off started really acting up-really leaking all over the place so, off goes the water again and out comes the emergency water again. A call to the plumber and by Tuesday afternoon we had a new main shut off valve!

Too much water again
Two days later I thought I heard a mouse and sent Michael to check it out. He stepped on a soggy rug downstairs. Yep, turns out that the fitting for ANOTHER water supply tube had worked itself loose. He tightened it, we dried out the carpet, all is well with the world.

The moral of the story:
When dealing with 30 year old plumbing check and double check every water supply tube when you turn everything back on. Also, ALWAYS have some emergency water in gallon jugs on hand.

Yes a stove, No a stove, Finally a stove
I had found a really great deal on a new cooktop. I bought it in November of last year knowing that it wouldn't be installed until later. So later finally came on Wednesday, April 26. When the gentlemen from the Heating and Cooling company went to hook it up they found that threads were stripped from the fitting that hooks it up to the gas line (not a good thing) AND that it had pipe dope on it which means that the stove I bought as new was really not new.

I was still willing to live with it, but unfortunately, no matter how they tried they couldn't safely hook it up without gas leaking. So, out comes the stove and I head back to the store to see what I could do. Fast forward to three weeks (and some more $$$) later and we finally have a new stove. In between Michael got tired of me complaining about the gaping hole in the counter top so he "made" me a stove out of cardboard. He even put the right amount of burners on it and controls too. It made me smile.

Now my kitchen isn't 99.9% done! I'm just tweaking some little things.


Saturday, April 30, 2011

Over the river and through the woods

We took our time getting home this year from our sabbatical from Northwest winters. We stopped by Bret, Laura and Ethan's (more on that in the next post), and visited some spots that were known for great birdwatching. Which means they'd probably be great places for taking pictures of birds. Boy, were they ever!

Antelope Island

These are avocets. We first saw them at Antelope Island. After a while Michael started calling them "avatars." The name stuck and that's how I remember them.

This chukar looked like it was posing for us. We came across it as we were driving to the old ranch that's on Antelope Island.

Bountiful Lake

I call these ducks "Mohawk Dudes" because of their radical hair styles. We also saw our first pelicans at Bountiful Lake.

Bear River Bird Refuge

We hit the mother lode with the Bear River Bird Refuge! It's just about an hour out of Salt Lake City. Our heads were turning (just like the little guy below) trying not to miss anything during our visit there. We ended up doing two 12 mile loops through it one day and briefly stopping by on another!

I've posted some of my personal favorites from Bear River. It was really hard to choose; but here they are:
These male yellow-headed blackbirds picked just the right spot to gather, didn't they? Color coordinated signage and birds. Amazing!

Near the end of our first loop around the refuge we came across these sandhill cranes and witnessed part of their courtship ritual. Wow, talk about being in the right place at the right time!

There were loads of swallows too. This is a close up of nest building using mud.

Now for some "stranger than fiction shots" from the refuge.

We'd see these columns from a distance and were trying to figure out what they were. We'd drive up to them and they'd seem to disappear. It's a matter of perspective as these were insect swarms. Crazy! Thankfully they were non-biting flies or the trip through the refuge would have been really uncomfortable to say the least.

The picture below is the one I rate the most "bizarre." Can you guess what it is?

At first when I saw this I thought it was a snake. Turns out that it's a carp. The carp grow HUGE and when the wetlands start drying out they swim in just inches of water. They were introduced to the area (probably by some well-meaning person) years ago. While they weren't part of the "original" habitat they do serve their purpose. As the water dries they make good fishing for the pelicans and other larger birds.

We looked and found so many beautiful birds and interesting things to see while on our way home. I guess you could say my eyes have been opened. Now, I try to look and really see.

It's a wonderful, diverse world we live in!