Today is the one-year anniversary of my father’s death. The year has blown by. In that time we’ve celebrated a number of benchmark occasions in our household. We’ve done a major remodeling project with months full of a messy, dirty house. We’ve celebrated the birth of our first grandchild – a beautiful, healthy baby girl. We married off our only son. Good thing I love his wife so much, otherwise, it would have been really hard to do this. We’re getting ready to send one of our daughters to serve an LDS mission in Argentina. And lastly, we’re teaching our baby how to drive a car – YIKES!

As we participated in each of these life changing events, we felt a tug of sadness as we felt the absence of dad. I’ve  felt his presence many times this past year, cheering us on.  But that’s not the same as feeling and seeing him.  He lived a good life and led his family by example. Not only did he live a good life, he loved life. He would have been screaming his head off when Germany won the World Cup this year.  He loved soccer!


He overcame many hardships and was there at the end teaching us how to endure and especially how to love. I miss you lots, papa!

It seems like only yesterday that I was posting everyday in October. Then came one or two posts in November and then…. nothing. It isn’t because I’ve been vegging out not doing anything. I guess it’s because so many things have been happening that I have neglected writing about them on my blog.

This year was our first Christmas without Dad. We went through the usual traditions with the family, but it seemed a little lacking. My mom and I had found a bunch of reel-to-reel tapes that contained a bunch of Christmas “advent programs” that we kids participated in a long time ago. One of the tapes contained my Dad’s little Christmas speech from the 1970’s. We took the tapes and had them converted to Cd’s for the family and played the Christmas speech on Christmas Eve. It was nice to hear my father’s voice again and it made the event seem more normal than it was.

Mom & Dad 2011

January was the one year anniversary of my brother’s liver transplant. This event was also a defining event for our family in 2013.  My brother had been struggling with liver disease for a number of years until its progression brought him to the brink of death and through some miracle, he was able to receive a liver. I have thought long and hard this year at how blessed we are when we have our health. It is not something that I have taken for granted.

Lastly, another defining event was the announcement that my married daughter is expecting a baby. I never thought I would live to see the day that I would become a grandmother.

Elisha & Drew

So as 2014 begins to wind its path through my life, I can already see that some big changes are hiding in the wings. My goal now is to make sure that I write about them somewhere so that I don’t forget about the life lessons.

Thanks to my husband’s work, we got to fly to Seattle for a couple of days. He got to go to workshops all day and I got to play all day. Of course, play included sleeping in. The weather wasn’t great two of the days we were there, but hey, I’m on vacation and am not going to let a little rain, wind and cold keep my down. One of the other spouses came along, so we spent most of the first day shopping around downtown.

First off, we went to Pikes Market. Interestingly, my friend used to live in the Northwest, but had never gone down. First in through the door, I purchased a great little felt hat to keep my head and body warm. Sorry, didn’t take a picture of that. But then we shopped around until we reached the fish. I was tempted to have some flown home. They looked might good!

crabSo when did they put in the Ferris Wheel thing? We were there two years ago and I don’t remember seeing it. Of course, that doesn’t mean anything, since I am a pretty non-observant person. If the weather would have been better, we might have taken it for a spin.


I’m afraid it was too cold and windy for a test drive. A couple of days later, we went to the Space Needle. Again I was amazed that she could live around here for 10 years and never come over to see it. Seattle’s fall colors were just beautiful. This maple tree really caught my eye. I had to take a  picture of it.


Anyway, the trip was a great getaway from the everyday cares of my world. I loved getting to spend time with my husband and with friends. And, Seattle is a beautiful place to go.

My attempt to participate in the 31 days in 2013 blog series sponsored by Nester made me realize that blogging every day is hard and also that I don’t do very well with daily “challenges.” So that being said, I quickly jumped in to Cathy Zielske’s 30 days of Thankful challenge. I don’t have to post to my blog everyday, but I’m supposed to write about something that I am thankful for for 30 days.

So I downloaded a template from Cathy’s collection at Designer Digitals and started documenting the things that I am thankful for. So far, I’m five for five days in November. The challenge will come up in the next couple of days when I have to go out of town. So I thought I would post today’s entry in what I’m thankful for.


First of all, I can’t believe today is October 31st and the last day of the 31 days in 2013 exercise. Did I accomplish my goal of posting everyday? No. BUT, I have to admit that I’m proud of myself for only missing a couple of days. 

Here’s what I learned: It is hard to post everyday. It was especially hard to keep to a supposed theme like I chose for this exercise. My hat’s off to all of you who post on a regular basis and come up with interesting things to say and pictures to match. Pictures were definitely one of my hardest thing. If I remembered to take a picture, I was ok with editing and uploading to my site. My problem was remembering to take a picture or to find a picture that would go along with my topic for the day.


I also realized that I am much more eloquent in my own mind than I am when the post is actually written. There were times that I had a great idea right before drifting off to sleep, but the next day, I could never make it sound like I wanted it to.  There were also days (including the ones that I missed) when I really didn’t want to post, or I felt like I didn’t have anything relevant to say.

yellowtreesAfter having participated in this 31 day event, I have to say that I’m glad I did it. I wish I would have come up with a different topic for my 31 days. I also wish that I had more confidence in myself and my writing. But all in all, it was a great exercise. Hopefully now, I will start posting to my site a bit more often than I have in the past and share some of the other things that are going on in my life.


You would think that with not working, I would have more time to devote to things like my family traditions. But the answer is not always. One of our family traditions, is putting together a great appearance at our neighborhood Trunk or Treat. Last year, we were hobbits and I must admit, were a bit disappointed that not a lot of people got what we were. Really??? I guess our family is just nerdy that way.

But this year, there were a few obstacles that made Trunk or Treat a challenge. First, our Young Women’s group was in charge of games for the event. Four of the six girls were involved in school events and couldn’t attend, making it necessary for me to be in there helping with games and not manning my trunk. Secondly, my high-school aged daughter was performing in a choir event at the school tonight. I mean who schedules these events??  My husband ended up going there to support her and I zipped over at the last minute to catch her final number.

My son and his girlfriend, thanks to Lucy, came dressed up as Johnny Cash and June Carter. They actually looked pretty great.

JohnnyCasMy other daughter dressed up like “The Doctor” as in Doctor Who. Ness is usually the one who has some pretty unique ideas when it comes to Halloween costumes. Even though most people don’t get it, she loves to come up with interesting costumes.

DoctorWhoAll in all, our Trunk or Treat was ok.  I guess the point is that we kept the tradition going. I guess I should add that we had our trunk decorated like a pirates cave with a treasure chest filled with gold coins. Sorry, I was so rattled that I didn’t get a good picture of the trunk.



signsSaturday night, we decided to watch “Signs”, the M. Night Shyamalan movie about Aliens visiting the earth. I haven’t see it for a while so was caught in some of those “gotcha” moments. I also forgot how creepy the aliens were.

Fast forward to this morning. I had to get up extra early to send my daughter of to an early morning choir rehearsal. After she left, I promptly fell back asleep and began dreaming. I could hear this weird sound that reminded me of a movie alien spaceship landing.  I woke up to the realization that the sound was really happening right outside my window. In my sleepy stupor, I was imagining the ship landing on my street.  My other daughter got up, freaked out too. She put on her shoes and coat and went outside to investigate.

Alas, instead of aliens visiting from another realm, it was just one of our crazy neighbors, sucking up leaves with a huge leaf sucker. Couldn’t he wait until at least 9:00 a.m. to begin the ruckus?


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