Tuesday, September 18, 2012

I scream, U scream, We All Scream for Ice Cream

After being in the heat all afternoon,
what could be better than Ice cream?
I am still fascinated by the fact that you 
can get a soft serve ice cream for $1 at 
the grocery store in Utah.

One of my favorite things about visiting there.
We never make a trip to Spanish Fork without
indulging in this low cost yumminess.
(Why does spell check not know that yumminess is a word?
It is too a word.)

Taylor and Hunter
Diana, Brooklyn, Ali, and Lizzie
Tanner and Miles
Megan, Raeley, Diana, Brooklyn, Ali, and Lizzie
Whole group shot that includes Laura and Michael

Monday, September 17, 2012

Pranks and Playing at Salem Pond

After the wedding, we all hung out in Spanish Fork for a few days
for the Nelson family reunion.
One of our favorite places to go, is
Payson Pond.
If you are ever in the area and haven't been,
you should go.
There are many things to do there.
Canoeing is a favorite.
Here are Kris, Lizzie, and Laura, with Taylor in the water.

Miles is thrilled that Nathan is giving him a ride.
Grandma and Grandpa take a turn.
Those not in the canoe, made marshmallow guns.
We let everyone make the kind they wanted
and there was a big variety.
Here Lizzie is showing us her little pistol and water balloons.
That little pistol was just the right size for her.
With it, she was ready to take on the world.
Check out this picture where she takes on her cousin Michael.
She is sure she can take him, even though he and his gun are ten times bigger than she is.
My Dad and Marion establish a fortress for the marshmallow war of 2012.
They take on the teenage boys.
You can just see Brandon off behind the trees.

I think this is the best picture ever.
Grandpa is picking up some more ammunition,
Lizzie catches him at a bit of a disadvantage.

After the marshmallow war, it was time for the balloon fight.

Oh, and look we caught a snake.
Diana's turn to hold it.
Brooklyn and Ali are swimming buddies.
Close up of Diana and Raeley.
There is a chance for visiting and catching up on the latest.
Or you can lay on the grass and have a bit of a nap.
Susan is showing off her marshmallow gun.

The girls with their guns.
Here is a close up of these four girls
who are lucky to be so close in age.

And check out this picture of the four of them about ten years ago, 
My how they have all grown.

A good time was had by all at Payson Pond, once again.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Wonderful Wedding

After Trent's homecoming, I worked like a maniac for the next two weeks.  
Long hours, little rest, blah, blah, blah.
You get the picture.
We needed to get to Utah for my niece's wedding.
Because I was working at a place that is on the way out of town,
I devised a plan where my family would load up the car,
and come and pick me up.
And then we would head to Utah.
I figured that this would mean we could get on the road earlier than 
if I drove the twenty minutes home and then back again.  
I failed to fully appreciate the crucial role that I always play
in packing for trips/getting everyone out of the house.
In the end after many phone calls asking me where such and such was,
they picked me up and we were off.
And luckily no one forgot anything that a trip to the store couldn't fix.
We made it to Spanish Fork by about 11:00 pm.

Friday morning we were up early in order to be to the Mt Timpanogas Temple by 9:30.
Unfortunately, Trent got another cyst on his tailbone and it was really
bothering him to the point that he couldn't sleep.
I didn't see how he was going to make through the day without a visit to the doctor.
And really the day was very full,
so I sent him off with my husband to the urgent care in Springville.
They got there right when it opened at 8:00 am.  
Luckily, they got it treated and got antibiotics and made it to the temple right 
about the same time we did.

The wedding ceremony was beautiful.  Being in the sealing room with 5 of my siblings and their spouses doesn't happen very often.  It was very special.  
My Dad is a sealer in the Seattle Temple and he was able to 
marry my niece.  There was such a wonderful spirit there.

Next came the very suspenseful time where we hoped that all the kids would make it to the temple.
There were 18 grand kids raging from 18 - 8 months.  There were actually 3 18 year olds, 
which was perfect because there were 3 cars that needed to be driven.
When we left at 9:00 am none of the kids were dressed because they were still
eating breakfast and it was unrealistic to think that they could keep themselves 
picture presentable for an hour and a half when eating and playing outside were involved.
So there were 6 teenagers who had to get 12 smallish children presentable and to 
the temple by 10:30.
And it actually did happen, so that was all good.

While we waited for the happy couple to come out of the temple,
we took some family pictures.

Here is my family.  I think this picture was taken on my phone and that is why it is a bit blurry.

Here is my sister Amie's family.
Here is my brother Andrew's family.
And my sister Jennifer's family.
Finally the waiting was over and they came out of the temple.
Don't they look too adorable?
Because of missions and honeymoons, we had to get a shot of all the grand kids on this the wedding day.
It will be the last time all of these kids will be together for who knows how long.
Trent is the oldest, and he is holding Benjamin who is the youngest of the the twenty grand kids.
I think the fact that most everyone is smiling in this shot is nothing short of a miracle.

And here is one with Grandma and Grandpa.

Next it was time for the reception.
Have I mentioned how much fun I think it is to work in the kitchen
at weddings and funerals?  I think the best times happen
on those occasions.
Here is a shot of the cute backdrop they made for behind the food.
It is super cute and hides the staging station that is behind where 
the food was prepped.
Here is a shot of the food.  It was simple but delicious with a 
chocolate fountain and bread and spinach dip.
Cute shot of Amie and Benjamin, who wonders why am I wearing this tie?
Diana took some amazing pictures at this reception.
I love this one of these four girls.
So fun that they are such good friends.
They were also good sports and helped clear tables.
I love this shot Diana got of the cute jars with baby's breath.
How does she think of this angle with the tables in the background?
Here is a shot of the jars from the front.
Check out this great shot Diana got of one of the bridesmaids bouquets.
And she got this one of the bouquet, cake and jars in the background.
Here is one of the teenage guys.  There is this group of boys, but then 
a whole bunch of girls came along.
They look pretty handsome.
And here we made my niece stand in the picture with them.
Time to cut the cake.

Everyone watching the cake cutting.
Here is a shot of the cute lights they strung up over the whole back yard.
It was so pretty as it got dark.
This was the start of our family reunion and it couldn't have been nicer in any way.
Yay for weddings and love and happy couples.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Welcome Home, Elder Hammond, Welcome Home

After our girls trip to Utah, it was back to the reality
that Trent was coming home in JUST 10 days.
Every missionary mom will tell you that this is the day you dream
about and count down to, for two whole years.
That is 730 days for any of you wanting to make a chain.

I have to admit, that I was not terribly sad when Trent went to the MTC.
Somehow I feel a bit ashamed of this fact.
Because all those around me were falling apart,
and continued to do so for several months.

But, there were so many days during his teenage life, that I
seriously wondered if  he would ever go on a mission.
Truthfully, I had resigned myself to possibility, in order to brace myself
for the disappointment.   So much so,
that I am embarrassed to say that when he did go,
I was more surprised and relieved, than sad and depressed.

And so for the majority of the time he was gone,
I really didn't miss him that much.
It felt like the Lord was babysitting him.
And who could ask for a better baby sitter.
Is that horrible to say?  That it felt like a vacation to not be
constantly worried about his welfare?

Even when he served in the ghetto for 7 months,
I never doubted that he was being divinely protected.
And here's the thing, I got these amazing emails every week,
from this kid I had never met before.  Who knew?
Yes, the Lord took my son and turned him into
an amazing missionary.

And so it wasn't until the very end that I finally began to miss him a little bit.
It was getting that video of him back in February that kind of did me in.
Actually seeing him talk was so fun.
But, it made me trunky.

And finally we were down to the end of the countdown.
I seem to be the kind of person who adds stress to things
by making my to do list longer than it needs to be.
If anyone knows how to cure this problem/mental illness,
I am open to suggestions/12 step programs.

I was rather stressed because how was I going to paint the whole house,
re landscape the front and back yard, fix the pool, and well you get the picture.
At least I had already lost the 50 pounds, so that couldn't be on the list.  :) 

And did I mention that this was also one of the times were my
second job demands a lot of time.
So as long as I didn't need to eat or sleep, I seemed to keep on top of everything.

I couldn't seem to find a to do list anywhere that lets you know
every little detail that you are supposed to do to be prepared for a son's return.
Finally, the voice of reason pared the list down to providing him with a place to sleep,
Seemed like a great place to start.

I managed to find some great deals on a bed, desk and chair for his bedroom.
Luckily the top half of his room was painted blue, but the bottom
was purple from when Diana used to be in there.
So Monday night about 10:00 pm,
I painted the bottom half to match the top.

We got the furniture home from work and into the room.

Oh, and just for fun it was girls camp that week.
We went up on the Saturday before to help set up.
And then Tuesday morning,
I got Diana all packed and to the church by 7:00 am.
Then, I worked most of that day.

Wednesday morning I finished up some things at home,
and then went into work.
We got a really big shipment and I was there unpacking things
from noon until 10:00 pm that night.

Thursday morning was the Big Day.
I woke up at 5:30 and was so excited I could not go back to sleep.
Just like Christmas morning.
I had too much to do to just lay in bed.
Making a ginormous sign for the house was my first priority.

It was so big, that I needed to just lay it out
on the driveway in order to draw the letters.
Then next, I got it up onto the house.
No one else was awake, and I don't even know how, but
I managed to get upthere by myself.

I was really happy with the way it turned out and just how big it was.

Giant sign on the house - check.

I finished up some last minute cleaning inside, and then Jared mentioned
some things he  needed from Wal Mart for his job that was starting at 6:00 pm that night.
Oh, and did I mention it was Diana's birthday that day?
Because why wouldn't it be.  Just bring it on, people.  Make my day.
So I dashed into Wal Mart, and stopped at the dollar store for balloons saying
Happy Birthday and Welcome Home.
Next it was time to head up to Mt Charleston to pick up Diana from camp.
On the way, I stopped at the mall to do some birthday shopping.
Because go figure I hadn't managed to get anything sooner.
Birthday presents - check.

It takes about an hour to drive up to Girls camp.
I got there about 11:30 just as planned.
It took her a few minutes to get everything together.
She was getting the royal birthday treatment at camp.
Some of her tent mates got up at 5:00 and decorated her tent with balloons.

On the way back home, Jared called to say that the
wind had blown down the sign from the house.
Curse that Las Vegas wind!
Giant sign on the house - uncheck.

I had broken my stapler getting the sign up in the first place, so 
we stopped at Wal Mart for the second time that day and bought a new stapler.

Carside Applebees to go for a birthday lunch - check.

We made it home and Diana showered while I got the sign back up.
I also made a sign for the airport with candy that Diana had picked out.

Trent was due to land at 2:50, but when I checked the airline
 it said that the plane was due to be about 15 minutes early. 
This sent me into a bit of a panic because we had things timed down to the last minute.
I called out/ shrieked to everyone to get a move on
and we made it into the car in two shakes of a lambs tail.
We got to the airport at just the right time.
After parking, we walked across the bridge and through the baggage claim.
I have to admit that the emotion of the moment and the whole day hit me like a brick wall.
It was all I could to do to keep from just laying on the floor and bawling like a baby.
Instead I settled for just tearing up as we walked through the baggage claim.

Finally, we were at the point where he would come out of the secured area.
At the Las Vegas airport, there are two different escalators that people come down.
The tram lets people off on one side, and then the other on the next trip.
This means that a ton of people come down one escalator,
and then you have to walk about twenty feet over
to the other escalator for the next group.
There are a ton of Limo drivers that are holding signs and
doing this walking back and forth process with you. 
I bet in a different circumstance it would be kind of humorous.
Here is a blurry picture of Diana standing with some of the Limo people.

I had managed to pull it back together as far as the crying goes.
But here again, as I would stand at the bottom of the escalator thinking that at any minute
Trent would come down, I would tear up again and get all emotionally overwhelmed.

It was like I would flash back to the day we picked him up,
and they placed him in my arms for the first time,
or the day we had him sealed to us in the Logan Temple,
or his first smile or step,
or first day of kindergarten,
or first soccer, baseball, or football game,
or first orchestra concert,
or first day of high school,
or day he got his driver's license,
or day he graduated from High School.

It was as if the emotions of all these wonderful days were
somehow compressed into this very moment.

And to say it was overwhelming does not even come close to describing the feeling.

Then all the people would come down the escalator and he wouldn't be there, and we would walk
over to the other escalator, and I would stop crying, only to repeat the process all over again.
It was a bit ridiculous.  And I began to wonder if it was really going to happen after all.
Finally, when he really did come, I had kind of convinced myself not to get my hopes up,
and I don't think we even really recognized him.
So it is kind of a blur and not quite like I anticipated.
Still, it was so good to finally see him and hug him and know that he was really home.
He lost about 50 pounds on his mission and I think that is why we didn't recognized him.
Here he is with the parents.

Of course, the batteries in my camera were dead, and so all we had for
documentation purposes was my phone.
So the pictures are a little less than ideal. 
But that is not really the important part, now is it?

We got him home, made some dinner, and got him to the stake center to be 
released.  All of that happened before 5:30 so that Jared could get to work by six.
And I had to get  Diana back up to camp so that she could perform in the skit
that night.  We were back on the road and made it just barely after 7.
Whew!  The Hamster Wheel was on warp speed that day.
It is hard to believe that I managed to get it all done. 
And without any caffeine people,can I get some kudos for that?

Next, it was time to get ready for the company who were coming
for the weekend and the open house.  So as much as I wanted to sit in a corner,
rock back and forth in the fetal position, sucking my thumb, there was none of that.
I kept telling myself if I could just  hold on until August 15th,
my nervous break down was penciled in.
I found these super cute cupcake toppers on pinterest and my most wonderfulest 
visiting teacher cut them all out for me.  As well as cutting up fruit for the open house.
I don't know how I would have made it with out her.
Family arrived and we had a nice time catching up.
After church we took some pictures with the missionary.
Here are my kids all grown up.
And here is one showing brotherly/sisterly love.
Here is one of the kids with me.  Sadly my husband was still at church.
Here is one with my sister's family.
Here is one with my parents.
And one with just mom.
After pictures we had the traditional dinner of haystacks.
Everybody eating.   Sorry about the glare from the light.
Jared and Victor had their own table.
Next it was time to celebrate Diana's birthday with the extended family.
I really meant to buy a cake from Sam's Club to save some work,
but it didn't happen.
It is the strangest thing, but I have lost my 9 x 13 airbake pan.
If anyone reading this, has borrowed it from me, let me know.
Luckily, I found this foil pan and it worked.
The little kids were willing to help her blow out the candles.
There was a little bit of time for visiting.
My brother David, my Mom, and Trent.
My sister Jen and David.
A blurry shot, with me thrown in for good measure.
We hurried and cleaned up lunch and put the food out 
for the open house.
We had chips and salsa.
Zucchini bread, brownies, and red velvet cupcakes.
A good friend made her famous mint brownies, 
and my other  VT brought some pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.
Here is the fruit my VT cut up for me.  It was both gorgeous and delicious.
The drink station.
We had a lot of people come by.
It was so much fun to visit with everyone and it 
seemed like a big success, thanks to the help of many.
I was kind of having a melt down over worrying about the open house.
My sister talked me off the ledge by reminding me of the 
miracle of asking for help.
Letting others help truly saved what little sanity I have left.

And thus we see that one should never give up hoping on a child, 
and that when we let others bear our burdens, they
really are lighter, and perhaps what doesn't
kill you does make you stronger.

One son returned home from a mission with a 
strong testimony of the Gospel and Jesus Christ - check