Wednesday, May 28, 2008

May Enrichment

I am the Relief Society Enrichment Counselor in our ward. This is a calling where you are constantly looking for great ideas for Enrichment Meeting. I finally have a great enrichment leader and board so my job just got a lot more manageable. In this picture Jennifer and Leah are helping set tables. In May we did a springtime weeding theme. Our classes were "Weeding Your Life", "Weeding Your Home of Clutter", "Weeding Your Family". It turned out very well. Most of the emphasis was on the Conference talk, "Good, Better, Best". It was about spending our precious time and energy on the "Best" things. We had a nice dinner (Hawaiian haystacks). This was a pretty simple evening with out too many frills for two reasons, one: because the whole theme was to keep things simple and two: the sisters in our ward mostly just like to sit around and visit.. I love to decorate so I thought I would take some pictures so that I could remember what I did.

Hooray for Laura

This year Laura was in the Seventh grade so that made her eligible to be on the cheer squad. Now if you are familiar with cheerleading programs in the schools they require a huge commitment from both the cheerleader and her family. Laura is our youngest child and third daughter so you we have been through this a few times. I have learned to shudder at the word "fundraiser". Jack and I decided that we could handle another round of uniforms and camp so Laura tried out at the end of last year. She made the cheer squad and immediately started her daily practices. The time commitment alone could scare anyone off. They had practice after school three days a week, pep assemblies, games and also a week of cheer camp. It has been a very fun year for her and she has made some wonderful friends. Laura is very outgoing so cheering was a great fit for her. Her coach was Erika Wilson, Erika was great with the girls and they learned so much, she also had an assistant coach. The other day we had the traditional end of the season banquet at the local Round Table Pizza. It is the time that everyone can breath a sigh of relief that we made it through another season. We get to hear wonderful things about the team members and they receive their letters and trophies. I guess we can relax a little..... but wait tryouts were a couple of weeks ago and she made it again. Here we go again with another year. If you see a bunch of girls holding car wash signs stop and say hello. I am pretty sure that Jack and I will be busily washing cars to pay for another year.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Lunch Therapy

I have been so blessed in my life to have wonderful friends. I grew up in this area so there are friends that I have known most of my life. Jack and I have lived in our home for nearly 22 years now and we’ve been in several wards as the boundaries have changed. There are so many people who have blessed my life. There are many amazing women in our stake, we are all from different backgrounds, economic status and personalities but we have the gospel in common and that helps to form strong bonds. I have served in many callings and have met many people. My roots are planted really deep in Federal Way.

Laura Gabel and I met about 17 years ago. She babysat my kids while I was working. We became fast friends because Laura is always full of energy and fun. We have seen each other’s families grow and we have seen changes in our lives. Once a long time ago I asked Laura why she always seems so happy and she said because if she didn’t smile she would cry. I really took that to heart. If you try to focus on your blessings and be happy you are better able to handle the challenges that come your way. We have gone on a few trips to Mexico and a Caribbean cruise with Ron and Laura and we are always looking forward to a time that we can go again. Laura and I once went on a road trip across the country driving a car from Ohio to Washington. That was a blast and Laura only got one speeding ticket. Laura and I have had a great time decorating our homes and even building things in my home. Jack and I have formed a close bond with the Gabel children as Laura has with ours. Our kids have always been best friends, especially my Laura and Braylee Gabel.

Several years ago I served in the Stake Young Women’s presidency with Julianne Felshaw and Ruth Backman who through the years have become two of my closest friends. They are now referred to as my “Red Robin friends” by my family. This is because for about 10 years now we have treated ourselves to “therapy” lunches at Red Robin. Julianne was the president in YW and she is still the one who arranges these lunches. Ruth and I just attend when ever we are called. We try to go once a month but sometimes it is more and rarely less. There is a waitress there, Kelli, that serves us whenever she is there and knows exactly what to bring us. She keeps the Diet Coke and fries with bleu cheese dressing coming. We call our three hour lunches therapy because we share our lives with each other. We share secrets, victories and disappointments. We laugh a whole lot and even cry sometimes. We talk about everything from cholesterol levels and vacations to wedding plans. We like to show pictures of our children and grandchildren. I love this tradition! Sometimes Laura Gabel and Micci Edwards will come too. We have all formed a bond that gives me so much comfort. I always know that any one of these wonderful women would do anything for me as I would for them. They have blessed my life in ways that I can’t even express.
P.S. Happy Birthday Ruth!!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Daniel's Big Night Out

The school dances around here are not a very good place for an LDS kid to be. As a matter of fact, our stake president, Ned Bjorn, counseled the kids to stay away from school dances. Five stakes in the area decided to start an annual tradition. They have a wonderful "Mormon Prom" for the Priests and Laurels. So much time and effort goes into this program. Last year I helped with decorating for the dinner and it was like doing a wedding reception times ten. They really try to make it a memorable evening for the kids and I think they do a pretty good job of it.

Daniel and his best buddies, Steve, Adam and Allen all got dates to the evening. This year Daniel's date was a girl from his dance team, Becca Nelson. The girls all looked beautiful! They all went to their friend Katie's house to nervously pin flowers on each other. They then went to a botanical garden near where Katie lives to take pictures. Katie is quite a gifted photographer so she took some great pictures.

For the prom first they went to the South Puyallup Stake Center where they were served a terrific dinner. The theme this year was an old time Hollywood theme so the decor was all done around that. Complete with a grand piano on a stand in the middle of the gym with a large chandelier overhead. Then the kids headed out to the Puyallup Stake Center in Sumner where they had a dance. All in all Daniel says it was a wonderful night and I am grateful to all of the people who put in so much attention to giving out kids these great experiences.

Friday, May 9, 2008

I only ask for one decent picture!

Have you every tried to get a decent picture from a group of four silly girls? It isn't easy! I might even say it is impossible.

Happy Birthday Laura

Today is Laura’s birthday. This is the year that she is officially a “teen” as she is turning 13. How time has flown! It doesn’t seem like that long ago the she was just a little baby. Laura is such a sweet girl she brings so much joy to our lives. As usual Laura wanted to have a sleep over. For some unknown reason young girls love to stay up to all hours of the night giggling about anything remotely funny. I told her that she was welcome to have a couple of friends over if they promised not to bug me or keep me up all night. Of course she was willing to promise, we will see how that goes. She invited three of her very best friends. Braylee Gabel, who she has known since birth and is like a sister. Sarah VanderHoeven, who is her cousin, Sarah is exactly 7 days younger than Laura and so they always seem to celebrate their birthdays together. They used to think that they were twins. And Acacia McGee, who is on the cheer squad with Laura they have become very good friends. They are a pretty fun group of girls and I think they will manage to stay out of too much trouble. (ahh hope springs eternal)

One of the many great advantages of having Jennifer home is that she is quite a talented cake decorator. She made Laura a very cute cake complete with “designer” purses. It took her hours but the cake turned out beautifully. Jennifer would like to pursue this talent and get paid to make fancy cakes. It just wouldn’t do to have such a wonderful cake on a regular table so Jennie and Laura went out to the store to find matching accessories. She set the table with chargers, a matching tablecloth, napkins and candy dishes. One good thing about a birthday party for older kids is that all I really need to do is provide pizza and soda. I can do that!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Fun in Medford

Jennifer and I had so much fun visiting Mario and Linda but mostly we had a blast visiting Adam! Adam is just a couple months short of 3 years old. I can tell that Mario and Linda spend a lot of time with him. He is very smart and has this really funny sense of humor. I think that I could be content to just sit at a park or at home and watch him all day. He loves to listen to his dad’s latin music. Adam has a great sense of rhythm and likes to shake his hips like the little latin boy he is. It was an adventure with his potty training (see Linda’s blog for that story). Linda and Mario have been trying to figure out a name for their new son sometime before he comes. We always read off a long list of names to Adam but he rejects them all. He tells us that his little brother’s name is Ty..LER. He can’t believe that we are so dumb that we don’t catch on. Mario thinks that we are telling him to say that but really, we never even suggested the name to him. So no matter what the baby’s name turns out to be, I am pretty sure he will always be Tyler to Adam. Another great thing about going to Linda’s is that she has our old bed in her guest room. That way I don’t have to get used to a strange bed because it is already mine. They have a beautiful home and it has such a wonderful feeling in it. Linda has decorated it very cute. I always feel comfortable and love to go there. Mario sold a car to Daniel and Jennifer so Jennifer and I drove home yesterday. Man, Medford is really far away in a car. It is a beautiful drive and I did enjoy spending the day with Jennifer eating sunflower seeds and drinking diet coke.

Monday, May 5, 2008

If Men Were Meant To Fly He Would Have Wings!

The other day Dr. Whimpey offered to fly Jennifer and me down to Linda’s house in Medford, Oregon. Dr. Whimpey has a wonderful private plane. It is a four seat Mooney. Now I don’t know a whole lot about planes but Daniel says Mooneys are great. I am terrified of flying, much less in a tiny sports car with wings, but how could I turn down such generosity and the opportunity to see Linda’s family. A lot of your flying experience depends on the weather conditions so Dr. Whimpey checked the weather in the morning and it seemed that we would have fairly clear sailing. We picked up Rhonda English, who is a hygienist in the office next door. Rhonda is a pilot also. Heading to the airport in Gig Harbor the rain started falling and I was getting a little nervous. We took off into the clouds and the ground quickly disappeared as we climbed to seven thousand feet. It is about a two hour flight and a little bit over an hour into the flight we noticed ice forming on the wings. As far as I understand that is not something you want to see and it can be quite dangerous. We watched for a short while to see if it would build up more or hopefully melt. No such luck with the melting thing. Dr. radioed in requesting we climb to between nine and ten thousand feet. The idea is to rise above the clouds where the sun can melt the ice. As we tried to climb the plane decided that this was not going to happen. The plane was struggling but we were not getting any higher. The engine started to sputter and I heard a bump. I am too afraid to ask what it was but Dr. quickly radioed that we needed to drop to five thousand feet immediately. This we did and needless to say Jennifer and I were sure we were going to die. Once we got low enough the temperature went up and the ice melted. We stayed pretty low the rest of the trip and tried to avoid the clouds. Rhonda made a perfect landing in Medford and I was so happy to see Linda and Adam on the ground waiting for us. We were so thankful to Dr. Whimpey for flying us to see our family, more so I am thankful to have my two feet safely on the ground. I am sure sometime I will get up the nerve to fly again but next time I think I will try to wait for a warm sunny day!