Monday, May 28, 2007


Today is Memorial Day... when I was growning up we used to call it "Decoration Day" becuase everyone would go to the cemetaries to decorate the graves of their loved ones with flowers to remember them. Paul & I have enjoyed this tradition for the past 23 years since Quinn died and we have a special gravesite to visit and then more recently we added the gravesites of Paul's parents and grandmother. Cemetaries always seem so quiet and solitary. Usually when we go to visit and take flowers on birthdays or Christmas, there is never anyone else around but yesterday when we took our bouquets the cemetaries were packed with visitors. It was quite a sight to see. There were flowers everywhere. Seriously, it looked like every grave had a floral arrangement in place. There were small American flags posted at the gravesites of those who had served their country and as the breezes blew the flags waved proudly. There were children running and families arranging flowers and cleaning up their loved ones headstones and sitting in groups clustered in tight circles visiting and reminicing. It was a joyous scene. I'm sure there was lots of pondering and even sorrow and grief but for the most part what I took in was how much life really is at the cemetary. Yes cemetaries are where we place the mortal remains of our dearly departed but who are they really for... for each of us who are still breathing and living to keep connected with those who have gone on -- to visit, to remember, to appreciate, to love, to grieve, to contemplate their lives and ours. Hopefully you will get an opportunity to spend a few minutes with someone who is no longer here and you too will feel how alive you really are. Make the most of today.... and everyday!
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Friday, May 25, 2007

April showers bring May flowers...

My garden seems to have suddenly erupted in blossoms and it is stunning, if I do say so myself. I have eight rose bushes in my front yard which are a rainbow of color: red, tangarine, pale pink, candy cane striped (in photo), yellow, white, lavender and deep pink. This is the peak season for the next two weeks or so and actually every where around the valley the roses are just bursting with color and variety. As for my mock orange bush it is being an overachiever. I planted it because I wanted to enjoy the orange fragrance but there has never been any fragrance just this incredible show which totally works for me. What a joy nature is. Take some time to smell the roses!!
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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Fun in the HOT Arizona Sun!

Now... the rest of the story. Aaaaah... yes, this is really how most of the weekend was spent. You can only live in Arizona if you have a swimming pool. Now, I know this looks all peaceful and relaxing and it was... while the kids were in school. When they came home the pool became more like a tsunami with jumping, splashing, sliding, diving and water balloons --- no one was safe! All of Heidi's kids are swimmers and Collin is getting there. Collin did need to be caught when he came roaring down the waterslide and he would about drowned me everytime I was there to catch him. This "fun" was done over and over and over. Next, it was on to the trampoline where higher and higher was the goal. Thankfully Cam was selected for this duty. Black trampolines in the hot sun equal scorched toes which necessitated intense bouncing. Then we were off to Colton's school class to view a video presentation that his class had written, acted and presented to their parents. It was very cute and Colton's role was as the rabbit in the tortise and the hare but in the context of an advertisement for power bars. Unfortunatly, as in the fairy tale, the tortoise won because he had eaten the power bar. The hit of the classroom visit was Capri who captivated all Colton's classmates with her smiles and clapping and waves. It was so darling to see about 10 -15 kids all circling around her and she was loving it. Heidi asked if any of them would like to come to her house to tend Capri and everyone raised their hand and started begging: "me, me, me". Too bad they lose so much of that enthusiasm by the time they are really old enough to help out!!
While we were at Heidi's, Eric had this garage door installed on their home. It is a knockout!! This is Eric's new business. He is designing and importing metal garage and entry doors. His company is called Dynasty Doors and I thnk you can find them at this website. We were really impressed. Too bad the garage doors are on the side of the house instead of the front but his neighbor next door commented on how much he liked looking at them (a second smaller, one car garage door was installed next to this one). These photos are only a small representation of the fun times we had with Heidi, Eric, Colton, Cory, Quincy, Capri, Collin, Cam and LaRane (we missed you Katie, Clark and Aspen). The men all went to Fathers and Sons Friday night and so the girls (plus Paul) all went to the Cheescake Factory at the Chandler Mall which included a little shopping and for Family Home Evening we went to see Shrek the Third. We did it all. Thanks for the hospitality. See you in July for the next installment of "As the Family Grows".
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Cory's Special Day(s)

"I like my birthdays every one, each brings a greater joy to me, but I can't wait until I'm eight, for then I'll be baptized you see."
This was the big, much anticipated weekend for Cory. Yes, he got baptized on Saturday. He really enjoyed the whole experience and you can see that he just radiates happiness. He was very proud of his new suit and wore it with dignity... no running and chasing (atleast for the first 30 minutes). His family is growing up and it is just so fun to be with them; especially at these momentous occassions. Cam, LaRane andCollin also came down for the weekend. Collin loves his cousins. He thought it was so cool to be a part of this special day. Along with getting baptized, when boys turn 8 they get to start going to Cub Scouts and we went to Cory's first Pack meeting where he earned his Bobcat. When they pin on the Bobcat badge, they hold the boy upside down and pin the badge on right-side up so when he is put right side up, the badge is upside down and he can't turn it right side up until he does a good turn. It is amazing how fast these kids go from 0 - 8 years old -- I think they grow at mach speed. Thanks for letting us join in on your special weekend!! We are very proud of you, Cory!
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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Happy Birthday COLLIN !!

Today's the day! Four short years ago you came into our life and it has been a joy ever since! Grandpa and I got the call about 8 am that you were soon arriving so we headed to the hospital about 11 am and waited and waited and waited but around 4 pm that changed and as I got to witness your grand entrance, I was thrilled to finally get to meet you. I don't think I know anyone else like you that has such enthusiasm for living each day to the absolute fullest. I know you even hate to go to bed because that would mean you would have to shut down all your energy -- which is nearly impossible for you to do. We had such a fun time at your birthday party last Saturday. Watching you and all of your friends bounce and run and race your scooters around and around was exciting and entertaining, to say the least. You are indeed an appreciative gift-receiver as you squealed with delight each time you ripped open each gift (I never knew how many things were created in the Spiderman mode: golf clubs, baseball bats, motorcycles, ATV, etc). The "happy cake" was delicious what with the white frosting and red and blue sprinkles -- yummy! I hope you have as much fun today, your official day and let's be sure to do this again next year!!

Monday, May 14, 2007

GO SUNS !!!!!!

Hey you AZ fans: CS #1, CS#2 and ES
We can't wait to meet up with you in the Western Conference finals....
Go JAZZ !!! Go SUNS !!!
Keep your fingers crossed and your noses bandaged...

First scoop of the season!

That's right.... Homemade Ice Cream! We opened the summer season this year on Mother's Day with the famous, "K-family Strawberry Ice Cream" recipe. LaRane called on Saturday and offered for her and Katie to make dinner on Sunday; all I had to do was agree to make homemade ice cream -- done deal! This is the way best ice cream ever and a no-fail recipe. It is also extremely tasty made with peaches instead of strawberries. And for all of you candy lovers, crushed peanut m & m's make a yummy version. So are you sufficiently enticed? Would you like the recipe? That's what I thought. Here's how it goes:
2 to 3 cups strawberries, smooshed (peaches)
1 pint whipping cream, whipped
1 can evaporate milk, chilled
1 quart whole milk (don't cheat on this and use 1% or 2% -- this must be the real deal)
3 cups granulated sugar
juice of 2 lemons
Wash the fruit and cut up into smaller pieces. Smoosh up the fruit but not to the pureed stage; some chucks are good. Add the lemon juice and the granulated sugar, set aside. In another bowl, whip up the whipping cream. Pour the fruit, whipping cream,
evaporated milk and the whole milk into the metal cylinder that fits into your
ice cream maker machine. Turn on the motor and let the ingredients get mixed together.
Add the crushed ice and the rock salt and let it churn away until the
motor stops. Share with friends and family!

Friday, May 11, 2007

6 Already!!

Happy Birthday Quincy!!! Honestly, I cannot believe that you are six years old already!! You are such a blessing in so many lives! You were the first grandchild that I actually got to be present for when you entered this world. Grandpa and I flew in to Phoenix midmorning on your birthday and your mom and big brothers -- Colton 3 1/2 and Cory 2 -- picked us up at the airport. Your mom was scheduled for inducement early the next morning but she was already have lots of pains and signs that you were soon to arrive. At dinner that evening, the hospital called and said that your Mom could come earlier and if she could be there by 9 pm they could take her that night. I well remember the conversation around the table: your dad had his first ever ice hockey game at 9 pm so he was somewhat hesitant; your Mom was anxious to get going; I assured your dad I could go with your mom and get things started and he could come after the game; Grandpa was just a little nervous about being left with the two little guys. OK, we were moving on! Your dad took off for the rink and your mom and I headed to the hospital -- but first we had to take the dog to the sitter!! Things were a little chaotic to say the least. Once we arrived at the hospital the situation progressed quite quickly ... I guess you had your own schedule unbeknownst to us because we were getting nervous that your dad was going to miss out. But true to form, he showed up just in time and you arrived to greet us all. You have been a joy ever since!
I love how much you love life. You always have a shining, sparkling smile on your sweet face and I've never been around someone that loves to sing her way through life as much as you do. You are such a girlie-girl ... pink = Quincy!! I hope you have a delightful birthday today and know that grandpa and grandma send you our love! We'll celebrate with you in person next week -- save us some cake!

Monday, May 7, 2007

The 5 Boro Bike Tour --- 2005

As I was reading my NYC niece's blog post today she mentioned that the New York City annual Bike the Boro's Tour had passed right through her neighborhood yesterday, and chills ran up and down my spine!! That's because riding in this event was a dream of mine for a number of years. We all know what a heavy-duty bicyclist Paul is (i.e. Alpe d'huez last summer) but I personally just love riding flat terrain with maybe just a little uphill so there is some downhill to enjoy. When I heard about this exciting, 42-mile ride through the "canyons" of NYC and over multiple bridges with NO traffic along the entire route... I knew that was my kind of event! Now, under normal circumstances, this wouldn't have been too enticing to Paul but the fact that he had had a major ATV accident the June before and was still recovering, this ride was enough for him. Perfect! I signed us up! I understand it was a beautiful, sunny day in New York City yesterday. I wish I could say the same for 2 years ago. As we headed down to the starting line at Battery Park, it began to rain. Then we turned a corner and suddenly we discovered the other 30,000 participants. Whoa... did we know there were going to be 30,000 other bikers? Not really... Suffice it to say, things went downhill (and not in a good way) from the starting line. After standing in the rain and cold for over an hour waiting for the ride to begin, it became overwhelming to Paul and we decided to bail out. We took off a few streets away and headed back up in the direction of our hotel. This was early 8 a.m.ish on a Sunday morning so there was very little traffic anywhere. We had our own little adventure trying to navigate our way back to 31st Street. When we finally got there and looked a couple streets away, there was the ride sailing right on up the Avenue of the Americas and by then the rain had subsided so we jumped back in again only to discover it is quite unnerving to ride with thousands upon thousands of bicylists ready to cut you off any second. We did ride up through Central Park and into Harlem before it just wasn't going to happen.... and once again we headed back to our hotel; cold, discouraged and relieved. But don't feel badly for us; we had a great adventure. We calculated that we probably rode about 20 miles around Manhattan and got to see lots of places up close and personal. Maybe someday we'll go back but probably only if we can be the only two bicyclists on the route.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

May means Mother's Day

I know that Mother's Day is coming up fast upon us but I am already enjoying a very special and unique Mother's Day gift from my very ambitious and creative daughter Heidi. She actually gave me this unbelievably darling treasure in March. Heidi isn't your ordinary gift-giver... no way. She has her own special methods of gift-giving: 1) she thinks about you on whatever occassion you should be remebered on but doesn't actually get around to the gift part until much later or 2) she buys, makes or comes up with the absolutely best thing ever but then never actually sends or gives it to you -- basically she can't part with it or 3) is so excited about whatever she has bought, made or come up with for you that she can't wait until the specified event to share her gift. My gift this year came from the #3 category and I am so thrilled with it that I want to share it with you in case you might like to take the idea and put one together for that special Mother in your life. It is a "perpetual scrapbook page"!!! How darling is that!!!??!! It is actually a scrapbook page on a metal magnet board she bought at IKEA. The background designs and words are modpodged on and then the photos of my darling grandkids are just held on by magnets so that I can change out the photos as I get updated new ones. Those cute buttons and beaded flowers and butterflies are the magnets! Those photos look lots better there than on my usual bulletin board -- the fridge. Enjoy... I certainly am!! (thanks Heidi ... I love it!!)