Monday, January 26, 2009

Forget fashion, we are all about function!

See that car in the lead with what looks like band-aids on it? Yep, that's ours! Matt and Brett worked for hours getting his car "just right." Paint, axels, wheels, stickers, weights, (and a few things I'm sworn to secrecy about) . . . I could go on and on. They weighed this car over and over to get it just perfect. It was hand carried in a ziploc bag -UPSIDE DOWN - to the derby. I'm not sure why it had to be upside down - maybe I'm giving away another secret. Who knows? Matt was going to meet us there, straight from work.

We arrived, checked the car in, and it was weighing way too light!! Brett started freaking out. I knew Matt would be dying as well. I whipped out my wallet, dumped out a load of quarters and started taping them to the top of the car. All that time getting the car "just right" and now it's got a load of quarters taped to the top. So much for the paint job! We were all about function at that point. A quick call to Matt, who was stuck in traffic, just got me giggling. I thought he would have a heart attack as he tried to reach us.

Cheering Brett's car on!

Amazingly, he ended up with first place! Wahoo Brett! I kind of like to think that a few band aids and some extra weight can make you a real winner! If it's good for a car, why not people? Think I'll go have a cookie! :)

Friday, January 16, 2009

It all started with a bb gun . . .

Ben can talk all day, every day, about hunting. He is planning to go to Africa and go "Big Game Hunting." I think the Outdoor Channel is on our tv way too much.

Brett is a great shot, but doesn't like touching whatever he's shot. Matt about died when he asked for hand santizer after holding a duck. I was a proud mom when I heard that one. Way to go Brett!

The boys have gone down numerous times this winter to go "hunting." The first time they went, they didn't get a thing, so they decided to shoot up Ben's hat. It was a cammo Giants hat so those dumb Dodger fans didn't even blink at it. This poor hat had a hundred bb holes in it and now is a trophy in our home. On their last hunt, they were a little more successful. We had to eat duck and dove. Blech. Not my idea of a good meal but the boys LOVED it.

Christmas Day!

New hats - with hair included!!

Breakfast . . .

Everyone LOVES Uncle Chris!

Notice the "boys" are playing with their new
Christmas present.

Santa visits on Christmas Eve!!

Santa took time out of a busy evening to visit us on Christmas Eve!

Serious body language!!

Grandee and Choka Save the Day!

Grandee and Choka came out and saved the day! We were in the middle of so much yuck in the month of December. They came out for a few days to bring us some happiness and gave me a chance to start shopping! Thank you soo much!! We love you!!
BYU fans!! New BYU shirts for everyone!!

So far, I think Matt has enjoyed this one just as much, if not more than the boys!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Oakland Temple at Christmas

I guess I have a lot of favorite family traditions, because this is another one. Each year, we go to get awesome pizza at this great place called Pyzano's and then head up to the temple.We love to hear Richard King sing Christmas songs in the interstake center, see the lights and the visitor's center. It is always such a wonderful way to feel the spirit of Christ during Christmas.

Julie was worried that someone had eaten all of her pineapple and ham pizza! Don't worry Julie. We saved you a piece. :)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Sweet Nans

This is my Sweet Nana. We call her Nans. She is famous in our family for her lasagna, her "telling it to you straight," her brains and most importantly, her unconditional love and protection for her family. She pretty much was the most perfect grandma you could think of. She always had cookies for us in her cookie jar. We had sleepovers and made forts in her backyard. (She didn't even care if we used her good sheets!) She still adored us even though we hid all of her cigarettes she had packed to take on a cruise. (We thought she should quit!) She sent us little bits of cash and told us to keep a stash for a rainy day. "It's good for the soul," she used to say. She could play double solitaire with us for hours and she never let us win! She called and left I love you messages on our answering machine. I loved conversations that began, "Swear you won't breath a word!" and then she'd continue to tell me some bit of juicy Nana gossip. She taught us how to cook. We always joked that Mom had us washing dishes all the time so we never got a chance to learn anything. Nana corrected that. She taught me how to forgive and how to love. She gave me my Mom. She loved me. She loved my kids. She taught me how to decide who I am and have the strength to back it up. I love her.

She died three weeks ago. Cancer that was diagnosed six days before. Two days before she died, I had the chance to spend and afternoon with her. I treasure that time. We talked about a lot of things, but what I remember most was that she told me she loved me, and I did the same to her. We ended with the phrase we always said good bye with, "Love you more than you know." Nana. I love you more than you know. Thank you for loving me.

The Greatest Love Story EVER!

I swear this story will be a movie some day. Wish I was a better story teller, but here goes.

The picture above is of my Tutu and Grandpa. (Tutu means Grandma in Hawaiian.) They met in Logan, Utah while attending Utah State University, at the rollerskating rink. They started dating and became skating partners on a travelling team. (We still have their original roller skates!)

It was 1941 and war time. My Grandpa was Forestry major and was drafted. He said good bye to Tutu, promised he would write, and was sent to Pearl Harbor. At that time, you worked 7 days on and had one day off. Grandpa had been on Oahu for 7 days, and had his first day of leave. It was December 7, 1941. He and a friend took their cameras and decided to see "paradise" on their first day off.

They were taking pictures of taro patches, green mountains and beautiful beaches. They were also photographing planes flying above. It didn't take long to realized they weren't our planes and that bombs were being dropped from those planes. Grandpa and his friend hid in a ditch and took pictures of the Japanese planes flying in to bomb Pearl Harbor. (He kept his film for years before he developed it, because he knew it would have been confiscated. )

He and Tutu sent many edited letters back and forth for two years. Grandpa tried desperately to get clearance for her to come to Hawaii but it was denied over and over again. Only wives of soldiers were being brought over. The military didn't want any distractions for it's soldiers. Finally, after a vow to marry this sweet girl, he was given the ok to bring her over. Grandpa proposed in a letter and Tutu said yes.

She was born and raised in Logan, Utah and had never left that valley. She packed her bags, boarded a train and travelled to San Francisco. She waited for days in San Francisco, each day, checking in at the Ferry Building to see if the Navy Cargo ship to Honolulu had arrived. It was war time and that kind of info was top secret. When the boat finally arrived, she was one of a handful of women ( and the only single woman) on a cargo ship filled with hundreds of sailors, travelling to Hawaii.

When the cargo ship arrived at Pearl Harbor, Grandpa was there to meet her. They hadn't seen each other in two years. They had two days to get married or Tutu was going back. Military orders. In her trunk was the wedding dress that she had made and a few other belongings. It was the beginning of a completely new life for her.

When they married, Tutu had to fulfill a 2 year commitment to the Navy in return for bringing her over. She worked as a secretary and Grandpa was working in the Navy shipyard. They were also discovering the magic of Hawaii that still is with our family today. Two years later, my Dad was born.

Grandpa made huge, beautiful balsa wood surfboards and spent much of his time out in the ocean. He swears he was in the water when Duke was surfing. (If you've been to Hawaii, you've probably eaten at Duke's restaurant- one of the most famous old-time surfers.) He does have a bunch of pictures of Duke in his photo album. Isn't he cool? (He's holding an eel!)

Tutu and Grandpa had all three of their kids in Hawaii and lived on the islands for about 15 years. Their kids learned to swim in the Pacific Ocean. They were asked not to wear shoes to school because not all the kids had them. They traded their peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for rice balls at lunch.

Tutu and Grandpa spend the rest of their married life along the California coast. They served a mission together and spent most of their time visiting their kids and grandkids. About 14 years ago Tutu developed Alzheimer's disease and Grandpa spent many years tirelessly loving and caring for her. He was a wonderful example to our entire family of how a devoted husband truly loves his wife. Tutu died 7 years ago.

Grandpa, 89, was living in San Diego. He drove a convertible, had a trainer at the gym, and loved to drive to the ocean to watch the surfers. Two months ago he bought a time share with the anticipation of many years to enjoy it. Talk about optimism. That was one trait of his I love! Three days after Thanksgiving, Grandpa suddenly died.

Thankfully, my Dad drove all night and was at his side. Grandpa was in a coma, but Dad had each of us talk to him over the phone before they removed his life support. It was a Sunday morning, early, and I was trying to get all the kids ready for church. It was a morning I won't forget. What do you say to someone in a minute that has had such a grand impact on your life? Grandpa died 10 minutes later. His temple recommend expired that day. We found a love letter he had written Tutu on the top of his nightstand, with her picture on it. He is a man I love and admire. I'm proud to be his granddaughter. He loved this country, loved the Lord and adored his family. I am thrilled that he and Tutu are concluding the greatest love story ever, in the best way possible, they are together.


How do you help your Mom, when she's going through Chemotherapy? That's a question we've all been asking. It is really a helpless feeling for me. I wish there was some way I could take away some of her nausea, pain, itching, dizzyness, worry, . . . It hurts me to see her hurt.
We had just returned from cutting down our Christmas trees and were all downstairs at Mom and Dad's. We were eating Togo's sandwiches and trying not to disturb Mom. Suddenly Julie and I realized that Kate and Gracie were awfully quiet and so we started the search. Usually they are trying on lip glosses in a makeup drawer. We found them quietly cuddled up in Mom and Dad's bed loving Mom the best way they knew how. It was a little piece of heaven in the room that evening.

Christmas Tree Chopping in Santa Cruz

The best part about the day after Thanksgiving around our home has nothing to do with shopping. We always spend the day in the Santa Cruz mountains searching for the perfect Christmas tree. We usually bring lunch and hot cider. It is one of my most favorite family traditions!
Ben is always the first to grab the saw and go for it.

Hauling the tree down to the truck is always a family affair. Thanks Chris and Joe!! We couldn't have done it without you! This year we chopped a 22 footer!!


Thanksgiving this year was at Dick and Laurie's home. It was almost perfect, except for the minor detail that Mom and Nana were missing. Mom was recovering from her second round of chemo and Nana just wasn't feeling well.
The food was fantastic, company
even better -
just missing two integral parts of our family!

We had basketball games for the big boys, "Bringing Down the Big Guy" for the girls, and a chat session for the little boys!