Friday, January 28, 2011

Latest News from the Frozen North

Just got another camera memory card package from the Elder, so I'm showing off some of the latest photos for the fam. These make no sense to me in any way, shape or form, but it does show the workings of the mind of my youngest son.
 Doing the Lord's work
I think this is a hint...he wants more letters.
He's busy!
At least we know he got the Christmas package!
Even colder.
Long way from Samoa....
Said goodbye to one of his best friends and former comp (on the left) and said goodbye to his current companion (on the right)
I believe this is his new companion. He's now a trainer!
Some of his latest artwork.

Believe me, this is purely conjecture on my part, but I am assuming these are his thoughts behind these latest photos, since he didn't say a word about them.  (plus a whole lot of silly videos-mostly at the Burger King ordering cherry icees--in the middle of winter in Alaska, mind you)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Garden Update

I haven't updated my garden for a loooonnnggg time.
Because I haven't been in the mood to garden much.
Thank heaven's it's been taking care of itself.

Thanks to hubby who reminds me to cover it on those freezing nights.
And believe me, we've had LOTS of those this winter!  Crazy!
And the automatic watering.

So without further ado---
Trying to conserve space in a square foot garden...
The peas are blooming now! They are climbing up a wire trellace.
I pick from the lettuce patch almost every day, that's next to the peas.
If you've never grown gotta try!!  It's super easy, super delish, you'll never want to buy store bought lettuce again, unless of course it's out of season for your area. (my out of season is summer) Lettuce is bitter when it's too hot and you don't water it enough....
And then there's some onions on the edge.
I usually use these as I need them, some get big, some I use as green onions, however long they stay in the ground.
My other lettuce patch. Been trying to keep rotating the crops, you can see some new plants just getting going in front.
This is the swiss chard, cilantro patch gone wild. I LOVE fresh cilantro and I LOVE being able to go out and pick it fresh when I need it. Of course another green that has to be planted in season, it bolts in the heat. ug!
And the piece 'o resistance....
The dead, frozen tomato plant.
For some reason, every fall I start thinking I'm the gardener invicible and I CAN grow tomatoes in the winter.
Yes, these were covered.

Remind me next fall when I'm thinking I can do this again.
Tomatoes + cold = waste of money and water.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Whole Lotta Creativity

It seems in these here parts,
There's a whole lotta (pro)creation goin' on.
And this Grandma has got to get busy!

I don't think I've mentioned it yet,
In order to respect the privacy of those involved...
But Grandbaby #11 is due to arrive this spring.
Numero 5 for my boy!

And it happens to be a BOY!
They are super excited to have a change of color,
Since they've been busy with pink a lot.
They have a lot of experience with blue--
Since their first two are boys......

I've had my eye on the sample quilt for this fabric for a while....
I love its vintage-y-ness.
Can't wait to see the finished product.
So I'm SUPER excited to start creating some more goodies for my babies....

Seein's how they are being so creative on their own.....

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Ethan's Run

Did you know that congenital heart defects (CHD) are the #1 birth defect? One out of every 100 babies is born with a congenital heart defect every year. These are unexplainable heart defects that just "happen." Our family was chosen this past year to be a part of this special club. It's not a club that anyone wants to be part of, but those who belong share a bond that is inexplicable.

Our family this year  is participating in Ethan's Run, a fundraiser held each February to support the Eller Heart Family Council. Under the direction of the Congenital Heart Foundation,  this group helps provide information, support and financial assistance to families with babies born with heart defects.

Unfortunately our family wasn't able to benefit from these services, but we have chosen to support this wonderful cause in honor of our sweet Ella. Ethan's Run was started to remember Ethan Skidmore, a little guy who was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome. After enduring many surgeries he left this life at six months of age. His sweet momma, Heidi, has been a support and comfort to our family.

So go HERE to learn more about Ethan's Run, and if you live locally, we'll see you  on February 12th at the race!!

P.S. just so ya' know.......most of us "weekend warriors" are participating in the fun run.......
P.P.S.  there's lots of other fun family stuff going on that morning at Ethan's Run too!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

It's not about the Cant's

I think I'm writing this post just as much for a pep talk for me as anything else.

About a month ago, I dutifully returned to my doctor's office for a followup on all the bloodwork and lab tests that she had recommended at my Well Woman exam. (FYI: my primary care doctor is a naturopathic physician-you may or may not agree with her results or recommendations-but I LOVE her. She spends a lot of time caring for me physically and emotionally)

To make a long story short, the tests revealed that I had "cellular exhaustion at the deepest levels."

Well, duh.....I think I coulda figured that one out without all those tests!


She recommended a list of supplements and a special diet to basically detox my body and get my cells to function better so that I could feel better in my "speshul" phase of life. She gave me a stern lecture about taking care of myself so that I can be around to take care of others....followed by a big hug.

Remember folks, this was December 15th, 10 days before Christmas.
Uh, yea....

She told me to do the best I could during the holidays. I'm a determined sort of soul so I plunged into the diet immediately. The diet?  Oh yea, no sugar, no wheat, no dairy, no fruits, except organic apples and berries, for at least 6 weeks.

Nice.....just 10 days before Christmas.

So I went forward, with all the gusto of a person on a mission and with the enthusiasm of a new goal.
Then Christmas Day hit.
Honestly, I really was good up until Christmas Day.
I did notice that I was feeling better, with more energy.

But who can resist the luscious coffee cake on Christmas Day?  Or the crunchy., buttery toffee that Jen makes every year (that I pretty much take sole possession of) Or the homemade cinnamon rolls? or the specially selected Christmas candy for the stockings?  (think crunchy junior mints.....mmmm...)

After a week of sugar-filled gluttony, I decided it was time to hit the diet again. Because I had promised myself to take care of myself and listen to my doctor's advice for a change.

But boy howdy, it has been SO hard. All I can think about is what I can't have.
Besides the fact that the TV is constantly tuned to shows like Cake Wars or Paula Deen, or somebody else who is cooking up something forbidden......
And I watch hubby slurping down creamy Chicken Alfredo at the local restaurant.
Whilst I pick at my grilled chicken salad.

Whine, whine, whine.

And it has been SO hard to go through the trials of the last month without the comfort of a bowl of chocolate ice cream.......or a piece of chewy ciabatta bread from the local bakery.....

Whine, whine, whine.

But I just realized the other day...
that there are hundreds of foods I CAN eat.
There are dozens of different grains.
There are multitudes of different veggies.
Maybe my palate can adjust to less sugar in the diet.

I had some brussel sprouts yesterday.
Honestly, I did feel good when I ate them. They were delicious.
(not a slice of chocolate cake mind you, but tasty)

So I'm challenging myself to look at the CANS
and not the CANTS.

It's probably a good lesson for myself.

Remind me the next time I start whining about how I can't do something.....

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Like Momma always Says......

Eat yer greens!
I mean, EVERYTHING tastes good when cooked in bacon grease!

Fresh Swiss chard from the garden
1 slice of bacon

Cook the piece of bacon until done.
Fight over who gets the piece of bacon.
Slice up the swiss chard.
Dump it in the bacon grease,
Stir fry until tender crisp.

(It really was delish!)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Divine Tutoring

During this time of grieving, I have been studying and reflecting, and the words of a hymn came to my mind,

"In the quiet heart is hidden
Sorrow that the eye can't see...."
Lord, I Would Follow Thee
LDS Hymns
I have often asked myself,
"Why were not my earnest prayers and fastings answered the way I want?"
"Why were not my pleadings for my child answered?"

I found a quote by Elder Orson F. Whitney,

"No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to our education, to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude and humility. All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable.....and it is through.....toil and tribulation that we gain the education that we come here to acquire and which will make us more like our Father and Mother in heaven."

For those who have "sorrow that the eyes can't see," may these words be a balm and solace to your weary soul....

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Yesterday felt like being surrounded with a lovely soft cocoon of love.
Even with the tears.
I don't want it to go away.

It was a perfect day in Arizona.
Sunshine with a few floaty clouds.
Beautiful music at the funeral home.
My best peeps in the WHOLE world around Amy & Bret.
Time to hold and cuddle sweet Ella.
Admire her beautiful dress.
Explain Heavenly Father's plan to little kiddies.
Beautiful pink roses on a tiny white casket.

It seemed like we got all the green lights to the cemetery.
An incredibly gorgeous program created by Jen.
Surrounded by those we love,
Sweet words of testimony.
Prayers of faith.
Consoling hugs given.

One of the best moments for me was when my sister-in-law,
herself a grandma to 17 beautiful grandbabies, (I hope I got the number right)
hugged me so tight-
I felt our spirits connect-
I felt her sorrow at the loss of a beloved grandchild.
Knowing how she would feel if it were her.

A wonderful luncheon.
With time to visit with family.
Great service rendered.
And they don't call it comfort food for nuthin!

A lovely soft cocoon of love.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

For the Locals

Graveside services for Ella Standage will be held on Wed. January 12th at 1:00 pm at the Mesa City Cemetery. Thank you so much for your love, prayers and donations to help us Remember Ella.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Looking Back, Looking Forward

Yesterday was a week ago and I couldn't help but look at the clock now and then and think, one week ago....

I suppose that's only human.

But like it or not, life moves forward.
Meals have to be prepared.
And therefore dishes washed.
Clothes have to be washed.
Doctor's appointments must be attended.
Church callings fulfilled.

Pain lessens.
And returns.
Fades away.
Then stabs painfully.
And recedes.

It will be fine. I will be fine. We all will be fine.

Amy is doing well. She is hanging with me this week. We are planning to go to Hobby Lobby today and see if she can spend her Christmas gift card, depending upon how far she can walk!
Looking forward, one step at a time.

We still have the services to get through. For those locally, we should know more details in the next couple of days. It will be a graveside service at the Mesa City Cemetery. I'll be sure to let everyone know.

Thank you again for your love, prayers and compassion.

Saturday, January 1, 2011


This is just going to be a rambling, free-form sort of post. My thoughts at this moment in no particular order.

Grief is an interesting thing.
You can't predict it, you can't structure it, you can't organize it.

While I was watching the valiant efforts of the medical team try to save the life of our dear Ella,
I felt numb.
Disconnected from myself.
Focused on my son-in-law and husband, who were sobbing openly.
Focused on my daughter's grim stoic face.
I held back the tears.

But they came later.
They come in waves.
Like the waves of heat that blast your face when you open an oven door.
Like the ocean waves that keep coming and coming.
Then I pull my self together.
And make the heartbreaking phone calls.
Make the necessary plans.
Trying to think of things to ease the pain for my dear ones.

Then the waves return.
Like when the lady at the baby store gives me a beautiful crystal bracelet.
For our little Ella to wear in her casket.
And throws her arms around me and holds me while I sob.

Or when the labor and delivery nurse who attended Amy writes a sweet note,
attached to her generous donation for Ella's funeral expenses.

But then I can laugh myself silly at a movie last night (Wild Hogs) on tv.
And have wonderful conversations with my kids in Amy's hospital room.
And we can giggle over our family's idiosyncrasies.

And speaking of my kids,
My patriarchal blessing tells me my children will be a comfort to me.
Wow, is that ever being fulfilled, in an amazing way.
Each of them, with their own unique talents and gifts, bring a huge measure of comfort.

For those of you who still have little ones at home.
Just you wait until they are adults.
You will never love them more.

I think my cousin Anne gave some awesome advice.
Breathe. Take one day at a time. Carry a box of kleenex in the car.

Better words were never spoken.