It's been over a year since I've posted. Shame on me. My problem is trying to match pictures with journaling. So here are some of the pics for the past year; you'll just have to guess what they are all about.

Happy Happenings.

We don't get to spend much time with Claire, so when Mike and Jenni asked us to watch her while they went out on a special date to Mike's company's Christmas party, we were delighted. She was so much fun, but now I remember what mother's of busy little almost two year olds do all day. The chase a one child destruction ball around picking up popcorn, DVDs, toys, and crayons. They watch Cars (only part way through until she loses interest) and Nemo. They read stories, or listen as she explains the pictures. Boy, Grandma's have to be on their toes!

These two really put on the Ritz. And look at that cute tmmy. We can hardly wait to see Addison Rae. Tuesday I turned 68, WOW! And what a wonderful day it was. My neighbors, who happen to be my visiting teachers, came for a visit at 8:30 A.M. to start theday out right. They brought a cake with a candle , homemade jam, and hot rolls. Umm Umm. We lit the candle, and Brian sang to me, to the tune of the Volga Boatman,"Happy Birthday. Happy Birthday. There is sadness in the air. People are dying everywhere. But Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday." We laughed. Many people sent their love through cards and phone calls. Then a delivery man showed up at the door with these beautiful flowers sent all the way from Alaska! I was so pleased and surprised. Thank you George and Sammie. You make me feel really special.

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree

Thanks to Morgan and Cindy, we got to go to the mountains to get our beautiful, fresh, 13 foot high Christmas tree. We searched for at least 3 hours for just the right tree.....Just kidding. It seemed like five. Trees never look as tall in the forest than they do in the house. I tripped and landed on my knees four times, that's the truth. And Brian was panting heavily as he dragged the huge thing back to the cars. Maybe we're getting too old for this kind of fun. Naw!!!

This is all of us except one. Can you figure out who is missing? Yes, it's Ben and Sterling. Both had to work; too sad for us. We really did had a great time. The snow wasn't too deep, and it wasn't that cold. After sandwiches and hot chocolate, Morgan pulled the kids behind the Suburban on a sled. They loved it.

Gratefully, no one got hurt, even though the girls slid under the truck when Morgan stopped to help out one of the boys who had fallen off his sled. Rae was rescued by Jason, both of them temporarily traumatized a bit by the incident. All's well that ends well.

Christmas Is Upon Us. Hooray!!!

Christmas in Idaho is always so much fun. We had lots of wonderful treats to eat, but the best treat was the Nativity presentation by the grandkids. Claire was fascinated by the Christmas village, and Emma was delighted watching her touch each piece.

All the grandkids acted out their parts very reverently, especially Mary and Joseph, aka, Rae Rae and Vincent.

We had shepherds, and very happy ones, you might even say, very giddy ones. After all, they had just seen the angels proclaim the Holy Birth. So with one sheep in tow, they headed off to Bethlehem.

The angels were beautiful and awe inspiring, but the little-est angel was totally occupied most of the performance playing with a wooden nativity scene on the hearth behind her. We were lucky to get this lone picture of her front side.

You may notice that we could use some wise men, a few more sheep and a few more angels to make our nativity complete. Maybe in future years we'll have more of you here to celebrate with us; and that's a happy Christmas wish.For those of you who couldn't join us, the grandkids are sending this special song about our Savior whose birth we celebrate. Because of His love and atonement we may someday live with again with Him. How grateful I am to Him for watching over all of you that I love so dearly. As a family we have been blessed so incredibly, with our freedoms, our homes, our jobs, and the friendship and love of every family member. Thanks be to our Heavenly Father and also to each of you for your goodness.


Summertime Fun

We hadn't seen some of the grandchildren for about two months, and guess what. We missed them, so Grandpa Brian took us out to Arctic Circle to eat. He chose this place because of their great milkshakes, one of the few things Grandma Doris could eat with her jaw wired shut. The kids had fun climbing on the play equipment, and we all left with full tummys. Afterwards Paul and Rebecca showed us all the new additions to their backyard. Amazing! I wish I had taken pictures to share with you.

Another day, another trip to Arctic Circle, this time with Kristin and Loren and the kids, Melanie being one of the kids, of course. We had fun, and Loren still had the brace on his broken left arm, so we shared our sad stories and consoled each other.
We went to see Claire, and we found her and Mike and Jenni walking out to their garden in back of the condo. It's wonderful to see these young parents doing those domestic things that didn't interest them much when they were kids. And they're loving it!

Right by the garden area is a playground for Claire, and does she ever love going down the slide all by herself. And she never tires of running around to climb the stairs again for another trip down. She's growing up so fast!

Home Again, Home Again.

When we got home from out trip the yard needed a lot of work, and with the external fixator on my right arm, I knew I needed help to get the pond in shape. Who would come to my rescue? Vincent the Brave and the Strong! Brave because the water in the pond was so yucky and stinky, and strong because the new pond liner and flagstones were incredibly heavy. Vincent worked at the project for four hours bailing, and heaving and sweating. He totally restored the pond, so it is only fitting that I have dubbed it "Vincent's Pond"!

The pond looks so beautiful now, and it's so peaceful to sit by it and listen to the waterfalls and watch birds come to drink and splash. I love it!! Thank you, Vincent. You're the best!!!

Brian and I were the lucky ones who got to take Jason to the U of U campus, Fort Douglas, for EFY. He was so excited, and when he first arrived they gave him a bunch of neat stuff, ie. name tag, key to his room, a tee shirt, a dvd, a book, and a lanyard to put his ID card on.
Here he is in front of his building, the same accomodations that were built for athletes competing in the 2002 winter Olympics. What a great kid, and what a great experience. We love it so much that we can be involved in a grandparently way with all of you grandkids.

A freak accident!!

Bri and I were having such a nice visit in Oshkosh with Francis and Am and the grandkids. They had moved Neal and Oakley into an upstairs bedroom that Francis had remodeled, and we were given the boys downstairs room with a queen sized bed! Soooo comfy. The third night in Oshkosh found us trading pleasant accomodations for a nine day stay at Mercy Medical. WHY? Because I thought I was a match for Lacey, an exuberant 60 pound yellow lab on a leash. Looking back I realize that one of the most disappointing results of the accident is that I missed out on my chance to spend time with Lillie, Melissa, Neal and Oakley,and also Francis and Amber.

My angels at Mercy Medical

So many good and kind and entertaining caregivers passed in and out of my room and my life this past week. All are well trained and compassionate, and some I will always remember as my friends. Of course Amber is my friend forever, my dear precious daughter. We laughed like silly girls as she stood in the shower and washed my hair and dried it.
Kassie became very dear to me. She has such a calm and kind nature. She loves her work as a nurse because she loves to help others.
Sherry and Adam were so much fun, and they also were such great nurses.
Mai is a tiny Hmong ball of fire who did an echo cardiogram for me.

An amazing young woman

The first time Morgan walked into my hospital room, I knew I would love her, not only because she is like a ray of sunshine, but also because she confided in me and encouraged me to confide in her. Although we may never see each other again, I will always remember her and think of her as my friend.

What a way to add a little excitement to our trip. On our second day of tending the kids and pets in Oshkosh, I put the extension leash on Lacy, the 60 pound lab, and let her out the back door. She bolted, but I held on tight,determined that she would not get away. BIG MISTAKE!!! When Lacy hit the end of the leash, running full bore, she pulled me off my feet. I flew a good 10 feet and landed chin and wrist first on concrete. I looked at my mangled wrist and saw what I thought was a piece of one half inch concrete imbedded in my flesh, but not so. It was the end of a fractured bone. Brian heard me yelling and rose to the occasion by bringing a towel and blanket and simutaneously calling Amber and 911 and corraling two little grandsons and an exuberant barking Lacy.
Amber looked so beautiful in her cap and gown. She overcame many challenges while working on her bachelor's degree in social work. Amber is a truely remarkable woman, and we are exceedingly proud of her.
We lost the tread from a back tire, for the second time this trip, and had to be towed into Springfield, Mo.
The hillsides in Kentucky and Indiana are a beautiful blend of rock shelves and junipers. Roadtrips are definitely the way to go when you want to really get know the country. The view from Patricia's kitchen in Defiance, Mo. is magnificent,and we enjoyed it every morning as we ate the breakfasts she made for us. Their home is built on three acres of forested land. The backyard goes down to a ravine with a stream that is fed by a spring. Across the ravine the hillside goes up again, forested with maples and brush, and interspersed with limestone ledges.

Kelly and Patricia always show us such a good time!

For our first outing in Defiance, near StLouis, Brian treated us to dinner at Hard Rock in the St Louis Union Station. The Whitings had never been to a Hard Rock Cafe before, and I think they really enjoyed all the memoribilia, especially Kelly. We loved having Cody and Mollie with us at Hard Rock and as we toured the magnificent StLouis Arch. The stainless steel arch is 630 feet tall and 630 feet wide at the base. It's located on the bank of the Mississippi River and forms a perfect frame for the StLouis skyline. The arch is glorious at night, but the pictures I took were not. Sorry about that.

Kelly is a history buff, and one of his all time heroes is Daniel Boone. We learned what a remarkable frontiersman, statesman,and human being he was as we toured the estate of his declining years.
Kelly has a ton of work to do on their property. As he said, he'll be digging ditches for the rest of his life. But, he won't top the work Trish did to prepare for them to move in. She created a lovely home from a place that was trashed.

Our little angel Alayna Jo

Our bright eyed little Alayna Jo loves the summer sundress Auntie Granny Shanny bought for her. Mommy Jo has a big smile because she can't get enough of cuddling with her sweet baby.
What a fun family gathering with both grandparents, two aunties, an uncle and cousin Mollie. The Sorenson grandparents were especially grateful to have arrived on time after spending two days of the road trip in a blizzard in Laramie, Wyoming. What troopers!!!
This little angle absolutely adores her daddy. Note the darling blessing dress, a precious gift made by Grandma Doris.

Fun, fun, fun in Louisville

Hey! The girls deserve their time together. We feasted at the Cheesecake Factory. MMMMM!
We spent a whole day at the park and watched Justin and Jordan's antics. Who is the kid in this picture?
Rogain really works!!! What a good sport. Bri was not allowed to shave his head until Doris got to run her fingers through his thick and luscious locks.

What a crazy place for lunch. At Lynn's Paradise there are no two lamps that match, two trees hold up the ceiling, unmatched chandaliers light the bar area, and crossed legs with capris and high heels stick out of the wall.
Bri and Doris go together like a fork and spoon. We'll return to Paradise every chance we get.

Sooz and Friends in Centerville!

Yay!!! We got to have the girls, and Ben, over to watch American Idol with us. First Brian BBQd hamburgers for us, then we all settled in for the big show. What fun. Hope we can talk them into coming back again.

Elder McKay Captain McVey

After our visit with the grandparents, we went to Sacrament meeting in Pacifica. We were totally blown away by the talks given by Julie and McKay prior to Mckay's mission to the North Carolina Raleigh Mission. McKay will be soooo missed by his dad, Chuck, mom, Julie, and especially by his younger bro, Otto. Of course Mollie will miss him terribly too. No, Mollie is not his girlfriend, she's his dog. Julie and I soared down a winding highway, flying around curve after curve, towards the ocean in her BMW. What an exciting way to return home from church.
McKay is like a ray of sunshine in his home. Although he is a most grounded and spiritual young man, he also is bursting with good humor and laughter. He could hardly stop cutting up for a serious picture with his grandma.
Otto cooked Sunday dinner for us, Japanese orzo with chicken. Yes, I got the recipe! Otto is an exceptionally talented piano player, and he has a green thumb with Bonzai trees. What a great kid!!!
Grandma Helen hosted a declicious brunch for us and other Captain family members before we delivered McKay to the MTC. How we love Julie's family. McKay was sooo eager to get going with his first day as a missionary.

Here he goes again, cutting up for the camera! "Please don't make me go. I'll miss you tooooo much!!!" NOT!

Work and fun in Sacto

Grandma Great always wears a big smile when we can coax her out into the back yard to swing with us.

Can you believe? She is great at catching and throwing the ball. (Don't tell Grandpa, but she is better at it than he is.)

Brian loves working in the yard. During this trip he trimmed the pecan tree (again), the orange tree, and did some sawing on the cherry tree. He ALWAYS cleans the pool and the hot tub, mainly because Doris LOVES to soak in the hot tub!