Friday, December 31, 2010

Mommy's Piggy Tales - Eleventh & Twelfth Grades

This is the last in a series of blogs I'm writing for Mommy's Piggy Tales. (Because I won't be able to link it next week, I'm doing it early.) Janna has provided a forum for members to write and share stories from their youth. It's a great adventure! Feel free to join in here. In June, 1978, Mom, Louise, Scott, Holly and I went to Provo for a month. Ida joined us after spending a couple of weeks with Cheri and Glen in Idaho. Mom was attending a seminar for her Bachelor of Independent Study degree, Louise and Scott attended sport camps, and I went to Especially for YOUth – all on the BYU campus. The weeks were staggered so that there was always a babysitter for Holly. We had rented an apartment and that was a lot of fun. There was a discount supermarket just across the street where we bought our food; it was exciting to just cook for a few people.

On my sixteenth birthday we went downtown to watch the parade. I don’t think I’d ever before attended one in person. It was a fun experience. I really enjoyed that month, just because I enjoy exploring towns in the middle of summer when there’s nothing else to do. I also enjoyed EFY, although I felt a little out of place because I wasn’t staying in the dorms. However, I learned a lot from the speakers and the activities.

Driving back to California, Mom let (made) me drive a lot so I could have some practice. We were in the Ford truck which had manual transmission and I had trouble shifting. My brothers and sisters in the back did not appreciate the lurching very much. The greatest compliment I received was after stop-and-go traffic in Stockton, that I managed without stalling, when Louise said she thought Mom had been driving.

During the week I was home before Girls’ Camp, I took the test for my driver’s license. I was a nervous wreck, but I did pass it – just barely, but I got it the first time. I was pleased. I’m a much better driver, but it’s hard to learn when your parents get frightened easily, and you don’t have much practice. The day I got it, we went up to San Jose to the grandparents and they all surprised me with a big cake and then all of my birthday presents. Grandmother had hurt her foot so we did all the celebrating around her bed. It really was a lot of fun. My junior year in high school was really exciting. My classes were P.E., Trigonometry, French III, Camerata, Choir, English, U.S. History, and Biology. I was doing my French independent study because of class conflicts, but was in the French II class along with Louise. We studied some during class, but we also did a lot of visiting and just had a good time.
Biology has never thrilled me, but I loved the teacher and I did learn many new things. Louise was also taking biology, but from another teacher, so I had someone with whom to discuss the things we were studying.

Mr. Dunn was my trig teacher and he was absolutely fantastic. We had a good group of kids in that class too. I really did have a lot of friends and I knew many people. A lot of people knew me also, and that’s a neat feeling.

At this time I was the official accompanist for choir and Camerata. We had a great time together. Sometimes I wish those days could come back, but that can’t happen. Our spring trip was really special. We were able to participate in a week long festival in Hawaii. I’ll never forget that trip. I loved being able to relax and enjoy the atmosphere with my peer group in a way that would not have been possible with my family. We sang quite a few times and that was a good experience. At one of the schools the teacher was a Mormon so we were able to make it to church on Sunday. It took a lot of courage to ask for her assistance, but I’m glad I did. She picked me and Cindy Stephens and three others in our group up and we attended Easter Sunday services in the Honolulu tabernacle. That night there was also a dinner activity that I declined to participate in and that gave me the opportunity to discuss the church with some more of my friends. Not everyone has the chance to travel as I have done, although many have done much more, so I’m thankful for all the beauties of the world that I’ve seen.

The summer of 1979 was the Martin Family Reunion, this time in the Tahoe-Donner area of California. I truly enjoyed those few days spent with my cousins and other relatives. I feel the closest to this side of my family because we do have these tri-annual events.
Senior year brings back many good memories.By that time I had cut my niche at the high school and I was very busy. I went five periods all year long, instead of taking seven and graduating at the semester. I was at the head of my class, student body secretary, choir and Camerata accompanist, active in three or four clubs, as well as church and community service. I was honored and received many awards, and $10,500 in scholarships by the year’s end, but I like to think that that didn’t change me too much. If anything, I realized that there are many people in the world who have greater talents than I have, but it’s up to me to magnify the ones I’ve been given.
(Here are the Kimball Scholarship Finalists for that year. I'm in the center of the front row. Interesting sidenote: Brad's mother-in-law is in this picture - the back row, far right - small world!)

June 13, 1980 indicated the end of a fantastic period of my life. I graduated from high school as the valedictorian of my class. I’d been accepted to Brigham Young University where I had been awarded the highest scholarship they had – the Spencer W. Kimball Scholarship. In the letter informing me of the honor, I was exhorted to learn about the life of President Kimball and to follow his example and work towards perfection. That is my life long goal.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Mommy's Piggy Tales - Ninth & Tenth Grades

This is the eleventh in a series of blogs I'm writing for Mommy's Piggy Tales . Janna has provided a forum for members to write and share stories from their youth. It's a great adventure! Feel free to join in here.
On the day before my fourteenth birthday we took our first load to our new home in Hollister, a long fifty miles away. I was just old enough, then, to attend stake dances and there were a lot of neat guys in old San Jose 18th Ward, and none in the Hollister Ward. Mom said not to worry, they’d all drive to Hollister to date me when I was sixteen. They didn’t, but it was no great loss. I saw them occasionally at regional dances and they changed a lot. We had a super garden that year, and also the next. Sometimes it gets really tiring picking a ton of beans, but it sure is nice being alone with nature. I always enjoy watching the garden grow and taking care of it. The strawberries, raspberries, and grapes became my special area of the farm. I would wake up early on Saturdays and during the summer to pick the produce before the dew had even gone away. I’d also do the weeding after the sun had risen, but before it got too hot. It’s not much fun weeding in the hot, sticky afternoon summer weather, but I do like weeding because you can see the weeds disappear and the garden become neat and orderly.I started high school in September 1976 at San Benito Joint Union High School in Hollister. Since the school had “feeder” schools from all over the county, everyone thought I had come from another junior high and didn’t realize that I knew no one. However, it didn’t take too long for my to have friends that I could at least talk to. My classes that first semester were Geometry, Plant Science, English Grammar, Choir, Anthropology, P.E., and French I. Because I was taking Geometry, many students thought I was a sophomore; they continued to think I was a class ahead until I was a senior. I enjoyed that math class, but I could never really get into it; it just wasn’t the same as Algebra. One of my good friends, Debby Libby, was also in that class. We would walk over to the high schools from seminary at the church building and have a chance to visit and read. Debby also encouraged me to go to the stake dances, and I did enjoy them. She was a sophomore, and turned 16 that December, so it was different for me to be with her. I was a homebody and didn’t care about boys at all. I usually ate lunch with one of my friends, another freshman, Lisa Jones. After a while though, I realized that her standards, along with her other friends, did not coincide with mine. I felt it would be healthier for me not to spend lunch hours with them, so I joined “Debby’s group.” Lisa was still my friend, but I’m glad I made that choice. Because of our new 5-acre farm, Dad wanted me to take Agricultural Science, but I just wasn’t interested. I compromised and took Plant Science. That was a fun class with a lot of practical application, though it’s kind of hard kneeling, weeding, and shoveling in a dress. Most of the time, however, some nice boy would move the wheelbarrow for me and other things like that. I continued to wear dresses to school about every other day just because I liked being feminine.
For piano lessons, I continued to go to Mrs. Lillian Parrish in San Jose, making the 100 mile round trip once a week for four years. It was kind of hard on Mom until I got my license, and then I did the driving. My sophomore year, Lori Ross, one of our neighbors, also took piano lessons from Mrs. Parrish, so our moms switched off driving.

The second semester of my freshman year, I joined Camerata as their second pianist. Charrie Cheshire had been it, but she was also doing stage band which met at the same time. I still don’t understand why Mr. Molina let me in, because I don’t think they really needed me. About three weeks into the semester, Carol Rose went to Taiwan with the AFS and they asked me to take her place. This was very unusual, first because I didn’t audition, and second because I was a freshman. I felt kind of out of place, but I did enjoy the association with the other kids.
In Seminary that year we studied the New Testament. Now I wish that I had gotten to know my Savior better than I did through reading about his life. It was a good class, though, and I enjoyed having it before school. I was able to participate in the stake scripture chase and that really helped me to learn the scriptures pretty well. I truly do love the scriptures. Hopefully, I will always continue to learn more of them.
In July of 1977, Holly Ann came into our home. She was then fourteen months old and an absolute doll. Around February Mother received the inspiration to try and adopt another child. We really wanted a baby but knew that was practically impossible since we had six children already. We looked into adopting someone from another nation, like Korea, but that didn’t work out. Then the social worker asked Mom what she thought about a physical handicap like cerebral palsy. Mom read the book Karen and felt that we could handle it. We she learned that Holly was only eight months old, we could hardly believe that it would be possible to adopt anyone that young so we didn’t even think about it. However, the social worker did, and starting around June, Mom started going to Holly’s doctors with her and her foster mother, Emma Snyder. The rest of us met her at a swimming party at the Snyder’s. Then one day the social worker asked Mom how she’d like to take Holly home with her in a few days. No one believed that it would happen so quickly; it usually takes forever. Mother and Father had prayed about it, as well as the rest of us, so we knew it was meant to be. The paperwork went so fast because it was important for Holly to feel she had a permanent family. The Snyders are absolutely wonderful people, who have now moved to Bellevue, Washington, and they still keep in touch with Holly. My sophomore year in high school I was MiaMaid president. That was a big responsibility, but I did learn a lot, and I grew to love the girls in my class. The first thing I was assigned was to be in charge of the food for the stake opening social. That was so frustrating because others would keep forgetting about what they were assigned. Delegation is really a tough principle to follow, but it is also very important. I’m glad I had experience in this area early. All I know was that we had sloppy joes, potato chips and carrot/celery sticks. The most frustrating part was my co-helper, the Priest’s first assistant. He just did not seem to want to do anything. However, things pulled together at the end, as they usually do, and it turned out well. I’d much rather go to an activity and work with the food than participate, but I need to achieve a balance in all things. Consequently, I need to learn to enjoy being in a group of people and socializing. We had other activities throughout the year. Some of them were terrific and others not so good. Some were a joy to plan and others were a giant headache. However, I think I learned something from all of them and it really strengthened my testimony. That fall I received my patriarchal blessing. Since Grandfather Beckstrand was the patriarch of a neighboring stake, I was able to get special permission to have him give it to me. That was a special privilege. I remember we drove all the way to San Jose and I found out that I had left my recommend at home. That was an awful disconcerting filling of irresponsibility. However, since Grandfather knew me, he gave it to me anyway, and I mailed the recommend to him the next day. My patriarchal blessing is really special to me, and it lifts my spirits and reminds me of my potential every time I read it. I think my most favorite line is where it says my children will obey me. I know I’ll have to teach my children obedience, and then live worthy myself, but that is such a neat blessing. I can see how my parents are hurt whenever we disobey them, and if it can be helped, I don’t want to go through that pain. San Benito Joint Union High School

My classes at the beginning of my sophomore year caused me a lot of problems. I challenged, and passed, grammar so I needed another class. In order to make my schedule work out, I had to switch English, Algebra II, and P.E. This put P.E. first period and Algebra II sixth, both with different teachers. I was quite upset because I didn’t want morning P.E. or afternoon math. And that was just for the first quarter; the second quarter my math teachers were changed, and then changed again third quarter. That year there were three Algebra II classes, and I was in all of them. In the spring when it started getting hot, I even appreciated having P.E. in the morning. From that experience, I learned that Heavenly Father knows what’s best for you, and if you look hard enough, you can find something beneficial in every experience you undergo.
(the "girl" cousins - Becky, Louise, Heather, Ida)

That year I was in Camerata, the audition-only, small choir, and in the spring we went to Southern California for a competition. That was the first time I’d been away from home except for girl’s camp and it was a good experience. We stayed in a motel in Huntington Beach right across from the ocean, and that was really fun. We sang a lot of places, but we also did some sightseeing. We toured the Queen Mary, went to Knott’s Berry Farm, attended dances and went swimming. The Sunday we were there was the day for Disneyland; that was kind of disappointing. Because I had no way of getting to a church and I was supposed to stay with the group, I went into the park but I didn’t go on any of the rides. It was a nice day, so I picked a bench and read and watched the people and surroundings, and my friends enjoyed using my spare ride tickets (this was before the days of unlimited passes). The whole trip was super fun and I really appreciated that opportunity.

The choir always sang at the high school graduation and I was really excited about that. However, about two weeks before then I became ill. When the fever and cough didn’t go away, I went to the doctor’s. There I found out that I had bronchial pneumonia and I had to stay in bed for awhile. It was kind of fun being pampered, but I hated being sick. I like doing things, not staying in bed, although I did do a lot of reading and helping around the house. Sometime during this period, Dad and my home teacher gave me a blessing and that was really special. I missed my finals and spent the first week of summer vacation in bed. I made up my English final at home, and I went back to school when I was better to take my math final. I was really kind of sick often during my sophomore and junior years in high school. I think I missed school because of it about three times a month.

At Christmas I was taking in-the-car training for driver education. It was really an awful experience. I was at the head of my class in written work, but I got C’s in practical training and barely passed the final. I was the only girl along with three boys in a group and I had never driven a car, and they had. We did the twelve hour course in two weeks – two hours each Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday during vacation. I was so awful because I didn’t have any time to practice; Mom and Dad were busy with holiday activities. One day I had to ride my bike home (about two miles) and I had just left town when I got the most awful case of cramps. I backtracked about a block where the Taylor’s and Wein’s lived to see if they could help me but they weren’t home. I remember laying on their lawn and just crying because it hurt so bad. I had to get home so I said prayer and started walking down the street. At the corner a man was working in his garden and I asked him if I could use the phone. Mom was kind of upset when she found out (you’re not supposed to talk to strangers) but I felt it was the answer to my prayer. His wife gave me some aspirin and called Sister Jukes who came and took me home. Once I got there, I threw up and went to bed. By that evening I was feeling much better. The family who helped me were the Hill’s and they are truly special people, although now he is a widower. That experience was my favorite Christmas present that year because it proved to me that prayers are answered and that I have a loving Heavenly Father who cares about what happens in my life.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Three Sons

Yesterday in church we sat in back of a family with three little boys, and I was reminded of this article that someone sent me after the birth of our third son. I'm not so sure I agree with all of the statements, and maybe adding two more sons and a daughter changed the dynamics, but I remember drawing encouragement to endure from this little statement and thought someone else might enjoy it as well. Besides, it was a good excuse to share these cute/handsome pictures! Sorry, but I have no idea what the original source is.
Three Sons
"There must be a special place in heaven for mothers of three sons. You certainly can tell them on earth. They're those ladies with amused, bemused faces and an amazing tolerance for disaster - for they have learned that shouting doesn't help.

"No other combination of children, not even twins, can create so much chaos or camaraderie. Even the most introspective child will join the team - them against you - and like all good players, they encourage each other to bigger feats of daring.

"We recommend the advice of so many successful mothers of three boys. Give them as much outdoor playtime as possible, and indoors, set up two rooms: one for sleeping, with nothing but beds and bureaus, and the other for playing, with much climbing equipment. With three children, one is bound to be quieter than the others and he probably will need a corner somewhere else.

"You will be frazzled in the early years but when your boys grow up, we think you'll find yourself perhaps more treasured than most other mothers."

Edited - Starting off with three boys runs in the family!
Generation 1:
My dad (on the right) was one of three sons.
 Generation 2:
Wayne was the oldest of three boys in three years, followed by a sister 10 years later.
Generation 3:
Our oldest three sons - ready for church in 1989.

Generation 4:
Our current Pennsylvania grandsons.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Peace and Joy

In the midst of our crazy, busy schedule, I've been trying to remember these two words. I'm thankful that I received the reminder (see here) that peace and joy come from obedience and service. It has definitely helped me this month. So, no, we're not really ready for Christmas, and I'm going to spend the next four days away from home, but that's okay. We're scaling back, the most important things will get done, and we'll still feel the real reason for the season. We hope you do as well.
Have a wonderful Christmas!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Mommy's Piggy Tales - Eighth Grade

This is the tenth in a series of blogs I'm writing for Mommy's Piggy Tales . Janna has provided a forum for members to write and share stories from their youth. It's a great adventure! Feel free to join in here. There's a reason we're supposed to write things down. Yesterday I was thinking there was something I needed to add to this, but now I can't remember. This entry may seem a bit disjointed, but here's what I wrote about 8th Grade when I was in college:
In eighth grade we did “Finian’s Rainbow” and I had the girl’s lead of Sharon. I’ll never forget that; I had to sing solos and memorize a ton of lines besides sewing my costumes and keeping up my school work. However, that was the highlight of my extra curricular activities.
I loved reading, and at times I was reading a book a day. Most of them were silly romantic novels, but I learned to love good books also. I was in quite a few clubs, including Student Council. I continued to play the oboe in band, and I was also taking Algebra, French, and U.S. Government.

One time in Government, Dad came in and gave a presentation on patents, when we were studying the age of inventions. I had never before realized what exciting things Dad did, and I guess it’s been a long time since then that I’ve talked to him about it.

I continued my 4.0 grade point average and graduated as valedictorian of my class of 1976. I received my first pair of high heels for graduation and really felt grown up. Graduation was happy and sad. It was particularly sad because I knew I was moving. My best friend, Leslie Pinkney, gave me a surprise going-away party. That was fun, but I wish I knew what had happened to all of those friends.

My church activity those two years was hectic also. I was Beehive President my 8th grade year and there were only three active girls so it was a real challenge. Sister Burdett was our advisor and she was terrific. I loved MIA and we had some good times. One time we had a square dance and I was still sewing buttons on a new dress in the car on the way there. We also had some fun snow trips and terrific lessons.

This was also the year we went to court to have the adoption of George, Ida, and Ben become official (the top picture). And I continued taking piano lessons (the bottom picture).

Oh, I remember the story now. One of the classes I took in junior high was a cooking class. The other night I didn't feel like doing the dishes before going to bed, so I just rinsed everything and left the crockpot to soak. I was going to add the wooden spoon to the crockpot because it was crusty too when I remembered the "cooking class incident" and couldn't. Apparently you're not supposed to let wooden spoons stay immersed because they get swollen and yucky. One day in cooking class, before I learned that important information, I left the wooden spoon in the dishwater while I went to do something else and my teacher yelled at me. It was a traumatic experience. And so the other night, I left the wooden spoon on the counter and just washed it in the morning. Isn't it interesting what we remember?!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Mommy's Piggy Tales - Seventh Grade

This is the ninth in a series of blogs I'm writing for Mommy's Piggy Tales . Janna has provided a forum for members to write and share stories from their youth. It's a great adventure! Feel free to join in here.
The summer of 1974, our family went on a five-week vacation across the United States. It was a grand excursion. We started in California, then went east through Nevada and Utah. That was one of the more enjoyable crossings of the desert that I’ve ever taken because it rained the whole time. We stopped in Clearfield, Utah, to visit my Great-grandmother White and picked cherries off of her famous cherry tree.
Our family then continued across Colorado, Wyoming, and Nebraska, where we stopped at the Pony Express Station. On July 4th we were supposed to have been in Hannibal, Missouri, but we didn’t quite make it. We were on a dirt road going to a camping facility when we got stuck in the mud. So, on my birthday, I spent the morning hauling rocks to put behind the wheels. We finally did get out, and even made it to Hannibal. That night we were stuck was a real experience for me. We had borrowed a mini-motorhome and the three girls were sleeping on the bed over the cab. When we asked why we were stopped, Dad said it was because one of the double rear wheels was hanging over a cliff. I thought a cliff meant a 100-foot vertical drop, so we all kind of panicked. The next morning, however, we discovered that it was only a six-foot ditch, but still enough to hurt us if we had tipped over. Also, that night Mom crawled up next to me to get some sleep, and it was a horrible sensation to wake up and not be able to move. I’ve always been slightly claustrophobic ever since then.
At about that point we started following the “Mormon Trail” backwards. We had a lot of fun in Nauvoo, especially at the blacksmith shop. We also visited Adam-ondi-ahman, Far West, Liberty Jail and Carthage. I would, hopefully, appreciate the experience more now, but it was good one for me then also. While we were in that area, we went through Tom Sawyer’s Cave and explored the boyhood town of Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain). I always enjoy reading his books, and this helped to make them come alive.
We stopped in Kirtland, Ohio, and took a real nice tour of the temple there. Since it was owned by the Reorganized Church, we could do so. We also stopped in Palmyra, New York and visited the Whitmer Farm as well as the Joseph Smith home. Then we walked over to the Sacred Grove but everyone was grouchy, so it wasn’t as neat as it could have been. In New York, near Niagara Falls, we stayed in the cutest little camping park. One morning we went on paddle boats there which was a lot of fun. We also had a great time at the Falls, and even crossed the bridge over into Canada. Because we were living in our motorhome, we could say that walked to Canada from our home.

I think Vermont was my favorite place during the whole trip. We visited the birthplace of Joseph Smith near Sharon, and also Fort Ticonderoga. The whole state was just beautiful. I had a lot of fun imagining what it would be like to live there. We then drove through New England and I really enjoyed that as well. We visited Mom’s relatives in Connecticut where they had a swamp in their back yard. We also stopped in Concord, Massachusetts, to visit the Alcott home and Revolutionary War sites. I just love history so it was really neat to be able to see those places.
We spent a day in Boston and walked all over it. There was some sort of historic sites trail that we took. Dad wasn’t with us then, but we met somewhere and had dinner together. We quickly stopped at the Mayflower and walked through the village at Plymouth Rock. Everyone there was dressed up and living like they would have when they first landed. The authenticity was a neat experience.

Our family continued on to New York City. It sure was fun driving through the downtown area. We took the ferry and climbed to the Statue of Liberty’s head. I was afraid I would get claustrophobia, but I didn’t, so it was fun. Ida’s birthday was celebrated in a park in Washington, D.C. I liked being able to visit all the presidents’ monuments again. We even went to the Smithsonian and looked at planes, rockets, and the presidents’ wives’ inaugural gowns.
We went to church in our old Silver Spring Ward and then visited the Fox and Candland families. My parents really enjoyed that, but I think I liked their homes and yards better. There weren’t any fences! And at that time of year everything was green. We also saw the temple there, but it wasn’t finished being built then.

In Virginia we visited mount Vernon and I loved that. We also drove by Williamsburg and other places before heading west. On the way home our vehicle broke down somewhere around Michigan so we had to fix that. I remember walking along the highway to a Holiday Inn where we spent the night. That was an unusual treat.

We drove through the northwest corner of Yellowstone Park and stopped to play in the creek and have a picnic. Then, in Idaho, we visited the place where Grandfather Beckstrand grew up. We also stopped to visit our second cousins, the Ted Johnson’s, in Boise. Then we arrived home in early August. My two years in Junior High School were the best of my life (at least up to the point that I originally wrote this). I went to Quimby Oak Junior High in the Evergreen School District of San Jose. We had to ride the bus, that that was fun. Mrs. Bolling was our bus driver, and she was a super neat lady. During seventh grade we were on double session with 7th graders going in the morning and the 8th graders going in the after noon. I took Pre-Algebra, P.E., Choir, Band, Language Arts, Science, Geography, Ceramics, and Spanish in seventh grade. Band was held after school every other day so on those days I ate lunch at school. The other days I went home and ate leftovers with Mom. It was so neat to have that time alone with her.
(I don't think I mentioned that I got my first pair of glasses sometime in 6th grade.)
I loved my classes, except sometimes P.E. Mrs. Samdahl and Miss Lawler were my Language Arts teachers. That class gave me the best preparation for high school, and life. Mrs. Samdahl was also the choir teacher, which I accompanied, and also lived just across the street from us. We are still pretty good friends. That spring (1975) we put on the production “Annie Get Your Gun” and I played the part of Jessie, Annie’s little sister. That was a terrific experience, and I totally enjoyed it. (The picture isn't actually of "Annie Get Your Gun" but of the ward roadshow that same year.)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Mommy's Piggy Tales - Sixth Grade

This is the eighth in a series of blogs I'm writing for Mommy's Piggy Tales . Janna has provided a forum for members to write and share stories from their youth. It's a great adventure! Feel free to join in here.
In sixth grade, my teacher was Miss Terrell at Holly Oak Elementary. It was fun being the oldest class in the school. I also loved my friends and schoolwork. However, at this time Mom and Dad decided that our house was just too small for eight children and we needed to move. We wanted to stay in our ward, though, so it took a lot of looking and house hunting. (This year we had Richard - back row left - staying with us as part of the Indian Placement Program. He was the same age as Tony - back row right. The picture was taken at my grandparent's house at Thanksgiving.) I was really excited about moving, mainly because if the house was big enough I could have my own room. Finally we saw the house we wanted. It was in the same ward and school district and was in a beautiful neighborhood. Besides that, it was a new one and we were able to go and watch it being built. And I was able to have my own room. We moved into our new home around Easter vacation in 1974. I loved it because it was so much like a palace to my childlike imagination. The living room ceiling sloped from one story to two stores and had windows all the way up there. Then we had a gorgeous stairwell with a gallery overlooking the entry way. One of the neatest things about moving was that I didn’t have to do a report for school like everyone else in the class, because we changed schools. I only went to Evergreen Elementary School for two months, but it was a pretty good experience for me as I look back on it. It’s always hard being the “new kid” in school, especially when you can do everything that the other kids can’t. The new neighborhood was fun to explore, especially since there were only a few families in the housing tract. At first we didn’t have any fences, so we could go all over the place, running and playing and watching the construction. My mom saved pictures of a couple of my activities that year. The first was a Daddy-Daughter event for the Merrie Miss girls at church. Because my sister was also a Merrie Miss, she took Dad and I invited my grandfather. There's the green dress I mentioned last time. And you can see the other sewing project below, in the picture of our little singing group. Unfortunately, I have no idea what the occasion was, but it looks like we sang a Primary song for something at church.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

It's December!

That means it's time to decorate the house for Christmas. First up is the tree. It sure went a lot faster a few years ago when we had more helpers. But dividing the responsibilities still works - while one child puts in branches, the other checks the lights. My job was to "fluff" the tree and put on the lights.Before the lights:
and after:One of our Christmas traditions is to do some sort of countdown each year. I really liked the felt tree we had when the kids were little, but the ornaments kept falling off and I haven't gotten around to fixing that problem yet. Instead I went to the store and got this Santa full of little drawers. The first year I was able to be a little creative and found earrings and micromachines to put in the drawers. We've also used letter tiles to spell out something bigger. Right now it just has candy and that seems kind of lame. There are still a lot of days left; does anyone have any better suggestions?
I'm glad we're making some progress, but it sure would be nice to have the time to get it all done at once instead of a little bit here and a little bit there. This is what our kitchen counter really looks like:
Oh well, eventually the bins will get emptied and returned to the attic. Happy Holidays!!!