Friday, April 28, 2017

BYU Graduation 2017

The main purpose of our trip to Utah was to celebrate Steven's graduation from BYU.

He graduated summa cum laude (kept a 4.0 gpa all eight semesters!) in Electrical Engineering, and is off to the University of Michigan for grad school this summer. As you can imagine, to say we're extremely proud of him would be an understatement.

Thursday's commencement speakers** were actually quite good - interesting, entertaining, and informative. That isn't always the case, so we were grateful for that.

Friday we attended the college convocation exercises. While we never did figure out where Steven was sitting the day before, after he walked across the stage, we were able to follow him to his seat (just to the right of the graduate with the white stole).

When we walked out of the building it was snowing! That was a bit miserable for our Florida blood, so we didn't spend a lot of time taking pictures. Sorry about that! But maybe you're grateful there are only three.

It wouldn't be a celebration without food! And just to keep with tradition we had three special meals. First was lunch before commencement at the MOA Cafe. After commencement, our graduate chose to have his celebratory meal at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse in downtown Salt Lake. It was a nice experience, and I'm glad I could cross eating there off my bucket list, but my Mother's Day steak (purchased from Costco and grilled at home) was more tender and delicious. Finally, the whole crew joined us after Friday's convocation for a late lunch at Brick Oven Pizza in Provo.

Congratulations on your Graduation, Steven!

Dad is thrilled that all of his children graduated from his alma mater. He's pretty pleased that all of the daughters-in-law did as well. We'll see what the next generation decides!

**You can read the news articles for the Commencement Exercises here and here.

President Worthen started by sharing a couple of pieces of advice he was sure the graduates had never heard before:
  • Be awful.
  • Don't pejorate; ameliorate.
So, I learned a new word: Pejorate - verb - To make worse; to cause to deteriorate. In later use also: to endow (a word) with a less favourable meaning. He talked about how "awful" used to mean "full of awe" and great and majestic. Over time people realized that great and majestic things like volcanoes and lightning bolts caused great problems and distress, so the meaning of the word "awful" changed, or pejorated. He counseled them to be awful in the orginal meaning of the word. That's pretty good advice!

Baroness Nicholson, who received an honorary doctorate, also spoke, and what impressed me from her speech was her humility and graciousness. She's done amazing things (starting a humanitarian charity to help Middle Eastern refugees, serving in the House of Lords, etc.) and yet she was truly honored and grateful to be considered part of the BYU community. I appreciated that.

Elder Foster, in the keynote address, shared Three Secrets of Life:
  • God has given everyone both time and the opportunity to choose what to do with it.
  • Know who you are in relation to God and each other.
  • Happiness is not measured in zeros, but in relationships.
That may be helpful to the graduations; however, here's what stood out to me from his speech:
  • To be like the Savior, develop the ability to look past appearances and really know the heart of a person.
  • Never love anything that can't love you back.
  • Life is about contribution, not accumulation, so do good things for others.
  • Leave behind a legacy. Live so that when you die, others cry and you rejoice.
  • The past is history and the future is mystery, that's why the present is a gift.

Other Activities in April

Easter was in April this year; the activities of that weekend deserved their own post. Our trip to Utah for Steven's graduation took multiple posts. Those two events pretty much took over the month, but we did manage to fit in a few other activities as well.

New Beginnings for Mutual
Chaperoning a stake youth "first aid" activity.
Getting out the ladder to change a light bulb.

Trying new recipes.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

More Utah Trip

Looking back, I'm amazed at how much we were able to do in just a week. In addition to watching soccer games and attending the temple, doing some family history and meeting an old friend, going on picnics and visiting the Tulip Festival, it was a joy just to spend some time with grandchildren. One rainy day, after spending the morning playing with play dough at home, Elizabeth decided they needed to go someplace to run around. Fortunately, they have a family membership to the local aquarium which has a great indoor playground. Because it was just before closing time, while the kids got rid of excess energy, I gave myself a quick tour, and was quite impressed with the facility. However, you don't need to go to big expensive buildings to have fun; little things at home (like under the bed and mama's glasses) can be quite entertaining on their own. I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with these cuties and just wished they lived a bit closer so it could happen more often!

This little character learned how to crawl and pull himself up while I was there.

Utah Trip

Steven's graduating from BYU - the last of our six children to reach that milestone - and that means a trip to Utah to help him celebrate. I decided to come out a week before Wayne to spend time with David's family and we've had a busy week!

I went straight from the airport to soccer practice. What fun! (Although it would have been a bit more fun if it was a bit warmer! It's hard to beat Florida weather in April.)

Soccer practice the next day was rained out, so we had our own in the basement. Even that was a good workout.
I figured out TRAX and went downtown to spend time at the Family History library and meet a college roommate for lunch. It was a real treat being able to spend time with her and we were too busy talking to take any pictures.
The station's a leisurely 10-minute walk from their house, and I enjoyed exploring the neighborhood on the way back. Here's an interesting park filled with poles. Apparently in the summer the city covers them with giant canvas tarps and people bring their own hammocks to hang between them.
Still waiting for landscaping, but their house is finished and they've turned it into a lovely home.
In an effort to help their more picky eaters enjoy dinner, they started a new tradition of letting them choose the menu on each monthly anniversary of their birthday. I was there for Dallin's and he chose "tortillas with cheese and olives" and sprinkle brownies. (The adults added taco meat and sour cream and other yummy fixings to their tortillas!)
Fortunately, although cold, Saturday was a sunny day, so soccer games went as planned. We bundled up and headed out.

They're held in a park with a nice playground and Evelyn wanted to show her cousin Brooke that she also know how to pump on the swing.

Dallin's game was first, and he did a great job of running around and chasing the ball. He even kicked it a couple of times!

 Even with all of his great participation, the highlight of the game was the treat at the end!
After his game we played on the playground and ate lunch, and then it was time for Evelyn's game. She also did a great job of running and kicking the ball.
After soccer games and naps we tried attending the Tulip Festival, and you can read about that here and here.

With little kids, even on Sundays it's a good idea to get out of the house, so on the way home from church we took a detour to stop and feed the ducks.
This week I also had the opportunity to observe last year's graduate at her workplace before cashing in our Valentine's gift from Wayne at the nail salon. We're so proud of the wonderful people our children have become!

Several years ago we were in Utah on vacation and were able to tour the Oquirrh Mountain Temple during its open house. I was grateful for the opportunity to spend time there again on this trip. It's a gorgeous temple, although I'm still partial to our own Fort Lauderdale Temple
It was cold, cloudy, wet and rainy when I walked into the temple, but when I walked out two hours later it had started clearing, and while still cold, was not wet and rainy. The view across the valley was spectacular, and unfortunately this picture doesn't do it justice. I will admit that's something lacking in the Florida landscape, and I'm grateful I can occasionally visit the mountains. 

WFMW - Ironing Board

Works for Me Wednesday - Or what do you do when the home builder doesn't put an outlet for the iron in the laundry room?
We've noticed some interesting quirks in the houses we've purchased over the years, but the lack of an electrical outlet in the laundry room (other than the ones dedicated to the washer and dryer) still baffles me. Where do you hang a rechargeable dust buster or flashlight? What do you do when it's time to iron your clothes?

Well, I know ironing isn't as necessary now as it was a generation or two ago, but I still do iron occasionally. Even though our laundry room is small, it would be nice to be able to plug in an iron for a quick job, but that's not possible. Fortunately, it's only a few steps to the kitchen where there are plenty of outlets along with room to set up an ironing board. Sometimes we have to make things work for us even if it's not our ideal. That's an important lesson to learn as well.
And there was plenty of room to hang the ironing board behind the laundry room door so it's out of sight when not in use.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Tulip Festival

The plans to attend the Tulip Festival on Saturday didn't work out, and we did want to see the flowers, so even though it was cold and rainy, we went back on Monday. It was beautiful, and everything felt clean and fresh.
There were plenty of flowers!
We walked from one end of the park to the other.
And decided that it would be a great idea to visit again in the summer when the roses are in bloom.
The fish were very excited to have the kids feed them, and watching that happen was great entertainment.
The stroller took the ramp to the top of the hill, while the rest of us used the stairs.
My favorite part was the secret garden,
but it was raining a bit harder then, and Dallin voted to stay in the covered passageway under his blanket.
Evelyn felt that Joseph Smith needed a hug because his face was all wet. Wasn't that kind and thoughtful of her?
We enjoyed looking at the other statues as well in the "Light of the World" Garden.
Here's a closer look at Dallin's favorite statue - Jesus with the Chickens - and mine - Raising Lazarus.
The carousel garden had the most unusual flower (upper right, but I don't know the name).
We walked down the hill to the waterfall,
and then climbed back up to meander through the paths and rivers that provided the source for all the falls. 

Just before the exit there was a little Japanese paper crane display which was interesting.
What a lovely time we had exploring Ashton Gardens!