Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Annual Gala Girls Week

This is another wordy post :)

The background story: Every summer my BFF, Ruth Melvin, and I try to get together for a girls week without any kids or husbands. We were able to go to Women's Conference in 1996, and after that we were so busy with missions and weddings and grandbabies our time off was spent being responsible. We joked that we should just meet in Barstow --- since she lives in Las Vegas it's a bit more than the half way mark for her and less for me. We finally did it a few years ago and had a blast. We stayed at a bargain hotel in Barstow and turned the thermostat down as low as we wanted 24/7. In addition to fabulous A/C, our room had a frig and a microwave, plus the hotel had a pool and an ice machine, so we were set. We both filled our cars with scrapbook stuff and had a lovely, lovely time. We did it again the next year and then 3 years ago we actually got to go to the beach for our gala week as a 50th birthday present from Craig and the kids.

Since then, we've been back to being responsible with our last two missionaries and a few more grandbabies. When we started out our adventure, between us we had 2 returned missionaries and Ruth had one in the field. Since then we have added 5 return missionaries, 5 daughter-in-loves, 2 son-in-loves and 16 grandchildren, with 4 more on the way!!!(Melissa is due any day now).

Needless to say, our time for gala weeks has been challenged by our adorable, growing families as well as our tight budgets. This year it looked like we weren't going to be able to get away, especially now that Ruth's parents live in her home and she lovingly cares for them full time. It had been much too long since the two of us had spent time together, so I brilliantly thought of just picking up Ruth and whisking her off for a few days someplace close by. Ruth got on the computer and found the perfect place.
We ended up spending Mon-Thurs this week at the Casablanca in beautiful downtown Mesquite. We got a bargain rate on our room which overlooked this glorious, waterfall-filled pool. We opted out of scrapbooking this time and instead laid by the pool, swam, napped, ate, read, shopped, and had the best time catching up. Ruth surprised me with tickets to see the musical Footloose, at Tuacan in St. George one night. ( just about 40 minutes away). It was a darling play and it was a treat to see Thayne Jasperson in the lead. He was on So You Think You Can Dance last summer, Season 4. The 80's music and dancing were so much fun.

One afternoon we went to the movies and saw "My Life in Ruins" which made us decide to set our sights a bit higher and try a trip to Greece one of these years. Craig and Dwight might have to join us for that one.

On Thursday afternoon I dropped Ruth off in Vegas and headed home to California where I spent a lovely hour in a huge thunderstorm, going 35 miles per hour. The lightning and the thunder were amazing and the air smelled so good. I do love the rain and a good thunderstorm!

It was good to get back home to Craig and his warm welcome. . .because the day I left the air conditioner in our house died, and they couldn't get us in the schedule to replace it until Monday, July 27. The A/C guy spent an hour trying to repair it, but because it's over 30 years old, the time has sadly come to replace it. The good news is the new unit will hopefully be more energy efficient and cost less to run. The bad news is that the weather has been hot and humid all week.

Yesterday was overcast in the morning so that kept things cool for a while, and then we spent the afternoon reading and then went out to dinner. Today we went out to lunch and saw 2 movies. Fortunately, we've got a cold snap tonight and it's only 90 outside with a decent breeze. At the worst, it was 87 in the house downstairs and upstairs it's 10 degrees hotter. Thank you, Heavenly Father, for air conditioning and for gala girls weeks!!!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Our Idaho Girls

I picked Craig up at the airport this morning, so we are officially empty-nesters for the next month, until Ben, Jamie, Kaylee and Blake arrive. Rebecca sent these darling pictures home with him:
2 year old Claire
Claire is so smiley and so photogenic. She looks like my little sister Suzy with her pixie hair cut and bright blue eyes.

These are such sweet pictures of 4 1/2 year old Paige. She looks so grown up! Paige loves flowers and she LOVES to pick them, regardless of who's yard or business or theme park they are growing in.
2 month old Reese

When I was in Idaho last month we took Claire to get her 2 year old picture taken, and Reese's 2 month picture. Then Rebecca had Paige's done and all 3 together when she picked those up, so it was a fun surprise. I do love these darling girls. Thanks, honey!

Friday, July 10, 2009

On The Road Again

Nick and Renee are off to Star, Idaho. Craig is driving the moving truck for them and then he will fly home. (Just like he did with the Bryant's 2 months ago). Mark calls Craig "The Master" when it comes to packing a moving truck, and this time was no exception. The truck and both cars are filled to the max. They left this morning at 6 a.m. You can even see a bit of sunrise in the background.
Nick works with Mark in a different division of the same company. Renee has been job hunting in the Boise-Meridian-Nampa areas and has had some good phone interviews. Hopefully she will get a teaching position soon. While Nick was saying the prayer this morning I started to ache already. We will miss them so much! We feel so blessed to have had our kids and grandkdids so close by for the past 10 years. It will be interesting to see what happens in the coming year with all these changes.
NEXT UP: Melissa's baby is due August 10, but we are hoping she is early again, because Ben graduates from BYU and will be commisioned on Aug 13. The next week the Army will pack them up and Jamie and the kids will be staying with us while he is in training for 6 months before they go to Ft. Polk, Louisiana. It was the first time I haven't lost it when Jamie left yesterday, because I know we'll get to see them sooner than later this time. I am so grateful we'll have them here for awhile, and that Melissa's family is still close by.

Our Summer Surprise

Jamie called and asked what we were doing for the 4th of July, and when we told her we had no plans, she asked us if we'd like some visitors. Of course we said YES! So two days later, Jamie made the trek with 5 month old Blake and 2 1/2 year old Kaylee.
We haven't seen Blake since he was blessed in April, and he has grown like crazy! This adorable baby looks a lot like Luke at that age. He is a good mix of Ben, Jamie and Kaylee. Aunt Melissa and Dylan bonding. Melissa is due in 4 weeks (hopefully less--- the boys were both early).
We had a fun cousin day at Melissa's in Lake Elsinore. We mad a quick trip to the outlet mall, and someone had the bright idea to get ice cream cones while the Jamie and Melissa shopped at 10:30 in the morning. Kaylee was too busy with her ice cream to smile, but Luke is always willing to say, "Cheeeeese, Grama".
Dylan was pretty happy to have his own cone. Then it was back to Melissa's to play in the pool.

Jamie already has her girlish figure back. No wonder she's in such good shape lugging around this 17 lb. kid all day! Melissa has a nice little 2' pool and Luke was happy to show us all his new swimming technique from lessons. I wish I had a picture of him in action. He is a little fish and has the cutest tan. You can see him a little bit swimming behind Blake.

Kaylee enjoyed playing in the water while Dylan was just as happy in the little wading pool splashing and throwing things in the bigger pool (rats- no picture of Dylan).

Melissa had this cute little floatie and Luke wasn't so sure at first, but he enjoyed it so much, he started to doze off. After lunch and popsicles, it was a fun day and the kids all took great naps!
Melissa and I are still missing those darn Bryant's on days like this, especially at the Outlet Mall and when the cousins are together. When Rebecca was here, we always missed Jamie. It's a vicious cycle!

On Monday morning, Suzy, Trevor and Sarah stopped by on their way home from vacation in Utah. Even though they live in San Diego we never see them enough. They had just left Ben and Josh in Provo the day before.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


Usually I watch online for the next book by my favorite authors, but somehow this one caught me by surprise and I was so glad to find it in the store and find it was a new release. ( It always frustrates me to buy a book that has been reissued that I've read before).

It was such a good read, with great characters and some good twists and turns. It's about 4 women who are neighbors and despite their huge differences, they are brought together to give service. I love it when I find a good author who I can share with my daughters. I read on Emilie Richard's facebook page that she is currently writing the sequel, and I love a series!
I loved Shannon Hale's AUSTENLAND, and this is her latest novel just out in hardcover, THE ACTOR AND THE HOUSWIFE. At first I wasn't sure I would like it because one of the characters is a Mormon housewife, but it is very, very good and she represents the church well. (Shannon Hale is a member). The writing just sucks you in and I couldn't put it down. I ended up loving this book. It's not at all predictable.

I definitely think one of my happiness keys is all the great books that come out for summer reading! Janet Evanovich#15 was great and I can't wait to tackle the new books by Mary Alice Monroe, Nora Roberts, Rebecca Wells and Dorothy Benton Frank! Yippee! But for now, I've put myself on reading restriction until I make a dent in my list of chores. At least now I can cross off catching up on my blog!

My Beach Boys

After our lovely June gloom, July has arrived with 95+ degrees, as well as a bit of humidity and the dreadful smog and haze. Melissa and I decided to beat the heat by taking the boys to the beach today.

Luke and Dylan loved playing in the sand. Luke was so cute chasing the waves and the tide was low so it was a perfect day for little ones. I loved playing with Luke in the water.

Dylan, however did not enjoy the water, and was even frightened. We don't know if it was the cold or what, but he was content playing in the sand. He was very serious shoveling sand and dumping it in and out of the buckets-over and over and over again. So, Melissa and I traded off on water duty and sand duty, although I think I got to spend the most time in the water with Luke.
The ravishing Melissa, 34 weeks pregnant with baby #3. I think she looks so adorable in this picture. ( She gave me permission to use this picture).

Okay, in fairness to Melissa, here's one of me building a sand castle with the boys. They preferred knocking down, to actual building, but it was so much fun to play in the wet sand. What is it about the ocean air that is so soothing? Ahhh, it was such a nice day.

COMING TOMORROW: Jamie, Kaylee and Blake will be here for a week. Yippee!!!