Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Going Home

After a week at home with my family, a beautiful funeral and military internment ceremony for my dad, and some quality mourning and sorting time with my sisters and mom, I am heading home tomorrow.

(This picture was taken by my Uncle Don just as the Honor Guard was presenting the flag that had been placed on my father's casket to my mother. Gorgeous.)

I guess in a way, we are both going home.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

My Daddy's Obituary

Most of you never had the privilege of knowing my father. He was a loving, kind, generous man with the biggest heart I will ever know. I'd like to hope to be just like him someday. I have a long way to go and big shoes to fill.

I'll be taking a brief blogging break while we travel home to Alaska for the funeral and to mourn with my family. Thank you for all your kind comments, emails, phone calls, flowers, cards and friendship. I am indeed surrounded by wonderful people.

Just one less than before.

My daddy's obituary.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Missing Him Already

My dad quietly slipped away this morning.

I miss him already.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


...the silly fortunes in the Chinese take-out cookies just get it wrong.

And sometimes, they just get it right.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Military Fringe Benefits

We re-instituted the Sunday evening stroll tonight and it was perfect. Beautiful. Sunny. Not too warm. We also used our beautiful Sunday jaunt to do some serious fruit recon. The house that we harvested pears from last year was (surprise, surprise) empty again so I snuck into the backyard and the smell of ripe pears tickled my nose. So we ran home, grabbed some buckets and picked about 4 buckets full of ripe pears. And there are still a bunch still ripening.

And across the park by our house is a big 'ole apple tree. Obviously, these trees aren't treated so their fruit is a bit smaller, but Tony and I picked two buckets of apples tonight, came home and started up the dehydrator so there will be fresh apple chips for snacks tomorrow.

Nice. Thanks Uncle Sam!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

S'more September Visiting Teaching Gifts

I think I might have one or two more vacation posts to get caught up for our blog book, but I wanted to squeeze this September visiting teaching post in before the month gets away from me. And man, is it a cute one.

Our family is a little obsessed with s'mores. We love them. A lot. And I've always wanted to do something "s'moreish" for visiting teaching gifts for September when a roaring fire in a backyard pit sounds really nice. But I try and keep the cost down and handing someone a box of graham crackers and a bag of marshmallows isn't exactly, well, cute. So when I found this post over at Twig & Thistle, I knew the time of the s'more visiting teaching gift had arrived!!

I found the darling little acetate boxes at PaperMart and I just went ahead and ordered them in packages because I already have visions of Christmas neighbor gifts (think homemade truffles in fluted papers in clear, tuck top boxes tied in red baker's twine. I get giddy just talking about it). And let's just have a little chat about baker's twine. You know, the super cute twine that comes in awesome colors and you can buy on most crafting sites for about $5 for 20 yards? Well, check this out. I have no idea how I'm going to go through 3400 yards of the stuff, but for $9.00, I'll give it a valiant effort.


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Rise and Shout...

On our way to Spanish Fork to visit my sister and her family and to see her new home, we took a slight detour to revisit our 'ole stomping grounds in Provo. First stop was the Lavell Edwards Stadium and a quick peek at the marching band that was practicing for the season opener.Then we made the kids sit with us by the cougar by the stadium...I kinda felt a little sorry for them as they got dragged through their parent's ancient history, but you really can't start out those Cougar fans too early.

We couldn't believe how much the campus has changed since we moved away 12 years ago. It was Orientation Week and it was so fun to see the kids showing up to school, moving into the dorms and wandering around with that dazed look on their face (the same look I had on my face that first time walking around campus). We even drove by the apartment complex where we lived when Tony and I met and also was the site of "the incident." I hasn't changed a bit.

Rise and shout!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Hogle Zoo

We took some time during the last few days of our trip to Utah and spent the morning at Hogle Zoo with Grammy Joan, Lena and Cora, Becky and Tucker. We really had a chance to see all the animals and because school had started in the valley that week, we pretty much had the place to ourselves. I'm including this picture

even though it is a little blurry because it showed what Cora did the entire time we were there...tried to kiss all the animals through the glass. At least this spider monkey was cute... After all the time Anna is forced to bum around with a couple of brothers, she sure enjoyed the time playing with Cora. She also got some extra special play time with Tucker at the zoo after lunch...the little cousins just loved her. We love the bird show at the Hogle Zoo! And when it doesn't go as scripted, it is even better! They had a terrible time with a Harris Hawk not wanting to get back in his cage that threw the whole show off a bit (the Harris Hawk would like to eat the other birds in the show if given a chance) but it was a "hoot." After the show, Anna took a dollar to donate up to the front and this bird took her dollar out of her hand and shoved it into the donation box. Pretty cool. After the bird show we met up with Tucker and Becky and took the rather short train ride around the zoo. And despite the serious look, Tucker really did enjoy the train ride!!:-) Fun times at the Hogle.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

TRAX & Temple Square

We have a little boy in our family who loves trains. In fact, if you ask him his name, he says "Joshua Grant McIllece Thomas." And he doesn't mean Thomas as in Rob Thomas. More as in Thomas the Train. So when we were in Utah, we decided that a ride on TRAX to Temple Square was in order!I haven't been to Temple Square in a long time, and I'm not sure if the kids have EVER been there (they were all three born after we graduated from BYU). There have been a few changes, but the feeling on the temple grounds is still so serene and peaceful. We wandered around outside a bit and then went inside to see the Christus. Anna and I had a pretty powerful experience there in this quiet room, looking at this beautiful statue of Christ and talking about the Atonement. Because of what is going on right now with my father's health and the anguish in my soul, I think the questions Anna asked were for my benefit more than for hers. How grateful I am for the Plan of Salvation.

When we were ready for lunch, Donny, Lena and Cora were able to meet us at the new food court of the mall the Church is building on South Temple. I'll tell you what, I've never had more fun watching a little girl eat an ice cream cone!

Here are a few of our favorites from the day:

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Back to the Grind

It seems like we are the last school in the world to start school in the Fall, but today was finally the day! Last night we had our father's blessings, last summer buzz-cuts and the ceremonial backpack re-packing.
After the picture by the front tree, I took them over to the school and got them settled in their new classrooms with their new teachers and new friends. Anna couldn't have me leave quickly enough...Sam had a little bit of a harder time. His class is huge this year (30 kids) and the room is on the small side. NOT meant for 30 kids. There was a bit of chaos, lots of shuffling bodies and a mommy who could barely hold herself together which made for one panicky boy. But in the end, we both took a deep breath and gave last loves. Then it was Josh's turn. He is in preschool 2 days a week and he is thrilled. He was mad when he realized that I would be taking him to school AND picking him up today and not the bus. He has made so much progress on his speech this summer...I know this year will be a great year for him.

My mom used to tell me that she had friends that would get together the morning school started and have breakfast to celebrate. She didn't see what there was to celebrate. I don't either. As much as the kids add "stuff" to my life and days during the summer, I'm always a little sad when school starts again.

After getting the kids in their classes, I felt a little weird walking down the hall. Alone. Kinda like I was missing a limb. But I managed to get myself pulled together and out the front door. But only after I checked on them all from their classroom

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

New Teacher Gifts

Tomorrow is the big day! School will be starting for all three kids. And are they excited? Well, Anna has had her backpack packed and ready to go for a week. Seriously.

Today we went to the school's Open House and met all their new teachers (Josh's preschool teacher is the same this year) and I am very happy with them...I have a feeling it will be a great school year for everyone. And just to give my kids a teensy-weensy little edge, here are the little bags I put together full of teacher treats from the Target $1 bins...pencils, notepads, stamps and a stamp pad. The darling "Back to School" button I found at and I LOVE that they don't have a minimum purchase.

Yes, my friends, that is called kissing up. And I'm not above it.