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Friday, December 31, 2010

A Rundown of 2010

Perhaps because of all the huge and amazing things our family experienced in 2009, I thought we would have similar experiences in 2010. Years are different though...just like people. There are exciting and fun years and there are years filled with sadness and hard things. Some years are sort of boring, not providing loads of memorable experiences and some years are a mixture of ups and downs.

2010 went by so quickly and seemed so full of things, good and bad that I wanted to recap for myself some of the events. As I thumbed through my 2010 planner a few memorable times stood out:

We started out the year in anticipation of sending Bryan off to Budapest, Hungary. That was our main focus one year ago. His call came last December right after we returned from our Korea/Japan trip. So by January we were busy purchasing missionary items and getting Bryan packed for his March 10th departure.

Those months at the MTC and then off to Hungary were filled with learning and joy and, unfortunately, also physical pain as osteoarthritis plagued Bryan's knees. He was examined by an orthopedic surgeon in Budapest, had an MRI performed, and was sent home at the end of July for bilateral knee surgery. For months Bryan has been doing physical therapy. He saw his orthopedic surgeon for the final visit on December 29, 2010 and was told (again) that he will not be able to return to Hungary. So his focus now is being a student at the University of Utah starting January 2011 and hopefully resubmitting missionary papers for another area (one he can ride in a car and not spend 10 hours a day walking stairs).

Another event of 2010 which I recall fondly, is our trip to Baltimore/Pennsylvania/DC/NYC and Franklin/Nashville in March and April. Rob, Cami and I had a marvelous time visiting Dani and Kelly in their new home state of Maryland. Every day of the vacation was filled with day trips and adventures. On our way home, we made a side journey to see Rob's brother in Tennessee. Now at the end of 2010, Dani and Kelly are here at our house to wrap up another year with us. They've been here since December 23 and we've enjoyed every minutes of these days together.

Camille got her driver's license in 2010. She wasn't all that interested in driving when she turned 16 in '09, in fact, she preferred someone drive her everywhere, but about six months later she decided she did want her license and so she took the test (more than once) and obtained her learner's permit. After six months, she was finally able to get her license and now she drives all the time. Cami and her cousin, Lindsey, spent the month of July 2010 at their Uncle Kevin's and Aunt Tanja's in Franklin, Tennessee. Cami had access to a Rav 4 and drove herself and Lindsey all over for those four weeks.

We did some remodeling projects on our house in 2010. We painted the entire upper floor and had new hardwood and carpet installed. Since Bryan's been home we've also refinished his furniture and repainted his walls and ceiling.

The garden is an annual event for me, but in 2010 I branched out and planted some different items which will become staples of future gardens. We had a record-breaking raspberry year in 2010, but as winter enfolds us today, the garden of 2010 is just a fond memory and the garden of 2011, a pleasant anticipation.

The 2010 Stake Indexing goal of 2,000,000 names has been a big part of my year. I have indexed nearly 37,000 of those names personally, but there are some stake members who have been absolutely amazing in their efforts to take us to our goal. With one day left we only have 5,351 names remaining in what seemed like an unobtainable goal even one week ago.

My niece, Amanda, was married in May 2010. This pulled family members to Utah for the event. I traveled to Arizona in September to see my Mom, she came to Utah once during the year too. We had Rob's Mom live with us for a while after she fell and broken pelvis in October.

I attended my 30th Class Reunion this summer and was also able to spend some quality time with my best friends from school a week later. I lost a couple of friends this year. Natalie Jolley passed away on August 14 and Bettie Hoenhe passed on December 10. I miss them both and look forward to those reunions beyond this life. I made some new friends this year and am truly grateful that I have such amazing people in my life to look to as examples.

Happy New Year everyone!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

SpudNuts and Gallon Glass Milk Jugs

Those who lived in and around Delta, Utah in the early 70s may remember what a stir was caused when a SpudNut shop opened up in town. It is easily compared to the excitement generated along the Wasatch Front when an In-and-Out Burger or a Crispy Creams opens. I recall trying to convince my parents that we should try donuts made from potatoes, they were probably really healthy. The shop had been in business for some time before I finally talked my Mom into stopping in at the SpudNuts store.

Even though I grew up on a small family farm, we never milked cows. The cows we raised were for meat and ended up in the freezer. My family always purchased milk from a local dairy farmer. When I was little we went to the Warnick Farm at the east side of Hinckley and bought raw, unpasteurized milk from them. That was what my parents had grown up drinking and so that is what they wanted. I remember a few times following one of the Warnicks out to the barn and watching them strain the milk and pour it into the jars we brought. At some point, the FDA shut down all those little Mom and Pop type dairies for selling unpasteurized products.

The shutting down of milk sales at Warnick's Dairy coincided with the opening of the SpudNut shop. Along with delicious donuts they also sold fresh, pasteurized, local milk. One day while we were in town grocery shopping, I convinced my Mom to buy the milk at the SpudNut shop and then we could pick up a dozen donuts too. It worked out well because my family liked the milk and I LOVED the donuts. A few weeks later we were at the SpudNut shop again, but she insisted we get milk only, no donuts. I asked her if I could go into the shop by myself and buy the two gallons of milk. She reluctantly agreed and handed me the cash. When I got into the store, I told the nice lady what I wanted and she sat the two gallon jugs on the counter and rang up my purchase. The way the store was arranged, I could look right out the glass wall behind the cashier to my Mom sitting in our car. I felt so proud that I could do this task by myself. Mom smiled at me as I paid for the milk and then took the two red plastic handles to pull the jugs from off the counter and carry them out the door. Everything had gone smoothly until those glass jugs came down weighing more or being taller than I anticipated and slammed into the tiled floor of the SpudNut shop. Both of them smashed simultaneously leaving me standing in a huge puddle of whole milk holding red handles attached to jagged broken glass jugs.

I've replayed this event in slow motion in my mind at least a million times. I was still looking into my Mom's face as the jugs slammed into the ground and I recall that her smile changed into a grimace before she climbed out the car and came into the store to apologize and to offer to clean up the mess. Two gallons of milk makes a big mess! I was crying when she came into the store so she sent me to the car while she tried to make amends with the cashier.
I do not recall ever going into the SpudNut shop again. Perhaps because we were banned or because my Mother was too mortified to ever enter the shop again? I'm not sure, but it was shortly after this event that we started buying our milk at Ekin's Dairy on the north end of town. It was on the road going out to the reservoir and it seems like we always hit at least one rabbit every time we went out there for milk. I hated that drive and I missed the chance to buy donuts along with our milk. Curse my wimpy arms and short legs!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Almost four weeks ago Rob's Mom came to live at our house for a while. Earlene is 87 years old and has been remarkably healthy until she took a fall in October and broke her pelvis in two places. Since then, she has seemed frail. It also seems her memory has slipped quite a bit. At first we thought perhaps it was the pain medication she was on, but she only took the Percocet for a few days because it was causing too much trouble with her stomach and her mind.

After a couple of weeks of home health care, physical therapy, and Rob's sister, Julie, trying to spend as much time as possible at her Mom's house to help her out, we realized that she shouldn't be left alone any more so the decision was made to have her come live here while Julie and David finish the mother-in-law apartment in their house.

We all call Rob's Mom Mimi. When Kevin, her oldest grandchild, was a baby she tried to get him to call her 'Grammy', but it came out as 'Mimi' and it stuck. Now everyone calls her Mimi. Mimi is a wonderful grandmother. She has loved every one of her grands and they all think she is grand. She was a get-down-on-the-floor-to-play kind of grandmother. Her seven grandchildren all have such fond memories of playing 'city bus' on her bed with a round pillow as the steering wheel, Author's Cards, The Hair Net Lady, I Spy, Spoons and many other games.
It has taken a little getting used to having another person living at our house, but Mimi makes it as easy on us as she can. She is very unassuming and quiet. Rob brought her TV to our house and hooked it for her, so she spends a few hours of each day in room watching it. She goes to bed around 9:00 or 9:30 each evening and wakes up around 10:00 a.m. We have to remind her to eat. We believe the reason she has gotten so thin is because she just forgets to eat. She is diabetic, so this is a concern beyond weight. We keep popcorn, crackers, fruit, vegetables, sugarless cookies and hot chocolate mixes out on the counter and encourage her to snack in between meals.

We are happy to announce that Mimi's gained four pounds since she's been staying here. Perhaps having the Thanksgiving feast since she's been here helped. She loved the sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, rolls with lots of butter and stuffing covered in gravy and had quite a number of plates full of those things on Thanksgiving and for a few days following.
I took Mimi to Weber High School's production of White Christmas on December 3rd. She loved it! She kept commenting throughout the production how amazed she was at the talent of these young people and that it didn't seem possible that this was a high school musical. She tapped her toes and clapped her hands and truly seemed to enjoy the evening. Unfortunately, by the next day she didn't remember attending the program. She has become really forgetful. She knows she doesn't remember things and it really bugs her.

I guess there are some good things about Mimi's forgetfulness. She laughs at the same jokes over and over, the not-so-good things about her lack of memory is that she keeps asking the same questions over and over. She asks every day when we are taking her home. Hopefully we can make her comfortable and happy here and eventually she'll forget to ask that question. We love Mimi! We feel very privileged to have her staying here now and hope she'll remember it as a good time.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Bryan's Project

Bryan has been anxious to stay busy while he has been going through 12 weeks of physical therapy. He started back to work last month, he got registered for another semester of school at the University of Utah starting in January, but he decided he needed a project for while he is home. Thus, the ‘Remodel Bryan’s Room Project’ was born.

The furniture Bryan has had in his bedroom for nearly his entire lifetime, was some Ethan Allen pieces which had been in Rob’s parent’s cabin in Tahoe. They are nice, solid pieces of furniture, but they were pretty scraped and dented with all the moves and spending the last 17 years in a boy’s room.

So we purchased some stripper, plastic scrapers, three different grits of sandpaper, black paint, paint tray, rollers, mineral spirits and some new nickel hardware and we were off.

It took several coats of the Citristrip stuff we bought to remove all the old finish. I’m not sure if it is because the varnish was so ancient that it had practically turned to rock or if it was because we bought the most non-toxic stuff we could find. After scraping all the goo off, we wiped down the pieces with mineral spirits. Then we started with roughest grit sandpaper and went over every piece thoroughly then moved to the middle and then finest sandpapers until the wood was as smooth as glass. After a final cleaning, each drawer, door and frame received three coats of black paint.

We did four dresser pieces and a pedestal bed frame. After a thorough drying time, we attached the new hardware and the sprayed-painted old pieces we didn’t change out.

During the furniture drying time, we started on Bryan’s walls and ceiling. We filled holes, sanded and cleaned and applied fresh paint. We did a focal wall a color called, Paprika. After all the painting was done, we cleaned his carpet, bought a new bedspread and decorative pillow, made and hung new curtains and moved everything back into the new room. We even put up a hook for Bryan’s Hungarian Whip to hang from because it is so beautiful it deserves to be displayed.
We've ordered some art work and have bought a new clock to hang on the walls. The changes make the room seem very grown up. There is only one Lego contraption on the dresser. All the other toys and little boy things have been put away.