Thursday, August 2, 2012

Who Needs Yard Crashers...

One of the main reasons we bought our house was the big yard. We knew the house needed work; but  also knew that while you can remodel a house, you can't alter the size of your lot. When we moved in the yard was full of full-grown trees, creating so much shade that the grass couldn't grow. Growing among all the trees were three messy cottonwood tress that we wanted to get rid of. I called Provo city Forestry Department to see if they would take them out for us, because they were so tall that we didin't want to take a chance of knocking out a power line in the process. A few days later, as I was leaving for work they were pulling up with their trucks and told me they were here to take out "those trees," but when I got home...what a surprise! Not only did they get the three cottonwood trees, but they took out 29 other trees along with 'em! At first we were a sad about losing the trees, but then realized the potential our yard had. We still have lots of trees, so the house gets lots of shade in the summer, but now the yard is open and a blank canvas for landscaping.

Little by little we have worked out there. We brought in sod and planted some flowers on the hill. It was looking pretty good, but the lower yard had two tiers to it and still seemed disconnected. Last summer we brought in 15 truck loads (each weighing 15 tons) to build up the lower level. It really changed the look of the yard and made it look even larger. This year in early June, Eli started calling landscaping companies to get bids for them to finish leveling and either sod or hydro-seed. One of the bids was quite a bit lower then the others, and the guys were pretty anxious to get started; but we were working on the basement and needed to be able to drive across the yard to unload cabinets and stuff, so we asked if they could wait a couple of weeks. Well a couple of weeks turned into a couple of months! But last night at about 10:00 I was at the kitchen sink and as I looked out the window there was a huge back loader sitting in the yard, and at about 11:00 this morning Eli called me at work to tell me "there's work being done in our back yard." Yay! I can't wait to begin working out there and getting things planted again.
From the balcony...
Eli helping out a bit...
View from the sidewalk out front...
The patio and fire pit...
From the bottom end of the yard...look how nice & level!!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

No More Ugly Shoes...

I've had a bunion on my right foot for at least 10 years. In 2002 I had them on both feet and saw a podiatrist about having them removed. The one on my left foot was the most painful, so the doctor suggested I have that one done first.

The recuperation after the surgery was long and painful. In fact, it was over six months before I had any feeling in my big toe and much longer before the range of motion was back to normal. The pain and swelling lasted so long that even after six weeks and the doctor said it was okay to stop wearing the ugly boot, I still had to go buy shoes that were wide enough for my swollen foot. At my six week check-up when the doctor asked about scheduling the surgery for my right foot, I told him it wasn't really that painful and I thought I'd wait.

Well, I finally got to a point where the one on my right foot was painful, especially when I would wear certain shoes, so I found a new podiatrist and scheduled the surgery. On May 25th I had the surgery, and this time around it was SO much better! I was only in pain for 3 days! Also, the scar is much shorter, I already have my feeling back, most of the swelling is gone and my range of motion is almost back to normal.

Even though the pain was gone, I had to wear this ugly boot for four weeks and the shoe for two weeks after that. 

I guess the fact that they cut the bone in half, realign it, and put a screw in it make it necessary to protect the foot while the bone heals. Yesterday when the doctor took x-rays of the foot you could barely see where the bone had been cut.

I am so excited to be back in my normal, fun, summer shoes! 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

My father is a twin. He and his sister Verna were the third set of twins born to his parents. As I was growing up, I was often told that I looked like my Aunt Verna when she was younger.

~Dad standing in back, Grandma, Uncle Skip, Aunt Verna seated~

Last night as dad and I were watching TV, he looked at me and said, "You look like your mother"... "She was a pretty lady, Jessie Matilda Thomas." Jessie Matilda Thomas is my was thinking I was his twin sister Verna. He does that quite a bit lately. I figure this picture is about how far back he is with his memories lately.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day...

God made a wonderful mother,
A mother who never grows old;
He made her smile of sunshine,
And He molded her heart of pure gold;

In her eyes He placed bright shining stars,
In her cheeks fair roses you see,
God made a wonderful mother,
And He gave that dear mother to me.

I miss mom every day, but Mother's Day is especially hard. There are so many days when I just wish I could pick up the phone and talk to hear her laugh, and listen to her give me advice for whatever problem I am facing. And as dad's memory continues to fade, I find myself missing her even more. 

This year, as Mother's Day was approaching, I began to prepare myself to face the day with joy rather than sorrow. I didn't want to be sad, because mom is gone...I wanted to be happy for the legacy she left me.
  • Mom taught me to be kind to everyone.
  • Mom taught me to always look for the good in others.
  • Mom taught me to be independent.
  • Mom taught me to be positive...always finding the silver lining.
  • Mom taught me to always listen to the Holy Ghost & act on it's promptings.
  • Mom taught me to always be honest.
  • Mom taught me to be thrifty.
  • Mom taught me to enjoy the enjoy the journey, not just look forward to the destination.
  • Mom taught me to take pride in who I am and always do my best.
  • Mom taught me how to make my house a home.
  • Mom taught me to laugh...that humor is the best medicine.
  • Mom taught me so much more...
Remembering the legacy mom left me helped me to get through the day a little easier. During the passing of the Sacrament at church today, there were several crying babies. As they were getting kind of loud I found myself closing my eyes and picturing them as angels, then had to smile because that was a trick mom taught me...Mom may be gone, but she is with me always!

Thursday, April 19, 2012


We found out about a month and a half ago that dad might possibly have prostate cancer that has already metastasized to his bones. I've posted about it on THe LoNG aND WiNDiNG RoaD. When Dr. Duros (dad's doctor) first told me what he suspected he asked how I would want to proceed, and I told him we would let it run it's course and just do what we could to keep dad comfortable. Dr. Duris told me I had a tough decision...If it were me that had cancer, we would definitely want to treat it; And if it were someone very old and in poor health, we would probably choose not to treat it. But with dad it was a hard call, because he is actually in very good health...except for the dementia. He aslo said that prostate cancer progresses very slowly and who knows what the future holds, it could be that dad falls and breaks a hip or gets pneumonia or some other ailment and that is what ends up taking him.

For the first few days after that visit, I had a really hard time concentrating on anything. I would be working...or should I say trying to work...but just couldn't keep another thought in my head. All I could think about was whether I was making the right choice for dad. I am the one he depends on and what if I chose wrong?!

I was seeing this as a blessing that dad would not have to continue suffering through losing his mind. Except for the dementia, dad is very healthy and most of his siblings lived well into their 90's, so dad could potentially live another ten years. It just breaks my heart when he'll be in the middle of saying something and lose his train of thought and say, "I feel like a penny waiting for change." I saw this as a possible tender mercy.

Dad had a biopsy yesterday. The doctor showed me how enlarged dad's prostate is and how it is crowding in on his bladder. He took some pictures and measurements and then took six samples from different areas of the prostate. As he was finishing getting the samples, Dr. Crowley said that from what he was seeing he was pretty sure this was not cancer. To which dad replied, "Good, I'm not done, I need more time." We won't know for sure until we get the results in a week.

Hearing dad say he needs more time got me thinking. How can we know when we are making good choices. Am I just being selfish, because I don't want to watch dad suffer, but saying that it's so that dad doesn't have to suffer through this awful decease.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Don't Forget to Pray...

Growing up, dad never forgot to pray. At the beginning and ending of every day, before every meal, at before any trip we had a prayer.

At mealtime, after we bless the food and begin to eat, it is not uncommon to see dad saying an individual blessing on his food, because he's forgotten we already blessed the meal.

Often in the evening as I am helping dad get ready for bed and he is being really slow, I will go upstairs and put on my pajamas while dad is finishing getting his on. If I get side-tracked and am too slow, it is not uncommon for me to find dad kneeling beside his bed saying his evening prayers. One evening not too long ago, after finding dad saying his prayers, I posted to facebook "I love that even though my dad is losing his memory and sometimes forget my name, he never forgets to pray!"

We got our family pictures taken a while back and the photographer wanted to get a few of dad and I together. Dad wasn't really following directions very well though, and at one point she suggested I bend over and kiss dad on the forehead. It turned out to be one of my favorite pictures, so I made it my profile picture on facebook.

The other day I received a message from a friend that had just seen the picture. She wrote: Love your profile picture! It reminded me of two things: First, probably my all-time favorite FB post from anyone is when you said you love how your dad may forget your name but he never forgets to pray. And second, last Sunday, it was so sweet to see him just sitting there, and then sometimes during the hymns he would just automatically start singing. He is a great example to me of having the gospel ingrained into your very being!

Funny how even as his memory is deteriorating, dad still continues to be an example.

Friday, December 30, 2011

My Lastest Obsession...

I finally succumbed to the craze that is Pinterest.

I've had friends telling me about this great new website...a place where you can "pin" ideas you find on the internet to a "board" so you can refer to them later. It seemed like too much trouble to get involved with...why not just bookmark the webpage?

In October I went ahead and set up my own Pinterest account and decided to give it a try, and of I'm hooked!

I love Pinterest. I have been able to find some great organizing and craft ideas, decorating tips, and yummy recipes.

Here are the few of the pins I've actually used:

Using some old bells we had, I created a door hanger for Christmas,
Since I collect nativities, I liked the idea of adding this to my collection,

I liked this pin, but I recreated it using better grammer. Mine says, "There are these boys who stole my heart...they call me mom." I need to get a picture of it.
I've also tried some yummy recipes:

My favorite ice cream is Rocky Road, so how could I resist trying these no bake Rocky Road Bars...they weren't quite as good as the ice cream, but they disappeared pretty quickly.
This Chunky Avocado Salsa also turned out pretty good. I made a big batch of it, thinking I would take some to work to share...we found so many uses for it over the weekend, there wasn't any left to share.
My latest pin to try is one for frozen smoothie packs to make and freeze for later, rather then going to Jamba Juice. I bought a frozen fruit package that contained strawberries, mangos, peaches, and pineapples then added frozen bananas and the yogurt...
...we'll see how they taste in the morning.