Friday, November 30, 2012

November 29th - Unexpected Babysitting!

Gratitude Journal:  I am grateful for the opportunity to serve, whether in church, in the community, or my family.  Having opportunities to do things for others help us realize how great our own blessings are.  It also helps us to be less selfish. 

As I was getting ready to leave for my water aerobics class, Lisa called to see if I could watch Brooks later while she went with Ashby on her preschool field trip.  I didn't have to think about that answer!  They were already here when I got back home.  Brooks was almost ready to nap and, while he would probably have enjoyed the field trip to the nature center, Lisa could only envision him being tired and whining.

After they left, Brooks and I played a while, ate some lunch, and then he was napping by 11:00.  While he slept, I worked on my RS email.  There was a lot to update and I worked on it for a long time today.  He woke up again at 1:00, so he and I were playing when Lisa and Ashby got back.  They stayed another hour or so.  It was a lot of fun - one of those fun, relaxing kind of afternoons.

I had planned to try to visit teach the last sister on my list, but I called her when the babysitting came up to let her know it would have to be later in the afternoon or tomorrow.  When I mentioned I was planning to go to the temple in the morning, she asked if I wanted someone to go with me.  I was really excited to have her and we made plans for in the morning.

I was tired, so I decided to take my own nap for a short while.  I spent the rest of the day working on the computer.  I finished the email information, cleaned out my emails, and some other things that have been piling up. 

It was a good day - some fun, some work.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

November 28th - Another Day on the Run!

Gratitude Journal:  I am grateful for a husband who holds and honors his priesthood, who makes me feel like I really matter, who provides for our needs, and who loves our children and grandchildren with all his heart.  He is really the prince who rescued me!

This has been another busy day.  I had to cancel all my visiting teaching appointments when I went to Iowa, so I have been trying to get them all done this week.  It has made for a week on the go, but I have enjoyed it at the same time.

This morning, I worked around the house getting a lot of things done.  Then at 11:00, I visited Bonnie and we had a great time.  From there, I ran by Becky's to pick up my hot chocolate order that she got for me while I was out of town.  We also chatted for a while, as she is still working through the loss of her mother-in-law.  She also gave me a 50 lb bag of rice that had been returned to her by someone who moved.  She thought I might know someone who could use it.

When I got home, I did some computer things, as well as a few other "to-do" list things.  My list is getting shorter!  Or, it would be, if I didn't keep adding new things.  I was able to give the bag of rice to someone who really needed it.

I visited Sharon at 4:30 and we had a long talk.  She and I have been friends for a long time and she really needed to just talk.  It was really good.

I fixed a quick dinner, using the last of the turkey and that about exhausted the last of my energy, too!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

November 27th - Got to Babysit Tonight!

Gratitude Journal:  I am grateful for grandchildren.  I can't remember if I already said this one, but it deserves another day if I have.  Ashby and Brooks are the two cutest, sweetest children ever and I dote on them!

Today started off with water aerobics.  I had missed the last two weeks:  one I was in Iowa and there were not classes held Thanksgiving week.  It felt good to be back to it.

From there, I got cleaned up and headed out to drop off a chocolate order then to visit teach Mary.  We had a great visit.  Then I headed home to try to get a few things done there.  I didn't accomplish much worth bragging about, though.  In fact, by the second half of the afternoon, I was so tired that I just went to bed and read a while.  It felt good!

This evening, I went over to babysit with the grandkids while Lisa and David went out for a while.  They are always fun!  We played in Ashby's room a while - they had the doctor kit out and everyone was getting examined.  Then we went downstairs and played with the train set for a long time.  Ashby built a pretty complicated track system.  When Ashby went on to something else, Brooks kept at the trains.  He had himself a super long train going around and around.  What a hoot he is!  Eventually, he decided to destroy the track.

By then, it was time for him to go to bed, so we got a bottle ready, got his PJ's on, read some books, watched a little video while he had his bottle, and then he was ready for bed.  I just put him down, threw some kisses, and we never heard another sound.

Ashby was ready for her bedtime snack - rice krispies this time - and watched the Ipad while she ate.  When she finished that, she said she was ready for bed, so up we went, got ready and all tucked in, and that was it - never heard another peep.

Within 15 minutes or so, Lisa and David got back.  What a fun and easy evening for me!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

November 26th - Wore Myself Out!

Gratitude Journal:  I am grateful for a new day - and lots of things that need to be done.  It makes me feel needed!

After being in bed for two days, I had a huge list of things that needed to get done today.  I was on the go the whole day:  change sheets, laundry, straightening house, tons of RS things, other computer tasks that had gotten behind, chores to run, etc.

I had straightening (I never did get back to the dusting - maybe another day!) and laundry done by early afternoon.  I had also sent a ton of emails, mostly related to RS, worked on a lesson I need to teach, did the blog, caught up on both email accounts, etc. 

I then took off to run errands: pick up the chocolate order from Nikole, library, CVS, bank, grocery store.  By the time I got back home, I was quickly running out of steam!  Although I did not do as much as I sometimes do, I think that even being down for two days saps your energy and it takes a while to rebuild.

I spent most of the rest of the day doing more relaxing things, like family history.  We were supposed to go to Empty Nesters this evening, but I was so shot, we cancelled.  I was in bed reading by 8:00.  Tomorrow is another busy day, so I am hoping the energy will last a little longer.

Even so, it felt good to get so many things done that had been neglected.  The house looks so much better, the clean sheets were wonderful, and I have a new book to read.  What more could I ask for today?

Monday, November 26, 2012

November 25th - A Little Better Today

Gratitude Journal - I am grateful for my testimony of the Gospel and of Jesus Christ.  I have been very blessed to have found the church at a young age and to have had it as a central part of my life.  I love the Savior and all the He has done for me and for all of us.  I am grateful that I could tell my dad that I had no doubt about life after death.

I woke up feeling a little better today, but still not quite right.  I finally decided by mid-morning that I could try eating something, so I had some oatmeal and toast, which all stayed down just fine.  I ate again mid-afternoon and that was fine, too.  In between, I spent a little time on the computer, but I was still so tired that I napped and read in bed quite a bit.

By evening, I felt good enough to actually eat some popcorn.  I think the flu is gone! 

Of course, it meant I had to miss church today.  I have missed three of the four Sundays this month.  I can't remember ever missing that many at one time.  I hope it will be a long time before I have to miss again.  Thankfully, the other counselor got back in town, so she was able to conduct RS for me.  Otherwise, the secretary was going to get her first turn!

Here's hoping that tomorrow begins a normal week.  I really need one!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

November 24th - Sick - Ugh!!!!

Gratitude Journal:  I am thankful for my health.  There is nothing like being sick for a day to make you appreciate NOT being sick!

I woke up this morning not feeling exactly right.  Within half an hour or so, I was throwing up.  Great!  I must have gotten it from Brooks or Ashby.  I ended up spending the entire day in bed, sleeping or reading - or throwing up.  Hopefully this is just a 24 hour kind of thing, although the kids have been sick much longer.

Billy left about 7:30 this morning and called about 10:45 this evening to say he was home.  He had a good trip, nice weather, no problems.  We had such a great time while he was here and it went by way too fast!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

November 23rd - Shopping Day! Well, not me, much.

Gratitude Journal:  I am grateful for living in such a prosperous country where we can pretty much buy anything we want - and plenty of things we don't really need!  I am grateful that Bill has a job that gives us what we need.

Once we all got up and going this morning, we headed out to shop.  I can't believe I said that since I am the last person to go shopping when there might be crowds!  However, we had one item we wanted to get and we went for it - a new computer monitor.  We wanted to have Billy's expertise in picking one out, so we had to brave the crowds.  Billy had checked the sales inserts, so he knew about what price we were looking for.  Our first stop was Costco and they had something similar, but at a higher price.  Next stop was Staples.  When we didn't see the model that Billy had seen, he asked a clerk and she brought it right out.  So with just two stops, we found what we wanted and headed home.  The crowed at Staples was small and we didn't have to punch anyone to get what we went for!

On the way home, we stopped at Waffle House for lunch.  Billy loves Waffle House and it is always one of the places we wants to go while here.  They don't have any in Iowa, so he never gets to go up there.  The food was good and we had a lot of fun.

When we got home, Billy got the monitor all set up and did some more cleaning of the hard drive on our computer, trying to get the speed back up.  He was successful on both counts.  Then he and Bill decided to go out to shop for a new TV.  While they were gone, I worked on genealogy and then took a nap.  They found what they wanted at two different places, but it was sold out at both, so that purchase will have to wait until another time.

We then headed over to Lisa's so Lisa, David, and Billy could go to the hockey game while Grandma and Grandpa babysat.  As usual, we had a good time.  The kids had to eat their dinner first.  Since he is still recovering from the stomach flu, Brooks only ate a little and then he played with Grandpa.  Ashby wouldn't eat at all, complaining that her tummy hurt.  She then cuddled up with me for a while and looked like she was not feeling well.  Sure enough, a little later she started throwing up.  Poor thing.  At least she is old enough to know it is coming and can get to the pan.  During the evening, she had to throw up four or five time.

By 7:30, Brooks was in bed asleep and by 9:00, Ashby was in bed asleep.

The hockey fans got home around 11:00 - after watching a fun game with lots of tension (I still can't believe how much Lisa loves hockey fights!) and then going out to eat.

It has been a good and busy day - just feel so bad for poor sick Ashby!

Friday, November 23, 2012

November 22nd - Thanksgiving Day

Gratitude Journal:  I am grateful for my family, especially my children.  Billy is visiting from Iowa, Lisa and her family came over from Suwanee, and we remembered Jason, who passed away 15 years go today.  They have all made me proud.  I love them all!

Today was Thanksgiving Day, so much of what we did is pretty predictable - getting the turkey in the oven, the rest of the sides prepared and ready to cook at the appropriate times, bread mix in the bread machine, etc.

Lisa and family got here around 11:30 and brought their portion of dinner, most of which still had to be put together and cooked.  We finally got everything ready and sat down to dinner around 1:30 or so.  The turkey was perfect, as was everything else we had.

Brooks was still recovering from his bout of stomach flu, so was a little fussy.  He did finally calm down, but never did have much energy.  Poor thing.  Lisa, on the other hand, was full of energy!  She played out in her playhouse some, as well as with dolls in the house, plus books, and all the other usual stuff.

Football was on TV, but I don't know how much actually got watched.  I know the guys were trying!  It was just a fun, relaxed day.  We didn't really do anything special, other than just being together, which was special enough for me!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

November 21st - Preparation Day - But Fun, Too!

Gratitude Journal:  I am grateful for food that is so easily available.  I can choose what I like, pick it up easily at the grocery store, cook it up easily at home, and enjoy eating until I am totally satisfied.  So many in the world are starving and would be grateful for just the crumbs off my table.

Being the last day before Thanksgiving, we had a list of things to get done in preparation.  I had another load of laundry to do, some straightening up, getting the leaf in the dining room table, setting the table, boiling eggs, and a few other odds and ends. 

Bill and Billy went up to Home Depot and got some paving blocks to make a foundation for the playhouse.  They got that all installed and were very proud of their work!  It looks really good and should lift the house just enough that it won't sit in water when we have a heavy rain.  Plus, it will be more fun to play in the playhouse with a solid floor.

Billy and I also got the dressing all mixed up and ready for the turkey tomorrow.  It was fun doing it together.  So, Bill had him working in the yard and then I had him working in the kitchen!  I think we got all the "day before" stuff done.  Lisa is supposed to be bringing several things, so we didn't have to fix those things.  Unfortunately, Brooks has been sick with the stomach flu all day, so we are hoping she and the food will show up tomorrow!

We went out to the Chinese place for dinner, and then decided to take in a movie.  We went to see "Skyfall," the new James Bond flick.  It was really pretty good - certainly better than the last few James Bond movies I have seen.  It was after 11 when we got back home, so needless to say, my day didn't last much longer.

It has been a very busy day, but lots of fun, too!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

November 20th - Busy, but Fun, Day

Gratitude Journal: I am grateful for good neighbors and friends.

This morning was a work day, for sure, as I tried to get laundry going and shopping lists figured out.  Once everyone was up, we fixed a nice breakfast.  Then Bill and Billy went to pick up a playhouse that we had bought from a friend of Lisa.  It is used, but is in excellent shape, and the cost was much less than buying new.  We plan to restain and reseal the cedar and repaint the trim. 

Just after lunch, Lisa and the kids came over.  Shortly after they got here, Brooks went down for a nap and Ashby just played.  A while later, Bill and Billy got back with the playhouse and had it set up temporarily before we even knew they were in the back yard.  When Ashby saw it, she went ballistic!  She was still playing out there when Brooks woke up.  He had fun playing, too.

By mid-afternoon, we were getting hungry, so Bill ran out and picked up some pizza.  After a short time in the house, Ashby was back outside and Ethan, from next door, came over.  They had more fun playing in the playhouse and running all over the place.  That went on until it was starting to get dark..

Once Lisa left, we just relaxed and tried to recover from the wild afternoon.  It is amazing how much energy two little children can generate!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

November 19th - Home Again!

Gratitude Journal:  I am grateful for home!

We took our time this morning since Billy needed to be rested to drive the rest of the way.  Once we got up, ready, and packed, we had breakfast at the motel.  We were glad it was a hot breakfast and we were able to have eggs, potatoes, fruit, etc., and have it for free.  If it had not been a good breakfast, we had already planned to eat somewhere else.

We were on the road again by about 8:45.  The rest of the trip went well.  Our only traffic issue was just before Chattanooga when they were doing some road work and the lanes had to combine into one.  Fortunately, it didn't take as long as we had feared.

We got home at 2:00, which included the hour lost because of the time change.  We considered our options and decided to chill for a while!  I called Lisa and we got caught up a little and got Thanksgiving dinner planned.

When Bill got home, we hung around some more and then went out for some Mexican for dinner.  Billy has done some cleaning up of our computer so it is working better.  He and Bill watched football while I went on to bed.

It is good to be back home.  I am looking forward to a good Thanksgiving week.

Monday, November 19, 2012

November 18th - Starting Home

Gratitude Journal:  I am grateful for such a wonderful son.  Billy has been very supportive of my trip up to Iowa and willing to have me ride back with him, even though his plans had been a little different originally.  He is a good person and a wonderful son.  We have been blessed to be his parents.

I got up this morning and showered, washed hair, etc., and then packed up my bags.  I changed the sheets on the bed and got the old ones in the washer.  I also washed a load of towels that I had used in the bathroom and for cleaning.  Dad and I had our last little while just sitting and talking for a while before Billy arrived.  He got there around 10:45 and after just a little talking, we loaded up and headed out.

Billy did all the driving, which sure makes it easy for me!  We had fun talking and sometimes just be quiet.  We talked about everything under the sun!  Lots of fun for me.  We made it a little east of Nashville by about 8:30, when we decided to stop.  After checking in to a motel, we had some dinner at Olive Garden and then went on to bed.  I was asleep long before Billy turned off the TV.  It sure didn't bother me any.

The trip today was really nice.  Weather was good, traffic light, and we had no problems.  We made such good time that tomorrow should be a really easy day.

November 17th - Final Day with Dad

Gratitude Journal: I am grateful for being able to travel when necessary so I can be with someone special to me when I am actually needed.  I have enjoyed this week with my dad and am grateful that there are planes that let me travel quickly, friends who will facilitate picking me up at the airport, and money to be able to buy the ticket. 

This was the last day with Dad before I had to head back home.  It was pretty much the same as the previous couple of days have been.  We had breakfast, went up to the office, etc.  We then went over to Tammy's (Rita's granddaughter) to pick up Dad's car and leave Rita's there.  We spent some time with Tammy talking about the will and some other things. 

We then went on home, fixed a little lunch and relaxed for a while.  Dad and I have had a chance to talk some when we have these quiet times and it has been really good.  Later, we ordered a pizza and went to pick it up.  Then we went to Willie's to share the pizza and spend some time.  Again, we had some good chats.  Kalee was there, too, so we had a good last evening.

Time is about up and I hope that Dad will be all right.  I think he will be, but he will miss Rita a lot and it will seem very lonely for him for a while.  I am certainly glad that I was able to spend these few days with him.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

November 16th - Just Another Day

Gratitude Journal:  I am grateful for pets.  I don't have one, but my dad recently got a kitten and I can see how much he is loving having that cute cat around.  It will be a big comfort to him when he comes into the empty house.  He named it Spooker, because it disappears like a ghost!

Today was not much different from yesterday: up and around the house a while; to the office for a while; back to house; into town to McDonald's; cleaned some more, in the kitchen this time; leftovers for dinner; to Willie's for a while; back home for popcorn; off to bed.

Dad is adjusting, I think, but it is still going to be hard for him once I leave.  We have had some good talks while we have just been sitting around. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

November 15th - A "Down" Day

Gratitude Journal:  I am grateful for such a beautiful world.  The weather in Iowa has been beautiful the last several days - warm, blue skies.  The sunsets have been gorgeous.  Sunsets in Iowa have always been more stunning that Georgia sunsets - probably because the land is flatter and the trees do not hide anything.  

We decided that this would be a laid back kind of day as we recovered from the last few stressful days.  Dad is doing OK, but is still having some emotional moments.  After watching a little TV after breakfast, I started doing a little bit of cleaning in the living room.  I don't know how many years it has been since everything was dusted, so that was my goal.  I also went through some of the things that were around so we could toss what needed to go.

Later in the morning, we headed up to the office for a little while.  I had a chance to check email, etc., since the only wi-fi connection is in the office.  From there, we went in to the grocery store to pick up a few items.  When we got home, it was time for a little lunch.

In the afternoon, I finished cleaning the living room.  Even though that was the neatest room already, we still threw out a lot of stuff, especially old magazines that were on the table shelves, etc.  There were also several stuffed animals and old pillows that had gotten so grimy that they needed to be thrown out.  It certainly feels cleaner.

For dinner, we went into Oxford for prime rib with Willie and Kalee and another couple from the aero club.  It was fun and good.  We ended the evening at Willie's and had a nice time reminiscing about things.  We ended on a good laugh as we remembered the time we got stung by all the bumblebees.

So, it has been a pretty good first day trying to get back to normal.  I will have a couple more days here with Dad.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

November 14th - Rita's Funeral

Gratitude Journal:  I am grateful for music.  There are few things that touch the soul the way music does.  The songs that were played at the funeral were powerful and touching.  Whatever our emotional state, music seems to reach out and touch us.

We got up, dressed, etc., and then headed to the funeral home where Rita's funeral was held.  We got there early, so Dad would have a last few minutes.  By the time the funeral started, the place was full.  It was a nice service, but a little hard at times for Dad and other family.  Then we went to the cemetery where there was a very brief service.

Billy made it over for the funeral, so when we finished at the cemetery, he, Dad and I came back home, got changed, and then went out for a little lunch.  Dad didn't want to go with Rita's family.  We then hung out at Dad's for awhile, just talking.

Mid-afternoon, Billy needed  to take off, as he needed to run by the bank, check his condo in CR, and then drive back to Des Moines.  Dad and I went up to the office for awhile.  Bob showed up a little later with all the supplies for the steak dinner (a weekly event at the airport before the Aero Club board of directors meeting.)  There was a pretty good turnout, with everyone eating steak, hamburgers, or hot dogs, and laughing, telling jokes, teasing each other, and talking about airplanes.  At 6:30, they held the meeting which lasted about a half an hour.

After finishing up and getting things cleaned up again, we went on down to Willie's for a while.  Some of the guys from the meeting showed up, too, and we stayed there an hour or so.  Then it was back to Dad's, where we watched a little TV, talked some, and then headed to bed.  I was exhausted!

It has been a long day.  The services were well done, but it is stressful saying goodbye to someone special.  Worrying about Dad just adds to the stress.  He will be fine, but it is not going to be easy.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

November 13th - Viewing

Gratitude Journal:  I am grateful for friends who are just like family.  I saw so many this evening who love my dad unconditionally and are concerned for him as he goes through this loss.  I know that he will not be alone when I go back home.

Dad and I started the day quietly, getting up and breakfast, etc.  Then he ran over to Tammy's (Rita's granddaughter) to switch cards so he could drive Rita's car.  He also needed to stop for a haircut.  So, I went up to the office to get the wi-fi so I could check email, etc.

For lunch, we went into a cafe in town.  Then around 3:00, we headed down to the funeral home.  We were there early, so were able to meet the family and have some time looking at the picture boards and thinking about Rita.

Once people started arriving, there was a steady flow.  I don't know how many came, but it was a lot.  Dad was surprised and pleased about the huge number from the Aero Club that came.  There were even some that he had not expected would come.  It meant a lot to him.  We stayed until almost 7:00.  By then, we were both tired and Dad's feet and legs were bothering him a lot.  It was a difficult evening and he choked up many times, but it was also good to talk about memories of Rita and to let some of the anguish out.

When we got home, we fixed some fried egg sandwiches, watch a little TV, then were ready to head on to bed.  It has been a stressful day and tomorrow will probably be worse, but it was good to feel the love of so many people.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

November 12th - In Iowa Again

Gratitude Journal:  I am grateful for family, especially my dad.  He is suffering again right now and I am grateful that he is glad that I am here.  He has been the best father.  Love you, Dad!

I hustled around this morning, trying to get packed and some errands run before going to the airport.  Lisa and kids picked me up at 12:30 and took me down.  That is Brooks' nap time, but he cooperated by promptly falling asleep in the car seat. 

The flight to Moline was pretty routine.  I was a little early, so just sat and read while I waited.  The flight time was less than two hours.  Kara, a long time friend, picked me up and took me to Dad's.  Dad was with the family, who had a get together at 5:00 to prepare pictures, eulogy, etc., for the funeral.

Dad got home a while after I got there.  We went over to Willie's (my brother) for a while and talked.  Then Dad and I came back home, had some popcorn, talked, sort of watched TV (well, I was reading more than watching) and just enjoyed being together.  Dad is doing OK, but has his emotional moments. 

I am glad that I am here.  At least he won't be alone at home for a few days.  I am trying to talk him into coming back with me for Thanksgiving.  He could come back home with Billy.  I was glad he didn't totally dismiss the idea.

So a difficult couple of days begins...

Monday, November 12, 2012

November 11th - Another Good Sabbath

Gratitude Journal:  I am grateful that I have the freedom to worship as I please.  I have a strong testimony of the Gospel and am able to make life choices that are in accordance with my beliefs.  I can partake of the sacrament and renew my covenants with God.  I can study the scriptures.  I can serve others, at church and in the community.  What a wonderful blessing!

I started my day doing many of the things I usually have to do on Sunday mornings:  getting dinner planned and as prepared as possible, doing some RS things in preparation for our meeting, etc.  I also had to make arrangements for a number of things that I was to do this week and will not be able to do, because of going to Iowa. 

The RS president was out of town, so I went early to attend ward council for her.  Then I attended the rest of our regular meetings.  As always, the talks and lessons were wonderful.  I also had to conduct RS.  It is my month anyway, but both the president and other counselor were not there, so the secretary and I held down the fort alone.  Attendance seemed small today - not sure why - but there was a wonderful spirit there.  The lesson was on kindness - a topic that is perfect for our time.

When I got home, everyone was asleep - Lisa on the couch, David in the recliner with Ashby on his lap, and Brooks in the crib.  Needless to say, my walking in aroused a couple of them.  We got dinner finished and ate crockpot chicken, carrots, pasta, corn muffins, and canned peaches.  The rest of the evening was pretty much the norm - laughing at the kids, talking, etc.  It is always the highlight of my week.  Because Brooks had slept so well, they were able to stay a little later, so we had quite a show by the kids. 

When they left, I had more RS things to finish up.  Another group food order was due today, so I had to get that compiled and submitted.  I am thankful for a couple of friends who will handle some other things that were on my agenda this week; namely, the chocolate order needing to be picked and an assignment at the cannery.  I think it is all worked out.

I always enjoy my Sundays, but this one had a little extra stress that I would prefer not to have.  My bad for the day was having to do laundry that I had planned to do on Monday, but had to get done so I will have clothes to take with me to Iowa. 

Finally, today was Veterans Day and I want to close by thanking all those who have served and who now serve to help our country remain free.  I can find ancestors going all the way to Revolution who have fought, including my grandfather who fought in WWI and my husband who fought in Viet Nam.  Thanks you to every one of them.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

November 10th - Remembering Rita

Gratitude Journal:  I am grateful for family and for the love and support we give each other.  I have been blessed with wonderful parents, husband and children, as well as extended family.  As we have lost one, I am reminded that family is more important than anything else.

I was at the Family History Expo when Dad called during the lunch break.  His long-time girlfriend and companion Rita had died suddenly during the night.  She had been a little sick, but not anything that would have been life threatening.  It appears that her heart just gave out.  She went to sleep and her granddaughter found her the next morning.

My dad is pretty broken up.  When my mother died, she had been sick for a very long time and we knew it was coming soon.  In fact, it was almost a relief when she was released from her physical suffering.  Dad really struggled after her death.  He had never been alone in his entire life (he married right out of high school) and it was very hard on him.  Even though Mom had been bedridden and unresponsive because of the dementia, she was still there and he took care of her.  Being alone sent him into a depression where he drank too much, was grumpy, unhappy, and just seemed so dark.

When he met Rita, that all changed.  She was a wonderful, happy person, who always had a smile.  She made him smile again and they had a wonderful time together.  He stopped drinking so much and became his old self.  He really loved her and although they did not marry, he bought her a diamond ring as a symbol of how much he cared and that they were committed to each other. 

I will be going up to be with him this week.  I am concerned about him having to be alone again. 

We loved you, Rita.  You brought a wonderful light back into his life and you made each of us feel special. 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

November 9th - Family History Expo

Gratitude Journal: I am grateful for my ancestors.  They have been much on my mind while I am at the Family History Expo.  Among other things, some of them fought in the Revolutionary War - and every war since - and were among the pioneers who settled much of the east and midwest.  I have most of my blessings today because of them.

Today was the first day of the Family History Expo here.  I attended last year and signed up for this year's show months ago.  The day finally arrived!

But, it didn't start until 1:00, so I had time in the morning to do a few of the normal morning things around the house.  I got my weekly RS email sent out - always takes a big block of time to do that.  And a few other things were crossed off before I could finally pack up and take off for the Gwinnett Center.

Last year I met some women who had come to the Expo alone and we have kept in touch all year by email, so we were looking forward to getting together again.  Linda, Kimberly and I met up before classes started and had so much fun catching up with each other.  It is always fun to make new friends and these two are wonderful.

I was able to attend four class sessions, with big breaks in between each to look at the exhibitors.  My four sessions were: Finding Your Ancestors on FamilySearch, Finding Your English/Welsh Ancestors, The FamilySearch Research Wiki, Citing Sources.  I enjoyed each of them and learned things that should really help my further research.

The last class let out around 8:45, so the three of us went over to Carabba's for some dinner before they went to their hotels and I came home.

What a great day!  And there is another full day tomorrow - can't wait!

Friday, November 9, 2012

November 8th - Relief Society Meeting

Gratitude Journal:  I am grateful for the willingness of people to all pitch in and make things happen - whether bringing food, decorating, providing music, cleaning up, etc.  What wonderful people I have in my life!

Today was Thursday, so I started the day with the water aerobics class.  There is only one more week left on this cycle, so the instructors are working us hard!  It was still fun and I am enjoying the class.  In fact, I got signed up for the 3 week mini class that runs between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

At home, I showered and then got busy doing some things around the house.  I am so proud that by the end of the day,  was able to cross off the last item on the to-do list.  Of course, it was the list from Tuesday, so I guess I am not really caught up yet!  Best thing done was getting the Halloween decorations back in the storage bins and up in the attic.  I have a few Thanksgiving things, but not many.  I am thinking I need a few more things - maybe next year!

This evening was our RS meeting.  We had a dinner and then a guest speaker from the stake RS presidency.  We had a good turnout, but not as many as we would like.  Everything turned out well and I think everyone had a good time.  We have been making aprons from cotton dish towels to give to the sisters for Christmas and we handed those out at the end of the evening.  We led up to it with a little sharing of heritage and the memories each of us in the presidency have about an apron we each own.  I was surprised the sisters were so excited about aprons!  We will hand out the rest of the aprons over the next few weeks.

By the time I got home from that, I was pretty tired!  It has been another full day, but rewarding, too.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

November 7th - Another Busy, Catch Up Day

Gratitude Journal:  I am thankful for the opportunity to serve in my calling at church.  I love the sisters in the presidency and the sisters in our ward.  There are many with struggles and I am thankful that my calling allows me to serve them.

This was another busy day.  It doesn't always seem quite this hard to catch up after a vacation, but for some reason, this week is not flowing all that smoothly!

I still had laundry to finish, so I got that going first thing.  Then I did a few things around the house, but not nearly as much as I had planned.  I also had to do some preparing for the presidency meeting, for my week end RS email, and some other things.

We had a presidency meeting at 11:30 which lasted until about 2:00.  I had to run some errands on my way home: library, dollar store, pharmacy.  When I got home, I finished up the laundry, spent more time at the computer on RS things.  I had also not posted my blog entries since I did not have internet while we were gone.  I had written entries in Word, but needed to get them posted.

By the time I finished everything, I was pretty tired!  As I look at the rest of the week, I am beginning to wonder if it is going to get better!  Oh, well, I am glad I am busy!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

November 6th - Time to Vote

Gratitude Journal:  I an thankful that I live in a country where I can vote for our leaders.  What makes a democracy work is when everyone offers an opinion and then all agree to accept whatever is decided. 

Today was our first day back to "normal," whatever that is.  I started with my water aerobics class.  We did a pretty intense workout today and it was fun, although I was a little stiff the rest of the day!

When I got home, I showered and then went out to vote.  I had expected a bit of a wait, but I was only 11 minutes from parking my car to driving out again.  I cast my presidential vote for Mitt Romney, although I don't really expect that he will win.

Lisa dropped the kids off when I got back home so she could go and vote herself.  After eating lunch, Brooks went to sleep for the next 2 1/2 hours.  Ashby played with Barbie dolls for a long time and then announced that she wanted to go do crafts.  We went up to the craft room and she cut and punched and glued and whatever else she could find.  We didn't make anything, but that wasn't really the point!

In between everything else, I was trying to get laundry done and a long list of things to do check off.  In the end, most of the to-do list will still be waiting until tomorrow.

When Lisa got back, we relaxed a little until Brooks woke up and they all had to go home.  But, I had to go back over to babysit with them while Lisa and David went to a class, so my day was not really finished.  At the last minute, Bill was able to go with me, so we spent the evening playing with the kids.

I felt like this was a day of chaos - so much to do and so much going on.  Ending the day with the kids, though, made it a happy day!

November 5th - North Carolina Day 6

Gratitude Journal:  I am thankful for cars that go so fast and work so well, so we can take short vacations and seem like we have been a long ways away.  We have been only a little over 2 hours away, but it has seemed like a totally different time and place.  How great is that!

This was our last day - how could it go by so fast? 

Late yesterday, we discovered a serious leak in the basement bathroom, so this morning Bill spent quite a bit of time getting that cleaned up.  It turns out there is a plumbing problem and the washing machine is not draining properly.  Instead it is coming up in the bathroom - thus the big mess!  He got it all cleaned up, though, and will the owners know what happened.

While he was doing that, I got everything packed and ready to load.  Then we ate whatever we could find for lunch.  We have done pretty well on food this time.  The worst thing we had to throw away was some ice cream that didn't get eaten.  Everything else that was left, we were able to bring back.

We then sat around doing our relaxation thing again for the rest of the afternoon.  Neither one of us was ready to go home, but we finally had to face it.  We got loaded up and on our way around 4:30 and were back home by 7:00.

How is it that a week can go by so quickly?  I think I will demand a recount!!!  It was a wonderful few days and we are already looking forward to the next time we can go. 

November 4th - North Carolina Day 5

Gratitude Journal - I am thankful for good health.  Nothing makes you appreciate being healthy more than a day of being sick.

This was Sunday and the plans were to go to church, but those plans changed when Ashby got sick during the night.  She threw up several times and was still feeling badly when we all finally got up and going.  There is nothing worse than seeing a sweet child looking so forlorn!  We made the decision to just lay low and relax, hoping she would be feeling better by the time they had to leave to go home.

Lisa and Bill took Brooks on a long walk - a couple of hours long.  He even slept in the stroller for a while.  Poor Ashby just laid on the couch or cuddled with someone.  When they got back, we got the grill going and grilled out some hotdogs, hamburgers, and chicken.  We also finished the beans, had some homemade french fries and whatever else looked good that hadn't gotten eaten yet.

Late in the afternoon, Lisa and David packed up and headed back home.  Ashby had been feeling much better, but when they called later, they said she had been sick again.  Poor thing!

We hated to see them go, as it was very quiet again!  Of course, it didn't take long for us to settle in to our relaxation mode.  If relaxing were an olympic sport, I do believe I could earn a gold medal!

November 3rd - North Carolina Day 4

Gratitude Journal:  I am so thankful for the beautiful earth on which we live.  Looking out over the mountains from our front deck is breathtaking, even with most of the leaves gone.  There are still a few with gold or red leaves and there are lots of green pines.  It is all beautiful!

We had another lazy start to our day.  One of the nice things about this kind of vacation is that the main purpose is to just relax!  And we seem to be especially goo at just that!

Among the other things we did around the cabin, the children had a ball jumping in a huge pile of leaves on the patio.  They had such fun!

After lunch, we went into Waynesville to shop.  There are a ton of cute shops and it is fun just to walk through some of them.  Lisa and I spent a good bit of time in the Christmas shop where I bought another nativity set - this one native American - as well as an advent nativity chart for Lisa.  We also picked out some train ornaments for each of us as our memory ornament for the trip.

We also spent a long time in the Mast General Store - in the toy department, of course.  They have tons of old fashioned toys and we had a ball looking at everything.  We also spent a little bit there!

We then went to a local park to let the children run and play for a while.  The temp was so warm that the park was very busy.  It is a wonderful park, with tons of stuff, and the kids had such a great time.

Then we came home and fixed an easy dinner.  The TV satellite link had finally gotten activated the night before, so the guys even watched a little football.  The children played with some of their new toys and kept us entertained, as usual!

The week is going by way too quickly!

November 2nd - North Carolina Day 3

Gratitude Journal:  I am thankful for how little children can find such joy in even the most insignificant things.  We all need to learn to slow down and just see the fun around us.

This was the first full day with the kids here and we made it a very relaxing one!  Brooks woke up in the night and his noise woke Ashby up.  They both stayed up playing for a while, although neither of them was cranky - just laughing and playing in the middle of the night!  Needless to say, it was a short night, especially for Lisa and David, so everyone just slept in and lazed around - again!  We had a big breakfast (brunch) by 11:00.

We enjoyed our lazy day around the cabin, going on walks, etc, until late afternoon when we decided to go out for pizza.  The Pizza Hut was not very busy, so it made it easy to relax knowing the children wouldn't bother anyone else.

We stopped to pick up a few things for tomorrow's dinner on the way home.  We then spent the rest of the evening laughing at the children, reading, or sewing.  Ashby even tried to copy her mommy doing some embroidery work.

The weather was warmed today, so that made our wonderful day even better.

November 1st - North Carolina Day 2

Since it is November, I want to write a daily gratitude journal.  Today I am thankful for the fun of getting to sleep in and relax.  

We slept in this morning since it was the first day with absolutely no commitments!  When we finally got up and had breakfast (brunch??), we finished cleaning up Lisa's room and got her bed made up.

The rest of the day, we kept saying that we needed to go out and do something or take a ride or whatever.  Then we would just look at each other and not do anything!  What a great way to spend the day.

The kids made it up aroudn 4:15 and our quiet time ended!  Even so, it was really fun having them come.  Ashby was really interested in the snow that was still around, although most of it had melted by then.  She and Brooks both loved walking up and down the outside steps exploring all around the cabin.  It only took Brooks about 3 minutes to find some rocks that he could throw.

For dinner, we just fixed some spaghetti and lazed around the cabin the rest of the evening.  Day 2 has also been a huge success!

October 31st - North Carolina Day 1

Note: I did not have internet access while in NC, but I wrote out the blogs each day and am just now getting around to posting them.

We got up this morning and ran a few errands, got packed, loaded the van, and actually were on the way by 11:30.  We stopped in Clayton for lunch and then arrived at the cabin about 2:15.

We knew the cabin would need some extra cleaning since no one had been up there in quite a while.  Once we got everything turned on and leaves and snow off the steps, we unloaded the van, and then we cleaned the kitchen.  Bill then took the grocery list and went to get the food.

Meanwhile, I got the bedroom cleaned and the bed made, the living room cleaned, and most of the bathroom done.  When he got back, we got stuff put away and finished the cleaning.  At that point, everything was warm and cozy.  After fixing some hot dogs and beans for dinner, Bill put in a video and I sat and read my book.

What a great first day!