Check it Out!

I can't even begin to tell you how excited I was to find this in my mailbox yesterday: an amazing, handmade, personalized checkerboard. I was lucky enough to win it -- and here's where it gets fun. I even sort of know Britta and Clint -- but not really well. I just got lucky.

What I love most is that each checker has a picture of one of our precious grandkiddoes -- [I emailed the pics to Britta], and a handpainted crown [so that you can king yourself and/or your opponent] on the other side. The board itself is fabulous -- folds open and closed, stores the checkers inside and Britta even made a cute little bag to keep the checkers in.

Miss Maya and I broke it in this afternoon, and after a [very] little instruction and practice, she proceeded to understand the strategy perfectly and beat me 3 times running.

I just loved playing with her and seeing the pics of the kiddoes all the way through.

You should check them out here and take some time to browse around -- they have tons of fun stuff. You will see the checkerboard and a description if you scroll down just a little bit.

And they'd love to customize something just for you. Christmas is coming, and I can tell you that all grandparents would love a gift like this one!

Thanks, Clint and Britta! You guys are the best!


Happy Birthday to Me

"A true friend reaches for your hand and touches your heart." ~author unknown

I had a birthday this past week and I can truly say that my heart was touched by the genuine outpouring of love from both family and friends. I had friends bringing over warm monkey bread and warm cinnamon raisin bread, Diet Coke and beautiful jewelery. I had a wonderful lunch with Natalie, the kiddoes and Jessica [our new adoptive family member!], I had a great dinner with family and friends, and I even had a bundt cake [my all-time favorite - white chocolate raspberry!] that was not easy to procure and I know it.

I have had thoughtful gifts, cards, and flowers handed to me by friends and family who love me. I have coupons and gift cards to redeem. I had a trip to the Melting Pot with my wonderful Primary presidency, and I can't tell you how many loving hugs I received. I had gifts left on my doorstep and I had visits that included treats and more gifts. And don't forget cookies. Lots of yummy cookies! These family members and friends really know me. I am the most blessed, luckiest person I know.

Why? Not so much because of the gifts, but more because of the message of love those gifts sent. My heart has been touched. I know I am loved. And that truly is the greatest gift that anyone can receive. Thanks, everybody!! You made my day, my month and my year.

Love you all.

[notice one cookie missing? Yup. I ate it immediately].


The Best Example

"Life isn't a race. God isn't waiting at some mythical finishing line, tapping his foot, glancing at his stopwatch, and muttering, 'Hey, get a move on, will you?' . . . In fact, far from waiting at the finishing line, he's there, right beside us, encouraging us and sometimes even lifting us over the rough spots." ~Chieko N. Okazaki

What a beautiful thought! And there's a lesson for me in it as well. That's my job too, as a mom, as a grandma, as a Primary leader, as a wife, as a friend. It's not for me to be standing at the finishing line wishing everyone would hurry up and get things right -- it's for me to be beside them lifting them, encouraging them, helping them and loving them.

I love having the perfect example to follow. I just need to pay attention and make sure I follow perfectly.

picture by Greg Olsen


Ode to Tara

A truer statement was never written. And I am living proof.

We had Tara and the boys staying with us this week while Chris was in class down at UT. They had planned originally to all stay together in their hotel room very near campus - - but given some time and proximity, it seemed better for those of us not in school to be here and to let the student alone. [we did get time with him in the evenings!]

But since I wasn't expecting company, I didn't clean. Sigh. And Tara is the best housekeeper I know - she's amazing. And now I think she's more amazing because she never batted an eye at my tidy-ish but not very clean house.

Gotta love a daughter-in-law like that one. And I do.



"Childhood is a time of indelible impressions, mostly left by children on their parents."~ Robert Brault

Change is in the air, isn't it? School will be in session here in 2 weeks, and in our family, that will mean big changes for 2 precious grandkiddoes. Daniel and Maya will both be starting kindergarten and they are both so excited and so ready. The rest of us? Not so much.

For me, I'm taken back to the [very recent, it seems!] year when they both arrived in our family - -so wanted, so precious, and so loved. Now their parents will be sending them off to school every day, all day. And those of us who love them will miss them as part of our daily lives.

Daniel and Maya will do great as they both have great parents who love them and have prepared them well. For me, it's another of those bittersweet times where you're thrilled with their progress, excited for their new adventures, and sad for the changes that are on the way.

The indelible impressions spoken of above have been made not only on the parents of these two wonderful children but their grandparents too.


Hair Day

Just discovered to my amazement [it was on the calendar, but I didn't notice it till I found the phone message reminding me] that today is my hair appt. with my man Jake. He is a genius, but the above says it all.

Honestly? I don't think there is an ideal hairstyle, at least for me!! Sigh.