Saturday, June 27, 2009


Birds of a feather flock together.
Until we moved to Alaska, I never shopped at thrift stores or garage sales.
Well, I shouldn't say NEVER, but it was so rare that it didn't count.
In our small town in Alaska (Sitka) garage-sale-ing was the social event of the week
shopping opportunities were limited (nice way to say that they were almost non-existent)
so your chance of finding something you need is way better at a garage sale than in one of our few stores.

So I learned to love our local thrift store:
and meeting up with friends and acquaintances every Saturday morning at garage sales
(I still hit the garage sales every Saturday when I visit - best deals in the world!)

Living in Sitka, coupled with my upbringing (my mom & sisters and I ALL LOVE a good deal!) has made me a true bargain-hunter.

Caci marrying into our family proves that birds of a feather flock together.
There's no one more frugal in this world than Caci
She's like a bargain magnet!
At any given time ask her how much her outfit that she's currently wearing cost
and I'll betcha it'll never be over $20 (jewelry & shoes included)

I was thrilled when my sister-in-law, Lizzy, introduced me to

I'd love to hear from all of you about great bargains & free samples ...
There's nothing that makes me feel like
more than a great bargain!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

When Did We Grow Up, Michael?

I ran across this old photo a couple of months ago and stuck it in my scriptures.
This is me at age 17 or 18 and my brother, Michael - he's probably 16 here.
The picture was taken at what we all call "the old old house", right next to Tissue's yard.
Tissue was our golden retriever.
I miss Tissue.
I don't remember the picture being taken. But this is what I remember:
Michael was my very best friend
I loved wearing overalls
nearly every night one of us would go into the other's room to ask a quick question, and the conversation would take off ... several hours later the person whose room it was would be asleep on the bed, the other one would stumble out to their own bed
Michael wrote poetry
he would read it to me and would ask me what I thought of it
Michael LOVED Richard Nixon
Michael was a movie lover - but I think what he loved most about movies was telling the ENTIRE plot to me after watching it
Michael's friends were my friends, and my friends were his. And sometimes we had crushes on each others' friends.
We could talk about anything - and we could talk about nothing.
Most of the time we talked about nothing.
When did we grow up Michael?

Sunday, June 21, 2009


I was 3 1/2 when this picture was taken of my Dad with me in our watermelon patch.
When I think of my Dad I think of FUN ...
we actually had a watermelon patch because of all the seeds we'd spit out.
Even as a really young child, I remember watermelon seed spitting contests
as the sticky watermelon juice trickled down my chin and coated my neck.
Dad usually started the seed-spitting
(and ALL the food fights we ever had, Mom,
I want you to know - they were started
by DAD)
My Father-in-law shows us he loves us with the incredible
walking sticks
he custom makes.
Here's a picture of him before I'd ever become a part of the family.
Actually, I think this was the first birthday Brad missed celebrating with his Dad
(Brad was on his mission)
Otherwise they would have been out hunting or shooting in the desert.
Our oldest son, Trevor, is another fun, FUN Dad.
He gets his sense of adventure from his own Dad.
Just yesterday he taught Jace what fun really is:
with Jace comfortably perched on the end of our giant love sac,
and Caci standing ready for a flying toddler,
Trevor plopped as hard as he could on the other end
and would send Jace shooting
through the air
and (usually) into Caci's arms!
Ok - is this the
man you've ever seen, or what?!!!?
The love of my life
father of my children
The newest father in our family: Brooke's husband, Steven.
By taking care of mother-to-be, Brooke, Steve is already exemplifying what great dads are made of.

Anyone who knows Bryan knows that he'll be an amazing Dad.
Besides being tender, compassionate, and loving,

Let me just say that
supporting every awesome Dad in my life
is an
Lots of love and gratitude to

Following are some pictures sharing
precious memories
of the

Friday, June 19, 2009


For all my friends who have adopted and those who are interested in adoption, for my family members and friends who are adopted ...
My friend, Lindsey, just shared a new social network with me:
Check it out 


I still am lost without the help of my kids when using the computer, cell phone, or anything else that came into common use in the last 2 decades.
I'm learning to love the access to so many cool things
has provided.


For example:
I just start reading blogs in the morning
while everyone else is snoozing
(a great time to catch up on friends & fam)
one thing leads to another
and before I know it, I'm exploring blogs from people I don't know.
Cool blogs like this one
and this one
and this one
(remember my blog about JEWELRY? ... TraciDove is a great site!)
So although I'm still handicapped when it comes to technology
I'm starting to really appreciate it!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Can you believe we were able to get everyone together, in front of the camera, and all eyes open with NO BUNNY EARS?  So, this was last weekend ... our GLORIOUS weekend all together.Disclaimer:  Brooke is not fat - just VERY pregnant :)
(unfortunately, there is no disclaimer for the rest of us!)

Sunday, June 14, 2009


Have I mentioned this before?
I have a charmed life.
sweet ... amazing ... exciting ... precious ... tender
things happen to me
We've had Trevor, Caci & Jace visiting the past few days.
What could be nicer?
Add a dear friend we haven't seen in 20 years and my heart becomes very full!
Mine & Brad's relationship with Yayoi Swapp goes back to the first time-period the two of us met at the MTC... Yayoi (Japanese) was a tester at the Missionary Training Center.
Brad was my teacher (*wink*wink*)
I left for Japan, Brad & Yayoi and a great group of guys became close friends.
Yayoi went on her mission and we visited together at an All-Japan-Conference during the Tokyo Temple Dedication ...
... and we continued to develop our friendship through letters
(archaic, but it worked!)
Yayoi was instrumental in getting Brad to propose to me (thank you Yayoi!)

Yayoi was part of our family during the first few years of our marriage.  That's why it took her a while to get married - we kept her busy hanging with us.  HOWEVER, I think she had about 50 marriage proposals during that time.

After 20 years, we picked up where we left off ... past/present/future ...
it all feels the same
I love Yayoi.
....... so, what could be better than that? .......
add the biggest surprise that's ever happened to me
we were sitting around at nearly midnight, not wanting the night to end
the boys playing guitars, the girls singing along and visiting together
knock, knock, knock
my first thought:
Ed must be dying next door
then the door swung open
and in a magical, surreal way, there stood
Brookie and Steven
my heart was then so full it was bursting
(Brooke is now very pregnant, and most of the family hasn't seen her since she started *growing*)
that's my life!
Brooke had just hung up after our phone conversation when Steven said,
"should we just get in the car and go?"
Do we have an incredible son-in-law
or what!?!
Apparently Trevor & Caci knew all about it.
I would have never thought Caci could keep a surprise quiet ...
... so to put things in perspective ...
money comes & goes (ok - it doesn't always come)
health is a rollercoaster
urgent mortal things pop up daily
but, trite as this phrase has become, it rings true:

Saturday, June 13, 2009


Jace and his parents have been visiting for the past few days (yay for us!) and we're all having a blast.  Thankfully Caci loves to bake - but alas! - no pictures of her this time around.  Trevor loves to tease, and we've got a good picture of that.  And Jace loves his Aunts & Uncle.  

When we planned to go out for errands, we asked Jace, "Do you want to go with the girls or stay with the boys?"  Actually - first the question was, "do you want to be with the guys or the gals?" and his response was "gals".  Then I asked "What do gals do?" His response:  "Mooooo".  It took a few minutes till we realized he thought "gals" sounded like "cows" :)  But then when we changed the wording to "boys" and "girls" he immediately chose boys!!!  I asked him, "Why, what do boys do?"  He said, "They make guns, and play balls, and use tools."  So, he's Bryan's little shadow when Bryan is working on a project.  And Bryan is great with him.  He always finds him a tool and a something to call a project.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Why I LOVE My Life

Usually I say I don't like having church start at 1:00 ... by the time we get home from church, the day is gone.  But now that we're half way through the year and making a routine of our Sunday mornings, I'm starting to really enjoy.  Once we were all ready for church, here's how we spent our Sunday morning:
Bryan beat me almost every game we played on this AMAZING chess board he built
The girls played game after game

Even though Bryan's way better than I am, I'm the one having the most fun!

Brad worked on uploading pictures and videos for his blog ... FINALLY! time for Brad to be on the computer!

Saturday, June 6, 2009


The kids and I had a great day today.  The last day of school was Thursday, and I told the kids that Thursday, Friday and Saturday are FREE days for them.  Once Monday gets here, we'll be hopping into summer routine - everyone will have a daily job, and although we'll spend a whole lot of time playing, we need to implement some structure for my sanity's sake.  

So today we drove out to the flea market which is much like a 3rd world country.  Once you enter through the double doors, it's a whole different world!  Bryan took us right to the knife shops.  One was liquidating everything, so he got a very cool butterfly knife for $4!  (Yes - all my kids are sensible shoppers!)  He's now doing all kinds of tricks with it and only has 1 bandaid on from injuries.  

Now's the part where you'll hear about my jewelry experience.  My friend and neighbor, Erika, is my "go to" source of jewelry, clothing, and all-things-fashion.  She pretty much dresses me whenever I really need to look trendy or classy or plain old good.  So, she's amazing, not only because she has a great sense of fashion, but also because she has SO MUCH STUFF!  And it's all great stuff!  At the flea market we happened upon another store that was getting rid of all their stuff before closing their doors.  EVERYTHING was $1.  Among other things, we picked up a few necklaces.  They're cute.  Then tonight I went to a Lia Sophia jewelry party and saw some similar necklaces.  Obviously higher quality, but from a distance, or through a camera, I don't think one would be able to tell which was the $1 necklace and which was the $398 one.  I felt badly that I attended a party without buying a single thing, but I just couldn't do it!  I couldn't even bring myself to book a party because I wouldn't want any of my friends to think that I'd expect them to buy something so high priced.  

So now you know.  I'm cheap.  BUT ... and that's a BIG BUT!  there are some things for which I won't sacrifice quality for price.  I can't think of what right now - so I guess that will have to be another blog.  

And so now I'm really curious:  What do you think of expensive jewelry?  I really do wish I had the talent and know-how to make gorgeous pieces of jewelry like some of my friends do..... maybe someday ....

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Life is Good

I just want to say this about blogging:  Because I know others will read it (at least I THINK others read this ...) although I'm sharing events and some feelings, it's a whole lot different than writing in a journal.  But because I'm not a faithful journal writer, I have to be very GRATEFUL for technology and blogging.  My posterity will at least be able to read what I wrote for my family and friends to read while I was alive.  So HERE'S TO TECHNOLOGY!!!
It's been a great month ... here are some highlights:

My Dancing Princesses after their recital

We have some awesome friends in our ward who have offered a standing swimming invitation.  Over Memorial Day weekend when they were out of town, Az was hired to water their plants and we were all invited to use their pool.  Sierra and I spent a couple of hours alone together reading and swimming.  SO nice! (Thanks Nancy & Tyler!)
Late in the month we taped two promo demos for new shows to be aired on the visitor's channel in about 80,000 hotel rooms.  It was way fun work!  You can read about the first one called "This Week In Vegas" which is an entertainment show - what's going on each week with new artists coming to town, etc, on my son's and daughter-in-law's blog:
The second one is called "Shopping the Strip"  - obviously a shopping show for the visitor's channel.  We taped the demo at Town Square - here are a couple of pics from it:
(Big thanks to Erika for her fashion help!)

Highlight of the month was a quick weekend trip to Idaho to be with Brookie & Steven.
Our next grandson:
Thanks for a GREAT weekend kiddies!