Thursday, February 24, 2011

Visit to Boston

My sister Maria had baby Hannah on February 1. Since my mom is far away in India, I had the chance to step in and help as she has done and would have done. I was grateful that all the travel went smoothly and that there was generally nice weather. It allowed Seth and I to play outside with Emmy and Andrew and have fun and not totally freeze.

A big part of our time was spent playing with the big kids - games, dress up, crafts, forts, movies, sledding, and going out a few times to stores or museums. Hannah is a really good, snugly baby and Maria is recovering very quickly so I think it was nice for her to get some rest at times, but also to be able to have me hold Hannah and she could cook or run a few errands.

It was also Maria's birthday on Saturday - Dave and the kids and I cleaned the house, Maria and Dave went to lunch, Valerie came over for pizza and jello poke cake and then Dave did movie night with the kids while the 3 sisters went out for a little bit and rented Twilight Eclipse. I love being around my family. I am always impressed with my sister Maria and how well she does things and handles things - even just 2 weeks after having a new baby. She makes me want to be better. It was nice to get back home and see Steve and talk to Rhianna and Rand (and I am glad they had a fun week together and with friends and Krista), but I am glad I had the week to spend with her family.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Rhianna's New Look

Rhianna was very excited when I got home from work today because a special package had come in the mail. Today was the day her new glasses arrived.

Stephanie and I had noticed recently that Rhianna had been having difficulty reading and seeing things that were far away. At first when we had mentioned the idea of going to the eye doctor with Rhianna she had been very reluctant. So, a few weeks ago I went into her room and had a talk with her. One of the things that I told her was that if the doctor said she needed glasses that I would let her pick out the glasses, so she could get ones she liked (A few years ago I found out how to buy my glasses online for super cheap).

We went to the eye doctor while Stephanie was gone to the funeral and it was very obvious from the first test that she needed glasses. Without glasses she could barely read the first line of letters on the chart. The eye doctor went very well until the doctor dilated her pupils. She did not like that at all. However, we got her prescription and when Stephanie came home we picked out the glasses. Because the place I buy them from is so inexpensive I told her she could pick out three pairs (which costs the same as one pair at the local places).

The glasses arrived today and Rhianna waited to try them on until I came home from work. One thing that has been kind of special about Rhianna getting glasses is that one of the reasons she hasn't minded needing to get glasses is because she thinks it will be cool to be like her dad. That makes me smile. Here is Rhianna modeling her new glasses. I think she looks great.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Grandpa Clyde

A few weeks ago my Grandpa Calvin Clyde passed away from complications following heart surgery. He was 86 and lead a fantastic life filled with things he loved - grandma, family, travel, work as an engineer, gospel study. He really was such an example to so many people. We have a large family now - he and grandma had 8 children, there are 38 grandchildren, and now with my sister's new daughter 49 great-grandchildren. Many of us were able to be at the funeral, and since that time I have had the chance to read my brothers' and sisters' memories as well as a few cousins thoughts about grandpa. I suppose I have put off writing my thoughts because I do still feel emotional but want to mention a few things.

Around Christmas and New Years of 2006-07 my grandpa started having heart pains again and it was at that point the doctors felt there was no more they could do to help him. He had already had several surgeries since his first heart attack at age 39 and recovered quickly from them. At that point I think I sort of mourned the potential loss of my grandpa. I wrote him a letter letting him know of the many qualities I admired in him and memories I had with him.

Now it is 4 years later. I was able to visit him a few more times. He met and played with my children. He always loved little gadgets like remote control helicopters and cars and tops and spent time playing them with my kids as he had with me. He taught the kids to pick raspberries and apricots and then put the pits on the fence for squirrels. He went on a walk with us around USU. He was happy to have us there. As I have read others memories, I have been interested to see that many of the general things we know about grandpa and saw grandpa do are the same. But we each also have specific things just special to us. I am grateful to have had my grandpa. He was having a newly developed heart valve replacement so that he could continue these travels and visits.

Surrounding grandpa's death and funeral there were many small blessings and miracles. I think it was a special time for our smaller family. My mom is serving with my dad as a mission president in India and so they would be far away. It gave us the chance as brothers and sisters to help each other, especially since this is our first grandparent to die. We could email our brother on his mission in Brazil, we could talk to our sister who was soon to have a baby and our mom in India since they would not be there for the funeral.

I am grateful to have such a wonderful family - for my 2 brothers there who stepped in for my parents - Calvin, named after grandpa, spoke at the funeral and shared his thoughts and what my mom had written - and Brian who was a pallbearer with my uncles. Valerie was also there with us and helped with Lukas and Seth. As I have thought about back to the funeral there are 2 contrasting feelings that stick out to me.

My grandpa had a military honor funeral because of his service in WWII. While the folding of the flag, the 21 gun salute, and the playing of taps were very respectful, honoring and beautiful, I also found them very final. I found myself startled with each gun shot and just sad during taps.

But really that was not how I felt. Yes I felt sad, and during the few days there (and even now) I would sometimes tear up. But overall I felt it was all okay. I talked and played and ate and enjoyed time together with family. I laughed at some of the stories of grandpa. I felt great love from all of my aunts and uncles as they spoke or played music and bore testimony. I felt great love for both my grandpa and grandma and all they have done in their lives. It really was okay, and happy, and hopeful. I am so grateful that my grandparents found each other, that they married and were sealed in the temple that makes it possible to be together forever. And then they taught all of us, their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. I am glad I will be with my grandpa again someday so that I can feel peace and hope and happiness now.

Friday, February 4, 2011

A Really Lost Tooth

Rand just lost tooth number 5 today. He is quickly catching up to Rhianna with 8 teeth gone. He is most proud that each tooth was lost in a different place:

#1 - home teaching with Dad and Rhianna
#2 - at home
#3 - at church
#4 - at school
#5 - at Chipotle....

But the story is better...After he had finished eating his tacos and we were talking, I noticed an extra hole in his mouth. He didn't even realize it but HE ATE IT!! It was loose enough that it must have just come out. He said that at one point there was something hard to this tooth is really gone!