Wednesday, August 3, 2016

I Am Crazy

I am crazy. 
One of the parent eagles
earlier in the summer

I am at our property at Camelot by myself.  Hunter Man has had to work for two Saturdays in a row now and it is really cramping our summer style, so I decided that I would rather NOT sit home doing everything that I do every other day of the week again and I made the drive alone.  I love being able to get away from home for a day or two. 

I have been enjoying my solitary weekend very much.  I would rather have someone to talk to and be with while I am here, but it isn’t that bad when no one else is here.

I have read, scrapbooked, worked on blog posts, watered the lawn ten times (which was the one thing that Hunter Man really wanted me to accomplish because the sprinkler system timer is not working right), taken a walk, and sat by the river and enjoyed the sound of it rushing by.

Parent flying, parent on cliff
and eaglet in the nest earlier
this summer

And the crazy thing that I am doing is:  EVERY SINGLE TIME that I hear the sounds of eagles calling to each other, I jump up, grab my camera and begin searching the sky to see if I can see where they are.  Anything that I am doing just gets thrown to the side.  (Except my laptop.  I do not throw it)!

Parent on the nest/eaglet in the nest earlier in the summer
I have been valiantly trying to see this year’s eaglet.  Because we haven’t been able to come here as often as I would have liked so far this summer, I didn’t get to see it as it was getting ready to leave the nest.  Last year, it was incredible to see it sitting on the edge trying to work up the courage to fly. 

Also, last summer, watching it learning to fly a few feet above the ground high up at the base of the cliffs/mountain area was awesome.

It hasn’t been like that this summer, though.  The last time I got to come here on the fourth of July weekend, I could only spend one day and saw that the eaglet had already left the nest and had started to be able to fly higher in the sky.  It seems like it grew up faster this summer.

I have been getting my exercise today getting up as fast as I can to try to get some shots with my camera.  But, most of the time, as I grabbed my camera and ran out onto the lawn to look, I wasn’t getting very many photographic opportunities.  I looked and looked up at the cliffs trying to figure out where it was resting between flights so that I could watch that place more closely.  Sometimes I can’t see any of them at all and other times one of them will make a brief appearance before disappearing again.  Their coloring blends in so well with the topography of the cliffs and the trees that I can literally hear them right above me and can’t figure out where they are until they fly up against the blue sky or clouds.  Where is that $2,000.00 camera lens that I have been dreaming about it when I really need it?

The eaglet is almost right in the center of this
picture after being told to STAY
Yesterday I saw something funny right after I got here.  I saw two eagles flying along in front of the cliffs and saw them land on an outcropping of dirt and grass.  Then, they both started to fly away, but one of them turned around and seriously seemed to say to the other one, “No, you stay here and rest, I don’t want you to move from this spot until I tell you to.”  And then it flew away while the other one stayed in that spot for about two hours.

I watched it as best as I could, but of course, I missed it when it finally got permission to move. 

But, just in the last couple of hours, I have had some of the photo experiences that I have been waiting for.   The first time, I finally I saw an eagle flying along the cliffs, so I grabbed my camera and ran out on to the lawn to watch it.  And I took picture after picture as it soared along the cliffs, then flew up into the sky and around in the clouds.  It was amazing and on one of its passes when the light and the angle of its wings was just right, I saw that it WAS the eaglet (because apparently, Golden Eagles have a white circle on each wing when they are young). 

I was so happy.  

When I saw it land on a certain place on the cliff and it seemed to be staying there for awhile, I ran to change lenses to a lens that has the potential of getting a closer shot even though it isn’t the most high quality lens that I own.   It made me wish that I not only had the $2,000.00 lens, but also another camera body so that I wouldn’t have to trade lenses.  I don’t wish for much, do I? 

To say that I get a little bit obsessed with the eagles when I am here, is putting it lightly. 

But, I just want to take advantage of seeing them when I can, because you never know if the parents will come back and lay another egg in that nest high on the cliff next year, or not. 

I do love this place.  Not only for the eagles, but for the quietness, the beauty, the sound of the wind in the trees, the blue, blue sky, and the chance that it gives me to escape from life for awhile.  I wish our property had the river running by it, (I have to walk down to H.M.’s grandparent’s property to hang out by the river), but I still love the beauty that surrounds me as I sit on the deck reading, typing, scrapbooking, eating, and relaxing. 


I am also so happy when the rest of the family can come with me. 

 I love playing with the grandkids, shooting marshmallow guns, playing 
on the playground, 
climbing the mountain, playing games, 
and hearing them call, 
“Grandma, Grandma……”  
as they find another thing that they
would like to do with me.  

 I like going for walks at night with H.M. and looking at the stars. 

I like it when my friend Barb can come to visit and we tube down the river and laugh and laugh as crazy things happen to us (like the time a bear came streaking across the road in front of us when we were taking a walk or the time we watched the meteor shower at 2:00 a.m.). 

I like having Jer around, watching him be able to relax and let go for awhile.  I look forward to the times that he brings his family up here because they don’t happen enough for me. 

It kind of makes me sad that Kj and her family haven’t been able to fit Camelot into any of their visits because I love seeing the little grandchildren experience this place for the first time at their different ages and stages.  Every summer as they are another year older, it seems like everything up here is a new discovery for them.  

I feel bad that Jayden and Carter can’t experience that.  Kj said that the last time they came to Utah, Jayden was sad that he couldn’t go to Camelot but it was because he wasn’t going to be able to swing on our tire swing! 

As a little boy, Ty used to have so much fun at Camelot. His favorite person to play with was his big sister.  When she stopped going with us as much, he stopped wanting to go.  It has been a long time since Ty has gone to Camelot. I wonder if he ever will again?  

When we came for the Memorial Day weekend, Bridge decided he was old enough to climb the mountain by himself.  It made me nervous, but he had every confidence that he could do it.  Even though climbing the mountain can get a little bit tiring, not hearing him say, “Grandma, can we climb the mountain again?” over and over will be a little sad for me.  I hope he will still ask me to do it anyway. 

And now it is time for me to pack up and go back home.  I always wish I could delay leaving by just one more day. 

In fact……maybe I won’t go home tonight. 

(I wrote this at Camelot and did not post it immediately after I got back).

Tuesday, August 2, 2016


Our oldest child, Jer is amazing, smart, talented, wise, handsome, hard-working, and did I say, amazing?  

Becoming his mom was right up there with the best things that have ever happened to me.  He was a great baby and I loved every minute of being a new mother to him.  Every single thing that he did was remarkable to me and I just knew he was the smartest baby ever born.   When his little sister came along, he was the best big brother that a baby girl could ask for.  He was a good helper and he never stopped finding fun in everything that he did and he was always so happy.   

I remember when he started kindergarten. I just did not want to let him go even though I tried to make him believe that starting school was going to be exciting.  I didn't want him to grow up so fast.  On his first day, after he got on the bus, I panicked because I didn't tell the bus driver to take him to the public school, not the Catholic school in our little town of Smithton, Illinois (where the school bus picked up kids for both schools, although I think the bus driver might have been able to figure it out by who was wearing uniforms and who wasn't)!  Then, I cried because I forgot to put a napkin in his lunch box.  I think I really was so emotional because I missed him already.  

He was so smart that everything in school seemed to come easily to him.  During his last two years of high school, not only did he finish his coursework and get good grades, he was in the electrical apprenticeship program at Salt Lake Community College and worked after school for our contracting business.

After he graduated from high school, he only had two years left to work toward his Journeyman Electrical certificate and license.  He continued to work and also got engaged to his beautiful girlfriend who is now my favorite daughter-in-law!  Tass is a fantastic wife and mother and is very devoted to her family. 

Jer eventually evolved our electrical business into a subsidiary field that has become his specialty.  We now have two divisions and his –called All Metro Tech—is very successful and he does a great job running it.
He can do anything that you would want to have done on your home or business that involves technology, audio/video, lighting control, home automation….you name it.  He is highly sought after and his clients all give him great reviews.  He makes sure that every project that he works on his done in the most high quality way that it can be done.  I am very proud of his work ethic and integrity. 

Here is his website:

Being in business together is hard, though and at times takes a bit of a toll on family relationships.  Sometimes it is hard to keep business separate from real life when you each have different expectations.  We always get past it though and it makes me happy to see father and son doing non-business things together—and wish that family side of our life was stronger so that we could have more together time with each other.  I love just being able to be around him having fun and I look forward to every opportunity that comes along. 

He is a great dad.  A few weeks ago, on Father’s Day, he gave a talk in church about being a father.  It was fabulous and made me glad that I get to be his mom and so pleased with the man he has become.  He really is a terrific dad, husband, and son.

I enjoy watching him interact with his kids.  They love him so much and just yearn for every bit of attention that he gives them because he is such a fun dad.  

He is always looking for ways to make his kids and his wife happy.  He puts them first and works so hard to make sure they have everything they need.  

He spends a lot of time helping his children learn new things and gives them so much encouragement and support.

I love him to pieces and could not fill this blog with enough words to express my gratitude for such a great son.

My Daughter

Our daughter, Kj moved out of the state of Utah a few years ago.  I could not believe that she was going to move so far away.  I remembered how I felt when she just moved 30 miles away from West Jordan to Provo.   That day as I was headed back home after moving her things, I sobbed the entire way and probably should not have even been driving.  

She graduated from Utah Valley University with a degree in Elementary Education and taught second grade for one year.  She was a great teacher and everyone at the school loved her, but she stopped teaching after that first year and brought sweet, adorable Jayden into our lives.

I thought being a grandma to one amazing grandson was the best, but being a grandma to two amazing grandsons was even better.  

Then, Mark graduated from BYU and they moved to Cleveland, then Kansas City, then Bakersfield (where Carter was born), then Los Angeles.

They have been in Los Angeles for about two years now and it looks like they will stay there for a few more years, at least.  She LOVES living in California.

I will admit that I like having her live in California a lot better than Cleveland (since it is closer), but it still just tears at my heart every time I have to drop them off at the airport after their visits.  One of the perks of Mark’s job for three years was that they were able to fly to see us at no cost and were able to fly us to visit them.  So, we saw them every few months. 

At the end of June, Mark took a new position with the company because his 3 year contract ended in the division that he had been working in.   When he told me about the process of finding this new position with the same company, I felt pretty proud of him because he has done so well with them and had impressed so many corporate officers that three divisions were going back and forth between each other trying to decide where his talents would best be focused.  Instead of vying for him to work for their division, they were all trying to make sure that Mark worked in the best possible place where his skills and potential could be met.  He truly is a very smart and talented guy.

Kj is a good wife to him and supports him in every way.  He is really lucky to be married to her! 

I feel like my relationship with her has always been a good one.  There were a few times, of course, that we both frustrated each other, but 99% of the time, we get along and are pretty good friends.  When she was younger, we would joke about having ESP because we seemed to be thinking the same things at the same time.

She has grown into a beautiful, successful, talented, amazing, awesome woman.  She is the best mother that her kids could ask for.  I find myself wishing I had been as good of a mother as she is and wishing that I had devoted myself to motherhood in the way that she has.  She is constantly trying to better herself and it baffles me because she is so terrific, just as she is. 

I love talking to her on the phone and texting back and forth, but I will admit that I miss her like crazy and just typing those words brings me to tears.

Now that Mark has his new position, I don’t know how often we will get to see them.  He does not have travel perks anymore.  When I took them to the airport this last time (at the end of June) I almost couldn’t handle it.  Besides the fact that I had a day ahead of me that was already making me want to cry, knowing that they were gone again saddened my heart immensely.    Even though I knew that I was very likely going to go to California at the end of August, I hved no idea when they will be coming back to Utah. 

I do have to admit that having a visit in May and a visit in June was a good way for them to use up the last of their flying privileges and I loved every minute of their time with us.

In May we celebrated Jayden’s birthday, went to the zoo, went to Fat Cat’s, and played, played, played with all of the grandkids.

Super Heroes at Jayden's Super Hero Birthday Party

Fat Cats Mini Golf

Fat Cats Bowling

Fat Cats Breadsticks!

Jayden's chalkboard drawing of all of the grandkids

The Zoo

Brexton's last T-ball Game

Dinner at Chuck-a-Rama with Tyler

In June we played, played, played, swam, went fishing, went to splah pads, and went to the zoo again.  The kids couldn’t get enough of each other!

Gotta have some slip n slide time!

Kj and Tass just love to talk

And then we had some pool time!

At the park


We found some snow for the California boys to play in

Throwing snowballs at Grandma

I was just waiting for him to fall in the lake

Splash Pad!

Feeding Giraffes!

I couldn't resist adding this pic of one of the new lion cubs

We even got Tyler to go to the zoo with us

July 1st Fireworks