Tuesday, September 11, 2012


My grandson Jay lives at Brigham Young University with his parents.  His Dad, Mark, happens to be a huge BYU fan.  This is marginally understandable since Mark has been a student at BYU for the last several years. 

The problem is that the University of Utah happens to be the favorite school of someone else in the family—me!

A couple of years before my first grandchild was born, I bought 2 red University of Utah onesies for my future grandchildren.  And then, forgot that I had them. 

Poor Bridge did not have the opportunity to wear one of those cute red onesies.

I could not let that happen again with Jay.

Just one problem—getting access to Jay without his parents knowing what I was going to do to their baby! 

They were living about 1 1/2 hours away, so we didn't have the opportunity to have him to ourselves until one day when KJ wanted to surprise Mark by taking him to see a new movie that had been released.  She asked us to come to their apartment to babysit while they went to the movie.  I said, "Sure, we'll come--but you have to take Ty to the movie with you!"  Not really.  I just asked if he could go with them and she said yes.

This was going to be perfect!

We bought a small University of Utah football, packed up the camera and U of U onesie and drove to their apartment. 

As soon as little Jay was fed and happy, I put the onesie on him, posed him with the football, had my husband try to get him to smile, and took a bunch of pictures.  Jay was so happy to be wearing the true colors that getting him to smile was not hard at all!

Then, we put his pajamas on him and put all of the evidence back in my truck so that his parents would not suspect that we had taken these pictures.

As soon as possible, I ordered an 8 x 10 and I hung it in our family room with all of the other family pictures.  Then, I just waited for them to notice it the next time that they came to our house.

A month or so later, we had Ty’s 16th birthday party and we were all sitting in the family room just talking and goofing around when all of a sudden Kj kicked me in the leg!  I was shocked and looked at her with a “What the heck did you do that for?” look and she laughed as she pointed at the wall where Jay’s awesome U of U portrait was hanging.

Then, we all were cracking up. 

Well, most of us were.  Mark looked more like he was in pain.  (Okay, not really.  He kind of--sort of laughed).

That picture will always be one of my favorites!

Some more of the cute pics:

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Father's Day Sunday

And then there was Father’s Day Sunday. 

I had already given Hunter Man some shorts and a shirt for Father’s Day on Friday night before we went out to have a movie night.   And, we celebrated with our kids and grandkids Saturday night, so other than planning to have one of his favorite things—Norwegian Shrimp Sandwiches—for lunch, we weren’t really going to do anything else for Father’s Day Sunday.

But, then something weird happened while we were at church.  After about 10 minutes, Hunter Man asked me if I had any Ibuprofen.  I told him that I didn’t and just figured that he had a headache or something. 

A few minutes after that, he leaned over to me, whispering that he was not feeling well at all and was going home.  He was sweating and his face looked ashen.

I could not get the thought out of my head that he was having a heart attack.  I came home and internet searched for the symptoms of heart attack in men.  Then, I compared the symptoms to what he was experiencing and I became convinced that he was having a heart attack.  He could not get full breaths, had numbness in his left arm, pain on the left side of his chest and near the bottom of his sternum, anxiety, sweating, fatigue, indigestion, and gray color.  Later he told me that when he got up in the morning, his heart was beating really fast and then it slowed way down.  Symptoms that didn’t really go along with the heart attack symptoms were aching body parts and diarrhea.  But, there were more symptoms suggesting heart attack than not.  I think my biggest concern was the fact that he felt like he could not get enough air when he breathed--as if his lungs would only fill up part way.  He wasn’t gasping for breath, but just wasn’t getting enough air.  When someone has a heart attack and part of the heart is damaged, then it limits the lung function, too.  This scared me because I didn’t want irreparable damage to happen to his heart by not getting medical attention.

Convincing him that the best thing to do would be to go to the hospital, rather than take a nap, was not easy.  He said he had never felt like that before and didn’t like how he was feeling, but he was adamant about not going to the doctor.  Finally, he agreed to go to the Insta Care.  I knew that they would tell him that he needed to go to the Emergency Room, but I hoped that he would believe them since he wouldn’t believe me. The first thing the nurse said to us before they checked him in was that if you think you are having a heart attack, you should go straight to the E.R. or call 911.

We should have left right then and driven ourselves to the E.R. because after examining him and performing an EKG, the doctor said that he was very concerned about “ST depression” on the EKG showing a decrease in the amount of oxygen that he was getting.  “ST depression” can indicate heart disease and impending cardiac arrest.  He wanted to have Hunter Man transported by ambulance to the hospital.  Hunter Man kind of cried when he realized that he really might have had a heart attack.  The nurse set him up with an I.V., oxygen, some baby aspirin, and a nitro glycerin tablet while the ambulance was en route. 

I followed them in my truck and by the time I got into the room in the E.R., the EMT’s were filling a nurse in on the details, one nurse was drawing vials and vials of blood, and the doctor was asking a lot of questions.  Soon, he had another EKG and a chest X-Ray.

Jer and Tass came and we waited for results.  As we waited, Hunter Man’s symptoms were all over the place.  He had more indigestion, increased heartburn, felt faint when he was getting his X-Ray and walking to the bathroom, sweating, freezing, numbness in his left arm, tingling in his right arm, blood pressure all over the place (top numbers from 107 to 138), and feeling like he was just not getting enough air every time he took a breath, even with the oxygen and especially after he walked.

But, then Jer and a friend of his from church gave Hunter Man a blessing.  And that may have made all the difference because the doctor came in and said that there were no cardiac enzymes showing up in his blood like there would have been if he had a heart attack.  The only thing that showed up on the chest X-Ray was possible bronchitis. 

Even though he did not feel well, he kept
trying to make jokes with all the staff.
Other than feeling like he couldn’t breathe very well, he had no other symptoms of bronchitis.  He had not been sick, he wasn’t coughing, has not had a sore throat, or nasal congestion, or anything.  He did start to get a fever while we were in the E.R. for some reason, which was probably why he was freezing then sweating.  Viral bronchitis could explain that and even could be associated with the diarrhea he was having.  But, it didn't explain everything else.

The doctor ordered another set of blood tests and another EKG, just to see if anything else showed up.  Nothing did.  So, Hunter Man was cleared to go home.  An appointment to have an Echo Stress Test in the morning was made for him and the doctor wrote a prescription for Prilosec to help with the feeling of heartburn.  Hunter Man still felt awful, but I guess when they ruled out heart attack, there was nothing else that the E.R. could do for him.

Taking off the EKG and heart
monitor stickers was painful!
We still did not know what was wrong with him and hoped that the next morning when he had his Stress Test, we would get more information on what could be done to make him feel better.  He was still fatigued and still having a hard time breathing the next morning.  I was concerned about him taking a stress test in this condition, but I guess the doctors weren’t.

Later that night he got this text message that made us laugh:  “Happy Father’s Day!  Thank you for not dying today!”  (Hunter Man has an awesome daughter-in-law.)

Anticipating the fun treadmill
part of the test.

(The stress test consisted of being connected to the EKG machine, laying on a table and having an ultrasound of his heart, then walking and running on a treadmill for about 10 minutes, and having another ultrasound done immediately after getting off the treadmill.  The doctor evaluated everything and said that Hunter Man’s heart is perfectly fine.  He has no blockages or leaking valves).

Norweigian Shrimp Sandwiches  (I don’t have a picture because we didn’t get to have them).

Fresh or frozen (but thawed) pre-cooked shrimp (about 1” size), mayonnaise, lemon juice, butter (not margarine), lettuce, and French bread.

Mix enough shrimp for each sandwich with mayonnaise and a few squirts of lemon juice.  Butter each piece of French bread.  Place a piece of lettuce on the bread, then top with shrimp.  Eat as an open faced sandwich—doing your best to keep the shrimp from falling off every time you pick it up!  These are so, so good and one of the greatest things that Hunter Man brought back from his time in Norway. 


Father's Day Saturday

We got together as a family on Saturday night for Father’s Day.  We had turkey, mashed potatoes, and gravy, followed by my favorite delicious chocolate Bundt cake and/or strawberry pie. I had both. I love this time of year for strawberry pie, but this chocolate cake is irresistible ( and it could be held totally responsible for the extra five pounds that I just can’t get to go away!)
As everyone was talking after dinner, Hunter Man began to tell about the event that has become known as “THE EIGHT MINUTE ELK HUNT”.  One year, he was elated to find out that he had drawn a Limited Entry Big Honkin’ Bull Elk Tag for the fall.  This hunt was his opportunity to hunt for the biggest elk of his life and he proceeded to get ready for that hunt for the next six months.

It was very important to him to be ready to recognize a gigantic bull elk when he saw one.  His study material consisted of numerous DVD’s about elk and he watched one EVERY SINGLE NIGHT right before we went to bed.  He was going to make sure that he knew how long the front tines, the back tines, and the whole rack of antlers should be.

I absolutely did not love going to bed and finding him already there with the elk video playing. After a week or so of this happening, I started avoiding going to bed until the video was almost over.  Sometimes that didn’t work.  If I hadn’t come to bed yet, he would start another episode!

So, at our Father's Day party when Jer and Hunter Man were recounting the events of the elk hunt, I interjected that my (least) favorite memory of that elk hunt was the fact that Hunter Man watched “Elk Porn” every night before he went to bed right up until the elk hunt. Everyone laughed when they heard me call it Elk Porn.  (I can joke about it now).

The reason that it was called the Eight Minute Elk Hunt is that Hunter Man got so excited to see this elk just a few minutes after he started hunting—and he was sure that it was a BIG, BIG one—that he shot it first thing in the morning on the first day of the hunt!  Jer was recording the whole thing so when we watched the video of it later, we all witnessed Hunter Man walking up to that elk and being fairly disappointed that it wasn’t as big as he thought it was. 

I gave this picture to
Hunter Man one year and
told him that it was of
his 2 favorite things--me
and his elk!

When he came home from that hunt and I saw this huge elk in the trailer, I was so happy for him.  I didn’t even realize that it wasn’t as big as it was supposed to be.  I am HAPPY that he didn’t get a bigger elk.  Right now, with our standard-sized ceilings, the elk mount is hanging on a nail about 2 ½ feet off the floor and the top of its antlers is about 1 inch away from the ceiling. If it was any bigger, it would be sitting on the floor!

Our son-in-law, Mark acted quite interested in the hunting stories, so Hunter Man decided to show him the DVD of his life’s hunting pictures that I made for him quite a while ago for another Father’s day gift. It was fun to see it again and he enjoyed explaining who was in each picture. 

The timing of showing that DVD was perfect.  It had A LOT of pictures of Hunter Man’s Dad in it. His dad has been gone for about 15 ½ years now and we all wish he could have been here, sharing in all of the things that have happened since he died--from Jer getting married and becoming an electrician --to Ty growing up—to Kj getting married and graduating from college--to his two great-grandsons being born.

At Christmas, we visited Hunter Man’s grandpa, who was almost 104 at the time.  We always take a lot of pictures when we visit him, and Tass had taken a picture of Bridge, Jer, Hunter, Man, and Grandpa together.  It would have been a perfect Five generation picture, if Hunter Man’s dad had been here.  Tass really wanted to crop a picture of him into it and give it as a gift to Jer.  She worked very, very hard on it and finally got it ready for Father’s Day. 

When she presented an awesome black and white version of this picture to Jer and Hunter Man after all of the Father’s Day gifts had been given, Jer was speechless and choked up about receiving such a meaningful gift.  Hunter Man teared up at seeing his Dad in a picture with him after all this time.

Bridge thought it was a birthday party and started singing “Happy Birthday to You”.  When we told him it wasn’t anybody’s birthday, but it was Father’s Day and that his Daddy, Papa, and Mark were getting presents because they are all fathers, he changed his tune and proceeded to circulate around to every single one of us about 5 times each saying “Happy Faths Day!”  It was so cute!

Bridge had also been so patient with having to stay inside for the party that when I said we could finally go outside to blow bubbles, he quickly ran to the kitchen and climbed up on the counter to get them.  Then, blowing bubbles evolved into playing with the hose.  Hunter Man kept turning the water on and off.  Bridge laughed as the water sprayed him.  He kept saying, "Turn water on, Papa."   

Sitting outside all together, watching Bridge play, was a nice way to end the day. 


(By the way Strawberry Pie is soooo easy to make.  You buy a pre-made pie shell and bake it.  Then, slice a quart of strawberries.  And you also buy a tub of red strawberry gel stuff that is sold in the produce section when strawberries are in season.  (If you can’t find this, you can get another mixture called Danish Dessert in the Jello section and make your own red gel stuff).  Mix the strawberries with the gel, spread in the pie crust and chill in the refrigerator.  Top each slice with a dollop of Cool Whip.  EASY and delicious!)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


I know this sounds crazy, but I was worried when I was about to become a grandma for the first time.  I didn’t know how to be a grandma.  I had no idea that I would fall in love with him at the first glance of his sweet little face.  But that is exactly what happened.  And then, I couldn’t stay away from him—I just loved him so much!

I am pretty sure I drove my son and daughter-in-law nuts at the hospital because I visited a lot and stayed too long!  I couldn’t help it.  This little baby was just so amazing and he stole my heart!

Last week, I became a grandma to another sweet baby boy.  I kind of wondered about myself again.  Would I be able to feel the same instant huge amount of love for my next grandchild? 

I really was crazy to even wonder.  I have more capability to love than I even knew I had.  Guess what happened at the first glance of this new amazing baby—I fell in love with him!

We were all supposed to be in the room when number 1-- Bridge was born, but his heart rate kept dropping too much.  We were sent out to the waiting room while he was delivered by C-section.  It was nerve-wracking, but everything turned out just fine and he arrived with no more problems and was just perfect!

This time for grandson number 2, we were in the room again, and we were able to stay for the entire delivery.  It was one of the most incredible experiences I have had in my life so far.  I was able to see the entire birth (while I was trying to remember to take pictures of my daughter as she pushed with all her might).  The minute that little Jay made his appearance I was in tears and in awe that I had just seen him born.  I stopped taking pictures and could only stand there, not doing anything.  I even missed taking the picture of my son-in-law cutting the cord.  Oops!  It was a wonderful experience and I was so proud of Kj and what she was able to do! 

So, yes--I was crazy to doubt myself.  I love, love, love both of my grandsons.  I love being a grandma and I think I can stop doubting my ability to let more love fill my heart as my kids add to their families.

My daughter, Kj and her husband Mark, happen to live about 1 1/2 hours away and that is hard.  I went to the hospital for a couple of hours the day after he was born and was able to see him go home for the first time on Mother’s Day.  Then, about 4 days later, I stayed with them for 2 days.  That was great and I got a lot of Grandma-time in.  I almost did not want to leave.  It is kind of hard not knowing when I will get to see him again.  He will grow so fast.  He can already turn his head from side to side while having tummy time and has been able to do that from his first day!

Bridge sure has grown fast.  He is just over 2 years old, is already potty-trained, loves to have fun, is not afraid of anything, speaks in long sentences, and is great at expressing his ideas.  He is so cute and so much fun.

Yes, being a Grandma is the greatest. 

I give big thanks to my children and their spouses for these great additions to my life.

Monday, April 23, 2012


My amazing, intelligent, handsome, fun little grandson is two years old.  It is hard to believe that two years have gone by already.  Time--enjoyed, sure goes by fast.

And believe me, I totally enjoy being with my grandson.  

He has been a true light in my world during the last 2 years.  He has kept me going.  
And now he is TWO.

Of course he is the cutest and smartest two year-old on the planet!
He had a CARS movie theme birthday party.  He loves movies and CARS is one of his favorites.  His mom is a great party planner.  She prepared for his birthday for weeks and weeks in advance. 

Every time I went to their house, Bridge would be so excited to show me everything that had been accumulated for his CARS party.  It was so cute how he said CARS party.  I don’t think he knew what a CARS party was, but he was very excited that these things were part of it.

Aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, great grandparents, honorary grandparents, and even the mailman came to celebrate and wish him a happy birthday!  He had so much fun.
We had his favorite food -- chicken nuggets and French fries.  (He calls them “nuggs”). 

He got so many presents.  Everyone just loves him and it is hard not to spoil him. 

He did his best to play games even with all of the distracting action around him.  All of the kids liked racing cars on the track that Jer and Papa built just for the party. 

His mommy made him a very awesome CARS birthday cake.

He knew just how to blow out the candles--we were still singing and he was all about blowing them out!

And what would a CARS party be without getting your very own car? 

His favorite thing to play with, once the party started dying down was a big “Mater” balloon (like the truck character in the movie CARS). 

 It was almost as big as he was. He would put it on the floor and try to jump on it before it could float back up to the ceiling.  We laughed and laughed at the sheer joy he had while playing with such a simple toy.

He had a wonderful birthday and we were all so happy  to celebrate it with him. 

Happy Birthday, Little Man.  We love you!


Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Twice a year, there is a two-day event that I really look forward to—the Scrapbook Expo.  

Two days of being with friends, shopping, scrapbooking, eating, and escaping from the reality of life. 

In the last few years, the craziness of life has made it so that usually, I only get to go for one day. But, I am happy just to be able to get away for as much time as I can.

This year, I only went for about 6 hours. It was fun, but it wasn’t long enough! The first thing I did when I got there was try to find a table for me, Maureen, Paige, and Brittany to sit at.  Sometimes it can be really hard to find a table there.  I had to make sure that we had a place to sit, talk, eat, and maybe scrapbook.

The second thing that I did was go to the booth that sells Bundt cakes to see if I could get a sample of their wonderful chocolate, chocolate chip cake. I was really hungry and felt disappointed that they weren’t giving out any samples.  Usually, if I walk by their booth often enough I have so many samples that feel like I had a piece of cake!

I felt much happier when Paige and Brit arrived.  They brought  dinner!  We each had our own favorite from Café Rio. I love their Sweet Pork Enchiladas with Hot Sauce and I am always so stuffed by the time I eat two enchiladas. I should just quit after I eat about 1 1/2, but I love them so much that I eat every bite. 

I was REALLY full, but I still spent the rest of the night wishing that I had a piece of chocolate Bundt cake. I could have purchased an individual sized Bundt cake just for myself, but I probably would have eaten the whole thing and then I would have just been miserable!

Ever since that night, I have been craving Bundt cake.

And then, I was lucky to be able to have some on Sunday when we had a birthday party for Hunter Man’s grandmother. She is 93 years old! We just love her. She is so funny and is as healthy and feisty as ever. She enjoyed having all of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren come to spend the afternoon and evening with her.

When my niece walked in with a beautiful Bundt cake for Grandma, I was excited.  First, we had really great food. Then, the little kids got to have an Easter Egg hunt. And finally, we had birthday Bundt cake and ice cream! It was funny that the cake was a Neapolitan Bundt cake because I happened to buy Neapolitan ice cream.  It was yummy. But, the craving for chocolate, chocolate chip Bundt cake did not go away.

Today, I searched on the internet for a copycat Bundt cake recipe.  I found one! I had all of the ingredients that it called for in the pantry except mini chocolate chips and also cream cheese for the frosting. So, I put regular sized chocolate chips in it and I made butter cream frosting. I used a Chocolate Fudge cake mix.  Other than that, I made it just like the recipe and it was absolutely fantastically delicious! I ate one piece and then had to have another small one just because it was so great. If you want to make the cake, go to this link: http://www.favfamilyrecipes.com/2008/09/nothing-bundt-chocolate-cake.html

My cake does not look as beautiful as theirs.  I am sure the cream cheese frosting sticks to the cake better.  My frosting kind of dripped and I put it on the cake with a Ziploc bag, but aesthetics aside, it still tasted so yummy.

I really shouldn't have wasted time making a cake today because I had tons of office work that I had to do and tons of laundry that needed to be washed.  But, sometimes, a girl just has to do one or two things that will lower the stress level

I needed to do that.  I have been very busy trying to get our personal and business tax information compiled to take to the accountant since time is running out and I have been letting a lot of things like laundry and housework slide.

So today, in between baking and number-crunching, I had gotten almost everything washed except one great big pile of dirty towels. The clean towels were on the floor right next to the stairs, waiting to be folded and the dirty towels were stacked up right around the corner. 

Miraculously, I actually convinced Ty to help me with one thing—fold and put away the towels. I told him to fold the towels that were at the bottom of the stairs.  I couldn’t believe that he really agreed to help.  Ty exists on his own planet. He rarely does anything that does not revolve around himself or anything that he wants to do.  It was weird that he agreed to help. 

Later, I noticed that ALL of the towels were gone. I asked him what happened to the pile of dirty towels and he said, “What dirty towels? There were two piles of towels and I folded all of them and put them away.”

Oh no! For the first time in his life he goes above and beyond what he is supposed to do and then ends up folding dirty towels!  I have no idea how he didn't notice that one pile was a lot damper and stinkier than the other pile, but at least he tried! 

I really did appreciate the effort.  I may never see that kind of effort again.  He says that was his last time folding towels.  Rats. 

I washed and re-washed all of the towels just to make sure that I don’t find a dirty one when I least expect it!

Just what I needed to help me not get too stressed out or go crazy--some fun stuff, some laughter, and some cake! 

For one day, at least.

(I know, I hardly have time to be blogging--but it is 12:30 a.m., so I am using my sleeping time, not my working time!)