Decorating the Tree

For the past few years since it's just Glenn & I living in the house I started decorating the Christmas tree 'pretty'. Instead of using the homemade ornaments from the past I used the dripping crystal type ornaments. Very pretty! This year, as most of you know, I had surgery and my recovery has been slow. Luckily we decorated the house before my surgery but buying and decorating a tree didn't get done. This past Saturday Glenn ran out and bought a small tree. (We found the good thing about getting one late in the season is the low cost....yippee) Erika & Launa came over to help decorate. Still not feeling well I set all of the old ornaments on the floor and told Launa to do her thing. I helped with the higher spots but she did the rest. Do you see some of the bunched up spots? I think she did a great job and I'm liking having an old fashioned decorated tree again.
Real concentration!Isn't she a doll?
Launa's masterpiece!


A Miracle on Main Street

Two weeks ago, Dec 7, Launa was in her preschool Christmas program. It's one of the best school plays I've yet to see. They did a great job. The older classes did the talking and Launa's class was in the chorus. She knew all the words to the songs. We also saw her moving her lips to the words of the play. She did such a good job and looked so cute!
She was very popular even having an audience come all the way from Oxnard to see her. Greatma, Aunt Debbie and Cousin Vicki were there.
Our star!
We had to get our pictures with Launa of course.
Launa, Mama and Kourtnie

Launa and grandma
Launa and Papa


Worldwide Candle Lighting

Please join Glenn & I as we remember our son, David, and all those who have passed away.

Held annually the second Sunday in December, this year December 14, 2008, The Compassionate Friends Worldwide Candle Lighting unites family and friends around the globe as they light candles for one hour to honor and remember children who have died at any age from any cause. As candles are lit at 7 p.m. local time, hundreds of thousands of persons commemorate and honor children in a way that transcends all ethnic, cultural, religious, and political boundaries.

Believed to be the largest mass candle lighting on the globe, the Worldwide Candle Lighting, TCF’s gift to the bereavement community, creates a virtual 24-hour wave of light as it moves from time zone to time zone. Hundreds of formal candle lighting events are held and thousands of informal candle lightings are conducted in homes as families gather in quiet remembrance of children who have died, but will never be forgotten.


You Better Watch Out, You Better Not Cry

I love Christmas music. As soon as Thanksgiving is over out come my Christmas CD's. There are, of course, my favorites but I play them all.
On Friday Launa & I were on our way to pick up Anthony from school. She was in her car seat playing a video game and I was singing away. I didn't think she was paying any attention. Santa Claus is Coming to Town came on and I'm singing at the top of my lungs when from the back seat a little voice says, "Grandma, I've been a good girl, huh?" I forgot what these songs can mean to a 4yr old.
I immediately assured her that she's been a really good girl! :)


18 Wonderful Years!

Today was our anniversay. We went to dinner and a movie. Right now I'm waiting for Glenn to get his things together for work tomorrow so we can relax the rest of the evening. The Packer game is on so we'll watch the rest of it and I'll knit. And, yes girls, I'm way okay with that. I just love being with Glenn. I really am the luckiest girl ever. I couldn't ask for a better husband than Glenn. As you can tell we're a low-key couple who just enjoy each other. But we are saving up for the big getaway in 2yrs for our 20th, in case you're wondering.
Now that Anthony taught me how to do the timer on my camera I was able to take the above picture of the 2 of us.
The beautiful roses Glenn gave me.



Mom & I went on opening day, 2nd showing matinee. Lucky thing because I found out it was sold out in the evening. I loved it! Can't wait for the next one to come out. I was worried about the actors playing the parts. When you read a book your imagination gets to play such a large part. I was afraid I'd be disappointed in the movie's portrayal of the characters. But I was pleasantly surprised. They did a great job of casting. I'd also heard beforehand that the movie wasn't anything like the books. Normally that's the case anyway so I was ready. But I thought it stuck to the storyline really well. Obviously a lot was cut out or the movie would've been twice as long but the main theme was kept in tack. 2 thumbs up from us!


Cookie Maker/Taster!

Anthony & Launa got out of school early last Friday. They helped me make chocolate chip cookies. I had just found these new aprons a few days earlier. They're both great helpers and we were all great tasters.
Anthony taught me how to use the timer on my camera. I've had this camera for a long time. Anthony is always showing me how to do things with my camera, on the computer etc etc.


Happy Birthday to Me!

Last Sunday, November 2, was my birthday. We had a small family bbq at our house after church. I received some very nice things from my family but the best was just being with them. I also received a lot of phone calls, nice cards, e-mails, facebook messages and a special blog message from my very good friend Tara. Thank you everyone. I feel so blessed.
Roses from Glenn!


This was the first year since I became a grandma 12 yrs ago that I didn't go out trick or treating with grandkids. Guess I'm over it? I usually really decorate too. This year I set a few things out the day of so kids would at least know they could stop by. I realize I didn't go to a pumpkin patch this year either. ummmm no Halloween spirit this year, huh?
Halloween night Robert & Erika took the girls out and Anthony stayed home for the first time. Erika called right before they left to ask if he could stay with us. He's decided he's too old for trick or treating. Friday night is ice-cream night for us and we watch the cop shows we missed during the week. Anthony joined grandma & papa for that.
Launa was Supergirl. Daddy is a big Superman fan so Launa decided to be Supergirl.
Kourtnie was a character from Narnia.


Happy Birthday Mom!

Last Sunday was mom's birthday. (yeah, I'm late posting) Mom wanted breakfast for dinner so everyone came over that evening and we had scones, bacon, sausage and eggs. It was delicious!
Happy Birthday Mom!


Wicked? you ask. Didn't she already post about Wicked? Yes I did, right here. But I got to go again. This time with Glenn and our friends Chuck and Katherine. It was funny how it began. The day after I went with mom & Erika, Glenn & I went to church. Just as I started to tell Chuck & Katherine that they really should see Wicked they began talking about wanting to see it. That's all I had to hear. It took a while for us to coordinate our schedules but we finally went last Friday evening. We were so lucky with our seats too. I got them 3 days in advance and we sat center stage, 1st row in the 2nd seating on the Mezzanine level. Nobody in front of us so lots of leg room and the view was perfect. Of course the production was excellent. A different actress played Glinda this time but she was just as good. The first time I went Jo Anne Worley played Madame Morrible, Carol Kane played her this 2nd time. I have to say Jo Anne Worley was much better. (I'm sorry Ms Kane)
The evening was lots of fun!


Welcome Home Robert!

Our son-in-law, Robert, came home from Iraq on Thursday. It was his 2nd tour and he was gone for 7 months. It was so exciting to have him come home. Erika told Anthony who is 12 a few days early but didn't tell Kourtnie (9yrs) or Launa (4yrs) until that day. Launa found out while we were getting ready. Kourtnie found out when Erika showed up at school to take her out. I think Kourtnie's teacher and the office workers were just as excited as we were.

The time for his plane to arrive was changed twice. The first time it was changed to 3 hours later which was discouraging. Then Erika received word that he would be here sooner so we had to quickly change and rush out. Of course there had been an accident on the freeway so we tried to get around by going through Ventura and Oxnard and maybe speeding a little. Ha! We were going from Ojai to Mugu base. When we arrived at the gate the guy told us the plane had already arrived. I could feel my heart sink thinking Robert was just standing there waiting for us. We got to the airfield and discovered he wasn't there yet after all. They arrived 45 minutes later. The first sighting of the airplane was great! We waited anxiously as they got off of the plane, looking for Robert. He was one of the last off.

Hugs all around
The family is back together. 7 months is a long time for a 4yr old. Launa was a little shy with daddy at first. Now she is talking his ears off.
Robert with Grandma Shirley and Mother-in-law Wenona
We had both houses decorated with signs and yellow ribbons to welcome Robert home.



Glenn just went back to work this week after a 2 week vacation. We spent 3 nights, 2 days in Cambria. It was great to just get away and relax.
Glenn relaxing on the patio outside of our room.
Wenona in front of our room.
The view from our patio.

The rest of the time we stayed around here. Glenn had a list of things he wanted to get done. (okay, I had a list for him too..Ha!) But, although he got a few things accomplished, we mainly relaxed and enjoyed the time together. I can't wait until Glenn retires!

Back in August we made a trip to Oklahoma City for our niece's wedding. It was fun seeing the family. We wish Greg and Erika could've made it but finances don't always cooperate with our wishes, do they? The wedding turned out so nice. Just look at this picture....aren't Amber & Jim a beautiful/handsome and happy couple? Glenn & I stayed a few days after the wedding to visit with family. It was great staying with Glenn's sister Peggy for a few days.
The Utter family at the wedding.

We'd never been to Oklahoma City. We saw the memorial site of the federal building bombing. It took us a couple of hours to walk through the memorial and what a wonderful job was done to tell the story. Also very intense. I found myself crying in a couple of the rooms.
If you ever have a chance to go I do recommend that you try to see it.
Something we noticed about Oklahoma City as we walked around on Sunday afternoon is that nothing is open and the place is deserted. This is a picture looking down the center of a major street. No cars, no people. It was weird, like being in the twilight zone. But so peaceful! Our niece reminded us that Oklahoma is bible belt country. Wow, wouldn't it be great if everywhere was like that? Sunday could really be set aside for church, family and most of all the Lord.



It's football season again. I'm not talking about pro or college. I'm talking about what really counts. Our grandson's team. The Ojai Eagles. Anthony is playing his 2nd year. If you were reading my blog last year you'll remember that Anthony's team was undefeated and went to the Super Bowl. This year he and his friend, Shane, are the only 2 returning and the rest are rookies. The rest of Anthony's teammates from last year moved up. This means more playing time for Anthony - yea- but already they've lost a game. That's okay, it's still lots of fun! Anthony is playing corner back and wide receiver.
Anthony is number 16. As a side note: Ever since Anthony started playing sports as a toddler he has chosen #16 for every uniform he's had. It's been his choice, not ours. We lost our son, David, less than 2 weeks before Anthony was born. Anthony has always wanted to know all about David and has felt a connection to him. We think that he and David were together during those 2 weeks. 16 was David's baseball number.



If you haven't seen Wicked yet I highly recommend it. Erika and her best friend Shannon invited their mothers and grandmas to the matinee showing and then dinner. The 6 of us went on Saturday and had a great time. (Papa got to stay home and watch the grandkids. Thank you Glenn) I was going to wait until Shannon forwarded the pictures of us to post but I can always do a 2nd posting.
We saw Wicked at the Pantages which is a beautiful theater. The production was wonderful with outstanding singing voices, funny dialogue and just an all out entertaining plot. Afterwards we drove back to T.O. and had dinner at a delicious Chinese restaurant. We all had a lot of fun!


Last Day of Summer Vacation!

School started today and yesterday was the last day for some summer fun! Anthony called to ask if his friends could come with him to swim in the pool. Of course! His friends have been swimming in our pool all summer.
The 4 boys play on the Ojai Eagles football team. They played football in the pool with a pool football and were having a blast. The water was so wavy and there wasn't any place in the pool not to get knocked around.
The girls and I finally decided to get out. That's okay, they got to have ice-cream. Then the 3 of us watched the movie Flicka.
It was a fun way for everyone to end the summer!


Monkey War!

Launa, our 4yr old granddaughter, and Glenn (Papa) have an ongoing tease of calling each other "monkey". "You're a monkey." "You're a monkey bum." etc etc You get the idea.

A few weeks ago Launa gave papa a monkey sticker and insisted he put it on his blackberry.
After that Papa found a monkey sticker on the bananas while helping with the groceries. He stuck it on the mirror in the bathroom Launa uses when she's here. When Launa saw it she put her hands on her hips, rolled her eyes, took it off and had me hold her up so that she could put it on Papa's mirror.
Next Papa printed a monkey off of the computer that filled the entire 8 1/2 X 11 sheet of paper and stuck it on Launa's mirror. Papa came home and didn't find anything on his mirror so thought Launa had given up. Until....that evening he removed the decorative pillow from the bed and there taped onto the pillow he sleeps on was the picture of the monkey. HA! Boy was he surprised.
Days went by and each morning when Launa arrived for me to babysit she'd ask, "Grandma, did Papa put a monkey on my mirror?" He hadn't. Finally she couldn't stand it any longer. She asked me if we could find a picture of a monkey on the computer to put on Papa's mirror. She found one that had 3 monkeys. She split them up and put them in 3 separate places. His mirror, dresser drawer and chest where he places his work bag each evening. (She's so smart to have known these places without any help from me. grin grin) Notice that the monkey Launa chose isn't even a real monkey. She said that the monkey Papa picked wasn't a 'nice' one.
After taping the 3 monkeys an idea developed. Launa will tell you it was HER idea. (again I'm grinning) Together Launa, Kourtnie and I printed out monkey faces and taped them onto Glenn's pictures. You should have heard all the laughter as we cut them and decided which monkey face went onto which picture.

As a side note you need to know that when we remodeled our bedroom 2 years ago I read in several places that a bedroom should be just for the couple. No pictures of kids/grandkids or any family. It is our sanctuary and we have only pictures of the 2 of us. A poster size sunset from Kauai with our silhouettes in the foreground, a wedding picture, Hawaii snapshots and 5 framed photos on the dresser from events we've attended. In other words, lots of faces of Glenn to tape monkey faces onto.

Glenn's reaction when he got home? "It's on! Launa, you'd better watch out!" He also mentioned to me how amazing it was that a 4yr old could do all of this on her own. I told him I agreed and how shocked I was when I walked into our bedroom. :)

The following is Launa's handiwork:
Didn't she do a great job? I can't wait to see what Papa's next move will be.