Tuesday, July 31, 2012

My sister went to Mt. Rushmore and Yay, I got a T-shirt!!

That is just a little twist to that funny saying you see on T-shirts that say, " 'Somebody' went to 'somewhere' and all I got was this T-shirt"  I'm thrilled that my sister would think of me knowing that Mt. Rushmore is on my list of places I want to visit and would bring me back a T-shirt!  I've worn it every day at some point since I got it on Sunday!!  Thank you Elizabeth!! Which is why I say......"My sister went to Mt. Rushmore and Yay, she got me a T-shirt!!"

Here is a picture she took.  I really, really want to go!  I told Alan he needs to figure out when, where and how we are going to get me there!!

Moving Day for Allison and John, Texas style!!

We did it!!  Allison and John are all moved into their new apartment in Tyler, Texas!!!  But of course we had to take care of important things first.

You can't move without first getting a pedicure!  I mean that is what Mom's and daughters do when they are together, plus it just gets you in the right mood for your feet to be carrying those boxes up the stairs to an upstairs apartment!!

My sister Elizabeth and my brother-in-law Art came to help unload the truck and boy did they save us!! They were amazing help and we are so grateful that they could come. They carried all that stuff up the stairs effortlessly and got it done so quickly - wow!!

John's dad (John) helped John drive the truck all the way from Utah, then unloaded the truck and car, then helped take the truck back, and then helped John get the bed and furniture all set up.....obviously we all tried to help in there when we could, but father and son where an awesome team and seemed to have a rhythm.

Alan was amazing, even though he was told by the Doctor (because of his feet) that he was NOT TO HELP MOVE!!  There was no way he was just going to sit there and watch!! But he was smart and was a great help by being the man on the truck that handed everyone the boxes, furniture to carry, which means even though he handled every box, piece of furniture on the truck, it wasn't up and down the stairs, it was to move things to the front of the truck and to hand off to someone -- which this also saved everyone else from having to climb into and out of the truck every time they came to get something!!

I carried up and down stairs for awhile, but then I saw John pull Allison aside and talk to her and then in a few minutes she was saying, "Mom, why don't you help me move things here inside the apartment because I can't lift them" which I was happy to do and she could not lift things to move around to where she wanted them to be because of her pregnancy, but they didn't fool me for a minute....Art and John were worried about my hard breathing and red face from carrying up the stairs!  I felt like a slacker, but I stayed in the apartment with Allison.

Aileen helped move as well by watching her Disney movies and drinking soda!!  Now that is my kind of moving!!

Then Elizabeth and I took Allison grocery shopping so we could fill her fridge and cupboards with the basics until she could have time to make a menu and go grocery shopping.  When moving across country I knew that you have to buy all the staples that you are just use to having around.  And of course by staples I mean some new clothes as well ha-ha!!  Aileen loved that she got to go with the girls!

We celebrated being done unloading the truck and having the truck returned by going to "On the Border" We all loved the food and it was fun to have John's dad get to know Elizabeth and Art a little better.  Sharing pictures of trips recently taken and comparing Motorcycles etc... We looked a little worse for wear (except for Elizabeth she always looks great no matter what) but we were happy to be done and to be all together again!!

Poor John spent his birthday on the road driving a moving truck!!  But happy birthday sweetie!  We are so excited that you and Allison are in Texas and starting this next phase of your lives!!  Love you!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Watching the Olympics and thinking of Sarah!

The 2012 Olympics are underway and we always enjoy watching the different athletes trying to win gold and do their country proud!  the first few days have been about swimming and as I have been watching these young men and women I have been thinking about my niece Sarah!  This last summer she became a member of a swimming team because a couple of her friends invited her to, and so she did.  Ruth, (my sister) tells me that when they (her and her husband, my brother-in-law John) went to her first heet, they looked at each other and said, "Did you know she could do this?"  I guess they had no idea that she had a natural talent for this nor how good she really was.  Go Sarah!!  And in Atlanta, where they live and we use to live, I know for a fact that Swimming is a big deal!  Almost as big as football or maybe more so!

Sara has proudly told me that she has won 1 first place ribbon, 2 second place ribbons, and 4 best of times and if I have said that wrong, please correct me Sarah and Ruth!!  But we are proud of her and maybe she will be the next Dana Vollmer who just won the Gold Medal last night and set a new world record!  I know we Texans are proud of Dana's accomplishment.

Photo courtesy of http://www.nbcolympics.com/: Dana Vollmer of the U.S. swims in the women's 100m butterfly final.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Allison is here!!!

It's official I picked Allison up today at the airport and have spent a wonderful evening with Allison and my 4th daughter (she really should be mine) Katie!!  She's here and she is safe and we are headed to Tyler tomorrow to pick up the keys etc... to John & Allison's new apartment!!  John and his father are driving the truck and will be here either Friday night late, or Saturday in time to unload the truck and get them all moved in!!

Allison, Katie and I went to "The Olive Garden" Allison's favorite place to eat and had fun talking about old memories and catching up with the new.  Katie just moved back to Texas with her husband too, so it was fun catching up with both my girls.

Allison and Katie were upstairs and Alan said, "aren't you going upstairs too."  I told him I thought they might want some time to talk without me and Alan said, "Oh, are they up watching a 'Friends' marathon" and I laughed and told him I loved that he knew them and their friendship that well!!  Too fun!  Because yes, they were watching "Friends".

I also loved hearing that Anne Marie made a special trip down to Provo to spend one last day with John and Allison before they moved to Texas.  I'm sure that Anne Marie is going to miss having them close by in Utah.  Both Allison and Anne Marie told me that she made this effort, so i know it meant something to both of them!!

I love that Kate Kelly (Rogers) Allison's best friend from church as a teenager made a special effort for them to get together in Provo before she moved away from Provo.  I always called Kate my 4th daughter too, because they really did do everything together.  So I have been feeling quite a bit of nostalgia tonight and so grateful for good friends, loving family, and really amazing children!!

It's been a great day!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Sunday was a great day!!

Sunday is always a great day, but there were some things that made this one especially nice!  We had Dad and Barbara over for dinner as has been our newest tradition, to have Sunday family dinner, Aileen loves having company and setting the table all fancy.  And because Tootie's girls are with their father in Houston, I invited her over as well so we had great company, and great conversation!! 

Then we went to an Eagle Scout Court of Honor, of 2 boys that were just 11 y/o Scouts when Alan started as Scoutmaster!!  And now here they are grown men and Eagles!  They have had several other leaders since, because of Alan being called to the Bishopric, but was pleased that they included him in their special night!!  It was a happy night for their parents, our friends the Stephens and the Tillmans!!

And.....I have really enjoyed getting to spend time with and talk with one of my seminary students who is all grown up, married in the Temple, and starting a cute little family of her own.  She is such a good mom and it is a joy to read her blog, see her pictures, talk to her, and hear from her mother all that she is doing.  Her husband is an air traffic controller in Cuba at Guantanamo Bay and they are loving every minute of it.  Enjoying the snorkeling, scuba diving, sky diving, all the crab/lobster fishing and having a ball with their cute little family at such an exotic place!!  It is a small branch there for church, but Sara is doing her part, she says she is really enjoying getting to go to Relief Society while she is here in Texas, since they really don't have that in Cuba.

It was a great day!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Secret Garden Luncheon!!

Yesterday my friends got together to celebrate my birthday!!  I know my birthday was last month, but we are running about a month behind celebrating birthdays!!  So MaryAnn, Becky, Carol, and Sara all got together at Secret Garden Tea Room for lunch.  They have such good food and I am a total antique freak lover, that it was the perfect place for us to get together!!  MaryAnn told everyone to wear hats, like an old fashion tea party and one of my gifts from MaryAnn and Sara was my hat!!  Becky told me later that MaryAnn was trying to find white gloves for us all too, but she couldn't find any!!  If I had know, I actually have gloves in my costume box!  Because that would have totally finished off the fun of this lunch!  I also loved that Sara, past seminary student, was in town visiting from Cuba so that she could come and be apart of my fun day!!

Anita Williams was all set to come and help celebrate too, but her husband stayed home sick that day with ankle spurs, and if anyone understands how painful those are, it would be me, ya know because I work for a Podiatrist!!  She was where she needed to be taking care of her husband, but I missed her and she did drop off a present anyway!! How sweet is that!!  And I'm really excited about her gift its those new fake camisole things that hook to your bra that they advertise on T.V. that are perfect for being modest with today's fashions without having to wear layers of shirts!!  I'm excited to try them out!!  Great gift idea!!

Anita and I at a different celebration but I wanted to put her picture in this post!!

Carol gave me a beautiful card (which is all I really wanted from everyone, so thank you, not that I don't love my gifts, but a card is really all it takes to make my day)

MaryAnn and Sara gave me the first of the new "It" book and a travel organizer for my jewelry for traveling.  We have gone on several trips together and she remembered that I wished I had something like that....she has a long memory!  Love it.  And of course my great hat!

Becky gave me a beautiful hummingbird night light, and when she picked me up to take me to the luncheon, she had a bouquet of roses for me.....so sweet!!  And some anti-wrinkle cream....now, that's a friend!!  lol!!

Then after lunch Becky and I looked all around at the antiques, it has been a long time since I have gone antique shopping it was like going home!!  Thanks MaryAnn for planning such a great lunch!

Thursday night, Shawna, Becky and I went to the midnight showing of the new Batman movie and it was awesome!! Love, love, love the ending!!  And Shawna gave me my gift at the movie because she could not come to the luncheon, and it was perfect....a cute teacup because she couldn't come to lunch at the tea room!!  How cute is that!!

At the movie at Midnight with all the crazy teenagers!!  Saw some great catwoman and batman costumes.

Great way to start my Friday of celebrating!!  LOVED IT!!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Its been a while.......

It's been a while that I have taken Aileen to see Grandma's grave!  I have stopped in quickly just to say hi on my own or on the way out of town with John & Allison so they could stop by.....but when I have Aileen in the car when we are going down Crowley Road we are always on the way to somewhere and trying to meet a schedule.  So, a couple of weeks ago when we drove to Dallas to go the the LDS Bookstore we drove past the cemetery on the way to Dallas and then we drove by on the way back from Dallas.  And on the way back from Dallas as we were coming to a turn in to the cemetery Aileen starts going crazy with her noisy screaming, flapping, and rocking that she does when she is angry or upset about something....and it always scares you to death, because there is no warning, and just seems to come from nowhere!  So as I'm trying to calm her down even though my seat belt limits what I can do, I point to the entrance to the Cemetery and Alan pulls in and we both say at the same time, maybe she wants to see Grandma!!  So we drive to where she is buried and we take her over to talk to Grandma.  And she is as calm as can be and likes just standing there looking at Grandma's grave while I talk to Grandma and say things like, I know that you are watching out for Aileen and that you know that she is doing good, I say things like we miss and think about you all the time, that we love you etc...  Then when Aileen was ready to go we all headed to the car.  It obviously was important for her to talk to Grandma.  And it may have been important for her to see that we haven't forgotten her!  As if we ever could, but maybe Aileen doesn't know that.  And Aileen wanted to make sure we remember!!  WE REMEMBER YOU GRANDMA and love and miss you so very much!!  Love you Mom!

This picture is of the first Mother's day after her passing but I thought it was a nice one to go with this post since I didn't take picture the day of this post.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Photo Book

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Saturday, July 14, 2012

Hot, hot, hot....

You may think I'm talking about the weather.....but you'd be wrong!!  Thursday was Alan's first day at his new job.  We did go shopping and get some new "business casual" because for the most part that is what is required for his job, and when he got ready and was heading out the door for work.....not going to lie, he looked hot, hot, hot!!  So happy and very blessed for Alan to be back to work!

We celebrated with Aileen on Friday at Salt Grass, because if you are going to celebrate something special, you go to Salt Grass!!  The steaks were delish, and Aileen liked being with us on our date!!  This morning (Sat.) Alan is at the Temple, thanking Heavenly Father in person!!  Wish I could have gone to our Ward Temple day as well, but I have got to find someone that is comfortable watching Aileen so I can.  It's hard to take turns, but grateful that we can take turns, its better than not being able to go at all!!  Yes?  Yes!!

picture from: Salt Grass.com
Only two weeks and John and Allison will be moving to Tyler, Tx and will be close by.  Can't wait.  Loved that all our kids called to see how Dad's first day went at work!  It is really humbling sometimes to realize you have and have raised such amazing children!  In fact Allison and John called Friday earlier in the evening (While Anne Marie would be working) and after they hung up, I said to Alan, "You, know that Anne Marie will be calling when she gets off work?"  and he said, "Yeah, I know!"  kind of cool that we both new that all of them would call!

Last Saturday, I started unpacking all the boxes out of our Garage, and sorted through what we are keeping and what we are throwing out!!  I know we moved in 2 yrs ago and this is a long time in coming...but you must admit there has been a lot going on.....but also, that this was an unusual move in.  I had to move all my parents stuff out, before I could start moving my stuff in.  I'm thrilled with getting a lot of things out, especially family photos, that I have been missing!!  And I hope to get more done today!!

Oh, and we do live in Texas, and it's July, so of course it is hot, hot, hot!!!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Aileen and Dawn!

Aileen and Dawn have had a really special friendship and I am so grateful for the love that they have for one another!  Dawn wrote an awesome letter to Aileen and with her permission I am recording it for our Family History since I print out my blog each year as my journal/personal history for that year!  I have been the best at keeping a record/journal of things since I started blogging and learned that you could turn it into a book!  This is definitely something we want in our journal.  Thank you Dawn.  You are an angel!


I had this dream the other night, you and I were in this long hallway.  We sat there talking and you reached for my hand and said, "Thank you for being my friend.  for always being kind to me, never making me feel as if I was out of place, for loving me and never looking at me like I was different."  You then looked me deep in my eyes almost as if you were looking into my heart and said, "one day you won't feel the pain that I know you do, we will be able to walk around hand in hand and dance in joy"

I had to let you know that you (Aileen) were the one who was a friend to me.  for always knowing when the bad days were here even if I had a giggle and a smile, YOU always somehow knew I needed a hug.  You never said I walk funny, or what is that stuff on your head.  You would hold my hand in class and always were my true friend.  I told you I don't know how to really dance because I've been hurting since I was a teen and any fast movement I try to avoid.  As soon as we finished talking I woke up.

There have been a lot of things going on in my life, 3 family members have passed away in 4 days.  A major upset in the family, failing health in people I love and care about deeply.  None of the people I am talking about are members of the church and do not understand nor care to know about the church.

I'm dealing with my own health setbacks, feeling like things are never going to change or get better than something else comes up.

I remember when I woke up I had a deep feeling of love and a great understanding that even though things are hard right now and we don't understand why, in the end things will be o.k. and knowing that I am a daughter of God means I am worth everything in the world.  It was a peaceful feeling, something I've not felt in so long.  Your words in that dream gave me the strength to make it through another day.  I know when we make it to Heaven our bodies will be made whole, that everything will be o.k, but I had forgotten or maybe even stopped believing that.  So once again, I'm the one who is blessed to have you as a friend.  You have given me so much more than anyone will even know.

When I think about the Young Women and how they say we are daughters of our Heavenly Father who love us.  I feel so blessed to be his daughter and have that understanding that no matter how off I get He is always there waiting to take me back.

....thank you, thank you for being you and always being my friend and being a great example for me.  I love you.

Love, Dawn"

I'm going to be a GRANDMA!!!

Can I yell it from the rooftops?  I am so excited!!  Our first grandchild is coming January 24th!!  And the best yet, they (Allison & John) will be in Tyler, Texas, close by when all this is happening!!  Alan is trying out names, like he has anything to say about it, it just makes me laugh to see how excited he is.  But I'm not too far behind.....I bought my first baby thing Saturday!!  It's so wrong....but it feels so right!!  We really are going to let John and Allison be the parents, but it is fun to think about possibilities!!  We could not be happier and we feel so blessed!  Can't wait to see this precious person, and hope that Grandma Clay and Grandpa Brown are preparing her/him for this wild ride we call life!!

He got the job!!!

Yay!  Yahoo!  Hooray! and any other excitement word you can think of!!  He got the job!!  Wow, it has been a long year, but still so many blessings throughout it all.  We really do have a magnificent, merciful, and loving Heavenly Father!!

Alan starts work tomorrow as the Community Relations Manager for a Fortune 500 company and we could not be more thrilled! 

I don't think either of us thought it would take this long after being laid off, to find another job.  But we have learned a lot a long the way and have found out that we can do it.  Being out of debt is why we could, and I'm so glad we worked so hard and long to do that.  It was hard when you see others going on trips, buying new furniture, big new homes, really fancy cars etc.... and remember when you had those things too... but when this new trial came into our life we could not have been more pleased that we had worked so hard to be out of debt!

I was talking with a friend of mine from High School, just the other day, and I didn't know that her husband had been laid off and unemployed for 18 months!!  And she is not the only one of our friends that has experienced this.  This economy is terrible and I'm not sure how or when its going to get better!!  But a comment she made, I felt was so true, and had not really realized that it is effecting our generation so much!!  She said "It is just crazy how many people our age have been through lay offs."  It's even more frustrating when you realize these are all highly educated people who got the education for job security!!

The Bishop challenged our Ward/Congregation to do name extractions for Genealogy for the church with a couple of other challenges about having a family name ready to have the youth take to the temple for Baptisms, and then the Adults to be ready to take that name to the temple for endowment.  And I went home from that meeting wanting and planning to do this challenge but my prayers and heart was still so consumed with Alan getting a job.  Then, a couple of days after Sacrament meeting during my prayers and pleadings to my Heavenly Father, the thought came to me, if we would follow through with the Bishop's challenge that it might be the thing that would make the blessing of a job come to pass.  So I shared this feeling with Alan and he said that o.k, he would do it.  Well, the month of June was coming to the end and I asked if Alan had done his batch of names, and he said, that no he hadn't but that he was planning on doing it the next day.

The next day, he downloaded a batch of names and was in the middle of working through it when the phone call came about a job interview with the Company that he is now going to be working for.  And even more of a miracle, it wasn't anything he had applied for, they found him and called him.  They say the new way to look for jobs is to be linked in on the Internet so that employers can find you because they aren't even putting jobs up for applications anymore, they are just searching for people that they think will fit the job....I'm not sure I believed that before, but I am a believer now!!!  And I am so grateful that when prompted that Alan and I were willing to move forward and follow through.  We have had a year of trying to listen to the promptings from the Holy Ghost, and giving service, and striving to remain strong and faithful and even though I would have never believed it would have taken this long, we have learned so much about, trust, faith, commitment, testimony, service, love, and so many other things.

Funny story, I opened a fortune cookie in January or February that said something to the fact that all my worries and concerns would be resolved by end of summer!!  I looked at that and said, "Really?, Not until the end of summer!!  That long really?"  But here it is July and we have a job, Allison is expecting, John got his Master's Program Internship, Anne Marie's health is good and has a better living arrangement!!  We have been truly blessed! 

And I want to thank our family and friends for their constant love and positive thinking and support through this time in our life!

Monday, July 2, 2012

An awesome memory!!

At Ashley Morgan's wedding Saturday there was a special memory that made me cry as I watched it unfold and I wanted to remember it.

The Morgan's - Rachel and Mike - have just recently moved out of our Ward, to the Burleson Ward and we are very sad about that but are grateful for the friendship, experiences, and memories that we have with their family in different callings etc...

After Rachel came in as the mother of the Bride, bringing down the aisle all 3 of her disabled children by herself, I asked if I could hold Jacob for her....because Hannah was a handful, and Noah was sitting still, but Jacob was climbing all over and bugging Noah, you know how it goes....so Rachel and I lifted Jacob back over the bench to me to hold for her so that After Mike walked Ashley down the aisle they would be able to actually watch their daughter get married!!

During the ceremony, when the Bishop was talking to them about marriage one of the statements he made was that you have to keep the excitement of first meeting and first dating alive in your marriage.....at which point Mike looked at Rachel and smiled, you know that smile, and Rachel beamed back....you know that beam and he reached over and touched her arm (because you remember they had 2 children between them lol!) and I thought isn't it great after all these years they still feel that excitement!! It was a tender moment. Later when I talked to Rachel, she said that you would think that it was Mike and her getting married and not their daughter as romantic as he has been giving her roses etc... I loved that!! What great examples of being young and in love no matter how long you have been married, no matter how many children you have, and no matter what challenges we have to face in this life!!

Thank you!

Valeree is here!!

My niece, Valeree, is in Rowlett, Tx, dog sitting for my sister, Elizabeth, while she and her husband are on vacation.  So, Saturday I went to pick her up and bring her to Fort Worth, to spend the day and we had an awesome time!!  Ashley Morgan is one of Valeree's really good friends that she met from our Ward when Valeree use to come and spend the summers with Grandma and Grandpa Clay.  And the exciting thing is - is that Ashley got married Saturday, and Valeree was able to be there!!  It was very exciting for both Ashley and Valeree that she actually got to be at the Wedding and Reception.
 Valeree and Barbara at the Wedding Reception.
The three Clay's
  Ashley and her husband Cody Gilmore - Ashley was a freshman in my Seminary class the last year that I taught.  Now she is all grown up in her 20's and married....where does the time go?
We spent time visiting Grandpa and Barbara. 

And then we went shopping because Valeree is in a wedding and needed a gray dress and navy shoes!  After the Wedding, and visiting Grandpa off we went to the mall on a mission to find the perfect gray dress.  She said that she wanted something kind of businessy that could be a basic dress in her closet that she could dress up or dress down depending on what the occasion was and I think she did it!

These 2 pictures (above and below) is what we ended up with - it looks great!
I haven't been out shopping like this since my girls moved away!! It was a fun time!

Visiting Teachig and Birthday's - I love it!!

One of our Visitng Teaching Sister's (Becky Wangler) had a birthday in May and for many reasons I won't go into we (MaryAnn Stephens and I) didn't celebrate it in May....but We did celebrate it in June!!  We went to the Movie Tavern to have lunch and watch "Brave" the new Disney Movie!!  We had a great time and it was so fun to watch Becky open her presents!! I think Becky could relate to the 3 crazy, wild boys, as she has 3 wild and crazy boys!!  And all of us that went all have daughters so we could relate to the mother/daugher relationship in the movie.  It was a great time and I'm so gald we were able to celebrate with our friend!!
 Lacey Lassiter, a young mother that we also visit teach, and Becky waiting for the movie to start
 Me and Becky
 MaryAnn and Becky

It was a great afternoon!!