Monday, August 17, 2009

Where, Oh Where, Did My Summer Go?

My it is, the late evening of August 17th! I've been doing this "mom" thing for some time now, and so it has always seemed as though when summer is over for the kids, it's over for me, too! Sarah begins her junior year at Edwardsville High School tomorrow. She's just a tad bit excited. Sarah is very involved in marching band and they just completed their two week band camp last Friday. Her first year she played the flute, last year she was playing a xylophone thing, and this year...
she has a brand new synthesizer keyboard at her fingertips! She's pretty darn excited about the whole thing. Their performance this year is entitled "Essence". There are several classical sounding sections, and then towards the end it gets a tad bit more jazzy. To say she was having a good time would very much be an understatement!
These pictures are very not in order of the last month, but oh well! It was a blast to have all of the kids come home on August 5th to spend some time together before Marshall leaves on his mission. This was actually the LAST picture they took together, late Sunday more group hug! Most of the pics are from that weekend.

Sweet Baby Claire has arrived at the stage where she is pure entertainment! She started walking before she was 8 months old! It's so funny to see this little person cruising around like she owns the world.
I have been stockpiling toys for my future grandkids for quite some time. I was pretty excited to pull them out, unpackage them, find the perfect basket for them and watch Claire be amazed at what Grandma had found! Well, was I put in my place. She immediately went for a box of oranges that was sitting on the floor in the kitchen...threw and rolled them all over the place! And then she found the broom and entertained herself off and on with it for quite some time. She also found a bottom drawer in the kitchen filled with measuring cups and wouldn't leave it alone until one was broken...oh well. I do remember always having a kid drawer in my kitchen...guess I'll have to figure that one out. Not the last bit intimidated by the size of the thing!
This picture was taken after church on Sunday. Marshall and Rich both spoke in Sacrament Meeting since all the kids were there. Marshall, Chris, Dustan and Mike Barnard also sang...delightful! Chris' girlfriend, Holly Beecher, also joined us for the weekend. Yep, my hair looks pretty funny because I'm trying to grow it out one-more-time (for Rich!). I feel like a teenager with braces and cute little clips in my hair! (We missed Joseph...he needed to visit North Carolina with Claire the following week...she's had her share of airplane rides lately!)
Saturday mornings Rich and I have been hitting the bike trails in and around Edwardsville...totally fun! Katie, Claire, and Lindsay joined us for the ride and we had a blast!
Especially Claire!
So much so that she crashed...sound asleep!
This picture was taken late at night, after the Open House for Tyler and Miranda Conkle which was at our home on the evening of August 7th. I couldn't have done it without all of their help! We were all pretty worn out by the end of the night. Love these kiddos and it pleases me to no end that they are all pretty good friends and enjoy each other's company!
Thought that this was a super cute picture of Katie with the bride, Miranda. They were sweet high school friends. I was so glad to have had the privilege to be part of Miranda's special day!
Mr. and Mrs. Tyler Conkle! Sweet!
Another group shot...outside! Funny thing...I found these darling shoes for Claire. They were a little too big, but we put some extra socks on her and it seemed to work out. I had no idea when I bought them that they had this incredible little feature...they squeak when she walks! She figured that one out fast and it was rather hysterical.
The girl loves pickles!
Claire looks very much like her daddy, but she definitely has a "Katie grin", wrinkled nose and all!
Oh, I love this little face! Way too cute!
So, back in July my oldest sister, Sharon, came to visit me from Virginia. She's also known as my second mother because she has two kids older than I am and I spent quite a bit of my youth under her direction. She means the world to me! We weren't able to have our "sister get together" this year, but I managed to twist Sharon's arm enough to come to see me for a visit. We had a very, very busy week together. One of the things we did was to go over to Independence and visit Liberty Jail where the Prophet Joseph and several others were imprisoned for many months one very, very cold winter. It is heart-wrenching to think about the conditions they endured and the lessons they learned...a great spiritual experience.
OK, so these are way out of order...I'll figure this out yet. But anyway, before my sister arrived Rich and I took off for the weekend and headed over to the Kirtland, Ohio area - another site rich with church history. Here we are in front of the Newel K. Whitney store. I don't think there are words to put to the feelings we experienced as we spent time in this particular building and learned of all that took place there.
OK, so what are the chances? We got to Kirtland and went to the place where we waited for the tour to start. Shortly thereafter in walks Terra Reed and her sweet family! Terra and I work together in Relief Society at church. She had been visiting her family in Ohio for several weeks and they decided to spend some time in Kirtland that same particular Sunday afternoon, at the same time...amazing! So, in the short space of 3 weeks I had been to Nauvoo, Kirtland, Independence, and back to Nauvoo...way cool! (And so had Bluebelle!)
OK, my sister Sharon is phenomenal when it comes to refinishing furniture. She's been at it for decades. She and her husband own a little antique store in Virginia called Elderly Treasures. So, it seems this way anyway, whenever Sharon comes to town I have a little project for her to help me with. Her expertise is invaluable! This time it was this cute little 6 drawer spool chest that I found last summer. I was pretty thrilled with how it turned out...and I think I have this process down...
...which is a good thing, because I have several projects to work on! While Sharon and I traveled I-70 between St. Louis and Independence, we stopped at almost all of the antique malls along the way. Artichoke Annie's, mile marker #137, was by far the best. We found it last, unfortunately, and spent almost 4 hours there...and only because it closed! Good thing, though, is that it's only 1 1/2 hours from my front door! So here's several before pictures...and probably I'll have the finished pictures up about this time next year if I'm lucky! Cute little, fold-up victorian rocker. Need to find some perfect material to re-upholster it also.
This dresser is in great condition with all the original it for a steal and can't wait to see how it turns out! Not sure which one of my kiddos will end up with this one.
This mirror will look super cute above the dresser! I thought I had one more picture...guess more item is a cute trunk. I'll definitely post before and after on that one.
So, all in all, it was a great summer and I'm headed into a very busy 3 months...yikes! We have been so lucky to have had a relatively mild summer, as far as the weather goes. Hope yours was fantastic, too! Marshall leaves in one week. Lots of packing still left to do...wish me luck!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Sarah's Quilt Plus a Few More Names!!

Yahoo! We finished Sarah's birthday quilt (from last October!)! I'm very pleased with how it turned out if I may so myself! The colors are super fun. The blue matches her bedroom walls and so her room is turning out very nice and fun. Feels so good to actually COMPLETE something finally! We left it with a lady in Ogden to do the quilting on top. She did a fantastic job...kinda swirly, which matches the material perfectly. So what should my next project be? Hmmmm, that is the question? So I was pretty sad to hear about the passing of Farah Fawcett. Yep, I admit it...I was pretty much a real fan of Charlie's Angels, although I never had a poster in my room or anything! Watched that TV show pretty faithfully. I tried in vain to get my hair to look like hers, which never happened! Not sure about things Farah was involved in later in her life, but she was a good "angel"! I was thinking about her declining health the other night and...
I was also thinking about the fact that I hadn't named my new kitchen faucet and then it dawned on me, "Call her Farah, the faucet!" There you go! So my lovely, incredibly difficult to find, brass kitchen fixture is named for me.
Oh, and by the way, good luck if you ever need to find one of these things. Not much left in the way of kitchen fixtures in brass, not in this day and age. I could have done something different, but that would have required changing out a lot of hinges, knobs, and that would be just the beginning...
I don't think that I have mentioned Mr. Mason, my 1929 Mason Hamlin Grand Piano. He has been part of our family for about 5 years now. I was very fortunate to locate him in northern California and have some keyboard work done on him before he came home to us. It was a great experience to see that all done in a shop in Oakland, CA. I LOVE this piano. It has a deep, wonderful sound. Last week we had a missionary from the St. Louis mission come to our home. His name is Elder Bratt and he is a student of David Glen Hatch, one incredibly talented pianist. Well, Elder Bratt played Mr. Mason like he's never been played before. He played "How Great Thou Art", a wonderful classical piece, and his own arrangement of "I Need Thee Every Hour". I was in tears, it was so amazingly beautiful. Owning a grand piano is truly one of my dreams come true. My grandfather Beesley owned Beesley Music Company in Salt Lake City and he was also a concert piano tuner. The only pianos that he sold in his store were Mason Hamlins. They were built in Boston, MA and were the main competitor to the Steinway piano built in Germany during the 10's and 20's. Anyways, it was pretty fun to find one...I feel like my Grandpa Beesley, who I never met, would be pleased.
One more new name...Sarah inherited "Ghosty", my bike from last year, and I got a nice new golden-looking one. (Did I mention how much I love Costco??!!) We decided tonight to name her "Goldilocks". Like it? We are a definite biking family now. We'll be sure and let you know what Rich names his big boy size tricycle he bought. He loves it!
Big question this weekend...who will win Winbledon??? Serena or Venus?? I think I'm leaning a little toward Venus, but whatever, it's going to be good and I'm going to be watching!!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Father's Day - Part One

So I had one of my crazy ideas awhile back. Wouldn't it be fun if I could get the kids all home and surprise Rich for Father's Day. I really didn't say much on Mother's Day this year, but it just didn't feel right not having them all around, almost worse than Christmas. But trying to get 5 of them to coordinate a few days off of their various jobs was just a tad difficult. Even MORE difficult was keeping them quiet about the whole operation. My goodness, they blew it numerous times and I seemed to have to keep telling "little white lies" to cover for them. I so wanted it to be a surprise. I have since repented and been forgiven...just so you know.
On Thursday evening Rich went out to make a visit with one of the missionaries living with us. When he left, Jenny and I headed to the airport to meet the kids. You will notice that Chris is not in the picture. That is not a mistake. He lost his driver's license and therefore wouldn't have gotten through security. He didn't track down a birth certificate in time to get a replacement license. We all felt bad and he felt the worst, I'm sure. Some of us have to learn the hard way. Anyways, this week had been so, so hot in Edwardsville. Well above 90 and super humid. Jenny called her husband and said for them to come to Bobby's Custard for a treat, thinking they'd just be meeting Jenny and I. We were all there before the boys arrived. We all ran up to the jeep and I popped Claire's head through the window for Rich to see. He was VERY surprised. Too fun. Rich loves being around the kids and what better day for such to happen than on Father's Day!
Nauvoo is one of our favorite places to visit. It's about 3 and 1/2 hours up the road from us. The early members of the church lived and built the city of Nauvoo for about 7 years before leaving on their big trek to the Salt Lake Valley. We love being there, especially since the temple has been rebuilt and especially since that is where Katie and Joseph were married. We were able to make connections with a former Bishop that we had in Bellingham. He and his wife (Leo and Pam Liddle) are serving as temple missionaries and they were able to be with us during our temple visit this time. It feels like you are almost in heaven when you're in such a sacred place surrounded by family and dear friends. Doesn't get much better than that! I live for days like this. We had a nice dinner with the Liddles that evening.
Guess what we discovered...Claire LOVES pickles. She seems to go for the sour stuff...pickles and lemons! Yikes. Too funny.
Walking down Main Street in Nauvoo. Yes, you are seeing Katie on Joseph's shoulders, headed for the Nauvoo Fudge Store.
My sweetheart! I'm so glad Rich was surprised, or at least acted like he was. He was such a good sport about it all. I get super nervous when I don't know what's going on. Rich is SO busy at work right now. I wasn't sure if it would even work for him to take a day off, but he had anticipated spending the day with just Sarah. Bonus...he got all of us! The boys did some heavy duty yard work for several hours on both Friday and Saturday. Trees down, weeds killed, mulch spread, and on and on. Sarah and Marshall also agreed to give their dad the gift of a clean garage for Father's Day. Bless their hearts, they picked the hottest two days to go to work on it, but they did a super job and it was so appreciated.

Father's Day - Part 2

One of the things that Sarah and I found at the Galleria in Houston was this darling watermelon outfit for Claire, complete with glasses.
I kind of like watermelon...understatement! And I dearly love watching this little gal when she is sleeping, especially. We were able to time her naps just right as we went back and forth to Nauvoo. She's a good sport about being in her car seat.
As we were weighing the luggage before heading to the airport, Claire headed over to the scale and climbed on. She has to figure everything out! I just laugh when I look at this picture and try to think of the right caption, but I can't decide. She looks guilty..."Who me?", she looks like she's thinking, "I can't possibly weigh that much!", she looks like maybe her diaper weighs too much.
Father's Day...we didn't necessarily plan it, but the girls managed to coordinate their outfits. Lots of blue and white!
Happy, happy Father's Day Rich. It was a great memorable weekend...many sweet memories! We both's pretty much all about family. So fun to see him enjoy sweet baby Claire!

Keep On Catching Up!!

Love this picture of sweet baby Claire. When we went out to be with the kids in May, I took along some of Katie's clothes that I had saved from when she was a little one. This little dress was a perfect fit! My sister Becky gave this to Katie and I think I put it on her when she was very tiny and had her wear it a long was definitely one of my favorites. Anything with smocking on it melts my heart.
And Claire melts my heart...big time!
Yep, you're seeing braces on Lisa. Not too terribly ugly, huh?? I'm hoping that by taking a little dental action now, it will save some major work later on. And maybe the teeth will even straighten out a little. What's two years??
So Lindsay has this incredibly darling picture of Claire right next to a picture of a Cabbage Patch doll. Claire could have been a model! It's too funny! Well, Sarah and I ventured into the Goodwill store not too long ago and look what I found! $4.00! Yahoo! This Cabbage Patch was born in 1986...yep, older than Katie! We brought her home and washed her up really well. We pulled out some of our old doll clothes and I even did a little embroidery. She's not too crazy fond of her yet, but does enjoy playing with her yarn hair.
After Sarah finished her last day of school the three of us caught a plane to Houston. Rich had this crazy idea for a road trip, escorting a picture home that was in his Houston office. So we'd fly to Houston and drive home, picture in tow. Sarah and I had a great day shopping at the Houston Galleria, which is just huge. We did find some great bargains. We also met up for part of the day with our friend Beth, who lives and teaches in Houston. Lots of fun. Beth showed us where this "Wall of Water" is close to the Galleria. It was super neat.
I think something like 11,000 gallons of water a minute "fall" down this wall. The next day we left Houston around 6:30 a.m. and headed for home. We arrived home around midnight. What on earth were we thinking? We are much too old to try and make drives like that in one day!

Seriously So, So Behind!

I'm not quite sure what has happened to the months of May and June...they seem to have disappeared in a rather rapid fashion! The passage of time has not dimmed the fact that I still find myself checking Oreo's chair to see if she is ok. And every time the doorbell rings I can hear her barking, clearly! And then we saw her twin at the pet store today...she had just finished being groomed and looked so much like Oreo. We miss her to say the least.
On May 21st Rich, Sarah, and I headed to Utah for a very, very busy weekend. We woke up early on the 22nd ready to do some serious shopping. Provo is the best place to buy everything a future missionary will need. Rich and Marshall lined up some suits and shoes and a few other necessities. Later that afternoon we were able to accompany Marshall as he went to the Provo Temple. What a wonderful experience to be in such a sacred place surrounded by family.
Love this boy! It was a beautiful evening as we were leaving.
The next day we traveled down to Manti to witness the wedding of our niece Emily to her sweetheart Dave. Manti, Utah is about an hour and half from Provo and there is the most amazing temple there that was built in the late 1800's. The antique furnishings are just a site to behold! I look at the above picture and try to imagine how happy Evalyn, Rich's mom, would feel at this sight. I am quite sure that it would thrill her. Her posterity continues to grow!
This is a picture of a set of first cousins, Nick and Lindsay, and second cousins, Riley Taylor and Claire fun is that??!!
Some more cute, cute first cousins...Katie Brewer and Rachel Nielson. Katie and Rachel are about 3 months apart in age and have enjoyed lots of fun times over the years.
Oh, and this is kind of fun...Chris brought along a new friend for us to meet and we all LOVE her. So happy that Holly and Chris' paths have crossed. She seemed to fit right into the Bowerman mix of crazy and fun personalities. Looking forward to getting to know Holly better!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Ode to Oreo

I have put off doing this post for awhile, just because it makes me a bit sad - actually very sad! The time finally came when it became apparent that Oreo's quality of life had deteriorated to a point where she was miserable. It was time to let her go. I felt like I had been holding on to her for a bit longer than I should have. She has been my little companion for 13 1/2 years. I'm not quite sure what my response will be when I'm asked who I've been talking to when it doesn't appear that there is anyone around. I've always been able to say that I was talking to the dog! We had some awesome conversations! If only we could all be so understanding, so non-judgmental, and so forgiving as our doggies!
We were able to pick Oreo out in November of 1995. Sarah was just barely 2 and I would take her over to the house where the puppies were every week so that we could take a picture of how she was growing. I was quite sure that Sarah wouldn't let the other kids know what was going on. Rich and I were able to bring Oreo home on Christmas Eve...a long, long night. She was so sad to have left her family. She finally ended up in a hamper, in the car, in the garage so she wouldn't wake up the kids. In the morning the kids had to go on a scavenger hunt and eventually found her in the fireplace in the family room...way too fun! They spent the rest of their Christmas vacation that year sleeping on a mattress in the kitchen with her until she was okay on her own.
Oreo was a perfect fit for our family. She lived in five different houses and several different kennels over the years. Three airplane flights just about did her in...definitely NOT her favorite thing. This picture was taken in February of 1997. It was interesting to watch her black hair eventually turn very gray. We originally called her Noelle because of her Christmas arrival, but then someone said she looked like an "Oreo" cookie, and that was it! So she was officially Oreo Noelle on her AKC certificate.
One of her VERY favorite activities...riding in the car! "Oreo, let's go!" and she'd come running! Whenever she would be with me to pick someone up and she would spot them coming, her tail would start going in circles, not just back and forth. Always made me laugh. Oreo was incredibly territorial. As long as she was in HER house, HER yard, and HER car she was queen and let you know it! In a couple of our homes she loved sitting on the back of a couch or chair and being a true watch dog. However, when we would be out on a walk she didn't make a noise. Not a social butterfly!
She had several different groomers over the years and was always well-behaved. Her favorite was Kim in Bellingham. They became great friends, especially considering that Oreo spent four months in Kim's kennel while we were building a home in Washington.
I laughed when I found this picture in the newspaper. I'm not sure Oreo could ever see it or paid attention to it. I wish I still had it. This little ball of fur worked her way into my heart, followed me around the house, and spent hours at my side. One thing that always made me smile was how she would come sit by the piano when I would play. I can hardly stand walking by the chair that she slept in for the last several years. I keep glancing at it to check on her! It just feels like something is missing. All of us will miss her extreme level of happiness when we would come home after being away, especially if we had been gone for awhile. Today after returning from Utah was kind of greeting from Oreo! Yikes. We miss her kisses, sneezes, and waves. Thank you, Oreo, for the joy you brought to our family. We will miss you!