Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Alyssa's solo

I managed to get video of Alyssa's solo on my phone.  The sound quality isn't the greatest but I am still a proud father.  I am so impressed with all that this young woman does every day.  She truly is a gift from the Lord.  Here is the link:
This competition was held at Linn-Mar High School in Marion, Iowa this last weekend.  Her judge said that her arrangement was too "poppy" and not classical enough.  Thus, she received a II instead of a I.  Still, for a freshman, I felt her perfomance was great.  Her dynamics were spot on - especially in the 2nd piece (Caro Mio Ben) and her enunciation was light years ahead of her classmates.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Counting Down

Less than three months to go until Jared leaves on his mission (July 9th).  We are all excited for him.  We have very much enjoyed having a missionary in the field these last 18 months.  Our lives have been richly blessed as have the lives of everyone that Caleb has had an opportunity to teach.  Jared will have the same opportunities although I guarantee his will be a bit colder.

If you are so inclined and able, Jared is registered at the Missionary Mall.  The link is:

Tuesday, April 08, 2014


The cabinet installer unpacked and set things in place. Nothing is permanently placed yet but he said unpacking everything takes the longest of the entire job. We had to make a few changes to the gas line for the stove so it could be moved back further and made a small change to another power line for the dishwasher. Jim has worked really hard all afternoon and evening so it will all be ready for the final install tomorrow.

 This piece (below) is the desk organizer (lays horizontally between the two large cabinets above). The color is truer than the bottom pictures - they aren't as red as appears.  The desk organizer was damaged on one side so we returned it. He won't be able to permanently install the tall cupboards until this unit is back (in about a week).
 It's a tight fit but it works.
 This unit will be the wall unit above the turntable/corner cupboard above.
There is a really cool spice drawer which will go on the left side of the stove. It's only 9" in width, but it pulls out with these fun little shelves for spices. Can't wait to fill that one. 
I only worked about 3 1/2 hours today and then came home to help out. I finished painting the bookshelf white. It was nasty paint - very difficult to use but it's done. Jim and I are exhausted. His blood sugars a few minutes ago were 57 - it's time to close down for the night.

Monday, April 07, 2014


The cabinets arrived this morning!!  Oh boy am I excited! I LOVE them! I can only see one open package with two doors but it's enough to know that they are going to be beautiful. When I walked into the house tonight, I felt like a tsunami had struck. I have no idea how the man is going to even work in the kitchen. It's crammed with boxes.

 Tonight I primed the bookcase because I will paint it white. It will look lots better! Jim and I keep moving the wood for the floor from one spot to another. It's heavy.
 This pile will go in our bedroom one day.
I cannot wait until Wednesday when they will all be hung and put in place! And in two weeks I'll have counter tops that are white with black and gray speckles. It's going to be wonderful!!!

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Ox in the Mire

Although it was Conference weekend and we would have liked to do nothing but sit and listen to the apostles, the ox is in the mire and needs help getting out. The boys all offered to come up and work more on the floor and I jumped at the offer. The cabinets will be delivered tomorrow and and installed on Tuesday and Wednesday. The countertops will come in two weeks - but, the cabinets are here! So everybody worked hard on the living room area. We didn't get it all finished, but it's close.

Taking a lunch break.

 Lance bought this hanging light fixture when he was in high school and we used it over the dining room table. We decided it didn't work with can lights, which we will install but apparently he suggested to Jess and Jen that we hang it over the staircase. Brilliant! Jim and I started on it, but finally Jess and Kevin came to our rescue. It was difficult to install and took precious minutes the guys could have used on the floor. It looks really good and definitely helps reduce the bluish hue on the walls.
 This is always a scary place to be -- ladders and steep stairs scare everybody.
 Kevin cleaning off dirty fingerprints.
 Girl power!! They got it going while the guys were cutting small pieces and filling in the coat closet.
 Even Ammon helped rocking McKay so he would be happy.
 This little girl was so much help hauling screws and pliers and razor blades and brushes! She's brushing Jen's hair while Jen works on the floor.
 We called Jerry and Chance Lance to come over and help us lift the piano on to the new floor but explained that the castors are broken. Jerry suggested we lay the piano on it's back and he'd fix the holes and castors. I left the room because I couldn't stand to watch. It worked! It's upright and movable now.

Day by day it's getting closer. Thank you to all who sacrificed a great weekend to come and help. We're getting there!

Wednesday, April 02, 2014


I sure will be glad when spring decides to stay. The trees are trying so hard. The snow we've had since Sunday is definitely greening things up but it was cold this afternoon. It started to snow during my lunch hour and then snowed very hard for about an hour. By the time I went home, the snow was melted. We need the moisture and I'm grateful for it, but it tries my patience. I can't wait for it to get warm enough to go on long walks again!

Tuesday, April 01, 2014


This post is for David. He would be so proud of his momma!  I learned how to change electrical sockets and switches tonight. Jim showed me how and we did 9 different switches and outlets. We got rid of the old beige ones that wouldn't hold an electrical cord in place. David replaced quite a few when he was in high school or just before he left for his mission. Jim showed him how. We'll have to do a little paint touch-up but it's coming. We will do nine more in the kitchen tomorrow night before it gets dark and then we'll do seven in the living room the following night.  I'm not very coordinated with my hands on projects like this, but I got a lot faster the more I did.

 We found a can light that will work off a junction box so Jim installed that and it worked really well. I love that little light above the sink area.
We got pretty burned out for a week. We didn't really do much of anything on the house last week except sweep and vacuum over and over to get remaining dust gone. Now it's time to keep moving. A plumber will be coming this week to plumb the dishwasher and have all lines ready for the new sink. The cabinets will be installed on the 8th! However, it will take an additional two weeks to get the granite cut and installed. No water or sink for three more weeks.  

I did get our oak bookcase sanded. It's ready to paint white. As soon as I buy white paint, that bookcase will be painted and I'll start on the closet doors. I would love to replace the doors but we can't afford that so paint will do just fine.

I have some curtains to hang in my bedroom. Hopefully I can get that done by the end of the week, too.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Jared's mission call really did arrive

Since the video I took of him isn't working, I will just announce it. 

Jared will be serving his mission to the Colorado Fort Collins Mission. He will leave on July 9th. His mission has huge boundaries and will cover as far South as Boulder, Colorado. He will also be in Sidney and Scottsbluff, Nebraska. And he will have a good portion of Wyoming in his mission. (Rawlins, Laramie and Cheyenne, Wyoming are part of his mission as well. He is excited and in shock. Then he left on a date.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

For Lance

Lance, these pictures are for you. Inside the Sorensen Center at UVU. Jim thinks it's a really cool student center. It has a heck of a lot more character than the Wilkinson Center at BYU.

 This building (below) is scheduled to be opened in two weeks. It's the new UVU Student Wellness Center. It is 5 stories and looks like it's going to be a great place.

 Here's the outside of the Wellness Center. It is connected to the Sorensen Center.
 Another new building going up just north of the Wellness Center. I don't know what this one will be.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Weary People

Tonight I think there are some very weary young men who worked all day long to get half our "very large" room done. We did the kitchen area first because they may not be able to get back to finish the rest of the flooring until after the cabinets arrive. The kitchen area is done. I am totally in love with the flooring as I think most that were here felt as well. I have no kitchen sink and no counters but we have some make-shift tables and I'm washing dishes in the bathroom now. We'll use most paper goods for the next 10 days or so.

I'm so very, very grateful for Jess (who came up after work Friday night and spent the night here). He and Jim prepped the floor before they could work on it today. Chad & Kaitlin came, Kevin and his two little kids came with him and Brent & Chelsey and family came. It took a long time to get the first few rows in and then they came up with a system and they worked pretty hard and fast. How grateful we were to see everyone show up and work so hard.

A really ugly room.

 Prepping the floor.
 Almost done with the first half. Chad's back had to be killing him by the time he was done. He is one hard worker! Kaitlin and Chelsey helped take care of McKay and Mia and we (the women) moved that pallet of flooring to the left in the photo over to the finished floor.

 Sitting down to have some pizza for lunch.
 Kevin had to leave about 2:00 p.m. to go do shift work until Midnight. That makes a very long day. He was awesome help!
 Jess had very sweaty knees after he took the knee pads off. They had been on since about 8:00 a.m.
 Brent did the flooring in the pantry. It was hard and slow to get around all the corners but it looks great!
The floor is dusty and will remain so until the whole floor is completed but it's still very beautiful. Tonight, however, I said, "This will never end!"  I'm pretty sure the rest of the Utah kids feel the same way.  Once again, thank you to each and every one of you. This would not be possible without your wisdom, experience and youthfulness.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Elder Jeffery R. Holland

On my last post I wrote about Ammon's desire to meet a General Authority, in particular, he wanted to meet Elder Holland or Elder Uchdorf. About three weeks ago, we had our ward conference and the Stake President, Jan Newman, attended a joint YM/YW class and talked to the youth. Ammon rose his hand during the class and told Pres. Newman that his desire was to meet one of these General Authorities and wanted to know how that might be possible. Pres. Newman took Ammon's question seriously. At the end of the meeting, Pres. Newman offered the prayer and in the prayer, he asked the Lord to bless Ammon that he would be able to meet a General Authority. My visiting teacher came last night and she was in that meeting.

Yesterday morning at work, I received a phone call from Steve Linford, our old neighbor who is now the second counselor in the Stake Presidency. He is also the Institute Director at UVU. He wanted to know if we would be able to get Ammon to UVU to meet Pres. Holland on Friday morning. He was scheduled to speak at a devotional on campus. We decided to keep it quiet and a surprise for Ammon. Pres. Newman had been driving to work this week and was thinking about Ammon. He was inspired to call Steve because he knew Elder Holland was coming down to speak at the devotional. He asked Steve if he thought it could be arranged for Ammon to meet Elder Holland and Steve was delighted to put it into action.

It was the end of the term so Ammon didn't have to go to school and I took the day off with everybody's blessing in my office. Bro. Linford arranged for us to go to the reception before the devotional. We told Ammon that we wanted him to see what Institute would be like at UVU in case he wanted to attend after he graduated from high school and that Bro. Linford wanted to show him around. So we dressed in Sunday best and went to UVU. Ammon was delighted to see Bro. Linford because they are best buddies. We secured a reserved place to sit and then left with Bro.Linford to go to the reception. As we went into the chapel area someone gave Ammon a program and he instantly saw that Elder Holland would be speaking and he was ecstatic. He still didn't know he was going to meet him personally.

We had to wait outside the library (where the reception would be held) for a few minutes. Ammon kept hearing people talking about "When the Hollands come...." and he began to realize something special was about to happen. I asked him if he knew why we were there and he began to smile and said, "I think so." But it still didn't dawn fully on him until Bro. Linford took us inside the library. Only one other man was inside the room (not Elder Holland yet) and then it hit Ammon. He put his hands over his mouth and then clapped his hands and then began to cry. He can't breathe well when he cries. I was reminded of another Ammon who was so overcome with joy when he met his brethren again that he passed out. He was crying tears of joy. He kept wiping the tears away and the smile was huge. He couldn't believe it. He calmed down by the time Elder Holland came. As soon as Ammon saw him walk in the door, he clapped his hands and threw them up in the air. Bro. Linford brought Elder Holland over to meet Ammon and said, "Elder Holland, this young man has been praying for months that he would get the opportunity to meet you." Elder Holland laughed and said, "Well, he could do a lot better than me! We ought to get Pres. Monson down here." And then it was over as he moved on to meet other people. But Ammon got to meet a General Authority. It was a direct answer to his nightly prayers and he was beyond joy.

We got to hear his marvelous talk and bask in the great Spirit he brings every time he speaks.

I find it so interesting how God uses people like chess players - He places people in just the right places and at the right time to accomplish His purposes.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

A Little Break

Saturday morning nice and early Jen showed up with her mad painting skills. I was so grateful to have her help!  A little while later Kevin showed up and he got the nasty job of painting the stairwell above the basement stairs. He was a lifesaver! (He wanted to make sure I got a picture of him standing on one foot -- just for you, Gillian.)

We left home about 2:30 p.m. (leaving Jen behind to finish up, bless her heart) to go to SLC. Ammon had the privilege of singing with a 180 men's choir combining Salem Hills High School and Maple Mountain High School. Ammon went up with the boys on the bus, but because it was such a long day, we needed to go up so we could cath him. We arrived just at the end of the rehearsal.  After rehearsal, they were treated to a box dinner in a room under the Tabernacle and heard the 2nd counselor in the General YM's Presidency.
 A few months ago Ammon said, "Mom, one of my biggest wishes is to meet the prophet or one of the General Authorities. How can I do that?"  I thought about it for a while and then said, "Ammon, begin praying for it every single night. Some day Heavenly Father will answer your prayer." After the dinner, the boys had about an hour to hang out. Ammon and I walked around and took some pictures and visited with some of the boys. I was getting a little chilly so we went back into the Assembly Hall to wait for the beginning of the concert. There are no ramps or elevators to the stage in the Assembly Hall so the boys had to haul Ammon up a steep flight of stairs to get him on stage. Before it started, however, we were down on the main floor visiting with the Minsons. All of a sudden, Ammon pulled on my skirt and said, "Mom! You won't believe who's behind you!" I turned around and saw some people and one nice looking man who was greeting others. I said, "That guy?" Ammon replied, "Yes! That's David L. Beck. He's a member of the Seventy! He's a General Authority. Can I go meet him?" I was dumbfounded and wasn't sure I believed him but I said, "Yes, by all means, let's get you up there to meet him. Sure enough, it was Elder Beck. Ammon was beside himself as he introduced himself. I told Elder Beck that Ammon had been praying nightly that he would get to meet a General Authority. Elder Beck laughed and said, "Well, I'm sorry all he got was me." Later he came down to where were sitting and shook Ammon's hand again. This time Ammon said, "In the April 2012 Conference you spoke and the subject was "Your Sacred Duty to Minister." Ammon was right. Elder Beck's face showed disbelief. My mouth dropped open. It shouldn't have. Ammon watches Conference talks all the time. I just did not know he would meet the General Young Men's President on this night. All the way home Ammon kept saying, "Wow! I can't believe it. That was so awesome!" Elder Beck is the man in the picture above shaking hands with the two choir directors for the evening. Heavenly Father definitely heard the sincere prayers of a young man.
 This was just part of the choir. They were phenomenal!  It was such a treat to hear them perform. Elder Beck was the one that sponsored this concert series because he wanted to showcase what young men can do outside of sports. There were several soloists (french horn, two violinists and a pianist, all young men that were talented beyond belief).
It was a good break from the painting and mess.  One more room to paint. We got the kitchen/living room/hallways all done. Thanks again to Jen and Kevin.

Friday, March 14, 2014


Last Saturday Chad and Kaitlin came to help. Chad helped Jim fill in the holes in the floor for the new vent. It was really nice to get that job done! Kaitlin helped me pull out more staples from the floor.  Tired guys surveying their finished work.

 Kaitlin and her little bump.
 We hired a guy to do the taping, mudding and texturing on the ceilings. He did the work on three different days allowing it all to dry. He did a fantastic job! He lent us some equipment to use with our paint job this weekend (paint sprayer, a taping thing to help us tape the ceiling edges, etc. Today we bought the paint. Tonight the ceilings are completely done! Jim did the spraying and it was a lifesaver because we now have a very large room with a lot of ceiling. We started today about 1:30 and finished about 8:30 tonight, doing two different layers. We discovered that with a paint sprayer, you have to cover EVERYTHING! So we piled things up and covered it all with a light sheet of plastic.
 Finished ceiling. We used a flat white paint for the ceilings.
Wall that had the arches on it.
 Door (covered) into the enlarged pantry. The casings still need to be added to the door. Jim finished this project during the week.
 Our shrouded bed.

Ammon was asked to go to Preference by Hannah Tambasco. He was pretty excited to go tonight.
 Our living room with everything stacked on top of each other. Jim and I simply can't move the furniture by ourselves outside so it stayed in the room.
 A very happy sign today. Spring is coming.
 Hannah and Ammon being goofy.
 There was not a single good spot to take a decent picture. Obviously, it wasn't going to happen inside! A beautiful girl and a handsome young man. Hope they are having fun.
Tomorrow we start on the walls. I got a gray. I am worried it is way too dark but I wanted to stay away from a gray with a brownish or green base. This one is almost silver. Guess we'll have to live with it and love it. My bedroom will be painted blue. I haven't tried it on the wall yet, but I really liked the sample. I will probably do blue and white. Maybe a chair rail will be installed in a couple of years. Lots of time to do that. I think some family members are coming to help us paint tomorrow. We have to leave for SLC around 2:30 p.m. to meet Ammon, who is singing with his choir and another men's high school choir at the Assembly Hall Concert Series at 7:30 p.m. We need to cath him in between their rehearsal and the performance. They will also get to have dinner, hosted by the General YM Presidency and that should be a great treat for all of them. It's going to be a very busy day tomorrow.