Sunday, December 7, 2014

Thanks-Giving

I just realized that I’d better post a few pictures from our fun Thanksgiving celebration before it fades into the Christmas festivities! How grateful we are for our bounteous blessings, most especially our terrific family!  Thanks to Saren who took pictures and Ashton who posted them on her blog I actually have some pictures to share.I only took two pictures. Thanksgiving Dinner is pretty time consuming!

Because we had almost everybody home for the wedding, our only family who lives close enough to drive came “Over the River and Through the Woods”  for some great times, good food and a lot of fun in the snow.

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In addition my darling sister Lenna came with three of their terrific kids and their kids and our beloved Mexican neighbors with their little girls, and their cousins and their little boy came to add up to 34 of us enjoying a great day of Thanksgiving together!

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As soon as the cousins walked in the door they started adding to the Thankful list as they rolled out adding machine paper by the yard filled with things they were thankful for. There was a contest between the kids and the adults and as you might guess, the adults won. Part of the reason is that the adults were busy preparing the food! Grandfather tapped the lists together and hung it above our Thanksgiving table for decoration! We ended up with about 800 things that we are thankful for!

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WE had a girls’ table and a boys table…..

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And an adult table where we played a fun Thanksgiving game. Everyone had to name three things they were most grateful for that was unique enough that no one at the table would duplicate it. We had several winners and it was fun to hear from this grateful crew!

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After dinner we had a little impromptu concert where we had Saren and Eliza playing violins, Lenna playing piano with me on the violin, Cole surprising us with a violin solo and Ashton who played some beautiful stuff on the guitar!

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Is this teenager cute enough? 

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Even though the snow was melting, the kids had a ball out on the sleighs!

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It was a Thanksgiving to remember especially since we just released our new book called The Thankful Heart. Even though it advocates specific ways to be thankful every month of the year, it is especially meaningful in November. It is a delightful book for us as the photography is mostly done by our children and our Bulgarian almost-daughter Eva Timothy. It also includes our Thanksgiving Cards from the past 40 years. Since thanksgiving is our favorite holiday, we always send a Thanksgiving Card instead of a Christmas Card. The pictures through the years are pretty funny but the poems written by Richard every the year are still beautiful and poignant!

Richard says, “Gratitude does not lead to happiness, Gratitude is happiness in it’s most attainable form.”

You can take a look inside the book by double clicking on the book cover here.

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We are thankful to so many of you who take a look at this blog occasionally even though I’m really doing it for the sake of our Family History. We are so grateful for the good you are doing in your own realms!

And on to Christmas!!!

Monday, December 1, 2014

I Love Funerals!

Before I post about our past couple of fun adventures including Thanksgiving, I have to pay tribute to two of our older family members who died within a day of each other last week. On Richard’s side of the family, his last living aunt, Emma Rae Eyre passed away at age 88, six years after the passing of her beloved husband Vern.

This is how she looked when she married her sweetheart Vern in 1946:

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She became a feisty red-head who was known for her vivacious personality, quick wit and her strong will!

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Apparently there has never been a more ardent Utah State University Aggie Fan!  She and Vern ran the school when they were students and all their children followed suit. Since then they have attended every banquet, every awards presentation and every USU football and basketball game on record. One of her kids joked that they were sorry that there was an Aggie Football game at the very same time as her services  because she was going to have to miss the funeral.

Her son said that he called her one day to gingerly break the bad news that his oldest child would probably be attending BYU instead of USU and that others of his children may do the same. There was a long silence and then she said, “Sorry, I just threw up a little in my throat.” LOL! 

She lived a long life full of activity and many contributions to her family and the world.

Within 24 hours my wonderful brother-in-law Jesse Hirschi had died at age 94.  He was almost blind but had a clear, active mind and had gone to the grocery store with the help of a family member and died that night in his sleep. He was a wonderful soul and loving husband, father and grandfather.

This delightful picture shows him at age 91 enjoying one of the great loves of his life….fishing!

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He married my half sister LaRue (whose mother had died of cancer before my dad married my mother) whom we all loved dearly. After bringing three boys in the world she passed away of cancer at our home in 1961. LaRue (lower right)  had given birth to a baby three months before she passed so my parents lovingly cared for that adorable little boy for three years until Jesse married Ruby (upper left) who brought light back to his life.

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As you can see (above) Jesse served in World War II. In addition to the moving tributes of his brother and two grandchildren who represented all those children and grandchildren who loved him dearly, a group of five veterans about his age in full uniform provided a three gun salute and a moving message. Taps were beautifully played at the dedication of the grave. It was moving! 

Here he is a handsome young man:

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Jesse was a fine craftsman and in addition to building our first little A-frame cabin at Bear Lake, he built a lovely little cabin on his property in Geneva Canyon to provide a fun place for his grandchildren to visit. Ruby had one daughter who had ten children and all those children and grandchildren in addition to his own, talked about the beauty of their memories with their grandfather at that place.

One grandson, who grew up in Phoenix Arizona where the summers are unbearably hot asked his father one summer as they were walking up to the cabin nestled in the cool of the woods, why in the world they lived in Arizona instead of the beautiful mountains of Idaho. The Father’s reply will mean a lot to anyone who knows anything about Southeastern Idaho in the winter. He said, “because you don’t have to shovel heat!”

Both funerals were celebrations of wonderful lives. It took both Richard and I back to the memories our childhoods with these two remarkable people! Life is about touching others’ lives for good and both of these valiant souls did that in spades! I love those reminders that always come with funerals!

Friday, November 21, 2014

The BIG 70!

Well, I guess it will happen to most of us. That birthday that used to sound SO old when you were 60, extremely old when you were 40 and positively ancient when you were 20. Richard/Rick/Dadley/Daddrick/Grandfather turned 70 on October 28th! 

We had celebrated together while all the kids and grandkids were here for the wedding but I decided that since we were already in CA, we should stay an extra couple of days to enjoy his actual birthday.  Monday morning, the 27th we got in our rental car and traveled to Napa Valley. I had gone there last year and had absolutely loved being in the beauty of the vineyards in the fall.

I found a great deal for what looked like a cozy little Bed and Breakfast right in the middle of the vineyards. I had saved the birthday letters to him from all his children and their spouses, our siblings and our Bulgarian “daughter” and Ukrainian “son’ in a folder, which were not to be opened until October 28th. He knew that and was much more excited about that than a kid on Christmas morning.

We ate divine pasta in an Italian Restaurant in Napa. His face says it all!

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And then we went on to the famous Bouchon Bakery where we had a brownie to die for….and bought him an extraordinary birthday CUP-Cake:  It’s probably the first and last time I’ll be paying $9.50 for a cupcake but honestly, how often can you find a pumpkin cupcake on someone’s 70th birthday?

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That evening he gloried in the gorgeous vineyard what was literally in our backyard:

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The season was over but there were a few leftover clusters withering on the vines.

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And then went to The Backstreet Kitchen for a scrumptious dinner.

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On the BIG DAY, we were treated to eggs benedict at the farmhouse where we were staying and Richard walked into the vineyard again armed with his precious package of letters:

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He actually sat down in the dirt and read every word with delight!

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He spent an hour reading and re-reading and relished every word. Some were poems. Most were memories of the keep influence he had on their lives for good. He relished every word.

Since his birthday tradition has always been jumping in the leaves, we raked up a few leaves with our hands and he tossed a few over his head and made a video to send to the fam.

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Diving into the birthday “cake” was next. Fun and delicious!

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Last year when I was there with some of our girls, one of the highlights was riding through the vineyards on bikes so I envisioned doing the same ride in glory with my new seventy-year-old. As with many things in life, it didn’t turn out quite as planned. The bikes had excruciatingly uncomfortable seats and there was so much traffic that we felt we were taking our lives in our hands for most of the twenty mile ride. It was so painful that we were thrilled when it ended! Ah life!

The end of the day was perfect, however, as we met Charity and Ian near the San Jose airport where we would be taking off for home shortly. A park nearby the restaurant where we had the official birthday dinner was perfect for a second jump in the leaves. It’s lots more fun when you have someone to jump in the leaves with.

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Dinner was at one of Charity’s favorite restaurants in the world. We enjoyed talking about “old times” with our favorite newly married couple and they even PAID for the dinner! That was such a nice gift!

So we’re on to the eighth decade of an astonishing life! How could I be so lucky to get to live my life with this wild and wonderful, creative and crazy guy? My contribution to his collection of tributes was 70 memories of amazing things we’ve experienced together, but I won’t bore you with all that! I just have to say….“I am THE LUCKIEST!”

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE BEST 70 YEAR OLD IN THE WORLD. Sorry you other people Smile

To see a terrific video packed with fun slides of his life, lovingly prepared by Saren, check it out here!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Palo Alto Reception and New Digs!

Moving from Charity’s home reception in Park City one weekend to Ian’s home reception in Dallas, Texas, the next weekend, we moved on to their collective home reception in Palo Alto the following weekend. Ian has been living there for about 5 years while working on his PHD at Stanford and Charity for 2 1/2 years as she first loved living in San Francisco and then got a good job in Palo Alto where they met.

It was like having a grand reunion every weekend!

The Peery Famly (who are in their ward/congregation) kindly offered their beautiful yard for the reception and we had a third weekend of glorious weather for outdoor receptions!

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Charity had a ball at the flower Market in San Francisco that morning, buying and arranging flowers, hanging those fun bottles from the trees. With the help and expert eye of her dear friend Melinda, they created a magical setting! Melinda had all their engagement pictures copied on sepia paper and clipped amongst the flowers on each table. 

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We are total fans of the volunteer caterer…Michael Christiansen!  The son of our friends Clay and Christine who is getting his PHD in management at Stanford, showed off not only his management abilities as he directed an army of helpers in the kitchen, but also his quite incredible culinary skills!  He single-handedly turned out stunning tables laden with delicious appetizers, delectable cheese and crackers and a cake table to die for! Of the fourteen gorgeous cakes or so, he had made half of them himself! He claimed that everything he knew about food, he learned from his mother! What a Mom!

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Some of Charity’s star students came…

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And Rick’s brother and wife who live in Fremnont and Jeff’s parents who live in Piedmont came for a visit!

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And even friends who used to be neighbors of Noah and Tal in NYC who had moved to CA surprised us with a visit.

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So many colleagues and students from Ian’s work at Stanford came to wish them well! It was such a joy to meet so many people who adore Ian and Charity in their present world.

Again twinkling lights, beautiful flowers and scrumptious food made it another night to remember.

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The next day we spent some time at their lovely, tiny new apartment! What fun to see the digs where they will spend the first few months of their lives together. There aren’t many places to sit, but we loved every inch (even though dad/rick may not look like it)! Look at the gorgeous quilt that Lynette did for them! 

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About the only place to put the left-over flowers was a 12 inch space by the stove.

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I had taken most of those beauties to Chris and Hedy’s house where we were staying….

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The next day we went to church with Ian and Charity and the Wrights and were delighted to see their Primary Program. Approximately 100 children under the age of 12 poured their little hearts out in word and song. It was a delight!

Charity prepared a lovely Apple Curry Soup and a salad and we moved the kitchen table to the patio outside their kitchen where there was enough room for all six of us. The weather was gorgeous and both sets of parents enjoyed our first meal with Charity and Ian as a married couple. So fun!

After that we made the car trek to beautiful Half Moon Bay. It was a delightful drive and a gorgeous spot on earth! It was very windy and pretty cold but totally worth it! (Sorry about my hair in the wind Lynette!)

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Every time we turned around on our beach walk though this is what we saw….

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So you think they’re in love or what?  We are so happy for this dynamic duo!

Friday, November 14, 2014

The Texas Reception

What a wonderful family Charity has found to be enmeshed with for eternity!

The weekend after our Park City reception we traveled to Dallas, Texas where Ian spent his childhood and school years. We were delighted to learn how well loved he an his family have become there. His dad had been a prominent ecclesiastic leader there for many years and is beloved, as is his mother and his siblings. The reception was at their lovely home and Ian’s mom and dad graciously offered us not only a bed but a lovely delicious dinner and breakfast before and after the reception.

It was purely a joy to meet Ian’s teachers, scout leaders, and so many good friends. His mom Lynette had a plethora of friends helping with the food and their back yard was full of beautiful tables bedecked with delicious food. Going along with Charity’s colors at the reception in Utah Lynette had found beautiful navy tablecloths and coral centerpieces.

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The deviled eggs were an absolute hit and all the food was so yummy!

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Ian’s dad Gordon had recently built two swings and a veranda in the back yard according to Lynette’s specifications. They were exactly like the swings her dad had built for she and her siblings when she was a child. It was so fun to see Ian and Charity enjoying them together!

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Little did that grandfather know that Charity would be swinging in that very similar swing to the one he had built years before!

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They were able to show their video from their Utah events in one corner of the garden so everyone could see the festivities there. Here they are at their sparkling send-off at the Park City reception:

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For more beautiful pictures and to see the twinkling lights that graced their back yard see Charity’s blog post here.

We love these two for raising such a stellar son who is perfect partner for our daughter!

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And we find new talents every week from this guy who is a wizard at packing up more gifts from generous friends than one could possibly think could fit in these suitcases. They will be a welcome addition to new apartment in Palo Alto.

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It was a joyful 24 hours!