Monday, May 30, 2011

dessert and amelie's and at the pool

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Happy Memorial Day!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

sunday faces

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

papasmallows wars

 DSC00832DSC00830This group takes their marshmallow fights pretty seriously. Papa, Jonah and Izzy were members of the Black Tooth. Courtney and Carter were the Green Warriors.  Courtney made armbands to identify the teams, but only her team got the ammunition boxes.

Net result of the wars: everyone ate a lot of marshmallows

Sunday, May 22, 2011

like ships passing on the missionary sea

DSC00827This is my nephew Gideon. He returned home from his full-time mission this week. He loved his opportunity to share the gospel in Idaho. We were blessed to be able to attend the Sacrament meeting in St. Augustine today where he shared some of his experiences and most importantly his testimony.

Doug and I kept him very busy afterwards answering questions about mission life from his perspective.

Welcome home Gideon! and We’ll see you in three years!

Friday, May 20, 2011

date night

It’s Friday night. I am thinking that this is one of the last times, if not the very last time that Doug and I will have a Friday night date and wear jeans!  DSC00816

We went to the Orlando International Airport. Doug saw some reading glasses at one of the shops there that he wanted me to see. I don’t really understand why his eye doctor wants him to buy readers to wear with his contacts, but she has been helping me to wear contacts again. I truly did not think that it was possible, so I am not going to second guess her on this.







Afterwards, we ran some errands at the Florida Mall and ate dinner.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

vanessa and kate

vanessaMy sister, Kate, is in town (meaning Orlando)for a conference this weekend. She lives in Las Vegas. We have had many wonderful meals and chats together as we have been to-ing and fro-ing over the years. She, however, does not make it to Florida very often,photo in fact, I can only remember one other time since we have lived at the Birdhouse. So we were surprised and delighted! She brought her daughter, Vanessa, who will be graduating from high school in a couple of weeks. Vanessa wanted to see an alligator. The past few times that we have been to Lake Dora, we have been unlucky scouting for gators, but not this evening.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

awards day

We recently received an email from Brianna’s math teacher. This is what it said:

I would like to invite you to the high school awards day on Tuesday, May 17th at 9 am. Brianna will be receiving a special award for my Algebra 1A class. She had the second highest GPA for the class. I am very proud of the hard work she has put in this year!

Have a blessed day,

Ms. Amanda Van DingsteeB math achievement award

Brianna finds math very challenging. It was a pleasure to share the joy of her achievement.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

mother’s day


Apparently my brother, John,  doesn’t get the whole Mother’s Day thing. He called and requested chicken and rice for dinner and homemade cinnamon rolls and then he volunteered Mercedes  for breadmaking instruction. It’s okay. I was delighted that he and his family came to visit. Mercedes was visiting them, having just graduated from BYU, and she has the cutest little baby bump ever. What would it be like not to know that you are pregnant for the first four months? She is expecting little Vera the end of the summer.


Doug gave me flowers to celebrate and my married girls joined forces and gave me the Reflections of Christ books, DVDs and CD. Doug and I enjoyed watching the Christ in America one this evening. Brianna custom ordered a glass write-on, wipe-off calendar (in Spanish!) I can’t wait to receive it in the mail :)

Saturday, May 07, 2011

flying home

I was prepared for my trip home. The first leg of the journey from San Diego to Chicago, a 3 1/2 hour flight, I intended to do my Spanish homework and other preparations for my lesson on Monday.

As I was waiting at the gate for my flight, however, I had the distinct impression that I needed to talk with someone  Hispanic. I looked around and the only Hispanic people that I saw were something like 25 years old and listening to their iPods. The feeling did not go away.

The loading of the plane began and I was among the first groups called and the first in my row to be seated. Eventually, a Hispanic-looking man and a business woman came and were seated next to me. He was in the middle. We all exchanged the typical pleasantries of the situation.American737

The impression continued. The plane took off. The pilot and attendants did their thing. Finally, I took a deep breath, turned to him and said, “Habla espanol?”

Let’s just say that he was surprised by my question. I told him that I was learning Spanish for a mission to Argentina as we continued talking in Spanish. He was from Mexicali, Mexico and traveling to Manchester, England on business for his company, Pilkington. We chatted for about an hour before the conversation lagged. A minute or two later he started a new conversation. When I looked at him surprised, he answered, “it is for the practice.”

I truly feel that he was beside me to help me and encourage me. (Thank you, Guillermo!)  Through him, I felt Heavenly Father’s love and support…a wonderful tender mercy specifically for me. We chatted for three hours in total and by then my brain  felt like it was on fire! 

I did not get my homework done. However, my Spanish tutor was delighted. She even seemed as happy as I was for the experience.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

664 fairmont drive

After visiting with DSC00787Doug’s parents, we continued north on the freeway until we arrived in Claremont. It is a picture perfect little town in Los Angeles County. We pulled up in front of “our” house and started taking some photos, but the boys had heard so much about it from their mom that they almost seemed to believe it was still “her house”. I finally decided to knock on the door and tell the owners what was going on. Shirley and her husband bought the house last summer and she was delighted to hear our stories and invited us in.


Everything looked so much the same apart from the wispy little sticks  that we planted in the garden that are now huge lemon bearing trees.

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mom_pics_037From the house, we walked to the park and Truman seemed to enjoy the baseball field every bit as much as his Papa and uncle who used to play church and city ball here.






Nolan preferred running back and forth across the bridge and trying out the equipment on the playground.





Elliot went for rock climbing.




mom_pics_043I sat at the tables enjoying the beautiful afternoon.



When Cherylyn started kindergarten at Eleanor Daly Condit Elementary school, I started kindergarten as well. However, I spent most of my years teaching in this second grade classroom.


The drinking fountains, handball walls and playground seemed as if we had only just walked away a few days ago with the exception of an additional nut table in the lunch area.

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Downtown Claremont was as charming as ever. Our favorite “hole-in-the-wall” pizza place has expanded into the jewelry store that used to be next to it, and the pizza was just as good as we remembered.











We had so much fun “remembering when” that I  only wish Doug and Tricia and Cherylyn could have been there to enjoy it with us.

grandma pat and grandpa bruce

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Doug’s parents live in an Alzheimer's facility a couple of hours away from Melanie’s house. Since Thursdays are the early release day from school for the boys, we decided to take advantage of the extra time and make an adventure.

Bruce was delighted to see us and though his wife doesn’t even begin to resemble her pre-alzheimer self, it is obvious that he adores her.

DSC00773Pat loved seeing Melanie’s boys. She was upset that Doug had married me without telling her and kept trying to introduce me to Melanie.  Dear sweet woman, I miss you.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

sports for these boys


Elliot passed off the swimming skills he has been working on.


Afterwards, the boys tried out their nerf bat at the park.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

tuesday hanging out with my sister

DSC00697I picked up my mom early this evening and we went and watched my nephew play ball.








I also got to chat a little bit with five of her seven kids. Karissa is graduating from high school in a few weeks and trying to decide which BYU to attend. Next in line is Caleb, then EQ and Neal.  Tyler is next to my sister, Rachel and her husband, Craig.

Monday, May 02, 2011

hage elementary

Every day we make at least one trip to Hage Elementary School. Formerly, it was a dairy farm owned by Mr. Hage, I assume. The school mascot used to be a cow, but the cow has now been traded for a panther.DSC00750

I guess it would be awkward to cheer, “Go Cows!”