Monday, August 8, 2011

50 and Fabulous!

One of the many things that Toby had to get used to when he
married me is that we don't celebrate birthday'sin days, we have birthweeks or even birthmonths. Toby's 50th was no different. It started with a Utah family get-together on July 24th where we ate carrot cake and sang happy birthday. We followed that up with a trip to California, just Toby and i for four glorious days.

It has been five years since Toby and i flew away for a vacation with just the two of us. i love to travel and i love to travel with my man. We stayed in a beautiful hotel just a stones throw from the Queen Mary in Long Beach. We walked to the aquarium and ate a Bubba Gumps on Thursday. They even sang and made Toby dance
at the restaurant. Friday, we rented bikes from the hotel and eek along for a 2 hour ride along the beach. Life doesn't get better than that! The beach is solace to the soul. We spent an hour at the wrong Forest Lawn, but still enjoyed ourselves. We found our David sculpture which i told toby he looked like when we first got married. He still does.

We met Jered and Mariah for indian food so hot our taste buds are barely recovering, but oooh was it yummy and then spent a remarkable evening in Laguna beach at the Pageant of the Masters. There is no way i can adequately describe it, you just have to experience it to believe how cool it is.

Saturday found us at Griffith Observatory and then a fabulous evening at the Santa Monica Pier. Nothing beats a great pier for people watching. Oh, did i mention the 1/3 pound hamburger we ate beforehand? Hmmm good people, good times, good food.

Saturday we went to church with Mariah and Jered, (we skipped Sunday School and had breakfast with our friends Margaret and John) and then the time came to return to Utah : (
It was a wonderful, very fast four days! Thanks Mom and Greg for watching Bren and Mitch.

Tues. we had the "friend" party. The party's just keeps coming. We had just a few of Toby's old time friends for a nice evening of dining and visiting. It was a fitting way to celebrate 50 wonderful years. I am so blessed to have spent 28 of Toby's 50 years with him. I love him more today than i did 28 years ago and hope to have 50 more amazing years ahead!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Gender Problems on the Farm

We are having gender issues on our farm. Bill, The duck has become a she, now known as Balina, Penny (my favorite chicken ever) started crowing about 10 days ago. It started out a terrible noise as she/he was learning the trade, (the neighbor thought we had a goat) but oh how he/she loved to practice starting about 6:30 A.M. Now, every night at 10:00 we go out and scoop him off his roast and take into the laundry room for the night. Are we the only people who have a crowing rooster in our laundry room?
If Bill had stayed Bill and Penny (now Henry or Rooster Cogburn as Mitch calls him) had just stayed as they were, life on the farm would be simpler.

They Came by Two's

A friend asked if we could keep her bunnies for the summer. How do you say no to a friend? Our farm is growing. I told the lamas up the street if they got bored to come on down, everyone is welcome until October, I don't enjoy chipping ice off water dishes 2 times a day. I am a fair weather farmer.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Farewell and Farewell

Sunday wasn't so picturesque as far as weather goes, but after three months of praying for the wedding, i didn't complain. Cam gave a wonderful talk, he invited the spirit into the meeting and touched my soul. It's humbling to watch children grow from children to adults. It was a nice day, painless and perfect.

This Wednesday wasn't so painless. After gorging ourselves at PF Changs for Cam's 19th birthday, we enjoyed a fun 4th of July at Greg and Janica's with cousins and such on Monday we continued the food fest at the Cheesecake Factory on Tuesday. We trekked off the MTC to say goodbye on Wednesday. If you have seen the Indiana Jones Temple of Doom movie you remember when the guy reached into and pulled out the man's heart. Short, quick, but his heart was still missing nonetheless. The new procedure at the MTC is 1000x better than it used to be, but you still come home with a hole in your heart.

We heard from Cam yesterday. I was so grateful and relieved to read how happy and excited he sounded. We raise them for 19 years, give them back to the Lord and He returns them better than we could ever have thought possible. It is a pure program and one that i so grateful for! But it still hurts my mothers heart.

The Wedding

It came, itwent, it was beautiful! Months of organizing, making long lists, discussing, marathon shopping trips, great lunches, cupcake and croissant consuming, planning, preparing and praying, came to fruition. It was a beautiful event. Starting Thursday with Ashley receiving her endowment, followed by lunch with her family, Ashley's bridal shower that evening, Friday prep day, dinner with the Goulds - Saturday finally came and with it came fair weather and a day that dreams are made of. The beautiful bride, the handsome groom, throngs of happy well-wishers and supportive family and friends made the day perfect.

The ceremony was short and sweet, the pictures striking, sky blue, luncheon delicious, words of wisdom shared, memories recreated, the day flawless. The amount of work absolutely overwhelming but with the help of angels we were able to pull it all off and the receptions was gorgeous. We fell into bed about 1:00 AM totally spent but hit it hard early the next morning for Cam's farewell. We truly didn't lose a son we gained a beautiful new daughter.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Moab - 2011 Family Vacation

If you aren't used to Hawkins' family vacations you quickly learn that you need a vacation from our vacations. This year was no exception. In 4 days we rented mountain bikes for two different adventures, forged streams and mountains, hiked Double arch, Delicate Arch, Balanced Rock at midnight and sunset, we swam, shopped, rode ATV's and ate. The final day we rose early (again) and hiked the Fiery Furnace, what a fabulous finish to a fantastic adventure!

Our mountain bike rides included Bar M, EZ and Lazy (don't let the names fool you) and a somewhat technical ride through Canyon Lands. It was beautiful, challenging and a huge accomplishment for all 9 of us to finish strong! The perfect trip! The best part was just being together as a family before Cam heads off the the Philippines. I love all you wonderful people, thanks for putting up with your crazy parents!

A Duck Came to Stay

A year ago i read in Smithsonian (my favorite magazine) about donkeys in Morocco that know how to get to a country veterinarian by themselves. When this gentleman wake in the morning he finds a line up of donkeys, unaccompanied by owners outside his door. He can't figure out how the donkeys know the way, they just do.

While we don't have a line up of animals outside our door, (they all live inside) animals do tend to find their way here. The last in a long line is Bill. Bill was one week old when he came to stay. He quickly became the family favorite, especially of Cameron who has spent hours playing with the furry little feathered friend.

Bill had a great 3 weeks here, splashing happily in the fountains in the backyard, watching TV with Cam, playing with Mitch, sleeping on Toby's shoulder, and pooping on me, until we decided he was stinking up the house and needed to live outside. We thought we would see what the chickens thought of Bill.

The ladies didn't seem to notice the little addition to their coop except Georgia (named after curious George) who inspects everything, but she seemed harmless. For over an hour we watched to make sure their was no fowl play. Happily we went to bed. Bill had found a home with feathered friends.

Havoc struck in the morning. i think the girls upon waking for the day, were thrilled they had food. Unfortunately for Bill, he was breakfast. They pecked all the feathers off the back of his neck, leaving it raw and bare. Poor little Bill came back into the house to recuperate from his terrifying adventure.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Princess for the Day

We should all have the chance to be a princess for a day. Last Thursday Ashley got her chance (even though she wouldn't wear a tiara). Makeup at 12:30 at the Bare Minerals store in Fashion Place mall. The lady was a true artist, applied makeup for 45 minutes and yet kept it looking natural and beautiful. Next stop a little shopping, followed by a hair appointment for an up-do. On to the dress, shoes and photographer for an almost four hours photography session!

Everyone should feel like a princess for a day; admired, pampered, indulged, and beautiful. The results for Ashley showed on camera. Kudo's to my friend Kathleen, an amazing photographer for artistry and endurance : )

We are all extraordinary, exceptional, significant, and of great worth. If we could see ourselves with true eyes we would see that we are all indeed princesses. Thank you to the truly wonderful princesses in my life... I love you all!!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Wedding, Farewells, Vacations and Sleep

There is a never-ending list of things to do. Last week Ashley and i did a 8 or 9 hour marathon shopping day on Monday, after i ran 5 miles with Karen. We ordered her cake, bought napkins, got her hair piece, cake cutting knife, flowers, ordered candy (well we tried), went to apx 25 stores, gathered linens, and rented the tables and chairs among other things.

Tuesday i went to pottery : ) (Can't skip that no matter what else is happening in life) After pottery was Activity Day for nine little girls. We planted plants in the rain. Tuesday night we took Cameron to the Temple. It was a beautiful night. i was overcome as I entered the chapel. Truly the windows of heaven were open. Grandma and Grandpa joined us even though they had a very busy night. What a blessing it is to have such supportive grandparents. We celebrated with dinner at Wingers about 9:30. A long, wonderful day.

Wednesday was missionary day. We got Cam's shoes, two pairs at the cost of almost $300. It is criminal what good walking shoes cost for men. We bought his luggage and went to Cafe Rio for lunch. A great day, $600 down, just getting started.

I sort of woke up feeling a little overwhelmed. We were suppose to have rented a houseboat from friends for our family vacation, that fell through the day before. I don't feel overwhelmed very often, but Thursday I did. I started thinking maybe everyone was right maybe this was too much for one week. I decided most of the stress was coming from a disorganized house. i didn't shower, i didn't get dressed, i cleaned for 9 hours and it felt wonderful! My dear mom and dad came to help. it was just what the dr. ordered. life is good again. Amazing what 12 hours can do.

Friday i played the part of nurse. Cam got his wisdom teeth out, no more wisdom for that boy. Our chickens needed scr
atch, had to run for a Kiva for Cam and a myriad of other errands along with visiting teaching but mostly i just kept my eye on Cam.

Saturday, we worked in the yard. I made 7 stepping stones out of pottery mistakes. It was fun to be creative, we worked in the yard, tried to replace all the flowers killed by the hail (hell) Wednesday night. Another trip to Joe's for more flowers. Please appreciate the yard when you come for Cam's farewell. Toby and Cam worked on the climbing wall all day. Just when we thought the day was over, Bren had a party and about 10 kids from school we ordered pizza, barbecued hambur
gers before falling asleep to Inception.

Sunday, i taught Relief Society. I was assigned President Monson's talk on Gratitude, perfect timing. Ashley came in the afternoon, we went to Robynn and Dan's for a nice, yummy dinner with the fam, came home and addressed invitations. Today was wedding day again. We figured out center pieces, ordered ties, mailed invites, went to Cafe Rio... and on we go for 2 1/2 more weeks. It is all good stuff and i am grateful for every minute of it! Does anyone have any suggestions for where I might find a light blue dress?!?!?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A Chicken on the Kitchen Table...

I awoke a week ago Sunday to a chicken sitting on our kitchen table. Not stuffed with rosemary and poultry spice, but sitting, alive and well, waiting for breakfast. A strange way to start the day, but fitting after all.

After sitting all day in the Detroit Airport, Tay and Ash made it home about 10:00 PM from visiting (and meeting) Ashley's parents. Tay had a plan and i was his accomplice. I was to set up a fancy dinner in the Grandparent's basement (for privacy), complete with candles, china, flowers, and a ring.

While i was setting up the basement i heard that Bin Ladin had been shot and killed by the US military. I hate to hear that the hornet nest in the Middle East is stirred. As a mother of four sons, i just don't like it. I'm glad he is gone, brave men did their job honorably and well, it just makes me nervous.

The proposal went well, and to no one's surprise, she said yes! Ash and I had already bought her dress, major wedding plans had been made, but Dad had to be asked for his daughter's hand to keep it all proper and respectful. Permission granted, proposal accepted and my son is one happy little boy!

Amidst all the hoopla of the Royal Wedding and Bin Ladins death, the world missed an important event. On the morning of Monday, May 2nd about 6:00 my father-in-law slipped to the other side. He was good man, an honorable man, a man of character, unfailing honesty and patriotism. We laid him to rest beside his wife on Friday May 6th.

A chicken came to the table as an omen of a strange day. Our son Taylor became engaged, Bin Laden was shot and my father-in-law passed through the veil. Death, marriage, joy, sadness, celebration and contemplation. Life goes on just as it should.

Twelve Hours to Remember

I wish i had written when this was all fresh and new but I was waiting for the news of Taylor and Ashley's engagement to be official before I wrote for the world to read ( or the two of you that already knew that are reading this).

Cameron, our second son, third child was waiting most patiently for his mission call to come. Each week we anticipated it's arrival, but to no avail. He called the Church Office Building, they relayed the news that the call had been issued the week before but there was a couple of unresolved issues. He was sure that meant "foreign" the desire of his heart. They promised on Monday, April 11th that the call had been mailed. We made preparations, Ashley and i took the day off of work, Taylor, Ash and Cam drove from Logan, I cooked, cleaned and prepared for the big event. Cam couldn't wait any longer, "Mom, go find the postman and make sure it's coming". I did. I tracked the mailman down and asked if there was a big envelope for us. He was puzzled and not amused. He handed me a tax envelope and stated that that was all.

I called Cam, we were devastated. No call, people coming, crock pot full of pork. What to do? Call the Church Office Building. I did. Devon was sympathetic to our problem, but when i asked if i could run into town and get a duplicate he was less-than-enthused. But we had people coming, croissants on the counter and cookies in the oven. (I don't think i was the first mom in this predicament). He would talk to the person in charge and call back in an hour. We were beat. I tried. i did my motherly best. i took on the establishment to no avail. Cam and i were lamenting when the postman walked up our sidewalk and i spotted a white envelope sticking out the top!!! Redemption, it was there all along! I sheepishly called the COB back and told Devon thanks for everything! AHHH it was in my hands, the fate of Cameron was in my hands. I quickly started in on brownies and called everyone back!

Mariah on Skype, Cristy on a line, Rob and Dan on a line, Jeff on a line....drum roll please... Philippines Quezon City North Mission!! Cam isn't going stateside as i had hoped but to the other side of the world where they think it is perfectly normal to eat duck fetus in the shell, raw (story for another time) on a regularly basis. The equivalent of the popsicle man sells them. A glorious and exciting night, we are proud of you Cam and wish you all the best.

Not one to be outdone, i received a text from Tay 12 hours later at work the next morning. "Mom, Ash and I are getting married, before Cam leaves". BEFORE Cam leaves, that is just over 8 weeks away.... what?!?! .....

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Life on the Farm....

Last week i read "The Dirty Life: A Memoir of Farming, Food, and Love". It's a true story of a New York City girl who falls in love with a Bohemian Farmer. Together they farm 500 acres with plow horses and little modern conveniences.

Even though we live in town, my heart has always lived on the farm. My heart thinks we have a half acre garden, two dozen chickens, a dozen happy children, rabbits and maybe a lamb or two grazing in the pasture. On our farm there is a wonderful pottery studio where i make all our dishes in a wood burning kiln.

Mitch, our 14 year old son, and I decided we would try rustic farm living for a week. On Monday we made granola and whole wheat bread. We decided we would only eat things that we theoretically could produce. On Tuesday we made homemade butter out of heavy whipping cream and buttermilk. The process wasn't easy and my shoulder hurt the next day from shaking the mason jar so vigorously, but it was delicious (although not cost effective). We germinated alfalfa sprouts and planted spinach, lettuce, strawberries and broccoli in the garden (just in time for the snow to fall).

The best part of the week was when we ventured to the local feed store and brought home week-old baby chicks! They live in our kitchen with their tiny peeps. My farmer's heart is content.

I guess the time has come...

I have not been an avid Blog reader, only because i spend time each day on the computer writing articles for the internet as a content writer. When i am done writing, i check my e-mail, groupons, daily deals, etc... then move on with my day. But Mariah, Karen, Robynn and others have inspired me to jot a few notes down of my own. Do I have anything worthy to say? Anything worth taking up others time to read? Maybe, maybe not. But life is a journey and a journey shared with a friend is much more enjoyable.