Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Passing of Quiet Greatness

Early this morning we took the kids out to Mesa to see their Grandmother for the last time. Carole Aston Montierth was a mother of 7 beautiful children. She was rich in talents for sewing, homemaking and even learned the art of trim carpentry to help with the family business. Since becoming a mother, I have grown in greater appreciation for the quiet strength it takes to make a home and nurture children who are by nature needy and demanding. I stand in admiration for this woman who triumphed over many difficult experiences in life and gave of herself such that all her children knew, truly knew of her love for them. Her last years were plagued with dementia and Alzheimer's but despite that, her smile never failed to let us know that she was as much present as possible. In fact at our Christmas party, Isaac spent some time chatting with her, and even spelling him her name. I will not forget how she looked at him and the warmth of her grin had him giggle.

While this is a sad and difficult time, we rejoice that she is once again reunited with her husband, Lyle Montierth and that the pains of this life are passed. We find comfort in knowing of her reunion with loved ones and most of all, her Savior without whom families could not be together forever. For time and all eternity, till we meet again Mom. We love you.

Monday, January 17, 2011

A Differing Frame of Mind

I've decided I like myself much better when I'm on vacation. It's sad, but true that I take time to think of others, especially of strangers when I'm not harried by everyday living. I'll slow down and talk to someone, anyone just to share in the beauty of the day or to say hello. This morning I've already spoken to 3 different people while I watched my children play on the beach. One was a Muslim lady who was rather enamored by my muddy girl who was digging and splashing sand and water every which direction. She asked if she could take a picture and I consented and she showed me a few of the other ones she'd captured while walking along the beach. She was from Dubai and her husband was here for a conference. Imagine that, I have now spoken to someone from the other side of the world. Through our pantomimed English, she said she was to be here for 2 more days and thought that America was rather fun an carefree. I smiled and said that a day on the beach would certainly give that impression.

Another lady was from Canada, Edmonton actually, just a few hours north of where I grew up. She was originally from Austin TX and we chatted about the differences between the 2 countries. I teased her about the cold northern city she'd ended up in and we joked about all the countless way snow had a way of wiping a city, let alone a day completely out. She was down researching for her next book that searched back into her family history and we chatted a bit about the LDS Family Search System. While she was not LDS herself, she was helping to compile and condense parts of it, particularly those related to her side. It was her way of giving back to such an extensive system made free to all those with such an interest. She'd been unemployed since 2009 and took to writing, a secret ambition of hers. I told her I harbored such a thought myself but my only outlet was my blog and she gave me some encouraging thoughts and ideas that might spur me on in the future along such a path.

Another family was from Pennsylvania. While they helped to rinse the sand off my children I teased them about staying here in the Golden State to wait out the winter season. Somehow that landed us on the subject of the joy found in changing seasons and how much I missed that part of Canada that AZ just doesn't have. There was the earthy green of spring, the sleepy slowing of fall, the clean and crisp winter air and the happy go-lucky feeling of summer.

It's so funny to me how different people from differing state, countries and languages who randomly happen upon a beach together can have so many connections. This is the part of humanity I forget often as I try to get my to-do list done. They were brief conversations, anywhere from 5-15 mins but I enjoyed that moment - truly enjoyed it. I shall have to try and live my life like I'm on vacation more often!

A few shots of the day before Kent's conference in San Diego. I love Keila's chubby legs as she goes exploring the beaches.

Balboa park where we picnicked, played, went 'hunting' and tried to dig a dinosaur up out of the sand. I didn't have the heart to tell Isaac that the thing was probably cemented down in .... hours of pleasant occupation.

Old Friends

I loved my college days! It was a time where I took the tools and skills that my parents taught me and went out on my own to figure 'me' out. Yes, college is about education, but more than just one for a career, for me it was alot about understanding myself, the things that bring me pleasure, a sense of accomplishment, my talents and limits. Most of all it was about how to create connections with people and in a greater sense, the world. I look back with great fondness for the friends of that time period and when I get the chance to see them again, I feel a sense of wonder for the pathways we've travelled and who we've become.

We had just such an opportunity the other night to see some friends whose wedding I attended just 10 years ago. On the drive out Isaac kept asking if it had been "lots of AGES ago" since I'd seen them. It sure did make me feel old and wonder why it is that children make the years fly by. Jonathan made us a wonderful dinner while Lori and I chatted about motherhood and our kids. Isaac had a blast with his new found friends, Darren and Sydney, and I heard him mention several times that they need to come to AZ to visit his house. They save our sanity - quite literally - by laundering the beloved Pei-pei that Keila threw up on the other evening. The spirit of their home was warm and unpretentious that made us feel right at home. And while these were my friends from college, Kent never once felt left out and enjoyed visiting and holding little Adian in his arms. It did make me wonder though if in the coming years, Isaac and Keila will be attending college with these children. Funny to think how a friendship from 'ages ago' can lead to others in the future. Here's to old friends!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Snow Days!

We LOVE Isaac's preschool! Just a few months before he started it, we were having a hard time with him. He seemed extra frustrated,irritable and bored. Before Keila came along, he and I would spend some time everyday doing something fun together or going somewhere for him to explore and play. Things got busier and it was more difficult to get out with conflicting schedules. Although he was only 3, preschool seemed just the ticket. Within a week he was a changed boy - happy and animated just like before.

Stepping Stones give him so much more than I could have offered, it's been well worth it. I get to volunteer there for a discount and like a fly on the wall watch my son as he learns, grows, interacts with friends and takes in life around him. He's growing a garden and flowers, had Parent/Teacher night, Dad night and now Snow days! They shipped in 5 tons of it for the kiddos to play on. While all the other children were building snowmen or sledding, Isaac, true to his nature was digging. I asked him if it was more fun digging in snow versus dirt and he shrugged his shoulders and said it was all fun, just more wet!

With all the snow out east, I keep wondering if we should ship him out there and someone could put this boy to work! ;0)

If it's not digging with a shovel, it's with a bulldozer!

Keila getting her first look at the white stuff.

Isaac's classmates and teacher.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

All 'A Glitter and A' Glow

There is an annual event in Glendale, called the Glendale Glitter and Glow party. We chanced upon it one year when we had friends in town with us, but never went again until this year. After Christmas and all the lights have been blazing for a few weeks downtown Glendale, they bring in hot air balloons, heat them so they rise gently in the air and tether them town for the finale of the holiday festival. When we went with friends years ago, their son was totally in rapture over the hot air balloons. Isaac loves to see them from a distance, so we pulled ourselves together for a closer view.

There's a lot of heat when they fire up those balloons, enough that our cautious boy didn't want to chance standing inside one of the baskets. Despite that, I think he really enjoyed himself. Keila was content with the pastries that we brought along, being held and cuddled by one of us and then 'strolling' along as far as her cutie legs would take her. I love the area we live in!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Just a Little Spoiled

Every child need to be spoiled if only for a once and a while. Isaac and Keila got just that when Uncle Joe and Aunt Becky came. Who could ask for anything more than people who are devoted playmates and attend to their every need! So thanks Joe and Becky be the gifts, the fun, being willing to help with the New Year fireworks and the late night games. Till next time!