best birthday gift ever!

Today I celebrate receiving my best birthday gift. Cuter than a puppy. Better than a new car. The gift that keeps on giving.

I had ventured to the OB ward at St. Mary’s Hospital four times previously just to meet this baby bundle. One day for 8 hours with pills shoved in between my lips and gums; small contractions here and there with no results. Returning another day for more of the same and leaving empty handed – but oh, so determined. Two days later, a 48 hour pitocin drip. Oh, I knew this would be the day. Alas…no bundle in blue. I was exhausted mentally and physically. Bob was exhausted. My doctor was at his wits end. Before being released, Dr. Mohler appeared at the door. His eyes were red and watery. He told me he was sorry, but if the next time produced no results, I would need to undergo a C section. I am a serious bleeder and hemorrhaged in previous deliveries, so a C section was a last resort. His face turned toward Bob – the already nervous daddy to be (again). I had never seen Dr. Mohler with a stern face before. He pointed at Bob. “4 weeks after she delivers, I want YOU in my office!” It was not a request. It was not a suggestion. Bob knew what that meant and so now he had a couple of worries on his mind. Poor guy. But, back to me.

On Sunday, February 5, 1984, my Grand Junction family descended on 30 Road with birthday cards and birthday gifts, cakes and wishes. I waited until the surprise gathering was almost over to reveal MY surprise. I was going back to St. Mary’s the next day on my birthday and was not leaving without a baby!

Monday, February 6th. 6 a.m. Bob was driving us back to the hospital. I am sure he was convinced by now, that this was all a hoax. I am also sure that he was replaying the doctor’s parting words to him over and over and over.

This day, the OB specialist and Dr. Mohler had come up with a new plan. After explaining that there would be no more Pitocin (an idea that I LOVED) and that there was an experimental drug in the form of a cream that would be placed (Jeffry – cover your eyes) inside my vagina that would soften the cervix and encourage contractions. Now this I could do! No needles! This was right up my alley (so to speak). We signed all kinds of forms regarding the risks and yes, yes we knew this was not an approved method yet and was still in testing stages. If it meant I would go home with a baby this time, I signed away!

A few moments later a nurse wheeled a little stainless steel tray up to my bedside with gauze and tubes and a giant syringe the width of a turkey baster with a long THICK needle at the end. Wait. WHAT?!? After pulling me back into a resting position, the nurse explained that it was used to place the right amount of the cream on to the gauze. Wiping my tears and trying to get my heart rate back under 300, I was thinking that information should be printed in large red letters on the side of the giant thing with the giant needle THIS GINORMOUS THING IS NOT GOING INSIDE OF YOU.

So, without going into the details of the actual birthing (you’re welcome), less than 9 hours later my best Birthday Present arrived. World, meet Jeffry Charles Gardner. The last Bob and Connie baby (on orders of the Doc). And he was a joy.

A few days later, we were home. The newness soon wore off for the older boys. “Do you want to hold him?” “Um, sure. Then can I go ride my bike?”

How could anyone resist this bundle of cuteness and joy. Jeffry was a perfectly content baby – as long as mommy was holding him. He never cried – as long as mommy was holding him. Yes, yes. Sheer perfection.

He is still perfection (save for his truck driver mouth). He has laughed and cried with me. Held me up when I thought I could not emotionally get to my feet again. Fills me with laughter and wipes my tears. He is a wonderful husband (so I am told) and a father that every man should strive to be. He is still my baby boy. He is still the best birthday gift ever and I get to relive it every year. Happy Birthday, Jeffry. I could not have imagined my life without you.

remembering July(s) from the past

an all grown up granddaughter comes to Leesburg to say good-bye before we move back to Tucson

weekend visit with a granddaughter

Old Glory

Wedding day for Lori & Jim

Tristan gets a little surprise from Uno Blast

Kerri’s Birthday

Maxwell visits Leesburg

Family get-together

Walking the town center in Leesburg Village

I have no idea what he is doing, but it must have been important!

Look at those little kiddos.

Parade in downtown Leesburg

Parade in downtown Leesburg

Parade in downtown Leesburg

He loved the Inner Harbour in Victoria

Bicycling thru Tucson

Family BBQ in Canada

Happy Fourth of July, everyone.

 

2014 Gdovins and More Family Reunion Day 4

Thanksgiving Day.  Couldn’t have asked for nicer weather.  Jeffry and Kerri and the grandkids arrived the night before, and we had planned on getting together for Thanksgiving Dinner at a local buffet.  Mateo and Marluce and I were ready to make the trek to Whitewater to pick up Gramma Anne to join us for some family time.  I was quite proud of myself that I kind of winged my way to her home!  Mateo got out of the backseat and held her arm as she got situated in the front seat.  He is quite the little gentleman!  I could tell that  Anne was quite taken with him.  We were off to meet the other Gardners for an early dinner!

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 And now, outdoors to enjoy some beautiful Thanksgiving weather and family photography!IMG_3244

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After dropping off Gramma Anne at her house, I took the kids over to meet Dennis & Sandra Forsgren.  Dennis was married to Bob’s sister, Linda until Linda was killed in a vehicle accident in 1996.  Dennis was and remains a part of our family and close to my heart.  A really nice visit followed – so nice to catch up.

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Dennis actually owns the house that Gramma Anne resides.  Don’t know why I cannot find anymore info on it, as that house was the original Whitewater Post Office.  There is still a little side door that had the US Post Office in that old gold script.  I would think it would be listed as a historical place, but I literally cannot find anything as far as research.

After a brief respite at our hotel room to let the kids lay around and wrestle a bit and me to do a tad of accounting, Robin and Alina rolled into town after a 2-day drive from Austin.  We all met up at Denny’s for dinner and laughter and general catching up.  It gave Robin a chance to meet Mateo and Marluce and for me to meet Alina.  She is a sweet and precocious 3-year old with silky dark hair and brown eyes on the verge of turning green.  What a beauty!robin1 robin2

We had a wonderful day, albeit a tad long. Lots of family visiting. Lots of laughter and conversation. Lots to be Thankful. Back to the hotel early. In our pjs and the kids played their games on iPad while I caught up on some blogging and accounting. Good times.

2014 Gdovins and More Family Reunion Day 3

The day before Thanksgiving and lots to do.  Lori and I, along with my trusted assistants, Mateo & Marluce, are off to the venue to set up for Friday’s fun.  I purchased 19 tablecloths of every color I could find.  Lori purchased a gazillion disposable chafing trays with racks and Sterno and silverware and all the dinnerware and napkins you can imagine.  We set out moving and arranging tables and chairs.  Mateo and Marluce strung twisted crepe paper around the room.Day 3d

and they made the banners WELCOME FAMILY 2014 REUNION.

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Day 3c Day 3f The last thing to do was to set up the kids table to keep them from being bored. We had crayons and coloring pages, wooden ornaments and colored pencils, clay and shaping tools, Skip Bo and Story Cubes. I am thinking this table will be a hit!

2014 Gdovins & More Family Reunion Day 2

Breakfast at the Hotel and enjoying the type of conversation that you can only experience while dining with a 10-year-old grandson and an 8-year-old granddaughter.  All of the sudden, I feel a thick mane of hair on my neck and get a huge sister hug from my youngest sibling, Lori.  After surprising us at breakfast, we head up to the room to gather anything else we need for the day.  Day 2a

Finishing a great photo-op with Auntie Lori, we jump in her new red Ford Focus and head out to see the hall in Palisade that she rented for our reunion. Always a pretty drive to Palisade and brings back so many memories of our entire family going out to the peach orchards to pick the best peaches that I have ever tasted.  Kind of makes a lump in my throat as we pass so many familiar places from, oh, so long ago.  Back to reality as I quiz Mateo and Marluce on the landmarks surrounding us as we drive.  “Mateo, what is that mountain?”  Mt Garfield.  He catches on quickly.  “And what is this long flat top mountain?”  Right again.  The Grand Mesa.

Lori and I take a lot of the drive to reminisce,  And within a few minutes, the valley has enveloped me in her arms, and I am home again.  My mind wanders from seeing myself as a child in a peach orchard with the family laughing and picking fruit and back to the present conversation of reunion plans.   Lori picks up the keys and we check out the reunion hall and make mental notes of supplies we still need.  Mateo and Marluce decided that some decorations were needed to add some color.  After Lori drops us off at our hotel, we hop in the car and head out to Hobby Lobby and find crepe paper and banners and big sticky letters.  It has been a long and busy day, so we decide on an early dinner at, in my opinion, the world’s best pizza ever – Junct’n Square.Day 2d Day 2c Day 2b

After a pizza that Mateo is talking about three days later and describing it as “AMAZING”, (that, in itself, is amazing!  Mateo is, shall we say, a very particular dining guest), we head back to the hotel and hop into pajamas and make an early evening of it.  iPad games for them and accounting for me  A wonderful day in my wondrous home town with people I love to share.

Gdovins & More 2014 Family Reunion Day 1

Monday, the 24th,  was a comedy of errors as far as our flight.  Bob was unable to travel to Grand Junction Colorado, so Ricky remained behind to stay with his dad, while Mateo, Marluce and I headed to the airport.  From before we even left home, our flight was delayed by 45 minutes.  Okay – no problem as we had an almost 2 hour layover in Phoenix.  So, 1:45 passes us by and then 2:15 and I am thinking, boy our layover is getting fairly short!  At 2:40, we are moved to another gate to board a different flight to Phoenix.  As we are landing with 7 minutes before the boarding gate is closed on our connection, the flight attendant asks everyone who is not connecting to stay seated as we are all running out of the plane to get to our gate.  With one minute to spare, we make it.   We taxi out to the runway and then stop and wait…and wait … and then the Captain announces that he received an error message on the plane’s computer and maintenance people are on their way so we wait and wait and 2 guys come on board and check this and that and then they leave and we are thinking “woo hoo”.   Well, we woo-hoo’d way too early.  After the men leave and the stairs are pulled back up and we are getting ready to take off, Captain has other ideas.  He announces that we have to go back to the terminal and we will sit on the plane while some other mechanics surmised the situation.  A fuse.  We needed a new little fuse.  A short time later, we were on our way – although, since this was the 2nd attempt at take-off, the enthusiasm had waned somewhat.  As we settled in the air at 30,000 feet, Mateo and Marluce played on their iPads (Yes, the each have one and Mateo won them both at different events).  Once in a while you could hear their voices and a little giggle.  Just good kids having a little fun.A1 A2

This smaller jet has much more engine noise than the bigger ones, so any conversations were muffled, as if they were whispering.  Captain announces that he is beginning the descent into Grand Junction and clapping follows.  I like a grateful crowd.  Just as the first wheel touches down, Mateo, not realizing the volume of his voice after such a noisy plane ride, exclaims (okay – he yells!) PREPARE FOR LANDING!!!  And then comments on how he didn’t realize that his voice got so loud.  Several passengers joined me in laughter.

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I will admit to the embarrassing confession that I have never rented a car myself up until age 62. The hubs always handles these things and I have not minded one bit that I have been spoiled for my many years of marriage. Off we go in a 2015 Nissan Altima with key-less ignition. Zippy little thing and if I could, I would pack it up and take it home!! So, back to our day … We arrive at the Marriott’s Spring Hill Suites in beautiful downtown Grand Junction, facing Main Street and all the beautifully lit trees ready for the holidays.springhill

Best Gift EVER!

A few short years ago, I started a sibling Christmas gift exchange.  The reason was a simple one.  After the death of our oldest and youngest brothers, I just wanted the remaining four siblings to connect.  The idea was to be nothing fancy but should be handmade or recycled or at least had some kind of personal aspect.  We all were living in different places so far away from one another.  Lori in Grand Junction, Mark in Colorado Springs, Robin in Austin and me in Tucson.

blog map The first year I had Mark’s name and made him a calendar with footprints of his grand kids and family photos. The second year, I made Robin an ornament using some of Gram’s old costume jewelry. I cannot say what I did this year for Lori, because it would ruin her surprise!

I loved the gifts that Robin and Lori bestowed on me the previous two Christmases. This year, Mark had my name. Imagine my surprise to see a huge package all wrapped in cardboard and taped together by our front gate yesterday. As soon as I began cutting the tape, I realized just what my gift from the heart was.

Some years back, with the blessing of Gram,  I signed over the deed to her house to her niece, whom I affectionately called Sissy.  This house shared a split deed with Sissy’s home since the day they were built.  Gram’s home was built in the late 1800’s and Sissy’s house built in the early 1900’s.  Gram’s house at 4500 Perry Street in Denver, was the original family home of my great grandparents and was built by my great-grandfather and other friends and relatives.  Years later, in 1906,  my grandma was born in the front bedroom of that little 2 bedroom home, as was my mother in 1927.  To say that this home had sentimental family history that always touched my heart, is an understatement at the very least.

After Sissy passed away, my cousin had both homes demolished.  Gram’s home was nowhere near modern building code and would have been cost prohibitive to bring it to building and safety code.  After the demolition, Mark made the trek from Colorado Springs to Denver and managed to salvage a little 24 inch door for me.  It must have been a difficult thing to see the house gone, but still, he did it because I asked.  I had to hold back tears as I removed the layers of cardboard and packing and tape to discover the door that Mark took the time to grab and then store at his home for several years.

I have so many ideas for this door. Shall I make it into a kitchen table? Maybe a wall hanging? In the meantime, my first instinct was to dress her for the holidays. And here she stands in her glory showing off a new wreath. Thanks, Mark. You made my day. No, not day. You made my Christmas oh so special, and I love you so much for your thoughtfulness. 12 19 2013 3

not my cup of tea

I suppose that anyone who has known me for over ten minutes, most likely is knowledgeable of the fact that Halloween is not my “thing”.  Even as a little girl, I did not like costumes.  I did not like having my face made up and calling attention to myself.  Luckily, I began dance lessons at the tender age of two, so I always had a tutu around to dress up like a ballerina.  And my little black cowgirl outfit with the white fringe from “Ragtime Cowboy Joe“.  Or, my blue costume from “Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue”, so I could dress up in my big blue bonnet and be a Dresden Doll for the holiday.  I was a small child and it seemed like I always got swallowed up in a sea of huge witches capes and black hats and yards of billowy white ghosts.  I did not like to look funny or scary.  I had zero confidence for that type of shenanigans!  I enjoyed seeing everyone else’s costumes and admired their guts to have dark paint smeared on their faces or teeth blacked out.  Not for me.  Imagine how mortified I was each year when my Mom dressed up for her bowling team party.  She would smear honey – gooey sticky honey, on her cheeks and chin and then rub COFFEE GROUNDS into the honey so it looked like a scraggly beard.  To make matters worse, she would find an old stained shirt of Daddy’s that she had used with furniture polish and wear that ugly, dirty looking, wrinkled thing over some torn pants.  And then, much to my horror, she would mess up her thick black hair and then Aqua Net it to hold the entire mess in place.  She would get in the car, windows rolled down, and wave to anyone who looked her way.  She always came home with some sort of prize for her winning look.  Apparently I was the only one who did not appreciate her “costume”.

So, when I had children of my own, I was always in a panic.  I didn’t want them to be a plain Jane and not be up to par with their classmates and friends.  I experimented with different looks, but always came back to a clown.  I just had zero talent for any other look.   We always had something around the house to make their shoes look like clown shoes or an over-sized tie and shirt.  Red lipstick on the cheeks and mouth and some eyeliner tear drops and eyebrows completed the transformation.  Clowns.  I tried something new every year, but I admit it – they always looked like a clown.

I never decorated the house save for the pumpkins that the boys and their Dad carved – front on center on the porch of wherever we lived.  Mom and Dad would turn most of their house into a haunted house with dark lighting and cold spaghetti “brains” and jello “guts” and peeled grape “eyeballs”.  They took great delight in scaring the living hell out of me while working on the house for several days.  They had stuff in every one of the five bedrooms and, needless to say, I had many sleepless nights until Halloween was over.  I did not like scaring people and I did not like being scared.  I had enough of that on a daily basis while little brothers, Mark and Larry, would hide in my closet or in the bathroom, waiting for me so they could jump out or yell and watch me have a panic attack.  Yeah, those were sure fun days.  My brother-in-law had great fun digging out some dirt in the front yard of his Tucson home and, laying as flat as he could, and would raise up in the dark of the night and scare the bejesus out of the neighbors.  How sad it was one Halloween evening, watching little kids walk a huge arc around the front of Dan’s and Robin’s house out of fear of the crazy guy in the dark.  Robin always had lots of good candy left over!

So, here it is, October, and I will be damned if Halloween is once again upon me.  Now I have grandkids and have enjoyed entertaining them on Halloween from Tristan and Chase to Mateo and Marluce and now Max and Abby.  I have never had the chance to spend a Halloween with Quinn, but perhaps one day.  So, Max comes to spend the day last week and flatly states, Nana, you need to decorate for Halloween”.  Well, I did decorate (or at least I thought I had) by displaying a cute little pumpkin from Safeway where someone had artfully drawn a cute face with red lips and long eyelashes.  And, if that was not enough, voila, look at my cute Halloween owl in the front garden!

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Max gave me a patronizing smile and a soft “oh”, but I could tell he was not very impressed.  Then he said, “you should see our house Nana!  We have skeletons and pumpkins and decorations inside the house and outside of the house.”  I assumed from that statement, that the kids house had more than an “indoor” pumpkin and a tin owl stuck in the dirt.  “Come on, Nana!  We need to decorate!”  Looking into those clear blue eyes, I had no choice but to get in the car and high-tail it to the store before Max came back the next day.

I was NOT going to spend a ton of money on a holiday that I do not even really consider a holiday.  Afterall, November 1 begins “my” holiday season of Thanksgiving-Christmas-Epiphany.  THAT is my kind of holiday and I have always said that Halloween is just in the way.  But, little kids and big kid enjoy the dark holiday, so who am I to quibble?  I decided to make some melting witches.  Some black pointy hats, black gauze, black and green and purple ribbons and hang them from the courtyard lights and presto! we have melted witches.  A couple long pairs of Halloween socks filled with some squished up plastic bags made for the stylish footwear left from the melting witches.  Max and Poppa found some orange and green lights in our Christmas light stash and I replaced some clear ones with the colorful ones to add a little flair!  I got 5 little battery lit pumpkins which max has had a great time arranging them and rearranging them!  Add two Sassy Witches to the front door, and we have  the final product.  Not going to win any prize, but seeing my grandson’s eyes light up and the smile on his face is my blue ribbon.

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Happy Halloween, everyone.   I am going to start getting my Thanksgiving-Christmas-Epiphany decorations ready.  November 1 will be here before you know it!

Monday Tuesday Happy Days . Wednesday, Thursday …

albums You have most likely read it here before, but if you missed it – Wednesdays are now Family Dinner night at our house.  The nights change once in a while when Jeffry and Kerri begin new kickball seasons.  For now, Wednesday it is.  Tonight was Retro Diner themed.  Max and I shopped at the local party store for some plates and napkins and mini banana split cups.  (Okay, they are really plastic martini cups, but you make do with what you find.  And since we are not a martini imbibing family, no one seemed to notice anyway!)

The announcement was made on the new family chalkboard mounted right on our front door.  (Doesn’t everyone have a chalkboard on their front door??).  And the most important part of the announcement – Bow Ties are required.

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Max and I worked on making 5 bow ties from scrapbook paper and jewels!  Max’s favorite part of this Camp Nana project was cutting paper.  And then cutting some more paper.  And, well, then cutting a bit more paper.  He makes great confetti!  We set the table with retro blue and pink plates and napkins and silverware, atop the 1950’s tablecloth we found the day before.  We even put markers out for everyone to enjoy writing on the tablecloth.  Dinner was finally served with hamburgers plated with lettuce, tomato and onion using the style of the Woolworth’s counter service on Main Street of Grand Junction.  Home made fries (note:  if you want to make homemade fries, google the recipe from Guy Fieri – but remember to add some prep time because these things take a while to brown up!)., cheese pizza and grilled cheese were also on the menu.  Even Abby got to dine on some organic mac ‘n cheese, just like her big brother.  Max had milk while the adults enjoyed old-fashioned bottled root beer and creme soda.

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The evening ended with mini banana splits where Max was treated to his first ever spray of whipped cream right into the mouth!

I urge you to try a retro diner dinner – although this was more work than most of the other dinners, it was worth the fun.

Ser up your own retro dinner, and until then, HAPPY TRAILS TO YOU….UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN! 

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a crazy little thing called LIFE

I am getting way too familiar with all the wings at Tucson Medical Center.  I know how to get to each ward, the emergency room and (very important here) the cafeteria.  Not for their food as I compare all hospital food to my days at St Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction where you could get mashed potatoes (real ones) a fried chicken leg (so yummy) and a regular old piece of Holsum bread with real butter for a buck something and it was like having dinner at home.  This was a staple of mine during my employment as a nurse’s aide and later on working in the nursing office.  Nowadays in hospitals, there is always a conglomeration of some type of casserole,  Not my cup of tea.  So, no, it is not for the food.  It is because it has big tables and I know which ones have outlets near them so I can spread out my accounting and work while Bob is sleeping or in surgery.  It helps to have numbers bumping back and forth in my brain to counteract the medical jargon and talk of transplants and heart stents and blood sugars and more.  Numbers make sense to me.  Medicine, not so much.  So another 30 days with ambulances and 3 hospitalizations and surgery and waiting.  Hubs is home from the various hospital visits now and for the time being, is doing well.

Saturday I open the freezer door and see that the ice in the ice tray is melting.  WHAT?  I listen with ear pressed against the refrigerator door.  Nothing.  Not the usual compressor noise kicking on and off.  Must be the breaker.  Move everything away from the door to the fuse box.  All breakers are in their proper place.  Well, that can’t be good.  I hear something …  is it a bird?  Is it a plane?? NO – it’s SUPERSONS!  And a brand new refrigerator is delivered on the morning of Mother’s Day.  My boys saved me and what a relief having someone take care of me while Bob is in the hospital.  I am forever in their debt.

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Mothers Day Brunch for Kerri, Maggie and me at the University Marriott, where we were treated to a yummy buffet, a box of chocolates, Abby singing but also to watching Max riding in the glass elevator with Mahmaw waving until his little arm almost fell off!  Then, up to the Mundle’s room for Mimosa’s.  Yummy!2013 mothers day 1

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In the meantime, we are having our Friday Family Dinners and Abby visits on Monday and Tuesday while Max maintains his Thursday-Friday routine at Nana’s and Poppa’s house.

Look what I can do, nana!
Look what I can do, nana!

 Max pulls his shirt up over the back of his head and reminds me of those elves on JibJab!  He is proud of this new accomplishment and demonstrates various versions of this feat, shirt over the back of the head and the shirt over his face.  This goes on for much of the afternoon.  Amazing!

I announce the annual Camp NANA in chalk on the back patio.  Max is impressed.  Max is so impressed that shortly after he sees it, I hear the unmistakable sound of hose water and see that he has entirely washed my promo away.  Fame is so fleeting.

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Friends and family have been so supportive during this very trying past couple of weeks.  My gratitude to everyone!

Meanwhile … back east in Virginia, swimming lessons for Mateo and Marluce!  And they are flourishing in the water!  Cannot wait to watch them swim in person!  Love you kids!

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special Christmas MEMORIES

For several years, Kristine Moulton and I were neighbors in Grand Junction, but more importantly,  close friends.  Today I was tidying from the holiday open house party the other night and as I was placing the leftover cookies just so on the festive table covering and filling the little sleigh with napkins and plates to be used during the rest of the season, it suddenly dawned on me where I got these ideas.
Anyone who knew my mother, will tell you I did NOT get these ideas from her.  My mother’s idea of Christmas decorating was helping with the tree and maybe tossing some little silver icicles over the Denver Broncos clock.  No.  Decorating was never my mother’s forte.  I could not count how many times I would try and rearrange the ornaments on the tree after everyone else went to bed.  It always proved difficult to make the tree look full of ornaments since mom always insisted on getting trees that had a foot of space between the branch layers because it was easier to hang the ornaments.  Seriously?  I could have hung our stockings on some of those trees and they would never have touched another branch!  This is not a photo of our tree, but it may as well have been.

Now, Dorothy Moulton (Kristine’s mom) knew how to spread Christmas throughout her house!  I loved going over almost anytime in December to see the large portrait of her dad replaced by the same size portrait of Santa.  The outside of the home was never Mrs. Moulton’s focus.  But the inside …  even walking through the back door and into the kitchen there were little vignettes in the dining area and the living room consisting of tea sets of hot tea and cookie trays on glass dishes and not the Melmac plates that our family with six kids used.  Hot chocolate seemed to be always waiting and ready for any guest to enjoy.  I was always fascinated by the little offerings and bits of  Christmas decor here and there and tucked into little corners where you would least expect.  And all throughout the living areas you could smell the cinnamon and the chocolate.  It was heaven!
And those memories are always in the back of my mind when I set out decorations and holiday treats.  And when someone comments and admires any of my Christmas decor, I kinda silently thank Dorothy Moulton.  The Sassy neighbor lady with the blond hair professionally piled atop her head; with the pure golden soprano voice; with the impeccable flair of dresses and high heels and jewelry.   Thank you for the inspiration, Mrs. Moulton!  And Merry Christmas wherever you are.

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Oct 2003 Kerri & Connie at a Halloween Concert in Tucson
We picked up a couple of Wizards after the concert.
Really never was much of a big Halloween fan.  Oh, when I was a child I was a huge fan just because I had a ton of dance costumes to choose from recitals – so what to wear was never a problem.  And since it was back in the 50’s and 60’s, we could roam for hours by ourselves collecting candy from strangers with no worries.  We knew which houses to hit first as they always gave out real size candy bars!  One Halloween, Mom made all of the fixings for popcorn balls of all colors.  Kids could come right inside the kitchen (front door wide open) and plunk down their bags and take off their coats and dig in to the warm gooey popcorn concoction and make their own treat adding bits of candy or nuts or even fresh coconut.  When they were done, Mom would hand them a flat sheet of waxed paper (Saran wrap back then – never heard of it) and they could roll it around to cover their own home made treat and shove it in their bag.  it was okay to grab a handful of the popcorn all warm and gooey and pop it in your mouth to tide you over during your long night of making the rounds.
Another year, Dad decided that we would all make homemade pulled taffy.  We would make our way walking backwards across the kitchen with warm taffy strung from our hands to Mom or Dad’s hands.  It was a constant motion of pulling the taffy one direction and then the other with buttery hands until it reached the perfect consistency.  Mom would cut the taffy rope into pieces with scissors and we would wrap the little pieces in torn wax paper.  If they were so inclined, kids and adults alike had an open invitation to join in the fun to make their own.  And lots did.
Oct 1998 a 6 year old Tristan sans costume sorts out her bounty at our dining table.
Many other Halloweens followed with carmeled apple make your own treat night.  Our home was turned into a haunted house by my parents and Al & Dorothy LaCount, complete with scary music and cold spaghetti brains and peeled grape eyeballs and jello-y guts.  Even though Janet and I had watched the entire thing come together, we still got creeped out when actually going thru the dark house.  When I got home from trick or treating and was tired and ready for bed, that proved impossible as the adults had turned all 4 bedrooms, the family room, dining and living room and kitchen – all into scary little dark rooms.  So, I made my way to my bedroom and dug my pillow from the closet where it had been stashed in order to make the scary guts and blood room – made my way to one of the bathrooms and sat in the dry tub, pillow propped up on the edge and tried to get some sleep in between the screams of terrorized neighbors!
October 2004 baby Mateo visits his first ever Pumpkin Patch and tries a taste of straw!

 

October 2007 Katia and little princess Marluce
When I had kids of my own, I was horrible at making costumes.  Did not have a sewing talent to my name and no imagination whatsoever.  So the poor kids were relegated to being clowns or hobos or Fonzie.  When Jeffry was in Taekwondo and would be testing for his black belt at the tender age of 8, he firmly reminded me that his Taekwondo gi was NOT to be used as a Halloween costume.  Orders from Master Rex Veeder!  Hmmm.  Apparently Master Veeder was aware of my past costume endeavors.
Jeffry inherited his mother’s talent for costumes. 
 I have had other memorable and enjoyable Halloweens as well.  Halloween dinners on the driveway at the Dunham house …
October 2003 at the Dunham halloween Spooktacular Dinner
Enjoying the Tucson Zoo Halloween night with Tristan and Chase … Tristan had my phone headset and was a Rock ‘n Roller and Chase was skull to toe bones dressed as a skeleton.  We toured the Zoo, watched dancers, got lots of candy and treats and were exhausted by the time we got back to Grandma’s to spend the night.
And we just had a visit from Thomas Train.  Nana (me!) decorated the little front yard just for him as we had ZERO trick or treaters.  Sign of the times, I guess.
Yeah – still not so much of a halloween fan – but with Grandkids and friends and family in the picture – well, what could be better than that?

Another week passes me by …

The kitchen island top re-do is almost done.  Not perfect – but what an improvement!  Granite tile and many times of removing some tiles and re-installing some of the trim – we have some touch ups, one corner, and caulking between the wood trim and the tiles – but it is still really nice.

So looking forward to hosting an Easter dinner for friends and family!

Max spent Thursday and Friday with us again this week.  Today, he helped Nana shop for Easter dinner – even brought his own cart!

Celebrated our 41st anniversary on the 5th with a letter to the hubs!
41 years ago at 7 pm, two teenagers stood in the Church of God in Grand Junction.  Pastor Todd officiated a short ceremony in front of a few friends scattered in the pews.  I do not even remember what he was saying – I guess I was too concerned with the child inside of me and what was next in our lives together.
Since then, we have lost babies and family and friends.  We have lost books and love letters and a piano and photos and perspective and even sometimes our way and so much more.  Since then we have built careers and houses and backyard decks and friendships and gardens.  We have gained knowledge and daughters and sons and a deeper relationship and love of others and even a little respect.  We have seen Victoria BC and Puerto Vallarta Mexico and Nassau Bahamas and lots of stage plays and young sons in school productions and our youngest sporting the gold ropes at high school graduation and our oldest granddaughter lip syncing to “oops I’ve done it again”.  We laughed at Cristopher imitating the walk of Charlie Callas and at Ricky jumping up on the table at Dairy Queen to sing like Rosie singing like Elvis and at Jeffry performing Cuban Pete boom chicky boom, boom chicky boom, boom chicky boom.  We were blessed to hear Tristan attempting a kindergarten singing career and seeing Chase just a few moments old and watching preemies Mateo and Marluce blossom into healthy and happy kids, and listening over the phone to hear the first cries of Quinn and getting text messages from Megan updating us on the birth of Maxwell and hearing his little cries.  We have loved each other and our children and grandchildren and each other even more and dear friends and going on dates and seeing new places and each other even more.  We have felt the pain of loss and the fear of the future and the sadness that comes with family crisis and the realization that some things will just never be.  But we have felt the pride in our family and the joy of new babies and the unimaginable appreciation of a prospective kidney donor and the peace that comes with security in love and the dreams of what lie ahead.  All of this has been ours.  Together.  I cannot imagine it any other way.
Hard to believe those two teenagers with a baby on the way, pledging their love in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, forsaking all others until death us do part, beat the odds.  I dream of more travel and future babies to cuddle and being with family and watching sunsets and all of this,  Together.
  Happy Anniversary honey.  I love you oodles.

Colorado became a state on August 1, 1876

I think there is hardly a more beautiful state than the peaks and valleys of Colorado.

Mt Garfield

I still consider Colorado to be my home state. I was born there, attended school there, and lived there for 32 years before moving to Arizona. 5 of the 6 kids in my family were born in St Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction. (Jay was born in Chicago while Mom and Dad moved around with the US Navy. This is where the family gathered for Christmases and Graduations. Jay and Larry have both passed, however, I believe I speak for them as well when I say that Grand Junction is still home. Happy Colorado Day.

 

the last time

The day was November 26th 1988 – the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Mom, Dad and Grandma Tabor had the motorhome packed with their travel belongings after a few days of visiting and enjoying Thanksgiving dinner with them and my special “little sister” guest, Leisa. We had managed to fit in a huge holiday feast; the requisite shopping on Friday after, and of course, several rounds of Bingo at Papago Bingo. I had stuffed the traveling refrig with container after container of Thanksgiving leftovers. This was a special one as I had never known my mother to leave her home for that particular holiday. This was the first and only one in my life. One year she was sequestered on a murder trial as a jurist, and the judge had ordered the jury dismissed just for that day and they had to return to sequestration Thanksgiving night. Mom had made a detailed list of everything I needed to buy a week prior to the holiday with detailed instructions on how to prepare what and how and when – like I didn’t already know after being her right hand gal since the age of 10. Even on a several week jury trial, she still insisted that the family dinner would be held on North 18th Street, and no amount of reasoning was going to change her mind. And so it was. So, I was quite surprised when she called and said they were coming for Thanksgiving. Mom had suffered a bad bout of the flu in several weeks prior and I thought maybe she was just worn out. So, I didn’t question it. I was excited to host Thanksgiving at my house in Tucson. Of course she insisted that everything would be just as though we were in Grand Junction. She would do all of the cooking and baking. Gram was in charge of peeling 10 pounds of potatoes and I was charged with setting and decorating the table. I didn’t give a second thought to Mom’s comments here and there. “I do not ever want to die in Tucson.” When I said what an odd thing to say, she explained that we had that doctor here who transplanted hearts. And what if he took hers out and replaced it with someone who was mean? Would those unprincipled traits be transferred to her? I kind of just shrugged it off with a smile. We were sitting in the living room relaxing one afternoon, watching an old rerun of Designing Women where the ladies had designed a New Orleans style send off for a young friend who had died of Aids. Mom stated that she wanted her funeral to be like that with upbeat music and lots of flowers. Maybe I should have paid more attention.

After a nice breakfast at Coco’s, the three musketeers were on their way home. I didn’t envy them. The drive from Tucson to Grand unction is almost unbearable for me; hours of dry dusty desert with no cell or radio reception. It is, nicely put, miserable. They didn’t seem to mind. As long as Mom was in her motorhome, she was good. Cristopher was out with friends. Ricky was at a U of A game enjoying his time with friends in the kids Knothole Section. Bob and I were set to enjoy a movie night out with 4 year old Jeffry in tow. As the movie time slowly approached, Bob reminded me that we needed to get on our way. But, I felt uneasy and did not want to leave the house that night. When I relayed that to my husband, he just nodded okay and went about his evening. He was used to me changing my mind so nothing unusual about that.

If memory serves, it was around 7 in the early evening when the phone begin to ring. It was still in the time where the phone hung on the wall. Bob held the phone out saying it was my dad and if they had car problems, I was to find out where they were and he would be on his way. Before I put the phone to my ear, I quietly said to Bob “honey, my Mom is dead,” He just looked at me, admonishing me with his stare about the inappropriateness of making such a comment. As I lifted the phone to my hear, I could hear my Dad’s voice saying “Mom’s gone”.

I felt the tears as Daddy explained the chain of events leading up to this call. And then the blur of the night began. Laundry had to be done for five people making the 780 mile trek to western Colorado; arrangements had to be made for Jeffry to stay with my Tucson friend, Peggy for a week. Calls had to be made to my siblings. And in a flurry of tears and questions and travel arrangements, we finally fell into bed after midnight. And then came the long and drawn out sobs as Bob held me tightly until finally exhaustion and sleep took over. And this day was over.

My Mom was gone.

Family History Links to Page for GDOVIN

Family History Links to Page for DAIGLE

https://gdovingirl.com/gdovins-and-more-family-history/daigle/