Friday, July 27, 2012


In mid June our house was full. It was wonderful. All four grandkids and their parents were here. Amy and Jordan and family were at our house for a few days and in town for a week while Aaron and Celisa and family were here a little over three weeks.  As both families live out of state I just can't get enough of these moments. 

Mark, Jennifer and I met up with Aaron and family on Thursday, June 21 in Evanston, Wyoming. They were on their second day of travel from Illinois and we were on our way home from a quick vacation in Yellowstone (more on that trip soon). We met at the Wendy's by the freeway (which we found despite the faulty directions of the gps). 

Mark and I had not moved back upstairs from the basement since the finish of the remodel (more about that later) so we just stayed downstairs and gave Aaron and Celisa the master bedroom. It worked out so well and we may do that in the future too. 

Amy and Jordan arrived Saturday night with Ruby and Peter. 
Baby Kate was blessed on Sunday (more pictures to follow)

picture by Amy

and then the mighty rumpus began:


 more to come...

Thursday, July 26, 2012


I have lots of things I need/want to blog about - I've been away for a while. 
Amy told me she missed my blogging and knowing how much I appreciate her frequent blog posts that allow me to keep in touch with day to day happenings of her life I decided I needed to do better.

Thanks Amy!

So with many important things that have recently happened and are currently happening I choose to blog today about something kind of silly - food.

Years ago during a visit to Mesa, AZ my parents took us to a little Vietnamese restaurant they like. We started the meal with these wonderful Vietnamese spring rolls. Fresh veggies and herbs wrapped in a rice paper wrapper - cold and fresh - the mix of flavors was divine.
All the food was really good and despite my dad ordering some kind of soup with tripe in it
(I've seen him eat some disgusting things in my life but this was the kicker -
the owner wasn't sure if they had any on hand, people usually don't order it)
we really enjoyed the meal.

I have since tried to make them - 
actually I have been successful at making them in the past with a few challenges:
gathering the right ingredients - regular grocery stores don't carry the rice paper wrappers or the fish sauce for the sauce. Also buying fresh mint and basil from the grocery store is pricey!
And cutting the carrots and cucumber in tiny little matchsticks just about killed me. 

But I recently purchased a mandolin:

Where have you been all my life!?
The best $15.00 I've ever spent.

I had fresh mint and basil in my garden
(I will have to plant twice as much basil next year - the two plants just can't keep up)
and the slicing for seven (or eight) spring rolls was amazingly fast. 
I have to tell you too that tearing the basil and pulling stems on the mint leaves smelled HEAVENLY.

The recipe calls for shrimp but I used what I had on hand - imitation crab meat.
I also made some with no meat/fish at all and they were wonderful.
I'm not sure how many I ate but I am one happy camper.

Here is a link to the recipe.
I even made the fish sauce and it was just like the restaurant.
Except for not adding rice noodles, substituting the crab and adding avocado to some
 and using baby spinach instead of lettuce leaves.
I followed the recipe just like it's written
(Oh yea, I also soaked the rice wrappers a little longer to soften them)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Dream come true and a little nightmare

My view this morning as the race began

Today I drove wheel support as Mark rode in the Utah State Championship road race in Coalville. This is one race, the Chalk Creek Classic, that Mark has never won. The course begins at the high school and goes gradually uphill to a turn around point - and back to the high school - a total of 47 miles. Not enough hills or length to really separate the peloton and it usually ends up being a crazy sprint at the finish. Last year there was a crash on the last corner because the group was so big going around a tight corner. 

This year they decided to have the Masters 40+ do two laps making it a 96 mile race. The first lap had two riders out front with the peloton about 30-50 seconds behind them. As we came up to the start line to begin the second lap the group caught the leaders and a few riders - including Mark surged forward. I made a brief pit stop and then rejoined the riders. The surge of energy from the front was doing it's damage as riders were strung out and some were spit out the back. The course joins the main road after a few miles and I had yet to catch the main group. After about 6 miles I could see them ahead. I could also see a pack of riders (in a different category) coming towards me. I was going slow because I had riders in front of me and when some unusual movement in the oncoming group caught my eye and I slowed a little more. Two riders bumped each other and suddenly riders were going down everywhere with one bike on the ground heading into my lane in front of my car. I slammed on my brakes and heard at least a wheel under my front bumper - nothing under the tire. I jumped out of the car as many of the riders were getting back on their bikes - except for two. One was close to my car and a little behind me and one on the opposite shoulder of the road. I had no phone coverage so I flagged down a pickup truck apporaching the crash and they called 911. There were a few other cars who stopped that were behind the peloton and there were people by each of the men still on the road. The one in the middle of the road was moaning but awake. His nose was bleeding and he had other blood on his face as well as road rash - he couldn't really move and someone speculated that he had some broken ribs. I went to the other guy who was worse off. Two people were which him. He was convulsing with his eyes rolled back in his head. Blood was dripping from the corner of his mouth and his jersey was torn revealing a compound fracture of the clavicle. I ran back to my car to get a blanket that someone asked for. I ended up going down the road to get traffic and other groups of cyclists coming into the area to slow down. The "shoulder" guy began yelling, swearing and trying to get up. A few people held him down and talked to him as a police car arrived from my direction. I was glad there were other people there. Two EMT's came upon the accident and helped until the ambulances came. Eventually the road cleared, I talked with the police about what happened and agreed to meet them after the race to fill out some paperwork.

As I got back in my car to find the Masters - hoping no one had a flat while I was gone - I began to sob. Too many what ifs'. What if I had not seen the movement and slowed even more... 
I have driven wheel support many, many times and the possibility of a rider in front of me going down and me not being able to stop has haunted me more than once. It's a reminder to stay aware, keep my distance and do all I can to protect the riders. Images flashed through my mind of what Mark must have looked like lying on the pavement after his crash and how appreciative I was for those who stopped and helped him. I took a deep breath and got under control. I still had a job to do... the race was not over.

A few miles down the road I passed four riders - including Mark - heading the other way. The official on the motorcycle who was following them signaled to me that I should turn around and follow them too - which meant that they had a good lead over the rest of the group. Wahoo! The official told me they had missed me and I explained what happened. He told me that these four had a two minute lead. I knew, by who was in the group, that we would not see the peloton again. Double Wahoo!

The four worked together until a few miles from the finish line - this is usually where the jockeying begins - the one who leads into the finish rarely wins... sprint too early and you may run out of gas... wait too long and you're history. They took the corner fast but under control and I was able to see Mark sprint past the leader and up the short steep hill to the finish, another racer tried to sprint past him but Mark ended up winning by about 10ft. Awesome!

Still smiling after 97 miles! 2012 State Road Race Champion!
The sun was bright and the day was hot. 
I pulled the car to the side of the road past the finish line near a tree. 
I popped the trunk and opened the back door so the riders could get their wheels. The officer from the accident approached me with paperwork to fill out. I retrieved the requested information from the car and took the clipboard to the grass under the tree. My hand was shaking and it was hard to write... and I began to sob again... great heaving sobs that just poured from me. My shoulders, back and neck were tight and began aching - as if it had been my accident

Much to process. Lots of feelings.
 Gratitude I didn't kill or hurt anyone. 
It could have been so much worse.
I'm so thankful for the still small voice and that I heeded it so quickly.
So many tender mercies to be thankful for. 

I felt so much joy in Mark's accomplishment.
This has been a long time in coming and he has worked very hard for it. 

I hurt for those who were injured. 
So many feelings from times past rushing back today. 

And now I move forward and not back.

Fear or faith?
Accidents happen
God does have a plan
He is aware of me.

I think I need a nap... 
and maybe some yoga...

Friday, July 20, 2012

And then there were none...

picture taken by Amy

After three heavenly weeks filled with children and grandchildren the house is quiet again. More so than usual as Jennifer has been at girls camp this week. Just 11 days short of our 30th anniversary we have been as we were then... but not quite.

Last night we lay in bed, long after we should have been asleep, laughing about how we used to play yahtzee and pong on our new atari computer. How you used to have to type in exact words or phrases and "run" to get programs to work. Life was good... we had  big plans and our whole lives ahead of us. 

We still have a lot of life ahead of us as well as some good years behind us. We spent wonderful time this past month with people who were not part of our lives 30 years ago. Much of the last 30 years decisions both large and small have been made and late nights spent trying to determine what it best for them. While there is still lots of prayers and some effort made in their behalf (as well as for their spouses and children) day to day life is quite different. And next year, as Jennifer will be a senior, we know more changes are coming.  

I love my life now and treasure every moment - but I think that when our nest becomes empty next year... I'm going to love that too.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

It Happened

My mom - 30 years ago

The other day I was playing with my grandchildren when it happened. As the words came out of my mouth I heard my mother speaking them. Not only the words but the tone and inflections - definitely my mother. It surprised me. I have not lived at home for 31 years but my mother is still such a part of who I am. Sometimes when I look in the mirror I see her gazing back at me. As a child I went to a family reunion and people whom I'd never met looked at me and said, "You're Velda's daughter aren't you?" Yes, yes I am. My mother taught me to love - especially to love the Savior. She taught me about the atonement through the bedtime songs she sang to us. She taught me compassion, humility and patience. My mom was a transitional character, choosing to raise her family differently than she had been raised. The difference she made will be felt for generations to come. 

Thanks Mom.

Happy Birthday

I love you!