Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Granny B

My amazing, sweet, hilarious, adorable, independent, loving, lovely Grandma Beth passed away this week. There are so many things I loved and admired about this woman. She raised five kids alone while getting her own schooling to be a teacher, and then teaching elementary school to pay the bills. My dad told me that they used to live in houses that were condemned because the rent was so cheap, and they have all been torn down since. She had a full life with lots of grandkids, great-grand kids and great-great-grand kids. She was easy to talk to, fun to be around, and always working on a sewing or crocheting project to give away to someone having a baby. My kids adored her and loved to be with her. When Simeon was about 6 months old and only went to a select few people, he would fall asleep in her arms, perfectly content.
For many years, she lived with her second husband, Bruce (actually her brother in law- married him a while after her sister passed away) in Castle Dale, a small town in eastern Utah. He passed away several years ago and she continued living there until just a few years ago when she moved to Fredonia, Arizona to live with her only daughter, Rhea.
While she lived in Castle Dale, we would try to visit her a few times a year, helping her with little cleaning projects, washing windows, or planting flowers. She was one of the most grateful people I've ever known. This trip we drove down to do some weeding and lawn mowing, on the drive down we stopped and picked up a flat of flowers to plant for $8.00. You would have thought I spent hundreds of dollars on those flowers by the way she raved and carried on about how beautiful and how it was just "too much".
My oldest, Olivia, loved spending time with her and would often tell her knock-knock jokes and listen to Grandma tell stories about this person or that person (Olivia never knew who she was talking about). That's one thing that was kind of funny about Grandma: for as long as I can remember, she has told me stories about other people as if I know who she's talking about- I think she always figured that if she knew them, everybody else did too.
She and my husband, Petter, had a special bond. They would sit and laugh together and hang out like old friends. I love this picture of him showing her his I-pod; she looks so interested.
A few years ago, when Simeon was just a year old, she came and stayed at our house for about a week while the rest of my family (my parents) were out of town. Having Grandma all to myself was so much fun. She would offer to watch the kids while a ran quick errands and when I would come home, her knees would be all wet. I figured out that she let Simeon bite and drool on her knees the whole time- it kept him happy and close by her (I never saw him do that with anyone else- strange I know). While she was visiting with us, I felt so much love in my home, I told my husband that I would have her move in with us in a heart beat. She always praised my cooking (who doesn't love that?) and thought she'd died and gone to heaven when I made cedar-plank salmon and sweet potatoes.
Before I started homeschooling, she was able to go to one of Olivia's little programs at school, it was a big deal for Olivia to show Grandma some of her projects, and Grandma always seemed so impressed.
Thanksgiving this past year she met up with us for Thanksgiving dinner. I made her a lap blanket for Christmas and gave it to her that night as an early present. She sent me a thank-you note (hand made by her) that said: "Dear Jamie Beth, thanks for the blanket. It's stitches of love".
My niece who didn't even know her, went to her easily.

Grandma with my little sister, Holly
Grandma with my little brother, Andy and his daughter, Landri.

She was a very quotable woman and had funny sayings like: "By dee hell", and "bless your heart". One of my favorite memories was when she was visiting during the summer and she and I would sit outside in the shade knitting and crocheting while the kids played in the yard. One day, she couldn't find her teeth anywhere. I looked everywhere she had been and couldn't find them either. After a while, I said "well what are we going to do?" she just said, "I'm not going to stress, they'll turn up". Later that day when we went out to sit in the yard, she pulled out her yarn and the teeth were just hanging there like she'd put them there on purpose. We had a good laugh and she said "see, there's no need to stress! things always work out".

I feel so fortunate to have known this amazing woman. For several weeks I felt prompted to call her, and with life getting in the way and my busy schedule, I never did. I was so distraught when I found out she was in the hospital last week after having emergency surgery. I couldn't believe myself for not following that prompting to call her. Luckily, she survived the surgery and I was able to talk to her on the phone a few times and even drove down to the hospital to visit with her on Friday with Petter. I feel so blessed to have been able to see her and hug her and spend some time with her one last time. I will follow those promptings from now on.
She ended her life in a beautiful way: after watching a re-run of a Mothers Day program on t.v., she said "I'm thankful for my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, amen. She died a few minutes later.
I am lucky enough to be named after her - I have her name as my middle name. I only hope that I can live my life with the dignity and grace she did and that I can stay close to Heavenly Father as she did, and live up to her name. She will be greatly missed, but I am sure she has had countless reunions with loved ones, and is overjoyed.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

spring planting...

This past weekend, a lot of projects got finished. I finished a cream colored knitted headband for my little sister's birthday (ropes and ladders pattern), we finished listening to Alice in Wonderland, I almost finished the book for my new book group The Real Benjamin Franklin.
Yesterday, we started something... we planted some seeds.
The Easter Bunny brought the kids perfect Spring things: umbrellas and seed planting kits (both purchased from Wal-Mart)

The kids had a blast planting and watering their seeds. We planted tomatoes, radishes, watermelon, and sunflowers.
Hopefully soon the weather will allow us to put them outside once they sprout- it was snowing this morning, so I'll cross my fingers.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Bunny

We had an AMAZING Easter weekend. We went down South to St. George to visit my Grandma in the hospital (having some stomach trouble, had to have surgery-not doing too well). We are so fortunate to have my cousin and her hubby living in Cedar City so we had a place to stay and someone to watch the kids while Petter and I visited my Grandma. From there we drove back to Cedar, grabbed the kids, my cousin Crystal and her kids and headed a little North to Beaver. Jairus (Crystal's hubs) has a house that he does some maintenance work on and when he does, he can bring his family to stay for free. We are technically family so we joined them. I am still kicking myself for forgetting my camera (I had all that Easter stuff to pack, so I wasn't as focused as usual) because the amazing weekend we had can be properly expressed in words. This "vacation" house belongs to a couple who live in Australia and vacation in Beaver, Utah (huh?). They have equipped the house with everything anybody could want or need (from child to adult) including a zip-line, playhouse, putting green, 3 decks, fire pit, trampoline, lassoes and fake cow, fooz ball, air hockey, pool table, I could go on and on. Jairus is currently working on building a climbing wall and bucking bull ride. My kids cried when it was time to leave. We ate some yummy food, toooooo much candy, enjoyed the outdoors, stayed up way too late, and basically had a dream vacation- we only saw the kids when they were hungry because they were playing so hard. Hopefully we will do it again soon.

Before our lovely weekend, I noticed Simeon carrying around this bunny for days. I knitted it for Jayda when she was a baby (now turning 6) and it was one of my first tricky knitting projects. I'm happy to see that almost six years later, this little bunny is still getting some love and hasn't come completely unravelled.

My kiddos loved coloring eggs- I think we should do it for more holidays than just Easter, it's so fun. And deviled eggs are always good.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Ropes and Ladders

My oldest has decided to grow out her bangs (makes me sad, they were so cute) so I found this super cute headband pattern in my new book Knitting 24/7. This way she can keep those pesky bangs out of her face, and look cute. I'm going to make several more in different colors- I think it's the perfect "summer headband".

Love it!

Kids Gym

This week was Spring Break for the kids in our neighborhood. I realized on Monday that regular homeschool wasn't going to fly this week with neighbor kids coming over every few minutes starting at 9:00 in the morning to see if the kids could play. So we decided to do just a few school things every day and take a little "break" ourselves. Most of the week was relaxed and mellow with the kids playing all day and some nights playing night games. We went to lunch one of the days (which we never do) and we went to the gym where two of my kids do gymnastics (I use that word very loosely). Jayda is the one who doesn't do gymnastics, so when I told her we were going to go and play on all the stuff there, she was super excited.

She mostly stayed in one area where the climbing rope is and used it as a swing.
Olivia practiced some of the things she's been learning there.
And Sim bounced around like a ping-pong ball running from place to place, jumping of this or that, and hanging on everything.
Pretty fun day.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Great Books: Peter Pan and Old Yeller

We finished listening to Peter Pan, by J.M. Barrie a few weeks ago. It was a bit hard for the kids to get in to but I absolutely adored it (I think some of the language was a bit over their heads). We have a few rules about listening to books: the three kids all have to be present, and after we finish a book, we can watch the movie. My goal (or hope) is that the kids will realize how much better the movie always is and will want to read more and more- so far it's been working pretty well. Usually I'm the only parent who gets to enjoy the books along with the kids, but for the second half of Peter Pan, we were on a long drive with dad so he got to listen a bit as well. It was fun to have another adult listen along and laugh at the funny statements Peter and Captain Hook would make. Petter loved Captain Hook and the way he acted. For Captain Hook, the most important thing of all is having "good form", and he was always frustrated because Peter always showed good form and it was Hooks greatest wish to have him show bad form. So, of course, Hook finally gets his wish and can die peacefully knowing that his last wish finally came true. Peter is so blunt and honest, just like a child, it's hard not to fall in love with him and have a secret wish that he would come through my window. (don't laugh, I'm bearing my soul here) The kids seemed to enjoy the story more when we would discuss it. I think they will understand it better in a few years, it's on my list of books to have my kids read again, and again. Here are a few of my favorite quotes from the book:

"You know that place between sleeping and awake, that place where you can still remember dreaming? That's where I'll always think of you."

J.M. Barrie

"If growing up means it would be beneath my dignity to climb a tree, I'll never grow up, never grow up, never grow up! Not me!"
J.M. Barrie (Peter Pan)

"Fairies have to be one thing or the other, because being so small they unfortunately have room for one feeling only at a time. "
J.M. Barrie (Peter Pan)
Tinker Bells character was so cute. I love the quote above describing Tink when she's steaming mad. She gets so mad and jealous towards Wendy, she has no room for any other emotion. (I must admit, I think I might be part fairy- I feel like I only have room for one feeling sometimes)

Just a few days ago we finished listening to Old Yeller. Best book ever!!!


This book is perfect for kids of all ages, (mine range from 3-9) and whether boy or girl, they will be into it. I can't believe I hadn't read it before this, but now I'm so in love with it, I want to buy the written version. It is exciting, funny, believable, relatable, and sweet. It teaches so many lessons about family, hard work, remembering what we've been taught, and love. Sooooo good- a must read! (or listen)

We just started listening the Alice in Wonderland. Jayda is going to be performing in the ballet, Alice in Wonderland in May so I thought it would be fun to know more about the story. She will be doing two dances: as a flower, and as a flamingo.

We are also reading the third book in the Little Britches series, Fields of Home and are loving it. Every time I finish reading a chapter to the kids, they want me to read another.

For my personal reading, I am still reading Robinson Crusoe. I only read it when I run on the treadmill, so it's taking me awhile (not because I don't run a lot, it's a huge book) and for the book group I just formed, we are reading The Real Benjamin Franklin, so far so good.

Olivia just finished reading Gulliver's Travels and Les Miserables- they have amazing classics for kids with the real story but a bit easier to read for kids- just to lay the ground work for when they are ready to tackle the real thing.

I never would have thought 10 years ago that I would be such a book worm- I absolutely love reading, especially the classics, and hope it rubs off on others.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Baby Cocoon Sack

I just finished this baby cocoon sack for my sister-in-law who is going to have a baby in a few months. I saw the pattern and wished I would have had one of these when my babies were newborns. It's a blanket that doesn't require any swaddling because it's already the perfect shape and size. It is a Bernat Baby Cakes pattern and was pretty easy and straightforward. Because of the stitch pattern, it's also somewhat adjustable (stretchable) to fit and hug around baby. She's not sure (and not finding out) whether it's a boy or a girl, so I thought grey and cream would work for either.

Special thanks to Curious George for posing and allowing me to fit him into this little sack.

Sunday, April 3, 2011


Every once in a while as a mother I am able to catch glimpses of what heaven must be like. This weekend has been one big glimpse. Yesterday we spent the whole day in the yard weeding, raking, getting flower beds ready, and enjoying the beautiful warm weather. Today, although it snowed several inches over the night, that glimpse is still going on. It is Conference weekend, where we are able to hear our Prophet and Apostles from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints speak about the things God wants us to hear. This morning the talks focused a lot on loving one another and treating others with love and kindness. I loved watching my kids sharing treats, markers and relaxing with the sounds of music and word in the background. While I knitted and Petter relaxed we all listened.
I found a great activity packet for Olivia to do while she listened. It had questions about the topics of the talks, what songs were sung and different pictures and word searches for her to do. I think it kept her attention pretty well and she kept asking me "have they talked about Jesus, or the atonement yet?"
Jayda's primary teacher brought her a bingo game to play and skittles to place on the squares when she hears them speaking about certain things. It was so cute and it kept her very interested.

I love hearing words of inspiration from our church leaders. I love the extra motivation that I feel to be kinder, better, more obedient, patient and loving.

Week of Recitals

This week we had a whirlwind. We had three recitals in three days (like some kind of recital marathon). Wednesday both girls performed with their Spotlight Kids group, which is a little musical theater group that our neighbor and friend runs. The girls loved being in the group and learning songs and dances.
They performed "Everybody Wants to be a Cat", and "Hush-a-bye". Olivia even had a solo and did a great job.
They make some pretty cute little cats.

Our most stressful event of the week was Olivias Suzuki book 1 graduation concert. We invited friends and family and had it at our house. She played well but was a bit nervous. She got flowers from her teacher and her Nana, and received a certificate of completion. I'm relieved this little landmark is over so she can start learning other music without a concert looming over her head.

Jayda had a piano recital on Friday. It was held at our church and there were a lot of other kids there who performed. I can't decide if she looks excited or nervous here.
She played beautifully, and was the only one who took a bow at the end- so funny.
I'm thankful for wonderful teachers who are training my kids to be music lovers and music readers. I'm sooooo glad this week is over, I have a hard time dealing with my kids performing- it makes me more nervous than it makes them!