Sunday, October 23, 2011


A few years ago in Las Vegas I discovered a program called Time Out For Women. It's based on the principle that when our kids need a break and a chance to regroup we put them on "time out", but do we ever give ourselves a "time out" to regroup. It is a weekend away from your usual routine and an opportunity to laugh, cry, be uplifted and encouraged. Since then I have tried to attend whenever the program comes to the city I am living in or near. This year the closest event was in Reno. When I received the flyer I dismissed it at first because I would have to travel and pay hotel fees as well as registration fees but after a few months of the ups and downs of life (and I admit over those months it seemed like the downs outnumbered the ups) I started thinking seriously about going. Thankfully I have a wonderful considerate husband who recognized my need for a "time out". I think he was more than ready to put me on time out if I didn't go on my own! So on October 14th & 15th Katie, Andrea and I headed for Reno to take our "time out". The theme of this years event was Choose to Become. We had a wonderful weekend with inspired talks on learning to believe in ourselves, getting out of our own way, trusting Heavenly Father. There was great music, lots of laughter and a few tears. We learned a lot about ourselves and what we want and need to do to Become the women Heavenly Father would have us be. They challenged us to choose one thing we can do to Become closer to who it is we want to be and not to leave what we had learned in the convention center parking lot. On our way home Katie, Andrea, and I talked about what we personally took away from the program and what we want to accomplish in our lives. We set some daily goals that will help us reach our larger goals and agreed to return and report to each other on how we are doing. I am so grateful to have attended this event right after General Conference. Having the two weekends so close together helped to increase the power of the messages to me that Heavenly Father knows and loves me. I am thankful for Katie and Andrea's company that weekend, for the support they gave me to follow through on what I want to accomplish. While my kids are now old enough that they no longer need to be put on time out I hope I never miss an opportunity to put myself at Time Out. 

Fun with the Great Pumpkin

Greg and Carinna came up for a visit in mid-October so we decided to go have some fun. Dixon CA has one of the worldest largest corn mazes. Since it's only an hour from us we decided to give it a try. Upon entering the maze Ty informed us that he would be our GPS for the trip through the maze.
Greg, Carinna, our GPS system (other wise known as Tyler) and I somewhere in the first half of the  maze.
GPS guiding Greg
We caught up with Brian and hit the half way point where a nice employee offered to take our picture on the center bridge
Having navigated the maze successfully in 45 minutes our GPS needed a break. What better place to relax than in a giant corn bath?
Jaxon was a little less enthusiastic about the corn bath than GPS
The corn maze is in the same location as Cool Patch Pumpkins so of course we had to explore the pumpkin patch. GPS took mommy for a tour on the pedal car in search of the Great Pumpkin.
Not finding the Great Pumpkin with mommy GPS heads out again with daddy, Jaxon and uncle Greg
Unable to find the great pumpkin GPS trys again with Riley and Kevin. Will the third time be the charm?
Success at last! Riley finds her "great pumpkin"
While GPS was busy taking eveyone out looking for the great pumpkin Joe and Katie were busy collecting pumpkins to carve. Two full wagons later our bank account said that's enough!
After a long day of navigating corn mazes and searching for pumpkins Joe and I took a break with what appears to be the Sunkist Orange mascot (although I think it was supposed to be a pumpkin) before heading home. Lots of fun memories!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Craigslist strikes again!

While I was in Arroyo Grande with Greg, Joe found an ad on Craigslist for free sod. All you had to do was rent a sod cutter and go remove it from the yard it was in and put it in your yard. Sounds easy right? NOT! I missed all the fun as Joe, Riley, Kevin, Kaitlin, our friend Virol, our neighbors son Tyler, and Brian worked all day Monday cutting it, rolling it, transporting it, and laying it. It actually took Tuesday and part of Wednesday to get it all in place but we LOVE our new yard. Thanks, Craigslist!

Before and After

Riley decided to cut her hair. Here are the before and after shots.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Playing catch up yet again

It's been a busy few months. In April our 6th grandson was born - Jaxon Walker Butler son of Brian and Katie and little brother to Tyler. We love having two little guys in the house. On the 20th Joe and I celebrated our 32nd anniversary by attending the temple and going out to dinner.

At the beginning of May we headed down to Disneyland to spend a few days with Andrea, Todd and their boys. We had a blast with them. We took Ty with us so he could spend some time with Avery and Kaeden. They had such fun playing and riding rides together. Of course Papa spoiled all of them and we came home with a stash of pirate gear. At the end of May Kaitlin graduated from seminary. Nine down one to go. By the time Kevin graduates from seminary in 2013 we will have had a child in seminary for 19 year straight.

In June Joe had surgery on his left knee to fix a torn minicus. Then we headed to Las Vegas to help Andrea and Todd move into a new home. That was lots of fun! We got to babysit the boys and I got to decide where everything went in the kitchen as Andrea had to work.

July brought one of our greatest blessings as Amanda was sealed to Brian Carson in the San Diego Temple. We had the entire family together so of course we took new family pictures (when I say "we" I really mean Katie took new pictures for us) which is no easy feat since there are now 24 of us total. Todd pointed out that in 10 years our family has literally doubled in size. Kevin turned 16 and Kaitlin turned 18 while we were in San Diego. They are growing up too ffast! Shortly after coming home from San Diego Joe had a second surgery on his right knee as it had not healed well from the first one in October of last year. I was asked to do an interview for an online website called The Mormon Women Project. It was way outside of my comfort zone but with Joe's encouragement I did the interview and it is now posted at

At the beginning of August I went to Arroyo Grande to be with Greg and Carinna as Greg was having a cervical fusion to repair a ruptured disc in his neck. A year ago I was in Denver with Amanda while she had her lower back fused. I hope there are no more August fusions in my future! I returned home in time for Joe to return to work in mid- August. After two days back he bent over to pick up his shoes and pinched a nerve in his back which led toanother 3 weeks off work. Talk about a long vacation! He was off work the entire summer (maybe he should have been a teacher!) Kaitlin started college at the end of August and Riley came home from college for a few months.
September brought the beginning of Kevin's junior year of high school and my birthday. Joe took me to lunch and then we went to the temple. When we arrived home I had a houseful of unexpected guests as Katie, Brian, Joe, Riley, Kaitlin, Kevin and Tyler had planned a surprise party for me. It was so much fun!
Brian, Katie, Tyler, and Jaxon left for Alaska. They will be gone for 10 days spending time with Katie's family and touring Denali National Park. We can't wait to see all of Katie's fabulous pictures when they return! Joe was finally cleared to go back to work today leaving the house very quiet and giving me the chance to catch up on my blog!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

More uses for duct tape

On Tuesday I had surgery to fix two pinched nerves and a problem with the tendon in my right arm. Everything went well and I am recovering nicely. I cannot straighten my arm yet so everyday Joe or Brian help me to stretch it out and try to straighten it a little more. Since I cannot hold it straight for any length of time Brian has offered to duct tape it down to my leg for me. Thanks Bri!

Monday, March 21, 2011

All in a days work

Joe built a lookout tower in the tree for the kids to play in awhile ago but Tyler wanted a fort, so Brian decided to build one in the backyard which would attach to the lookout tower. The result? A castle of course!

Brian, Ty & Kevin hard at work. Although she doesn't appear in the pictures Kaitlin was hard at work on the other side of the building.

Ty trying to hide inside

The ladder to the second story

Ty wanted trees outside the door and flower boxes on the windows. Katie and I will make him a flag to fly on top but we have not been able to convince them that it needs flower curtains on the windows. Papa and daddy are trying to figure out how to make the drawbridge go up and down without electricity. So far they have not found a way to make it feasible for a 3 year old to manage by himself.