Saturday, April 26, 2014

"It's Really Happening!"

March 8, 2014: Danielle & Jacob at Woodland Park
The wedding is exactly 6 weeks away!
"It's really happening!" That's what Danielle's mom said when they went wedding gown shopping two months ago. Suddenly, in the midst of trying on all those beautiful dresses, the reality that her newly-engaged little girl was going to be a wife had hit home. 

February 22, 2014: Jacob & Danielle at the Snowflake Temple
I understand that feeling well, having married off my only daughter just two and a half years earlier. It's a little different being the mother of the groom, though. Our home is not Ground Zero of wedding planning, and my son does not walk around with that dreamy gleam in his eye, talking about his wedding colors, agonizing over the flowers and cake, or fretting over the bridesmaids' dresses.
However, he does have a new attitude as the need to find a home and support a family has become important to him. Suddenly he is interested in learning how to budget and be financially responsible. The boy who didn't want to talk about money because he somehow knew it would always magically appear when he needed it, has all of a sudden become a man who has lots of questions about managing bills and working his way into a management position. I love that he is taking his future responsibilities so seriously.

Today, our pile of wedding invitations was delivered,
ready to be addressed, stamped, and mailed. And
a few days ago we got patterns for the bridesmaids' dresses.

Occasionally we get glimpses into the wedding planning process. Jacob isn't as anxious to tackle these tasks as his future bride and mother-in-law, but with a little prodding he is willing. They spent two days taking pictures to use on the wedding invitation. He's been fitted for his vest and tie (still need to get two of his groomsmen down to Bridal Fair for their fittings, though). Danielle's mom, Julie, and I have put our heads together over a few important issues, like what the mothers of the bride and groom will wear.
Also, Jacob has taken care of the reservations for their honeymoon, five days at a resort located at the foot of South Mountain in Phoenix. As for me, my big task will be putting on a luncheon for the family and wedding party between the 10:30 a.m. wedding/sealing at the Snowflake Temple and the reception at the historic Snowflake Main Street Chapel from 7:00 to 9:00 that night.

February 16, 2014: Jacob & Danielle go online to
choose colors for the groom's and groomsmen's vests and ties.

By the way, I've seen pictures of Danielle's wedding gown, and it's gorgeous! I've also seen ideas they have for decorations and centerpieces at the reception, and they are going to be awesome!

Shera gave her advice, now that she was an old married lady of 4 weeks!

Their colors will be pink, blue, and black. Jacob first suggested those colors on the day he proposed. We all looked at him as if he'd lost his mind. But Danielle decided to go with it, and she has managed to make it amazing. By the way, pink is Danielle's favorite color and blue is Jacob's.

Jacob wanted blue paisley ties. Danielle said No Way.
A few days later she relented and let him have his paisley.
True love . . .

And now, just for fun, here are some pictures of an evening when Jacob decided we needed to have banana splits for Family Home Evening:
Jacob bought every possible topping he could think of.

Dylan is a whipped cream-aholic.

The finished product.

Jacob is having just a tiny little treat...

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Prom 2014

Masked revelers at Prom

There are 3 reasons I volunteer to chaperone at Prom every year. 1) The girls' dresses. 2) The decorations. 3) The food.
Maybe I'm living the Prom life vicariously through my students because I never went to my own high school Prom (my boyfriend didn't believe in such things), but it doesn't matter why. I simply love being there!
Here are some scenes from this year's Prom.

Dylan's good friend Brandon (a frequent guest in our home)
with his date Kenzie. Adorable!

Our principal Eric Harmon and his wife Kim
get their Prom pictures taken before the crowds arrive.
That's Kim's grandmother's dress she's wearing!

Lines begin to form for the photographer.

The Royalty voting table was manned by Kurt and Sherri Kerr.
He teaches science and she teaches math at the high school.

The seniors and juniors gave a lot of thought to their votes
for Prom King and Queen, Prince and Princess.

Naturally, the big attraction of the night was the dance floor and very loud music.

The Prom entrance, 1920's style.
I think the theme was "Black Ties and Glitzy Skies."

The tables and chairs await the Prom-goers.

The refreshments table featured a chocolate fountain.
I loved this beverage stand.
(And you can't spike the punch if there's no punch bowl.)

Lemon bars, brownies, and cream puffs.

The refreshments were delicious.
And here I am, before leaving for Prom.
That was Sarah's Prom dress in 2008, her senior year.
It gets taken out and dusted off once a year!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Prince of Peace

Prince of Peace, by Akiane Kramarik
I recently discovered this painting while reading Heaven is for Real, by Todd Burpo. This portrait of Jesus Christ was painted by an 8-year-old girl. I am awed and inspired by her talent and her faith. If you'd like to know more, I recommend reading the book. Sarah and I went to see the film on Friday. It was good movie, and I do recommend it, but in some ways I feel it lost some of the message shared by the Burpo family in their book, based on their experiences.
Reading the book, seeing the movie, and finding this painting during the week before Easter was a timely reminder to me of our focus for the Easter holiday. I am so grateful for the sacrifice of a perfect man, a Savior, who knows me by name, feels my sorrows, lifts me during the dark times, and loves me enough that He willingly suffered and died for me.
Because of Him, I have hope for peace in this life and a fullness of joy in the next.

Easter Morning, 20 April 2014

On Sunday morning we attended a spiritually rich stake conference in church. Most of the speakers addressed the example set by our Savior and encouraged us to follow in His footsteps, learning to love and serve as He did. All of God's children need to feel loved and accepted, whatever their challenges. We each need to know we are worthwhile and precious in His sight.

Dylan, age 16

And, of course, after being spiritually fed and lifted, we enjoyed the traditional Easter fun and family time that makes the holiday a bonding experience!

Jacob, age 22

Sarah, age 24, and Chris, age 36

Shera, age 30

Ryan, age 29

On Sunday evening we were thrilled to be joined by Danielle's family for Easter dinner. Her dad was out of town and her brother Stirling has just a few weeks left before he returns from his missionary service, but the rest of the crew was there! We enjoyed visiting with her mom Julie, her 18-year-old sister Jordan, and her 25-year-old brother Nathan. Together, we chowed down on a traditional ham dinner with mashed potatoes and gravy, corn, green salad, macaroni and cheese, and peach beverage.

Left to right: Ryan, Jacob, Danielle, Nathan, Jordan, Julie, Dylan, Sarah, and Chris.
Poor Shera slept through dinner!

We had a memorable day, filled with uplifting messages, family, food, and fun. And that's what it's all about!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

One More Tee

I spent the day at Petrified Forest National Park and the Painted Desert with Jacob and Danielle and Ryan and Shera. We had a blast. On our way out, we stopped at a gift shop and, of course, I bought this new souvenir tee-shirt. And it was on sale!
This was also a productive day. My purpose in taking this day trip was to do research for a book I'm writing. Chapter 9 takes place in Petrified Forest National Park, so I wanted to get a feel for the location. Especially since it's been more than 15 years since the last time I went there on a science field trip (back when I used to teach earth science).
It worked! I now know where the two important events from chapter 9 will take place within the park! For chapter 10 we'll research fishing at Woods Canyon Lake, and I already have volunteers to accompany me!