Sunday, March 28, 2010

We're Just Pathetic

Well, Rich had the joint replaced on his right thumb on March 18th.  They took out the trapezoid bone and replaced it with a tendon from his arm.  All went well.  Two days later and  recovering at home, his opposite knee started swelling and became very painful.  By day three he could barely walk.  One good leg -- one good arm.  Then some where I picked up a UTI.  I called and asked for an antibiotic.  By the next day, we were so sick.  Rich, an insulin dependent diabetic with a swollen and very hot knee was in so much pain.  The pain meds for the thumb were not even touching the knee.  Naturally we were scared to death of some crazy hospital infection.

Smile is fake.

Back to the dr.  Everyone concerned about Rich's knee.  Change of meds.  Blood work.  We have lost a week some where and still are just pathetic.  After 8 days, I am still running a fever.  Rich's leg is now doing better and he can walk.  The thumb -- no problem.  He is now in a smaller cast for the next five weeks.  I think I am back to the dr tomorrow if the fever is still there.  As I said, we are just pathetic.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

My Sister

Julie Neider Selders

My little sister, Julie has been gone for 10 years. Tomorrow is her birthday and my heart has been full of thoughts of my little sis.  I will never forget the phone call from my brother when he said, "I think we've lost our sister, Julie.  She is in the hospital on life support, but the doctors are telling us it doesn't look good at all.  She didn't wake up this morning and was taken by ambulance to the hospital."  I was at work when I received the call and needless to say was stunned.  This was my little sister.  My only sister.  The sister I had longed for when my mother kept bringing home baby brothers.  She was so young.  Her boys needed her.  Surely this is going to have a good outcome, I thought.  I waited for four days before flying to SLC to be by her hospital bed.  She was still on life support.  The family had gathered, but the doctors gave us little hope. 

We have missed her so.  She carried all of us in so many ways.  She left us on Thanksgiving weekend.  She had been with her family at their cabin for Thanksgiving and had returned on Sunday.  I talked with her for about an hour that night and the next morning I received the phone call.  I delayed flying to SLC knowing that my heart would break.  I couldn't imagine the events that were happening 2000 miles away.   When I arrived at the hospital I knew the scene that awaited.  I thought surely a miracle would occur and brain activity would start and Julie would have her eyes open when I arrived.

But, it wasn't to be.  Julie's husband Jack, along with the family, decided that life support should be stopped.  She lingered for four days.  Darryl and I stayed by her side, but in the middle of the night on the fourth day, she safely left us.  The events were unreal.  Our sister was gone. 
When I went back to Julie's house for a much needed shower after leaving the hospital, it was heart breaking to be with her "things".  Her husband was very protective of everything, but I needed a momento of my sister.  I had asked her on one occasion if I could have the Raggedy Ann doll I had made her about 15 years earlier.  I have a sweet collection of Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls.  It was the only Raggedy I finished.  (There are still three in a box waiting for clothes.)  Her boys had played with the doll and it was a bit raggedy, but she told me she would never give up the Raggedy.  She said, "If I die, you can have her back."  Those words pounded in my ears that day.  She was gone.  I went to her cedar chest and opened the lid.  There was Raggedy right on the top.  I hugged that little doll and cried for my little sister.  How I wished she was still alive and the doll could stay in the cedar chest forever.  Can you imagine how much I regret asking Julie for the doll?

There were so many good things about Julie.  She had dinners and parties for all of the family misisonaries and newlyweds.  We later found an entire box of hand-made nativity sets Julie had painted for each child in her ward primary.  That's who she thoughtful of everyone around her.  All of the children in Primary wrote Julie get well letters and devoted a Christmas tree to her at the Parade of Trees.  One of the children had been in an accident the same week Julie was in the hospital.  After a week he regained conciousness and ask for Sister Selders.  He said she had been with him the whole time in the hospital room.

                            This is one of my favorite pictues of Julie.  This is how I picture her when I think  her cute smile.                                   Andrea and Julie at Deer Valley.

Julie had the cutest sense of humor.  She could nick-name anything and keep us all laughing.  We sure love and miss our Julie.  And there was never any doubt that Julie loved all of us.  If ever there was family loyalty, Julie demonstrated it.

When I asked her to come to Fresno in August to be with all of us for Jeremy and Shelly's wedding, she gladly flew in, brought Grandma Neider, and made all of the favors for the wedding luncheon after the temple.  Then she flew to Virginia for a week to help with Jeremy's reception here.  Now that is a  loyal sister.  We had a week of laughter and giggles that have gone unsurpassed in my life.  She died the following November. 

I'd like to give her a great big hug for her birthday.................................if you have sisters, let them know how much you care about them.

Friday, March 12, 2010

We Did It

Melanie and I were so excited tonight.  We decided to try PF Changs lettuce wraps.  We did it and they were delicious.  We are such great cooks........................and humble too. 

We found the recipe on the internet ...............the rest is history.  They were amazingly good.  YUM.  I love trying new recipes.          I should confess we purchased spring rolls and fried rice to complete the meal.  

We have had so much fun cooking together.  One day I assist and one day Melanie assists.  

Some of our other new favorites are...............................chicken fajitas, onion rings, my mom's fried rice, so many crock pot recipes, English muffins from scratch, rosemary bread from scratch and our great discovery.........a new trick.  Well, it came about because Melanie found a frozen caterpillar in the frozen green beans.  A big one.   I am only serving fresh vegatables from now on...........

Our trick.........................We have started making indivivual salads instead of a big salad bowl.  We have an individual salad before every meal and it is very effective.  There are no salad leftovers or  waste.  We think we are really smart and clever (and humble).  Cooking can be so much fun.  Melanie likes to clean up the dishes and pots as she goes.  My sister Julie used to clean as she cooked.  It makes the after dinner mess so much better.

We also made Matt a German chocolate cake from scratch for his birthday last week.  Oh my -- only my second attempt, but so so yummy.  We even made a section for Gabe and Andrew without coconut, but alas, I noticed Andrew didn't finish his piece.  He spotted a stray piece of coconut.

Keep on cooking......................we are loving it.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

What Grandmas and Grandpas Do

This is what Grandmas and Grandpas do when Mommys need a  rest.

Rich started telling stories to our boys about the magic bunks.  He has recorded hundreds of magic bunk stories with his grandchildren.  They have all kinds of adventures.  It's amazing what the kids can do on the magic bunks.

Tanner and Carsen beg Grandpa for a story every night at bed time.

Charlotte gets to play with her play-doh everytime she comes over.  I use to hide it from my boys. My how things change.

We had so much fun with Audrey at the park. 
Grandpa with Audrey in the park.

Grandchildren are just the best ever.  This is only four of our seven grandchildren -- soon to be eight.......................................................

Monday, March 8, 2010

Fun in Fresno

Here are some pics of the Fresno Crowleys. It was such a nice visit and the weather was great after being in winter all the way across the country. 

This is how Shelly get's things done.

What a cute family!

Cute Crowley Guys

Beautiful Crowley Girls

Tanner, Carsen and Jeremy

The Family

Our Precious Pixie

Carsen scored four goals in this game

More pixie
Tanner on the move
Great action shot

Good one Carsen

We saw some pretty intense soccer from the Crowley boys.
Our visit was ten days and we loved every minute of it.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Grandpa's Big Chair

Audrey (Andrew and Melanie's) and Charlotte (Matthew and Gabe's) are the cutest little cousins ever. This was one of their very rare quiet moments.

The girls love to climb up in Grandpa's Big Chair. Today they were reading together. Are they adorable or what! Love these little Angels. They are both Grandpa's Girls.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Our Amazing Country

If you haven't traveled the USA, it will be a thrill to discover. I'm finally finishing my blog about our trip in October-November and it is really more of a journaling with pictures. This was our fabulous trip.

We ended up putting 10,000 miles on our rental car and really loved every mile. The USA is so.......... well...................... American every step of the way. Each state was so different, yet a little familiar and each one with a beauty of it's own. The people were friendly and welcoming and very interesting to us. We've always loved studying people and Rich is a natural every where he goes. It made the trip enjoyable everyday. The best part was feeling so at is our America.

Rich and I started our seven week trek across the country by winding our way through West Virginia on back roads. The mountain towns were so interesting to us. We made our way around Pittsburgh and found the western side of Pittsburgh beautiful. Our first night was spent in Youngstown, Ohio with the target of Kirtland, Ohio to check out the Church history sights.

We loved Kirtland and the Kirtland Temple and all of the history that goes with it. Even tho' it belongs to the Community of Christ Church (RLDS), the area is such a part of us. Our ancestors were there and helped build the Temple. We walked the grounds and felt a wonderful spirit. We were on a tour with a very small group with two new sister missionaries at the LDS Visitor Center. They were young and enthusiastic and kept using the current buzz words of "l love this and I love love this". One of them even loved the pass along cards. The group in front of us was with a married missionary couple and we were a little jealous because they were laughing and having such a good time. Our sisters were so serious. We made it to the Whitney Store and were listening to the presentation of the Word of Wisdom on the second floor.

As the sister missionary talked about the promises in the Word of Wisdom, she quoted, "run and not be weary and walk and not faint." She then went on to say............................"I really love the last part of the promise..............................that the destroying angel shall pass them by and then added..........I think that means you will live longer if you follow the Word of Wisdom."

The thing that struck Rich and I both at the same moment so profoundly was never having paid attention to the last part of the promise. Rich has never been one to complain much about his health situation or express "why me" but there have been occasions when he was weak enough to say to me, "Where is the run and not be weary part for me?"................................but we knew at the same moment that we were to be in that room at that time hearing the words of a new missionary say, "the destroying angel will pass you by." It was no coincidence. We were there for that message. It was a sweet message to our hearts.

The times Rich has survived health scares are many and has been told just this year by his heart doctors that they believed he would not make it in 1994 -- let alone be here 15 years later. I have to say I loved loved loved the experience in Kirtland.

The Kirtland Temple

We also ran into an missionary couple in Kirtland from American Falls, Idaho. I asked the guy if he knew Boyd Neider. He said, "Yes, I used to work for Boyd Neider at Prudential Insurance in Pocatello. Small world." Everyone knows my dad.
We spent a couple of days in Nauvoo, Illinois touring all of the historical sites. We took the covered wagon ride which was about an hour. Very interesting and very cold. did the pioneers do it.

Standing at the end of Parly Street where the pioneers crossed frozen the Mississippi in February of 1846.

These are the graves of Joseph, Emma and Hyrum Smith. The man giving the tour is with the Community of Christ (RLDS) Church and was very interesting. He grew up in Nauvoo and knew so much history. He visits every year from Phoenix to give tours for a few weeks.

The Nauvoo House

Another Nauvoo Temple shot

Nauvoo is always a memorable experience for me. So many things happened there with the Church which caused such great progress and so many heart breaking things at the same time. Rich had never been there before and he felt quite sad about all of the problems the Nauvoo Mormons experienced.
We ran into an old friend of mine from Tyhee, Glenn McMinn and his wife, Annette. He is there in charge of the Nauvoo Pageant. It was a joy to see him after 40 years. He is still the same
young man I grew up with in Tyhee.

We fell in love with the Badlands in South Dakota. They were so different and such a fun surprise to love. We hiked around some here and were completely taken with the beauty of the more than 400,000 acres. It was different around every corner.

We hiked clear over to the mountain here. It was nearing evening so the sun was really making a beautiful setting.

We really loved Mt Rushmore. It was closed due to snow and electricity problems the day we arrived so we stayed out in the Badlands. We spent a lot of time in the Borglund museum. Borglund started Mt Rushmore when he was in his 60's. They carved the mountain with jack hammers and dynamite. Borglund was such an interesting man.

Crazy Horse Mountain in South Dakota in the Black Hills. They have been working on the mountain for 40 years and have the head done as shown in the back ground.

We passed through Montana in a blizzard so there are no pictures. The mountains were so beautiful. We stayed in Bozeman that was expecting more snow. We left early to miss more of the blizzard. Montana mountains have mostly Ponderosa Pines

Coeur de Alene, Idaho in the panhandle of Idaho

Family time............our great uncle was a congressman in Idaho. There is a Neider Avenue and a Neider Plaza.

Lake Coeur de Alene............I was ready to move here. It is beautiful.

This is the Space Needle in Seattle - The Silver space ship is the EMP Live Museum. It is huge.

Rich with the Fabulous Chancellors display in the Rock and Roll- the above Silver Museum in Seattle.

Jean Perry took us to these beautiful falls in Seattle

Oops out of order -- Coeur de Alene Lake in Idaho - close to where I was born in Moscow

Deception Pass connects Whidbey Island with Seattle.

On Whidbey Island in Puget Sound - A fifty mile long resort island. Very fun. We stayed at a home on the Island courtesy of one of Rich's colleagues. It was fabulous. We had to ride the ferry over.

Oregon Coast with mountains in the back ground.

Oregon Coast

Oregon Coast

Oregon Coast

Oregon Coast

Many shots of the Redwood Forest in Northern peaceful

You couldn't really get the feel in pictures of the giant Redwoods. They were magnificent.

From the Arches in Utah

Our beautiful Charlottesville
Our stops:
Youngstown, Ohio
Kirtland, Ohio
Nauvoo, Illinois
Some where in Iowa
Wall, South Dakota
New Castle, Wyoming
Bozeman, Montana
Coeur de'Alene, Idaho
Seattle, Washington - stayed with Jean Perry in North Bend
Whidbey Island, Washington
Gig Harbour, Washington - stayed with Carrol Neider Norton our neice
Newport, Oregon
McKinleyville, California
Fresno, California - stayed with Jeremy for 10 ten days
Reno, Nevada
Boise, Idaho - visited long time friend Gary Cottle, were there for Five Guys opening
Idaho Falls, Idaho - stayed with Kenny and Margo
Pocatello, Idaho - stayed with Mark and Renee- visited former students in Blackfoot
Layton, Utah
Salt Lake City, Utah - stayed a week with Mom
Springville, Utah - stayed with Rich sister, Annette
Grand Junction, Colorado
Colby, Kansas
Nashville, Tennessee -red carpet for CMAs
Cookville, Tennessee
Bristol, Virginia - went to Gate City where Lillian Mae Remy was born
What an amazing trip. We loved seeing the USA and becoming acquainted with places we had never been. We would do it again in a heart beat.