Wednesday, June 20, 2018

June, 2018

The Conference Center is in full swing because it's summer! We get hordes of tourists from all over the world plus youth conference kids and leaders. The kids have been great, but often seem more exhausted than their leaders! I admire their leaders so much because as we know, they're foregoing family time, and using hard-earned vacation days to go to youth conference. God bless them! 

Speaking of the conference center, I got to take this family through who were from Michigan. "Michigan!" I exclaimed. "I have a granddaughter serving a mission in Michigan! Where are you from?
"Lansing!" they answered."Oh My GOSH!" I said,"That's where she's serving! Her name is Sister Hallstrom."
"Sister Hallstrom? She's in our ward!" (side note: I don't know how to punctuate or write conversations correctly. That is the ONLY thing that has kept me from becoming a world famous writer).

That encounter was just such a sweet testimony to me of how the Lord is aware of each of us:

Matthew 10: 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.
30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
31 Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.

Also, last Friday I took a couple through who were from Paris and didn't speak a word of English other than "Hello" and "Magnifique" which they said with a flourish and a smile. Because my dad served his mission in Paris and Geneva, and my sister Aunt Julie served her mission in French-speaking Quebec, I had this vague notion that I'd be able to understand them. Fortunately I had guidebooks in French.  I also relied on "Google translate" which worked like a charm. The man's name was loosely translated as "Lemuel" and he got a laugh when looking at the painting of Laman and Lemuel in the Book of Mormon gallery, I told him they were "naughty boys" just like him. They tried to slip me some money after the tour was finished, so now I get to join the club of guides who have had people try to tip them.

We started my mom on a mild anti-anxiety/anti-depressant and despite our trepidation it seems to be working beyond our wildest expectations. The difference has been astounding. She spends all of her days now out in the commons area watching The Sound of Music, Lawrence Welk and Andy Griffith, listening to the non-stop-hard-working activities director try to teach "school" to them (it's comical actually - for instance, here sit 10 or 15 frail, dementia-ridden students, and she is teaching them about never giving up. And asking them questions just like you would in school. And probably getting the same blank looks that a lot of middle school teachers get come to think of it! They take them outside for walks and on field trips. Last Friday they took them to the International Peace Gardens and I came "this close" to calling them to tell them NOT to take my mom because it was too hot. But when I googled the weather the high was 89 degrees, which was 7 degrees cooler than the blast furnace it was on Thursday, so I didn't call. I wish I had, because my mom tripped on her field TRIP, stepped on the edge of the sidewalk as it gives way to the grass, which made her fall. She pulled someone down with her too. She has a scraped up knee and elbow but seems to be okay. The other person is okay too.

I've started getting the Fairy Garden area ready for the family reunion in July! (picture me rubbing my hands together gleefully). Those are my "Wyatt" pumpkins in the back.

And I swear this is my personal "Wyatt" robin. He's big and noble and fearless and has a large breast and he always comes to see me when I step outside, or look out the kitchen window or occasionally lie down in the hammock. (I should do more of that!).

We took a fantastic get-away up to our old Sweat Family stomping grounds, Ledgemere picnic grounds up Big Cottonwood canyon. Truman threw 500 rocks into the stream.

Lauren just rocks.

And Calvin is a big boy all of a sudden.

They can try throwing gang signs, but they're all just "12-year-old-gangsta-boys!"

Jane can't pull it off, even with a backwards hat :-) I think it's so sweet that Jane still wears her Wyatt bracelet.

Eli biding his time waiting for puberty to hit.

Cal and Vivi built a raft and watched it float downstream.

and of course we had to play the "Knock over the Coke cans with rocks" game! I DIDN'T KNOCK OVER ONE CAN!!!

Two-year-olds are the best.

10-year-olds too.

And 17-year-olds.

All seven kids were able to make it which was unprecedented! Cindy said she likes to play a game where she tries to get a candid shot of all seven kids together, and even though this picture only looks like there are six of them, Eli is DIRECTLY behind Reagan. You can barely see his back poking out behind her.

They gave me a heart attack hoisting Truman up into this crevice but he loved it.
He did NOT love the "cave" though! When Tony and Cindy told him it was a "bear cave" he clung to them in mortal fear! I can't believe he would know that a real bear would be scary. We spent the rest of the time reassuring him that the bear was gone, no bear, no bear, no bear. At one point he finally got enough courage to stand about 50 feet away from the cave and growled in its general direction!

Here's Tony growling into the cave while the other six were inside.

And finally, a zen moment with my mom doing Tai Chi at Sagewood. We should all be on anti-depressants. Note to my chidlren - when I'm at Grandma Hiatt's stage in life, I want XANEX!!

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Dennis is a Genius

For the past three months I've had technical difficulties when I try to download photos. There were over 800 photos on my phone and the computer would say "no photos found on this phone." I googled it and there were all sorts of complicated fixes, some of which I even tried. When I mentioned it to Dennis he had the genius fix. Turn off the phone, turn off the computer, reboot both of them - and voila 800 photos safely downloaded.

800 photos is overwhelming. I went through them a couple weeks ago and deleted all the blurry ones (i.e. 500 of them) which gave me carpal tunnel for the rest of the evening.

Here's a picture of Dennis with a BB gun and perfect form. He was so fed up with the magpies building another nest in the pine tree in our back yard (for the third year in a row) that he resorted to the BB gun. Seriously, trying to outfox the magpies became his part-time job for the past two years, and he spent hours knocking down what they built. He HATES magpies with a passion. He tells me about all of their wicked ways so I don't think he's mean.

So he decided to scare them with a BB gun blast, not aiming directly at them he promised - just a whiz bang in their general direction....................And once again, Dennis is a genius!
They gave up for good! After three years of frustration, two fake owls and voodoo chants, all it took was a BB blast in their general direction.

Our house was full of fun over spring break when Hugo Hallstrom brought Angie, Forrest, Jonas and Elise on his road trip from Minnesota! Oh my gosh he's adorable. A cock-a-doodle-doo-poo who looks so much like Chewbacca it's hysterical! He stole all our hearts!

And tried to steal Reggie's sweater!

The teenagers are really into ping pong right now which makes my heart happy!

While the Hallstroms were here we got to celebrate four birthdays - Jonas turned 17, Eli turned 13, Forrest turned 47 and Elise turned 20!

Elise Julia Hallstrom has chosen to serve the Lord as a full-time missionary in the Lansing, Michigan mission. She is such a treasure and I'm so grateful for her decision to serve. She is doing a marvelous job! I got to go with Angie one morning on a photo shoot for Elise's official missionary portraits. Angie stopped along the way at a random place with just the right light, and the right colors and the right flora and fauna and that was the beautiful photo she used for the portrait. But I wanted to try some smack dab in the middle of the round-abouts and Elise was such a good sport about it! She will never forget scurrying across the busy road on River Front Parkway and dodging traffic so we could nestle her into the landscaping in the middle of the round-abouts!

We got to go to Springville and listen to Vivi perform in the extra-curricular choir for her school. They were AWESOME! They worked all year toward this program and the choral leader was very professional and the music was beautiful. I'll never forget the conductor announcing before the program "Crying children and good intentions are the same - they both should be carried out!"

I'm glad I have this photo of mom and dad and Denny in an unfiltered moment at their place at Sagewood. And we know it's March 29th too. Dad still looks pretty good in this photo even though just a few weeks later he began declining rapidly because of his pulmonary fibrosis.

Easter is such a beautiful time of year. Pastels are part of the memories.

Easter Egg Hunt 2018 - read, set, go!

Calvin "planted" jelly bean "seeds" that "grew" into big packs of celephane carrots with Reece's pieces in them. I felt bad for tricking him. He was so curious and careful as he planted them. I guess that's why I always told my kids "no, Santa isn't real" when they finally asked.

 We always fly a kite and this year the conditions were perfect!

Usually grandpa Hiatt would be in this picture too, but he was too weak to come out for the day.
There are lots more life and photos that are waiting in the archives but it's giving me a headache. I think I'm going to do my next post in real time and then try to pick up bits and pieces of the previous stuff when I'm in the mood!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Remember Christmas 2017?

Christmas is such a magical time of year. It draws us closer to the Savior and to each other. In spite of being busier and more distracted than ever, we have increased capacity to feel deeply and poignantly. And, it's thrilling to see it through the eyes of a child.

I thought it would be fun to let the little kids help me place the trees and people around the Christmas village and wow did they ever do a good job. Calvin was so focused and careful with setting up every single tree and person, that I left everything in the middle of the living room floor exactly the way he arranged it, until a couple of days before Christmas, and then I moved some things under the tree.

The "Light the World" campaign the church did for 2017 was genius. Whoever thought of using vending machines is a genius. It had the power to connect our effort to contribute money toward helping those in great need, and then actually see a packet drop down into the bottom of the vending machines that said "ONE CHICKEN" or another tangible item. I did a presentation about it at the conference center, and went over to the Joseph Smith building first and chatted with a missionary who informed me that we weren't actually buying a chicken, but the amount of money we were giving would go directly to purchase something (possibly a chicken) to help those in need. I was a little disappointed. I wanted an actual chicken registered in my name.

This picture was on my camera roll when I downloaded everything from my phone and it's kinda funny. Like I mentioned earlier I have to do a "resource" presentation to my Monday shift every sniggle week. That's a lot to come up with. So what I've been doing is thinking of all the different buildings and sites we see when we're standing on the roof of the conference center and then using one every week as the focus of my 4-minute ditty. People always ask me "What's that building? (pictured here) and I am never sure what it is. So, one day I stopped by the recommend area and asked the elderly gentlemen at the desk what that building was and they had no idea what I was talking about! So I went out and took a picture with my phone and went back in and showed it to them and said "THIS!" And they still weren't sure! I'm pretty sure it's a chapel that's hardly ever used.That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

We also got to go enjoy the lights at Temple Square with Tony and his family. Isn't it awesome that we all have cameras on our phones? When I worked at Valley, 25 years ago before this explosion of technology, one of the 20-somethings who worked part-time for us would rhapsodize about hiring a personal photographer to follow her and her family around and document their life. Now we have it. We're our own personal photographers.

Reagan must have been off being her own personal photographer in this photo!

There we go, all nine in one frame!

There are lots of places to see Christmas lights, but none quite like having the Temple in the middle of everything. Such a peaceful, yet vibrant feeling everywhere.

Tony's arm makes the perfect length selfie-stick.

A December robin.Thanks for sticking around.

It was awesome to watch the stage being built for the Tabernacle Choir's Christmas concert. I saw the side panels pictured here with the four circles in them and wondered what it was going to end up being. Turns out it was representing a SHIP! The whole stage was turned into a SHIP!

I went online to try to get tickets but didn't get any. I also tried to get a couple tickets to Hamilton last month (for Tony, I've never listened to the music myself) but wasn't successful at that either. I'm not a conspiracy theorist per se but sometimes I feel like there are strings being pulled behind the computer when tens of thousands of us jump on at the same time to try to win the virtual lottery for a ticket (but my conspiracy theories have one interest now, after reading a biography of Lyndon Johnson oh my GOSH I think he actually may have conspired to have Kennedy killed!).

But lo and behold I have someone who pulled strings! Denny scored three tickets from her friend who sings in the choir (and her friend said she doesn't give tickets to people if they ask for them, she only gives tickets to people if they DON'T ask!). So thanks for NOT asking, Denny! (It helped that the lady owed Denny a huge favor ) And thanks for not being able to go Joey! And thanks for picking ME Denies!

Here's Lou when we picked her up from the airport from Rexburg and on her way to fly home for Christmas and go on their cruise. It's been so great to be able to see her more frequently since she's out West! We sure love her tons!!

Whenever I take a picture of food I always think of Forrest. He liked Emeril Legasse and got to eat in his restaurant in Las Vegas and I will always remember his pictures and excitement.
This is a picture of a sublime seafood salad I got to eat for the second time, at Willow Creek Country Club. See the little net over the fresh lemon? WHO KNEW? It's to keep the seeds from coming out when you squeeze the fresh lemon juice!

We were guests of our friends Rich and Shari Gibbons (they are the South Jordan equivalent of the in we try to know someone lots richer than we are!). Pictured here: The Allens (Rich and Shari's new neighbors who I don't know very well); Rich and Shari; the Sweats; Roger and Marcie Halterman.

Happy Christmas Eve 2017!

I'm so glad Tony remembered that I love to turn off the lights for a minute and just have candlelight. I'd forgotten all about that! But I DID remember to have macaroni and cheese :-)

And we let the candles burn right down to the nubbins.

For the tenth year in a row, Jane was a sheep.

Angels from the realms of glory and a King waiting in the wings of the hallway.

King Calvin presenting frankincense in a stately, mature manner....................

 .....much more dignified than the unrighteous dominion as a shepherd exhibited when he was two...........

 ...................or his smoldering shepherd from a few years ago :-) (with good old Jane playing the part of a sheep.....).

.............although this year King Calvin did tire toward the end..............

Truman was a "free-range" shepherd in 2017.

And then he got a horse for Christmas. He loves horses.

Lauren got Heinz 57 sauce, keeping the tradition alive. And Reagan must have really liked whatever she just opened!

I really kinda love this picture! A few years ago I helped with the RS Christmas party and made matching scarves for all the ladies who sang (but obviously didn't let them keep them ha!).

Tony channeling his inner Hugh Jackman?

Music and Christmas.......and FYI, looking toward our family reunion this summer!!!  I'm seriously considering renting a recording studio when everyone is here the first week in July and cutting some Sweat grandkid tracks.  Seriously! I talked to a dude and told him his website looked the least scary of any of them I found doing a google search. He was very proud of that.
Then on Christmas day our tradition is to drive to Springville and see their presents and eat Cindy's home made Cinnamon rolls...............

.... and this year oh my gosh they were in matching PJ's!

And finally, to close out 2017, I zipped out to Sagewood on New Year's Eve. Mom and dad were good sports about wearing the party hats (although it's almost like the employees at Sagewood are dealing with pre-school kids and handing them birthday hats, you know?). Mom and dad are naturally so dignified. But, hey, it brought a smile to my mom's face over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over....every time she looked into a mirror and she'd see the hat it made her laugh.

And yes, we called it good at 9:00 p.m. on New Year's Eve! At least I didn't iron this year. I did for a couple of years. And LIKED it! Love, Mom

June, 2018

The Conference Center is in full swing because it's summer! We get hordes of tourists from all over the world plus youth conference k...