Monday, July 31, 2017

Day 5, 6, and 8ish...Lots of Girlfriend Time!

For the next few days, I was able to see a lot of old friends.  Every since I left for college, right after high school, I have made an effort to get together with my elementary/middle/high school friends.  At first, it almost always was at Pizza Hut in Jay.  Now it seems to always be at El Vallarta.         

 We just happened to meet a few days before Robyn's birthday so we HAD to celebrate!  Later, as I was looking through the pictures, I thought it was fitting.  Before the ease of me being able to contact everyone through Facebook, Robyn was usually the one in charge of getting a hold of all the girls when I would come into town. 
 This is my way of saying "Thank You!" Robyn!  Ha!
 I was at El Vallarta again for lunch the next day but this time with the girls at the very first flower shop that I worked at.  All because of a couple of missionaries and a post that Denise put on Facebook!

"Two young men in white shirts (and wrinkled pants) just stopped by my house to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with me and it made me think of you and Kelly Williams and Guylene Berry. (A Mormon, a Baptist, an Assembly of God and a non-denominational Pentecostal all working in a flower shop )sounds like the beginning of a joke) What a great group of ladies we worked with. I miss smelling the new shipments of the fresh armpit (fresh peach) candles and listening to the instrumental theme from titanic all day long with you ladies!"    
She just happened to have this happen while I was visiting!  Which is what let to others replying that we should get together.

Right after college, I worked at a flower shop in Grove.  I was the delivery driver.  It was an amazing job.  I mean really!  Who doesn't want to get flowers?!  I got to deal with customers who were super excited to see me!

But to add to the wonderfulness of this job, these ladies were so good to me.  They would become my friends.  Some would later come to one of my bridal showers, my wedding reception, lunch dates, and I would even get to work with some of them again years later!

But one of the most memorable things that I experienced with them was exactly what Denise wrote on my Facebook timeline.  They knew little about my "Mormon" faith and so I was able to share what I believed to be true.  I, in turn, learned of their beliefs.  So many people are afraid to speak of our relationships with Christ yet we were able to do it freely.

Oh, and when we were stressed out, we would go and smell the candles in the "shop" area of the flower shop...and yes, the so called Peach candle did smell like nasty B.O. (armpit)!  Well, to me it did!
Later in the afternoon, I went to meet Laura in Bella Vista, Arkansas.  3 of my high school friends live in Arkansas now so we decided to met in Fayetteville.  But Laura offered for me to met at her house so I could meet her family and then we would ride together from there.  I'm so grateful that we did.  I LOVED meeting her family.  I already knew her husband and daughter but never had met her boys.  Sometimes I can get a real sense of love between people.  I immediately felt that in her home.  For years, Laura lived in California and so I didn't get to see this side of her with her family.  I have so many memories of Laura from growing up and I love her very, very much.  I think a part of me was just so happy to know that she was safe within her little family.
We met up with Pounce (Misty) and Valerie at Red Lobster and believe it or not, we didn't get kicked out!  These girls make me laugh soooooooo hard.  Our dynamics can be so different from each other but at the same time be so very similar...and that is what I love about our friendship!    
At one point, an older couple came over to us and told us we were very entertaining and that we should get together more often!
A few days later, Valerie and Pounce came to Jay so that they could see my family as well.  
I love this picture so much!!!  Not many siblings can say that they got to hang out together while in school.  But as many of my friends can attest to, April was just different.  We didn't care that she was younger.  She was just so funny and that is why my friends didn't care when I would invite April to things.  So of course, we had to take a picture together!  

Having them come to Jay was also a reminder of my parents abilities to make my friends feel so welcome.  Over the years, I have had some of my friends come to me with things that I had no idea was going on in their lives while we were growing up.  Some of the things they were going through was traumatic in their own ways.  The stableness and safety of the Beck home was what they needed at that time in their lives.  I will forever be grateful that my parents loved my friends the way that they did.

Day 5: More Little Blue!

Since Ronald, Hannah, Shane, and Eden weren't here yet when we went to Little Blue the first time, we made another trip.  

 When we went the first time, David, Shaylee, Hyrum, Ruger, Riley, and I went below the "waterfall" area in search of crawdads.  It's much easier to find crawdads in the low water area where you can move rocks to find them.
But we got to Little Blue this time and Shaylee found a big one almost immediately in the deeper area!

After playing for a few hours, we went back to Nanny and Poppy's house where Dad, David, and Hannah helped with getting the hand prints set in the flag pole base.  I know it had to of been hard work getting that done in the heat and then having to stamp out each individual name!
Later that night, everyone came to Mom and Dad's  house for fried chicken while I met some of my girlfriends for dinner.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Day 4: Family Pictures and Birthday Party

On Tuesday, it was our first full day with everyone.  In the morning, Dad and David got the cement ready and had all of the grandchildren put their hands in it for a flag pole base that they would be getting ready for the next day.             
We didn't know if Levi's hand was going to fit in it or not but Poppy made it work!
For obvious reasons, I needed to go home and visit my family.  The children needed to spend time with their cousins, Grandparents, Great Grandparents, Great Uncle, Aunts, and Uncles.  And David needed a vacation from work.  As he often does, he can't stay idle long, though.  He fixed and did things here and there but for the most part he did rest and I'm really glad that he let himself do that.
That night, we all met at MeMaw and Poppy's house to have dinner, celebrate the birthdays in July (there were 7 of them!), and take family pictures.  
Rose came to take our pictures.  She was so very patient as some of us were cranky because of the heat.  Under the circumstances, I think she did quite well!

The Thatcher and Beck women.
MeMaw and Poppy Thatcher will ALL of their Great Grandchildren.
 Judy and Charles Thatcher with all of their posterity!
 At this point, Hyrum was really tired of all these pictures.  We had to get a silly picture in there for him to keep going.  And I'm glad because its almost perfect!
I saw this "Dab Cat" shirt at Wal-Mart in Utah before we left for Oklahoma.  I really wanted Hyrum to have it so I asked Nanny to look for it in Oklahoma.  I think MeMe (Amanda) was the one who found it because her boys had the shirt too!
 Rose took pictures of the families, individually, if they wanted it.  I had to include this one because Poppy photobombed it!  To make it even more funny, it was the only picture of the Moore family that had everyone looking forward with eyes open!  Ha!  Another perfect one!!!
Doesn't Hyrum look so handsome in this picture?!

 After the pictures, those who couldn't handle the heat went inside while the kids threw powdered chalk balls at each other.  April did excellent with instructions but as it seems to happen often with children, not all listened and there were tears in the end.  But that is ok.  One day they will learn to listen, right?

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Day 3 (Little Blue)

Little Blue - Disney State Park is one of my very favorite places on Earth.  That is not an exaggeration.  
 I don't have a lot of memories of Little Blue from growing up.  I'm sure we went there but I just don't have any memories of it.  I do remember, though, the first time I heard that we lived by Disney!  I remember being at Little Poppy's (my Grandpa Thatcher's father) house and the adults talking about Disney.  We hadn't lived in Oklahoma for very long when this happened so I was probably 9 or so and all I heard was that we lived very close to Disneyland.  Disney, Oklahoma is one of the smallest towns so you can imagine my disappointment when I learned it was just a little lake town.
 But here I am as an adult and I'm not joking when I say that I would rather go to Little Blue in Disney, Oklahoma before Disneyland.  I didn't gain my love for this place until David and I moved to Oklahoma as a family.  By this time, I had lived in the Western United States long enough that I had acclimated to dry heat.  Long were the memories of me being able to handle Oklahoma summers!  When I moved to Oklahoma this time, I was miserable in the summer.  I was reintroduced to Little Blue by Katie from church, where she and other members of the church would meet there (sometimes weekly). 
 I needed it for so many reasons.  I needed time with my friends.  I needed to feel good as a mother (because I was feeling incredibly guilty about not taking the kids outside because it was so humid).  I needed to cool off.  I needed the beauty of this place.
 Ever Since, I've been in love with this place.  
 Some of our church family met us at Little Blue like old times.
 One of the things I love about Little Blue is that the water is so cold and clear.  I kinda have a phobia of water that I can't see through.  So I don't swim in lakes or oceans.  Mind you, I LOVE the ocean.  It is very relaxing and calm as you sit on a beach and just listen as you distress or watch your little ones find the joy in the simplicity of playing in the sand.  I really only put my feet in the ocean water.  But Little Blue is perfect and I gladly get in this water every time.   It only gets somewhat cloudy after people have been playing in it for a while.
Later that day, Ronald, Hannah, and their kids made it to Oklahoma and things started to feel a little more complete.  We all ate at April's house that night.  And for the rest of the time (except for one night) all the grandkids stayed the night at Nanny and Poppy's house.  It was a party every night for them! 

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Day 2ish?

We arrived in Oklahoma late Saturday night.  Later than we expected because of David and the boys helping a lady change her tire.

It was a neat experience for me.  I was forced to be patient because we were only 30 minutes away from HOME when we came up on this woman.  Only 30 minutes away from my family that I hadn't seen in 2 years!  David and Hyrum hadn't seen them in 5 years.  It was killing me a little, I have to admit.  But David did the right thing and pulled over.  

Her car was literally on the top of a hill and in the middle of her lane!  Her English was a little broken and she looked confused.  David soon got her car off to the side of the road, got the 2 older boys out to help, as she thanked them.  She had just came back from the prison in Vinita where she was sharing her testimony to those there.  I wasn't outside the van long (it was way to humid for me) and I offered for her to stay in the van with Hyrum, Ruger and I but she decided to stay out with the boys.  It didn't take me long to be so very grateful for David and his willingness to always serve as she said that as her tire was coming apart, she was praying that someone would help her.  Then she saw our vehicle.

I love my husband so much.  I'm so grateful for his example.
We spent the night with the Moore family that first night.  Before we headed to church, the next day, I wanted to get a picture of April and I together.  She took my phone and took the above selfie.  When I looked at it, I hardly recognized myself!  I am not good with technology and I honestly don't know how such a strong filter was put on it but dang!  If only this is what I really looked like.
David took a picture of us...the real us!

Going back to church in Grove was wonderful.  It was wonderful to see old friends and to actually get to go to Relief Society!  I am still serving in Primary here in Utah so it really was such a treat to be able to go to Relief Society.  It was also fun because 3 other girls that I went to church with, growing up, just happened to be visiting at the same time.  I really wish I would have taken a picture.
After church, we all went to Nanny and Poppy's house (Mom and Dad) for lunch.  Throughout this whole visit, Mom made sure that all of us ate together at least once a day.  By the time that Ronald and his family got to Oklahoma, that meant up to 25 people in one house!  That is a lot of people to feed! 
These 3 hung out a lot together.  All I can say is that teenage boys are annoying and loud...and honestly, most of the time I loved it!
Ever Since I brought Ruger (with Brigham) out to meet the family when he was 5 months old, Stephen has always been partial to Ruger.  This time was no different.  He played with him, was patient with him while he let him hold their hamster, changed his diapers, watched TV with him...
...and let him fall asleep in his bed with MeMe (Amanda).
We stayed the night with Nanny and Poppy that night and one of my favorite things that we did was climb up in Nanny and Poppy's bed for scripture reading.  One of those memories I hope I never forget.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Oklahoma 2017

We moved from Oklahoma in 2012.  Throughout the years I have been able to fly Levi, Brigham and Ruger separately with me to go back and visit during summer breaks.  But this year David had the time off so we got to drive there together! 
 So when we got to the Oklahoma border, after driving for 19 or so hours (we did stop at a hotel though) this picture was a must for me!  Hyrum was the only child that hadn't been back since we left.  And he was the only child that cried when we left this time.  They were all sad that we had to leave, but he actually cried.  I love my sweet, sensitive boy.
 I found this amusing.
 Right next to the Oklahoma sign was a storm warning sign.  Welcome to Oklahoma!  Be prepared for tornadoes, thunder, lightning, flooding, and earthquakes!
I'll post more pictures later but I'll end this post with a picture of our last morning in Oklahoma.  Grandma and Grandpa (Thatcher) gave each Grandchild $20.00 this year when they went on vacation.  As we were leaving we stopped in Grove for gas when Ruger found this Geico (I'll explain that later) and kept asking for it.  It was more than $20.00 but how could we say no!  Ruger really isn't into stuffed animals like some children his age but since it was in Oklahoma and he made such a fuss about it, we had to get it.

Ok, so about the Geico thing.  About a week or so before we left, Maddie bought Ruger a little crocodile that grew bigger when you left it in water.  When he would try to say crocodile, it sounded like "Geico."  We see the mountains everyday but they are so diverse in different parts of Utah.  As we were leaving to go to Oklahoma, we went through a canyon.  The mountains were very close and looked different with the rocks jutting out so far with no plant life on it.  He kept saying, "Geico!  Geico!"  He wouldn't stop until we acknowledged it.  But we couldn't figure out what in the world he was talking about.  It finally dawned on me that he was telling us that the mountains looked like a crocodile!  Once we realized that and looked, they kind of did!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Yikes! 2 Teenagers!

I'm not sure how I feel about having 2 teenagers in the house.  Brigham got his first pimple the other day and he informed me that he was ok with skipping the whole teenage thing.  I guess he's going straight to being a man.  He does have that slight mustache thing going on...
 On the way to Get Air, we stopped by Swig to get us all a pop and the birthday boy got a free cookie.
 We have been to a few different trampoline arenas but this one was definitely the best.  We went to the one in the Salt Lake (Murray) area.  Brigham likes Salt Lake and every once in a while asks when we will go to Salt Lake City again.  So when we heard from a friend that the Salt Lake one was larger than the other ones I knew we had to make this happen for Brigham.
 There really was a lot of different things for the boys to do and enjoy.
 They were so sweaty by the time that we had to go!

 Ruger was exhausting to keep up with.  None of my pictures really turned out great but Ruger's pictures were the blurriest.  At the beginning it was comical to watch.  He is so short and little compared to every other child in the arena but it was like he didn't even notice.  His little legs were just going so fast, trying to keep up with all that he was seeing and wanting to experience.  But when more and more people showed up, we had to start obeying the rules and he had to stick to the little people area.  He was NOT happy about this.  

And he soon became a typical 2 year old in throwing a fit!  It was exhausting trying to keep him away from the big stuff.  While chasing him, a Grandma was passing by.  She casually said while passing, "You are doing great, Momma!"  She was out of my sight in a second but I sure appreciated her encouragement! 
More and more things are changing with Brigham.  He's finally starting to fix his hair.  He tries to go everywhere with his jacket on (Yes, even in this 100 degree weather...but in his defense, I am always freezing everyone out in our house) and it drives me crazy that I still have to tell him (No, not remind him.  TELL him because he tries to convince me each time that its not too hot out.) every time to take his jacket off before he heads outside.  He still loves gaming very much.  His favorite superhero is The Flash (I'm not huge into superheros but I have to admit that Superman and The Flash are my favorites).  I love watching him pass the sacrament.   Every once in a while, I catch him looking at someone who has made eye contact with him and he'll smile at them.  I don't know; its just something about the way that he smiles at them.  Like its really genuine.  But that is Brigham for you.  Usually what you see with Brigham is what you get!