Mother’s Day 2013

Every year that passes deepens my love for my children. It was a simple and sweet mother’s day. The greatest gift was having Erik home more, fewer meetings at church. He brought me breakfast in bed. We both had singing and piano assignments that took us to church early. He sang in a beautiful barbershop quartet version of Love at Home in Relief Society. I accompanied the young women singing He Sent His Son in sacrament meeting with a beautiful flute and violin accompaniment.

IMG_1854After church we took a few photos in the back yard.

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Then we headed over to Jammie and Grandpa’s house for dinner and sharing of how our mothers have influenced us. I found these fun photos of my mom and Erik’s mom from our wedding reception in Salt Lake after we were married.


I enjoyed seeing this artichoke, newly picked. I also loved Robin and her cousins frolicking in the backyard.

IMG_1864IMG_1865IMG_1866I felt the love of my husband and my kids. I enjoyed the unity and fun of this relaxing Mother’s Day.


Date Night

It has been a busy month. So Erik and I haven’t had too much time for dates out. A couple weeks ago, we were heading out for our date. The kids all had a fun movie night over at a great friend’s house. Robin was so tired and needed time with us and didn’t go along with the other four kids. So we ended up just staying in, putting her to bed early, and watching a movie together at home. It was fun, but sometimes it is nice to just get out alone and have time to think and be together. We tried a new restaurant. Some favorite ingredients in the food we had were mushrooms, goat cheese, blackberries, sauteed onions, and balsamic vinaigrette.IMG_1851My date…we shared the salad and flatbread. It was good to be together.IMG_1853


44 on 4/4 at 4:44

Erik has surprised me a number of times over the years for my birthday. When we were dating, I told him I needed to return something to a friend’s house on the night of my birthday, and when we got there, there were 30 friends there to surprise me. How did he do that, get me to recommend going to that place and have all those people there to surprise me?

Well, yesterday it happened again. It was a unique birthday. I turned 44 on 4/4. So he emailed a number of friends (only two hours before) and told them to come to his parents’ house where he has his office in the back. Then at 4:44 we would come to the front of the house, and everyone would start singing and surprise me. Well, surprise it was!

We were back in his office getting a few things done before we were heading out for an overnight getaway. I had just told him I was going to go out to the car in front, and he said he needed to come get his phone in the car. So we headed out the side yard to the front of the house, and when I opened the gate there were 30 people there that totally took me by surprise. I screamed loudly. Then people had come up with groups of 4 or 44 things as little gifts. I got some wonderful gifts of four flowers, four chocolates, four oranges, four petals, 44 chocolate kisses and 44 jelly beans, four cookies. Brandon said he had four sisters as his gift to me. It had me laughing for hours, mostly the reaction of screaming that I had, and the total surprise it was. So great to give hugs and feel love from some of my dearest friends and family. What a wonderful birthday. (Thanks to Rachel for the pictures!)IMG_0538-L

The scream!


I can’t believe Erik pulled this off and gifts from Erik’s dad


Feeling the love as everyone sings


Cute kids with gifts


The crowd that surprised me


Dear friends with hugs and love.  I was so surprised and laughed for hours about this!

We followed that up with a night in Half Moon Bay, delicious dinner, gorgeous fog and sun, walks on the beach, talks about our life, and relaxation. I am blessed beyond measure.


One-on-one time

I just finished a couple of piano lessons, and in the process realize how much I love to have one-on-one time with people. Today, it was in a few different situations. I had a great walk with a friend and time for conversation early this morning. On Tuesdays, Erik and I have a lunch date. It helps if we get away from the house and have time to just be together and talk. I went next door and talked to my neighbor and friend for an hour. We hadn’t seen each other much between kids being sick and just being busy. It was great to catch up on life. Then I had a chance to teach piano to two kids. I love that time with one child to help them as they are growing in a skill.

One thing I have realized is how important it is for Erik and me to connect every day. It needs to be quality time with real focus on each other and the burdens and concerns we each carry. Nothing can quite compensate for the lack of it, or strengthen us as well as when we have time for each other.

It is amazing to feel the love of God in a highly personal way. I imagine that He understands our lives and concerns and experiences individually so He can minister to us in our specific needs. I have sensed that care often in the last few days WHEN I take the time for prayer and feeling the spirit. His love flows one to one perfectly and freely. I wish to develop that kind of relationship with more people in my life.

Happy Birthday Erik!

44 years old and 4 years as bishop. I was feeling especially grateful for Erik’s service as bishop for the past four years and wanted him to feel the love from the people he serves so faithfully. Yesterday the ward sang three birthday songs for him. There was a lot of love in the room!

Last night, we celebrated Kristine, Rachel and Erik’s birthdays together with the whole family.

IMG_1520 IMG_1523Tonight we finished with a surprise gathering of some of our dearest friends here at our home. It is also Andrea’s birthday tomorrow, so we shared in the celebration with her.

IMG_1524Then many people shared gratitude thoughts about Andrea and Erik. Some highlights about them: peaceful, focused on what is important, kind and thoughtful, sense of humor, interested in people, wonderful in their church callings. I feel honored to be in the room with such wonderful families and friends.

We love Dad!


I love Erik for his kindness, humor, gentle encouragement, belief in each one of us, his righteousness, his devotion to helping others on their path, his closeness to the Lord, his desire to do what is right, his loving ways, his creativity, and his whole soul. I am honored to have him for a partner and best friend, eternally.






Late night driving

When I was twelve years old, my family moved from our long-time home in Los Angeles to Boise, Idaho.  I was the youngest growing up and maybe the least aware at the time of the huge change and impact of packing up a house full of belongings and moving our family. We finished later than we expected in closing up our home on the day of our departure. My parents had to be at a training meeting for new mission presidents the next morning, and we had a 10-12 hour drive ahead of us. This meant we were driving through the night.

I obviously couldn’t drive, but somehow felt a great responsibility to make sure whatever driver I was with stayed awake. So I stayed up through the night with different drivers. The last person I drove with was my sister, Lisa. We were in southern Utah in the early morning in her blue Chevy Chevette. I was getting tired — it was 6 am, and I drifted off to sleep.  I startled awake as I saw the car heading off the road, and made a little scream to wake Lisa up.  We were safe.  I didn’t neglect that duty the rest of the drive, and we somehow stayed awake until we arrived in Provo, Utah where I did sleep for the rest of that day.

Last night, we were driving home late from southern California back to our home in Palo Alto.  We left late, 8 pm.  We had a 5+ hour drive ahead of us. I have been battling a sinus infection for the last few days and a cold for the ten days before that. So Erik generously said he would drive the whole way. I got a chance for a good chat with Nicole, passed out dinner (bagels and clementines, carrots and string cheese) to the family, and then snuggled up with Camille, Maren and Robin to watch a movie and read scriptures.


I knew when we left, that at midnight, we might regret the decision to be on the road. And sure enough, at midnight when we stopped for gas, Erik said he was tired.


He took a short five minute rest, and then geared up for the last hour and a half on the road. I was pretty sure I wasn’t up for taking over —cough, cough, sneeze, blow my nose. The four girls were asleep. But last night, I didn’t have to be the one to keep the driver company and help him stay awake. Brandon was up in the front seat with Erik. They had a good chat, played some alphabet games, talked about whatever they wanted. I dozed a little, and when I would wake up, Brandon and Erik were talking and alert for the final push home.  I am grateful someone else had the instinct to help the driver in the late night so I could rest and know that we would arrive safely.

Blueberries in the evening

I gave Erik this fun mini loaf pan for Christmas. Finally, made some blueberry mini loaves. Should be yummy! When I take the time to make some homemade goodies, everyone is happy and feels loved and cared for.  Earlier I whipped up a green smoothie for Erik, Nicole, and me.  I am starting to enjoy the flavors of spinach, celery, parsley, mango and orange juice.  It feels healthy and energizing.





I finished two piano lessons this afternoon for Maren and Robin. But the real music was being made on other instruments today.


Nicole got this ukulele last year for her birthday. She has enjoyed playing since Quickwater and Sky Mountain ranch summers.


Erik was teaching Camille some chords at lunch, and she picked up the guitar here and there this afternoon.


Maren has an amazing musical memory and sense. She was learning how to pick a song on the ukulele that she has heard Erik play.


We have a couple guitars and four ukuleles. Almost enough for a family band.  Hmmm. That makes me think.  Add the piano in, and that is enough for the seven of us.


I caught Erik playing tonight. He is the only one that legitimately can play many songs and pick out melodies and tunes. But we are all dabbling and learning. Last summer, Brandon and I took a guitar class at the ranch, and we even learned enough to play a Taylor Swift song and a hymn or two. But my memory has been fading on the chords.  I need a refresher course. The kids retain more of that than I do.

One thing I love about music is collaborating and creating it together.  Stringed instruments can be shared in a circle facing each other. Duets on the piano are my favorite part of learning with the kids. Singing songs brings us together in a way that nothing else quite can.

Always someone reading a book….

I stayed in bed a good part of the day, but I do feel like maybe I have turned a corner on my sickness.  So rest makes a difference.

IMG_1154I have noticed that we enjoy reading around here. If I don’t know where Camille is, she is usually on her bed with a book. Today, she stayed home sick and was up on her bed quite a bit. This is one of the things she is reading right now.


I have never read those books, but I want to some day. Maren has been loving The Little House on the Prairie series. She is reading this one right now.


After she reads every night, she writes in a reading log for school. I found her later reading one of the American Girl books about Felicity, the doll she has. Robin, our book loving first grader, is reading everything she can, but tonight, she was reading a Rainbow Fairy book.


Earlier she was reading the Book of Mormon reader after we did our family scripture reading.


She loves to read!

Sure enough, Brandon was in his room reading before bed. Before Christmas all he wanted was a select group of books and clothes. He got a little more than just that, but he has been enjoying all the books he received, including The Mistborn series.


There are a lot of authors out there with the first name of Brandon these days.

Not only does Nicole study French, but she saw this play in San Francisco a few months ago. And she also loved the movie. She is a definite lover of literature. It has been so fun to talk about the books she is reading, being an old English major and lover of books myself. Some of my favorites that she has read recently — To Kill A Mockingbird, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, The Help, Jane Eyre, and now Les Misérables. It is the long version; she is enjoying a good, long read.


Erik gave me a few books for Christmas, one being this memoir called One Hundred Names for Love, about a man who is a writer and suffers a stroke including the center for language formation. Good writing so far.


Erik is reading a book I gave him for Christmas that I can’t wait to get a chance to read.


Reading on a slow day helps the time pass more enjoyably.  And I know it helps us think, create, escape, and learn.  There is nothing like a good book.  It is great to have a house full of books and readers.