Friday, December 18, 2009


We all know how devoted, how beloved of God, how clean and pure Mary, the mother of Jesus was. We know how devoted to Him she was. We know she loved Him, cared for Him, worshipped Him, and mourned for Him.

But what about Joseph?

Matthew Chapter 1:
18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: when as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.
19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily.
20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.
21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people in their sins.
22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the Prophet, saying,
23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they sall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
24 Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:
25 And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.

We know that Joseph was a carpenter and so was Jesus. So Jesus must have sat by the work bench as a child and watched and marveled at Joseph's skill. He probably worked and practiced until his skills matched Joseph's. I can imagine Joseph and Jesus, not only working together but also laughing together.

Do you think they teased Mary about her cooking? Do you think they argued about the best way to shape a piece of wood. Do you think they talked of Jesus' future? Did Joseph worry for him? Did he counsel Him? Did he love Him as any father loves his children? I can't help but think so.

Although there is not a lot recorded about Joseph and his relationship with Jesus, knowing how much The Father loved His son, I can't help but think that He would choose a man that would father Jesus with love and kindness, perhaps much in the same way He would.

In a lot of Nativities you see Joseph standing over Mary and the baby as though protecting them. I think that very appropriate. In my Nativity drawing this year, I have him kneeling with Mary in love and worship...and maybe even waiting for his turn to snuggle the sweet new born king.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Best Birthday Ever

Wednesday was my birthday. It was GREAT! I can't remember a better one.

It started Tuesday night. My kids and grandkids came over and brought presents.

Rich gave me this HUGE Santa face to hang on the front door. I LOVE it!

Sandy and Nancee gave me these beautiful metal dress forms. I've always wanted one.

Kelly knitted me a new red hat.

Harry and Andrew rocked out to "Follow the Prophets" and Baby Kelly danced.

Then on Wednesday me and the girls (plus Roko) went to Gilroy, to the outlets, to shop. We had such a good time.

We had lunch at Applebee's and they gave me a $10 gift certificate because they didn't have the cake I wanted for dessert. Wasn't that nice?

OK, so Roko had some issues with spending the day with a bunch of shopping women. But he and Nancee bonded and now she is his best friend!

And then, when I wasn't looking, the girls bought me this beautiful pair of sparkly, red Converse. What a surprise! I felt so cute and cool the whole rest of the day.
Do you think I could wear them to church?

It really was a fun day. A fun BIRTHDAY!
I am so lucky to have kids who know me and love me and live close enough to spoil me.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

O Christmas Tree

On Face Book, there were a few postings about decorating Christmas trees. You know... fake or real, kids decorating, nonbreakable or breakable ornaments.

A lot of families decorate the tree together. The kids putting all the ornaments on one branch. This year, my son's family surrounded their tree with one of those corral baby pens. OK OK it was my idea. They have 3 kids, the youngest is one and very "grabby". So the corral is working nicely.

I've tried the whole everybody decorates. I even tried having everyone make wishes with each ornament, but they always got bored and I ended up finishing.

So now the task is totally mine. It could be because the tree is huge and it takes hours. Or it could be because I'm picky about where the ornaments go.

Occasionally I can get someone to help for a half hour or so. Before we got the fake tree, Kelly would help put the lights on if she was home. (BTW, that's why we have a fake tree- I just can't put lights on anymore.) Last year Sabrina helped for awhile. This year Harry helped with the beads.

But don't feel sorry for me. I kinda, secretly like it. I put on Christmas music and take my time and remember why I love certain ornaments and laugh over and wonder why I bought other ones.

This is an ornament I bought the year we lived in Pensecola, Florida. It's old and one of my favorites.

This is one of a pair of little angels that were on mine and Jeanette's first Christmas present. When I hang them on the tree I remember how great it is to be a twin and all the Christmases Jeanette and I have shared.

We bought this angel Lab after our own Taffy dog died. I hang it high in the tree.

Harry when he was three. The one odd ornament on an otherwise fancy tree.

This is a round , sweet, snow gramma. I like to think it's me.

I collect figurines by this artist. She is influenced by Tim Burton. I love the skinny arms and legs.

This is a new ornament. I love ornaments that look antique and are sparkly.

This one was free.

Some years I think to myself, "I am not getting all that stuff out." But then I get to thinkin about all the cute Christmas things and how much I like looking at them and pretty soon all the decorations are out.

I could point to every Christmas decoration in my house and tell you why I bought it or made it or why it was given to me and why it is so important to me.

Maybe that's why we decorate so much at Christmas- to remember. I remember the wonder of my childhood, the love of my parents and now, my children.

As I decorate, I am reminded of fun times and sad times. I'm reminded to be grateful for my home and my family and for Christmases past, present, and future.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


We chased her into the woods. How in the world did she escape? And how did she get Mom's apron?! This was going to be a Thanksgiving like no other.

Although I am a big fan of gratitude, I am not a big fan of Thanksgiving. I don't like to cook or do dishes and those are the main events of Thanksgiving. But I do love to eat and I love the Macy's parade so I put up with everything else.

A number of years ago I pared down the dinner to only the traditional foods we really like. No yams, green bean casserole, or orange jello with shredded carrots in it. This year I'm having boneless turkey breasts. I know, I know-where's the tradition in such a no frills feast? Well...

  • Because I don't make a big deal, my kids spend the day with their spouse's families- which means I get them for Christmas.
  • I get to sleep in (no getting up at the crack of dawn to put the turkey in the oven) until the parade starts.
  • We get to go to the movies instead of staying home to baste the bird.
But, like I said, I am a fan of gratitude. This easy-going Thanksgiving gives me time to remember how much I love my life!

I have a home that is a haven for me and my family and it is often filled with laughter, running feet, crashing hot wheels, guitar solos, and silly dancing.

My children love their parents and each other.

I get to express myself through silly doodles and drawings and occasionally through great big paintings.

And how could I express gratitude for my life without including my membership in the true church of Jesus Christ. This blessing makes all of the others more sweet and more important.

So... to everyone, whether your Thanksgiving is big or small, fancy or no frills, I hope you are happy.

Now...bring on the shopping! What time does Target open on Friday?


Thursday, November 12, 2009

My Veteran

This is my veteran.
Rich joined the navy in 1973.
We got married in 1974 after he was stationed in Guam on the subtender Proteus. Sandy was born there.
In 1976 he entered NESEP (Naval Enlisted Scientific Education Program). He went to the University of Washington and graduated in 1979 with a degree in Aeronautical and Astronomical Engineering and was commissioned as an Ensign. David and Kelly were born during this time. During the summers he went on these practice cruizes and left me with little kids at home. I was being prepared for the DEPLOYMENTS.

Our first duty station was Brunswick, Maine with VP26. He left me there in a little cabin in Cundy's Harbour and went on deployment. Let me tell you, I had to grow up fast. I moved us into Navy Housing alone. I got Sandy to school alone. I went to church and wive's clubs meetings to make friends and get support. But I missed him and was mad at him for leaving me and was always so glad to have him come home.

I was especially glad there was no war.

These pictures are from the Iceland deployment-his second. I was more prepared for this one-I knew the "ins" and "outs"-

  • how to start a huge project the day he left so I wouldn't cry all day (once, I refinished and recovered a living room chair).

  • how not to blame him for everything (except when the washer broke down)

  • how to make it fun for the kids (when he was gone we would have homemade bread and icecream for dinner).

  • how to keep a list by the phone of things to talk about when he made his once a month phone call (boy, they have it easy now with email and cell phones).

  • how to go to bed every night and hope he wasn't having too much fun without me (and I prayed for him too).

He's the one under the arrow. It's hard to tell them all apart.

He went on a lot of deployments in the 16 years he was on active duty. But he always made it home for Christmas and he stayed true to me and the kids.

His last duty station was aboard the USS Enterprise (he was there when they filmed "Top Gun"). He was discharged in 1990. He went on to serve in the reserves until he retired in 1999.

I know he misses flying and the guys he flew with. I don't know if he misses the deployments (I don't).

I'm glad he's home and didn't have to serve during a war.

Yesterday I was busy shopping with my girls (enjoying the day off). That's why I'm writing this today. Rich wore his flight jacket with all the patches on it from all the places he's been and stuff he did while in the navy and went to Applebee's with Harry and had dinner for free (Yay! Applebee's).

Rich is my veteran. I'm proud of him and I love him.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Snow White and the Seven Magical Apples

Once upon a time there was a beautiful princess. Her name was Snow White. Not only was she beautiful, but she was the best pie maker in the whole county. Every year her pies won the blue ribbons at the fair.

Snow White had a mean stepmother (the wicked witch). She was very jealous of Snow White’s pie making skills. So one day she sent Snow White into the apple orchard to pick apples and while she was there, the mean stepmother (the wicked witch) put a spell on her that made her forget who she was and how to bake pies.

Snow White was lost and afraid and hungry, and she didn’t know who she was. She wandered in the orchard until the 7 magical apples found her. Each one was different, beautiful, and delicious. There was Fugi, Gala, Golden, Red, Granny Smith, Pippin, and Cameo. They recognized Snow White and so they took her home with them to their magical Apple Tree.

The 7 magical apples took very good care of Snow White. They taught her how to bake pies again. Soon she was just as good at it as she was before her mean stepmother (the wicked witch) put a spell on her. One day while she was baking, a big black crow was watching her. He was a spy for the mean stepmother (the wicked witch) and he flew right home to tell her about Snow White’s pies.

The mean stepmother (the wicked witch) disguised herself as a pie peddler and went into the apple orchard carrying a poisoned apple pie just for Snow white. No one knows how she got Snow White to taste the poisoned pie but she did and Snow White fell into a deep, deep sleep.

When the 7 magical apples found her they didn’t know what to do. No matter how much they shook her, she wouldn’t wake up. They thought and thought and finally came up with a plan. They decided to squeeze a little juice out of themselves and mix it together. After all they were magical weren’t they? Perhaps their juice was just what she needed. So they mixed their juice and put a spoonful into Snow White’s mouth. Sure enough she woke right up. Not only did she wake up but she even remembered who she was.

That night she made the most wonderful magical apple pie. The next morning she took the pie to her mean stepmother (the wicked witch) and begged her to take just one bite. When the mean stepmother (the wicked witch) tasted the magical pie all of her meaness (and wickedness) dissolved away. She hugged Snow White and thanked her for the pie.

And they lived happily ever after.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Carving of the Jack-O-Lantern

Sabrina skipped school today.

Well she didn't actually skip school. She had a dentist appt. at 8 am. It was traumatic so she needed to stay home. She stayed home with Grampa while I went off to babysit the other Larsen household which has been overcome with flu.

When I got home we went off to the Pumpkin Patch to see what we could find.

In our valley in California, it stays warm until...well...until this week, so carving pumpkins before now just leads to rotteness.

Anyway...we came home with a pumpkin for each of us to carve and then that horrible mad scientist pulling out of the insides and cutting of eyes and scary mouths began.

Mine was a little rotten already so the smell of its insides almost did us in, but we surgically removed all the "icky" and then it was OK.

Sabrina's had a very thick skin so she needed help. Good thing Harry was around.

In the end we created two pretty great "Jacks".

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Dark and Stormy Night

It was a dark and stormy night!

Just right to give you a fright.
Graveyard to the left,
Haunted house to the right.

Hey! Is that my MUMMY?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sacrament Meeting Doodle

So you know how I doodle when I'm supposed to be listening? Well today was no different. I doodled during Sacrament Meeting. Sister Rupe gave a great talk about the light of Christ. I doodled a little but I also tried to listen. Her talk was short.

Then Bro. Calvo got up to speak-I was uncomfortable. The Calvos went inactive a while back and announced that when we got a new Bishop they'd come back and sure enough when we got a new bishop they were back. Is it me or is that really weird? I wonder what our old bishop did to offend them and how did our new bishop manage to "un"offend them?
I don't understand the whole concept of, "We believe in the church and will live the gospel, but we don't like you so when you're gone we'll come back to meetings."
Enough on that subject.

Needless to say-I was doodling. Bro. Calvo read his talk and I don't really remember much because I was uncomfortable and I was doodling.

I don't know why, but when I go to draw a little boy it always turns out to be Andrew.


The rest of the morning was great so I have no other doodles to share. Both Sunday School and Relief Society were about Prophets.

I am so glad that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that he restored the gospel. I love reading about what he was like as a man, a friend, a father, as well as the prophet. I'm grateful to have a prophet who leads us today.
Yay! President Monson!

Friday, October 9, 2009

I Iron and I Am Not Ashamed

Recently there was a short discussion on my Facebook page about ironing. Most people who commented did not iron; had thrown out their irons. Some recommended various brands of clothing that were "no iron" friendly. Some had never ironed in their whole lives. Can you imagine?! I was the only one who ironed. I responded with, "I iron and I am not ashamed!"

When did ironing become this unthinkable act?

I remember my mom ironing mountains of white shirts for my dad. He wore one everyday to work. I can't tell you how many young men I've seen passing the sacrament in wrinkled white shirts.

I've been known to ask my daughter-in-law if she wouldn't like me to iron her top for her. She always laughs like I'm joking. Just yesterday she had a top on that was so wrinkled-but I didn't ask because I knew she would just laugh. What is wrong with having the bow on the front of your blouse flat instead of lumpy. (Does anyone say "blouse" anymore?)

Ironing used to be part of a woman's "bag" of talents. Pioneer moms heated their iron (or irons, if they were lucky enough to have more than one- one heating while ironing with the other) in the fire or on the stove. It was important that her family look neat and wearing pressed clothing is a way of looking "neat".

Back then you ironed your petticoats as well as skirts and bodices (now that's a word you don't hear very often). And your petticoat didn't even show. My cousin, Marie, used to only iron the parts of her outfit that showed, like the collar and cuffs under a sweater. I tried that once-I didn't even make it out of my room. I felt so "disheveled". I iron everything whether it shows or not.

My mom taught me pillow cases should be ironed and at least the top hem of a flat sheet if you don't have time to do the whole thing. And I did most of the time, especially if she was coming to visit. Since her passing, I don't do it as often as I should.

Now I realize that lots of fabrics today are supposed to be "wrinkle-free". You can always spot the people wearing "permanent press"-they're wrinkled. And seriously, they think nobody notices. Clothing made out of this fabric is meant to be washed in cold water on a special "cycle". They have to be dried carefully and then "finger-pressed" (that means smoothing the wrinkles out with your hands) as you fold them or before you hang them. This whole process actually takes just as much time and energy as ironing.

Those of us who do iron fall into two groups. My daughter, Sandi, falls into the first. She hangs up or folds everything and then irons it just before she wears it. She always looks "neat". I fall into the second group. I have an ironing pile. When it gets big I spend a day (sometimes more than one) ironing everything. Then I put the board away and the pile starts to grow again.

I don't just iron when it needs to be done. Most of the time I iron when I'm procrastinating doing something more important like working on a drawing or design or painting, a Sunday School lesson, a talk, or cleaning the garage. Ironing takes no real concentration so you can think about other things. Or nothing. It's a great time to watch a scary movie.

So I iron. More people should. Come on! Wrinkles are BAD!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


My patriarchal blessing is kind of boring. It just says the normal stuff about being a good girl, getting married, stay faithful- ya know nothing huge like "you'll be a great leader" or "you'll succeed as an artist" (which was what I was going for). It really only says one personal thing to me- "Your children will be the brightest jewels in your crown". I was nineteen and this just wasn't the "fortune" I wanted to hear. So I went on my merry way. I eventually got married and started a family, never once thinking that they were in any way "jewels".

Fast forward some 37 years. It's Christmas and everyone is seated at the dining room table. The grandkids are wiggling around. Kelly is expecting her first in March. Before the blessing I stand up to give a toast.

Before I tell you the rest I need to explain that all 4 of my kids live close. Sandy and Dave live in the next town over, Kelly lives about two hours away, and Harry is still at home.

So ... the Toast. I tell them about my patriarchal blessing. I hadn't thought about it in years and never understood what it meant until recently. I tell them that they truly are the jewels of my crown and that they are the reason for my life. Then David's wife, Nancee, announces she's pregnant with their 3rd so I sit down.

There's a saying that I've seen on those boards you hang in your living room: "Each time a child is born, so is a grandmother." I'm one of those grammas. Neither my grandmother nor my mother was one of those grammas so I decided to make a real effort to be THE GRAMMA.

So what makes a great "GRAMMA"?

In my opinion she needs to be round (OK, she doesn't have to be, but I am.)

There are the fun things grammas should be able to do:

  • Baking cookies with small children who are messy and drop eggs on the floor is helpful.
  • Having toys -no-having lots of toys and preferably in a huge closet or playroom is a big thumbs up.
  • Cooking only favorite foods for dinner is popular and having every kind of ice cream flavor for dessert doesn't hurt either.
  • Riding bikes, practicing ballet, swinging, swimming, playing catch, crashing hot wheels cars are also good skills.
  • Sleepovers are a "MUST".

Then there are the serious things grammas should be able to do:
  • Saying "NO" without causing a fight is crucial - I'm still trying to master this one.
  • Making sure every grandchild feels equally special is so important. I try really hard, but sometimes the parents get jealous.
  • Sometimes being "Doctor Gramma" is important: "He'll be fine." "Use Desitin not organic Buttpaste." "It's just a cold." "Eating dirt will not kill her." or "You need to take him to the doctor. I've never seen that before."
  • Always having a lap to sit on, a shoulder to lean against, a knee to bounce, a listening ear and a kiss on the cheek are standard equipment.
  • If at all possible BABYSIT! If a gramma is at home and her grandchildren need a sitter the gramma should help.

Now I realize that not all grandmothers have the ideal situation that I have with my grandchildren living close, but there are lots of ways to BE THE GRAMMA. My sister talks on the phone to her granddaughter everyday and they visit through the computer by skyping and email. I know grammas who text or even write letters. My son-in-law posts a picture of Roko everyday on Facebook for me (and everyone else) to see.

Being THE GRAMMA really starts in your heart. You have to realize what a special role you have and how it influences the lives of your grandchildren and your children.

Bill Cosby once talked about his parents, as grandparents, were not the same people they were as his parents. I think I've heard my kids say the same thing about me.

So my patriarchal blessing...the brightest jewels in my crown...watching "Hot Wheels Force 5" with Andrew...what more could I ask out of life?

Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor Day or Forced Relaxation

It's Labor Day. In the past, we've spent this day picnicing or bike riding; doing something fun and exhausting. but this year is different.

Harry came home sick from school on Friday. Actually he was sick on thursday but we couldn't convince him to stay home on Friday. So he went to Seminary and then I dropped him at school. He didn't even make it to 1st period. His temp was 101. By the time he got to the Dr. it was 102. So lots of rest, cough syrup, antibiotics, and no activity.

Saturday, I puttered around, cleaning out dish cupboards, doing laundry. Harry's girlfriend came over and took Sabrina to the mall. Harry slept. Sandi came over and made dinner and then Rebecca brought Sabrina home and we let Harry up to watch a movie with them.

The rest of the weekend has been spent in forced relaxation. We've slept in, watched movies, read; I went for a swim, and Harry has played video games. It hasn't been easy. I've had to talk myself out of ironing or cleaning out more cupboards.

But really what's Labor Day all about? Isn't it suppposed to be spent resting from labor? Why is it so hard? Why do we feel like we have to fill every extra moment with some activity?

So I am doing my part today to be free of labor...Well at least until I have to start the BBQ.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The End of Summer

It's the last Saturday of summer vacation. Harry starts school on Monday and I get to go back to watching Andrew and Kelly while their mom serves lunch at Nate's school.

Harry has had a great summer. He never went a week without seeing some if not all of his friends. They had movie nights and beach parties. To end the summer, Kelly took him and his girlfriend, Rebecca, to the Warp Tour in Sacramento yesterday and I babysat Roko. Today, Harry is at a swim party celebrating the finish of his summer homework.

Other great accomplishments this summer include Nate learning to ride a two wheeler, Andrew swimming under water and Kelly learning to walk (both she and Roko turned

one this year). Sabrina spent the summer between me and Gramma Pam. She kept me active all summer, riding bikes and exercising on Wii. Harry did not get his license-we both dragged our feet and now he won't get it til Feb (but it will be a great birthday present).

I love to see summer come and hate to see it go. I'm not ready to give up the pool (although I don't really have to until the middle of next month- it just gets harder to find the time). I love having sun light until 9pm. And oh how I love sleeping in (which of course will end with the beginning of seminary).

As far as I can tell, the only good thing about summer ending and school beginning is Back To School Shopping! Harry went with Rebecca and came home looking like a Jonas Brother! Sabrina, of course was the cutest to dress. But really what I like, what I look forward to every year, what I'm probably addicted to, what I can't walk by in Target without stopping to dream... is School Supplies- mostly crayons. I had Sabrina take inventory the other day:
18 boxes of crayons- after we donated 6 boxes to the 1st grade
6 boxes of colored pencils
6 boxes of skinny markers
5 boxes of fat markers
some scissors
I didn't even count the pencils because I buy them by the box

What's really strange is this doesn't even seem like alot. There's just something about new pencils and crayons and scissors, and rulers, and notebooks, and cute folders. My cousin, Barbara, didn't like school until the invention of colored Flair markers. After that she did all her homework in different colors.

So another summer ends. 294 days to go.

Monday, August 10, 2009


This is Grendall.
She's my doll.
My friend, Sandi Olsen, made her for me as a graduation gift
when we graduated from High School.

So that makes her....Well...really, a lady should never have to reveal her age.

Both of my daughters played with her when they were little.
She's been repaired a few times.
At one time, someone drew on her face with marker
so she had to have a little bit of a face lift.

But the most important thing is that she has been loved.
So loved in fact that she shows up in many of my drawings.

Sometimes she appears by herself and sometimes with friends.
Sometimes she's the center of attention and sometimes she's not.

Once she was the Easter Chicken.

Grendall is a GREAT doll!
Keep an eye out for her.