Since my last post on February 12th we've had 10 family birthdays, one wedding anniversary, one priesthood ordination, a few softball games, a great grandchild turn 1 year old, a grandson leave the country for an extended stay in Hong Kong, and a granddaughter receive a mission call to Santiago Chile East Mission - she leaves in July. We also had Grammie go back home due to the death of a relative which meant a very short visit from my brother, and hours upon hours spent preparing 2016 income taxes....and just a few hours spent obsessing about when April the giraffe is going to have that baby giraffe :)
As you can tell, it has been crazy busy so that's my excuse for being so slow about posting again and
I am sticking to it!
This is what the mail table in the office looked like the day before Valentine's Day. I think our Arizona Gilbert Missionaries have lots of people who love them!
Spring started to arrive in earnest about the 3rd week in February and plants all around started blooming - even the dessert plants that are always a pale gray-green, get bright flowers on them. I like the tiny black centers in these bright yellow blooms.
These trees are really bright right now. We planted a bush like this in our yard that has been there 15 years and doesn't look like this. For anyone that remembers when most babies did NOT nurse but were fed formula out of a bottle, every home with a baby had a "bottle brush".....it looked just like the red end on these tree branches.
I LOVE this cactus - it is so gnarly looking. Since it is a cactus I'm sure it has spines on it, but they are not very apparent - probably small and clear and impossible to remove if you get one in your finger. Interesting desert plant.
My gorgeous Valentine's Day bouquet from Elder Ashton. I loved the combination of flowers - they lasted 11 days and smelled soooooooooo good!
The second lily getting ready to open
Two lilies open - I can almost smell the fragrance in the air just looking at this picture.
I had the privilege of attending a school play where our 13 year old granddaughter performed in the play (she is in 8th grade and loves drama class). Her character was a Russian Butcher named Slovitch (I loved her fake Russian accent) - the play was :Fools" by Neil Simon. Such a fun thing to do on my "P" day :)
Struck with a feeling of grateful patriotism as I left the gym at about 6:15 a couple of weeks ago and looked up to see the quarter moon, a star or two, Old Glory and the beginning of a sunrise. I am so glad I have the opportunity to live in this country and enjoy the freedoms I do - including getting up at 5:00 a.m. to go to the gym even though I really dislike getting up early. So glad to have a body that still works well enough that I can get some exercise!
Our ward had a secret grandma activity with the mia maids and some of us "older" women in the ward. We secretly exchanged notes and little gifts and then we had the big "reveal" party where we made party hats and painted nails. It was a really fun evening and even made me feel a little younger. This is my beautiful secret granddaughter, Ashley Frank who is 14 years old. I love her beautiful smile!
Sister Hatch from our ward - one of the secret Grandmas.
The "secret granddaughters" included a couple of the young women leaders cuz there are way more of us "grandma age" ladies than there are 14-15 year old girls. It would be fun to have a 14-15 year old body again.....but I don't want to go back and learn all those lessons over again!
Elder Ashton and our youngest son Quinn doing some demolition on the pond/waterfall that has been in our backyard for 14 years. When Elder Ashton got up on Saturday morning while Quinn and his family were visiting, he put his working coveralls on and went to the backyard. Quinn immediately asked if he had a second pair of coveralls and volunteered to help him. We have a little joke in our family about some of the daughters-in-law meeting Elder Ashton for the first time in his working coveralls, so I thought it would make a funny picture to get father and son both in the working coveralls ;-)
Sister Bailey returned to visit the mission just a few weeks after she returned home to Utah. It was great to see her and to get a hug from her. If you look closely, you might be able to see that Elder Ashton has bicycles all over his tie - some of the missionaries compliment him on the tie because they know he loves to ride bikes. The other office missionary couple, Elder and Sister Partridge, joined us in the picture.
Elder Leiter and Elder Ralph give Elder Green tips on the dating portion of his "My Plan" that he is completing a few days before leaving for home......note the bike he brought into the office to have it shipped home to him.
Elder Ashton enlisted the help of Elder Geiselmayr in cutting and folding new insurance cards for the 50+ cars in the mission.
Elder Ashton and I with our rapping Sister Missionary - Sister Pound just before she leaves for home. We will miss her - in fact, we miss every missionary when they leave!
Sister Pound, Sister Weyand, Sister Condie and Sister Butler - Sister Pound and Sister Condie getting ready to go home.
Love, love, love the smiles of these Sisters even though some are smiling through tears. Some are going home and some are staying and the sisters form such close bonds while serving together that I am sure there will be tears shed later on.
I arrived home for lunch about a week ago and round this dainty little nest laying on the driveway - in fact, if I had pulled into the garage I would have run over it, but Elder Ashton's truck didn't leave room for me to get in the garage so I just parked on the driveway and was very surprised to see this tiny nest as I walked into the house.
The quarter is just for reference so you can tell how tiny the nest is. It was a very shallow nest so I don't think it was a humming bird nest. Any guesses?
Elder Bowman, Elder Ralph, and Elder Clark checking out the empty spots on the Greatest Missionaries board to see if they can figure out who is going home this last transfer. Note the cast/splint on Elder Clark's hand - one of our wounded warriors from playing zone sports:(
Spring is here----and so are the allergies. Note the yellow on the trees....that stuff makes my nose run, my eyes run and my ears itch like crazy. I just couldn't think why it was so bad until I saw another tree a little closer up......
Those are all little yellow balls of fuzz - fuzz that flies everywhere and causes all the watery eyes, nose and itchy ears......now I get it.
Four of the cutest faces in the world!! Sunday dinner at my house with 4 of the great grandkids - we had a few more there but they refused to get in the picture. These little ones always make my heart smile! Left to right are 2 that are six, 1 that is four and didn't want his picture taken and his brother who is 5. I could stare at these kind of pictures for hours.
On my way to work one morning I noticed a little dark thing sitting to the side of the road and thought someone had dropped a bag or something.....then it moved. Imagine my surprise when I realized it was a duck sleeping beside the road. I think he must have been hiking from the pond at the City Complex about a quarter mile away to a pool in our neighborhood and needed a little rest :)
In all the craziness a week ago of missionaries going home and missionaries coming in to get supplies, I went to the storage room to get some supplies. I unlocked the door and turned the light on to be met with this right before my eyes......one sister collected ties from some of the Elders who went home and this was her tie holder :)
Arrival day for the new missionaries.....I love the centerpieces - a dried stalk of cotton. Can't think of a better way to welcome them to Arizona.
Elder Partridge taking a picture of President and Sister Wheeler and the new arrivals. Sister Partridge looks on.
The mission office is very close to some big fancy home that hire professional landscapers to do their yard work. As I drove to the church to greet the new arrivals, I noticed this beautiful and unique home with the pretty Hong Kong Orchid tree growing in the little alcove area. Beautiful home and yard!
Fiery red tiny trumpet shaped blooms to welcome the new missionaries to Arizona.
The day after arrivals Sister Partridge and I and a trio of younger sisters all wore a shade of green/blue green. Wish I still looked as young as those Sisters!
Our beautiful granddaughter Brynna who just received her mission call to the Santiago Chile East Mission. She enters the Chile MTC on July 26th. She is pretty good at Spanish already so I know she will do well - bet she will stand out with her blonde hair and pale skin!
Brynna's younger brother Joel (third from right on back row) on the day he arrived in Hong Kong. Hong Kong temple in the background.
Lunch time at zone meeting today. I LOVE seeing the suit coats laying over the backs of the pews......makes me want to burst out singing "Priesthood Power".
Two more wounded warriors from zone sports.....I'm thinking it might be time to take a two or three month sabbatical from zone sports. Elder Matua holding Elder Joy......crazy young men!
I loved the contrast in this picture - the puffy white clouds on top left, the sun lighting the little heavier clouds on the bottom left, and the darkening clouds beginning to threaten rain at the very bottom and right of the picture. Oh what a beautiful world we live in!
We are loving life - working with the missionaries, getting spiritually fed on a daily basis, spending quality time with family and friends. And doing all of that right here in the USA. Life is very good!