Tuesday, January 5, 2016

I found this as I went on to browse...still struggling with blogging in the actual writing...putting in pictures...so I tend to give up. The new school year has begun, so after an amazing vacation, I am back to work. But I just cant stop thinking about our FAMILY VACATION! Brendon found a vacation rental home that fit all of us, yes, that is right, all 28 of us. Skyler didn't make it due to living in Seattle Washington currently, but all the rest of us came together for a great time. When we arrived at the house, it was even better than the pictures. 6 bedrooms, three baths, an office, two kitchens, two family rooms, on half an acre with grass to run, concrete to maneuver bikes and scooters, a swing set complete with monkey bars and rings for climbing and swinging around. Perfect place for cousins and siblings to create bonds of this familial love that is so important.
This place also brought us close to water, at the Pineview Reservoir in Huntsville Utah. We spent two days romping in the water, lazily floating, and then....on the Sea-Doos. Everyone Loved them. We kept two of them going for 4 hours straight. The grandkids were loving it as much as the adults, and this Gramma got to hold babies while Moms and Dads took rides together. The last ride of the day, Brendon and Steph talked me into going out, and it was great. Brendon did not disappoint in the maneuvering!
The grandkids were hitting the backyard as soon as they could daily, learning and showing off new skills. Saturday was arrival day, Sunday was church at the local ward Monday was a day to acclimate to the area. Tuesday the waterplay began and we just played the rest of the week. Each day there were scheduled activities and down time, yummy meals were planned and eaten so very well. Games were played, adults laughed and reminisced! Kids giggled and ran and loved. We hired a photographer to catch our ever growing and fabulous family. I am so blessed to have this crew as we strive to be together for Eternity with our Patriarch Angel. We did good Russell Holmes.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015


It has been 14 months now without Russell by my side. I miss him deeply daily, actually hourly. Tears still flow for what we could be together on this Earthly journey, but I continue to feel the spirit whisper to me that he is on the Lord's Errand in a different way, in a new place. He is watchful over his family. I am so blessed and thankful for the Tender Mercies of the Lord that help me to know that I am loved and cared for in Russell's absence. I have amazing Family and Friends who watch over me, pray for me and give me love, love, love. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is a constant to bring hope, comfort and love, clarity and joy. The scriptures, words of our Prophets and leaders. I love my Sunday meetings, the ability I have to serve in my calling. As our family grows with additional spirits arriving, I think of him kissing them holding them before they leave our heavenly home to join us here for their mortal experience. I am so grateful to have that special knowledge that we are Sealed together for our Eternity beyond this life. I count on it, thank my Father in Heaven for it, and thank my Russell for being the man of my dreams who was worthy to start our Eternity together in the Temple of the Lord. Then to lead our family in righteousness as he honored his Priesthood, and used its power to bless our family and those he served. It has made all the difference.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

My different life

My life is different. My Russell is not by my side. He has been gone 5 and a half months,  I feel that void everyday.  I have not really written it out, I have started many times, but like now, the tears fill my eyes, and I have a hard time seeing thru them.  But here goes.

I feel like I am doing the best I can everyday.  I know what I know. My testimony is real.  It was his time to leave this mortal existence, that is clear to me, but I was not ready.  This is part of life, this I also know. We had a beautifully blessed 35 years 3 months and 16 days together.  I selfishly wanted more. I ache to have him near.

I see him in our children's lives, their goodness.  I feel him in the songs we loved, especially when I hear "our song" or tender songs of love and memory. I tear up in just about every movie I see, be it young or old love, especially stories of loss.  I am emotional when I am places he loved, or that we spent time together, the craziest things will set off my heart in missing him. We built a great life together, and have an amazing family to live on and live a legacy that has been left to them. We have been so blessed to have Russell Holmes as our Husband, Father, Grampa.

One thing I have discovered is not everyone is blessed with a love like ours.  The tenderness, the need and want and joy in being together.  The memories of our life together that brought us to this time in our lives, and  thoughts of what empty nesting life would be together.  Not all marriages are lived out in true love.  A deeper and richer love would be hard to be found. Russell has always been sweet and tender with me, but the last few years, I saw a depth in his eyes and his tender words that filled me with a knowledge that I am going to love our eternity together as well. I need to be worthy of this.

Sometimes I find myself in deep thought about how ready Russell was to go and be released from his recent health problems, problems that limited his life in doing those things that he loved.  Surfing, hiking, finding himself wrapped in natures arms.  Being on call for those who needed his help in service.  His last few years were really filled with an awareness of and desire to be as President Thomas S. Monson, ever on the Lord's errand.  His hands were truly open for wherever the Lord needed him to be.  Unfortunately for my life's journey, he is now on that errand on the other side of the veil of this life.

I am also naturally sad about some things. I am sad for Russell's parents and brothers and sisters as well as my extended family.  He blessed them and it is a deep loss for their hearts as well.  I am saddened by  how early my children lost their father, how we do and will feel the void of his quiet strength and love as we gather our family in events, binding moments and Gospel ordinances ahead. How he loves his children and grandchildren.  I know he watches from another place, I and those who were in his circle of influence miss him here in this place. 

A close friend often asks if I am mad a God.  She is a great lady, but not a woman of faith.  I tell her no, over and over.  It is hard to grasp for her.  But I have not ever been mad, just really sad. I am grateful I can awake with a genuine smile and do the things that help me function. I am so grateful for the love of my Heavenly Father and Savior, Jesus Christ.   I know I will go on as I have these last few months, I hear it gets not easier, but more of your new normal.  I tell you I didn't see it coming.  I really struggle with the sadness in the quiet moments that I have more often than not. My heart is broken.  but in saying that I can also say I am okay.

I am so thankful for my amazing family and friends who surround me with their prayers, invitations to spend time and your unconditional love.  I don't know how people get through without this support. 

I feel like I am writing things that may be seen as too sad, but I need to be allowed to do this. I am strong in my faith, in my knowledge of where Russell is. I don't see myself as ever being relieved of my longing to be with him.  But for now, I know I will live daily in a way that will keep me close to him and live as Russell would want me to with love and growth and sharing what I know to be true.  With a smile on my face and love in my heart for the gifts that God has so richly blessed me with. My children, my grandbabies, my family, my friends. The Gospel of Jesus Christ. You carry me until I will see him again.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Summer Vacation - 1st Stop Colorado!

Summer Vacation for me!  Can you ever have enough vacation?  "Not I" says the Gramma, mom, wife, secretary, sister, daughter, etcetera....etcetera...etcetera!  Working for the School system, I am blessed with 6 weeks of vacation, and 13 holidays.  But it never seems enough to do what you want to, need to, should do, and things long overdue! 

So 2 days into vacation I packed my bags and flew to Colorado.  In preparation to join with everyone in Arizona the following week, I went to Heidi and Matt's house for a few days and drove with them to Arizona.  I was greeted by Heidi and the kids at the airport!  And Jackson and Daphne informed me of the plans brewing for while I was there.  Porter had to get to know me again, but it didn't take long. Lovely Princess Daphne caught me up on Zombie Lore, from which she is learning from her older brother.  Jackson is just growing up tooooo fast.  6 years old, and everybit as smart and funny as ever.

 I was still a bit slow and weak from having been in the hospital the week before, so I also was able to nap and rest.  Heidi was better with her phone camera than I was with mine, so I will be posting her instagram photos that she took, that are great!

So...first day loomed with a trip to the dentist for Jackson, so I took Daphne and Porter to Target for an hour to browse and the kids got to pick out something.  When you hit the dollar bins at Target, you can be generous.  Daphne loved her "28" things (not really, more like 4) but she thought it was great.  She was having so much fun, she thought she should pick Porter and Jackson's as well.  They graciously declined her picks for them.

Straight from Target, it was on to see "Despicable Me 2" . Their first run movies there are only 5.00, Monday thru Thursday.  Man wishing we had that here!   Cute movie, cuter kids!

Thursday being July 4th, we started the day bright and early with a Pancake Breakfast and flag raising Ceremony at the church. 

 Then we were invited to a community pool with some friends in the ward.  We went home and Heidi packed us a lunch, and on to stay cool this warm 4th. 

We drove that evening out to Westminster, CO, for their community celebration and fireworks. 

The absolutely best thing was the pure joy on Jackson's face when they started!!

Friday morning was quiet, and then we headed out to the Denver Zoo.  They had a new enclosure built for the Elephants in the last few years, pretty impressive.

Saturday we saved for the community Water Park so Matt would be off work and could go with us.  It was a great day in the sun and the water.  Fun, fun, fun. 

The kids each had areas that they enjoyed, and Matt talked Heidi into venturing onto the slide.    The kids and I waited at the bottom to cheer them on! 

We kept so busy, and still had time to visit, to play Barbies, to read, to rest.  Mostly just making more memories with my Colorado kids!! Loved every minute of it!

Sunday we bid farewell to Colorado, and headed to Arizona, with an overnight stop in New Mexico.
New Adventures ahead!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Family Day at the San Diego Safari Park

I was emailed with an Amazon deal of 60% off tickets at San Diego Safari Park.  It used to be called the Wild Animal Park.  I called and/or texted my kids to see if they were up for a family day at the park, and everyone was on board.  We found a Saturday that we all could go...just this last Saturday, June 8th.  We arrived last, and Grant and Julia, Jordan and Breana saved us a spot between their cars, and the kids were ready to roll.  Lots of Sunscreen, and a jaunt thru the gates. 

The first stop was the map kiosk. 

This pack of 3 year olds had to have one each, and held them close wanting to know "Where are we now?" asked thru the day.  First turn was thru the bird aviary.  The kiddos all loved the birds, ducks & flamingos greeted us. 

Then we met this Monitor lizard. 
Got a close up of the lizard, but our kiddos kept their distance.  On with Uncle Skyler and Uncle Cody to feed the ducks and see  the"Pink Backed" Pelicans and their baby in the nest. 

Then on to GORILLAS!   It took some time for them to come out of their caves. But our kids were all there ready to see. 

Our Kennedy has the best imagination.  She said "When we were gorillas we lived in our caves too". I asked her momma if there was some evolution being taught at their house.  We had some giggles and moved on to the comparison pictures with the Gorilla size.  Some of our crew were closer than others. 

The Lions were sleeping as they do for 20 hours a day. 

The kids were interested in the spyglass even though it didn't work.

On to the African Tram.  We waited in line. 

Grampa was taking advantage of the slow line. 
Then on to our adventures on the tram.  Enjoying the animals.

Loved spending time with our sweet baby Andi

We had a late lunch at our cars, then came back in for another couple of hours, the kids took turns on the stationary Rhino!

and took a picture of us all before we headed out of the park. 
We had a good family day spending time together.   We can't wait until July for our next family adventure in Arizona with EVERYONE...oh yes, all 24 of us will be together!!