Sunday, June 19, 2011

Reflecting on my Grandparents

What do you remember about your grandparents?

This is a bit of a hard post for me because I miss my grandparents a lot. As I have thought about them the last couple days, in preparing to write this post, I have reflected on how much they have taught me. Part of the person I am today is because of the influence that they have in my life. I am grateful to know that I will see them again in the next life.

Grandma Mona-I have so many things that I will remember about Grandma Mona. Most of my memories of her come from when I was in my teenage/college years. When I was in my elementary age years I remember going to her house for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. She had a box of toys that Brandon and I would pull out and play with. We loved rolling balls down her stairs and playing with the marbles. She always made a yummy dinner and seldom would let anyone help in the kitchen. She loved being in the kitchen and she loved cooking. As she got older she would let us help do the dishes afterwards. She always remembered our birthdays and would send us a card in the mail. There was not a year that she forgot (her last few years of life some of us would get multiple cards because she couldn't remember if she had sent a card or not). When I was in college she was always so good to write me letters. They always came to my typed on a typewriter. Often times she would also send me a package of homemade cookies. My roommates nicknamed her the "cookie grandma." I never knew how the cookies would be packaged. One time they came to me in a used cereal bag put inside an empty tissue box and wrapped with brown packaging paper. She never wasted things and always reused boxes/bags (that's why it would be a mystery how my cookies would come to me.).

Grandpa Larry-This is my only grandpa that I still have living. Grandpa is a hardworking man who would do anything for anyone. He will give you his shirt off his back if you needed it! He is a man of service and charity. Grandpa has an amazing talent of building things out of wood. When I was younger he would make me something out of wood every Christmas. I have a cedar chest, coat hanger, wall shelf, doll cradle, and a thimble case. These pieces of furniture are pieces that I will value for the rest of my life. Grandpa loves doing puzzles. Everytime I would go to his house I remember sitting by him and helping him put his puzzle together. They were HUGE puzzles. I would be proud of myself if I was able to place ONE piece. He is a patient grandpa. I never remember hearing him raise his voice. He loves grandma dearly! He always treated her with utmost respect and honor.

Grandma Mary-Grandma Mary was an exceptional grandma! She was there for me many times when I needed her. I really grew close to her when I was in college. I would take weekend trips up to visit her. Going to grandma's house was a way for me to escape my stresses and worries of college. She always had homemade bread and jam (which I LOVED). She would have something hot in the oven for dinner. She loved to bake with me or make candies with me so that I could take some treats back to college. All growing up grandma would pour the milk in my cereal. Finally my first year in college I had to tell her that I didn't need her to pour my milk anymore. :)

One story that I can't leave out is when Grandma set me up on a blind date! My mom, sisters and I were visiting grandma and Karen and her kids were there too. I was out with my mom and sisters when Aunt Karen called to tell me that she and grandma had set me up on a date for that night so I needed to hurry home. I wasn't happy! My cousin Tiffany was also set up with another guy...a double date. I was in my mid 20's and in my teaching career when this happened. Come to find out, the guy that grandma set me up with was only 18!!! YES 18!!! It was only about a month after he had graduated from HIGH SCHOOL! He was waiting for his mission call that would be coming any day. I was not happy with my grandma (or my aunt) but I had to put a smile on my face and go anyway. After the date I would not talk to my grandma because I was upset with her. Now we laugh at it and grandma is probably up in Heaven, watching me type this, and chuckling inside.

I will always remember the last week of grandma's life! She was going downhill and was in the hospital. We knew it was only a matter of time before she would pass on to the other side. I will never forget those last few moments that I had with her. Holding her hand and hearing her tell me that she loves me. I told her that I was going to be training for a half marathon and her response was "Alanna, don't let anyone or anything get in the way of you achieving your goals. I love you and will be by your side while you run." There were some really spiritual things that happened in her hospital room. The veil is thin and I know that grandpa (and others) were very close and ready to bring her to the other side. I know that she had a great reunion with grandpa and her relatives. She is up there dancing with grandpa in her red shoes!

Grandpa Wallace-There are days when I really miss grandpa. He's my grandparent that has been gone the longest. He could make anyone smile on any day. He was a tease. Sitting next to him at the dinner table, if I turned my head I would get extra food put on my plate. You never knew what he was up too...and you learned to keep an eye on him! :) He loved kids and kids loved him. I think I get this trait from him. Whenever he would come to my home for a visit I knew that I would find something in my backpack that I didn't put there. He would find something on the counter, or in the room that he could stick in my backpack. It was his way of saying "I'm thinking of you while you're at school." When I got to school and found the item I would smile. He loved his yard! He always worked hard and took pride in this. He always planted a garden. As he got older, and not able to keep up on it all on his own, I was able to help him with it when I would come out to visit. He loved to be outside. He had a dog named "Skipper" that he LOVED. Skipper was treated like a human! We would joke and call him Uncle Skipper.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

What callings have you had in the church?

In college I was relief society president, secretary in relief society, activities chairmen, visiting teaching coordinator and FHE leader. After I graduated and attended a singles ward I was relief society teacher, visiting teaching coordinator and supervisor. In the last two years I have served on the enrichment board, primary 2nd counselor, primary 1st counselor and I am currently serving in YW's as the 1st counselor.

I will never forget the Sunday in college when I recieved the call to be RS president. My mom was with me (it was first Sunday back for the year and she drove out with me) and when bishop said he wanted to meet with me my mom said "I bet you will be called as the RS president." We bet a dove bar. When I got back from meeting with Bishop Weyland I told my mom she was right and I owed her a Dove ice cream bar.

The activities chairmen kept me busy because Bishop Weyland was really into having ward activities. We held them on a weekly basis. Kilifi and I worked well together and had a great committee to help us with the planning/carrying out of the activities.

The last 1 1/2 I was in primary and absolutely loved it. I grew close to the others who I served with and got to be good friends with them. I loved the kids. I would look forward to church every week...even though it could be stressful some weeks (if teachers didn't show up). There is just something special about serving these special spirits! They would teach me new things every week.

Last Sunday I was released from Primary and put into Young Womens. I always thought I would be excited to serve in Young Womens but this transition has been harder on me than I imagined. I find myself thinking about all the things in primary that I will no longer be a part of and feeling sad. I think about not working with my friend Julia anymore and that makes me sad too. I have to remind myself how much fun I will have with the young women once I get to know them. I will grow to love them just like I did the primary kids. I am also lucky to be working with a great young womans president and I look forward to getting to know her better and building that relationship.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Describe getting a Christmas Tree with your family as a child. How did you decorate it, when did you put it up etc.

I always loved getting the Christmas Tree with the family. We would go to a tree farm and spend a long time walking around looking for the perfect tree. Once we found the tree we wanted (and we all agreed on it) we would start cutting it down. Often times dad would get it started and then us kids would take our turn with the saw. The tree farm we went to in Washington had a little log cabin that we would go in and enjoy some apple cider and treats.

Once we got home dad and mom would get it in the tree stand and put the lights on it and then it was time to decorate it! Dad always turned on Christmas music (on the record player) while we decorated. We each had our favorite ornaments that we would put on the tree. We also would set out the nativity sets, the village and other decorations. It was an all evening affair. Our tree had colored lights and did not have a theme. Our tree had all the ornaments that we had collected/made throughout the year. I loved it because it had so many memories.

Usually one night (or multiple nights) before Christmas all of us kids would sleep downstairs in the room with the tree. I loved this tradition. It was a fun time to talk and laugh with my brother and sisters. When we all gather together at Christmas time we still carry on this tradition and now it is with siblings, spouces and nieces/nephews.

I remember one year when we went to cut our tree down I don't think we brought a measuring tape with us so we couldn't make sure the tree would fit in the house. we have a peaked ceiling and when we found the perfect tree we figured it would fit in the house. It didn't look too big. Well, when we got home and brought the tree in the house it went almost to the top of the peaked ceiling and was REALLY wide. We had to open the pocket doors so that the tree could branch out into the family room and living room. I actually think this was one of my favorite trees because we could enjoy it in both rooms! :)

One of my favorite things to do is sit in the room with the Christmas tree...all the lights off except for the tree lights and read Christmas stories...or just sit and ponder on the reason we celebrate Christmas. I love fresh trees! The smell is the best!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Describe a Trip Downtown

When I read this question I thought of a few "downtowns" from my home in Washington. The first one is Downtown Silverdale. This is the the older part of Silverdale. It's not big but it sits right on the waterfront. On sunny days (especially Sunday afternoons or nice evenings after dad would get home from work) we would pack a dinner and go to the waterfront. I always enjoyed combing the beach when it was low tide looking for shells, baby crabs and whatever else I could find. We would sometimes bring a football or frisbee and play catch. We just enjoyed the beauty that surrounded us! The waterfront is one of my favorite things about my hometown!! There are a few shops in downtown but we didn't usually go through them.

Another "downtown" that I thought of was Seattle! If we were going to Seattle to just enjoy the city life we usually rode the ferry boat across the sound and would walk around in Seattle (it's easier than driving and finding parking). We'd walk up to the space needle and walk around that area, we usually rode the monorail, and walked along the pier. We would also walk through and window shop at Pikes Market. After I graduated from college my parents took me to eat at the restuarant at the top of the Space Needle. That is a special treat! It is a revolving resturaunt with a fabulous view! I never really get bored of going to Seattle. I love to people watch and there are always interesting people walking the streets in Seattle.

The last "downtown" that I thought of was Downtown Poulsbo. I love going here with my mom. Their downtown is down in the Norwegian style. They have lots of fun little stores to walk through. Our favorite is the Norwegian bakery! :) YUM. It is a fun and friendly atmosphere. The sidewalks are always busy and it seems as though everyone you pass has a smile on their face.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Describe a typical day during your Junior High years

This is a hard one for me! I don't remember much about my junior high years! I enjoyed them and had fun with my friends but nothing really stands out. When I got to school I would usually hang out in the cafeteria until the bell rang. I always worried about being late to my classes so I didn't visit much in the hallways between class time. My friends and I would write letters to each other. During my junior high/high school years a good friend of mine became anorexic. She confided in me with her feelings and what she was dealing with. We exchanged multiple letters with each other each day. After school I usually rode the bus home. We lived at the top of a hill and the bus dropped us off at the bottom. When it was raining or really hot (or my mom just felt like being nice) my mom would pick me up from the bottom of the hill so I wouldn't have to walk up!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Did it snow where you grew up? If so, what did you do in the snow?

When we lived in California it was a rare occurance to have snow. I remember once when it snowed we woke up in the morning and went in to our parents room to tell them it had snowed. THey didn't believe us and had to look out the window to check for themselves. It didn't snow a lot but enough that we could go out and have a good time in it as a family.

When we moved to WA we did get snow each winter. Not usually many days, and usually it would snow and be gone by the end of the day. I remember the first summer we lived there we would sled down the hill because not many cars could actually make it up the hill. Shortly after that many people ended up buying 4 wheel drives so it was no longer "safe" to sled down. We also enjoyed going into the woods behind our house to do some sledding. I remember playing in the snow with the neighborhood kids (Tova and Kara). One thing we enjoyed doing was getting in Tova's hot tub and then jumping out to do snow angels and then getting back in! :)

Mom would always have hot cocoa waiting for us when we would decide we were too wet and cold to play outside. We'd come in and get warmed up and usually end up back outside.

As a family we also enjoyed the snow! Snowball fights, walks down the street to enjoy the beauty, building snowmen and just having a good time.

As I have gotten older I have decided that I don't like the snow so much. I don't enjoy getting cold and wet and the snow only makes it harder to go places. I do think the world looks very pretty after a snowfall but would rather enjoy it from the inside than being out in the middle of it!

Monday, September 7, 2009

What are you frightened of? Why?

When I first read this question I immediately thought, "that's easy, 'failure'." When I was in junior high and high school I wouldn't try out for the school volleyball team because I was afraid I wouldn't make the team. I have to remind myself that I can't sit back and not go for something just because I am afriad of failing. This is a constant battle for me.

A year ago my teammate Joan transferred to a new school and it left me at my current school with two new teammates. I was worried about having to do the Shakespeare play, broadcast and other activities that we had going with the 6th grade by myself (the teachers hired were new and didn't have any experience with it). I was afraid I would fail at being a 6th grade teacher. but I proved to myself I could do it!

At times I am afraid of where our world is coming to. The family is not a strong central unit anymore. Family dynamics are changing. Kids are spending more time home without mom or dad. Many parents are getting divorced and it's not being looked down on. Same sex marriage is becoming ok in the eyes of many Americans. I am grateful that we have the family proclamation to guide us and help us keep the family unit strong. We have to remind ourselves that if we are prepared we shall not fear. We need to make sure we are doing our part to be prepared for the waves that come our way!