Wednesday, June 27, 2012

May Memories

I recall Memorial Day being a "Big Deal" to my parents during their lives.  I have fond memories of spending the morning of Memorial Day preparing numerous jars or containers filled with flowers to put on relatives graves.  Our trunk would be full as we headed to the Logan Cemetery where all of our deceased relatives were buried.  There we would meet other extended family members doing the same thing.  Even after I was married we would go with them for this holiday ritual because it always seemed to bring so much joy to them to have us along.  
My mom was a maybe a little obsessive about her gravestone.  I remember driving through many cemeteries with her so she could show us exactly what she wanted for her stone.  Hopefully she is pleased with it.  
Because I know how much all of this meant to them, my sister and I have tried to carry on the tradition.  We are not as dedicated to it as they were and we want to be other places on the holiday so we have made the annual trek to Logan every Friday before Memorial Day to place flowers on their grave since mom and dad passed away.  We also have 3 siblings buried close by and a niece and a nephew so we also do their graves.  It's quite a fun day and of course we include a nice lunch and a visit to the cheese store.   Traditions are good.  
This year I was tending Blake and Callie for a few days during this time so they got to come with us.  So lunch was just at Chick-Fil-A instead of somewhere nice but it was delightful to have them with us.  It made me realize that though I'm carrying on the tradition, it is being lost with my children.  We haven't included them in it.  Oh well, lots of other traditions for them to carry on.  
 When I saw these two playing on my Grandparents grave stone, I stopped to count and realized that this was their Great Great Grandparents.  Amazing to think on how quickly the generations pass.
Since I'm doing a little catch up I will write about this fun lunch I had during May also.  I have two 85 (plus) year old Aunts who call usually twice a year to go to lunch.  We always meet at MiMi's in Layton at 1:00 p.m.  It never varies.  I love how habits never change when you are older.
This year my sister and a couple of my cousins were able to come also.  What a delightful afternoon we had.  One aunt still drives herself (Scary thought) to Salt Lake City every Saturday to fulfill a hospitality mission at the Joseph Smith Building.  The other one is still an octogenarian who plays tennis faithfully several times a week.  Oh how I hope I'm still going as strong as they are when I am that age.  I can see them aging, but they are not going to stop living.
What a great time I had catching up with my cousins. We hadn't seen each other for ages.  Family is so important no matter how extended it becomes.  I love these memories.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

I Love Sundays

Sundays are an incredible day of the week.  I love them.  One disclosure though.  Sundays used to be the worse day of the week when I had 5 small children at home.  I felt like I spent the day refereeing quarrels, hurrying to get everyone at least presentable for church, finishing up church lessons because I had been at kid's ballgames or activities on Saturday, coming up with ideas to keep children entertained and happy since we had a "No Friends" rule on Sunday, feeding hungry children and husband over and over. By night I was exhausted and thrilled I didn't have to do it again for 7 more days.  (Obviously I was missing the spirit of the day)
NOW.  Teenager sleeps in,  husband has early morning meetings, and I get to spend the morning in bed--Not in bed sleeping, but in bed lounging and reading uplifting and spiritual books and articles.  This may be my favorite thing to do.  I love to read in bed, I love to read gospel ideas and doctrine.  I love peace and quiet.  AND the best thing is---I don't have to feel GUILTY about it.  I'm supposed to be doing it.  Part of Sabbath Day observance is studying scriptures and related materials!!!!  YES.  What a wonderful day.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Fathers Day

Father's Day is unfortunately overlooked at our home because every year we get home from Lake Powell the day before so I was too busy before we left to think about it and too tired the day we get home.  This year I had the best idea to get him a remote control boat to take with us, and then Jeff surprised me one day and told me that he had bought himself a remote control boat.  So once again it was an almost forgotten holiday which makes me really sad because Jeff is such an incredible father.  I do love that man so much and I'm so happy to share parenting and grand-parenting with him.

I remember when our children were young and we would go swimming or to the park and Jeff would be playing with our kids and so many other kids we didn't know would want to join and play with them.  It seemed that they were craving interaction with a dad and here was one that was playing so they wanted a part in the action also.  I always felt so sorry for them that their dad would not or could not play with them.  Dad's don't realize the important role they play in a child's life.  There is something so endearing to watch a dad get down on a child's level and run and play and wrestle with each child.  Then as they grow to see them become close friends and companions.  I miss my dad so much.  I don't believe you ever grow too old to need a dad.

Two of our grandchildren gave Jeff these letters for Father's Day.  How precious to read about their perceptions of the their Papa.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


A dear friend of mine inspired me with her idea of EFG.  She was sharing with me her plan to hold an EFG (Especially For Grandchildren) event with her school age grandchildren.  She was going to have them come for three days and she and her husband would hold classes, a service project, and fun activities.  What an awesome idea I thought, but I knew I had younger grandchildren so I would copy the idea but tone it down.  I decided that since all the kids would be together at Lake Powell it would be the perfect spot for our small EFG.  We would have a mini class each day for a few minutes when the children were hot, tired and needed some attention.  I planned it around the five facets that we all need to develop (spiritual, emotional, social, intellectual, and physical) and focus on one each day.  It turned out to be fun and hopefully memorable for them.
SPIRITUAL:  We read the book "I'm Trying To Be Like Jesus" written by Cynthia L. Dobson with Illustrations by Simon Dewey.  We then talked about CTR (Choose The Right) and I had slap bracelets with CTR on them for each one.

SOCIAL:  We read the book "Have you Filled a Bucket Today" by Carol McCloud.  This one was my favorite.  It's an incredible book about filling each others invisible bucket by being kind, saying nice things, and helping others.  We fill our own bucket as we fill others.  Of course they each got a plastic bucket to play in the sand and water after we were finished.  The neat thing about this was several days later Cody was sitting on the cooler out on the deck of the houseboat when Blake brought the lotion out and began giving him a foot rub.  (Grandpa has a wonderful tradition of giving "Foot Rubs" to everyone at Lake Powell)  As she was starting on his second foot he very thoughtfully said; "Blake is filling my bucket."  AWESOME--He got it and he remembered it!!!!

EMOTIONAL:  I love books and I think they teach so many lessons in ways I can't so we read another book titled "Beautiful Oops"  by Barney Saltzberg  It teaches that when you make a mistake, don't despair you just need to turn it into something special.  It is a fun book with flaps and holes and fold out pages.  I brought paper, paints, glue, scissors etc for them to create, make mistakes, and turn it into something better.

PHYSICAL AND INTELLECTUAL:  They got combined one day because we missed a day because we were having too much fun in the sun.  One of our days happened to fall on Flag Day so we learned about the flag and then we had a parade as they each proudly waved their own flags and spectators stood and placed their hands over their hearts as the flags went by.

I remember as a mother of small children that I was so exhausted and overwhelmed with raising children that I just wanted someone to teach my children something, anything, so I wasn't the sole instructor of them.  My children didn't have grandparents that were able or willing to help them learn new ideas and thoughts and I wanted that so much.  While I'm able I want to lessen the load on their parents a small amount and help them teach and reinforce ideas that they are trying to share with their kids.  There is a fine line between helping parents and not taking over their role.  I believe a good grandma "grandparents" not "parents" their grandchildren.  That is my goal.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Olympics Crosland Style

The greatest part of having adult children is knowing that you can delegate responsibilities to your children and realize that they will do a  better job than you would do.  It is awesome!!  I embraced that even more this year with our Lake Powell Vacation.
 I love the Olympics and I feel it is our patriotic duty to watch every moment that is possible when they are on.  How excited I am that they will soon be  happening.  Since we always want to have some type of theme on our vacation I decided that a patriotic theme would be appropriate and we could hold our own Olympics.  I found some wonderful patriotic shirts and delegated to my daughters the job of planning and presenting our Olympics.
Amy became the Chairman with Carly and Carrie being her associates.  It was so fun though we didn't even get close to finishing all that Amy had planned.  When you ask Amy to do something it is done over the top!!

It began with dividing into teams and picking our countries.  Then an obstacle course was undertaken by two person teams.  One person had to throw a football through a hoop, then another member went down the slide and swam with a noodle like a horse over to the kayaks where the first person was waiting to kayak out and turn around coming back to shore where they had to disembark and run to the horse shoes and be the first to throw a ringer.  It was a crazy few minutes and so much fun to watch.

We then had great "Minute to Win It" games between countries.  Incredibly original and fun.
One of the games was to try and put the cowboy hat which was attached to a hook on a fishing pole on your head with your eyes closed.
Then if you couldn't do it with your eyes closed you tried it with your eyes open.  
When the children were getting tired we called it a night and had our closing ceremony where Amy and Luke had bought Chinese Floating Lanterns that we drew something that was meaningful to us on them.
                                        We lit them and they floated away into the sky.

What an incredible ending to a wonderful Olympics.  London--you have nothing on the Croslands.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Grandma's Vacation

Every year on the second Friday of June we embark on our annual family Lake Powell Trip.  We are able to go for a week and spend quality time on our houseboat where we own week #23 which is always the second week in June.  I love it!!  Jeff likes it!! The greatest thing about it is that all my kids will try anything in their power to be able to go with us.  This is by far the best money we have ever spent.  As far as I'm concerned it is the greatest family vacation.  You are together, I mean really together as you crowd everyone into the kitchen for prayer, meals and interaction.  There are no cell phones, unless you drive the boat out for miles.  No friends dropping by, no outside influences.  If the TV is on it is showing a movie that you personally chose to bring.
I will be the first to admit that I was a little concerned about this years trip.  We were planning to take all 7 grandchildren.  That is 7 children under the age of 5.  Our little Clara did decide to stay home with her other grandma which was a very wise choice because she is a very precocious 1 year old who runs instead of walks.  We ended up with 14 of our 17 family members with us.  Kevin and Jessi couldn't come so it was a vacation for our three married kids and families and then 3 of our family friends.
It was a remarkable trip!!  Very different from the trips when all our kids were older, but so fun to see each individual family interact and play with their own children.  The little cousins got along incredibly well for being in such close quarters.
We had a fantastic spot with a large beach which is so rare anymore at Lake Powell so the kids were outside playing in the water for hours.
They all became quite avid fisherman.  Our houseboat was surrounded with Carp and Blue Gill.
All the kids tried their skill at kayaking with their parents.
AND most importantly Grandma got some great quality Grandma-Time with each of the kids.

I feel so blessed that we all returned safely.  I know I silently prayed most of every night thanking the Lord for keeping everyone safe that day and pleading for His watchful eye to protect us the next day.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Graduation Day

Well, My baby has graduated from High School!  Almost 32 years ago when I started this crazy life of motherhood, I'm not sure I ever imagined the years and years of love, laughing, joy and also sadness that has come with the journey.  Wow, what an experience I cherish.
Jessi was a little hesitant about graduating because she claimed she didn't want to grow up.  In ways Jessi grew up too quickly years ago and in other ways she has so enjoyed her comfortable, secluded world of "only child at home" that she hates to leave that safety nest.
Jessi's announcement pictures were taken by me.   She always wanted to have professional "Senior Pics" taken but wanted to gain more weight before she did.  (Yes, I've never heard that before, It is usually 'I need to lose weight before I have pics taken'.)  She has gained a little back since she was so sick, but still felt she would look better later so we are postponing the photo shoot for later.  I think they turned out  adorable, but then she is a very beautiful model.

Graduation Day, June 1, 2012
And now she's off to Europe for three weeks.  Her first lengthy adventure away from home alone.  We'll see how she does.  I'm sure she will embrace it.