Sunday, January 21, 2018

Grandma is turning 100!!

Turning 100 is a huge deal!
Unfortunately Grandma doesn't want to celebrate or make a fuss.  
So I'll just have to honor her in a sneaky way on this blog, without her knowing until after the fact.
I certainly can't do justice to her life but I've tried to touch
a few high points.  To keep it brief, I also won't be
able to show or mention many family members or others that love her or we would be here all day!
Grandma was born Lenore Neeley
January 22, 1918
the youngest of 6 kids to 
Enos Austin Neeley and Eva Ann Ricks
in Felt, Teton, Idaho
on the family farm near Driggs, Idaho
This is a water color that I painted for my Dad of the Neeley family farm.
Growing up there, they didn't have running water or electricity.
I remember going there as a kid.  The river behind it, in those trees, was called "Bitch Crick" but was originally named Beech Creek.  I think the name changed because it was sooooo cold. I can attest to that because Dad took us fly fishing there once. Brrrrrr!
Grandma was the great niece of Thomas E Ricks who was the first 
chairman of the board of the Bannock Stake Academy, later named Ricks College in his honor.
In 2000, it became a 4-yr university named Brigham Young University-Idaho
She attended there for a year.
Her mom always made her wear long underwear under the stockings to keep her warm.
But as soon as she and her sister were out of site, they would roll them up and take off the stockings.
Ha, I think clothing battles between mothers and daughters have always existed.

Only 17 months apart, she and her sister Alice were best friends and inseparable.
As a matter of fact, it was difficult to find any pictures with Grandma alone (I had to do some cropping)

Grandma holding her bunny.
In a flapper dress
In front of the farm house.
She says she was never very interested in food, 
which accounts for her thin frame.

Although her family didn't have much money, they learned to make due with what they had.
The girls would take old dresses and take pieces from one and put on another to make
a whole new dress.  She said, "Some of the girls were jealous of us because the boys liked us.
They thought we had the cutest clothes they'd ever seen."

She never considered herself very pretty but I think this picture proves otherwise.
Grandma and Grandpa were friends in high school.  They got more serious after graduation
but took a year break when Grandpa said he was taking another girl out.
But after that, it was a done deal.  Grandpa used to say, "I chased her until she caught me!"
They were married September 30, 1939 and were always together for 63 years until Grandpa died of pancreatic cancer in 2002.

I love how he's looking at her here.

Their first child was my father, Jay, born in Rexburg, Idaho.
Because her water broke at 5 months, she was bed ridden for 3 months.  She always described it as sleeping on her head because they propped the bottom of the bed up.
It worked though, and I'm grateful for her sacrifice.
Subsequent pregnancies proved to be difficult too, resulting in many miscarriages.
 This lead them to adopt a 2 day-old baby boy, who was "meant to be" theirs,  naming him Doug.
Finally a year and 2 weeks later she was able to give birth to another son, Don.
Jay (Dad) kneeling, Doug (left), Don (right)

Her life revolves around her boys.  She raves about their good natures and the joy it was to raise them.  

Doug, Grandma, Don, Jay.  Looks like no one wanted to pose this day.
They are usually much more smiley than this. :)
Grandma has a great sense of humor that keeps everyone smiling.   She's the one that put the bows on Abby's head.
While Grandpa was the quiet gentle type, Grandma was the fun center of attention.  It is her way of making people feel at ease and have a good time.  Her co-workers came to count on her for a laugh.
She wasn't past a practical joke either.  When she was young, she and her sister Alice became upset with their oldest sister.  Because of their age difference, they really didn't know her very well.  She remembers, "We got disgusted
and mad at her when she made us do things when she came home to visit.
Alice and I would take pins and stick them in her dresses hanging in the closet, right where her rear end would be."
Alright, maybe not everyone was smiling, but it sure made me laugh!

 No pins for her 5 grandkids! Only hugs and cinnamon rolls.
She loves her 19 great grandkids!!
We make sure and stop by her house every time we are in Salt Lake City.

 This is the latest photo taken in Sept when we took Bekah and Matthew to BYU Idaho.
Even though she's lost her strength, her mind is still sharp.
What a great example you've been to us, always thinking of others before yourself.
You've come through hard times with a smile on your face.
Your beautiful home has always been immaculate, warm and open to anyone in need.
Thank you for being so forgiving of me when I broke your beautiful Italian glass set that
Uncle Doug brought back for you.  They were my favorite and I was so sad they were gone.
But although you were sad too, you were vey gracious with me.
Happy Birthday Grandma!!
I love you!!

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Our 1st grand baby is almost here!!

Our first grand-baby is almost here!!

So over the Christmas holidays, we had a perfect opportunity to have a baby shower for Rachel.  All the kids were home and extended family could join us as well.  I've attended showers for years, but this was our first among the kids.  It was so fun but a little surreal that it was for one of MY daughters!

Many hands made for lighter work.

Love this girl!!!!  Isn't she a beautiful pregnant woman?!

Have a seat and make a baby!  It wasn't until I said that out loud to
our guests that I realized how it sounded.  I sure got some strange looks and a few giggles.
Leave it to my naivety to create an awkward moment.
Embarrassment aside, everyone seemed to have fun making play dough babies.
I wish I had taken a photo because some of them were epic.

Three generations will soon be 4!!

I'm so proud of Rachel and Andrew!  I think they will be wonderful parents!
And I'm gonna do my level best to be an awesome grandma!
Ha... grandma!! ...ME!!

Friday, January 19, 2018

Big Christmas

No beautifully staged photos, just real life.

Tradition!!  We did most of our traditions this year and changed a few. 
I miss the nativity the most.  We read it this year but didn't act it out because the kids
are all grown up.  But I think it needs to come back and be a mainstay.
There's just something about acting it out that makes it special, even with the giggles.

"Um...I smell a bone in there!  Is that for me?"

The partial aftermath of a 10 person Christmas
You should have seen it when they were little!! Wow!

Although Joseph has taken the kids biking on the beach before, this was actually my first time.
It was a beautiful day, one of the definite benefits of California in December.

After Christmas was when the crowds started to arrive at our house.
Rachel and Andrew, my parents and the Andersons (Joseph's sister's family) all came
for the baby shower for our first grand baby.

With everyone, we had 20 people sleeping in our house!!

Baby showers are exhausting!  (Details in the next post)

Beds and suitcases everywhere!

There wasn't much room to move around with 20 people but we wouldn't have it any
other way.  Some suggested staying in a hotel but we nixed that real quick.  
Family gatherings are about being together,  loving, laughter, teasing, playing, supporting, and eating, sometimes to the wee hours of the morning.  We can't do that if we are spread out in hotels.
Although .... we're gonna have to get creative as more babies get added, but
that's a good problem to have.
Bring on the crowds!!