Tuesday, January 29, 2008

a truly great hinckley

our beloved church president, prophet and leader passed away on sunday night. his chronicles and words have filled many pages, even books. i remember him as an energetic and optimistic leader with a great sense of humor. you can find a tribute to him by BYU (my alma mater) here and i found this video on a friend's blog. i love hearing his voice in the first video; he's been the prophet for 12 years, and that voice has stirred me many a time in the interim. the second video hits me because there is a picture of gordon b. hinckley sitting alone by two empty chairs. our church is led by the first presidency which consists of a prophet and his two counselors. president hinckley had for many years served as a counselor in the first presidency before he was president of our church. there was a time when the current prophet and other counselor were incapictated due to illness and the burden of the first presidency rested squarely on president hinckley's shoulders. i remember president hinckley speaking of this as a lonely time for him. i guess it hit me when i saw that picture of what a burden leading a church of 12 million people must be. but president hinckley never seemed burdened. he was filled with life, faith and love and directed that to all who were near him or heard his voice. i'm grateful for his example of a life well-lived.

"I speak of the need for a little more effort, a little more self-discipline, a little more consecrated effort in the direction of excellence in our lives. Let us all try to stand a little taller, rise a little higher, be a little better." -Gordon B. Hinckley
Posted by Picasa

in memory

my grandpa jim passed away on friday, january 25, 2008. this was one of the few digital photos that i could find of him. i grew up only 45 minutes away from him and would go to his house every sunday for dinner. here are some of my favorite things about my grandpa:
  1. he showed great love towards my grandma shirley by taking great care of her as she slowly deteriorated over four years (ages 48-52) from a brain disease similar to Alzheimer's. my grandmother stayed at home throughout her disease despite being bedridden the last year of her life. my grandpa cared for and had nurses come in frequently. he was distraught until he met his second wife, who was the real estate agent he hired when he thought he would sell his house. i'm grateful that my grandpa met another wonderful woman with whom he's shared the past 30 + years with. they traveled the world: africa, new zealand, alaska, gualopogos islands, etc..., always had a dog (including now) and always remembered birthdays
  2. my grandpa met my grandma shirley (his first wife) when they were students together at Cornell University. they met while standing on line in the bookstore and my grandpa offered to carry my grandma's books home for her. i always thought that was the best story (although my mom's parents have a fun story too. just pat and mine is greatly lacking for intrigue).
  3. my grandpa served in the navy during WW II and was stationed off the coast of Japan. he saw hiroshima and nagasaki firsthand after the bombs were dropped. as a teenager, i remember looking through his personal photos of the destruction of hiroshima. humbling, indeed.
  4. i can vividly picture my grandfather laughing uncontrollably at a punchline for one of his own jokes. often it was a struggle to understand the punchline because he was laughing so hard. this is a trait that most of his descendants (including myself) have inherited. his humor was also present in his quest to teach all grandchildren how to bang on a table with their spoons for food.
  5. he was a HUGE civil war buff and read about any book he could get his hands on that dealt with that subject. he also was a staunch republican. my sister and i gave him this as a gift this past christmas. he had declined slightly in recent years and he was like a little child with this gift. he wouldn't let anyone look at it and held it almost the whole time we were together. glad we were able to give him something to smile about. evan also gave him plenty to smile about that night and my grandpa made a point to tell me how sweet my boy is. glad he could be my grandpa some joy.
  6. if my grandpa were one of the seven dwarfs, he would be grumpy. however to me, he was genuinely kind. my all-time favorite thing about him is that he would occasionally surprise with an extra big squeeze when i would hug him good-bye.

my dear, sweet in-laws sent me a beautiful azeala bush to plant in my yard to remind me of my grandpa. let's all say a little prayer that i keep it alive until spring, as i truly am grateful for another way to REMEMBER my grandpa jim.

Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

word for the year

thought i'd better post my word for the year before january was over. thanks, amanda, for the challenge.

And the word is...


verb [in other words, will require action on my part]

1. recall knowledge from memory; have a recollection;

2. keep in mind for attention or consideration;

3. recapture the past; indulge in memories;

4. show appreciation to;

5. mention favorably, as in prayer;

6. mention as by way of greeting or to indicate friendship; i.e. "Remember me to your wife"

7. exercise, or have the power of, memory;

8. call to remembrance; keep alive the memory of someone or something, as in a ceremony;

  • i went back and forth between remember and gratitude. so first off, i want to remember my blessings more (maybe try to gripe/complain 10% less of the time - and yes, chelsea, i do complain).
  • remember my resolutions (i have them written in a paper on the front of my journal).
  • remember to say please and thank you especially when i'm trying to get all four kids out the door on my own.
  • remember each moment with my children is a gift. each moment is a gift. i read these words today: "tomorrow is not promised to anyone, young or old".
  • remember to record (one of my resolutions is to write in my journal 15 times per month).
  • remember to count to 10 when i feel that temper start to rise inside me.
  • remember the good times in my life more and the bad times less. be more forgiving.
  • remember those who have gone before me both in my family and in the scriptures. learn from their lives and examples.
  • remember to smile and laugh daily.
  • remember my motto for the year: "two-thou-sand-and-eight: it's-gon-na-be-great!" (cheesy, but needed after some hardships from 2007. i'm very grateful for the start of a new year.)

little bits of crazy

here are some of the little bits of crazy that have been happening in the hinckley home the past couple of months.
  • we had some snowstorms in early december i believe where a sheet of ice ended up in between the layers of snow. i thought it was interesting enough for a picture.
  • I started singing "How funky is your chicken" with Lily while we were making cookies one day. She earnestly replied, "Mom, monkeys eat bananas, NOT chicken."
  • Grace lost the lens to her glasses during lunch at school last week. When Pat got home, she said to him: "You know how when you're wearing glasses that you don't really notice if the lens is in." This from a child who could only read the top line of the eye chart without her glasses when her eyes were tested a week and a half ago. luckily we had already ordered glasses from zenni optical. pat's sister got us hooked on them. pat really likes his $18 pair of prescription glasses that he had previously ordered, so last saturday we got six additional pairs (two for each member of the family who needs glasses) for a grand total of 95 dollars. we're looking forward to them arriving in the mail (especially grace).
  • i noticed these newborn clothes at gymboree a few months ago. i'm sorry, but when did squirrels become cute??!! i remember at some body shop (which i do love body shop products) party, the host (not you, lara) was telling us how they will use hair from squirrel tails in the make-up brushes sold at stores. she was trying to gross us out, but i just kept thinking glad they found some use for them. i know, kind of cruel. personally i have no hatred for squirrels, but i don't find them cute or cuddly.
  • have i ever mentioned that i don't own a digital camera? i use gracie's camera that my dad gave her for her birthday a couple of years ago. grace doesn't mind that it has become the family camera, but she ocassionally claims it for her own. she got these crazy shots of my family over the holidays. yes, that it's a picture of the garbage bowl i was using while making dinner one night. what do you think? future andy warhohl (these pix do tend to be more on the distorted side)?

  • for our family, fritz is our first tough boy: he loves to wrestle and pull hair (this is getting better with age at least). but i guess, his older sisters soften him more than i realize. when i went to get him from our church nursery about a month ago, my friend's daughter, who is his age and has four older brothers, had fritz pinned down and crying. on a somewhat related side note, i had a wasted trip bringing evan to the doctor last week. i wanted to make sure that his ear infections had all cleared up because he wasn't acting himself. i have since decided that he is just becoming more and more of a toddler and in the past weeks i've experienced some first-class tantrums from him. where has my baby gone? he still knows how to put on the charm and both sunday and monday woke up so smiley that he made both days. as pat once said: "i love how playful evan is." that he is.
  • this picture was taken months ago, after lily was first potty trained. i debated posting it then, but held back for what i think are obvious reasons. i have since decided it's too cute not to post.

Posted by Picasa

not dead yet

i've decided that if my blog were a houseplant, it would be dead. (i couldn't find a picture of a dead houseplant, but this plant on the left is showing the symptons of insufficient light due to its pale color and spindly growth.) while i don't think there is much hope for change in my feast/famine approach to blogging, maybe that little information will help save a houseplant somewhere (since i tend to kill houseplants.)

Sunday, January 13, 2008

more opa visit

we went to hoboken, new jersey to see my grandma's family. my opa and my grandma met and married in hoboken and a lot of my grandma's family still lives there. the food was absolutely wonderful (italians know how to put out a spread) and as always, it was great to see everyone.

my brother-in-law was excited to wear his red sox championship shirt to the new york city area. the top left picture below is my opa and my grandma's sister. they have both outlived all their siblings, pretty humbling. my opa will be 90 next year and my aunt mary is older by quite a few years.

even though i don't look italian, i think i look most like my italian relatives. this is a picture of my mom's first cousin and me; see any resemblance?

opa, my mom and i took the kids to an amazing kids' museum. we had a blast. we also saw the movie enchanted, took pony rides at my niece's birthday party and visited opa's parents grave near rahway, new jersey. i'm sure we did more, but that's all i can remember for now.
Posted by Picasa

mein opa und thanksgiving

while i'm on the topic of holidays, i'll post about thanksgiving since i didn't at the time. my opa was here visiting from california.

thanksgiving was at my house and i must admit that i enjoy making a big meal for everyone. i forgot to get a picture (starting to sound familiar, right?) of the table before we started eating, but here's the gang at the table.

gracie (with some help from lily) made her apple pie and i LOVED using my pomegranate linens that i won.
pat is modeling the apron for me.

Posted by Picasa

letters from santa

the kids received letters from santa this year (my neighbor is holding up jake's letter; she was here when they arrived in the mail). it tickled me to see how excited grace was to get these letters; she has such a believing heart. i will admit that after repeatedly scolding most of my family for making too many "stocking" comments that it is actually one time that i slipped about the stocking that grace overheard and that she might not be so believing anymore. i ain't denying or confirming anything though!
Posted by Picasa

gifts of christmas

christmas eve and day were spent at my parents' house in new york. i kept my goal of staying in my jammies all day (even when i traveled to my sister's place to exchange gifts with my mom AND when i traveled back home later that day).

the best gift i received for christmas was probably a nap while my brother-in-law made a very, yummy dinner. other great gifts (since i took so many pics of people opening presents) were as follows:

1. an ipod from my dad and stepmom which i am loving more than i would have guessed. i keep listening to it while i do dishes or other stuff around the house. i have been caught dancing along to the music, but have been lucky enough to not belt out in song while others are around (although really, it's just a matter of time before that happens).

2. pat got a really nice knife from my opa, my brother and me, and i was impressed with the amount of expression he showed in the picture (below) when he opened it. that's unusual for pat; thanks, jim, for the great suggestion and help.

3. gracie refers to the shirt i her got as a prison shirt.

4. in a truly ironic twist, my dad picked out the best clothing items that were exchanged: namely, the cute doggie jammies that evan is wearing (sorry i don't have a better picture) and a beautiful scarf that he got in india (no picture-sorry). dad also bought the toffee on a business trip to england. thornton's toffee is always a fave of mine.

5. my brother received this swanking (is that a word?) suit.

6. pat's parents made a donation to Heifer International in our name. this organization provides livestock and training to struggling families throughout the world in an attempt to help them be more self-reliant for food and income.
7. time with my family was a great gift. it was especially nice to see my brother and his wife. we also had a FABULOUS time gathering with most of my aunts and uncles (no pictures again). i truly have an amazing extended family and i appreciate their generosity. we wish we were closer to pat's family and are looking forward to the hinckley reunion next summer.
as always, i was grateful for the chance to reflect on the greatest gift of all: the birth, life and resurrection of our Savior. this has was especially tender this year with the loss of pat's niece and my uncle in 2007.
"How great the joy this sentence gives: I know that My Redeemer Lives."
Posted by Picasa

decorating the tree

the whole reason for this post is because this picture just cracks me up. i love how excited lily is and how grumpy gracie looks. (i think grace was made because we told her that lily could also help put the star on the tree; she's used to traditionally having this job).

gracie did end up putting the star on top; lily was content with just handing it to her. we'll have to see how this tradition evolves.

evan (who we now sometimes refer to as fritz) had absolutely no interest in decorating the tree. he did, however, love playing with any ornanment in the form of transportation (car, wagon, motorcycle, airplane).

everyone was pretty tired out after (or rather after one box of ornaments - i did the last box on my own) decorating the tree and i had to quickly abandon my idea of taking a picture of everyone by the tree.

Posted by Picasa

attempt to be annie

i haven't seen my sister-in-law since last march; in other words, no recent great pictures of my kids. here's my attempt at taking pictures of them in all their christmas sweaters (that i got super cheap last year on sale).

here's my quote that i meant to post on christmas day; it's from "A Chrismas Carol" by Charles Dickens.
Bob Cratchit's responds as follows when his wife asks him how "Little Tim" behaved at church:

"As good as gold," said Bob, "and better. Somehow he gets thoughtful, sitting by himself so much, and thinks the strangeset things you ever heard. He told me, coming home, that he hoped the people saw him in the church, because he was a cripple, and it might be pleasant to them to remember upon Christmas Day, who made lame beggars walk and blind men see."

Posted by Picasa

finishing the race

obvioulsy, i didn't finsh that marathon of blog posts. i now have so much to write about that i'm not sure where to start. here goes my best shot, in what most likely will be a very random order.


"is that lily holding baby lily?" -lily's response when i showed her a picture of gracie holding her when lily was a baby.

"drama class is actually a lot of fun." -gracie (this is only humorous in that grace seemed surprised by how much she likes drama class. this from my child who we refer to as "a drama queen" when she is not around.)

"mom, you can go with my teacher and i'll stay home with japie and evan. daddy can go to work, and i'll be the mommy" -lily, in response to learning that she would be going to preschool next year instead of this year.

"mom, if you don't get rid of that smell soon, you're going to have to buy a new car." -gracie when it took me a couple of days to clean out my car after returning from a road trip.

"mommy, they have dress-ups for you!" -lily while walking by the prom dress section at macy's.

"i said the prayer "last"-erday." -lily's replacement word for "yesterday."