Tuesday, May 20, 2014

girls day, fablious/ boys day, arg arg arg

Last weekend was the annual Priesthood commemoration camp-out.  Marty and I both look forward to this each year.  Marty decided to be brave and bring Gabe with him.  I think the more Gabe becomes less of a baby and more of a big kid, the more he realizes when he is missing out on something.  And he's been so emotional lately, we just thought it would be good for him to get out in the mountains with Daddy and Brother.  Marty also "adopted" a couple young men to take up with him, so it was a full van!  Lots of manliness!  Grunting and Whatnot!  I'm ok that I stayed home to do girly things!

Marty and I have been noticing that Bryce tends to do really well with older boys.  They really seem to like him and take them under their wing.  He is a pretty cool little kid...

As usual, Gabe is doing the Gabe thing...
...and feeling pretty special with Bryce.

The boys brought the dump truck and the excavator and they were put to very good use!

Some of the men constructed a zip line.  I've heard stories since then of knock-outs on this thing...

But there is my fearless little Brycer.  He ran over with the big boys to line up with out any hesitation.

Back at home, Brynnie and I watched a fairy movie that night and had a fairy tea-party the next morning, complete with ladybug cookies which she made all by herself.

I played piano for her while she sang her little heart out.  Eventually I got to work and she asked what she could be doing.  I told her to go play with something she loves that might be hard when the boys are around.

So the princesses took over the Bat Cave.  And that's how she pretty much spent Saturday!  I spent a lot of time catching up on things and loving on Millie.  It was a really nice weekend.  And quiet!  Brynn kept mentioning how quiet our house was, like every couple of hours it surprised her all over again!  The quiet was good for one morning, but I was happy to have the boys back in the house - dirty and stinky and all!

Grandma's funeral

Well, the timing of everything this spring has been both tricky, and also very right.  I said before, I'm so grateful I was able to be with my last grandparent one last time.  The question was how to get the rest of my family back to UT when I was going home Sunday and the funeral was five days later, Friday.  Marty can only take one day off for a funeral so we couldn't get driving to work out, unless we drove through the night Thursday.  So just a few days later we all flew back out, as a family this time.  I agonized over whether or not I should fly by myself with the four kiddos on the cheaper Allegiant flight, which was Wednesday morning.  But after the disastrous flight home with a VERY cranky Camille, I just lost confidence that I could do it on my own.  The big kids are no worry whatsoever, it was just the thought of the two babies.  In the end, it worked out to be home a little more before leaving again, and especially to be able to all come together.  So we arrived Thursday evening on Southwest.

By the way, the plane ride was so. much. fun.  Someday I will sit on a plane and read a book and have an adult conversation with someone that doesn't begin with, "Well, you've got your hands full!"  But then I wonder...I still think flying is cool.  I've lost count of my plane rides, but I still get giddy and want the window open the whole time, and love when you fly through clouds, and love to see all the backyard pools as we fly over Phoenix, and see all the beautiful land (I'm sorry, but I'm not buying the whole overpopulation thing).  So, am I the only adult who might, like, try to act like it's no big deal if I wasn't with my kids?  I guess I'm just saying that being with my kids makes my whole life more exciting.  I LOVE pointing out the pools to them and hearing them squeal as we are going up!  When the kids get really excited they also get really "huggy" and I just can't get enough of it.

I love seeing them interact.  These days I usually pair an older one with a younger one just to help us all out.  It's like the excitement gets passed from the baby, to the older kid, to me, and back again.  Ok, done gushing over getting to be a mom.

Gabe is our little plane lover.  Both the boys love cars, Bryce loves trains, and Gabe loves all things that fly.  So Marty and I just couldn't wait for his reaction.

After we were up in the air, all he really wanted to do was open and shut the window!  And he seemed pretty delighted about his drink.  I think he felt like a big kid.

That night we got the Oldham band back together, which might be the last time in quite a while.  I love it so much.  It's different singing/playing with them, just like it's different singing with Marty.  Your family just has that connection where you...feel the music more than read it?  We played "Somewhere My Love" for the funeral.  I hope it's ok to say this, but my absolute favorite place to sing or play piano is at funerals.  It is just so, so spiritual, and I can literally feel divine help.  The veil is so thin at those times.

Here are the kids trying their very hardest to be good at the viewing.  But funerals are just not a conducive environment to little wiggle-worms.  On top of that, my cousins left their kids at home, so these ones were the only kids there.  They were really so good, but every little thing stood out and was just making me nervous.  So St. Marty took them all took McD's for a cookie until it was time for the actual funeral to start.  Then he sat in the back with them so I could sit quietly with my family, and I just appreciated that so, so much. In these pictures, the Alaskans and I are standing in the background enjoying being together for just a few days.  

It was a beautiful funeral, and my favorite part was that every grandchild had a chance to share a few memories of Grandma.  Honestly, she was a funny lady and I just loved reminiscing with them.

The next day, Saturday, was Bryce's fifth birthday!  We had a big friend party planned for that day and initially I thought we'd just push it back a week.  But I decided to cancel that and make it a Johnson/Oldham SURPRISE birthday party!

I will never forget the very stunned and confused look on his face when he walked in the door and saw the big clan all yelling "Surprise!" at him!  It took him so long to even move, then he cracked a smile, then he decided it was all real and all for him and he didn't stop beaming the rest of the night!
Originally he said that he wanted a Star Wars party, but I asked if we could make it a little more generic, like a water party?  He was totally on board with that, but when we switched to a UT party, a water day obviously wasn't going to work.  So we went back to Star Wars. :)

Driving around the remote control car from Nickelle and Greg.

The next day, Sunday, we packed up and went home.  The little kids crashed and I made it just in time for choir, haha!  I'm so grateful I was able to be there, even for just a few days.  Because Grandpa Oldham passed away the week before Gabe was born, I couldn't be there and that was so hard for me.  It's still hard for me, honestly.  And I'm grateful my kids could be there, too.  All four of my grandparents have passed away in just over two years.  I've been able to watch the kids at all those funerals and see closure, peace, feeling the spirit, gaining a little seedling of faith about the Plan of Salvation.  Right now, I'm feeling so grateful for that plan, and so grateful for my family.  I really miss all of my grandparents.  There were always four people here on Earth that thought I was as special as it gets, no matter what was ever really going on in my life.  It didn't matter, they thought I was special.   But it's such a good feeling to know they are back with their eternal companions and at peace.  

Monday, May 19, 2014

Grandma Oldham

Gloria Ann Sperry Oldham Obituary
Gloria Ann Sperry Oldham

"Always in Our Hearts"

Gloria Ann Oldham slipped peacefully from this life April 19, 2014. 
She was born August 17, 1933 in Mona, Utah to Asa Hugh and Eva Laurene Vest Sperry. She was born prematurely and was feisty from an early age. As a young girl she loved to climb trees, was good at gymnastics, and although very small, could beat up any boys that picked on her. She grew up, married her sweetheart, Robert Oldham, in the Salt Lake Temple and went to work as a secretary. Her drive and dedication led to her position as the secretary to the President of Beneficial Life and for many years she kept things running smoothly. She served faithfully in many callings in the LDS Church including Relief Society President, Young Women's, Primary, and stake callings. 
Gloria will be missed by many close friends and a loving family. She is survived by her son, Allan (Debra); daughter, Barbara Davies (Edwin); brother, Jay Sperry; brother-in-law, Jerald (Mary Ann) Oldham; sisters-in-law, Beth Jones and Elma Sperry; grandchildren: Corey, Justin (Helen), Emily (Marty), Christy (Eric), Brent (Melinda), and Eric (Jeesoo); great grandchildren: Anthony, Kathryn, Molly, Brynn, Bryce, Gabe, and Camille. She is preceded in death by her husband, Robert Oldham; parents; brothers, Hugh and Ronald Sperry; and sister, Ruth Anderson. Funeral services will be held Friday, April 25, 2014, 2:00 p.m. at McDougal Funeral Home, 4330 South Redwood Road where a viewing will be held 1-1:45 p.m. prior to services. Interment, Mona Cemetery.

Memories of Grandma:

*The most perfect vacuuming lines ever seen on carpet
*Playing with her costume jewelry - my absolute favorite thing to do
*Her small but beautiful and immaculately kept back yard, picking raspberries and cherry tomatoes
*Learning how to make candy and dip chocolate (hers were perfect and mine stunk)
*Taking me out to mexican restaurants (we both loved spicy food)
*Writing letters and getting her perfectly professional typed and indented responses
*Going to the mother/daughter Relief Society event a few summers when she was RS president
*Watching her and Grandpa playfully tease each other (together they made retired life look pretty darn good)

Grandma was a classy lady.  She always looked beautiful and had a gift for making everything around her  more beautiful, including the people.  She was fun, spiritual, smart, inquisitive (especially after I became interested in boys), and had serious skills.  She was a leader.  I loved watching her marriage.  She was everything a little girl like me could ask for as an example to watch.  She was the full package, albeit a tiny one.  But great things come in small packages, and although she was small, she was a force; a lasting influence, and I'm so glad she was mine.  Miss you, Grandma.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

my UT birthday

SO.  I turned thirty last month!  Back at the beginning of the year, I told Marty that what I would really like for my birthday was to fly to UT for a weekend to see Les Miserables at the Hale.  I've been going to that Hale theater since I was in...middle school?  And they have never performed Les Mis.  I have...not an obsession...just a very deep and abiding love for Les Mis (but don't ask my family, they might call it an obsession).  I have been singing those songs since I was pretty little, playing them on the piano, I've read the book multiple times but the first time was in eighth grade, you can quiz me on the Broadway performers (there have been many amazing Jean Valjeans, but Michael Ball will always be the one and only Marius, just sayin).  Anyway, it turned out that plane tickets were $49 each way on Allegiant and the closing show just happened to coincide with my birthday and with Good Friday (which Marty can take off), so it all seemed perfect.

We went back and forth about actually doing it, and then one morning in February Marty woke me up and 5:30 in the morning to tell me that he bought the plane tickets and that I was going!!  And then we realized he had accidentally bought the plane tickets for WEDNESDAY instead of Friday!  So...happy birthday to me, an accidentally longer trip, HA!  I was really looking forward to it.  It's been a big couple of years for us.  The back to back pregnancies and post-partems were intense for me, not to mention all that naturally comes with four little ones!  I truly love it so much...but I just needed a little break from the house. :)

When the big week came, I was a bit of a basket case.  For the two days I'd be gone and Marty would be working I had about 9 different people baby-sitting different kids at different times (I ended up bringing Camille with me).  And I just knew that things were going to happen, people would have to cancel, kids would get sick, and I was so stressed out about that.  I rarely leave them overnight, and then it's usually just with my parents.  And yep, most of the crazy things that could happen did!  But it really all worked out in the end, and I was so grateful for everyone's help.  I am surrounded by the kindest people, and I feel so blessed to be where I am.

Back in February when we bought the plane tickets, we had canceled the last couple of trips to UT and it had been quite a while since we had been up there.  So even though we knew I'd be going in April, we still decided we wanted Marty and the kids to be able to get up there, too.  So we planned a trip up for Spring Break in March.  We saw all the family, and we got to see my grandma's new place at her assisted living facility.  She seemed more frail, but still doing quite well.  But in just the few weeks between March and April she took a very bad turn.  So while I was there in April I was able to visit her one last time, and she passed away the day before I went back to Arizona.  I'm so grateful that Marty supported me in going up there and that the timing worked out the way it did.  I was able to hold her hand and sing to her.  I wasn't getting much response, but as I left I gave her a hug and she turned to kiss me on the cheek.  I'm so glad I was there, and I hope I was able to lift my dad's spirits a little.  I know Millie did!

My grandma passed away early Saturday morning, and the play was that night.  My parents insisted that my mom and I still go, and I think we are all glad we did it.  But I'll admit, some parts were very heavy and emotional.  All in all, it was just so beautifully done.  "To love another person is to see the face of God."

And here is the picture I'm pretty sure I wasn't supposed to take.  I mean, the play hadn't started yet soooo...no harm done?

Back at home, Marty was just being Super-dad and pulling off little things like two different Easter egg hunts, homework, piano, diapers, movie theaters, libraries, and what else?  Oh yeah, Easter!!

I actually flew in on Easter morning, so I was able to go to church with them and everything.  But Marty got the pleasure of watching the kids see the Easter Bunny's handiwork, which set the bar pretty high for next year.  Hope that bunny is happy. 

The kids thought it was hilarious that the Easter Bunny played with all of their toys and left behind the candy to prove it.

Cousin egg hunt.

One of the nights I was gone, Marty set up the tent as sort of a trial run to see if Gabe would be ready to go to the father-son campout.

The neighborhood egg hunt.

Thank you, Marty!