Thursday, March 20, 2008

Happy Birthday Netsie!

Today is Annette's (my mother minus the in-law) birthday. One of the funnest things about her birthday is that it marks the first day of spring.

There are so many wonderful things to share about Annette. We first met in Rome, Italy back in July 1998. Jason was touring with his parents & sisters around Italy and stopped by Rome. It happened to be my last Pday in the mission. I remember how nice she was and so complimentary. She acted very demure and polite - little did I know the sassy little thing inside. Walking through the Colosseum, I ended up with her & Ron. All I remember is Ron asking me to come home and date his son. I think I just laughed off his request (little did I know)...

Annette is the essence of generosity. She not just gives very thoughtfully & willingly - but she gives her time freely & her talents. Nothing is half-way with her. When she throws a party or shower she gives it her all. It is always tasteful and classy.

She loves her grand kids more than anything in this world. My one wish is that I can be as great as a grandma as she is. She spends time with each one and makes them each to feel so special as if they are the only one in the whole world.

She is her kids #1 fan. She is so supportive attending everything from volleyball tournaments and competitions to city league softball games. She works so hard and is very good at what she does. I know her office (and Dr. Adams) will never have such a dedicated and honest person like her.

She loves to laugh. She can laugh about herself and laugh at the silliest of things (plearibus, sunbrat, thesmosis). She loves to go on trips with family and friends. She is dedicated and loyal. Once she is your friend she will stand by you for life. She loves to see people succeed and genuinely cares about others. She is also a really appreciative person. Rarely does a conversation end where she is not saying thanks for every little thing.

Annette is probably one of my best and truest friends. I am so fortunate to have such a wonderful woman in my life. Not a day goes by that she doesn't call me to see how I'm doing or share something funny or stupid with me. I love her for all she is and everything she has been through and stands for. She is an amazing person and I am very lucky to know her. Happy Birthday!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

the Disneyland Dish

So these are a little late in being posted, but I still wanted to share our fun times in Disneyland. Don't act shocked (but we will probably find ourselves back that way in June for the kids bdays)... They are celebrating 70 years of Snow White at the Animation Studios in CA Adventure. The exhibit inside is really neat.

James was in costume almost the entire time we were at the park - either Buzz Lightyear or his newest favorite, Captain Hook. He is the perfect pirate for more reasons then I care to share. The second one is James & his new BFF (sorry Cade... you were temporarily replaced - it's that celebrity status and enormous hat that had stars in James' eyes). Capt'n Hook couldn't get enough of James, hugging him & stroking his face with his hook. It was too cute.
The mouse is always one of our favorite characters to seek out and get a picture with. Seeing him is pure magic everytime. He just gets cuter every year.

Hands down the only place to eat at Disneyland (technically inside the Disneyland Hotel) is Goofy's Kitchen. It is pricey, but oh sooo worth it. Where else can you eat peanut/butter jelly pizza or dessert for breakfast? It is delightful. Chip, Dale, Goofy, and Pluto all stopped by for pictures & to chat it up with my rascals.
Oh how we love Autopia. We walked right onto rides with 5 minute waits, not until Sunday did things get crazy. We really couldn't have asked for better weather or crowds.

Queen for a day. Paige was chosen to pull the sword from the stone and although Merlin grants her temporary rulership... she continued her rule for the rest of the day telling us that we had to listen to her and she got to choose all the rides we went on. Disneyland finally recognized her inner "queenie" with a really cool medal she got to keep.
Other must eat restaurant is Cafe Orleans... previously I had to eat at the Blue Bayou and none other, but recently they jacked up their prices, service hasn't been very good, and they took my favorite item off their dinner menu... so my loyalties have weaned as well and now I love it's cheaper little sister. We always ask to dine outside and at least one of us orders the infamous Monte Christo sandwich. So wonderful! This time I got a little frisky and ordered Ratatouille - it was so great! I'm glad I got out of my comfort zone and enjoyed a new delicious treat.
Our family's favorite ride. I was the sucker in the front seat which is why the only dry spot of fabric is near my knees. I don't think I've ever been so wet fully clothes before (undies and all).

Zurg aka The Emperor of Evil... ready to take on Buzz & friends. We probably rode this ride the most!
This was us almost every night. We would leave when we started getting tired and the kids legs would stop working. I have a horrible back & I'm pregnant so I was useless - this is our family pack mule (thank heavens for strong & patient dads!!)

So that was briefly our trip. It was great. The kids rode Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, and Paige's new favorite is Indiana Jones. This was our first trip just us in a long time. Yes we go for 5 days. Yes people think we are crazy, but it is pure magic. Time with my kids & husband is priceless. We have the best of times and I wouldn't trade it for anything else. We have found our happy place. Have you found yours?

Thursday, March 6, 2008

goodbye grandma

My mother's mom, Barbara Hope Adams, passed away on Feb 28th. I spent this last week in Utah attending her viewing & funeral. It was a bitter sweet time. All of my brothers & sisters were together (except 'no show Joe' - no shocker there, he missed my wedding as well) - it was a great time to see family & friends and remember a great lady.

My grandma gave me a tape of her life a few years back along with the pictures of her above inspired me to write the poem featured below (I do not claim any talent to poetry. I'm a hack artist at best... it was to be the basis for lyrics to accompany a song written by my sister Sunny).

(left) My grandma as a little girl - (right) me as a little girl
Shelby, Paul, Randy, baby Lynn & Barbara (she was the mother of twelve - 2 preceded her in death)... she had her share of good and hard times, but was generous and kind hearted to the end. If you ever mentioned a doll you liked or a trinket in her home, it was yours before you left her house. We have numerous porcelain dolls she gave to me and Paige. She was always thinking of others. She loved her grand and great grandchildren. I tried to capture that in this poem.

Barbara’s Song

I remember the time we played out in the yard,
Sitting in pots our life seemed almost charmed.
That summer lasted a lifetime
And the happiness we felt
And the smiles that we shared
What more could I’ve asked for

Thick as thieves, the summers pass by,
time spent chasing dreams, my sister and I.
In her metal chair with hummingbird wings,
Her voice sweet like the wind in my dreams.
She showed me the path, myself I would find,
With angels wings soared, I was left behind.

A soldier left with a ring on my finger,
I closed my eyes and remembered him tender.
Hope filled my days and nights with no sleep,
Letters flowed together with turmoil and peace.
My will was tested and my soul tried,
My heart broke the day he died.

I trudged along; my heart ached for that loss,
Then I met you who picked me up knowing the cost.
I knew you would change my life in a whirl,
You cared enough for this broken hearted girl.
The twinkle of your eye said you would sustain me,
The years flew by, and life's bumps we couldn't see.

Our story was filled with turmoil and love,
Endless nights that tried us, blessings from above.
Letters that hurt us and lives which fell apart,
Words and pictures that healed our tender hearts.
Light overcomes darkness and heals our sorrow,
And that’s what this old woman remembers now.

We had moments that made the angels weep,
Shared twelve beautiful memories that we keep.
I stood as your endearing friend when the cancer took you,
Watching over every leaf in our tree, I knew you'd see them through.
I hear your voice in the darkness and feel your cheek next to mine,
You’ve come back to me from another life and time.

My body has withered, my face filled with lines,
Generations created, line upon line.
I'm showered with smiles, the little ones so dear,
They love me forever without judgment or fear.
I give away my trinkets, little memories each one,
So they will remember that I love them, when I'm gone.

A long road I have traveled
Filled with laughter and tears
That summer has lasted my lifetime
And the happiness I have felt
And the smiles I have shared
Are more then I can ask for

- Maren Byrnes Buchanan 11/05

I love you Grandma - you were an amazing example to me. I can only hope to be remebered as sweetly or as endearing as you have.

the pirate movie staring James Buchanan