Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Merry Christmas Y'all

I just love Christmas when families gather and people in general feel a little more sensitive to others. It is a time that we have so many reminders (if we look) of Christ's birth. What an amazing thing that was for the world, let alone each of us individually. It makes me feel humble and reminds me that we are all part of a much bigger picture. Our stake (made up of multiple church congregations) put on what they called "The Nativity" where members donate their nativities for this 3 day event and some very talented members, then turn the stake center (building) into this amazing display for the public and church members to attend. It was nice to be a part of this peaceful kick of to the Christmas season. Here are a few of my favorite nativities:

They had a celestial room which was done all in white. It felt so peaceful and heavenly.

I have always loved these silly little mice. There is a shop in San Diego at Seaport Village that sells them and I can not tell you the number of times I went in just to look at there collection of mice. If I had a million dollars.
These two were so unique. This first one was made out of peanut shells and the second out of nuts and bolts. Clyde Rhodes would have loved it.

Simple but very much how I think it might have been. This one was from Uruguay I think.

These last two were submitted by myself and my dad. The coconut nativity is from a trip to the Polynesian Cultural Center with Mr. Sione Latu so it has a special place in our home and stays out year round as a little Christmas reminder. The Native American nativity was hand painted by my Auntie Jalayne. She did such an amazing job. Such detail. LaRee like it because it has a bear. I have found her numerous times, on a chair trying to reach it and I always know she is trying to reach it because I can hear her going "GRRRRRR!" like all bears do.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

My kid makes me laugh

I can't help it. I have to blog about LaRee, again!! She is just so funny and crazy and WILD!

I came home from caroling and delivering christmas treats with the church Relief Society only to find LaRee and Grandpa in the kitchen cooking or should I say holiday baking. Grandpa gives LaRee way too many privileges in the kitchen. If you click on the picture it might come up bigger on your screen and you will be able to see the circle of peanut butter on her face as well as the powdered sugar on her cheek and pants. She was "run-around-the-house" happy. I am sure it was a mixture of happy to be with Grandpa and sugar!!!!
We finally bought a couple of bar stools for our kitchen bar. I was doing dishes and all of a sudden I see this little set of eyes peer over the bar. That little stinker can pull her self up and sit up to the bar.
Do you ever wonder what your kids are doing when you finally take that quick trip to the bathroom? Well, mine is busy diapering Elmo. I opened the door to find a diapered Elmo and by the time I had returned with the camera, LaRee had joined us. Elmo is hipper then most kids, he wears one side of his diper over his shoulder. Too Cool Elmo!!
This must be LaRee's version of a Tea Party. She has put a stuffed dog in one chair and given both of them sippey cups. Note she has stuffed a pillow behind her back for what I can only guess is a little added comfort.

I came into the kitchen Sunday morning to find LaRee squeeling over the Toys r Us ad from the Sunday paper. I asked Grandpa if he had given it to her and he said that she had "requested" he give it to her. There was so much exciting stuff that she couldn't take the time to sit down.
On this moring LaRee had a spoon and she hopped down from the table and helped herself to a fork from the silverware drawer and ate the rest of her cereal with both a spoon and fork. This girl is definitely special, I am just not sure what kind of special.LaRee had such a good time decorating our Christmas tree. This is a picture of her clapping and singing her own praises after hanging an ornament, which she did with every ornament she put on the tree.

As I was passing our Christmas tree I noticed what looked to me to be a new ornament. It was a set of nailclippers. I am guessing that because it had a silver loop at the top , when LaRee found them in Grandpa's room she figured they were to go on the tree as an ornament. Clever girl!

Sunday, December 7, 2008


We finally had our first official house guests. The Santos and Hepp family flew in from Kearns, Utah. I worked with Yvette Santos when I first moved to San Diego. I love their family and we always have such a good time when we are together -- talking and eating and then talking and eating some more. Jesse Santos is a master of the barbecue and Nana (Yvette's Mom) makes the worlds best potato salad. Here are a few of my favorite pictures from their visit.

What a couple. Both Yvette and Jesse are from Guam. Jesse is in the Army and that is how they ended up in Utah. Next round they are looking at Texas. How great would that be?!!
This is Logan. He has the most enchanting laugh and a smile that is just as great as his laugh!
This is my Godson, Jarad. He turned 5 while here in Texas. He is turning into such a little man. He loves LaRee which thrills me. They just about wore each other out with their running around and such.

There was a great amount of tumbling done by Jarad and LaRee.

LaRee, Trevor and Sione. Trevor really took to Sione and every time he saw him you would hear, "Uncle!"
LaRee didn't know whether to cry or laugh when the ride started. She started to cry, but broke into a smile and got all excited once the ride got going. Look at that face!! It is so hard to catch that kind of excitement on camera, but we see it alot and love her for it!!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Giving Thanks

I have so much to be thankful for...here is the short list from the top of my head
My religion and the questions that it clears up for me and the peace that it brings me daily , My family ( the whole lot of them, both sides), My friends that I choose to be family, A loving husband who is a great provider, gentle listener and who seems to stay cool, calm and collective at all times, Our home and all of its perks (laundry room, garage, guest room-hint hint, backyard), electricity, medicine, king size beds, e-mail, chocolate, for that matter taste, creating and having memories, laughter and last but not least little lady LaRee!!!

Friday, November 21, 2008

From Oprah to Disneyland

Finally getting a chance to blog about two trips I have taken. My friend Myndee, a missionary companion from the Hartford Connecticut Mission who lives in Arizona, called and asked if I could meet her in Chicago on Sept. 11th to go to the Oprah show. Thank you grandpa, Sione and Sione's job for letting me go on this last minute trip. While in Chicago we attended the Broadway play "Wicked". Both were great and I'll tell you why. I am not a die hard Oprah fan, but my love for her has grown. Here are a few of her quotes that I picked up during my visit: 1) Live your own dream 2) Love what you've got 3) Discover your purpose 4) Transformation happens when you're willing -- it's your choice. That one is my favorite. It was the one I could relate to the most i.e. My weight and losing it, my relationship with my Family, God and anyone I come in contact with. Who and what I want to be today and 10 years from now. Shoot, I could go on and on, but back to Oprah. She is very wise and has done so much good for many people/causes. She was very down to earth and really funny. Before the show started she came out with her shoes in hand and her pants dragging on the floor and fussed about her shoes asking whose shoes they were because they couldn't be hers due to the size. She asked if anyone in the audience had a mirror because she had something stuck in her teeth. She sat down and started talking about feeling bloated that day and mumbled something under her breath about exercise. The shows subject was Breast Cancer. Christina Applegate was there of course. That evening we ate at a very fancy Italian restaurant in the theater district. I say fancy because I felt a bit out of place and to me it felt like a place that would be in a scene in a movie. Wicked was clever and funny. I loved Glinda, the good witch. She does a song about being popular and it feels the same to me as a song or two might feel to a 5th grader that has just seen High School Musical. I was supposed to leave Chicago the next morning but it was the day before Hurricane Ike hit and all flights into Houston and Dallas were cancelled. I ended up taking a detour to Salt Lake and spent a couple of days with my godson Jarad and the rest of his family. Sione was (eventually) a good sport about the whole thing and I have never been more happy to see him and LaRee.

We as a family took a quick trip to Disneyland. We wanted to use our passes one more time before they expired. LaRee was a riot to watch. We had such a good time. I would rather post a few of my favorite photos then bore you with all of the joyful details. It really is a magical place. Sione and I joke that it is almost a religious experience. I know we are our own kind of crazy!

On our second day there our friends, Becky and Julie, met us for lunch. Who needs an amusement park when you have a baby, 2 toddlers, a fountain and a side of spanish rice. I think this was our favorite part of the trip. and last but not least, Halloween!!! Our little Lady latu was a Ladybug, aahhh, cute! We missed going to see her church grandmas in San Diego. It just wasn't the same.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Grandmas are the best!!

This post will probably be written more for me then anyone else, but still the same you are welcome to read. We have just returned from the funeral for my Grandma Berg, my last living grandparent. She was 96 years old. She will be greatly missed. My dad was able to get to Wisconsin before her passing and in time to enjoy her before she left us. Sione and I were in between flights when she passed. Her service was just how she would have liked it. Our dear family friends Ken and Jan Gerner spoke and conducted the services and they both did a great job. They both made me laugh, cry and then laugh again. I gave the eulogy which was kind of hard to do. My grandma did not have an easy life, which breaks my heart. You would never know it though. She might as well have been the poster child for chipper and cheerful. She didn't need much to make her happy. My dad dedicated her grave and the prayer he gave was beautiful.

It was so nice to see everyone. I really enjoy being around my family. I just feel bad that I don't see them more often, but then again, that is my own fault. They all still live in WI and MN and I just don't make it back there enough. While in Wisconsin we stayed a couple nights with my Aunt Marlene. My top 5 highlights from that part of the trip 1) going through old pictures and sharing stories 2) Rosie's tuna salad, it is totally a mid-west thing. Yummy!! 3) Watching LaRee interact with Foxie (my aunts dog) they started to have a love hate relationship 4) watching LaRee with my Aunt Marlene. They smashed beer and pop cans together which was too cute. Marlene got our little girl to work. Go figure! She also gave her a harmonica which we will keep in a very special and secret place and only bring it out on special occasions. 5) Marlene's breakfast bake, humm, 2 of my highlights were food related, typical!

We were also able to stay with my best friends parents Clyde and Eleanor Rhodes. Nicest people you will ever meet. Eleanor makes this killer strawberry jam and Clyde offered us ice cream before bed. What more could I ask for. Eleanor has the magic touch. She was able to get LaRee to wear a bib which she darn right refuses to do for us. They laughed and played and Eleanor even got down on the floor with her. At one point LaRee was laughing so hard that she got the hiccups. At my Grandma's viewing, every time I would look over LaRee was tugging at Eleanor's leg to get up on her lap.

I was able to visit with my neighbors Al and Jane Horvoth. There son now owns and lives on our old property which makes me so happy. LaRee had a hay day with their cats. She went nuts following then around and tugging on there tails. Jan blew bubbles for her and Al read to her. They were both so good with her. I feel so blessed to know them and to have lived so close to 2 real live saints!!

My dear friend from high school, Missy Prine still lives in Barron and we were able to get together for supper. She runs a business out of her home and she has been so successful at it. She is a self motivator and works so hard. She it really good at what she does. I am so proud of her.

It was a nice trip. The weather was definitely fall, soon to become winter. It was the perfect type of weather to take me right back to when she and Grandpa lived on the farm. If I could pick one thing as my favorite thing, next to being in the sun it would be sitting down to thanksgiving dinner, on the farm, with everyone in my family and exchanging stories. I lived with my Grandma my senior year of high school. What a crazy year. We had so much fun! One night my Grandma said to me, "maybe you could stay home tonight and we could watch a movie on your CPR", too funny. The phone would ring on the T.V. and she would get up to answer it. She could always laugh at herself after these crazy moments. How lucky was I. There aren't many kids that can say that their Grandma, for a special treat, popped their popcorn in bacon grease. Yummy!!! Don't knock it till ya try it. I feel so blessed to have had Iras Almeda Mizer Berg as my grandma. Through out time I have heard my share of people say that they had the greatest grandma, but I beg to differ, I believe that there is none greater then my sweet and sassy Gram Berg!!

Left to Right: Alma, JaLayne, Marlene, Grandma and me