Saturday, November 9, 2013

Pressing Forward

Emily's little family is in pretty good shape for the shape they're in!  They continue to miss Chase terribly, but they are finding a new normal for their lives. Em is busy, busy, busy as you can imagine.

They were gifted a family photo shoot and Em is grateful for the lovely photos. (Thank you Shandalyn Call.)

Emily, Henry, Silas and Grace
We remain grateful they live only a few blocks from us and that we see them daily.

Grace started Kindergarten this fall and is doing well. She is learning to write and spell and we find notes everywhere! She LOVES to decorate cookies. (She attends the same school where I work. :)

Grace, age 5

Henry began a special needs pre-school at Utah State University this month.  His mom was nervous about his first day, but he marched right in!  He recently began using an iPad with a special app (Speak for Yourself) that  assists with communication. (His was born with Pierre Robin Sequence and cannot speak.  He is loving his new-found help!)

Henry, age 2 3/4
Baby Silas was safely born in August. I was invited to the birth and shed tears of gratitude for a brave daughter who, with tears of joy, embraced her new baby boy welcoming him with the words, "I'm so glad you are finally here!" over and over again. -- He is a happy, HEALTHY baby with a calm soul.

Si, age 2 months

I continue to be amazed at Em's  determination to keep things "normal." She takes her children on outings, plays at the park, helps her newly expecting sister, completes her visiting teaching, takes treats to those in need, and generally focuses on things of worth. I know that some days are better than others for her, but with her faith, the prayers of many,  and helping hands from many friends, neighbors and her extended family Em is keeping it all together.

I continue to be grateful for her siblings, her wonderful sister and brothers, and their families who are always on call. There are some things you just can't say aloud in public, and sometimes not at all, but her siblings are "at the ready" and have been blessed with intuition to KNOW.

And here is a more realistic peek at her life:

This one is actually the favorite... It is the MOST true to real life!

Many continued act of service have blessed her family as time has marched on:

  • Babysitting... Finding time to attend the temple, go to the store without 3 helpers, and just spend a few minutes breathing are important to any mom. A cute young woman in our ward has arranged to tend for Em on Thursday evenings for about 3 hours.  What a blessing!
  • Household help.  Two delightful women pop in once a week for an hour or two. Emily doesn't know how she'd keep everything done without their help.
  • Notes and visits of encouragement.
  • Some of the younger girls in our ward have volunteered to come play with the children now and then ... Mommy's Helpers.  It's amazing what can be accomplished when the children are occupied with "friends."
  • And sometimes, little gifts of money, gift cards, etc.  And, always it seems, just when it's needed the most.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


I love the word INVINCIBLE.
I want to be INVINCIBLE.

One of my summer goals was accomplished by my son.  I was tired of these old UGLY, and boring file cabinets in my classroom.

I'd seen a cute photo on Pinterest and wanted the CUTE ones shown there.  My son has an auto-body shop owner-friend and they agreed to give these drawers a makeover.  I'm pretty pleased with the outcome.

They are still old filing cabinets with some quirks (like the top drawer that won't shut quite all the way and the drawer with the dent) but they are so much more pleasant to look at!  I'm pleased.

The Little Rabbit Who Wanted Red Wings and Pete the Cat live on top of the cabinets along with our little school mascot, the Lincoln Leopard.

I like the spot of sunshine they seem to be. AND whenever I need a pick-me-up I read the labels above the drawers.

Friday, September 13, 2013

A new baby love....

I am behind on blogging, and my reasons are good.  A new baby and a new school year.

This post is for the new baby. :)

Emily had her new baby in August, and he is a doll.  His name is Silas Clark. She most often calls him Si.  He is a content little fellow much loved by his Mama and big sister and big brother, not to mention grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. His daddy is missed by all and we are sorry he is missing the joy of life here on earth. --

Silas and Clark are both family names. Great, great, great grandpa names.  Clark, however, is his uncle too. A mighty proud uncle.

We are all quite delighted with this new little addition to our family.

My favorite photo of him so far is this one that his Mama took to make a birthday greeting for Si's Grandpa when Si was 3 weeks old:

We love his wrinkly forehead.  He often has the "little old man" look of wisdom.

Our Emily is doing well.  She keeps her chin up and takes very good care of her sweet little family.  We are glad she is nearby and that we enjoy daily interactions with them.  Family photos are on the agenda in the near future. I look forward to sharing the whole clan.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Dresser Refurbished for TV Stand/Video Storage

Summer is slipping by much to quickly for my taste.  It seems that my best laid plans have be re-vamped several times.  However, a couple of projects are nearly completed and that PINsperation continues to influence my ideas.

I found a spiffy little dresser via our local online classifieds.  It was sturdy, and just the right size to make a nice video storage/TV stand for my daughter. -- It was brown and a little dated, but we liked the details and saw potential. She wanted it black. -- That being said I was just a little too eager to start the project and forgot to take a really good "before" photo.  Here are the drawers and the body of the dresser while still brown.

As you can see, I raised the dresser up on #10 cans to make it a little easer to prime.  I read up on painting (several articles all via Pinterest) and chose Zinser primer. This little beauty took two coats with a brush.
 These look a little blotchy since I took the photo after coat one and after a little sanding pre coat two.

Everything I read said that it would not look beautiful at this point and I was glad I'd read up on the situation or I'd have been sure I was doing this all wrong.  :)

I took all the handles/hardware off the drawers before I began.  All the pieces (and the dresser) got a bath in TSP water.  If you don't know about TSP it is a cleaning product made to cut dirt and grease.  My son has a good friend who restores vintage cars for a living and he directed me to this product. (Use it with care... It is tri-sodium-phosophate, the additive they have taken OUT of dishwasher soap.) I use the powdered kind that can be mixed with water.  It's easy to store and I can dilute it or make it stronger as the situation warrants.

I washed the dresser prior to priming and soaked the handles and knobs for 10 minutes or so and then gave them a once over with a rag, a good rinse, and let them air dry before I changed them from that vintage-y gold to satin nickel.  Also, the backplates that were original were ugly, Ugly, UGLY for our new look so my husband quickly removed them with a pair of needle-nose pliers.

This is one of the ugly little backplates.  I suppose it would be just right for some projects, but not this one.

 This is the box I prepared with screws to  hold up the hardware to be painted.

I was feeling pretty clever to figure out how to arrange the screws to hold the hardware just right to spray paint it.  I chose Satin Nickel by Rustoleum and it worked like a charm! (But you'll have to see it on the dresser.  -- Another photo missed.)

Now for a little side note. Since I teach school I have myself convinced I need a little gift each summer. Something fun because I work so hard all year long....   This summer it was a nifty little paint sprayer.  If you look carefully you can see the box in the background of the photo above.  It's a Graco TrueCoat.

 It was fun to use, easy to set up and clean up, and it took a LOT of paint.  Altogether I used 2 quarts to paint the dresser.  One of the selling features is the ability of this sprayer to use regular latex paint straight from the can, and then the easy soap and water clean up.  It proved to be true.  :)

Now, since it was my first time using such a device I'm pretty sure that the amount of paint required will diminish as I improve.  Also, the whole back of the dresser was painted first as "practice." I thought it would only take one quart and used one we had on-hand.  Sadly, it had no tag with the color recipe, so when I needed another quart, I had to guess what color was close.

Now, I know about color matching, but I was at the store without the swatch I'd painted to match.  I knew it was black, but I had no idea that there were SO MANY colors of black to choose from! -- I finally just chose one and hoped for the best.  Even though the color was not quite the same as the first it worked out well.

 Here it is in progress, and then with the drawers carefully set in.  A storm came up and we had to move it quickly before it was completely dry.

This little cutie is already looking more like the desire of my daughter's heart.  Interestingly, it took a few days for it to dry all the way.  It just felt kind of "tacky."  After it dried, I used very fine steel wool and gave it a good rub down.  My daughter wasn't after a high shine, and although the paint we used was a semi-gloss the sheen is minimal. One more little sponge bath with a damp rag, the handles and knobs  in place, and she's almost ready to move to her new home.

I think she's looking pretty good, even in the garage!

And here she is all tucked in at her new home.  My clever husband took the front off the center drawer and added tip out hardware that allows the front of the drawer to lay open flat. The X-Box is hidden till needed this way.  The top drawers house remotes and the like, while the 4 bottom drawers hold DVDs.  Each drawer holds about 60, so there's plenty of storage.

Summer seems to be flying past all too fast.  Hope yours is fun.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

It's Going to be a Pinteresting Summer!

I love summer and the break from "normal" life.  I have been stockpiling plans and ideas, from Pinterest of course, that I'd like to accomplish.  Some for my house and some with my daughters for their homes.  I  am not quite sure how much I'll get done yet since we are awaiting a new grandbaby too, but we'll see and the record will be here.  I'm not a photographer, but my trusty iPhone will assist.  Here we go...

So far, project #1 is done.  It was quick and easy and I LOVE it!  It's a magnetic pin dish.  I found a wonderful Royal Albert shell-shaped dish at a yard sale for 75 cents, used glue dots to secure some super-strong magnets to the bottom and then put in my pins!  Shopping took longer than completing the project which was done in less than 5 min!  {Now the truth is that I tried superglue to adhere the magnets first and it was a flop.  The DOTS worked like a charm.}


I had the glue dots on hand and bought the strong magnets at the grocery store.
My Pretty Little Pin Dish
One of the next plans involves my school classroom filing cabinets.  They are ancient of days and pretty ratty looking.  Here, take a look.

Imagine them yellow.  I saw this on pinterest....

Now lest you think I have no imagination since I want mine yellow too, I will post other photos of my classroom when these are complete and you'll see that yellow was a reasonable choice. :)

Some projects will be big, some will be small, but hopefully all will be fun!  Happy Summer!!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

I don't know what to say...

My response to death has been forever changed.  It isn't that I haven't done appropriate things in the past, but now I know more....

In the two and a half weeks since my son-in-law, Chase, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly we have learned a lot and been blessed and touched by the very, very kind actions of family, friends, and strangers.  My sweet daughter Emily and her children have been the recipients of many tender actions, words of love, prayers, kind thoughts, and financial contributions.

I am choosing to record many of the kindnesses shown so I will remember and have a working list of ideas when sadness invades the lives of others.  I hope my need for this list is limited, but I also hope that it may be of benefit to others who wonder what to do when a loved one steps into the next phase of life.

  • Many people simply said, "I just don't know what to say..." but they came anyway.  They held our hands, offered hugs and loved us in our grief.  This helps more than you'll ever know.
  • Orange Juice -  A dear woman brought two gallons of orange juice, and then a couple of days later, another gallon.  It was the only thing Emily ate or drank for 3 days.  It kept everyone hydrated when nothing else sounded good.
  • 6 boxes of Kleenex with lotion.  We cried lots.
  • The snack box.  Emily's sister created a box of granola bars, fruit snacks, candy items, protein bars, etc.  It was wonderful for kids and grown ups alike.
  • Meals - Amazing foodstuffs appeared.  Soups, bread, desserts, sandwich supplies, casseroles, a full out thanksgiving feast, granola (it was a godsend the day of the funeral), and a breakfast casserole for the day after the funeral.
  • Visits.  Just people stopping by to offer condolences.
  • Gifts for the children whose daddy was gone. Books, bracelets, toys, crayons, clothing.
  • Fruit.  Baskets, bowls and trays.  Every bite eaten up!
  • Money tucked into cards.  Some signed and some not, but all with gentle notes of love.
  • Letters. Letters to various family members who have suffered the loss of husband, father, son, brother, son-in-law, brother-in-law and friend.
  • Help.  Babysitting, house cleaning, and car cleaning inside and out.
  • Dishwashing.  I'm not sure how all the dishes were washed or by whom, but they were cleaned by helping hands.
  • A party for the children on the evening of the viewing.  Our son's in-laws planned a wonderful party and invited all the cousins (all of my grandchildren) to the event.  It was so good for them to have fun and for the parents not to worry about them.
  • WATER:  An ice chest full of bottled water was provided at the viewing and then at home for the next few days.  It was a huge blessing for all the family {both sides} at the viewing and then again at home.
  • Alterations.  A sewing wizard/friend made sure that all the viewing and funeral clothing was in tip-top shape for the whole family.
  • Floral gifts.
  • Homemade fudge.
  • Phone calls from near and far. We have heard from dear friends from each phase of our lives and the love and support warms our hearts and alleviates our sadness.
  • Music. Someone dear came and played the piano.  I watched Emily's healing begin.
  • Donations to the memorial fund to help care for the children, and the child yet to be.
  • Attendance at the viewing and the funeral.
  • Ongoing offers to help, and follow up calls to make arrangements to do so. Never again will I say, "Let me know if you need help."  Not because I don't mean it, but because those in grief don't know what they need.  The concrete offers have been such blessings. {"I want to come over once a week and help with housekeeping.  I want to come at the same day and time each week.  Would Thursday work for you?"  "I am free on Saturday evening from 5 -11 and I'd love to watch your kids."}
  • A friend attended the viewing and was "on call" for anything that was needed. She ran errands and was the "go to" girl of the evening.  I'm not sure what we'd have done without her that day or the day of the funeral.  She was discreet, but our family all knew she was there if we needed anything.
  • The evening of the viewing friends came to the house and said, "Can we take anything up to the church for you?"  When we arrived at the church the items had not only arrived safely, but had already been set up in a display.  I was SO thankful!
  • A nursery was provided on the day of the funeral so young children could be occupied while the parents attended the service.
  • A text to ask Emily what her favorite beverage was, and then it showed up for her, along with lip gloss and extra water. Just in case...
  • A utility bill paid on Em's behalf. (For a whole year!)
  • Folding Laundry.  It seems some of the most basic household chores seem insurmountable for the first week or two. This was a blessing.
  • Dry cleaning drop off/ pick up.
  • Ongoing help, messages of love, expressions of concern, and check up phone calls. 
I know this list will continue to grow. In the midst of great sorrow we feel extremely blessed by the goodness and love that has been shown to our family.  God bless us, everyone.

PS... If you are wondering how Em and the kids are, here is an update: Em's Family

Sunday, March 17, 2013

A Tribute...

My oldest daughter, Emily, has endured a week that no young wife ever wants to consider.  The loss of her husband, Chase on March 10, followed by all the necessities that follow a death.  

His funeral was yesterday, March 16.  She was brave, brave, brave. -- The words of the funeral were a blur for Emily, so I told my her that I'd write the words she'd most like to remember.

Chase was a fine man who adored his family.  He fell in love with Grace, his step-daughter, first and then, in very short order, her mother.  Chase adored them both and went to great lengths to DO things to make them happy.  He often sent flowers, brought home candies and small treats, took them on walks, and designed family play dates.  He once told me that he couldn't bear the thought of ever losing Grace --- or Emily.  :)

Chase and Emily loved road trips.  They enjoyed National Parks week and traveled throughout Utah. Just two weeks ago their family enjoyed a trip to California and spent time at the beach, Sea World, Disneyland and Universal Studio.

They spent many weekends at Bear Lake with Chase's family enjoying boating, fishing and hanging out with family at the lake. -- Summers were full of backyard picnics, cousins, and making fresh pasta. Winters were filled with snowball fights, snow play, and hot chocolate parties with passionate kisses.
(If you've never had "Passionate Kisses," here's the recipe:  Drink hot chocolate through a Thin Mint  (or Grasshopper) cookie.  Take a tiny bite out of each side of the cookie and use it like a straw.  The inside with melt from the hot chocolate, but it's your job to slurp up the cookie just before it melts.  If you don't, it will be a melty pile of yumminess in the bottom of your cup.)

Chase loved to cook with Emily and they loved hosting guests for dinner. They were delighted to have company and often did. They loved movies, concerts, and window shopping together.

Henry was born with some challenges and teaching Henry to walk and sign (talk) has been Chase's delight. He was Henry's greatest cheer-leader, as a good dad ought to be.   It was delightful to watch the father/son bond grow.

Their children were the light of their lives and they eagerly looked forward to the birth of their new child in July. They were busy trying out names and discussing just who their new little one would be.

Chase often came home for lunch just to kiss Em and see the kids before nap time.  He was always helpful at home with household chores, and especially so when Emily was expecting a baby.  He always washed the floors, cleaned the bathrooms and took out the trash.  He was also a diaper-changer extraordinaire who never complained about diaper duty, and even volunteered for it.

When it came to discipline of the children he was kind and attentive.  He believed in talking gently and calmly and listening.

Last year Chase decided to learn to knit and loved the new hobby. He and Emily spent many evenings watching movies while he knit and Em crocheted.  The long waits at Primary Children's during Henry's surgeries were spent knitting.

Chase was a delightful son-in-law.  He often dropped in to talk and frequently told me I was his "favorite mother-in-law," assuring me that even if he had more than one, I would still be the favorite.

Chase adopted Emily's love of musical theater and had decided to learn to sing and dance so he could audition for a local theater production.  He had great plans to become an actor.

Emily is lost without the love and companionship of her best friend.  The children miss their dad and don't understand their new life without him.

He is loved and missed.

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Chase's Obituary

Chase Roger Nielsen, born November 28, 1983 in Ogden, UT passed away unexpectedly Sunday evening March 10, 2013 leaving his sweetheart-wife, Emily and step-daughter, Grace, son Henry, and a new baby anticipated in July. They were a happy family residing in Hyrum, UT. Chase was 29.

Chase was a brilliant man who loved to learn and excelled in many different fields. He graduated from Roy High School class of 2002. He also received his Associates degree from Weber State in 2002.  Chase was accepted in to the Nuclear program when he joined the Navy, and after his military service he continued his education at the University of Utah and later at Utah State University.

Chase worked for Great Western Park and Playground and loved his job and his work family. He was able to tell every one that he was a project manager, but lovingly told friends he was a “parkitect.” Designing playground space brought him great satisfaction.

Chase enjoyed spending time with his family at Bear Lake.  He enjoyed fishing, boating, knee-boarding and wakeboarding.  He loved spending time with his family playing video games with his brothers and children, watching movies, taking the kids to the park, and making fresh pasta in the summertime.

Chase is survived by his wife, Emily Ann (White) Nielsen, his step-daughter Grace, his son Henry, and a new baby who will be born in July. Also, his parents, father, Roger Nielsen (Shelly), mother, Nancy Gale Knaus, brothers, Eric Nielsen, Cory Nielsen, step-sister, Jessica Trythall (Kenny), step-brother, Tyson Spencer (Ryan), and many nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles and cousins.  Chase will also be missed by his in-laws, Chris and Dana White and Emily’s extended family.

The “Chase Nielsen Memorial Fund” has been established to assist his family at this time of loss and sorrow.  Contributions can be made in person or by phone at any America First Credit Union Branch.

Services for Chase Nielsen include a viewing at the Hyrum North Stake Center, 245 Apple Drive, Hyrum UT from 6-8 pm on Friday, March 15, and again on Saturday morning from 10 – 11 am. Funeral Services will be held in the same location Saturday, March 16 at 11 am.  Interment will follow at the Roy City Cemetery.

Many thanks are extended to Great Western Park and Playground, the Hyrum EMT team, the Cache County Sheriff’s Department, and the ER at Logan Regional Hospital.
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We will miss Chase so very, very much.  His laughter, his love for his children, his adoration for his sweet wife, his devotion to learning and constant desire to make a better life for his family.

We love you Chase.