Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Our Happy Henstrom Reunion

Well, our family is finally back together. I went to California last week to pick up Cecilee and then met up with Miranda and Jordan in Utah. Alex flew in the next night and then on Saturday we headed up Provo Canyon to Aspen Grove for the Henstrom Family Reunion.

The only sadness of the reunion is that Mike & Stephanie's family weren't able to come because Stephanie is still recovering from the birth of the newest cousing, Lily. We miss you guys but we are really excited to have the family grow.

Saturday night we settled in to our rooms, the teen cousins (and Uncle Will) went to see The Fray in concert and the rest of us visited and got familiar with Aspen Grove. Sunday we had church and family time. Dad gave each family a wonderful book of rememberances of he and Mom. It was really wonderful. That evening there was a lovely fireside with two of President Monson's kids who answered questions from the audience. It was really great and as they both testified of the divine calling of the Prophet and spoke about the wonderful father and man he is, I was really touched.

Monday the kids went off with their age groups in the morning while the parents went to a seminar on personality styles and families. They followed it up with an intense game of paintball...Oregon & Utah Henstroms against everyone else. Doug, Nicky, Chris & David triumphed over the Oregon-Utah team but it was fun, although both Chris and Paul were pretty bruised.

The afternoon was spent doing family games and activities at the Aspen Follies. It was really well organized and a lot of fun. We finished up the evening with some wonderful stories from Grandpa about he and grandma courting. Alex, Cecilee & I also got in a game of disc golf and mini golf.

Today we went to more talks on family communication and then had a go at badmiton. A bunch of the kids got to try out the climbing wall as well. This evening we went to "frontier night" and enjoyed snow cones, hatchet throwing, face painting, air soft gun shooting and just having a great time together.

We'll see how tomorrow goes with hikes planned as well as a game of dodgeball Adults v. Teens. The most wonderful thing about being in this beautiful environment is being with the family.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Empty Nest...still can't accomplish much

With all the kids gone, I was gung-ho to get my entire life revamped and put back together in 2 weeks or less. I think I might actually get all the laundry done. I can now walk through (instead of trip through) my bedroom but the garage remains a mystery and is still pretty hazerdous.
I have managed to attend a resume writing workshop as well as did some ground work on getting the funding to get my CNA/CNA 2 Acute Care. Now if I can just get my career specialist (at Work Source) to call me back so I can submit it. I must admit I am feeling intimidated about going back into the work force, even part-time, but it is a growing experience for me. I am thinking that I might have to lighten my load for Fall term if I am going to be working. We'll see.

We had a fun 4th of July but it wasn't the same without the kids. Thankfully, the HOT weather that plagued us last week is gone and things are cool and cloudy now...just the way I like it! (Well maybe not so much cloudy)

4 more days until I return to California to pick up the little and then head for Utah. Hurray!

Tuesday night we went to the Hillsboro Farmers Market with friends, Gary & Sara Nees, and listened to a Marimba band called Boka Marimba. They were pretty good. Marimba music is so cheerful and upbeat...I need to listen more.


Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Fun times in Oregon, California and the Mid-West...

Well, Alex & I are getting a lot done being home alone. Today I started the colossal job of sorting through my bedroom and finally cleaning it up. I was watching "Clean House" on TV and realizing that the mess in my bedroom sadly resembles some of the disasters that they come in and fix. Hopefully, I can get on top of it.

Cecilee is enjoying her time with her Aunties (and uncles, cousins, etc.) in California. She went up to my sister Sharla's house today and aparently has gotten her hair colored since I last saw her....Blue! Oh well, it's just hair and probably a lot of fun for her.

Miranda and Jordan have made it to Ohio without too much pain (for them...hopefully my parents are surviving as well). Miranda talked about seeing her first firefly. That really is a magical moment for those of us who live in the west where we don't have fireflies. They are quite amazing. She is also suffering the pains (or itches) of having a run-in with poison oak. Thank goodness for Calamine lotion.

Today has been a really good day for our whole family.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Off and running...

Well, I put Miranda and Jordan in the car with my parents and they are off to look for America...literally. Cecilee is going to stay in N. California with the Aunties and I am finally going to have my dream vacation. Staying home and cleaning my house. No promises on what that really means. I also plan to figure out how to take better care of myself as well. I am so grateful for my family and the way we work together to provide fun experiences and enrich one another's lives.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

It's COLD in Alaska! -- Our Trip Part 2


On August 4th we celebrated Alex's 41st Birthday by visiting the Hubbard Glacier in Glacier Bay. I must admit that I wasn't feeling all that overwhelmed with excitement to look at a big chunk of ice, but my feelings certainly changed. It was indescribable -- thus the pictures:

This is is the Glacier as it recedes back further into the bay.

The ship found a good viewing place and then turned around 360 degrees so that everyone on the boat could see all sides of the bay.

Every once in a while a section of the glacier would break off. You knew it was coming because you could hear it crack and shift. The shear power of the melting ice was amazing. It takes 100 sq. feet of snow to equal 1 sq. foot of the glacial ice -- it looks so blue because blue is the only light wave that can penetrate the density of the ice.

The next day we headed into Alaska's capital, Juneau, for some kayaking near the Mendenhall Glacier. We saw porpoises (black dolphins) and 2 Bald Eagles. There are about 38,000 people in Juneau and more than 40,000 Bald Eagles -- crazy! It was fun to do some kayaking with Doug & Nicky, Mike & Steph and Will & Melanie. It was kind of a pain because the current kept pushing us in the opposite direction that we wanted to go but we got a decent upper body workout...a good thing since we'd be gorging on cruise food for several days. After we got back from our kayaking trip we did a little shopping, flagged down a mailman to take our postcards and just hung out downtown.

We had to be back on the ship by 2:30 -- then we were all ready for a bit of a nap. That night we enjoyed Karaoke. It was great!

What a trip -- Part 1

Well, we just got back from a wonderful week long cruise to Alaska with Alex's family --- Adults only! It was really a great time! We went to Sitka, Juneau and Ketchikan as well as a quick stop in Victoria BC. I just wanted to post a few pictures to update things.

Day 1 & 2 were spent on the ship just relaxing and sailing. It was cool but still pretty nice and it was great to relax. On Sunday, August 3rd we made our first trek from the boat to Sitka, Alaska. Most of us just explored the town of Sitka and spent time shopping, eating, shopping and relaxing -- 4 of Alex's brothers (Paul, Doug, Mike & David) braved the open seas for some deep sea fishing. They caught a couple of King Salmon, which had to be tossed back since the season was closed early, Pink Salmon, Coho and Sea Bass. Doug won rock-paper-scissors and had all the fish shipped to his place in Minnesota. The rest of us were just glad not to be horribly seasick.

The town itself was pretty cool. It was the main town during the Russian period and as a result has a lot of architecture and culture influenced by the original Russian settlers. Another thing that was cool was that there were all these little islands in the bay that had only one house on it. The way to and from home was by boat -- pretty isolated but also very cool!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Cheers from across the Pond

Well we are finally here in London. We have had a great time so far. We arrived on Saturday (May 17th) after a very long day (and night) of flying. After we got back to the house (we are staying with Paul & Shelley Larsen -- Alex's sister & brother-in-law who live here) we had a quick rest and then headed out to see some of the sites.

We caught the tube and went to Trafalgar Square. The kids climbed all over the lions (which are HUGE) and then we walked to Leichester square to see what plays might be half-price. Afterwards we went to Covent Garden & the Apple Market. I got my first (and certainly not last) souvenier and enjoyed looking at all the beautiful crafts. Alex & the kids got a taste of real Bristish humor -- funny but certainly off-colour at times.

Sunday morning we woke up and went to church in the Hyde Park ward -- they mentioned that sometimes they have more than 100 visitors each week. We cut out after Sacrament meeting and went to the Science Museum and the Natural History Museum. The building that houses the Natural History Museum is just beautiful.

After a much needed nap and some dinner we headed out for Paul's "Sunday Walk" We went past Buckingham Palace and down through St. James Park. We headed through the Horses Guard and caught a glimpse of 10 Downing Street -- we did not see the Prime Minister however. Then we went on to the north side of Westminster Bridge to see the Houses of Parliment & Big Ben. We ended our evening with a beautiful organ concert in Westminster Abbey. Thanks Paul for a great tour!
Today we headed out to visit the Queen in Windsor -- we weren't actually able to see her -- surprise, surprise. We did manage to catch the changinge of the guard at Windsor Castle. It was a nice day and we had a lot of fun. The view from the castle is absolutely beautiful. We also got to go into St. George's Cathedral and saw where Henry VIII was buried. It is amazing what they were able to do with stone considering the very primitive tools available to them.
After spending several hours at the castle we headed into Windsor for some authentic lunch -- Fish & Chips. It was tasty and the establishment where we ate was actually where Shakespear wrote a lot of "The Merry Wives of Windsor" Our waiter was very friendly and we had a nice visit with him.

This evening we headed for the West End to take in some plays. Alex, Miranda & Jordan went to see the musical of The Lord of the Rings. They liked it -- especially the special effects. Cecilee & I went to see Wicked. What a great show. I think I enjoyed it even more the second time -- the music is fabulous and catchy. Cecilee thought it was even better that she imagined. It was nice for Cecilee & I to have our own special time -- we rode the bus on the top deck on the way. It was fun!

This really has been an amazing experience for all of us.

My Adorable Children

My Adorable Children
Yes--this is an old picture!

Food for Thought -

To a child love is spelled T-I-M-E. *Remember that is the the time we spend with our families is always a good investment -- especially time spent teaching them and learning from them.