Sunday, August 5, 2012

My time in Phoenix. . . . .

      What a marvelous time I had in Phoenix with my family.  I love that my family is all such good friends and love spending time together and doing the same activities.. I am very lucky to have all 3 of my children's families live close to me in Phoenix. My daughter is the farthest away and she is only about 8 minutes.. So it is easy to go between their home. 
         Monday I spent the day with my son Jason's family.. two of my granddaughters are very involved in their high school's drama and music performances and I love to be there for each and every one.  Since I am serving on my mission I really missed seeing them this year, so we watched the DVD's of the play  "Into the Woods",  and the end of the year  "Pop's Concert".  It was so much fun to see them both, since there are so many of the kids that I know that also perform in these productions.  What a fun day..

Zack shared a song with me.. he is great on his guitar

        Since my condo is so close, I am able to spend some time there also.  It is really fun to be there among my own things and get some projects finished.  While I am here on my visit we are having "Christmas in July".. since I will still be away in December, I wanted to share Christmas with my family.. It is going to be next Sunday.. So I am busy wrapping all the goodies I brought from Maryland for them.

Dylan arriving at the Phoenix Airport from Lima, Peru
We were anxious to see our missionary
The two of us. . .
       Tuesday we all met at the airport to greet my grandson Dylan who was returning from his mission in Peru.  There were about 30 of us with signs and posters awaiting his arrival.  What a joy it was to see that handsome missionary walk thru the security into the arms of his family.. Of course his mom got the first hug.. I am so proud of him and the amazing work he accomplished while serving the people of  Peru. He is such a strong, humble young man who loves the Lord and loves his family.  After we retrieved his luggage we proceeded to Kristan & Don's home to spend some time with Dylan.  He shared with us the treasures he brought back from Peru and many stories.  What a wonderful day, to be surrounded by family and so much love.

        Wednesday my daughter-in-law Karen and my granddaughter Alli went to the airport to pick up my oldest granddaughter Marissa.  She is Dylan's older sister and was coming in from Chicago to be with us this weekend. Marissa is in school at Columbia in Chicago and I was  so excited that she got to be here too.  My entire family is here with the exception of my grandson Kelly who is currently serving a mission in South Carolina.. Kristan had invited us to stay for lunch when we dropped Marissa off, so it was a fun afternoon. 

         Wednesday evening we "all"  (19 of us) went to the Arizona Diamondback's baseball game.. It was so much fun, to all be there together.. As you can tell it was a together kind of week.. which I love so much.   

Kristan and her family at the game (Don had to work)
Dylan's first outing after coming home that day...

      Friday Karen, Alli and I went to lunch at the Middle Eastern Bakery and Deli. It was wonderful food.. I had a small Greek salad and a bowl of  Avgolemono soup.. which came with the best pita bread.. Then we visited Williams Sonoma and saw old friends that I had worked with. It was so nice to walk in and have them say "Jean, you're here"..many fond memories of working there for so many years,

Great Middle Eastern Restaurant
        That evening we had a family party to celebrate the Olympics Opening Ceremonies..  We love to watch the Olympics as a family, all great sport fans... We had a bar-b-cue and a  wonderful get together with most of my family.. a few of the older teens were missing, due to plans with friends.. It is always fun to spend time with my kids and grandkids and of course those 2 precious great grand babies.. Malorie is 2 now and she walks by me and says, "oh hi G.G."..  Delainie is 8 months old and has made friends with me.. such a sweetie..

                                                   My sweet great grandaughter Delainie

Steve at the bar-b-cue
Malorie loved the playhouse
           Saturday, I headed out and drove around to see what things had changed around the area.. I drove by my old neighborhood and the house we used to live in.. Saw some new stores and some stores are gone.. wow it has only been 11 months and there have been many changes.. then headed to one of my favorite stores. . . Hobby Lobby and spent over an hour walking the isles and looking at all the fun things.. even had a couple things jump into my basket..

        I ran an errand for Kristan to help her out with her brunch that she is having after church on Sunday.  Then I headed to Jason and Jamie's house to spend the day with their family.. 3 of their children are going to be in the up-coming production of  "The Wizard of Oz" musical put on my Don Bluth Front Row Theater, and they had measurements for costume fittings..  We then dropped the kids off at home and Jason and Jamie and I went out for a bite to eat at one of my favorite places, Rubio's.. then headed to a movie.  A very fun day.. I ended my Saturday watching the Olympics with Steve. 
 Dinner at Rubio's

         Sunday was a very special day at church.. it was the homecoming of my grandson Dylan from his 2 year mission in Lima, Peru.  They invited all the Spanish speaking men in the chapel to join in a choir singing "The Spirit of God" in Spanish.. It was so inspiring to hear the 29 men sing with such spirit.. It was truly beautiful.  Then Dylan spoke.... he is amazing (I know I say that a lot, but it is true).  He has grown into a confident, well spoken young man. He talked for 30 minutes sharing experiences from his mission and didn't look at a note.. Such self-assurance and humility as he spoke of those very meaningful times that touched his heart while serving the people in Peru.  After church we all gathered at Kristan's home for a wonderful afternoon of good food and friends sharing time together with Dylan.  I wanted to spend some special time with my granddaughter Marissa before she had to fly back to Chicago, so she came with me to my condo so I could give her a special gift I had for her..since she would be gone when we celebrated "Christmas in July" later that evening.  She loved the necklace that I had gotten her.  It was created by Colleen Martinez one of the very talented sisters in my mission. I love spending time with my oldest granddaughter. She is such a sweet soul, with so much love in her heart for everyone and everything. Later that evening we all met at Kristan's for my gift giving.. Since I will be gone over Christmas again this year I wanted to be able to give my children and grandchildren their gifts while I was here.. It was a very fun evening..

         I wanted my family to meet a couple of the sweet sister's that I had the pleasure of serving with at the temple visitors center on my mission. They both returned home a week ago.. So my daughter Kristan and my newly returned missionary grandson Dylan, my daughter-in-laws Karen and Jamie went with me to the VC.. it was so much fun to spend time with these amazing young women.. Kelly Allen and Kendra Marcy.. They wanted to jump in my suitcase and come back to DC with me.. Love them.
Kelly Allen & Me

Kendra Marcy & Me

         My birthday was on Wednesday, and I share it with my granddaughter Morgan. I started the day, going to meet the girls of the 3 C's (chocolate, cards and conversation), a great group of friends that I love spending a morning with and sharing in their talents.  It was so fun to be with them again.
 Karen, Joanne, Kathleen & Glenda
 Kathy, Me & C.J.

        Steve., Karen and Alli took me out to lunch at the new Zupa's restaurant in Desert Ridge.. What a fun place plus great food..  I was invited to Jason & Jamie's home for a birthday dinner and then everyone else in my family joined us for one last family party for my grandaughter Morgan & I, before I left back to Maryland on Thursday morning. I love spending time with my fantastic family.. It is so fun that they are all friends. 

Shayne from my home ward is the 3rd from left front to see her at Zupa's
My grandaughter Morgan share our birthday !

 My sons Steve & Jason and their sons Grant & Tyler playing a card game

 Madi, Jamie & Taylor

Alli was baking for the birthday party.
          I was sad to leave my family, but excited to return to my mission.  My flight was very smooth returning to the East coast.. My friend Suz drove to pick me up along with her daughter Emily and my companion Sister Brown.. It was really good to be "home".

 Friday we had 4 great appointments:
      We first saw Naomi, who lived right next to the water and it was great getting to know this special lady. She is a member of the Chippewa tribe in Wisconsin.  She worked in DC for the Bureau of Indian Affairs in the land management dept. and traveled all over the US visiting the various tribes, to asses their use of land. She is a very talented artist and has many pieces of her art work displayed in her home.  It was a very fun visit.

 Naomi & Me

One of the beautiful pieces of art Naomi has created

      We had tried to visit Tara a couple weeks ago and no one was home, so it was nice to visit with her.  She is the mother of 2 boys, ages 1 & 3.  She and her husband are both structural engineers and work with many insurance companies to evaluate damage in buildings.  So they have been really busy with all the storms back here over the last year.  They live on a 7 1/2 acre farm, and raise ducks, chickens, turkey's, geese and goats. 

         Sandra was our next visit. She is the wife of the Suitland Stake Patriarch.  She teaches in Relief Society & works at the temple each Thurs. She is the grandmother of 15.   She and her husband are avid sailors and own their own sailboat.. They take trips all over and have for many years.  She was really fun to talk with and I loved the stories she told us. 


      Diane was our last visit of the day. She suffers from both lung and brain cancer.  She has been inactive for many years and usually doesn't let anyone from church visit with her, so we were very happy that she agreed to let us come visit with her.  She is very weak and has a hard time walking.. We had a good visit with her and she "thanked"
 us for coming to visit her.. maybe it was a start to let others in to see her. 

 The Chesapeake Bay. . .

It's good to be see this amazing view often

  It was very good to be back in the Calvert ward, and to be welcomed back by so many. We were able to book some appointments for the coming week, and turn in our re-cap of the work we accomplished in the month of July in this area. 

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