“. . . and everyone goes”

“. . . and everyone goes”

A Neil Diamond classic comes to mind when we pack the car to make our annual trek to Avon,
“It’s Love, Brother Love, say Brother Love’s traveling salvation show
“Pack up the babies and grab the old ladies and everyone goes
“‘Cause everyone knows Brother Love’s show.”

Loading the car for that trip is always an adventure.  Food, clothing and games for a week are standard, and the suitcases and Rubbermaid bins fill the back of the Trailblazer quickly.  We like to have a couple of portable camp chairs for lazy afternoons on the patio with a book and a little chocolate, so those purple and green cases take their places among the luggage.  We situate the bag of shoes beside the hanging clothes and then fill some random spots with a kick ball and Frisbee.  And of course, we can’t go anywhere without a couple of laptops!  Pillows, jackets, and an assortment of last minute “I almost forgot about . . . ” fill the remaining empty spaces – and we’re almost ready to go.

In addition to the necessities, we always take our recreational transportation.

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Our bikes ride securely on a rack on the back of the car.  The Vail/Avon area has some great bike trails for riding – with or without the grandkids – and we look forward to a daily ride.  We love peddling along the Eagle River while dreaming about which house will be ours.  I’ve imagined us living in everything from a tiny condo to a grand mountain home on the side of Beaver Creek Mountain.  That dreaming is one of my favorite pastimes!

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The canoe has also become a must have, so Don secures it to the top of the car.  He’s getting really good at that as evidenced by this year’s trip which was free of vibrating tie downs or a slipping  canoe!  We all love to spend a relaxing afternoon on Nottingham Lake, and even the young grandkids are learning how to paddle – sort of.

Due to some extenuating circumstances, this year we included a couple of new modes of transportation.

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Degenerative arthritis in her back is making it very difficult for Grandma Leona to walk long distances, so we added a cute little transport chair to our assortment of  rides.   Lightweight and easy to lift, it was small enough to fit in the back of the car (very fortunately) and provided easy access to the park and other attractions within walking distance.

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Just a few days before departure, Katie’s jump from the top stair resulted in a broken leg and the doctor’s instructions to put no weight on that leg for 10 days.  Briefly we thought the Sandbergs would have to cancel, or at least be very restricted in activities, because carrying Katie any farther than the couch or the bathroom is taxing.  But when I remembered the jogging stroller I picked up at the thrift store several months ago (I couldn’t pass up that $30 deal!), we were set – once Don got it strapped to the back of the bike rack.  Katie is still small enough to fit in the stroller, even if not real comfortably, and we were able to wheel her out and about with relative ease.  And Sam enjoyed it on some early morning jogs with his Daddy and Auntie Em.

Grandma and Katie sporting their rides
Grandma and Katie sporting their rides at a park in Vail

By the time we get everything in and on, we’re beginning to look like the traveling salvation show, and I’m wondering if it will all stay in place at 70 miles an hour.

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We don’t look too bad from a distance . . .

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but this is the view if you get behind us!
Yes, those flags are made of Christmas fabric.

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“Brother Don’s traveling salvation show”

Garden Update

Garden Update

The strawberries are plentiful.
We even have enough for the birds and *squirrels to sneak a few bites when we’re not looking.

They are delicious!
They are delicious!

The blackberries are blooming

Hundreds - maybe thousands? of blackberry blooms
Hundreds - maybe thousands? of blackberry blooms

The garden is thriving:

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Square foot beauty
Square foot beauty

I love the process of growing our own food!

*Don has trapped four squirrels this year.
I think the word is out among the furry rodents.
We haven’t seen any for several days.

Yea, Jack!

Yea, Jack!

Baptism of Jackson Louis Sandberg

April 17, 2010
St. George, Utah

Jack with Dad and Mom
Jack with Dad and Mom
Jack and Dad dressed in white for the baptism.
Jack and Dad dressed in white for the baptism.

Party in the Sandberg's back yard followed.
Party in the Sandberg's back yard followed.

Aunt Kate, Lucy, and Charlie came to celebrate.
Aunt Kate, Lucy, and Charlie came to celebrate.
Sloppy Joes, chips, and pop were followed by a lot of brownies!
Sloppy Joes, chips, and pop were followed by a lot of brownies!
And Jack was willing to pose for a picture between shots on the basketball court.
Jack was willing to pose for a picture between shots on the basketball court.

Thanks for inviting us, Jack.

We’re very proud of you.

Making Tracks

Making Tracks

January - the beginning
January - the beginning

After an inspiring phone conversation with Emily yesterday, I gave some serious thought to my goals and my somewhat haphazard efforts to attain them.  I have an hazy idea of my big picture, but wonder if I am spending my time in activities that will help achieve that.  I felt a little anxious when I realized that my plan was vague, and my path leading to that plan was poorly marked and wandering.  Because I work best in an organized environment, I knew I needed a tangible, visible method of tracking my progress.

First, I gave careful consideration to my goals and dreams for my life and wrote them down – because a goal without a plan is just a dream.  Then, building on an idea Emily uses, I created a personal system to track the activities that are important to me and will lead me in the direction I say I want to go.  A handy Excel spreadsheet  – because who doesn’t love a great spreadsheet – allows me to see at a glance if I am making progress towards my targeted aspirations.  As Nikki posted about exercise, personal accountability is key.  One check mark  on a list is gratifying, and a whole page of them can be cause for celebration!

In addition to my monthly tracker, I have created a list of projects I want to complete this year.  That list includes things like painting the cedar chest, making Nikki’s Christmas stocking, and completing Mark’s scrapbook.  Those will be added to my monthly list as I am ready to tackle them, but not all at once, because that just overwhelms me.

And last, but not least, I’ve created a list of things I want to do before I die.  I dream about a visit to the villages in England that were the birthplaces of my Berrett ancestors.  I get really excited at the thought of a cross country road trip in a small RV – check out the Roadtrek and you’ll want one too.  Several other dreams have a place on this list; just seeing them written makes them more realistic to me.  I’m excited about what I can accomplish.

So I’m on my way, and February promises to be awesome!

A blank slate just waiting for me!
A blank slate just waiting for me!

“Because how we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”
– Annie Dillard, author

Single File

Single File

One of my projects for the new year is to clean, purge, and organize the many and varied files in our office. Because if I’m going to research and preserve family history in the manner I envision, I’ve got to have an organized work space.  A big project to be sure, but the kind of thing I can really get behind when I’m in the right frame of mind.

Today that mind set took over!

So armed with these:

(no, I'm not being paid to advertise)
(no, I'm not being paid to advertise)

I tackled these:

the filing cabinet conveniently located UNDER the table
the filing cabinet conveniently located UNDER the table

our financial district
our financial district

a walk down memory lane
a walk down memory lane

It’s more work than I anticipated.

the third refill on the shredder bag
the third refill on the shredder bag
lots of papers for the recycle bin
lots of papers for the recycle bin
homeless orphans
homeless orphans

and I’m not done yet.

Not even halfway.

I’ll be sorting and shredding for days.

But I’ve uncovered some treasures and a lot of trash.

This is my progress thus far,

this makes me happy!
and it really makes me happy!
Will pose for Skittles

Will pose for Skittles

An impromptu Friday afternoon photo shoot of the grandkids unfolds:

Crazy women and cameras just begging for a good shot
Crazy women and cameras just begging for a good shot

At least they're all looking at the same camera!
At least they're all looking at the same camera!

A short break to regroup -note the Skittles at the ready

Grandma works on Sam's hair  - what was I thinking?  He's bald!
Grandma works on Sam's hair - what was I thinking? He's bald!

And another shot

Cute Butler grandchildren
Seven grandchildren to love

Charlie starts getting restless, so Auntie Em comes to the rescue with the bribe

". . . just a couple"
". . . just a couple"

Lucy and Charlie
Lucy and Charlie

Ryan - Jack - Katie - Maddie
Ryan - Jack - Katie - Maddie

Grandchildren are the dots that connect generations
Connecting generations

Grandchildren are to grandparents like sunshine is to the day.

Generally inspired

Generally inspired

The Conference Center in Salt Lake City, Utah during a session of General Conference
The Conference Center in Salt Lake City, Utah during a session of General Conference

The weekend of October 3 & 4 brought the broadcast of the LDS General Conference into our home.  I love those April and October weekends of marathon church!  It’s taken me a long time to feel that way, but at this time in my life I really anticipate and appreciate the chance to listen to Church leaders and be uplifted and inspired by talks like this counsel regarding the need to show and express love to my family members, or this powerful testimony of the Book of Mormon, and this gentle reminder to look for opportunities to be of service.

Yesterday while looking for something else (sometimes my lack of organization does pay off), I came across the history of my great grandfather, Thomas B. Brown (27 December 1824 – 18 June 1899).  In light of the previous conference weekend, this excerpt really touched my heart:

Thomas B. Brown - circa 1887
Thomas B. Brown - circa 1887

“Thomas dearly loved to go to the semi-annual conferences in Salt Lake City.  There was not transportation other than horse and buggy.  Since he had neither of these, he would walk to Salt Lake City.  Two days before conference, Eliza [his wife] would prepare some bread, cheese and fruit, and tie it up in a red handkerchief.  Very early in the morning, he would set out.  He walked as far as Farmington the first day, getting there about dusk.  A fine spring by the side of the road supplied him with a good cold drink of water.  After reaching Farmington, he would go to an old friend’s place, Brother Parret, who came from England also.  He would spend the night with Brother Parret and his family, and arise early the next morning in order to be in Salt Lake City in time for conference.  It would take him two days to complete his journey. He would attend all three days of meetings and then walk back to North Ogden.  He traveled over 100 miles round trip, and did so for many years, twice a year.

Thomas said that when all the apostles and other speakers would talk, it was most grand to hear them, but when Brigham Young stood up he started in where all the others left off.  His sermons were so powerful and inspirational that the other talks were pale in comparison.  Thomas said that if the distance had been twice as far for him to walk, he would have done so, just to have the privilege of hearing Brigham Young speak.  On his return, he always brought his children a treat of store candy.  It was usually peppermints, and oh, how good they tasted coming all the way from Salt Lake City.”

And I was really happy for the faith and conviction of my ancestors . . . as well as the modern convenience of BYU television.

Helping me search

Helping me search

Carolyn, Lynnette, Yvonne with Gram - 1967
A little family history -- Carolyn, Lynnette, and Yvonne with Gram about 1967

It’s no secret that I’m a bit of a genealogy geek.  Family history has really become my passion, and I’m happy spending hours at the computer or my scrapbook table piecing together a picture of our past.

So imagine my excitement when upon following a suggestion from a Relief Society lesson in St. George last Sunday, I discovered this gem – new.familysearch.org. – a family history website provided by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for use by . . . anybody!   I’ve only just begun figuring out the possibilities, but I can already tell that this will be a great asset to my genealogy projects.

Somebody (actually lots of somebodies) has done a lot of research, and this website has organized the information in a very usable manner.  I was excited to find the names of ancestors from Butler, Pratt, Carpenter, and Berrett lines.   I took some time to study the time line that lists major events in chronological order.  And I oohed and ahhed in amazement when I clicked on “maps” and found pushpins all over a Google map showing significant events in my life, including our marriage and the births of our children.

Check it out – I think it’s a happy place to visit!