Tuesday, December 27, 2016


Young missionaries work so hard--I can testify to that.  But they also have a lot of fun when they get together. In the Kentucky Louisville mission for their Christmas zone conference they had an ugly sweater contest and here is the result.  By the way they were the winners!  Way to go Elders!  On top of all of that they were doing service projects throughout the area where they served and had set a goal to make contact with a certain number of people before Christmas which they also managed to achieve.  Elder Duncan and his companion also won a contest in their apartment complex for the best decorated window.  They obviously were on a roll!

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Happy Birthday Abby!

11 Years Old
"You were brought into this world to be a blessing and inspiration to the people around you."

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Mark It Off

When we first came into the house to look at it before we bought it I pointed out that we could build a bookshelf between the fireplace and the sliding glass door.  Once we got everything unpacked I made a design of what I wanted to have the shelf look like and then Scott and I went to Home Depot to buy all of the shelving for it.  After several trips and with lots of help from people in the store who felt sorry for us old people trying to maneuver the wood around we began!  It took a few days but I love how it turned out. With Scott's help we measured, cut, installed, adjusted, and readjusted until it fit our needs.  I love how it turned out but I ask anyone who sees it to not look to close.  Not bad for two old people--now we start painting!


In dealing with Scott's Alzheimer's disease one of my goals is to do everything I can to help him feel safe and comfortable and keep his confusion as low as possible.  If we are at home that is very easy to do because I know what he wants and what he needs fairly easily.  Unfortunately, staying home isn't something that we can always do and honestly for me getting out of the house a little each day provides some distraction as well. The biggest challenge when we travel is to limit the amount of time we are gone and also to make sure that he isn't tired before we begin.

For Scott there is no memory of a landmark or an area or even a city.  A number of times when we have gone down the hill he is so sure that I am going the wrong way that he is visibly shaken and no amount of assurances I give him that we are going the right way helps him calm down. More then once he has grabbed the door handle and told me he felt like he wanted to open it and get out.  One of our new neighbors came over to introduce herself and told me that her husband had recently passed away after dealing with Alzheimers.  I asked for any advice she could give me and her answer was, "make sure you have a lock on the front passenger side door so he can't open the door while you are driving."  Apparently this is not a unique aspect of the disease.

Think about how you feel when you are in a new city or area trying to find your way around.  Now intensify that times 100 and you may be able to understand how unnerving it is for Scott once he leaves our house. Now when he gets upset he has started a little mantra that he repeats over and over to me.  "I don't have any idea where we are but I know you do so I am okay."  How can I not love this sweet man who is scared to death and confused daily and yet he tries to get through it by repeating over and over that I know so he is okay.  I have decided that my Scott is a retired homing pigeon!  He can't get us home any more but once he walks into our house he is so happy because he knows that he is safe there.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Christmas Concert!!

A year ago we attended a production of the Nutcracker presented by the Boston Ballet Company.  You would think that couldn't be beat but today we discovered that it was definitely not the case.  This afternoon Scott and I drove to Irvine where we attended a Christmas Concert at Concordia University in which our grandson Owen was a part of.  What a phenomenal program!  From the moment it began it was magic and I heard some of the most beautiful singing and listened to an absolutely accomplished orchestra made up of students and apparently local members of the community.  I think I can say that the program had me sitting on the edge of my seat totally transported into the Spirit of Christmas.  The only complaint I had was there should have been several times where the students should have been given a standing ovation. Honestly they were phenomenal.  Owen wore numerous hats today as he switched from the choir, to the trombone to the drums and not to brag to much--he was exceptional in every role.  I hope that until Owen graduates from college we can make this a regular part of our Christmas traditions!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Happy Birthday Meg!

18 Years Old
You are never too old to set a new goal or to dream a new dream.

Sunday, November 27, 2016


Having the grandkids all together this week was such a treat for both Scott and for me.  I don't recall an angry word from any of them and loved to watch the interaction that was so much fun.  How blessed we have been to see the wonderful fruits of great parenting!  Thank you Bill and Cathy, Andy and Angela, Ben and Becky, and Christian and Amy.  You have done such a great job and loved that you each sacrificed much to come and be with us.


We have some very talented people in our family and to finish off the evening we had talent show.  There were several cute surprises like Janie's belly roll and Jeremy's lip quivers.  After some coaxing we did hear from Ellis as he played a beautiful song on the piano.  The girls did some dances and singing and Uncle Bill got everyone involved by teaching us the Kirby song.  Owen wowed us all with his trombone solo!  Ava also did a number on the piano and Angela surprised us with her beautiful music on the piano.  And even with all of this we had many others in our family who had talents but no instruments to share with us but I know we would have been impressed with their talents as well.

After all of the sharing we were all amazed when Uncle Andy hauled out a stand and then proceeded to do one magic trick after another!  Who would have thought it.  He was so good and the kids and adults were pretty impressed.  Thank you Andy for sharing a talent that you have obviously kept hidden from us all!

Thanksgiving 2016

Our dream came true when all of our children and their spouses were able to come home for Thanksgiving this year.  With the exception of Perry and Rachel and Austin all the grandkids were under one roof and it was truly wonderful!  I can honestly say that the food was the best I have ever tasted and Angela and Andy did a great job of hosting the dinner at their house.  Everything was decorated beautifully and the food was beyond impressive.  This year we had a ham as well which Andy had cooked in the BBQ and that was a great addition.  After a great meal we headed over to the park where the guys played football and the little ones played until it was to dark to see.  We added a new tradition of a family talent show to top a perfect day off!

Cooking Again

Because of the move we haven't done our weekly cooking class but this week we were able to start again.  This time we worked on pies and Ava was a whiz at it.  It took much longer than I thought it would but she stuck with it to the very end.  We had fun making the pies but I think our favorite part was tasting them!

Thinking for Two!

I understood the concept of eating for two.  In fact when I was pregnant I lived up to the challenge-- unfortunately I often still do that!  Now fast forward my life to dealing with the realities of being a caregiver to a person with Alzheimer's disease.  I recently realized that now I often have to think for two.  Whenever I have a thought about what we are going to do I have to work in through in my mind for what I need to do and then I have to start the process again and think about what I need to do to help Scott maneuver through the process as well.

Yesterday we went to Walmart and as we were getting ready to check out he told me that he had to use the bathroom.  We were right by the restroom so I showed him where to go and then said I need to get a clock so while you use the bathroom I will go and pick one up.  Not my best thinking.  I had told him that when he comes out just wait by the entrance of the bathroom and I will pick him up.  I went and got the clock and then came back (which took less than two minutes) and he wasn't standing by the bathroom.  At first I thought he just hadn't finished up yet but I got in line right by the restroom area and watched for him to come. After about five minutes I knew there was a problem.  I had unloaded the things we bought and realized that I would have to ask for security to help me find him once I checked out.  Just as the clerk started to ring me up he walked up to the check-out with a terrible panicked look on his face.  I felt so bad for him and so bad for me.  He came out of the bathroom and he started looking for me and went outside thinking I had gone to the car.  Fortunately, it was raining so he came back in and then found me in line.

Little moments can change everything and the realization that we have to stay together even if it isn't always convenient came home to me yesterday.  I hope I get better at the double thinking in the coming years.  It definitely isn't as easy as double eating!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Halloween 2016-The California Duncans

Donuts anyone?  These felt donuts looked so real
I wanted to eat one!

This is what a handsome devil looks like!
I'm not sure of who Ellis is but he does a great job with his costumes!

Andy's Latest!

A ring toss was not good enough for Andy when he was assigned to have a booth at the ward Halloween Party.  Instead he made this great contraption.  I think it was the hit of the party.

Even Grandpa gave it a try!