Monday, September 29, 2014

Square Ice Cream and Huge Slides 2.0... by Ben Hazlett

My little 2 year old has lately been enjoying her significantly increased communication abilities and after accomplishing even something as simple as putting 1 shoe on the wrong foot, she will announce loudly "I did it!"   Well, WE DID IT! We survived another family vacation/family reunion!  And I must say that it was a very fun and memorable one. 

My son, Benson, just about wore a hole in the slide for as many times as he went down it.  Between that, the bowling, and the four wheeler rides, Benson could have stayed for another 2 weeks... and he tried, believe me he did!

Reunions are funny things aren't they?  When I was little I used to love all the cousins my age to play basketball with.  This time around I just loved seeing all of Gina's food!  Probably, would be better for my health to go back to the basketball and focus less on the food... I'll consider that.  Speaking of which, we did get some square ice cream.  Mine was just as amazing as I remember it.  Mary's was freezer burned... so we stopped at our favorite place in Pocatello, Tasty Treat on the way home to make up for it.  

Over all it was a great trip.  Beautiful scenery, perfect whether, and lots of loving family.  Couldn't have asked for more... well we could have asked for a few more days for sliding and square ice cream.

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, here's about 80 of them incase you want to see a bit more of how our little get-together was.

To View Photos Click Here:

Monday, September 22, 2014

"Something to learn" Gina Waite

Growing up in a family of eight children was a wonderful experience; however, it was not without its challenges…like the times we would be traveling and would stop at a restaurant to eat.  The wide-eyed and shocked expression on the face of each restaurant host as my father would indicate our need for a table with ten chairs was a repeated, priceless observation.   Sometimes they could sit us together after a “brief” wait…other times we just couldn't sit by each other so we would automatically go into buddy mode.  This is where you pick your favorite sibling, in that moment, and sit next to them…no matter where you would end up.  

Laundry day, with a large family,  was an especially challenging day as my mother would cringe at the never-ending pile of Mt. Washmore (thank you Susanne for this great term!)  Grocery shopping for ten people was a momentous occasion!  As my Mother would pull up into the garage with our food she would honk to indicate the necessary formation of a chain-gang to bring in the copious amounts of groceries!  ...And as much as all these were challenges…we never experienced what it would be like to have a large family and try to accommodate a child with special needs.  

It takes extraordinary parents to handle a large family!  Even more so when you consider the time and emotional investment it must take to handle a sweet child who needs a lot more consideration in day-to-day activities, than the others. do this with grace and love and involve the entire family in the process is truly a remarkable feat…one I am happy to say I observe in my friends, The Moore family!

Brooke Moore…a sweet little angel who blesses the lives of all who know her just by being in it…descended on the house of Moore to add love, tenderness and extra consideration about twelve years ago now!  With a diagnosis in her toddler years of lissencephaly, a condition that is characterized by a gene-linked brain malformation characterized by the absence of normal folds in the cerebral cortex, Brooke has blessed everyone in the Moore family with her sweet spirit!  And as extraordinary a presence as Miss Brooke has about her, I can honestly say I am in constant awe of the entire family…no more so, however, than that of the Mother of the Moore household.

Keyli Moore, a dear friend and Wonder Woman among us, is an inspiration to behold!  Through pregnancy or ailments she has maintained a household of love AND continually provides Brooke with as much opportunity and consideration as the rest of her six children!  You can observe this outcome daily as Brooke is neatly cared for and regarded as a VERY important part of the family by the TEAM of Moore's who ready her each day!  

In my observation of this beautiful family, I've come to realize that Brooke has been the catalyst of making this family so seems that "raising a child with special needs doesn't take a special family, IT makes a family special!"  To the Moore family I say, "I love and admire ALL that you are!"  To Brooke I say, "hang in there sweetheart...the rest of us still have something to learn!" 

♦ Hope you'll share YOUR stories and photos with us at:

Monday, September 15, 2014

Square Ice Cream and Huge Ben Hazlett

Just to put this in context, I'm writing this on Friday to post on Monday.

Today (Friday) started out like all great family vacations... slowly and with kids wavering between excited anticipation and crying about not being able to take every toy in existence with them.  We were heading to West Piney near Swan Valley Idaho.  This awesome lodge is nestled in the pine trees only a few miles from the glistening waters of Palisades Reservoir.  At the base of the road is a great little store that sells square ice cream... a family favorite.  Sounds like a brochure huh?

Well it's better than that.  So we planned to leave by 7am... a little ambitions I know but if you saw the huge slide, outdoor bowling lane, baseball field, beautiful forest and tasted the ice cream you would risk it too.  Alas 11am has rolled around and we are still packing... maybe we'll get there someday... maybe if I stop blogging it would help too.

So here is a video about the store and some pictures from the last time we went.  If we ever make it there, I will post a follow up.  As my son just hit me in the head with a Nerf dart that he has now scattered all over the house, a stay-cation and round ice-cream and little boring slides is sounding better and better.

Rainy Creek Country Store

3 years ago with Nana and the Terry's

Monday, September 8, 2014

Fall Gina Waite

Fall…a most beautiful time of year!   It’s as if the earth tries one more time to be as lovely as possible before completely being buried beneath the monochromatic hues of winter.  Leaves turn to different colors or display the deeper hues that lack of chlorophyll, brings.  The sun, as it changes the arc which it passes through the sky, seems to shade more and cast direct rays, less.  As the days grow shorter, and the nights grow longer, the grass seems to regenerate itself and thrive in the much cooler temperatures.   It’s a time of great beauty and harvest…and fall happens to be my Mother’s birth month and her favorite time of the year!

The “f” in fall represents “football.”  A sport that kicks off in fall with much ado!  My Mom joined the ranks of those who enjoy watching young men battling it out on a grassy field whilst carrying a prolate spheroid-shaped ball!  …And as much as I knew my mother loved football, I didn't realize the level of fan-hood she could achieve as when she moved close to the “smurf-turf” and became an honorary Boise State Bronco!  In my Mother’s beautiful backyard, there stood a stone, rectangle monument with a statement she held most dear…”You’re in Bronco Country!”  …And don’t you forget it, while at my Mom’s house, we ALWAYS knew that we had better…R-E-S-P-E-C-T…her Bronco Boys! 

The “a” in fall represents “apples.”  A season known for canning, fall produces the best apples!  While growing up I remember how the house would smell of the harvested fruits.  As my parents were concerned with provident living and having food for a rainy day…we had an entire orchard of apples.  The bruised apples were feed to the horses, but the good ones we’d pick, box and store for winter.   My Mom would also extract the liquid and make the BEST apple jam and apple butter I've ever tasted.  One smell I will never forget is that of boxes and boxes of apples AND the canning kitchen ripe with extracted apple juice!

The “l” in fall represents “leaves.”  Those brightly colored fallen leaves that we would shuffle our feet through as children!  The same ones we would love to rake into piles so we could run and jump into…all while my mother watched on in delight.  I have a specific memory of my mom…involving leaves.  She loved her beautiful tree out behind her house.  She would stand in the bedroom overlooking this tree just to admire the brilliant colored fall leaves.  We caught her there, more than once, gazing from the window respecting the change of the seasons.

The last “l” in fall represents “love.”  My mom loved the holidays that fall ushered in: Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas.  The effort and tradition that she expended on behalf of each was remarkable and something that each of her children admire and try, in their own way, to carry on!  Halloween’s were full of family-oriented spook alley fun!  Thanksgiving memories filled with delicious food, family and fun-filled Christmas tree expeditions!  Christmas…there was never a happier, more fulfilled, gift-giver than my own, dear mother! 

Fall...a season which represents some of the BEST memories I have of my mother…one of my favorites being the last time I got to see her before her passing.  We had just finished a lovely girl’s weekend together and I couldn't contain the appreciation and love I had for my mom.  As we were just about to part and travel to our separate locations, I was honestly filled with complete admiration for the woman she was!  I reached out to embrace her and started to cry. Looking back now it was as if I knew it may be our last exchange!  With that sweet embrace, I kissed her on the cheek and we each walked to our respective cars and smiled at each other while the tears flowed down our cheeks…AND the tears continued to flow for the hours it took me to get back home…giving new meaning to fall bawl!    As William Cullen Bryant has said of the fall, it represents “the year's last, loveliest smile and gift."  So true, Mr. Bryant…the last fall exchange…a most beautiful gift!

♦ Hope you'll share YOUR stories and photos with us at:

Monday, September 1, 2014

"Be Kind" Jim Terry

I saw a picture the other day with a quote on it that really made me think. It stated…“Be Kind. For everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.”  How true and profound these few words can or may be in everyday life situations.

I was at Safeway the other night after a LONG TEN hour day at work and of course I would pick the night that EVERYONE was there.  I also—like my sister Mary does when she goes shopping—ended up with the old broken down cart with the wobbly wheel and a “thump, thump, thump” as I pushed the cart down the aisles.  And to enhance this experience that night, it appeared as everyone’s child was acting up and crying while the parents sat idly by and let this behavior transpire.  Even the employees of the store appeared tired, worn out and were a bit curt.

As I came around to the drink/chip aisle I could see that there was an obstacle about halfway down the aisle…it was a woman, a cart and four kids.  When I reached that obstacle and after waiting for a bit—thinking this woman would notice I needed to get by and move for me— I asked the woman, “Can you please move to the side so I can get by?”   I must admit that I was taken back by her response.

“You are just going to have to wait your turn,” she replied.

Have you ever experienced that look before? You know the one. The one that if looks could kill you would be six feet under!  Well as I gave this "look of death" to the woman who so graciously verbalized her opinion, I then proceeded to pick up her cart, moved it to the side and then walked by my "obstacle" and continued to finish my shopping.

As I approached the front of the store to pay for the items I had placed in my cart, I noticed that the lines were REALLY long.  I thought to myself that this is going to be a “test of my patience” and to “breathe deeply.” 

After about a twenty minute wait, I was finally able to reach the part of the checkout stand where you place the items from your cart onto the moving conveyer belt so they can then be scanned and paid for.  The cashier was an elderly gentleman in his early sixties that had helped me many times before that always had a kind and a polite attitude.  Tonight his character was no different..."Thank Goodness." He was like the rose in the middle of the thorn patch or the light in the middle of this storm that appeared to be all around me.

As he began to scan my items, I noticed that there was something not quite right with his actions.  He appeared dazed and almost transparent as I looked at him.  I also noticed a bit of a twitch to his hands and his body as he was scanning my items.  And then it happened…in mid sentence, this man totally froze and literally could not talk or move. As I watched his eyes slowly start to roll towards the back of his head, I realized he might be passing out or may be having a seizure of some kind.  Long story short, I quickly ran around the end of the counter and caught this man just before he fell onto the hard floor on which he stood. 

Now I’m not telling you this to be a hero or say, “look at me”, but I would like to point out again the simple quote above…“Be Kind. For everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.” 

Come to find out from the manager of Safeway, this man I caught while falling has had a “few episodes” before with freezing and even convulsing due to an undisclosed disease he has been fighting for a few years now. 

And to the woman in the middle of the aisle with the rude comment…Maybe just maybe you are fighting, what feels like, a losing battle with four kids who don’t listen to you or maybe you are in a bad marriage or maybe you just lost your job or...

My point is everyone’s battles are different and maybe if we take the time to look a little deeper, we might be able to help in those situations instead of becoming critics, ignore the situation or look the other way.  My self-professed battle…PATIENCE.  Of which I am working on and hope to improve greatly in the near future with this experience.

Today is Labor Day and I hope those of you who are working know that you are appreciated and valued for your service. For those of us who are lucky enough to have the day off, be grateful and take time today to recognize a “battle” and help or improve upon that situation to make your or someone else’s day better.  Happy Labor Day!


I also want to make a special mention of a birthday that is coming up on the 7th of September.  She was the lady that inspired and created this great blog and is dearly missed…MY MOM!  She would have been a young 71 years old.  She wrote a special tribute at the end of one of her columns to me on my birthday in the Idaho Press Tribune in 2011 that I want to share with you.

It’s my first son’s birthday today. So of course I spent a few minutes this morning remembering the special little blue-eyed boy who loved to make snowmen himself in the winter. He also liked to ride motorcycles and horses in the summer, and fly kites in the spring. Actually he’d tie his kite to the lawn chair that he’d placed in the sun so he could “get some rays” while he napped.

  Doesn’t seem that long ago. But somehow the years passed by without me even noticing. And now there’s a special blue-eyed man who stands in the little boy’s place. … So glad to be a part of it all, Jim!”

And to my Mom I simply will say, “I too am SO glad you were a part of it all! I couldn't have done it without you. I miss the way you always made me feel loved and important through your acts of kindness, your warm embrace, your special homemade Birthday/Christmas cards, all the valuable lessons you taught me and your ability to write so well.  Happy Birthday in Heaven! I love and miss you!”