Husband and Father

Husband and Father
July 15, 1958 ~ August 25, 2008

Friday, December 30, 2011

The Alarming Visit From the Po Po

Winter Break has turned into one continual Friday night. Kids are up late, friends are frequent visitors, movies and parties are abundant, and nothing very productive is getting accomplished. Last night was no different.

The home security alarm was set around 12:30 a.m., when the kids were all home and accounted for. Kate is best at setting the alarm, and insures that it is set correctly before running off to bed.

The alarm started blaring around 1:00 a.m. I knew the boys were downstairs and assumed that they must have let the dog out for it’s last potty run of the night. I didn’t give it much thought, until my doorbell rang at 1:15.

Frightened, Kate, Bella, and I went to the door together. I shouted for Kate to look through the peep hole before opening the door. Much to my surprise a police officer was at my door, one was in “the woods” with his gun drawn, two more were coming up the walk. I was quite startled by their presence.

“Who is in the house with you?” the police officer pointedly inquired. “Just me and my daughter,” I answered nervously, pointing to Kate and not really thinking much about the other 3 children in the house. “Are you sure there is no one else in the house?” he stated in disbelief. “Oh, well I have 2 daughters, and two sons in the house,” I responded.

“Do you need us to come in, or do you need to come out and talk to us,” he sharply inquired. Still puzzled why I was being questioned, I insisted that nothing was wrong. “Well, someone pushed the panic button on your alarm. Are you sure everything is okay?” he stated. Wondering if this was going to end with the SWAT team propelling down my roof, and crashing through the windows, I told him my son must have set off the alarm while taking the dog out. “No, it was definitely a panic button that was pushed,” he refuted.

I finally convinced him that it was human error, and the police officers left. However, not without them walking around the premises, and making a final determination of their own.

Mike came out of his room when they left. “Are they gone,” he said smiling. “Yes, and thanks for the help,” I barked. “I guess that soda I got out of the garage wasn’t really worth it after all,” he confessed.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Dancing Around The Christmas Tree

Norwegian traditions are a big part of the Brown's Christmas Eve Celebration. Part of the Norwegian Christmas Eve tradition consists of "dancing" around the Christmas tree while singing Christmas carols. Hand in hand, we make a big circle with the tree in the middle. The dancing ends with the traditional O Jul Med Din Glede Norwegian song.

O Jul Med Din Glede is the crowd's favorite. It includes dancing, clapping, spinning in a circle, and curtseying and bowing. It made me a little teary eyed, as I remembered Steve's love and enthusiasm - probably more mocking enthusiasm- of this song. These are the Norwegian lyrics to the song:

Song Lyrics

1. O jul med din glede og barnlige lyst,
Vi ønsker dig alle velkommen;
Vi hilser dig alle med jublende røst:
Titusene ganger velkommen.

Vi klapper i hendene,
Vi synger og vi ler,
Saa gladelig, saa gladelig,
Vi swinger oss i kretsen, og neier.

2. I Østerlands vise, I tre stjernemenn,
Vi vet jo nok hvorhen I drage;
Ti vi vilde ogsaa gjerne derhen,
Og eder paa reisen ledsage.

Vi klapper i hendene,
Vi synger og vi ler,
Saa gladelig, saa gladelig,
Vi swinger oss i kretsen, og neier.

3. Saa rekker jeg dig nu med glede min haand,
Kom skynd dig og gi mig den anden.
Saa knytter vi kjaerlighets hellige baand,
Og lover at elske hinanden.

Vi klapper i hendene,
Vi synger og vi ler,
Saa gladelig, saa gladelig,
Vi swinger oss i kretsen, og neier.

Loosely translated it goes something like this:

Oh, Yule with your joy and your childlike delight
We wish you all welcome.
We greet you all with jubilating voices
Ten-thousand times welcome.

We clap our hands
we sing and we laugh.
That's how glad we are, how glad we are,
we swing around in circles
and we curtsey and we bow.

It is custom that In the final verse, everyone crosses arms and gives the right hand to the person on the left, and the left hand to the person on the right and ties love's sacred bond and promises to love one another. We leave that part out.

Presents are exchanged after the dancing around the Christmas tree. This year I gave Steve’s parents and siblings a special gift. I scanned Steve’s missionary journal, and with the help of a very talented and fabulous printer - Tueller’s Printing-published his journal and some missionary photos.

It was a tender moment to give and receive this special book.

Once the festivities of the night concluded my immediate family gathered at my house. We watched a video of The Savior, and talk about the Plan of Salvation. It is a tender time. I gave them Steve's published Missionary Journal. When reading this journal, I hope that they will gain in-sight to the success and struggles their Dad had while serving a mission. His service to the Lord changed the lives of many people, and generations to come. I hope they will always remember and know of his love for the Lord, and his testimony of the gospel.

In Steve's journal he wrote, "While I was glancing through the bible the other day, I came across this passage, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith." That's my goal, to be able to say that at the end of my mission here in Alaska, and my mission here on this earth."

I believe that he accomplished both.

Dancing Around The Christmas Tree

Gift Giving

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Eve Wagstaff Style

Christmas time is filled with traditions, many traditions that have been handed down for generations. Christmas Eve is one of those times when tradition is at it’s pinnacle.

We continue many of the Grandma Wagstaff's Family traditions, celebrating on the Eve of Christmas. Family bonding is in abundance, with cousins, and extended family getting reacquainted, and catching up on the latest, and greatest. Children and adults alike relish in the great food and company.

Hors d’oeuvres, are plentiful. Each Aunt plans and prepares her favorite homemade appetizer to share. One appetizer that remains the same is the shrimp. Big luscious, mouth watering shrimp, awaiting to be devoured. Just like the good ole days.

Christmas Eve with Grandma Wagstaff was very similar. Relatives progressed from table to table consuming their favorite appetizers. The table with the shrimp was always the most popular. That was until visitors noticed a small problem. Usually the shrimp was still frozen, and Grandma would sit at the table in her jovial style biting into the shrimp, and spewing them back into the bowl.

If you were a newcomer, and weren’t familiar with Grandma’s spewing of the shrimp, you were shocked and alarmed by such a discovery. It didn’t seem to bother Grandma, she would laugh and continue on as if she had not a care in the world.

You would think that Grandma would make sure that the shrimp was unthawed and ready for the party each year. Each year the frozen shrimp would arrive, only to unthaw by the end of the party. It was a common sight to see bits of half eaten shrimp line the bowl, which made it less than appetizing.

While traditions continue, we are grateful that now the shrimp is ONLY frozen, not half eaten. No more spewing of the shrimp at Christmas time.

Shrimp bowl - old tradition.
New tradition - Unveiling of the photo calendar.

Monday, December 26, 2011

St. George Basketball Tournament

Ben and I attended the Bountiful Braves Basketball Tournament in St. George. It was a very short trip, but really fun! We LOVE watching basketball, especially when we are watching Mike play!

Sophomore, JV, and Varsity teams played, so there were lots of games to watch. We only watched the JV and Varsity, but that was still a lot of games.

Ben is fun to watch games with. He has an incredible memory. Unlike me, he remembers the stats on most players. I usually can only remember who won or lost. Ben is also very animated about the game. I have to keep him in check a bit when he yells “miss it”, “air ball”, or some other derogatory comment when the opposing team is at the free throw line.

Mike played well, and had a great time with the team.

JV Game: Snow Canyon verses Bountiful, OT 54 Snow, 53 Braves.
What Ben and I did in our spare time. He can spot a hoop anywhere.

The best cheering section!
JV Game, Final Score: Braves 53, TimpView 49
Varsity: Bountiful 51, TimpView 38.
Varsity: Bountiful 78, SnowCanyon 62.

Ben and I missed the last day of games (wedding duties were calling). We heard that both JV and Varsity games were blow-outs against Dixie.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Texting While Driving

Texting while driving laws prohibit the use of electronic devices to write, send or read messages while driving. I agree completely with this law, and hope my kids do too.

Ben and I went on a road trip to St. George on Tuesday, to watch the Bountiful Brave's basketball team in a tournament. It was a quick trip, since I had a wedding to attend on Thursday morning, but we had tons of fun!

As we were driving, my phone continually alerted me that I was receiving text messages. It is SO tempting to just take a peek, but I refrained. Instead, I had my personal assistant, Ben, read me the text and I would tell him what to write back. He quite enjoyed his new responsibility. It kept him entertained and busy.

I warned a friend of mine that Ben was texting. She carried on quite a conversation with him via text messaging. I kept hearing Ben laugh, and laugh, and then he would say, “Mom, I don’t really mean everything I am writing.”

If you were one of the textee’s privileged enough to receive a text back, just remember; whatever I supposedly said, Ben was typing. One child of mine was a little irritated with the tone of my text. Hopefully, I haven't offended too many people.

Conversations with 9 year olds while driving are funny. Ben said, “Mom, I think I got a little of both you and Dad. I am smart like you, and good at sports like Dad. adorable!

Then there were the conversations or annoying comments such as, “How much longer? Are we there yet? Repeated 50 times. I finally handed him my phone and told him to navigate to our destination and it would keep him informed as to how much time we had left in the car.

Technology......isn’t it great!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Fabulous Friends

Amy and Eric Jacobsen hosted a dinner with a few of friends. The Farnes were unable to attend at the last minute, but we had wonderful food and had a great time visiting with the Cowley and Jacobsen clans. It seemed like the "good old days" watching Brady, Mikey, and Mike together.

Mikey and Brady played on the Rebel's Basketball team that Steve used to coach, and or assist. They have played basketball together from around the age of 10. Mikey and Brady now play for Woods Cross, Bountiful's biggest rival.

We all had a fabulousl time together!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas at the Cemetery

The Christmas season is such a happy, spiritual time of year. It is filled with shopping for loved ones; many parties with family and friends; traditions; and of course the most important part, remembering the birth of our Savior. As we experience these special times, grief seems to peak for me. It is a time when I am especially sensitive to the loss of my husband. I have a difficult time keeping my emotions in check.

This year I began a new tradition at the cemetery. We set up a wreath at Steve's grave-site to honor him. Each child brought an ornament that in someway reminded him/her of their dad and hung it on the wreath. Some were ordinary ornaments with simple meanings, others were more complex, with profound messages. Whether simple or complex, each was unique and special to the individual.

I have posted this poem before, but always love to be reminded of it at Christmastime.
I'm Spending Christmas in Heaven This Year

I see the countless Christmas trees around the world below
With tiny light, like heaven's stars reflecting on the snow.

The sight is so spectacular, please wipe away a tear
For I am spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.

I hear the many Christmas songs that people hold so dear
But earthly music can't compare with the Christmas choir up here.

I know how much you miss me, for I feel your breaking heart...
But through your memories so dear, we're never far apart.

I can't tell you of the splendor or the peace here in this place
Can you just imagine Christmas with our Savior face-to-face?

I'll ask Him to light your spirit as I tell Him of your love
So then pray for one another as you life your eyes above..

Please let your heart be joyful & let your spirits sing
For I'm spending Christmas in heaven, & I'm walking with our King.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Gifts

I have already received my Christmas gifts.....Merry Christmas to mef! This year I splurged a little, well maybe a lot, and purchased an Apple Computer and an I-Phone. I am loving my new toys! I am amazed with how quickly I am able to complete projects with my new and improved technology.

I must say though, there is a learning curve for both. In Sunday School this morning I was using my new I-Phone to look up scriptures when it began reading them to me. President Eyring, who is in our ward, was sitting on the front row. I kept my head down, hitting every button I could think of to stop the disruption. I even sat on it, when it finally stopped.

I was hoping no one, other than the two women sitting next to me, noticed my predicament. However, as I was leaving a friend commented on the minor racket coming from my side of the room. Laughingly she said, “When I saw you sitting there, I knew it must be coming from you.” Wow, I’m getting a little bit of a reputation.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Santa Clause Is Comin' To Town

The jolly, white-bearded man, with a red coat trimmed with white cuffs, red trousers, and a black belt, made an appearance at the Browns’ Family Christmas party. The children patiently waited for Santa to arrive. Their excitement grew as they sang Christmas carols and anticipated the perfect gift that Santa would have in his gigantic bag for them.

So, what could have been Santa’s delay? Could gifts have fallen out of his bag on his way?

Let me digress. As we were loading the suburban to make our journey to the Santa party, I asked Mike, “Are you sure you have loaded all the gifts I have wrapped?” “Mom, quit bugging me, they are in the car,” he barked.

Upon arriving at our destination (in Sandy, 30 miles from Bountiful), I said, “Mike, will you get the gifts out of the car, while I unload the desserts.” As he frantically rummaged through the car, I could tell by the look on his face that he had forgotten them.

Kate, who was home studying for college finals, met him half way, after she retrieved the beautifully wrapped gifts from the outside trash cans. Yep, that's right, Mike had thrown them out with the trash. Good thing they were safe and sound in the garbage bags I had placed them in.

Despite the delay, Santa was a hit as usual! He had wonderful things written in his “Naughty or Nice” Book that he read about each person.

With a coke for the road, Santa was on his way to the next house on his list to visit.

My children proudly displaying Santa's gifts.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas Dance 2011

Mike and Gretchen Morrison went to the Bountiful High School Christmas Dance together. They looked great together! Last minute, Kate insisted that we purchase a black shirt for Mike to wear to the dance. Her sense of male fashion paid off with Mike looking quite handsome.

Mike's group participated in the service project provided for the students at the school. It was a busy day, with basketball practice, and a day activity. He thought he may be rushed for the dance, so he brought some of his evening clothing to practice. Fortunately, when he left without them, only to return to a locked gym, we were able to raid his dad's closet (or what's left of it) for some replacements.

Dinner was hosted at the home of one of the girl's in the group. A big thanks to the young ladies and their parents for laboring to feed these ravenous young men.

The dance was held at the Union Building on the campus of my Alma mater, the University of Utah. Good thing we live up North, not down South. What a great place to spend the evening. The dance is always fun and entertaining.

The after dance party, was held at the Schmidt's. What a surprise when I received a call to bring Mike his casual clothes that he had forgotten. Luckily, they weren't locked in a gym, just sitting on a chair in my living room in a duffel bag. What a character that cute Mike is! Gotta love him anyway!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas Mints

Michelle - the pounder; Les - the precise cutter.
The mint making process.

It's mint making time again! This has become an annual Christmas tradition. Our candy making group has mastered mint making. Each person is skilled at their assigned job, and makes the process seem fast and easy. Actually, we have the BEST "pounder" and that is what really makes the mints work.

This year we topped our record, by making 25 pans of mints in 4-5 hours. That included a tasty lunch delivered by Wasatch Brewery; lots of chatting; and entertaining toddlers. Here is the recipe:

Fernwood Mints
22 0z. Milk Chocolate
11 oz. Green Chocolate (or white chocolate colored green)
Mint oil or Mint Flavoring

Measure 11 ounces of chocolate and melt in a double boiler, warm oven, or microwave. Put a dab of chocolate on a 12 X 18 jelly roll pan, (or cookie sheet with sides) to hold wax paper down. Trim wax paper sides or it will fall into the mints. Add 6 drops of mint oil or flavoring to taste in the melted chocolate.

Start at one end of the pan and quickly smooth chocolate with a spatula until it's even all over the pan. Grip sides of the pan and pound 6 or 7 times on counter. This makes chocolate smooth and even. Let stand while 11 ounces of green chocolate is melted.

Important: Chocolate layer in pan is ready when it barely loses its sheen all over. If it sets up too hard the layers break apart. Remedy: If too set up, put pan in warm oven briefly. Let set again to loose sheen. (This can be done to the next layers also).

When green chocolate is melted, add mint. Carefully spread on first layer. Try not to go over and over same area, as the 2 layers of chocolate will mix. When layer is on, pound and let sit.

Melt last chocolate. Add mint. Repeat process. Spread quickly, pound, sit until sheen is gone. Cut immediately into 1-inch or smaller squares. It won't cut if you wait too long. If you don't want curved edges on the outer mints, cut 1/4 inch around outer edge.


Saturday, December 10, 2011

Happy Birthday Lizzy

Lizzy became a teenager on December 3rd! Happy Birthday to my sweet baby girl! I just adore her! At age 13 Lizzy plays the harp and piano; loves to tumble and dance; is a great student; and enjoys hanging out with friends.

Unfortunately, she had the flu and was vomiting Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night. Poor baby, she had the flu last year on her birthday too.

Saturday, on her actual birthday, she danced in a charity concert for Creative Arts Academy. She tried to rest during the day in preparation for this event.

The power went out minutes before the concert was set to start. The audience and dancers sat patiently in the dark for an hour waiting for the power to return. Audience members tried to entertain us by singing Christmas carols. I think I was more entertained by the young audience members’ shadow shows on the ceiling than singing Christmas carols. At 7:00, they informed us that the power would be back on at 8:00. The audience and dancers left and returned at 8:00 for the concert.

It was a wonderful production. The proceeds were used to assist with medical bills for a little girl named Kaidence who needs a second heart transplant.

Since Lizzy wasn’t feeling very well, we celebrated Lizzy’s birthday over several days. Saturday we decorated her room, and she opened presents. Sunday I cooked her favorite meal: paprika chicken, and pasta with asparagus. Monday we went to dinner at the Olive Garden as a family. She opted not to have a friend party this year.

She wanted to refurbish her room for her birthday. Thanks to Grandpa Brown and his fabulous painting skills, her room is now the purple bird room. Perfect for a cute little teenybooper.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Another Wind Storm Predicted

A powerful wind storm has been forecast for Davis County. Some sacrament meetings were held, and others were not, as we prepare for what’s to come. The Priesthood men have been organized and are out removing debris from the area. Each house was visited by two priesthood men assessing the needs of each family.

Most residents have discarded their toppled trees, by sawing them into pieces and placing them on the curbs for City workers to pick up. However, with the prediction of another wind storm, the men are out gathering the debris to remove it, to avoid further damage or injury.

The Governor has called out the National Guard to help out in Centerville. Thousands of men and women are working fast and furious to prepare us for the storm. There is a real feel of camaraderie, unity, and comfort. I only had one strong boy to send to help, but he is a great worker and loves to serve.

The Bountiful Landfill opened to accommodate the need. There was a three mile line of people ready to unload their debris. Temporary dumping sights have been set up at churches, public parks, and schools.

Kate activated her emergency plan. Her pile of emergency essentials keeps expanding. She searched the garage for items to add to her collection. I realized today how much she is like her dad. I have an emergency generator (that I don’t know how to operate); coal buried in my backyard – somewhere; a wood burning stove downstairs (not hooked up); emergency backpacks for each child; and bins of miscellaneous emergency gear. Wow! Thanks Steve!

I am grateful for all the people, both young and old who are assisting in this massive cleanup.

Centerville Park, and Bountiful High School

Friday, December 2, 2011

Wild, Wild, Windstrom

The early morning hours of December 1st were met with powerful, howling winds. We woke to the sounds of breaking branches, trees toppling, and outdoor possessions being thrown to and fro. Frightened by the sounds, my two younger kids joined me in bed. My heart jumped at every noise, hoping, and praying that my large pine trees in front would not fall on my house.

When we finally assessed our damages, we were happy to find they were minimal. Roof shingles were strewn around the yard, and two of our trash cans had rolled down the street. We were one of the lucky ones.

School was cancelled when the power went out at the Jr. High and High School. Unfortunately, I had already sent Lizzy to Jr. High, and therefore she had to be “checked” out of school in order to leave.

As we drove through the neighborhood, we were stunned by the immense damage. Centerville, our neighboring city, was hit worse than Bountiful. It was reported that winds were gusting in both areas between 89 to 102 mph. Category 2 hurricanes are winds of 100 mph.I guess we can say we lived through a hurricane.

We saw fences that were missing, trees toppled, power lines downed, roof shingles scattered, and much more immense property damage. It was reported that semis capsized on I-15, shutting it down for a period of time. It was estimated that 50,000people in Utah were without power at some time.

The majority of Bountiful residents and businesses were without power. The entire city of Bountiful looked like a ghost town. Most restaurants, fast food venues, and other business establishments were all closed. We were hoping to have electricity by evening, but continued to be in the dark.

Relatives, friends, the bishopric, and someone in the stake presidency checked in on us. How thoughtful! Many friends and family offered their home to us to crash at for the night. At 9:00 we ventured out to Centerville to spend the night at my sister’s house.

The Ashton’s are empty nesters, with a large house. They were very accommodating. They even provided a necessary barf bucket for Lizzy, now that's what I call hospitality!

Power was restored to our home around 1:00 am. There are still places in Bountiful that are without electricity. You don't realize how much you depend on electricity, until you don't have it.

Thoughts of immense gratitude surface at times of destruction. I am so grateful for a warm home, safety, electricity, and minimal damage. I am also grateful for good people watching out for each other.