Grandma Raab

The last time I saw my grandma was six years ago at my sister’s wedding, before that it had been like ten years since I had seen her. I grew up in Wisconsin so most holidays and celebrations were spent at my grandparent’s house or the cabin on the lake. And boy was it fun driving to the lake as a kid. As kids we loved seeing all the Amish buggys and driving super duper fast up the steep hill only to go flying like we were on a roller coaster. Dads are the best when it comes to fun in the car! If I were to go back now I’m sure that hill is so tiny. I remember watching my uncles shoot the fireworks over the lake on the 4th while we sat with Grandma on swing. So many memories with Grandma at the lake.

I remember going to Grandma Raab’s on Easter, eager to search for my Easter basket. All 30 grandkids had Easter baskets and they were all in different spots. Hiding. Now thinking about this, it must’ve taken a long time to hide all those baskets. I remember the homemade chocolate bunnies and peanut butter eggs that were in each basket. No candy was store bought, except the jelly beans. She made little crocheted bunny poopers for the jelly beans to go into. I remember the sugar eggs with little pictures in them. My grandma had talent! I remember going on our Easter Egg hunt for eggs filled with money. Big kids in the back of the house and little kids in the front.

I remember playing the piano for Grandma, Spanish Eyes, she taught it to my sister and I. She was always so interested in our talents and especially enjoyed it when we spoke in German to her. I remember going to Grandma’s and playing on her stationary bike. My sister would stand on one pedal and I on the other, and we’d see how fast we could go. I remember Grandma’s drawer of cards and playing Go Fish and Old Maid over and over. I remember the pool table and jute box in the basement and playing ‘Hooked on a Feelin.’

I remember my baptism day, and even though my Grandparents were Catholic, they were there, happy for my special day. I remember the cake with the sugar hands that she made for me. I remember all of the birthday cards she sent with little pieces of confetti that came tumbling out. JD found a letter she recently wrote to me and as he opened it he was thrilled to see confetti falling to the ground. I couldn’t help but chuckle and smile. As young girls, my sisters and I wrote letters to my grandma very diligently, maybe secretly loving the confetti filled letter that we would receive in return.

My grandma loved her faith and was willing to share spiritual quotes and thoughts she found that we might enjoy. I wish I would’ve done the same. My grandma was an only child and very well educated. She went to college and went on to receive her Master’s at Stanford. She taught in Mexico for a few years and then moved back to Wisconsin, where she met my grandpa.

I will always remember her soft voice and her warm hugs. The day she went back to the hospital for the last time I had this thought to call her and I so wished I did. To hear her sweet voice one last time.

I will always remember her laugh and sense of humor. After she’d been in the hospital for a few days, on hospice, she woke up in the morning and joked that she was bummed she was still here. My grandpa worked with cows for a living and therefore smelled like manure and had boots that were covered in it. Near the end, she was in and out and at a moment of alertness, someone asked if she would recognize Grandpa, her response, “He’s wearing a white coat and doesn’t have manure on his shoes.”

My birthday will be a little more special to me as she passed away that morning. My dad had just visited her and was able to give her a blessing. I know it’s not a coincidence that she held on all week to see my dad, her eldest son, and to receive that blessing from him.

I’m so grateful for priesthood and the knowledge I have of Heavenly Father’s plan. Because I will see my grandma and grandpa again someday. And it will be a wonderful reunion.

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I Really Love Sundays

I have to admit that most Sunday mornings are rough for our little family. Getting ready for 9am church was not an easy task. JD cried almost every Sunday morning that he didn’t want to go and getting dressed was a struggle. Now that church is at 11o’clock our Sunday mornings are wonderful. JD and Holly happily get dressed early and we have time to actually eat breakfast while listening to some nice hymns.

Maybe it’s just my better attitude but recently Sundays have been amazing. So rejuvenating for the week, giving me the spiritual boost that I so need by the end of the week. Jim gave a talk on recognizing our blessings today in sacrament meeting and I couldn’t help but think of these two sweet blessings in my life.

They’ve been going to preschool four days a week for two hours a day and I find myself loving my free time but at the same time counting down the minutes until I get to go pick them up. They are learning so much these days. My most favorite thing right now is when they sing a long to the Primary cd. The songs they will learn this year in Primary. We got the cd the second week in January and they already know every.single.word to every song on that cd. Today when the primary chorister asked if the kids had the cd, Holly proudly exclaimed, “we listen to that in our car!” I secretly love listening to their sweet voices sing those primary songs, though sometimes JD remind me that it’s not Sunday so we can listen to fun songs too.

I love Sundays because Jim and I get to go to Sunday School together. I love hearing him comment and expound on scriptures. I especially loved the Sunday when the teacher asked if he’d give the First Vision in Spanish. I’ve heard him speak Spanish but never the First Vision. I’m not gonna lie, it was pretty sweet hearing him speak. No matter the language, the spirit testifies of it’s truthfulness. I’m grateful for the blessing my husband is in my life.

In Sunday School today we were given scriptures and needed to come up with a question and how the scripture we had answered that question. The scripture said to be patient, faithful and diligent. And the part that stuck out the most was “I will encircle thee in the arms of my love.” I can feel His love everyday. I want to be better at recognizing the blessings my Heavenly Father has given me, especially the little things. I’m blessed to be a mother. It’s definitely my calling. Though sometimes my days are filled with a little more whining and fighting than I would like, I wouldn’t change it for anything. The extra kisses and I Love Yous make up for it. I know I’m loved by my Holly and JD and I sure hope they know I love them. I’m gonna go kiss them goodnight, again.

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Love Day 2013

We thought we needed to celebrate Valentine’s Day a day early because Jim had young men basketball the night of. So we went to Five Guys, JD’s request because they have cool drinks and I think he really likes hamburgers, and then went to Dairy Queen for some ice cream. It was a great night with my little family. It turns out that we were actually able to spend Valentine’s together anyway. Yay for family nights.

I wanted to be one of those fun moms and make heart shaped pancakes for breakfast but I was rushing to finish the kids valentines for their friends before school. Instead they had poptarts and a glass of milk. I even bought little valentine mailboxes for the morning but forgot to put those out too.

We made it to preschool and so I took the opportunity to go get a couple heart balloons from the dollar store and ran home to clean the kitchen and set up a valentine surprise for the kids when we got home. I even had time to cut vinyl for the mailboxes. Go me! They absolutely loved their surprise and Holly even said thank you again to me today. Thank you dollar section of Target!

After preschool JD wanted me to take a picture so we jumped, no pun intended, at the chance. JD has had a hard time leaving me to go to preschool so I’m pretty sure he’s jumping for joy to see me. He does enjoy himself when he’s there though. He’s a mama’s boy for sure!

We spent some time at the park with our dear friends and the kids exchanged valentines with each other. They were so excited to give and get their little treats! No pictures though.

It was such a nice day that we went to yet another park later in the day and played some more!

And Valentine’s day wouldn’t be complete without some heart shaped sugar cookies. We made them on Saturday. Holly was persistent in asking so while JD napped we made them. He woke up in time to decorate and eat!

I found this printable yesterday and wished I would’ve found it sooner. Great valentine for a few of my friends!

I’m loving this quote right now too! Thank you Elder Holland for being so wise.

 xo Happy Valentine’s Day! xo

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Virginia With The Fam

Every year Jim goes to Las Vegas for CES, leaving us for a whole week. This year we were able to fly to Virginia, thanks to my dad’s frequent flyer miles, to see my family. It was just me and the kids. I was looking forward to the adventure of flying with my kids and thought it would be easy peasy.

The day we left it was an early morning so the kids only had some milk to drink and some dry cereal. Holly gets motion sick and proved it when we pulled into parking garage at the airport when she barfed. We changed her shirt and we were good to go. It was especially nice to have Jim come to the gate to see us off. The kids pulled their own suitcases, which they loved doing, but in the end was kind of a hassle. No one in the airport cares about cute little three year olds pulling cute Spiderman and princess suitcases. The flight was uneventful until it was time to land. JD was gripping my right arm while Holly was puking into the barf bag. Luckily it was a clean experience and she was happy and ready for the next short flight. Needless to say it was a wonderful sight to see my family waiting for us at the end of the hallway in Richmond!


The kids were most excited about seeing Grandma and OGO and opening their Christmas presents. Holly especially loved her new princess dress and danced the night away. She had the dress on first thing the next morning.

Sunday was Holly and JD’s first day in sunbeams and they were a little apprehensive and excited to be with their cousin Taylor. Unfortunately they had two different classes and Taylor’s class was already full so they went in a class where they didn’t know anyone. I sat behind them during sharing time and then walked them to their class. I had little tears in my eyes as they sang “I am a Child of God” and stood to participate in the other songs. The kids were so excited when during sharing time they showed the Mormon Message video of “I am a Child of God.” It’s their favorite!!

It was fun being with my family and watching the kids play and sometimes fight with each other. We learned to not intervene all the time and they were okay. The weather was not too cold at all so they were able to play outside too. Uncle Matt helped JD do his hair on Sunday morning with his gel and so one day while Matt was at school JD wanted to do his own hair. I had to laugh and the amount of gel he used. As he was rubbing his head he said, “this is amazing!” Funny boy!

Most everyday we watched my sister’s 9 month old Chloe. I don’t think I heard her cry more than a few times. She smiled and played and I even taught her ‘So Big.’ She wasn’t really catching on until the last day when my sister said it and she raised both arms in the air. I was a proud aunt! It was just fun having everyone around.

Grandma took me and the three amigos to the Richmond Children’s Museum. It was so awesome and the kids could’ve stayed their all day long. There was so much for them to do. I especially loved how open and clean it was. The museum even had a carousel in the middle of it and of course we rode it! Holly is still talking about it.

My crazy teenage brother taught the littles the Haka dance a couple times. My kids were doing their own Haka when we got home from Virginia. Made Uncle Matt proud.

I love my family so much and wish I lived closer. Maybe one day.

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Summer Is Over

We had so much fun this summer! Everyday we had something fun to do and someone to share it with. And when our friends were away we had fun creating memories just me and the kids. Daddy even took some time off work to do some fun things with us too.

And in no particular order, mostly because I don’t remember when things happened, this was our summer…

Grandma took the kids and I to the Dean Lesher center in downtown Walnut Creek for a Chevron Family fun day. The theme was princesses and pirates, which was perfect for Holly and JD. We made sock puppets, got free stuff, and saw a puppet show. The highlight for Holly was trying on the Tinkerbell costume, where she decided this is what she wants to be for Halloween, and JD couldn’t leave without a real eye patch. They still talk about it and how they want to go back. Til next summer.

We visited the park a lot this summer. They became expert climbers, swingers and sliders. One day we walked to the park from our house and all they wanted to do was lay on the bench and eat grapes. Funny kids.

Holly and JD love going on adventures with Grandma and this time was no exception. This time we went up to the Berkeley hills to do lots of fun things at Tilden park. We rode the little steam train, which is always a favorite, and then headed further in the park to feed the animals on the farm. We brought celery to feed the goats who were practically reaching for a bite through the fence. It was a beautiful day to be outside, enjoying nature and being with Grandma and Uncle Johnny. Our next stop was the carousel where we enjoyed some cotton candy and Fenton’s ice cream. We played at the park for a little bit before we left. All the fun tuckered the kids out and they took nice long naps! Thanks for the fun Grandma!


1. We spent a lot of time swimming at the March’s pool, taking walks, and having play dates. The summer would not have been the same without our best buddies Parker and Emily.

2. The new splash pad in Concord was perfect for hot days and plus it was FREE! Holly and her friend Kennedy enjoyed hanging out under the water drop bucket. They have matching swimsuits too! We went almost once a week to cool off and run around!

3. Our first trip to Contra Loma was so much fun with our friends and Uncle Johnny. We celebrated Grandma Hopkins birthday with some yummy cheesecake. Holly and JD were right there to help blow out the candles. And the perfect end to a summer day, popcorn!

4. Our last trip to Contra Loma with our best buds. Rebecca and I are always too busy playing and refereeing the kids that we never get a picture together. This time we did. Life wouldn’t be the same without her. Glad we are friends!

5. When Holly and JD aren’t fighting they really do love each other. And here is some proof! Holly sporting her new haircut and her princess dress. The first thing Holly and JD do when we get to church is run up to Grandma’s lap. Grandma took JD on a Costco run one day and he came home with this 31″ Batman. He was on guard while the kids bathed. And mostly we wanted to scare daddy when he got home from work. I think it worked.

6. One night this summer Daddy came with us to swim and the kids had so much fun. They learned all of Daddy’s swimming skills and thought he was the coolest when he dove and back flipped into the pool. Holly showed off her jumping and JD had fun hanging out. Holly thought it was especially fun when Daddy threw her in the air.

In July, Jim’s aunts and uncles had a high school reunion in Half Moon Bay and we were lucky enough to spend some time with them and catch up. It was so fun to be together and listen to them reminisce and share stories. Holly and JD have only seen some a few times when they were real little and had never met Aunt Laurie and Uncle Jim. It took a little while to warm up, Holly fell asleep so she wouldn’t have to talk to them the first night and then wouldn’t open her eye for a while, silly girl. We spent a couple days in Half Moon Bay and didn’t leave without walking along the beach.

That next week in July after family went home, Jim took a week long work trip to New York and Boston. I really wanted to go with him, and I probably should have. But because I didn’t the kids and I took a little trip of our own to visit our best friends in Monterey. We don’t get to see Sadie enough and so we made a two day trip out of it. The kids were so excited to see Boone and Stella and didn’t want to leave when it was time. The kids had talked about going to the aquarium for weeks so we did that first thing. It is so amazing every time we go. Heavenly Father really made some amazing creatures! Catching up with Sadie was just what I needed. The kids really loved having a sleep over too. The second day Sadie took us to Dennis the Menace park where Holly had a little accident so had to spend most of the time in a diaper and JD’s swim trunks. The slides were the most fun! Before we headed home we went to the beach and played in the sand. This was definitely a highlight of our summer!

When the summer nights were beautiful we rode bikes. Mostly in the church parking lot right next to us, but when it is busy, which is not very often, we go to our church. They have really gotten so good at riding that I busted out the bike I have to ride with them.

We enjoyed $1 Jamba smoothies with our friends one morning. Each of us got our own and there was not a drop left!

One of my favorite things to do is make cupcakes so when Jim asked if I’d make some for a work BBQ I was more than excited to do it. They were trumped by some homemade pies but were still a hit!

Jim took the day off one Friday and took us to Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. The last time we went was when the kids were two months old! We of course had to ride the carousel a couple times. JD even tried throwing the rings into the clown’s mouth. Holly had more fun riding on the rides that went up and down than JD did. I made the mistake of telling him, as he was sitting in a helicopter ride, that it went up and down. I’ve never seen that boy move so fast. He wasn’t having it. We calmed him down and then got him back in the helicopter only for Daddy to say the same thing as me and he booked it. Holly rode with a little girl and had a ball. JD enjoyed watching her and laughed and smiled the whole time. The highlight of the day for me was the log ride. Oh it was so fun. The kids didn’t seem to think so and when JD talks about Santa Cruz all he says is he doesn’t want to go on the log ride. Before we left we played on the beach and then got our giant waffle cone sundaes to go. Yum! It was the perfect family day.

Our friends Travis and Jen had their third baby, a little boy – Robert Jay, and I was the lucky one to take pictures of him. I was able to be their right after he was born to capture those first moments too. Seriously, it’s the most beautiful thing to see those first moments! Little RJ was so calm and the best little model. This past Sunday we went to his blessing and we showed up 10 minutes early for church. When we walked into the chapel, Travis asked if I could play the organ. I thought he was joking but he wasn’t so I played. I just might not show up early for church anymore!

Growing up we would go to my grandparents cabin in Wisconsin. It was on a lake where we’d paddle boat and swim. When I heard about the Lafayette Reservoir and how you can rent paddle boats I thought it would be fun to do. It was a beautiful Saturday and spur of the moment we decided to go. It was so fun and brought back some fun childhood memories. Holly and JD had fun and even had their turn and pedaling. The guys decided to use the row boat instead. Not sure they enjoyed either boat.

My van gets really dirty and usually we go through the car wash. One afternoon it was hot so I decided it would be fun to wash the van with the kids. They loved spraying the van with the hose and using their soapy rags to wash. When we were done I took the hose and made a rainbow so they could run under the water. They’d run around the yard and I tried to reach them with the water. I turn around at one point to turn off the water and when I turned back around I see JD making a rainbow of his own. “Holly, run under my rainbow” he said. I was laughing so hard. That boy has quite the arch and distance! Seriously I can’t stop laughing when I look at this picture.

One last summer adventure for me was running in the Color Me Rad fun in San Jose. I ran it with my friends Teri and Norma. A bunch of my other friends ran a similar race in San Francisco earlier this summer and I so wished I would’ve. When I saw this run I didn’t want to pass it up. Thankfully I had some friends to run it with. There really is no point except to get all color-fied and have a blast of a time. Plus you get a cool t-shirt out of it.

We had such a great summer but I am so excited for routine and structure again. The kids are taking a dance class with their little friends, our little preschool starts again this week and I am teaching piano lessons almost every afternoon. It’s gonna be a good year!

Way to go you made it to the end of my post! Leave a comment and I might just make you a cupcake.


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