Friday, August 22, 2014

Visiting Grandpa and Grandma Blad

Lily liked this picture of her the best.
 When my dad married Debby (almost 12 years ago), my family grew.  I now have another set of grandparents, Grandma and Grandpa Blad.  They are so very welcoming and endearing.  We got to see them in May at my dad's Lauret-Bennion family reunion in Antimony, where Grandpa brought his boat and ATVs and grandma brought her cookies and famous potato salad.

After dinner at the reunion, Grandma and I sat at a table and just visited about our lives and illnesses and testimonies of God's timing and Jesus' grace.  I found her to be one of my kindred spirits.  Oh, and I just had to get her potato salad recipe!  She told me that the recipe is published in the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers Recipe booklet.  We literally conversed until bedtime.

Grandma Blad's All-American Famous Potato Salad
  • 4 medium Potatoes, boiled, skin removed, diced
  • 6 medium Eggs, boiled, peeled, diced
  • 1/4 of a large Onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small jar Sweet Pickles, chopped, or sweet pickle relish
  • To taste- Miracle Whip
  • To taste- Salt and Pepper
Cooking Directions:
Combine all together in a salad bowl and chill. It is even better the second day.

A week or two later, Grandma Blad wrote to me telling me how much she enjoyed visiting with me at the Blad family reunion, and that she put my name on the prayer roll at the temple, and that she would love for us to come and visit them sometime and she would cook us a meal.  I was touched, and I jumped on the chance to visit and partake of a home-cooked meal.  I was in the middle of planning our trip to Vegas for the Guting reunion, so I arranged to stay with them for a night on our drive home.  Their home is the perfect half-way point between our house and Vegas.  Grandma Blad was so excited for our visit and she planned what she would fix for us to eat.  She really spoiled us silly.
 We arrived late in the evening on Saturday night, around 8pm.  Grandma and Grandpa had already eaten.  Grandma had fixed a BBQ stew of sorts with cubed steak, potatoes, carrots, and BBQ sauce.  She had also made her famous potato salad, since she knew how much I liked it, and also a green jello salad.  It was yummy and I was ready for a good home-cooked meal after several days of eating out.

The next day was Sunday, and Grandma had breakfast all cooked up for us at 8:00 a.m. sharp.  Grandpa was off to meetings at the church, so we ate the wonderful meal without him.  She had fixed up homemade french toast, with homemade strawberry jam, bacon, and hash browns, milk, and juice.  See?  We were so spoiled.

We went to church at their Kanosh ward, and loved every minute of it.  Then we came home, and grandpa joined us for a nice hearty lunch.  Grandma made meatloaf, baked potatoes, layered green salad, corn from their garden, homemade rolls with homemade strawberry jelly.  Seriously, I felt so at home and loved!
 After lunch, and before we hit the road, we asked grandpa for a garden tour.  He obliged and showed us around his property of produce.  I'm still in awe at all he did.  I blogged about our garden tour on our Wild West Gardeners blog.
 It was a lovely tour and we loved visiting with them!
 Oh!  We also did one more thing before we left.  Grandma did a family home evening with us using all her props that she made for her primary kids to learn the first vision of Joseph Smith.  That was truly a memorable family home evening!
Steve was the "prosbertyrian" preacher and also one of the puppeteers.

Amara wore a vest and was Joseph Smith.

Grandpa and I read the scripture accounts of the first vision.

Lily was another minister and also the pillar of light (holding the lantern).
 Grandma Blad makes the cutest puppets that you ever did see!  She has a Joseph and Emma Smith.

 And she made God the Father and Jesus Christ puppets, which she and Steve were the puppeteers for.
I bet you wish you were there.  But since you weren't, here's the next best thing- Click on the smilebox below to view the video.  It's a little over 10 minutes long, but worth watch!
Maybe you could watch our F.H.E. and do your own rendition of the first vision.  Or just watch ours and be a part of the great times we had!  :)
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Sunday, August 17, 2014

One Last Aloha! Until the Next Guting Reunion...

"Shaka brada!"  Uncle Greg and me.
 The time came that my family had to go back home.  We got together for one last luncheon at the tahiti village with the people we love. 

We took pictures...
 Aunty Marissa (Jayme's wife) kept loading the kids up on ice cream and cookies...
 And then we just hung out for a couple hours.
 Hanging out with this group, there is never a dull moment.

 The best was watching my mom with her girl-cousins play musical chairs.

 And after all those shenanigans, Uncle Tex challenged Steve to some capoeira.  They were fun to watch.  And somehow I got roped into "playing" too.  I may have some of the worst technique ever, but I'm willing to look goofy around these folks.  It was all in good fun. 
And that's how we say Aloha- with lots and lots of smiles.

If you missed the reunion, or want to relive some of those fun moments- check out the 7-minute smilebox video below.  Warning- the sound may be a bit loud.
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Sunday, August 10, 2014

Pricey Food And Priceless People- Guting Reunion Part 3

One warm evening, we all gathered for the expensive dinner at the Main Street Station- all-you-can-eat seafood buffet.  And no, they don't charge less for children.  So, we let our kids know that this was going to be a BIG deal- not just for the really expensive food- but really for the chance to spend some time with relatives that they have never met (and I've only met once), and may never see again except at that dinner, specifically my grandma Linda (aka Patricia Naparan Guting), and my Uncle Kaiama Ng, and his son, Joshua.
So, we parked at the hotel that mom, Tom, and April's family were staying at, and walked down the street together to the buffet.

I liked this shirt.  Can you tell who's wearing it?
Did you guess this dashing young man?
If you said Joe Lauret, you win.

So, we went to the buffet and had to stand around waiting until they could find a space large enough to fit our entire group of 19- April's family, my family, Joe, my mom and Tom, Aunty Raz and Uncle Ray, Kainoa, Uncle Joe, Lani (my cousin), Uncle Kaiama, Josh, Grandma Linda, and Aunty Leo.
So, we waited and took some silly face pictures.
Then, we got to eat!
Amara even tried her first clam!
And Steve ate crab legs and only crab legs. 
He was going to get his money worth, and I'd say he did it!
Before Josh and Uncle Kaiama had to leave us to go back to work, I made sure that we got in some pictures. 
Left to R: Joe, Josh, Lani, Lani, April, Spencer.  Backrow: Kainoa.  Background Photobomber: Steve


Aunty Raz, Uncle Ray (making the "shaka" sign), and Uncle Kaiama.
How many people can you fit in a "selfie" with Uncle Kaiama?
Then it was time for a pic of my mom with her siblings.  The only one missing is Aunty Nani Ng. 

My mom (Roberta Mapother), Uncle Kaiama Ng, Uncle Joe (Vince Guting), and Aunty Raz (Razalin Wright)
Then, as you can usually expect when getting together with my mom's family...
Things got a little...
Those 2 fingers smearing chocolate on my mom's face belong to Uncle Kaiama.  He got her good.
Who knows the last time I saw Uncle Raymond?  Gotta love him!  Selfie time with Uncle Ray-

And, finally a selfie with my dear hubby.  My heart is happy.  I have so many people that I LOVE and I'm so blessed that I got to spend some time with them.
When dinner was done, everyone went their separate ways.  I was so disappointed that I never got a picture with my grandma Linda.  She was off to "try her luck" as they say- gamballing.  I was bummed that I never got to really talk to her- I didn't get to hear any of her stories.  At least I was able to say "hi" and "bye" and even squeezed in a hug and introduced her to my children.  Hopefully we will have a chance to get together under less busy times and I can really talk to her.  I'd like to get to know her better.

We were beat.  Vegas never sleeps, and that makes for some really tired people.  Poor pregnant April's feet were swelling up.  So, we went to bed- it would be a long drive home the next day.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Tahiti Village Poolside Picnic- Guting Reunion Part 2

Many of my mom's cousins were staying at the Tahiti Village (a time share in Las Vegas), and that is where we went to go meet up with the Guting clan for a full day of swimming and a delicious poolside BBQ.  Isaac and Bekah (Steve's nephew and neice) came with us. 

I also took the opportunity to talk with Aunty Leo and Uncle Greg in hopes of gathering family stories to share with our posterity. 
I could honestly do that all day long, but it isn't as easy as it looks.  For one thing, I had a sore throat and had lost my voice, so my attempts to speak were hard to interpret.  Also, Aunty Leo has poor hearing and vision, so she couldn't see when I was trying to talk to her and she couldn't hear my voice.  Eventually I started taking her by the shoulder and yelling in her ear so she would know I was trying to speak to her and she would try to make sense of my questions.  It was the only way we could communicate.  We tried using her hearing device, but the batteries or the wiring kept blipping out, so that didn't work. 

Uncle Greg was fun to talk to, and he could hear me well, but sometimes I had to work harder to understand him because his speech is different from what I'm used to hearing.  For one thing, he has a strong Hawaiian pidgin accent which can take some getting used to if you haven't been around it for very long, and another thing is his face and mouth droops on one side, thus impeding the communication flow.  Nonetheless, he sat with me on a couple occasions and answered my questions.  He reminds me of my grandpa so much.  I sure love him and Aunty Leo.  It will be a beautiful day in heaven to meet the rest of their family!

I am planning to transcribe the stories and post them on so they will be available to everyone.  The world would be a better place if everyone took some time to delve into the stories from their ancestry, both to learn from and to be inspired by.

So, my interest in matters at the pool was mostly directed to family history with my Aunty Leo and Uncle Greg.  I was happy Bekah and Issac were there to swim around with my girls.  Lily and Amara were in the pool so long that when they got out, they were not only wrinkled, but their armpits were sore and red from being in a life jacket for so long.  Steve was there to watch them too, so I could do my thing.
We swam before and after the BBQ.  Speaking of BBQ... that is one of my favoritest things in the world- outdoor eating with family!  This BBQ was awesome!  We had so many loved ones there, many that I've only seen perhaps once or twice in my life thus far.

This BBQ was another step on the journey of  celebrating the life of Uncle Aaron.  I know he was there in spirit and his poster came with us, too.

Uncle Joe photobombing!

My cousin, Lani, was there!  She is growing up.  I loved talking with her.  She is so down to earth and has a fun personality!  Wish we could see her more often!
Look at all the yummy food they provided!  Lasagne, Salad, hotdogs, grilled chicken, rotisserie chicken, grilled corn, rice, potato salad, desserts, chips, etc. etc...
Uncle Tex brought bubbles for the kids, and they loved blowing them.

My sunhat on Uncle Joe almost makes him look Mexican, eh?  I'm sure people think that about me too.
The shade was the place to be, since Las Vegas is so HOT!  We had a nice place next to the pool that was shaded by umbrellas and foliage.  We spent hours lounging, talking, and relaxing in the chairs there, while watching our family float by in the lazy river.
That's the life. 

The good, good life.