Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Weekend

First and for most I need to tell you just how grateful I am to the men and women that serve this country.  I have always loved The Star Spangled Banner, but since Dan joined the military every time I hear that song and think about the lyrics and the many lives that have been sacrificed to make our lives what they are today.  I get choked up.  Without fail, whether I am by myself in the car or surrounded by people I have to wipe the tears away.  I know Memorial Day is to honor not only our service men and women but those who have gone before us.  With the recent passing of Dan and my grandfathers we have a chance to look at their lives and realize how they have formed our fathers lives and how our fathers have formed us.  We have been greatly blessed with our families and the people we have become and who we can strive to be more like.  Our grandfathers lived during the Great Depression and World War II.  They raised children with wives of 60+ years.  They left a legacy of hard work and perseverance; struggle and sacrifice.  When we complain about money or work.  We need to remember that they had basically nothing and still made it through with their dignity.  I hope to someday become more like Russell Neville and Howard Drake.

Now for our Memorial Day Dan convinced me and my friend Mandy to go golfing.  Yes, my father is a great golfer, me not so much.  Don't get me wrong I have a great drive, with an even better slice!  No matter how I hold the club, where I stand, or turn my body I still slice it.  Dan has tried fix it but I think I like to brag about my slice so my mind refuses to listen to his good advice.  Anyway, Mandy has never been golfing and to get warmed up her husband Wade decided to challenge her to a game of Wii golf the night before.  She said it was the worst round of Wii golf she had ever played.  So neither of us was too excited to go golfing and silently hoping it would be rainy so we had a good excuse to go shopping instead of golfing.  It rained all night but was nice and dry by 9am.  Mandy came over and Dan got the golf clubs all loaded up for us.  We have such wonderful husbands they packed our golf clubs with umbrellas and Wade even packed Mandy a water bottle.  After all the equipment was loaded in the van we headed to the Par 3 just down the road.  Mandy and I laughed when we checked in that there was nobody there and when we asked for a cart the older gentleman behind the counter looked at us strangely and said we have the pull carts.  We smiled sweetly paid the fee and for the pull carts and walked out laughing at ourselves.  After loading our bags onto the pull carts we headed to the first tee.  Following the first several attempts to hit the ball on the correct fairway, and trying to figure out what all the dang numbers on the clubs meant, we had a great time.  No we did not have a scorecard and yes we laughed a lot.  We were very grateful that we were the only ones on the course and that at about the 3rd hole we were out of sight of the clubhouse, so the nice older gentleman could get back in his chair and catch his breath from all the laughter I'm sure he was suffering from.   After six lost balls(all of them mine and all of them in the water) lots of boogies, lots of fun, and lots of laughter Mandy and I decided we should do it again.  It would be a wonderful date night with our husbands, or maybe just the two of us again.  Thanks Mandy I had a great time!!!

Thursday, May 26, 2011


So far this year we have gone to Hogle Zoo not once but twice.  In fact we decided to buy season passes because the boys had such a great time.  Drake we couldn't get to hold still for very long and on several occasions both times he disappeared because we were going to slow and he needed to see the next animal.  

The first time we went, we went with my sister Sarah and three of her kids; Mason, Sami and Mati.  Sami was a great follower when Drake was ready to move on to the next exhibit.  They were often seen running away.  For a while this summer there are also dinosaurs on display.  They are pretty cool moving and noise making dinosaurs.  Drake thought they we 'so cool'!  We had a great time wandering around checking things out.  Even Logan got really excited when we were in the reptile house and he got to see so many things up close.  He was just waving to the animals.  Drake especially loved the alligator.  I guess it's actually a crocodile but he they're closely enough related right.  He still talks about the alligators in the water and thinks there are alligators in every little pond or river we see.

The second time we went, we went with our friends; Mandy, Jacob, Anna, and Cole.  Drake was still very impatient with us and took off several times but we usually found him checking out some animal. Between this trip and our last one Logan has learned some animal sounds.  So this time he made sure to talk to the animals as loudly as he could.  It was so cute to watch him waving and yelling at the animals.

I'm really excited for the next year and to watch the boys really enjoy the zoo animals.

Logan and Anna digging for fossils
 Drake and Jacob(in the blue hat) digging
 Drake, Anna(pink),and Jacob
 Anna, and Drake riding the carousel
 Logan and Mati(she fell off her high chair and broke her arm) They are three months apart
 Drake and Sami riding the train(they are a month apart)
 Logan enjoying some cake
 Drake wondering if he can have more frosting
 Drake really likes the carousel
 Logan not so much
 Logan waving to the camera
 Drake really liked the elephants too
 Logan watching the baby triceratops
The boys ready for the next close encounter

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Loved Ones Leading the Way

April was a month we spent traveling and most importantly being with family.  It is really amazing to think back and reflect on someones life.  Can they ever really know the impact they had on their family, neighbors, friends,? and acquaintances? We have had a month filled with reflection, tears, great stories, laughter, and loved ones.

Dan's Grampy Russel Neville passed away the end of March so we made the drive to Prescott Valley, AZ to honor him.  I had only met Grampy twice before this but both times I felt loved and accepted.  Unfortunately, because of the distance Dan wasn't able to see his grandparents as often as he desired. Family Christmas parties and the occasional pilgrimage back to 'The Holy Land' as Dan likes to call Arizona.  When Dan was young his Grandmother gave him a Phoenix Suns hat and he has been a faithful fanatic ever since. I think it is his way to respect where he came from and if he couldn't be around his extended family perhaps he could at least have something that reminded him of them. Dan's grandpa lost his wife of 65 years Mary Jane Neville last September and Grampy just decided it was time to join her. No doubt she had something for him to do. Last year Dan was happy to take an evening off from a chaplains conference he was attending in Scottsdale. He was very touched by the devotion Grampy had sitting and holding his beloved wife's hand while her health began failing. The late stages of dementia and the hurtful insults and claims made by her had no effect on her faithful companion and grampy was exemplary in how he loved his wife through his example even to her last breaths. Dan remarked that this was the first time he had ever known a man who endured faithfully to the end.  Both Granny and Grampy will be greatly missed but they will always live on through their children, grandchildren, and great grand children.

Russell Wesley Neville, loving husband, father, grampy and great grampy, 
passed away March 28, 2011. Russell was a tool and die maker 
in Phoenix until he retired in 1987 to Prescott Valley, Ariz. 

He was born in Alliance, Ohio, Nov. 7, 1924. The greatest secular achievement of his life
was when he was awarded the silver beaver award from the boy scouts of america.
truly he was a man who was: trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, curtious, kind, obedient, thrifty, cheerful, brave, clean , and reverent. 

He was preceded in death by his wife of 65 years, Mary, just 
six months ago. Two sisters also preceded him in death. 

He leaves behind seven children, Bryan (Barbara) of West Jordan, 
Utah, Clyde (Linda) of Prescott Valley, David (Elois) of Phoenix, 
Judy (Dave) of Prescott Valley, Zona (Floyd) of Mayer, Ariz., Rebecca (Gary) 
of Prescott Valley and Marijane (Richard) of Prescott Valley; 
22 grandchildren and 31 great grandchildren. 

Just a few short weeks following Grampy Neville's passing my Grandpa Howard Drake passed away.  It was a really difficult thing for me because this is the first of my Grandparents to pass.  I still get teary eyed thinking about all the good times I had with him and all the things my kids will miss out on by not knowing him.  I know that people can live on through us; it's hard to picture anyone else filling the big boots left behind. Grandpa was a one of a kind... a character who was great at getting a laugh and a smile out of people. He had a story for everything. I never needed fairy tales because his life was right out of a story book. He was not a knight in shining armor but no cowboy was ever more true to his roots and faithful to the core than he was. I was fortunate to be able to visit Grandpa pretty regularly.  Growing up almost every Sunday afternoon we headed out to Dixie Downs or Central to visit Grandpa and Grandma.  Grandpa was an outdoors man.  He also was a pretty good athlete.  Basketball was his preferred game and he even played against the Harlem Globetrotters years ago when my dad was a young boy at the old Dixie College Gym.  He was also a great gardener.  Growing up I remember driving up to Central and heading out to the garden to pick some veggies.  He even had a vegetable stand set up with a scale, a price list and a sign that said 'pay hear'.  Grandpa was one of the last of a dieing breed called Cowboys.  Even when he could no longer ride a horse he still needed a horse out in the pasture, and a tractor to putter around on.  He will be greatly missed by his family.  I'm sure he is sitting on the front porch of heaven enjoying the beautiful scenery and waiting for Grandma to come help him figure out how to open the Damn Gate!

Howard Drake achieved 87 years as a loving husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather before passing away peacefully on April 19, 2011, in Las Vegas, Nevada. He was born April 28, 1923, in Alamo, Nevada, the 4th of 13 children, to Thomas and Cecil Alger Drake. Howard married his lovely wife, Betty Lytle on December 8, 1943. Howard spent his early years with his family in Alamo and Pioche, Nevada. His later years were spent in Enterprise, where he attended school and played basketball.

Howard has always loved horses and the cowboy way of life, which he passed onto his children and grandchildren. He was western through and through. Howard worked as a wrangler on many movies which were made here in southern Utah and enjoyed meeting great cowboy stars. He was a mans man, tough, determined and strong willed. Howard has always had a love for the outdoors. He loved sports, fishing and hunting. His gardening talents were enjoyed by everyone.
Howard is survived by his wife, Betty Drake of Central; sons, Doug (Helen) Drake of St. George, Tom Drake of St. George, Denny (Dawna) Drake of Santa Clara and Jeff (Erdine) Drake of Veyo; daughter, Jackie (Clint) Hardman of Central; 17 grandchildren and 42 great-grandchildren; and sister, ReVoe (Darwin) Hulet of New Castle. He is preceded in death by his parents, great-grandson, Chantz Drake, and 11 brothers and sisters