Monday, September 26, 2016

Grandpa and Greta

At 10:00 this morning Abe and his six brothers and his mother went to the mortuary to dress their father's body for burial.
At 11:45 this morning, my girls and I got Greta dressed in her blessing dress.
And that's life.  There is much celebrating and rejoicing when we welcome new spirits into our lives.  There is sorrow and grieving when we say goodbye to those we love so well.  That is as it should be.
We were planning to bless Greta in our home ward in October, but we changed plans when we realized we could do it up in Spokane with the entire Fox family (minus one missionary in the Dominican Republic).  
Our wonderful friend Barbara crocheted Greta's dress.  I loved it so much.  Greta was a perfect little angel and Abe gave a most beautiful blessing.  I've said it before, but baby blessing days are among my absolute favorite days of my life, and this was no exception.  Rather, laced with the sadness of the last week, it has been even more tender and special and memorable.
She is joy.
She is a gift to our family from a loving Heavenly Father.  
A baby is such a comfort during sad times.
It sometimes catches me off guard when I see a picture of our whole family.  First of all because we aren't just a family of little kids-- there are a lot of big people now!
And secondly because there are so many of us!  That might not make sense-- I gave birth to them... how would I not realize how many of us there are?
I suppose I know each person in our family so well-- as individuals, that I don't see our kids as just a big group of people.  I know Clark, and I know Bethany.  I know Elinor, and Faith.  I know Cannon, George, and Peter.  So when I see them all grouped together, I realize, WOW! that is a lot of people.
To me, that explains why Grandpa Fox loved so many people so well.  We weren't just a big group, we were individuals that he knew personally.
Stuart, our patient photographer humored us as we did outdoor and indoor pictures.
When Abe returned to his seat after giving Greta the blessing, he was very emotional.  He expressed his gratitude for his father, in that, without his parents' love of their grandchildren, we might not have had as many children as we do.  We never felt pressured to have a large family, but they did teach us the joy of family.  They showed us there was no greater joy in their life than their children.  They genuinely celebrated announcements of pregnancies and births.  They wept with us when we lost a baby.  Grandpa Fox called me up in the days following Greta's birth saying he'd been thinking about me and he just wanted to express his happiness and joy that she was here. He was practically gushing!  It meant so much to me that this man who already had 56 other grandchildren would have such enthusiasm for our ninth baby.   
Grandpa never got to meet Greta in this world.  He was planning a trip down to Utah for a planned blessing in October.  I have no worries on that count-- they'll have the eternities to get to know one another, where love will not be diminished-- rather exponentially magnified.  He will have influence from beyond the grave and this great patriarch will bless his family from the other side.
For days like today, when the veil is so thin, you can just about reach through and touch those you've loved and temporarily lost, I am grateful.
For the love of eternal families, I am grateful.
For the priesthood power to bless our lives from the beginning to the end, I am grateful.
For the gospel of Jesus Christ that makes it all possible, I am grateful.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Bitter and the Sweet

We left early Friday morning to head up to Spokane for Abe's Dad's funeral.  Our hearts were heavy, and yet we love going to Spokane, and we love to go on long car rides together.
On the way up we stopped at BYU Idaho in Rexburg for a campus tour.  Here are the little kids living it up in the back of the golf cart.
After an early morning and then a long-ish tour, Peter was exhausted.  He fell asleep while munching his gold fishies.
And then gravity won and the bag of gold fish dropped to the floor.
Over the course of a couple of days, 7 Fox families were making their way to Spokane from out of state.  It was so fun to unexpectedly meet up with a carload of cousins at a rest stop in Montana!
Most of the families are staying at a local hotel, but we're the lucky ones to enjoy the hospitality of Jesse and Amy's family.  The cousins, old and young were so happy to be reunited.
We didn't come up at the end of July for the family reunion because Greta was just barely born.  It felt very good to be with family again.
We took it easy Saturday morning and then we headed up the hill to see Grandma and have a family lunch.
Within five minutes this had happened.
I suppose he has a gift.
I don't want to talk about it. 
I will only say that when the boy leaves on his mission, we will not keep his reptilian friends while he is away.  I feel strongly that we should not add any creepy crawlies to his collection.
Oh, the happy gathering it was.  The hugs and love expressed all around.  I do not believe our joy and happiness take anything away from the somber reason for the gathering.  I feel quite certain that Grandpa was able to see us and he thoroughly enjoyed watching his posterity love one another as we delighted in the gospel plan that seals us all together forever. 
Grandma Fox and Greta meet for the first time and share a moment together.
The grandchildren practiced their musical number for the funeral.  They will be singing "I Love to See the Temple" and "I Am a Child of God".  So angelic.
How we love to be together and talk and laugh.  Grandpa loved to be in the thick of it-- laughing at the embellished stories! 
... and it has been passed down to the next generation.
One of the great things about having 57 grandchildren, the oldest only being in her early twenties, is that almost everyone has several cousins very close in age.  This grouping of Everett, Elinor, Gentri, and Annie is usually found together.
Grandma was busy most of the day talking with her children about funeral plans.  She seems to be holding up pretty well, all things considered.
The oldest daughter with the oldest grand-daughter, who is expecting the second great grandchild.
Faith photo-bombed George's photo-bomb.  Well done, Faith.
Beautiful Ruth had the magic touch with her cousin, Greta.
Even in sad times, there are perks to going to Grandma's house.  A giant tub of cheese puffs not being the least of them.
The beautiful ladies of the Stuart and Tiffany Fox family.
Most of us went together to the General Women's meeting of General Conference.  It was so, so good.  So uplifting.  
Just for fun.
I would like it to be known that I made my face on purpose.  That is not my regular face. 
That's all.
Abe and his brother Jesse met up with several of his cousins on the Fox side late that evening.  He hasn't seen some of them for many years and it did his heart good to reconnect.
Much of the teen crowd crashed a double stake barn dance in the area.  they had a marvelous time and couldn't be dragged home until past midnight.
There are things in this world I wish I could bottle up and save.  There are lots of things about this picture I'd like to keep just how they are.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Learned by Example

A baby is such a blessing during a sad time.  And we're having a sad time this week.  Abe's wonderful father, Jim Fox passed away quite unexpectedly yesterday morning while playing golf.  He was 73 years old and in seemingly great health.  I have thoughts and memories I want to share, but I'm not quite ready to yet.
 We are going to Spokane for the funeral this weekend.  It is a sad occasion, but I can't help looking forward to being with the extended Fox family for a few days and celebrating a life very well lived. 
This little picture says a lot about what kind of Dad Abe is, and at this time it reminds me where he learned to be such a great father.  Peter was having a rough evening and Abe came home after a very long day of work.  Quite reasonably, he should have wanted to just sit down and relax, but he offered to put Peter to bed.  I told him that Peter hadn't eaten much and he really needed some food before bed.  
Easier said than done.  Poor Peter has food/eating issues and to get him to eat can be quite a loud, frustrating, time-consuming event.  
So a very tired, but kind, patient Daddy sat down next to Peter and encouraged him to eat by reading the "funnies" to him.  Obviously, Peter didn't really understand what the comics were about, but as Abe would laugh, Peter would laugh.  Abe told him to eat another bite of food and then he'd read another one.  A little bit of kindness goes a long way.  Dad Fox was always kind and always concerned about the individual.  I'm so grateful to enjoy the fruits of Dad Fox's good example in my wonderful husband.
It was absolutely delightful to listen to.  
Peter gave us a good laugh this evening.  I had stopped by a second-hand kid's clothing store to get some shoes for the boys.  Faith and George helped me pick out these gently used Vans shoes for Peter.  I tried them on him... they fit...bought them... done.  When we got home we put them on him and he got very upset.  He demanded they be taken off and put back in the bag.  Bethany had the idea to warm him to his shoes by putting his new shoes on Kermit.  This quite entertained him and he  danced Kermit all around wearing his shoes. 
We'll see if it worked and he accepts his new shoes tomorrow.

Sunday, September 18, 2016


Oh my goodness... here we go again!
This is most of TEAM INFINITY SQUARED-- the FIRST Lego League team that Clark and a couple friends are coaching.  I had planned on coaching a team with a friend next year.  But then, just after Greta was born Clark came and said he wanted to coach a team, so we called up our favorite local neighborhood homeschoolers and  WALAH!  Instant Lego League team.
Day one of the team meetings.  They were checking out the newly released challenge.  I really, really like these kids and I like how they work together.  It's not just that I am Clark's mother, but I'm super impressed with the boys who are mentoring the team.  They have a lot of experience and they are very positive with the kids.  Just this week we got an artistic director for the team (older sister of a couple of the kids).
The day they built the challenge field was a lot of fun for them, but it was wonderful to watch them all working so hard.
They meet together twice a week for a couple of hours each time.
Watching older kids help younger kids on a project they both love is definitely one of my favorite things.
We have just about equal numbers of boys and girls ranging in age from 9 to 13.  Cannon isn't an official team member because he's not quite old enough.  We say he's red-shirting this year.
Here is one of the three sets of siblings on the team.
Taking a break during a meeting.  They have quite a good attention span, but they are still kids.
The work on building the actual robot has now begun.  The blond on the right is Corrine, the artistic director.  The young man on the left is Ben, the programming specialist.
The table is set up in the garage-- which is all well and good until the weather turns cold.  We'll cross that bridge when we get there.  We don't really need that family room space anyway.