Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Eagle Has Landed--Finally!

After meeting with our Eagle Specialist in our ward (Leah Wallen) in October in 2007 and trying to determine a project for Taylor( after 3 other unsuccessful tries) we finally had a project approved. It was
decided that Taylor would do a food drive during the holidays to help the needy in our community. Taylor met with Jim Thomas the director of the Community Action Services in Provo to find out what would be required of him for his project. That was
the first step.
In November Taylor got his quorum together during mutual to help him attach flyers (which had information on them) onto paper sacks that would be delivered to each home in two wards.
Our next step was to deliver the flyers. We chose the last Saturday in November to deliver the flyers. We had the boys come to our house early for a breakfast of french toast and ham with juice and fruit.
That was a big hit, thank goodness, because we were asking the boys to deliver the flyers on the snowiest of days.
We decided to do the pick-up of the food on the same day the community was doing a food drive. December 8, 2007 was the day of the pick-up. A few weeks before the drive Dad had decided he wanted to go on a little get-a-way. He got tickets for Vegas which ended up being on the 8th of December. His credit card had already been charged so there was no changing of the date. When I pointed it out to Alan that Taylor's project was on that date he about died. What to do? The kids came to the rescue. All of Taylor's siblings that lived in Utah helped make the project go ahead. I really had a hard time not being there for Taylor, yet on the other hand it was a great opportunity for the kids to step up and work together to help Taylor. I was very proud of the way they all worked together to make it happen. So Dad and I took off on our little get-a-way for a few days and left everything to the kids.
On the morning of December 8, 2007 Taylor, Tyler and Cheryl and boys, Trent and Jessica, Tracie and Austin, and HayLee and Justin all put their shoulders to the wheel and went to work. They made phone calls to remind people to set out their sacks, they loaded the truck, they helped with the cinnamon rolls for everyone, they worked together like a fine oiled machine. After all the food was picked up everyone headed to Provo to the Food Bank to unload the truck.
When they arrived everyone was surprised to find the place was crowded with people. As soon as they backed the truck up to the dock it was unloaded in a matter of seconds. Everyone was prepared to work at the food bank , but because there were so many people already helping, there wasn't an empty spot to work.
So Taylor had his paper signed off and everyone headed home.
Taylor still needed to work at the food bank to fulfill his eagle requirements, so he called the food bank and arranged for a time that we could work there. They told us that we could work on the 27th of December, which would be during Taylor's Christmas break. When it came time to work there was only Taylor, Kris, Alan and Jamison Hatch that could help out. We showed up at the food bank and Taylor was instructed on what we would need to do. Taylor checked us in and we went to work.
Taylor still had to work for four hours to complete his project, so after Taylor signed us in we got busy. We had to fill boxes of food for different sizes of families. There were several bins of canned goods of meats, vegetables and fruits. We had to fill each box with a certain required amount of meats, fruits and vegetables per size of family. We stacked the boxes on a pallet. After four hours of filling boxes we had filled several pallets with boxes. Afterwards we treated ourselves to dinner at Wingers. It was a great experience being there and knowing that we participated in a small way in helping the needy in our community.
A few months passed as Taylor worked on his paper work for his Eagle and it was extensive. A lot of work was required to get all of the paper work done. I had no idea all the work that was required. From counting the hours of every single thing that was done by every single person, to the documentation of everything. And then you had to get six letters from people that would recommend you to be an Eagle, that seemed to be just as hard. We turned his project in and had to wait to hear from the Stake Eagle Specialist. It came back and we had to fix some things before his project could be submitted. Man, I didn't think that we would ever get his project approved. Finally we got it back and the Stake set up a time for Taylor to have his Eagle Board of Review in October of 2008! Almost a year had passed since he had done his project. We couldn't make the first review date because Taylor had a football game, but in November he was able to have his Eagle Board of Review. He had to be fully dressed in uniform and his parents had to be there. At the Board of Review the parents had to leave the room and Taylor was all alone with the review board. I was nervous for him. Then they called us back to the room and told us that Taylor was now an Eagle Scout and congratulated us. Whew! We waited for his pins to come from Scout Headquarters and by January of 2009 they finally arrived. What a long journey to get his Eagle, but we still had to schedule his Eagle Court of Honor. Time passed quickly and before we knew it summer was almost over. The scout leaders, along with Alan, planned to have an Eagle Court of Honor for 3 boys in our ward. The Court of Honor was planned on September 1, 2009 at our Stake Center. The moms were asked to do a life sketch of the boys as well as having a table set up to show something that reflected the boys. The talk I could do, but what to do for the table? I chose to scrapbook Taylor's life in scouts and set out the pages on the table. The Court of Honor went very well. Dad had the privilege of doing the Eagle pledge with the boys. I thought it was quite an honor for Alan as well as for Taylor to have his Dad involved with his Eagle Court of Honor. When it was time for me to get up and talk about Taylor, I decided to say some funny things about him and maybe, just a little, embarrass him. I was glad that Taylor was laughing. Dad put together a short video of the boys. We had some really funny pictures of Taylor in the video. When it was time to do the pinning I struggled a bit to get Taylor's pin on. I teased him that I was going to poke him. After the boys received their Eagle pins they were each to get up and give a few remarks. There
were a lot of people from the ward in attendance and what family could attend, were there. Tyler and his family, Trent and his family, Tracie and Morgan (Austin was at school), Grandma and Grandpa McNeil, Sharon and Norm, and Taylor's best bud, Camilo, and good friend Rachel were there. It was a great evening and it was a wonderful feeling to have Taylor receive his Eagle award. "The Eagle Has Landed!--FINALLY!"

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Gone But Not Forgotten

I know that I have been gone for a while, yeah, since January.  And I haven't even finished posting about the year 2008.  But, I promise that I will get it done.  Thought you might enjoy a fresher new look to my blog.  Enjoy, cause I certainly do. 

Saturday, January 17, 2009

What happened in 2008?

In January I was still in young women's.  I had a feeling that a big change was coming, like a release.  I wasn't ready for that.  I loved being with the young women, still do.  It was in this month that we had our big Cultural Arts production with the stake. Preparations had begun in the summer, and nothing had been done to prepare our ward.  I had become the leader in charge in November, by default I might add, going to all of the pre-planning meetings.  With a lot of work we (the yw leaders) pulled it off.  Our ward did a simple production which turned out to be the perfect one.  We performed on Saturday the 26th and our short program focused on President Hinckley.  The next day the prophet passed away.  Our whole ym/yw group felt that it was inspired for us to present our short program.  We were so happy that we had planned our program on the six "B's" President Hinckley taught us.  I miss President Hinckley.  He was a prophet that I really connected to.  I'll miss his guidance and counsel, his smile, his sense of humor.  President Monson has begun to fill that void. We, as members of the church, and people of the world, are so blessed to be directed by the Lord through his prophets. 
I was released from my young women's calling.  It was probably one the hardest releases that I've ever had to go through, plus I didn't receive a new calling at the time of the release, which had never happened before.  I felt like a fish out of water.  Being in young women's you are constantly busy, and now I had nothing.  I had to be patient.  On the 27th of February Dad and I flew out to California to visit with Troy and Jen and their family. We flew into Burbank, CA , and were surprised that the airport was so small, and very different than any other airport that we had been to.  You collect your baggage outside, and then walk a short distance to get your rental car. Dad and I had decided to take a day or two for just ourselves before we headed to Madera to Troy and Jen's. We stayed at a beach resort called, "Avila Lighthouse," which was romantic, and peaceful.  In the morning and evening we would walk the beach and pier. We collected sea shells on the seashore and watched on the pier for sharks, which was known for shark attacks. On the morning before we left, we were watching a board surfer from the pier and thought that he was awfully brave to be out in the water; couldn't pay me to go in the water. The next morning we left for Troy and Jen's. We had a great time visiting with Troy and Jen and the kids.  We watched Maddie swim at her swim practice and were amazed at how well she swam. We celebrated Maddie and Eric's birthday's and took them shopping for their presents.  We visited the zoo. While we were at the zoo poor Eric was stung by a bee.  Dang that bee.  Also, while we were at the zoo, Dad received a call from Grandpa McNeil telling us Great Grandma McNeil was in the hospital and wasn't expected to live much longer. It was hard for Dad to not be home, he wanted to be able to say goodbye to Grandma.  On our way home from CA Dad received the call that she had passed.  
Great Grandma McNeil passed away on March 4th 2008.  As we were traveling home, we called all the kids to tell them of grandma's passing.  Heather said that she was coming home for the funeral.  The funeral was held on Saturday, March 8th.  The funeral was a wonderful service.  I heard things about Grandma that I had never heard before.  Grandma was very talented, she was a hard worker, a great cook, and could make anything.  She painted, she crocheted, she gardened, plus so many other things, she was a wonderful lady, and a special grandmother.  During Heather's visit she was able to see relatives that she hadn't seen in a long time at the luncheon.  That same afternoon we had a baby shower for Noni's daughter Ashley. It was a day to be with relatives.  Our day went went full circle:  a birth, and a death. Life goes on. 
Taylor's spring break came in April.  We decided that we would go to St. George for the break.  St. George has always been the place to go to for a get-a-way for our family.  Trent and Jessica had a free weekend in Vegas so they planned to go to Las Vegas for the weekend.  It worked out that we would meet up with them in Las Vegas at the end of the week.  Dad, Taylor and I spent some time in St. George doing what we always do, Snow Canyon. We love to hike on the red rocks of the canyon. Taylor and Dad decided to climb to the top of this mountain and convinced me that I could do it too.  With their pushing, prodding, and pulling I was able to get to the top and view the spectacular scene.  It was exhilarating to be at the top of the mountain. The gentle breeze blew in our faces as we stood on the mountaintop , and the scenic vista- you could see forever the beauty of the canyon.  Now get to down- scary.  We met Trent and Jessica in Vegas and decided to stay in the same hotel, the Tropicana.  We planned to go to a show together, "Stomp Out Loud".  It was an awesome show which the performers used all kinds of odd instruments to make music.  We also went to the "Body" show.  It was unbelievable to see what the human body looked like underneath and inside.  Jess and I went to the "Titantic" show held at the Tropicana. It was very interesting seeing things that were recovered from the ocean deep, and learning more about the tragedy.   We had a great time with Trent and Jess.  Taylor even got almost "picked up" by a scary girl asking him if  hewanted to go to her room for a party, but he set her straight, "I'm only 15 years old", he quickly told her.  I finally received a calling.  I was called to serve on two committees, one on the home-family-enrichment committee and the other on the ward activities committee.  Plus, I am still having the sisters come to my home once a month for scrap/family history class.  The only thing I found hard about being on two committees was the activities always came at the same time, making me terribly busy.
Dad had made a promise to Seth that when he turned 12, that he would travel to Tucson to be there for his ordination to a deacon. We left on the 17th of May and flew down because this was going to be a fast trip. Seth's birthday was on a Sunday the 18th.  It was a great privilege to be there when Seth was ordained and to be there for his birthday. Our oldest grandchild taking such an important step in his life.  
In May of 2007 Dad and I went with the Cottle's to see the church history sites in Palmyra, New York, and in Kirtland, Ohio. When we were there, Dad had mentioned to me that he felt he needed to bring Taylor back to the sites next spring. So that is what he planned for, to make sure that he followed his feelings and take Taylor to the sites.  Dad and Taylor left for New York on June 2nd, just a few days after school had gotten out.  They were to be gone for 8 days. It was while they were gone that I had planned to do some things around the house to surprise Alan.  When he would call I would say that I was just hanging out and just being lazy.  In reality I was working my tail-end off.  I painted the wall in the living room all they way down the hall and including the hall cupboards.  I brought the piano into the family room that had been sitting in the garage for who knew how long.  I rearranged our bedroom and cleaned it all up.  I had Tyler come over and hang things on the walls for me, and fix things that needed fixing.   I put new hardware on the cupboard doors and drawers in the bathrooms.  And then I super cleaned the whole house.  It took me all week.  I was so excited to surprise Alan.   While I was doing all those things in the house, Alan and Taylor were having a wonderful father/son time on their trip.  They went to the Sacred Grove, Hill Cumorah, Niagra Falls, the Kirtland Temple in Ohio, the Newell K. Whitney Store, and all the church sites surrounding the temple.  They also visited cool places like the first home of "Jello", and the "Rock and Roll Hall of Fame" in Ohio.  Taylor learned a lot about church history that he never knew.  He had some spiritual moments that he will probably never forget.  Alan said that he felt the trip was something that he needed to have with Taylor. He also said that he just wished that he would have had the ability to have the same experiences with his older children.  I was pleased that Alan and Taylor had that special time together.   Alan and Taylor got home on the 9th of June and on the 11th, Taylor's birthday, Dad left for Scout Camp for four days.  What a busy month. 
For the month of June, July and August Taylor was busy with football practices.  Taylor couldn't get his license until the end of the month so that meant me taking him to all of his practices, plus summer school and work. Most of my summer was hauling Taylor around to practice and school.  Taylor went to football pad camp to Coach Steele's cabin in Idaho for a week, yeah, a week off of chauffeuring.   Also, I hosted a baby shower for Trent and Jess' baby, which was going to be a girl.  Whoowho!! I had been working on some blankets and burp cloths ever since I found out what they were having.  I also crocheted a white afghan for Lily's blessing. I couldn't wait for the shower to come so that I could give Jessica the things that I had made for the baby.  Jess and Lily received a ton of stuff from the shower, making it hard to wait for the baby to come to use all the stuff. Waiting for Lily to come was hard, but I know that it was even harder for Trent and Jess.  At the end of the month, on the 30th of July, Taylor finally got his driver's license.  Yeah!!  I was excited and so was he.  
Coming soon...the rest of 2008!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

I'm Back

I know, I know, it's been since September since I posted.  Everyone is tired of reading about how I feel about the fall.  So, I thought that I would fill you faithful followers (yeah right) about what has been going on for the past few months.  First, the month of October was filled with my employment at Cornbelly's located at Thanksgiving Point.  I was responsible for the field trips that took place on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and a few on Fridays during the month of October. I had schools come from all over the state of Utah and even some schools come from Wyoming,which blew me away because the schools traveled for 3 hours to get to Cornbelly's, stayed for 2-3 hours, then drove back to Wyoming, all in one day.  It's hard to believe Wyoming's school district would allow that kind of field trip.  I had a crew of about 8 people that I was responsible in assigning where they would work each day at Cornbelly's. I had people help me in the ticket booth, on the jumping pillow, the maze, the hayrides, the cow train rides, the sweetshop, and the video tent.  I would meet the buses that would come from all over. I was responsible in making sure that every child had a wrist band on and that all children and adults knew where everything was located.  I made sure that all the fees were paid and had to make sure that everyone knew what was expected of them while they were at Cornbelly's.  I had a few disgruntled parents ( mostly because people that came to Cornbelly's during field trips, I had to tell them that we weren't open to the public, and they were mad they couldn't come in because they had made the trip there),I had some lost kids that the chaperone's lost track of, a baby that fell in a sticker patch, some older kids that did some vandalism, a girl that sprained her ankle on the jumping pillow, some employees that never showed up on busy days, misplaced keys, a clogged mine because an irresponsible adult decided to pour a 5-gallon bucket of sand in the mining area, but other than that I had a grand time working at Cornbelly's.  I made new friends, learned how to run a credit card machine and a cash register, got a sun tan, lost five pounds ( but have since found them again) learned more skills for next year, enjoyed working with all kinds of people, gained confidence and recognized abilities that I have. All in all it was a great experience, and look forward to next year. 
One of the best parts of October was having Heather and her family visit for a week.  We had good times together.  The whole family went to Cornbelly's and had a fun time there.  We were very surprised by the anouncement that Tracie and Austin made to the family when we were a Cornbelly's, our little increase will be coming in June.  We are all very excited.  It was wonderful seeing how much my grandchildren have grown, especially Matt ( boy he has grown up).  We had a great time at pie night at Village Inn with all of the adults.  Tyler beat us all and had 3 different kinds of pie.  I loved having the Powell family visit us all in Utah.  Two other great things happened in October, the baptism of Tyson and the blessing of little Lilyan.  Two wonderful things for our family.  Tyson had to be baptized twice, but, hey, he certainly has been washed clean.  Lily looked so beautiful in her white blessing dress, she was an angel.  Trent did a great job in giving her, her name and blessing.  Heather made a awesome book for Tyson for his baptism, it will be a treasure.  Myself and Cheryl's mom, Joann Froelich, spoke at Tyson baptism.  I felt honored that he asked me to speak.  We also had a little mishap take place just before we were to go to Tyson's baptism, Mocha decided to eat Alan's teeth.  He chewed his flipper so much that there were no teeth left in the appliance.  So HayLee came to Dad's rescue and made sure that he got some new teeth.  What was sad about the whole thing was, Dad had to go to the baptism and the blessing with no teeth.  He wasn't able to talk to anyone.  It was actually a very sad time, but it all came together and Dad was able to get some awesome teeth. He loves his new teeth so much better.  I guess you could almost say that it was a good thing that Mocha ate Dad's teeth?   Now we can laugh about it.  Thank you so much HayLee for taking care of Dad so quickly and efficiently.  Also in the month of October Dad, Taylor and I went to CA for a family reunion.  It was a nice getaway for all of us. We went to Disneyland on one day and I actually went on the "Tower of Terror" ride for the first time.  I had vowed that I would never go on that ride but my sweet brother Clark decided otherwise.  It scared me to death, but I survived.   We had a wonderful gathering with my aunt and cousins on Sunday. It had been several years since we had seen each other. It was fun meeting my cousin's husbands and their children for the first time. Since we have been home it has been wonderful keeping in contact with them through e-mail. 
Also in the month of October was our RS Enrichment night (I was a committee member at the time but have since been released from that calling but still have my other calling of co-chair activities committee member) On the 24th of October our ward had our BIG Enrichment night.  I was responsible for 3 classes.  I taught a class on making calendars that you can get from "Close to my heart".  I have one that Jennifer had made me and they wanted to have that class available for the sisters, so I got elected to teach that class.  I also taught another class on making gift boxes for the holidays, and another class on decorating candles for the fall. Because I was doing three classes, I placed 3 tables in a "U" shape and was helping everyone all together.  I was extremely tired at the end of the day, because I had already put in a full day at Cornbelly's.   October was also busy with going to 2 football games each week-- to support Taylor.  He played on the JV team and was also on the specialty team for Varsity.  The games kept Dad and I busy but we looked forward to going to the games. Now we are starting a new season of wrestling, but that's another blog.  
We have had HayLee and Justin live with us on and off while their home was being finished.  We enjoyed having them live with us, plus I have enjoyed having Mocha around.  Mocha is my grand(dog).  I don't know why I love that dog so much, but I just do.  I think that it might be because I longed for a pet when I was younger.  I fell in love with Tyler's dog, Taffy, but when we had to put him down, it was just too much for me.  I said that we wouldn't have another pet, and we haven't.  When HayLee got Mocha I just fell in love all over again. 
November brought more busyness.  I had the ladies from the ward come over to finish their projects, I had my monthly scrap class, I had to get up at 5:30 a.m. for 2 weeks to take Taylor to hell week for wrestling, I had to catch up all the housework and ironing that got behind from October, I had to do yard work every weekend in November to get all the leaves and apples off the grass before the snow comes and I have had to help dad make cultured stones for the outside of the house.  We chose to make the stones because the stones cost $5 a piece and we needed several and just couldn't bring ourselves to pay that kind of money.  It's actually been fun making our own stones, it gives you a lot of pride in your work, knowing that you made them yourself.  They actually look quite good on the house. We would like to finish the front of the house before it gets too cold to work outside.  Hopefully the weather will cooperate with us.  Whew!  Could  I get any busier with life?  We also had a surprise in November, I'll post about that later.  

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

My Favorite Time of the Year--FALL

I love the FALL, it's my favorite time of the year.  Fall reminds me of so many things like: red apples, caramel apples, walking through crunchy leaves, peaches, corn on the cob, squash, huge pumpkins growing in gardens, crisp cool air, bright blue skies, football games-from sitting in the heat to being bundled up with coats and gloves, a new school year, new school clothes, new sweaters, caramel popcorn balls, drives up to the canyon to see the colorful leaves, the smell of logs burning in stoves or fireplaces, the deer hunt (especially my very first one), warm days and cool nights, driving down roads with the leaves falling all around, the beauty and color of the mountains and neighborhoods, a different feeling from the sun, the way the sun almost shines a different color on the world, not bright but dimmed a little bit.  Crazy, I know.  I don't know why I love the Fall, maybe because it's just a feel good time of year. Do you  love the fall?  Why or why not.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Our New Little Bit Of Heaven--Lilyan Mae McNeil

                                                    I took this picture, just minutes after she was born. 
                                            It is one of my favorite.  A proud Dad!                                                A proud grandpa--Papa Mac                                      I felt such joy at that moment holding LIly.                                                   Bright and alert and only minutes old.
On Friday, August the 22nd, at 6:01 p.m. we welcomed a little one from Heaven to the McNeil Family.  The whole family has been anxiously waiting for another baby to join the rest of the McNeil Clan, and oh, the wait was worth it.  Little Lily is so precious.  It has been fun watching Trent and Jessica become new parents.  They are so excited to have their little daughter.  This little princess will not want for anything, all her demands will be met, especially from her father.   Dad and I are excited to add another princess to our growing brood of grandchildren.  We were lacking in the girl department and Lily will be a loving addition.  
I wanted to post on my experience on the day she was born.  On Friday I usually mow the lawn to have it out of the way for the weekend.  I knew that Lily was going to be making her appearance sometime during the day and there was no way that I wanted to be dirty and smelly and not ready when the phone call came.  I had told Trent to call me when Jess reached 6cm to give me time to get to the hospital.  When Trent called me about 4:40 in the afternoon to tell me Jess was at a 6, Dad had just gotten home from work.  We had decided previously that Dad would take me to the hospital and wait for me in the waiting room while I was with Jess and Trent during the delivery.  Trent had invited myself and Jess' mom to come in for the delivery. I felt honored to have been asked because I know that this is a very special time for a husband and wife.  As Dad and I got in the car, Dad mentioned that he wanted to show me some houses near our home that had different finishes on them.  We have been trying to decide what we wanted on our home--siding/stucco, and what kind of windows. So we have been driving around the neighborhood lately trying to get ideas. As Dad was driving around the neighborhood my gut was in stitches.  I wanted to leave immediately for the hospital.  Dad said we had plenty of time before she delivered--but that didn't help with the way I was feeling.  I wanted to support Dad in being excited about looking, but yet I felt this urgency to be on our way. As we were driving down 16oo North on our way to the freeway, Trent called back, "she's to a 10". Dang!  Now I was really feeling anxious.  I didn't want to miss out on the experience of being there for Lily's birth.  Dad drove as fast as he could without breaking the law.  He knew that I was feeling fretful and anxious. He could see my nervous twitching.  I could hardly even talk to him.  I told Dad that I hoped that I would make it on time and  yet in my mind I was resigning myself to missing the event, and if it happened, it would be okay. 
We finally arrived at the hospital. Whew!   Dad parked and up we went to their room.  I walked in the room and the first person I saw was Pam, Jessica's mom.  Then I looked over to Jess and thankfully she was still pregnant! Yeah! Trent came over and wrapped his arms around me and said that they were waiting for the moms to get there.  Thank you, I thought.  Trent and Jess had a great midwife.  She was very laid back about the whole delivery thing, which made everyone feel at ease.  There was a comfortable feeling in the room, which made it very relaxing and nice. Soon the midwife said that it was time to start pushing, so Pam and I each took a leg  to help Jess with her pushing.  Trent was at the foot of the bed doing his coaching.  You could tell that he was very excited about becoming a father. Pam and I were holding our breaths with Jess each time she took a breath, it was quite funny.  Jess was so strong and brave during the whole experience.  It is hard to describe how I felt at that time.  First of all, I felt honored to have been asked to be present during the delivery, knowing that this is a special time for husbands and wives. Second, you never feel closer to God than when you are with a new born babe. It was fun to hear Trent say, "Jess, I can see her head."  I'm sure hearing him say that made Jess happy to know that it would soon be over. Giving birth is a wonderful feeling, but it's something that you are glad to be over and done with.  That was the way I always felt during all my deliveries. 
What a wonderful sight it was to see little Lily be born.  Tears came to my eyes, knowing that she just left her Father in Heaven and now she was with us--her family--her mother, her father, and both of her grandmothers. She was joining many aunts, and uncles, parents and grandparents, who were so excited to finally meet her. She will be a joy to her parents and loved ones. I thank Heavenly Father for my wonderful family. They are a joy to my life every day.  That's what it's all about--Family.  Thank you Jess and Trent for a  wonderful experience that I will always treasure.