Saturday, June 16, 2012


Tomorrow is Father's day.  I never had a dad so it has never been a big day for me.  But I do have a husband and so this post is about him.  We have our problems, that's for sure but Walt has many, many good characteristics and for the most part I think I scored in the husband department....and no he doesn't have a gun to my head.  He is fun to hang out with, he laughs a lot, and he sees the positive in most things which compliments my Eyeore syndrome.   He also does a lot for me.  When something needs to be done around here, he just does it.  Walt works hard and he plays hard.  We are getting the yard ready to have Sam and Hilary's open house after they marry in July.  We decided to do it in our yard, against the "not so happy wishes" of some of our children.  Sam and Hilary are both easy going and said, "Sure, why not."  Sometimes our back yard looks good and sometimes it doesn't.  For the most part though, in our neighborhood, I think we have one of the prettiest yards in the hood.  I wish I would have taken "before" pictures.  It was looking pretty bad and just needed some tender loving care and upkeep and renovation.  So Walt went to work.  He works harder than anyone I know.  He is not afraid to get his hands dirty and he is STRONG.  He had to do some gross things and get in gross, scary under the deck and over in that corner of the yard where things get tossed when we don't know what to do with them anymore.  To top it all off, it has been over 100 degrees kind of hot.  And he still just does it.  And he has been recovering from his leg infection and until yesterday, could not get in the pool.  I really don't think that he is still supposed to get in the pool, but like I said, it has been HOT.  He started in one part of the yard and has been working his way around the back yard. He took out huge planters, poured cement, put some braces under our deck (which has caused more of the deck to shift and now he has to go back under and brace up other areas), planted some new plants, tore out some old plants and trees, planted a very small garden, put some retaining walls in for new planters, tore down the railing around the pool and replaced it, and built a new sandbox for Scotty and the grandkids.  All of this with a bad leg and working when there was work.  There is still a lot to be done...a lot.  But I know that it will get done because I am married to a worker.  The yard will be fine when it is time for the open house....not the best in the world but just right for us.  I love to sit in our yard and just enjoy the feeling that is there.  We have some beautiful plants and a covered patio and a porch swing, and a hot tub, and a pool.  What lucky people we are.  But none of that would have been accomplished without Walt's hard work.  I want him to know how much I appreciate all of the work and I KNOW that some people are secretly jealous of how hard he works in our yard....well maybe they are secretly jealous of it :)  But I am proud of him and I think he takes pride in his yard.  I get lots of compliments on it.  So thank you Walt, for all you do for our family, but especially for all of the work you have done on our yard to make it nice for Sammy and Hilary.  Erica wanted to see what it was looking like so here are a few of the pictures.  They aren't great pictures and the yard looks a little messy, but I just wanted to show some of the improvements.  And remember, we have a lot more to do.  

None of the kids liked the lattice work around our pool but Walt and I did, so we compromised and have done half and half.  We left the bottom with the lattice work and did wrought iron around two sides of the top.  We left the lattice work on the road side of the pool to have a little more privacy.  It looks cream colored in this picture, but it is white.

 This is the view from the swing set side of the yard.  We have a few tomato plants planted and haven't finished the trim around the top of the deck, but we are getting there.
 This is also from the swing set yard and you can see the lattice sides.  We really felt like we couldn't put wrought iron around there.  It just leaves you too exposed to the road, especially because we live at the top of the hill.
 This looks junky but I just wanted you to see the sand box that he is building.  Scotty is almost ten and the best twenty-five dollars we have ever spent was making him a sandbox when we first got him.  He still plays in it every day.  But he barely fit in it so we figured we would just take it out.  When we told him we were taking it out, he started to cry and so we decided to build him another one over by the swing set.  If he does eventually stop playing in it, we figure the grandkids can enjoy it.  It is a little bigger than I thought we were going to do, but I think it will be fun for him.  We are going to put some sod in front of it and landscape the back area with another tree and plants.  We have two cherry trees already and Walt is thinking about planting another one in that area.  We had the best cherries ever this year and we figure you can never have enough cherries.
 We decided to plant a small garden this year even though we are having the open house.  We figure that if people think that it doesn't look very good for an open house, then they don't need to look at it.  It needs to be weeded but we are already enjoying the fruits of our labor.  We have gotten several squash and our first cucumber.
 These are the new steps.  The other steps were half the size and I never quite felt comfortable walking down them with my fat body.  I feel much more secure walking up and down these.  I know that the kids will not like the lattice work on them, but Walt likes it and it is his yard.
 And here is the score we made when we went yard selling this morning.  We have looked all over for railings to make the steps even more safe and literally could not find them in any store.  We found them online but they had to be shipped and they were over sixty dollars, plus the shipping.  We found them today at a yard sale where the house was being foreclosed on.  The lady's husband left her and she couldn't afford all the bills so the bank was taking over the house.  Walt saw the railings, (there are two of them), and asked if she would be willing to sell them.  She said she didn't care if the bank got the house with the railings or not and so he went over and unscrewed them from her deck, tied them to the top of his car, repainted them, and now we will have railings up.  They are not attached yet because he is going to have to figure out how to make them work since they are a different size than our stairs.  But I know him....he will make it work!!
 This is what I see out my back door.  That sego palm was in a pot on our deck but it was just getting big and taking up too much room.  So Walt transplanted it and we were a little worried that it wouldn't survive, but it seems to be doing just fine.  And I love looking at it.  We have to get some of the grandkids cement blocks re-made and do some for the newer grandkids, but then that will be done.
 These are our "four o'clocks".  We got these flowers from Noella Phillips and we love them.  They thrive in our yard and in fact they are trying to take over the entire side of the yard.  They are interesting   because they do not open up everyday until early evening....thus they are called "four o'clocks".  They are beautiful in the evening.  If anyone wants a start of them, let me know.  They are easy to grow.  If we can grow them, anyone can.
 This is the corner of the yard where we have put in a few new plants.  Some of the plants that we planted did not come up.  I wonder if it is because we have moved the dirt around so often over the last month and it disturbed them.  I am a little sad because we had bought several fern bulbs and just large greenery bulbs and we were hoping they would be up in time for the wedding.  Now I just hope they come up period....because Walt and I loved them.  They were very tropical looking and reminded us of our cruises.
 I am putting this picture in to show you where the large planters used to be.  We LOVE how open the patio is now and wonder why we ever thought boxing in the hot tub was a good idea.  Our patio is a little patchworky, but that's okay with us.
 This is where the other planter had been.
.  Anyway, we are getting there.  Hopefully it will look pretty enough that Sammy and Hilary are happy with it.  But we also figure when you throw a bunch of tables in there and a bunch of people, all of the little "not so great" things won't even be noticed.  I am happy with it so far and so happy that I have such a hard working husband, who can figure out how to do just about anything.  I don't know how he does it and have decided it just must be a man thing.  It isn't perfect, but it is just right for us.  Thanks Walt for everything you do.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


So all of the Hancocks wanted to get together for a reunion this year and we talked it around a bit but then nobody did anything about it....until Than and Erica did. They took the notion and ran with it. He booked three campsites as soon as he could and said..."I have three booked. Whoever can come, should come." He immediately contacted everyone and told them the days and then hoped for the best. He kept everyone notified of plans by email and pretty soon it caught fire and we had a reunion. Everyone came!!! Than and Erica were the spearheads of it though and even went so far as to plan out the menu and the food and we did a food lottery. I think that worked out fabulously too. Everyone had their few meals to cook and clean up and provide the food for and when it wasn't your turn, you could just sit and relax and visit. This is going to be a two part post because of its length. This was the day of the beach. It was beautiful weather the entire time we were there....a first for us at Fort Bragg. No fog or moisture at all. It was great. Here is this cutie pie digging in the sand.....Claira Belle.

The kids got together a baseball game. It was so fun to watch all of them play together. I think Shauna is cheering for Ben here.

Here is Ben probably admiring his hit instead of running to the bases like he should have.

These two little girls crack me up when they play together. It is so fun to watch them and listen to them. They get along really well. The little spitfire and the class clown.....both very loud.

There is nothing cuter than a little boy in overalls and a red shirt. I loved to dress my boys like that. I tried very hard to get a picture of him and he was never cooperative. He was in heaven at the beach. Free to roam as much as he wanted. We could relax our watch on him a little....he is a wanderer.

Speaking of wanderers, you can't let this little one down at all at the beach. She heads straight for the sand...with her mouth. It is nasty and sends chills down me like fingernails on a chalkboard. Candy was kind enough to hang with her for part of the time. We pretty much had to take turns holding her so she wouldn't eat the sand. But she is a cutie...sunburn and all.

Apparently, another one who likes to eat the sand....why??? What is the attraction? It can't possibly taste good and the thing is, they don't just do it once and think, "Hey, this isn't all that good!" They continue to do it over and over. But I finally got a picture of his face.

Another one who loves the beach. And another one who likes to wander.... so it is nice to be able to let down our constant watch for him and relax a little at the beach.

What a cutie. She sported THE look at the beach and at the campground. Ballerina bathing suit and pink cowboy boots....usually with one butt cheek hanging out a little. For her, it is all about looking good and fashion.

She is another one who doesn't like her picture taken. She and Camry get along great and are another two that I love to eavesdrop in on their conversations.

The oldest grandchild and the oldest of the girl gang. I love to watch her and Camry together. Camry doesn't have an older sister so she loves the attention she gets from Heidi and Heidi loves to hang out with her too.

Chris is always a good sport to hang out with the kids and build sandcastles with them. And his castles are not ordinary sand castles. You can tell that he is an engineer when you see them. There is exactness and precision in them. But he is patient with the kids who don't quite have the same standards and blueprint as he does.

Just a cute picture of Daisy.

And the building continues.

I have the next two pictures backwards, but that's okay. This is Erica looking very humble and modest about her hit. I am sure that it was a home run.

And this was the pitcher, looking very handsome and athletic in his pink salmon colored shirt.

One cute beach bum.

I love this picture of Blake with his one foot up going after the ball. If there is a ball anywhere around, he wants it.

The big Bocce ball tournament. They all look very determined and focused.

Daddy on Gentry watch.

Just relaxing and watching the ocean and drinking a soda. My favorite things to do at the beach.

Becca, Kyle and Preslee. So we had three dogs at Fort Bragg with us. Two of them were Bassett Hounds ..... Preslee and Dinah (Joe and Candy's dog) and one Shih Tzu, Maggie (Kaylee and Chris' dog). It actually worked out pretty well with all of them and didn't seem to be a problem at all.

Another one that is camera shy and it drives me crazy. As soon as I get my camera out, she turns around so I was happy with this picture of her.

Getting ready for a family picture and trying to round everybody up.

Still not quite there yet. Erica has the only good picture of all of us and if I knew how to steal a picture from her blog, I would steal it because I would love a copy of it.

Becca playing with the kids. All of the mothers said how nice it is to have a sister who doesn't have kids yet because she will still play with them. She does their nails and she and Kyle play endless games of hide and seek with them and kickball. Thanks Becca for all of your help. Sam was a lot of help with all of the kids too. He was always willing to hold one at any time. The kids played in the road a lot and even though it scared me, it all worked out fine. They loved riding the bikes that Kaylee and Chris brought. One thing to remember for next time is to bring more kids' bikes. They loved it and their were a few squabbles over whose turn it was to ride them. We had several adult bikes there too and they were always willing to let the kids tag along on their bikes.

The cool thing about this trip was that Grandma and Grandpa came and spent a few days with us. They stayed in a motel but came and hung with us all day long. It was great having them and having them get to know the great grandkids a little more. Carolyn was the same Carolyn and didn't want to be left behind on any of the activities in spite of the fact that she has to use a cane now. She went down to the beach and went for a long walk along the water. I hope that I am like her when I get that age.....I am not even that way now....who am I kidding!!

The men holding the babies. Chris with George and Sammy with Gentry. Everyone was more than happy to hold the two babies who can't walk yet. I don't know how those pictures ended up together and I can't get them separated now either.

G-ma and G-pa. Thanks for coming.

This last thing is a video and I have no idea if it uploaded right or not. The picture on the blog looks kind of creepy though.

random grandkid pictures

Here are just some random pictures that I took this summer when some of the grandkids visited. I may have already posted some of them, but if I did, oh they are again. Scotty is a baby lover. He may not be too great with older kids, but with babies, he is gentle and kind and patient.

Here are the girls watching a movie. On a few of the days it rained and it was nice to be able to turn the tv on for awhile and just let them relax and veg for awhile. Look how tan the girls are here and it was the beginning of the summer.

Here is the Blakester eating his lunch. It really helped after we found this chair for him to sit in.

Kaylee eating outside on the table. It was so nice to be able to have the kids eat outside. It kept the noise and the mess outside. Tucker and Rylee took care of the cleanup and I am sure they were well fed too.

Here is Miss Daisy in her Daisy dress that Erica got for her. I love this smirk. Something is wrong with my computer and it keeps going up to the top of my pictures and so I can't download anymore. Consequently, this is a very short post. I need help ...... Erica!!!!!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


During the month of June, right after we went to Washington, we had the privilege of going to this beautiful cemetery in North San Juan. Kathy, Kevin, and Kim came out from Utah and Colorado to bury their father's ashes who had died earlier in the year. We weren't so sure we were going to go having just gotten back from the Smiths and that was one of the days that Walt actually had work. We wanted to be there for the family though, especially Kathy, since she has done so much for us in the past and this was so important to her. Walt got home and we decided to go anyway and I am so grateful that we did. The cemetery is old, really old, but very peaceful and beautiful. Walt comes from some great stock. His mom had nine brothers and sisters and they grew up in that area. There are only four surviving members of her family. Carolyn is the second oldest and still doing well thankfully. Shauna had to do a talk on ancestry and temples last week and she talked to me at great length about my grandma Watts and that is who she centered her talk on. She has taken an interest in her and been trying to do some research on her and trying to find out where her journals ended up after Aunt Roxie died. So this subject has been on my mind a lot lately. But back to this day.......

Uncle Dick was unable to attend but Carolyn and her two brothers made it and this is a picture of them and their spouses. Here are Uncle Harry, Aunt Maryann, Gpa and Gma, and Aunt Pat and Uncle George. I am so glad that we have this picture. We had not seen George and Pat in awhile and Harry and Maryann for even longer and so it was so good to see them.

I love this picture. Harry, Carolyn and George. Kaylee actually named her baby George after this uncle and baby George's middle name is Patrick since he was born on St. Patrick's day. The cool thing is that George is married to Pat so it is sort of after both of them....George and Pat like to think that too. George's legacy will always be tied up with the game of cribbage. I think he taught several of my kids to play that game. Like I said in my previous posts, you will rarely come to our home for a family gathering without someone eventually taking out the cribbage board.

I don't know how to get this picture deleted.

Here is the above picture right side up. Since they were doing a memorial for Johnny and putting in a marker for him, they decided to put in a marker for aunt Cookie too. I loved aunt Cookie. She made every family gathering more fun with her quick wit and easy smile. She died of Lou Gherig's disease, ALS, and it was a long, hard death for someone so full of life. Her ashes were placed up in Oregon next to her son, Stacy, who died when he was 12. Some of her ashes had been scattered here too, so they wanted a marker.

This is Kevin, Kim, and Kathy. They are siblings and were born to John Harper and Frankie. We are lucky to have them in our family. We don't see Kevin and Kim too often but we hang out with Kathy every chance that we can. She makes us laugh and she poses really well. She has pretty much taught all of us "cruisers" how to pose for a picture. Whenever we are taking a picture on the cruise someone can just yell out, "Do the Kathy pose" and one hand is automatically put on our hips, our chests are put out just a little, one knee bent and a big, open, pretty much fake smile on our lips. We love Kathy.

Kevin had this marker made for his dad and the interesting thing is that they just went up into the cemetery and dug up some dirt, put some cement in the hole, and plunked the marker down in the middle of the cement and covered the edges with dirt. Aren't you supposed to have some sort of clearance or permit to do something like that.....not so with the Harpers. But then Uncle George has his own key to the gate of the cemetery so maybe he has some pull.

I love this picture of the kids. They just sat there so reverently, without even being asked. They listened and watched without any of us saying anything to them at all. It was if they knew that this was a sacred time.

Kevin getting ready to place the marker. Kathy was having a little bit of a hard time so Kim is comforting her and that is Jessie looking on with Johnny tucked under her arm.

I love that Than and Erica are so supportive of people. They came for Kathy and Grandma and pretty much try to go to anything that they can. I love that they live closer to us and we get to hang out with them more and their kids are starting to really know us now. Than just jumped right into it and began shoveling dirt for the hole for the marker. He doesn't wait to be asked, he just took the initiative to do it.

What a cute couple and baby Gentry. I couldn't do this post without pictures of the kids. Since Shauna has gotten me thinking about my ancestors and their posterity, I wanted to do this post to remember these people and this day. What a great lineage my kids have. Herm's family is pioneer stock in the church. His great grandfather, Levi Ward Hancock, was even mentioned in the Doctrine and cool. Carolyn's family is new in the church, with her being the first member. Her influence and example have been great and powerful however. My grandmother, Agnes Watts, was also pioneer stock in the church coming across the plains from England. Her children were not so active, in fact I think only one of them was. My mom was not active and yet Grandma Watts' influence and example sunk deep into our hearts and out of nine children, five us have been through the temple and received our own endowments. I think about Grandma often and I hope that she realizes what her commitment and faithfulness to the gospel has done for me in my life.

Scotty lookin' quite Bieberish. He is currently obsessed with Justin Bieber and wants his hair like his and to dress like him and to sing like him. He listens to him on my computer. It is frustrating to me, especially the hair debate. The other day Becca asked him what he wanted for his birthday at the end of the month. He said, "A book about how to build guns and bombs." She screamed out, "Mom!" as if I have any influence over this boy. I am thinking in my mind, "Well that is the first time he has ever wanted a book...there's a little progress in the academia area." And hey, he didn't ask for a bag of fertilizer to go with it!! So then she took him over to the computer and they began looking at alternative ideas. He wants J. B. shoes and a hat like he wears. Although I am not thrilled with his passion for Justin, I would rather steer him toward music rather than terrorist activities!!!

And look at this cute, sunburned boy who is a swimmer this year and a very good one I might add. He and Camry, who I don't have a picture of, have started on swim team this year and they are both doing fantastic. I went to one of their meets and it just made me nostalgic about all of the years that I spent on the pool deck watching my kids practice and swim endless laps across the pool and then cheering them on during the competitions.

And the post would not be complete without a picture of this sassy girl. She never lets me take her pictures and so I was happy to get this picture of her beautiful smile. So anyway, I am grateful that we went to this memorial. I am grateful for the people in my life who have been such great examples to me. I am grateful for my ancestors and their example of enduring to the end and faithfulness under extreme hardship. I am so happy to be a member of this church and to realize that this life is not the end and that one day we will be re-united with those who have passed. I am so thankful that Erica will get to hang out with her mom again and love on her and get advice, because I am so inadequate in so many areas that my kids and in -law kids are usually the teachers and I am the student. I love the gospel and all of this has made me more curious about my ancestors and who knows, maybe someday I will even do a little geneology. And I know that most of you have stopped reading this by now, because you all say that I write too much, but maybe someday, one of you or your children or grandchildren will be interested in these writings (like Shauna is in my Grandma's journals) and wonder what THIS old lady was really like.