Friday, July 27, 2007

One of My Loves...

I am a huge dog lover. My family has had collies for as long as I can remember. I can't imagine not having a dog in my house. I love all dogs, but my heart belongs to collies. All collies, but mine in particular. Have you ever had a dog that was just kind of your "heart" dog? You know what I mean--the dog who sometimes, you would just rather be with than most people you know? I've been fortunate enough to have a few dogs like that in my life. Two of them have now left me, at the age of 12 and 13, and the third I am still lucky enough to have in my life, my home, and most often, lounging on my bed!

So, not only do I love & adore my dogs, but I also participate in shows with them. I've been lucky enough to have some dogs with very good success in the show ring. I love participating in that world with them, but if I was never able to go to another dog show, I would still love to have my dogs. Here are a couple of my "heart" dogs...This gorgeous dog was Ch. Elsinore's Hot Pants, CGC. We called him Pants. Pants came into my life when I was 16 years old. I saw a photo of him when he was 12 weeks old & fell head over heels in love. I knew I HAD to have this puppy!!!! He became mine a couple of months later. This dog took me on the ride of my life. He did fantastically in the show ring, exceeding any dreams I had for him. He achieved almost every honor that he could in the show ring & gave me beautiful babies! More than that though, he was a friend. He was my protector & often my confidante when I was in high school. I loved this dog. Unfortunately, I lost him last fall at the age of 12. I cherish his kids & grandkids who live with me still & the memories they give me of Pants.

This beautiful lady was Ch. Pembroke Faux Pas. We called her Pas. Pas was born in my bathroom. She was my dog from the day she was born. As you can see from her official name, Pas also finished her championship, and did a fantastic job in the show ring. More than anything else, though, Pas was my buddy. I must have been about 15 when she was born. Pas never had any doubt about her place in life & in our home. She was fully sure that she was the center of the family & the center of our hearts. She wasn't too far off! As she got older, she got more charming, but hers was an obstinate, stubborn charm! Every member of our family loved her, as well as just about everyone who ever met her...she had a way of wiggling her way into hearts. This has been a tough year--we lost Pas a couple of months ago at the age of 13. Like Pants, her memory lives on here through her kids & grandkids.

I mean, how can you not love this face? As a Pants daughter & a Pas granddaughter, Brooke ensures that the legacy lives on & continues at my house....

Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Next Stage of the Family

After putting up my br0ther Bob & his family, I kind of forgot about the rest of my family! I am probably closest to my brother John. I'm not sure if that's because when I was little & he was first married, I spent alot of time with he & his wife, or if it's because John & I are in the same line of work & I call him to ask him alot of questions! I love going to visit John & Denise & their beautiful daughters, Rachelle & Kelsey.

Denise, John, Kelsey & Elise in their most recent family photo

My two beautiful nieces, Rachelle(on the left) & Kelsey(on the right). Kelsey is almost 16 & is currently taking driver's ed! Her dad's a little bit scared to have her on the road, but she's sure to be a better driver than her sister! Kelsey is a runner, participating on her high school's cross country & track team & she does exceptionally well! She's also a terrific horsewoman. She runs the boarding aspect of her family's horse business & does a fantastic job with the horses! Rachelle is a year older than James & graduated last year. As I can remember the day she was born, I can't believe she's now in college! Rachelle is a fantastic person & I am so proud of her! She is my niece who has looked just like me since she was born.

Not too shabby..., in addition to getting to go to the Teton Valley this week, I also went to one of my favorite places! I went on a business trip to Boise & the surrounding area. I got to do some travelling on the western part of the state & remembered how much I love it!
Western Idaho gets hotter than it does over on my side of the state & they've been even drier than we are, so there's some brown, rather than the green of the Teton Valley, but it does have it's own beauty!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

God's Country

So earlier this week I had the chance to go to Jackson Hole through the Teton Valley, which is truly God's Country! I am originally from New England, and there are lots of times that I miss it there greatly. But when I get the chance to do things like go to the Teton Valley or Jackson Hole, I am truly grateful for the opportunity I have to live in this gorgeous part of the country!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

The Great Melaleuca Picnic

So, today was the great annual Melaleuca Family Picnic. My company has a picnic every year for it's employees and their families. My company has about 2,500 employees, and let me tell you this...they know how to put on a party for their employees!!! We have our picnic at Mountain River Ranch, which is a beautiful ranch north of Idaho Falls. MRM puts on a fantastic BBQ for us. Then we're talking Melaleuca brings in great entertainment! There's climbing walls, carnival rides, trampolines, those big blow up games, volleyball nets, a water zone, and a dunk tank. There's cotton candy, slushies, popcorn, drinks, etc. All of this is provided as a free benefit for employees. What can I say? I love my company! How many companies provide this kind of benefit for their employees?? So, of course, to make Jenni happy, I have taken tons of photos!

So, let me explain this picture by saying that James' preferred mode of transportation is sleeping while someone else is driving! Since MRM is just over an hour from our house, James was asleep within about 5 minutes. Had to save his energy for all the fun he would have once we got there, I guess! Josh, on the other hand, prefers to spend the travel time playing games on his i-pod.

So, we got there early to secure our usual, primo place in the shade. As fantastic as the picnic is, MRM can get very hot this time of year. But, if you secure a place under the trees, then you are in the shade for the whole day & there's usually a fantastic breeze. Today was the usual & it was wonderful under those trees! In the distance you can see the tents they set up for people to camp out under(it's always hot under those tents) & even further in the distance, you can see the inflatable toys & rides & jumps that Melaleuca brings in.

So the photo below was taken from our primo can see the fantastic shade...we had that all day! Anyway, this is one of the tents with the cotton candy & slushies. You can see my friend Misty with her darling little boy, getting a big ol' helping of pure sugar in the form of cotton candy!So I guess I failed to mention that in addition to all the great games & toys that the company provides for it's employees, they also have this HUGE prize drawing for us. They have everything you could possibly want! I mean we're talking trampolines, grills, tents, i-pods, phones, digital cameras, games, cookware, kids toys, basketball hoops, airline tickets, trips, tools, and I can't even think what else. You can't see all the prizes clearly, but here's a photo of part of the prize table. The president of our company is like a kid at Christmas when it comes to the prize drawings! He is always the one who announces the winners. He just loves it. How many large corporations have a president & CEO who is as involved as ours? He's a terrific guy. Below is a photo of the masses of employees gathered around during one of the prize drawings. Believe me, this is just a small portion of the employees there today!
Ok, so one of the best parts of the picnic is that there is a dunk tank!! The dunkees are members of the Senior Management Team who are nominated by their employees. While I love watching the dunk tank, I am always glad that I am a step below this group & get to be a dunker rather than a dunkee! Below is my old boss, Nate, taking his turn in the dunk tank! This was his first year & as always, Nate was awesome about it. Except for the fact that when he saw me standing to the side laughing at him, he kicked enough water on me to drench me! Lucky for him, the camera was fine--his wife is expecting photos!
So, my good friend Shauna is in HR, who puts on this picnic for us. Somehow, someone chose her to be in charge of the hose during the dunk tank. Not smart...she got a little heady with the hose power & as a result, between her & Nate, I was almost as wet when I left the dunk tank area as I would have been if I'd been IN the dunk tank! However, I found out later that James vindicated my soaking...while he & his friend Nick were at the dunk tank, they wrested the hose from her & completely soaked her. Gotta admit though--it was hot enough that the water felt really good!One of the fun things about the picnic is the fact that Frank, our CEO, takes the chance to mingle with his associates. He's so busy throughout his regular schedule that he doesn't get to spend all his time at the office & doesn't get to know the associates the way he did when the company was still really small. It's great to see him wandering around the picnic, talking to a lot of associates, getting to know them a little bit. Below you can see him in the green shirt, visiting with a group of associates.The picnic is nothing but fun. But all that fun can really take it out of you! Josh had such a great time, he had to take a break & take a little nap!
After another terrific time at the picnic, we got nothing but happy & slightly tired campers on the way home. How lucky am I to have not only a great family, but a great work family & the opportunity to work for as great a company as I do?!?!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Family Time

So, I figured since I'd dedicated time to both James & Josh, I had better spend a little bit of time on my other fantastic nieces & nephews. I have four older brothers. My oldest brother, Bob, has the most kids & sends me the most photos, so I'll spend my time on them first!

First is my brother. He looks pretty good for an old guy, huh?
Bob's got a big family. The below photo on the left is three of my beautiful nieces: Wendy, Carrie & Andrea. On the right is another niece, Bob's other daughter Anne.

Below is Bob's youngest daughter Sarah & Andrea, running through a beautiful mountainside meadow near their home. Also below is Bob's son Michael, also in a beautiful area near their home.
My niece Wendy is a nationally ranked cross country skiier. Her goal is to make it to the Olympics. She's well on her way to achieving that goal. Andrea & Michael are also involved in skiing.

Pictured above are Wendy and Michael racing. Below is Andrea racing

And very last is Carrie, Bob's oldest, who got married earlier this summer. Carrie is the first of my nieces & nephews to get married. She was such a beautiful bride! I was shocked to realize when I saw these photos that she looks exactly like my mom did when my mom & dad married.

I'm a meanie!

So, I've been told I'm incredibly mean. Josh saw the photo that I put of him in the post about James' graduation. Needless to say, he was unimpressed. Josh is almost 14 & is very aware of girls. He is very concerned that somehow, girls he goes to school with will see the photo. Then when he sees them, they'll be so disgusted by the photo that they won't even talk to him. I told him that he should know me well enough by now to know that anything is fair game for me. But I did promise him that I would correct this injustice by posting a good photo of him so that everyone can see his true good looks! I gotta tell you--this kid makes me laugh so hard. He has this great sense of humor.

Josh is a soccer fiend! He participates in a town soccer league. His team, the Blacksnakes, is very, very good! Thus far this year, they have won a tournament, placed 2nd at another & 3rd at yet another. They went to a huge 9-state regional tournament in Boise recently & finished 4th. This terrific group of 10-13 year old young men finished the 4th best team their age in a 9 state region! Wowza! I can't wait to see how they continue to improve as they continue to work together. I watch for them to be invited to this regional tournament again & finish even better! What can I say? Josh is my superhero...

Friday, July 13, 2007

Growing Up

Ok, so this isn't new news, but I didn't have a blog when it happened. So that makes it sorta new, right? I have this feeling Jen would say it's OK...

I have two wonderful nephews who live with me. James & Josh. Actually, if you want to get technical, I really have 21 wonderful nieces & nephews! Anyway, a huge event happened at our house this year...James graduated from high school!! Now, ask me just how old that makes me feel! Here's my handsome nephew on his graduation night:
This was such a fun night for our family, as my brother & his family were able to come to be with us. There were alot of us, but here's kind of a wide angle view of the row we took up!

Closest is Michael, Wendy, Andrea, their mom, my SIL Lori, then my brother & way down on the other end is my niece Ariella, SIL Amy & my mom.

Of course, as graduations have a tendancy to do, it ran a bit long & was a tad on the boring side, at least accoring to Josh--my other wonderful nephew. Apparently, when you're 13, it's great to amuse and entertain yourself by doing...well, just look below--you'll see...

Yes, self photography. Or at least his cousin Michael claims he didn't take it! Now, Josh is really a cute boy. I'll have to dedicate an entry to him with some good photos!

I can't believe James has graduated from high school! When he leaves on his mission, I'm going to miss him so much. I'm going to miss his friends almost as much! James has been blessed with a fantastic group of friends who have been in & out of my home for the last 6 years. I'm going to miss a housefull of terrific teenagers all the time. I'll miss the most James' two best friends, Mike(in the orange shirt) and Cade(the other graduate).

Mike, James, Cade, Brandon

James, Ashley, Cade

Amie, Julia, James, Cade, Seth

I remember my graduation night so clearly. I can't believe, and refuse to accept that I'm old enough for that to have been 10 years ago! I still remember the excitement & fear I felt that night & in the following days. I remember how fun it was to move on with life & the next chapter. I'm so proud of James for everything he's accomplished & so excited to watch him spread his wings & fly on to that next chapter. I pray for him the same excitement in the every day of it that I had.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Ahh! Young Love...

No, this isn't me. This is a good friend of mine that I work with. Michelle is about a year younger than me & she is a wonderful person! About 8 months ago, Michelle met this guy. Nothing new right? Wrong. She spent lots of time with this guy & they really hit it off. Before I knew it, I was hearing an awful lot about Adam. Needless to say, Adam proposed! I am so excited for them!! Adam and Michelle will be getting married on October 12th. Michelle is a wonderful, caring, fun person & she has met her soul mate in Adam, who is a wonderful guy! I couldn't possibly be happier for them both! Congratulations Michelle & Adam!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Confessions of an Addict...

...I have to admit. I am a huge baseball fan. But beyond being a baseball fan, I am a....

fan. For those who don't know, being a Sox fan is a life all it's own. I love the Sox & all things Sox. I know, it sounds weird. But I can't help's inherited. See, although I live in Idaho now, my family is from New England. We can trace our family back to the Mayflower. As a truly New England family, we are all Sox fans. Well, there is my one niece & nephew who are Yanks fans, but we don't talk about them. But I digress...I love baseball. To me, there is nothing that says summer more than the smell of fresh cut grass and baseball!

As I type this, I am watching the All-Stars game. To me, the All-Stars game is a great exhibition of the sport I love. I'm excited that I get to watch 6 Sox players tonight--a testament to the terrific team the Sox have.

So there you have it...there's my confession of the day. I'm a baseball fan. I'm a Red Sox nut. And I love every minute of it!

Monday, July 9, 2007

Well, I gave in to those who told me how much fun it was to blog & decided to start my own. I resisted, because I really don't think I have anything all that interesting to say! However, I must say that since blogs have gotten me back in touch with two classmates in the last couple of weeks, I guess I can't complain all that much!

I'm told I'll get the hang of this as I go along--I'm reserving judgement. I guess you could say I have a tendancy to be a bit skeptical!