Kayleigh’s Wedding in San Diegoby Angie

10
Sep/12
2:09 pm
1

The beautiful San Diego Temple

We had a wonderful experience this weekend in San Deigo for the wedding of a dear friend, Kayleigh Rose Torres…now Mrs. Evan Kidwell. We carpooled down with the Mills family: Kelly & Joleen, their daughter Amber, and Kelly’s mother Edna. Kelly has a brother living in Upland (~2 hours north of San Diego), so we drove that far Friday night and were welcomed by Dean and his family. It was so kind and gracious of them to let us stay!

Saturday morning, we left early and made it to San Diego with plenty of time. The temple is absolutely beautiful and built in a fascinating way: lots of angles, huge windows and skylights, and even a lovely little atrium in the central hallway of the third floor. The Sealing Room was small but full, and the Sealing itself was one of the most insightful I’ve ever attended. I took away several principles that I hope to apply more fully in my own life and marriage. Here are a few of my favorites:

– “If you want the best husband in the world, be the best wife in the world…and vice versa.”
– “You can’t be in the temple every day, but you can have a temple experience every day of your life – every time you get dressed to begin your day.”
– “We need to be spiritually nourished on a daily basis, and so do our marriages: We nourish one another not only with prayers and scripture study, but also with words and notes of love and encouragement, especially “Please,” “Thank You,” “I’m sorry,” and “I love you.”

That evening, at a lovely country club in the hills above the city, Kayleigh’s YSA bishop led their ring ceremony. He had wonderful, fun counsel to give as well, including the injunction to treat their marriage like a brand new car: Take good care of it, fix it up when things go wrong, and patch it up when it gets little scrapes & dings. If you do, down the road you won’t have a run-down old beater, you’ll have a pristine classic worth even more than when you first got it.

A reception followed, including dinner, toasts, and dancing. When the DJ announced the “Anniversary Dance,” he asked all married couples to come to the floor. About 30 seconds apart, he dismissed first the couple married less than one day, then those less than five years, then those less than ten years, and so on until they narrowed it down to the longest-married couple in the room, who had been married for 53 years. The DJ asked what was the secret to being happily married so long. The husband said, “My wife’s grandmother told her on the morning of their wedding that all she needed to do was treat her husband like he was her favorite little boy: love him, take care of him, and give him milk and cookies sometimes…That sure worked for me!” His wife then replied, “Also, you keep a good sense of humor.”

We spent that night in a nearby Marriott Residence Inn, then visited a 9:00 Sacrament Meeting on Sunday morning.  It was a combined meeting for a regular ward and the local Deaf Branch, so there was an interpreter on the stand for the talks, and an ASL conductor to lead us in signing the hymns. And, who should be speaking that day in that ward but the San Diego Temple President and his wife!  Sister Yeager told a story about a man who took his two grandsons for a drive in the nearby hills. After an hour of circuitous travel, they stopped to take in the view. He asked the boys, “Do you boys know where we are?” They shook their heads. He said, “Do you think we’re lost?” One of the boys pointed out over the valley to the bright building that was the temple and answered, “Grandpa, you are never lost when you can see the temple!” It is really true.  Also, she brought up the Bible Dictionary reference that only a home compares to a temple in sacredness, and continued on the idea of our homes being like the temple: Ideally, they will be a place of love and peace, clean and orderly, filled with uplifting images and music. She ended by quoting President Monson, “Temples are more than stone & mortar…They are the all-important, crowning blessing of membership in Christ’s Church.” My testimony of the blessings of the temple has been strengthened in so many ways over this weekend.

Amber, Joleen, & Edna

We returned to the hotel to have a late breakfast, pack up, and check out (and report the ants in our hotel room – ew), before driving to Upland once more. We spent a couple of hours with the Mills’ family again and enjoyed a delicious dinner of homemade fajitas before finally heading home. Despite the break in our driving, we all started to go a little stir crazy after a while, so Jim spent some time helping Amber with her Calculus homework, amazing us all with his Mathmagician skills and tricks. At one point, Edna said, “He’s speaking an entirely different language, I’m sure of it!”  We finally arrived home as the sky was darkening, and were welcomed by a sleepy, purring cat who was thrilled to no longer be home alone.

Kauai Vacation – Day 4by Angie

15
Jun/09
12:06 pm
0

Na Pali HikeAngie & AndreWe set out fairly early this morning on the long drive to the Northwest end of the island.  We hiked about a mile along the Na Pali Coast, with Tolton spending a lot of time on Josh’s shoulders and me straggling at the end of the group with Jim and my Dad to shepherd me along.  There was great rejoicing when I made it to “our point” alive, where everyone had stopped to wait for us.  Going down was much easier, but by the time we made it back to the parking lot, I was exhausted.

Josh & Tolton

We had lunch at Bubba’s Burgers, after which Tolton promptly fell asleep in his car seat.  The next adventure was to be snorkeling at Tunnels, but I offered to stay in the car with my napping nephew so he could get a good nap and I could  rest.  When everyone else was as tuckered out as I was, they returned to the cars and we drove to Banana Joe’s, where we had been promised the best smoothies ever.  Unfortunately, their smoothie hours ended at 4pm and we had arrived at about 4:10.  We bought fresh pineapple instead, and drove out to the beautiful overlook of the Kilauea Lighthouse on the North shore, and then had dinner at the Bull Shed.Kilauea Lighthouse

Kauai Vacation – Day 3by Angie

14
Jun/09
12:06 pm
0

Church was wonderful in Kauai, at the familiar blue-roofed building that carried fond memories from past vacations.  Relief Society was a beautiful lesson about forgiveness and mercy, which led to continued discussions throughout the rest of the day.

Sunday DinnerSince Saturday was Kim’s birthday (our adopted sister for the week), and Sunday is my Mom’s, Day 3 in Kauai ended with a grand feast.  We had bought enough beef tips in gravy, peas, and rolls to feed 10 people, and we put our two microwaves to good use in the hour leading up to dinner.  Mom even had her very own chocolate cake and candle (thanks to a single-serving microwavable molten chocolate cake mix).  Though the suites didn’t have stovetops, they did have half-sized dishwashers, so we didn’t even have to spend much time washing up – just put load up the dishes… “It’s just that easy!”  We finished with a little devotional by Mom, presentsPam and Kim, and some planning for the coming week.  At the end of the family festivities, my Mom and I went out on the balcony and studied my next JS Manual lesson together (topic: temples); it was so wonderful to be musing and brainstorming with my Mom like that again.  It was even more wonderful for it to be happening as we looked out on Kauai in the fading light, with the sound of the waves on Kalapaki beach accompanying our conversation.  I love Hawaii.

Kalipaki Beach

Kauai Vacation – Day 2by Angie

13
Jun/09
12:06 pm
0

Risi, Tolton, and the KoiI love vacationing to the West, because it is so pleasant and easy to get up early!  Risi and Josh (who were sharing a suite with us, though we had separate rooms), were up at some ridiculous hour of the morning because Tolton was not going to stay in bed any longer, so they were out walking the beach before the sun was up.  By 6am, however, I was awake and dressed and ready to officially start my vacation!  I walked down to Kalapaki beach with Risi and met up with Josh and Tolton, who just couldn’t get enough of the water.  We just hung out on the beach and watched the cutest little boy ever being thoroughly delighted by the waves crashing on top of him.  Whitney wandered down to join us, as did Mom, Dad, and eventually Jim.  We decided to head to Poipu beach for our first excursion, so in just over an hour  my excited, swim-suited, not-yet-burned family members were gathered at the Mariott Fish Pond.  We stayed long enough to watch the goldfish and koi being fed, then headed out to the beach.

Spouting HornWe stopped to see the “Spouting Horn,” which was very cool, and the girls browsed the shops nearby.   Back on the road, Jim and Josh stopped our caravan to buy some garlic shrimp from a guy selling the stuff freshly cooked in the back of his truck.  Then, on to Poipu, where we played in the sand and the water and just had a lovely, relaxed morning.  Unfortunately, I had borrowed some spray-on sunscreen, and – apparently – hadn’t quite sprayed enough, because after just a couple of hours, my back was nice and red with little un-burned splotches all over it.  That evening, we took a family outing to the grocery store (to plan our microwaved feast for Sunday dinner and to celebrate Mom’s and Kim’s birthday) and K-Mart (for presents for said birthdays, among other things).

The California Zephyrby Angie

20
Sep/08
9:09 pm
0

We rode on a train!  A couple of months ago, when we were discussing the Hoffmans’ visit out here to see Kehlet Mansion, Roger brought up the idea that we could travel up to Tahoe by train, so we checked out the Amtrak website and looked at the routes and cost and such and decided it was a great idea!  So this weekend we rode the California Zephyr from Martinez to Truckee.  Martinez is a little further than the Emeryville Station, but it was a lot smaller and quieter, and the parking was free!  We rode in the coach section, where there are pairs of seats that look a lot like those on an airplane (only much roomier and without seatbelts), but you can move around from there to the lounge car, the snack bar and tables downstairs, or the dining car.

The lounge car has more windows, and seats that swivel to face outside or tables where you can sit and play card games and such.  We played “Mille Bourne” for hours and also a card game I made up called “All Hands on Deck” – trying to perfect the rules and the point system.  The hot food in the snack bar wasn’t great – all microwaved stuff – but they had candy, juice, soda, and other convenience items for sale too.  To eat in the dining car, you have to make a reservation well in advance.  We had lunch there on the way home and I thought the food was very tasty.

It was about a five-hour trip each way, and delays and things made us arrive much later than scheduled on both trips, but when it comes to relaxing travel and beautiful landscapes, it can’t be beat!  I highly recommend it, and hope we’ll do it again sometime!

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A Weekend in LAby Angie

2
Mar/08
12:03 pm
2

Mary Poppins

Oh, there is so much to write! We spent this weekend down in Los Angeles, where we saw my cousin, Melinda, perform with the BYU Young Ambassadors: It was a fantastic show, and Melinda was “practically perfect in every way” as Mary Poppins. “The New American Songbook” included a musical review of the 60s, 70s, and 80s and also show tunes from recent Broadway hits, including “Wicked” and Disney’s 2006 theatrical production of “Tarzan.” It was wonderful!

We drove down to Culver City (in West LA) on Thursday morning, which took us a little over six hours. We ate dinner with Jim’s Grandma & Grandpa Packard, and then drove down to Long Beach, to see the Young Ambassadors’ show. After that, we returned to Culver City to stay with Jim’s Aunt Debbie for the night. Friday morning we had breakfast at Dinah’s – a cafe restaurant that is famous in the Hoffman family for selling the most delicious apple pancake you’ve ever tasted.

That afternoon, we went to the Hyatt Hotel in Garden Grove, to see the ACDA Western Division Honors Choir Concert. We attended because Jim’s niece, Amber, was selected to represent her school in the Children’s Honor Choir this year! It was a beautiful, varied program, and the kids did an amazing job. Jim’s mom was also in town as Amber’s escort! After a mini-family reunion at Outback for dinner, Jim and I made the long return trip in the car back to Livermore. This time, we were driving late into the night, but at least that meant we weren’t fighting traffic! So, we arrived home a little before midnight, exhausted but happy to have had such a wonderful weekend in LA.

A Busy Weekendby Angie

9
Feb/08
10:02 pm
1

Jim’s Grandma Pat passed away a week ago, so several of our relatives were in town for the funeral today. It was a rare time (and the first time in a long time) that all six Hoffman siblings and their parents were together. Everyone had arrived by Friday afternoon and Jon had managed to arrange for us to all tour the Pixar Animation Studios with him. It was so amazing to see the concept art and maquettes that decorate the entire facility!

After the tour, we went out to eat at a restaurant called KC’s BarBQue. I had found this place listed on citysearch (since Jim requested BBQ for his birthday dinner), with 41 five-star recommendations out of 45 reviews, so we were really looking forward to it. When we arrived at the spot, however, we almost drove away: it was in a terribly run-down part of town, and it looked like little more than a hole in the wall, wedged in between a tire place and a paint store. Inside, however, it looked like a cross between a museum and an antique shop! The food was fantastic and the staff were very friendly and helpful. I would definitely recommend it (for lunch or an early dinner – it was kind of scary walking to our car in the dark in that part of town).

This morning, we drove up to Galt, which is about an hour northeast of Livermore. There we attended the funeral services and graveside dedication for Grandma Pat. There was a small luncheon for family members, where I got to meet several Hoffman relatives (more than I can remember names for!), and where Jim’s family got to visit and catch up with cousins and friends that they haven’t seen in years. I never knew Pat, but it was wonderful to hear so much about her and to see so many family and friends enjoying one another’s company and comfort.

Before heading back to Livermore, we drove over to the Heritage Oak Winery to visit Tom and Carmela Hoffman – relatives who were not able to attend the funeral. Their lands and trees are beautiful and very peaceful. They let us pick dozens of ripe oranges from their tree, and we enjoyed an incredible sunset together as the lovely, exhausting day was closing.