This little missy is growing so dang fast.  She brings so much joy and happiness to our family.  She has the sweetest temperament, and when she looks into your eyes it's almost as if she can see into your soul.  Lyndi has been a source of happiness to our family during a time when we needed it most.  She is most definitely a little piece of heaven.  


November 12, 1923 - August 14, 2015

Somehow I have been lucky enough to grow up with all four of my grandparents alive and very involved in my life.  I don't remember any major life events without all of them there.  What an amazing blessing.

My Grandma Betty Jo and Grandpa Bob lived in San Mateo, CA until I was around 18, when they moved down the street from us to a house on Hudson Ave.  At least once a year my family would climb into our van and head to California to visit my grandparents.  I remember baked beans, the BEST potato salad, fresh artichokes, this fancy wedge pillow that was perfect for laying on the floor and watching TV, Pier 49, Alcatraz, the amazing Left Handers Only store, crisp mornings, and the large front window looking out over the busy street.  I remember feeling happy and safe and loved.

My grandma lived her life taking care of others.  She took care of her mother-in-law until she passed away, she took care of Mammy (her mother) until she passed away.  She took care of Suzie (her daughter) frequently, and she took care of my Grandpa Bob so tenderly until he passed away.  I will always be thankful for the example she set for me.

Grandma Betty Jo was very quick witted.  She had nick names for everyone and everything.  If you spilled the milk, she would say you "Gary'd the milk" - I guess my dad spilled the milk frequently!  But she had a saying like that for everything.  She also would make up names for people she didn't even know.  She and Mammy would sit and watch people out of their big front window, and tell us stories about each person.  Looking back now I realize that they didn't know any of those people and I'm quite sure all of the stories were made up.  But man I loved to sit there and watch and listen.

Garfield the cat - you know, from the funnies - was her favorite, and she had Garfield decorations all over her house.  She said that she had so much in common...they both loved lasagna, they both were lazy, and both a little plump (her words, not mine)!

I was so excited when my grandparents decided to move back to Utah, and I was blessed to have them so close while my kids were young.  They were there for every birthday party, every swimming party, every Christmas Eve and Easter.  My kids played on their swing set, played in my grandpa's awesome office, and learned how to say the alphabet backwards because of them.  I didn't realize how much I took that relationship for granted until they moved to Kentucky about six years ago, and Connor didn't get the experiences or the relationships the other two had.

There are so many things I loved about my Grandma Betty Jo, but one of the things I loved most about her was the way she instantly loved Rick.  She didn't judge him, she got to know him and saw him for the amazing man he is.  He quickly became her favorite - he got personalized birthday cards from her, with not only the normal $2.00 bill, but a handwritten note too!  I will always be so thankful to her for that.

My grandma lived an amazing life, and there is not one doubt in my mind that she is in heaven with my sweet grandpa and my amazing dad.  I'm thankful for the opportunity I have to be with her again.

I love you, Grandma.

Betty Jo Kartchner Bengtzen, 91, passed away on August 14, 2015 in Possum Trot (yes, Possum Trot!), Kentucky.  Betty was born October 12, 1923, in Blanding, Utah, to Silas Decater and Elizabeth Hurst Kartchner. She married Robert Walker Bengtzen on November 19, 1942, in the Salt Lake City Temple. They were sweethearts in high school and continued to be for the 69 years they together on Earth, and continue to be in heaven. They were the parents of three sons and one daughter: Robert Kay, Gary Lynn, Timothy Einar, and Suzanne.  Betty was a faithful member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints her entire life. She held many callings and constantly served others.  She is survived by her brother, Hal Kartchner, son, Timothy (Barbara) Bengtzen and daughter, Suzanne Turner, daughters-in-law Raynee Bengtzen and Myke Branch, 14 grandchildren, 31 great grandchildren and one great great grandchild. Betty was preceded in death by her parents, husband, Robert Bengtzen, brother, John Kartchner, sons, Robert Kay Bengtzen and Gary Lynn Bengtzen.  Funeral Service will be held Saturday August 22, 2015 at the Imperial First Ward, 1560 East 2700 South, SLC, at 11:30 a.m., with a viewing before the funeral from 9:30 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. Burial in Wasatch Lawn Cemetery.

I can't finish this post without writing down just a few things about the funeral - I shouldn't do this but I'm going to...
+ Lyndi loudly farting in the middle of the family prayer.
+ Brittani getting the giggles! 
+ Matt playing the organ dramatically and Jen laughing so hard she was crying while leading the music.
+ Suzie steeling the handkerchief that was supposed to be given to Lyndi.
+ My mom calling the next day saying that she got the handkerchief back - we will never know how she got it!
+ Matt posting on Facebook the day before the funeral that he was leaving his wife and children and was engaged to someone else...and then bringing that someone else to the funeral and not saying a word about it.
+ Hal calling Grandma "Becky" his whole talk - not "Betty"!
+ Rick choosing to "Be Bold" in the closing prayer - I love that man.



Mr. Connor is fourteen.

His 6 foot 1 inch height may make you think that he is older than fourteen. If that doesn't do the trick, his deep voice, armpit hair and hairy feet and legs will surely convince you that he isn't still at the beginning stages of a teenager...but don't be fooled...he is just fourteen.

If you are lucky enough to spend a little time with Connor, you would find that inside that large body is a sweet little boy.  You would find someone who cried EVERY DAY for over a month when his big brother left, and someone who absolutely ADORES his little niece.

If you could peak into our house for a minute, you would find someone who snuggles with his mom while he watches TV at night, and sometimes holds her hand in the car while running errands.

If you have the chance to get to know Connor a little bit you will find one of the most sensitive hearts and someone who CARES DEEPLY about others.

I'm thankful every day that Mr. Connor came to my house.

+ As a child he LOVED costumes, and now he LOVES sports uniforms - they are his grown up costumes.
+ He was born 6 weeks premature but was completely healthy.
+ He knows more statistics than you could ever imagine.
+ He very rarely gets angry.
+ He is very VERY smart.  He doesn't study and usually gets one of the highest test scores in the class...if I could just get him to turn in his homework!
+ He LOVES to hang out at home.  The perfect day for him would be to lay on the couch and watch sports on TV all day.
+ He LOVES his food.  Taking away his food is one sure way to make him angry.
+ If you cross him it takes a lot to earn back his trust.
+ He is always listening and absorbing everything going on around him.
+ He gives THE BEST hugs.
+ It is very important to him that he smells good!  Weird for a fourteen year old boy.
+ He is very protective of his niece.
+ His older brother is his hero and Connor will do anything to make Nathan proud.
+ He has a very good relationship with his parents.  He cares a lot about not disappointing us.

Happy 14th Connor.  I hope this year is amazing for you.  I love you to infinity and beyond and then way more than that.

Connor ended up getting a migraine and the flu on his birthday, so he didn't even eat a bite of this cake.  Poor kid.  We made up for it by partying ALL weekend!

 ^Getting a birthday package from Nathan^

^Nathan got these shorts from someone he is teaching for Connor.  They may be a little short, but they meant the world to Connor^


You would think by the eleventh year of our team doing Lotoja, we would have it down.  I mean, we have learned a few things, like ordering dinner a week before and eating at the park so we can accommodate a large group, or where to eat for breakfast on Sunday morning.  But for some reason, every year,  we are trying to decide which route the support is going to drive, who is staying with the group and who is riding ahead, who is following who, and how we are going to make all the logistics work.  All of this indecision causes one thing and one thing only...DRAMA.

Rick choose this summer to spend as much time with the family as he could, so his training - which usually is quite minimal - became almost nonexistent.  I think he was a little nervous about it going in, but when push comes to shove, Rick can usually pull it off.  

I was helping Brittani support Cody, and at Montpelier, Cody came through quite a bit before Rick's group, so we had to leave before I could see how Rick was doing.  Andrea was awesome and called me to let me know that Rick's group was together and they all seemed to be doing good.  When we were waiting in Alpine, Andrea called and said that in Afton Rick was sick and wouldn't eat anything.  She said that he hadn't eaten anything since Montpelier and didn't take any more food with him.  I decided to have Brittani leave me in Alpine so that I could force Rick to eat something so that he would have the energy to finish.

Between Afton and Alpine, a car pulled in front of our guys and stopped, causing Dave to crash into Nolan.  Dave's hand and wrist were hurt and Nolan's bike was broken.  The group sat for over a half an hour waiting for the paramedics to check Dave out and for the police to write up a report.  During that time Lori and I found a bike for Nolan to ride!  Seriously!  Just leave it to us!!!

Sooo, Rick wasn't feeling any better by the time he got to Alpine, even with the break they had, but I made him drink a coke, eat some pepto pills and fruit, gave him a kiss and told him I would meet him at the finish line.  He wasn't happy.  At all.  BUT, he finished.  They all did.  And another Lotoja is in the books. 

Next year though, I'm going to try to let things roll off my back because I was NOT FUN the night of Lotoja.  Rick was sick and tired and had to go to a cabin with his wife who was being a huge brat.  I sometimes wonder when I will grow up.  It's been 41 years and I still have so much to figure out.  Thankfully Rick has a ton of patience with me.

 ^Nolan's broken bike^
^Dave being checked out by the paramedics...the one with the cowboy hat and long mustache was the other paramedic!

^In line at the Bunnery for breakfast on Sunday morning^

^I love this man^



One of my very favorite things is receiving texts from Brittani with pictures of little Lyndi.  Gosh, I love that little girl so dang much!!!


 ^Ready for her first road trip to Vegas^

 ^Trying on shoes for church^
 ^Yep!  That's what you think it is!^
 ^Her first rolling over sequence - Ready^
 ^New sun hat for hiking^
 ^She found her toes^
 ^She loved her first camping experience^

 ^Loving on the stuffed animal Connor gave her when she was born^
 ^Ready for a run with mom^
^Sleeping on her tummy^

Can you see how these just make my day?!?  Being a grandma is the best.