Sunday, December 26, 2010


We wish everyone a Merry Christmas. We hope this has been a good year for your family.

We have been blessed in many ways during the year 2010. We have been blessed with a wonderful family. Our children are all doing well in their various careers or schooling.

This year, we have been blessed to experience grandparenthood. We have little Taycee (Amy & Seth's) now 1 year old, Victoria (2 1/2) and Christian (4 months) both of whom are foster children of Katie and Robert. We have enjoyed the times we have had the little ones at our house with their beautiful smiles.

We have been blessed with opportunities to travel this country. In July, the kids and I traveled to Montana for a 100th anniversary Jackson family reunion. Along the way, we stopped in Utah for a few days to sort through and divide my parents estate. We also stopped in beautiful Yellowstone Park, on the road to Cooke City, Montana. Dave stayed home and worked hard to pay for our trip.

LeeAnn was blessed to reinforce her history lessons as she participated in a school sponsored tour to Washington D.C. and Philadelphia PA.

We have been blessed with music in our home as John is learning to play the string bass in the grade school orchestra. LeeAnn and Bethany continue to play the piano.

This year Bonnie was blessed to go back to school, as a substitute teacher. She has enjoyed the many experiences thus far from elementary school to high school levels of teaching. She even landed a 4 1/2 week long term job in a 4th grade near here, which kept her busy up until Christmas time.

Dave loves to cook for big groups and use his cook trailers. His new love is smoking meats, which he has done several times this fall to provide smoked pork for weddings and a local restaurant.

We have a new tradition in our house, and that is making tamales at Christmas time. Dave smoked the pork and then seasoned it to go in the tamales. The family all participated in making the tamales.

Then for Christmas Eve, all the older kids and their families were here to enjoy eating tamales.

On Christmas Day, we veered from tradition abit and went and flew rockets with our Bates cousins. John had fun launching the rockets that we brought out of storage and prepped for the day.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

4th of July Weekend

This year we had three days to celebrate our nation's independence, July 3, July 4, and July 5th. Mesa put on a Celebration of Independence event downtown area on Friday and Saturday nights. We went down on Friday night and enjoyed it so much that we decided to go back again Saturday to see the events and to watch the fireworks.

Our American Heritage was displayed on Center Street. Here is a blow-up replica of the Washington Monument.
That is HERITAGE ACADEMY in the background, the school that LeeAnn and Bethany attend during the school year.
The National Capitol.

Here is Independence Hall. You could actually walk inside it to see various
history posters on the walls.

I am posing with a character "Caesar Rodney" who was the last one to sign the Declaration of Independence. (You might notice that he is really a she.)

They had a monster truck that John was excited to examine close up.
An old-fashioned watermelon eating contest. John finished last. But hey he got to eat some free watermelon which was so refreshing in the 90* ++ heat.
They had a wide variety of games for kids. On Friday night the crowd was light and there were very short lines. Best of all, it was FREE!

We returned Saturday night to see the fireworks. They were great. (Sorry, no pictures) The
Thank you City of Mesa, for putting on a wonderful 4th of July celebration.

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Saturday afternoon we hosted the Gardner Family Swim and BBQ. We had quite a few people here. At one point I counted 20 people in our pool! And that's not all that swam that day. Dave grilled hamburgers and hot dogs and we ate a yummy dinner after our swim.

Our grand baby - TAYCEE !!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Spring has sprung, and summer is almost here.

Well, I have been meaning to blog for some time, but just haven't taken the time to do it. We Gardner's in Mesa are all doing fine and have enjoyed the nice mild weather Arizona has had this spring. We enjoyed seeing a green desert on our annual spring break hike in March. We went to the "JESUS THE CHRIST" EASTER PAGEANT in April. Of course there was school and work. As the school year has drawn near to the end we enjoyed attending concert and musicals. John is playing the bass in the advanced orchestra at his school. Bethany starred in a musical called "We the People" about the United States Constitution. LeeAnn was one of the student directors for that production. LeeAnn went to the Prom this spring. Chris has spent the last four months at Army Basic Training Camp in Ft. Benning, Georgia and graduated on May 20th. We're happy to have him back in Mesa. Well, that's it in a nutshell. There are pictures below that show these happenings.

Arizona - Superstition Mountain, Hierogylphic trail
The view from the top of the canyon
Bethany, LeeAnn and Shannon

Bethany and cousin Anne sing with the Heritage Academy choir, during outdoor concert

John prepares to be a "Blues Brother" with his Bass.
John plays the "Firebird Blues" at Franklin orchestra concert

Heritage musical - "We the People". LeeAnn is controlling the soundboard. Bethany sang, danced and had solo parts.

LeeAnn prepares for the prom

LeeAnn and her date, Bryce

Chris with his Infantry group at his Army Basic Training Graduation.

Chris and his girlfriend, Cassandra.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Cousins Sukiyaki Party

We had a Japanese sukiyaki dinner party with some of Bonnie's cousins on the Wagstaff side. My cousin Dorothy and her husband Blaine were in town on business, so I gathered together the Bates brothers (Larry & Shannon, Dan & Malena, Arlo and Gaylene) and Morgan and Jean with a special guest, Aunt Kate and had a dinner where we cooked at the table.

We sure had fun eating and visiting together. Eating with chopsticks is a challenge for those that are new at it, but I don't think anyone went away hungry. Our kids and niece Shannon had their own table with an electric sukiyaki skillet and ate out in Dave's office away from the grown ups.

Shannon dressed up in a Japanese kimono and greeted our guests as they arrived.

Dave prepares the trays of vegetables and later added the beef. Our table has three burners in the middle so we were able to cook our sukiyaki right at the table. It is a cook as you eat type of meal.

Shannon helps Bethany cut up snow peas.

Looking at the pan up close with various vegetables, beef, tofu and glass noodles.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


A very important man in my life died last week. My Dad. Victor Rex Jackson. He passed away peacefully on January 24, 2010 at the ripe old age of 97 1/2 . I am thankful that I was able to be with him there in Provo the last week of his life.

Gone is the main man who has been in my life since the day I was born. Who loved me and encouraged me as I was growing up, who cheered me on through my many pursuits in High School and college. He pushed me to try a little harder. He was the one who drove me to college in his big truck, and who with mom wrote letters of encouragement while I was away from home. He is the one who insisted on coming to Arizona (while I was single)when I had ear surgery. He stayed there in the hospital thru it all. This man flew all the way to Japan so he could be there after I had my first baby (LeeAnn). He came from Montana one summer to help me while Dave was away right before Bethany was born. This man is my Dad and he was always there for me.

I love that he was able to travel even through the last year of his life. He would come to visit us once or twice a year and stay for 3 or 4 weeks. He loved playing with his grandchildren. When my kids were little, he would play hide and go seek with them. He read them stories and laughed and teased them. And of course he loved to get them caught in his bear trap. (Bear Trap is holding them tight between your knees and ankles) Then for awhile, he took on the role of the tooth fairy. He liked to put dollar bills under their pillows, even without a tooth to take. He'd put one under his pillow too and say, "Look what the tooth fairy brought me." then the kids would dash off to look under their own pillows.

When LeeAnn was very little she used to call him Grandpa Haha. I think that was started from the little saying he would chant when he had them caught in his bear trap.
Grandpa has you caught in a bear trap
You can't get away, Hahaha!

He loved to go places with us - for rides out into the desert or trip to the zoo.

He loved to go grocery shopping with me and always wanted to pay for the groceries. I let him help a little bit. As he got older and less mobile, he started riding the electric grocery carts. This was true FREEDOM for him. I did have to watch him though, as he ran into a few things in the aisle. One time shopping we picked up a package of "Depends" - adult briefs. As we were paying at the check out and they bagged the Depends, my Dad said in a loud voice for all to hear, " The man that invented Depends deserves a Gold medal ! ! !"

I will never forget the endearing way that he referred to my as his Favorite daughter. (I am his only daughter.) Almost everytime he said goodbye on the phone or said goodnight in person, he would say, "I love you Bonnie! You're my favorite daughter!" Even though I knew I was the only daughter, it still made me feel special. He called me regularly from Provo, and if I wasn't there he would leave a nice message on our answering machine. I have tried to save those messages knowing that someday he wouldn't be around to call me anymore. Right now there is just one left on the machine that I can listen to on the days when I want to hear my dad's voice again. "Hello Bonnie, this is your old Dad calling. How's my favorite daughter today? Sorry I missed you."

Yes Dad, I am missing you too!!


If you would like to read more about my Dad and his obituary, click here.