Friday, December 18, 2009

December 6 - December 18: Food, Family, Friends, Fu7

The Fire is So Delightful...
Resting up for the big ride
This is what happens when little girls fall asleep in the car and doze for 15 minutes before being shoved out into the cold and snow to see reindeer.
Be still my heart - I want to burn this image on my brain forever. Six year old boys rule.

December 6th: First Presidency Devotional and Erin came over for dinner before heading out to Virginia for her grandfather's funeral.

December 7th: Neighborhood Cookie Exchange at my house with lots of neighbors and excellent cookies. One more reminder about how I would love to just live here forever. If I had a third car garage and we weren't North facing.

December 8th: Our home teacher came over and gave us a very memorable lesson that I plan to plagiarize and use in my lesson this month.

December 9th: Birthday party for a friend at Cheesecake Factory. I love strong and independent women!

December 10th: Surprise Baby Shower for my dear friend in the neighborhood. Whenever she cries, I cry. Also found out two more friends are pregnant! Babies to snuggle and give back - wahoo!

December 11th: My work company party at Luganos Italian restaurant. It was surprisingly pleasant!

December 12th: We drove all the way up to Ogden for Great Grandpa Totten's 89th birthday party at Aunt Pennie's house. It was a lot of fun and a lot of food! Fudge should be illegal.

December 13th: It was snowing and icy and slushy and slippery in our neck of the woods so after Church we just stayed home in pajamas and snuggled.

December 14th: For Family Home Evening, we went to Thanksgiving Point to see the reindeer and the Festival of Lights. Or something like that. We had our membership card, a $2 off coupon, and a Senior (mom) in the car. The best deal we could get was $4 for our car, which was half off so I won't complain, but you would think....

December 15th: Annual Christmas Book Club! This year it was at Rachel's and as wonderful as ever. It's my favorite book club because we do a white elephant exchange and that is always entertaining. I love my book club. And we do actually read and discuss the books. And they are sometimes very through-provoking books. But, sometimes they are fluffy and I love that, too.

December 16th: I cried a bit today. It's the anniversary of my friend's baby's death. She died a year ago of SIDS. I went to her funeral and it was the saddest funeral I have ever attended. I went to visit my friend so I could hug her and cry with her.

December 17th: Dave shipped me off to a movie with my mom since he gets to go see Avatar for his work party. We saw "The Blind Side", which just might be my new favorite movie. I want to be just like Sandra Bullock's character when I grow up only more modestly dressed.

Next up: Christmas and our family reunion in sunny Arizona!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Our cute little Elf!

November 29 - December 5, 2009: The Start of the Holidays

This week was quite the eventful week. We started off Monday with a Family Home Evening where we brought out the Nativity and I told the kids the story of the Nativity as we got them out of boxes and put them together. Then we read the story of the Shelf Elf and named him "Zeekee". Then we got out our advent calendar so we could start counting down the days until Christmas. The kids are quite obsessed with Zeekee. If I had realized how hilarious this was going to be, I would have gotten on board sooner. It does help that I am done with all of my shopping and everything is wrapped, so I don't have that stress and can just enjoy the Holidays!

Clara as "Santa's Elf". I still have the song in my head and it is driving me nuts.
Clara and her little dancing friend, Alyson.
On stage for the first time! This was right before the music started.
After a costume change, she turned into a reindeer.
The dance performance was at Festival of the Trees, so afterward we wandered around looking at the different trees that people had designed to sell. The proceeds went to Primary Children's Hospital.
Josh and Clara love the Grinch.

After weeks of listening to Josh spout off nursery rhymes, Providence Hall held its 2nd Annual Nursery Rhyme Festival! Josh decided to be the mouse in "Hickory Dickory Dock" so this was the costume I came up with. Headband courtesy of the Sudweeks about 10 minutes before school started.
Josh the mouse
The Nursery Rhyme Festival consists of all of the Kindergartners memorizing 25 nursery rhymes. They then choose one, dress up, and perform for parents and all of the older grades. They had stickers on them, and when you pushed the sticker, they had to recite their rhyme. There were huge backdrops hung all over the classrooms and common area.
You can see the little sticker on his shirt that you had to push for him to say the rhyme.
Eden is one of Josh's really good friends. I pick her up from school twice a week and she is one of my favorite kids to have come over because she is easy and loves my waffles. We practiced her rhyme a few times.
This is in the common area where they have computers and reading centers. The Kindergarten and First Grade classes are in the same wing.
I found Josh's nursery rhyme collage with a list of the rhymes that he did in watercolor. I love his school! They do so many wonderful and challenging things. Josh has had a fun time learning the rhymes, and it's amazing that he actually knows so many!

November 24-28: Thanksgiving Week

After being in Afghanistan for most of the year, Uncle Kelly came home for Thanksgiving. He spent a few days with us playing with the kids, taking them to the park, and baking. I loved the baking part. He is welcome to come back and do a repeat on it for Christmas (hint).

One day in a baking frenzy, he decided to make cinnamon rolls. Josh decided to help, and I couldn't resist taking pictures. It was really cute to watch them. Apparently Josh was so tired from baking and playing with Uncle Kelly that he fell asleep on the bathroom floor after his shower.

Our friends Dayna, Sara, Woodstock and Pebbles came for Thanksgiving Dinner. My mom and Uncle Kelly were there to give thanks with us as well. It was a small and quiet dinner and I have to say that I loved it for the peace! Clara and Josh loved all over Pebbles (and I did as well) and after eating we sat around talking and just enjoying the afternoon.
I didn't take many pictures - but I love this one of Clara and Pebbles snuggling.

On Saturday we spent the morning cleaning, and then after Clara's nap, headed up to Temple Square. First we stopped at Red Iguana for dinner. We were hoping that with the BYU vs. Utah game being held in Provo that there would be less traffic and fewer people. We were right! It was still crowded, but nothing like previous years. Plus it was relatively warm with no snow. The perfect night to go!
Josh and Clara in front of Red Iguana
Clara wanted to play in the water...brrrr.Dave's favorite tree at Temple Square.

In front of the Salt Lake Temple

Family picture! We don't get these too often.
The Nativity - out in the middle of the fountain. It was stunning.
Josh and Clara in front of the Salt Lake Temple
Our grown up kid!

November 19: New Moon

Last year when Twilight premiered, my whole neighborhood went together at midnight to see it. I was in Phoenix so I didn't join them, but this year I was determined to experience the craziness. And crazy it was! For the record, I don't like the books and I hated the first movie. This was about the experience of hanging out with 50 friends at midnight. That being said, I thought New Moon was way better than Twilight. Probably because Robert Whats-his-name is barely in it. For the other record, I am firmly on Team Sam. Forget the teenagers.

My friend Allison is the organizer of the event. She's amazing!
Laurie and Paige came even after a Board of Trustees meeting that lasted several hours.

Friday, November 27, 2009

November 14, 2009: Hawaii - Day Seven Part One

Saturday was our last day in Hawaii. We were sad to leave, but it was a fun-filled day! First, we drove to Waimea to meet Bango and Kristine for brunch. We wanted to have at least a couple of hours that was devoted to Apartment #9. The really fun part was that Kristine didn't know that Tiffany was coming, so when she walked into the restaurant she said, "Is that TIFF?!" It was awesome. I love surprises like that.

Kristine hugging Tiff after realizing it was her.

We sat down to eat, and gave Kristine and Bango their present from us. Even though I went to her shower, I held off giving her the present so that everyone else could be there. We compiled our favorite recipes into one book with pictures and the spices that went along with it.

Kristine and Bango opening their present

Most of us got the breakfast crepes, which were heavenly! We ate and talked and took pictures and grilled Bango and Kristine about their future plans.

Steeres, Gancinias, Tottens, Tiffany, Hills
Heidi, Kristine, Tiffany, Marlane, and Renae - missing: Jenn and Mikie :(

After the brunch, we went our separate ways. Dave and I took Tiffany to see Waipi'o Valley, and the Hills and Steeres went to fly in a helicopter over the waterfalls. We got packed up and headed to the reception in Honoka'a....

November 14, 2009: Hawaii - Day Seven Part Two

After getting packed up, we headed back up to Honoka'a for the reception. It's a bit daunting going to a reception where you don't know many people, but I was recognized by a few people having visited Kristine last January. I went to church with her and apparently I stood out.

Kristine's Centerpieces
The food table was incredible. It combined Hawaiian food and Filipino food and I have never in my life seen a larger variety at one reception. There was chicken, beef, fish and pork, as well as about 20 different sides. And it wasn't catered! The people in the ward cooked all of this! Really - I kind of think that is how it should be. But, I guess it's not always feasible depending on the circumstances of the wedding. It was fun to see how involved Bango and Kristine's ward was in the event.
The cake - I loved her colors. They were so peaceful and to see a roomful of them was so very ocean-like. :)
Have I mentioned that Russ and Matt have a great sense of humor? While they were out and about, they decided to buy matching shirts in Kristine's colors. We got a big laugh out of it. It was fun, though, because we all looked matchy-matchy and island-y.
We were so very tired, but having so much fun. Dave's eyes are open. He always looks like they are closed in pictures.
Here we all are with Kristine while Bango is singing up on stage. It was just luck that Tiff brought a shirt that had the light blue color in it. Marlane and I bought shirts at Hula Moon for it.
Bango working the crowd.
Three trays of meat!
We chose a table in the back so that we would be inconspicuous, but it didn't work. We were called everything from the "Crew from the Mainland" to "Those ocean people."
I was hoping for some kind of cake shmooshing action here, but they were well-behaved.
Bango wrote a song for Kristine and performed it for us. I wish I had it on video because it was a great song!
Look at this beauty! I have never seen her look so happy and it was wonderful to be able to see this expression on her face all week!
Matt and Renae - getting their groove on.
Kristine performed a hula for Bango, which, if you know her, is a HUGE deal because she is not one to be in the spotlight like that.
What's a reception in Hawaii without Karaoke? We decided to join in the fun, and sang "Lean On Me". Kristine jumped up on the stage to join us. The last time we all sang together was at our ward closing social in 1996 where we sang the song "Apartment #9". It was fun and tearful and we looked pretty dorky, but who cares?
Finally it was time to go, so we took one last picture with all of us before heading to the airport for our red-eye back to Phoenix. The only thing that would have made this trip better would have been to have Mikie, Jenn, Joe, James, and Ben. Someday we will all get together with our spouses, but living all over the country makes that tough. It's been 15 years since I moved in with these girls (instead of moving back to Phoenix, which was my plan). That decision changed the course of my life. It's funny how that happens. And now, 15 years later, all seven of us have been married in the temple. We talked about how important our little group is to each of us, and how grateful we are to have found each other. We don't see or talk to each other very often, but, we know that another 15, 20, 30 years could go by and we will still all be friends, who stay up way too late talking and eating stuff that isn't good for us. I know that there are groups of women like this all over the world, and I'm just grateful for my #9 girls.