Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thanksgiving Foto-Fantastico

You know what I loved about Thanksgiving this year? Everything! It was great having my mom, both my sisters, and all their kids! They came by plane they came by car, from NYC to CA, we convened here in central UT for a very very happy Thanksgiving!!

Everyone pitched in to help and make this the best Thanksgiving ever. Because everyone had to travel to get here, I purchased all the food. But, I didn't do all the work. No way! Everyone took an assignment with a partner and then got to work--chopping veggies, mashing potatoes, assembling casseroles, jelling jello. The kitchen was the hub of activity as couples rotated in and out, grabbing their ingredients and recipes and getting their dishes mixed and guess what? They all turned out fabulously. But, that's no surprise. What did surprise us was how much fun it was to be cooking, creating, and working together.

Time to feast. Ladies first.
The kids table.
We had 26 people--just perfect for us to go around each table and beginning with the letter A, say something we were thankful with that started with that letter. It was a great way to learn something about everyone. Ben had X. He was grateful for Xtended family. Little Quintin had K. He was grateful for Kate.
I couldn't believe how lucky we were to get AZ weather in UT in November. The kids could play outside and we could enjoy fresh air. (and snap a few photos of it all) This is my sister Shannon with her kids and their very significant others. I think they all chose wisely.

Youngest to oldest.
After the feast we went to the park for a big ol' football game and some goofing around.

My sister Rayanne with her kids and their kids.

The kids followed Ben around like he was the Pied Piper.
Like mother like daughter.
Three generations.
Topher and Joanna

My favorite--family game night. Ben started it off with a stand-up comedy routine. Here Sami and Kate are taking a turn entertaining us with the group game, "hitchhiker."
Collaborating, Strategizing, Networking
My sisters and I wowed everyone with our karaoke performance of "Addicted to Love." Notice there was no one around. A Wii Dance competition followed. That brought everyone back.
The best laughs of the night came from the guys dancing to Tik-Tok. Look for it soon on YouTube:) I love this photo of it. No way did the night end there!

What the photos don't show are the ones who battled with the whole county for Black Friday deals at Wmart, the kids falling asleep watching movies, the indoor camping scene in the basement. Girls got the beds in the bedrooms and boys camped on air mattresses in the family room. Some of us stayed up late, late, late talking and laughing. Do I dare say 2:30 a.m.?
The adventure continued the next day with ATV rentals and exploring the mighty web of trails in the surrounding mountains.
Any Black Friday sales on these?
Now entering Fishlake National Forest.
It seems like someone gets injured every time we mix 4-wheelers and family so we felt extra grateful this year that nothing major happened. Mud splatters yes, and maybe a minor rim bending collision, but no bodily harm, just pure fun. We took turns riding then warming up with hot chocolate back at the house.

The little guys.

Loved every minute of it of the whole weekend. I was so happy to be surrounded by some of my favorite people. They're all gone and they left the campground better than they found it in more ways than one. We'll do it again in 2 years. Happy Thanksgiving to all! Now it's time to put up the Christmas tree!

Saturday, November 19, 2011


Boston Temple 2011

The other day I was listening to the radio when I heard these lyrics,
"How wonderful life is, when you're in the world." It made me think of Brandon. I don't know what I did in heaven to deserve him but I sure am grateful that I get to be with him forever and ever.

He's a great husband and father, honest, kind, helpful, funny, all that good stuff but you already know that. In honor of his birthday, here are a few things about him that may surprise you. They surprise me!

He can remember the lyrics to any song or jingle that he's ever heard. Yah--get this: the tune for that old commercial for "Big Red" (gum) popped into my head the other day so I started humming it and filling in a pathetic few of the words I remembered and then Brandon chimed in and sang the whole commercial in it's ENTIRETY. Can you do it? Here's a little sample:
Give your breath *___ ____ ______ with Big Red!
Why does it still surprise me? He's been doing this for years. Pick any Christmas song, any song from the '80's and I'm telling you-- he can access it plain as day from the filing system in his brain.

Also, filed away in his brain are a lot of interesting vocabulary words, 50-cent words we call them. He can just pull them out and sprinkle them into his daily conversations. Not in a hoity- toity way-- he does it with ... what's the word? I'll have to ask him. He's a walking dictionary/thesaurus, a great writer, speaker, thinker. I think he could write some really great Presidential speeches.

I think I've mentioned this one before, but it here it is again. He has a sniffer like a hound-dog. However, instead of barking and chasing after that smell, he will describe it perfectly in words. Next time you're wearing one of your smelly lotion potions go on over and let him take a whiff. Sure enough he'll get it spot on, "Fresh mowed grass with a hint of barbeque sauce." That's what he'd be wearing, anyway.

He does mow our lawn and he does make great barbeque burgers. That is about the extent of his culinary skills so let's move on.

He's a good listener. He can listen to people ALL day and then come home and listen to ME and then tuck all the girls in and listen to THEM. Let's just say, when I put the girls to bed-- I come back upstairs a LOT sooner.

What's he reading? The Book of Mormon, and it's companion study guide, the biography of Thomas S. Monson, and the DSM Manual for treating Eating Disorders and Anxiety.
I think it's high time for some light fiction, don't you?

Patient as I'll get out, he can watch any televised sporting event, including golf! He can even sit in the cold for hours to watch a football game (like he is tonight, at BYU stadium). I wouldn't last 5 minutes before heading to the nearest warm and friendly mall!

All it takes for Brandon to be happy is to have homemade ice cream in the freezer. Bonus if you add a night at home with the whole family and nowhere to go. It sounds geriatric. But that must be why he has me--to add some spice, a little adventure, and to keep him from going to bed at 8 pm.

He knows the answer to any God/who we are/what happens when we die question anyone could ever have, and he answers them so humbly and eloquently. I really should take him on more plane rides. He's my Bible dictionary, my Topical Guide, Index and everything in between. Wanna know where the sword of Laban is? or What the purpose of the temple is? or if you could hie to Kolob? He'd know just what to say about all of it-- and he'd be able to sing you all 5 verses.

Life is good with Brandon. He's constantly surprising me with new abilities and fun-ness. He keeps me grounded and makes me laugh often, which sure makes for a more pleasant life journey. I'm glad to be on that ride with him for ever and ever.

Happy Birthday Love!!!!!!!!!

*long lasting freshness

Friday, November 11, 2011


Souvenir shirts from our trip to Mass.
11 Random Thoughts or Events of the Week:
  1. Kate played her first basketball game with her city league team. This is her first time ever playing basketball. It looked like it was everyone else's too. The parents and coaches were shouting from the benches in desperation, "SHOOT the ball!!!" What a complicated sport. Ref's were calling fouls and traveling and other calls I don't know the meaning of. I wondered if the girls did and if not maybe they'd be better off playing something more simple-like. Red Rover perhaps?
  2. Brandon hasn't been able to play ball or do anything active because of some weird foot thing he's had for a few months now. We thought it was plantar fascitis which is a pretty common ailment, and it was for one of his feet but his other foot keeps getting worse. He finally went to a podiatrist, who recommended an anti-inflammatory and rest. Hasn't done a thing so he may be looking at some steroid shots to the area to see if it helps. If you wake up in the morning and your feet don't hurt when you get out of bed, be grateful!
  3. I am grateful for the fridge and generator we inherited from my mom's big move. It was frightfully weird to go to the old house and see it sitting empty and forlorn. It made me sad for awhile, to think that I'll no longer have that Salt Lake connection. Those weekend city getaways were my life blood and now it's like one of my arteries has been cut off!! BUT, now I just have to reframe: it's not cut off, it's only been replaced with a new BIGGER artery: California! Here I come, cuz...
  4. If I only have 50 years or so left to live, I want to spend them on the beach!!
  5. I have to shake my head when I go pick up my 1st grader from school and see a giant sign that reads "We chain up drugs." This is a K-2 school. What good could spending a week on drug free campaigning do for them except to plant the idea that there actually are drugs. My 5th grader complained to us at breakfast about having to go to the DARE program. What is DARE? our 3rd grader asked? That's when Dad gave this definition: DARE is when you miss recess to learn about drugs you'll never do.
  6. iPad or iPhone? Just because I was the last person you know to get a cell phone doesn't mean I don't love having all that technology at my fingertips. I think I especially need those handy verbal reminders "pick up your child from school today." or "library books are due." Just for fun we could add, "Say NO to drugs." Brandon is suggesting the calendar as a cheaper option.
  7. Had to stop myself from decorating for Christmas last weekend?! I think it was the snow flurries in the air but I seemed to forget that there is life before Christmas. It's called Thanksgiving and it's the best holiday of the year and we're hosting it...
  8. I'm trying to round up ATV rentals because that's what my family is excited to do when they get here!! Bonus if I can find some horseback riding too. Believe me I can find horses a-plenty. It's finding the owners and seeing if any of them want some tourist business, that's tricky. Other than that we'll try for some football, karaoke, maybe some Wii dance. It's gonna be great.
  9. You know that saying, " Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results?" Well it's true and it's why I'm taking a break from running (which makes me feel old and creaky) and replacing it with yoga ( which makes me feel young and awesome) So far so good. When it's sunny I bundle up Bud in the stroller for some speed walking. We always have to stop to look at the horses a-plenty or throw rocks in the stream. Bud was surprised to find the last time that the rocks skidded and came to a stop right on top of the water instead of landing with a splash! It was frozen over!
  10. The Chinese acrobats came to town. I took the girls to see their show. We were wowed by these perfect specimens or humans doing unbelievable feats of flexibility, balance, and strength. After the show, my friend summed up my feelings perfectly when she said, "Don't you just feel like a big useless blob now?" I think "amoeba" is the word she used and YES! I did feel like they put any of my yoga moves to crying shame.
  11. Happy 11's everyone and Happy Veteran's Day. Any random thoughts of your own?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


It occurred to me the other day how lucky we are to live in a place where we can still do the traditional door to door trick-or-treating . It is afterall, one of the highlights of kid-dom. We had a great holiday full of parties . Each of the kids were happy with their costumes and bonus! 2 of them were recycled from last year. Bud wanted to squeeze into his baby alligator costume, and he did for the church party, but then I convinced him to go with the more roomy skeleton.  Maybe it was the amazing weather, but we had way more trick or treaters than I could have expected. Last year we handed out around 100 pieces of candy. This year I bought 150 (and didn't even eat it before because it wasn't chocolate.) We ran out at 8 p.m.!! That was a good excuse to get in the car and go visit our old neighbors and the "Halloween House" which should win a national prize for most amazing display of death and spooks ever!!  Fog was even coming out of the house...
Amazing. Anyway...
Here it is. This year's Halloween crew
Some things are better in multiples, and you know you can't just have one M&M
Spidergirls and their sidekick Bones

Dividing up the booty
Kate and Cuddles, the monster we created to scare away the trick or treaters.  Obviously, his effect was the opposite.
Family Party featuring Caramel apples, Monster Mash with Megan, Spooky story by Dad. Ghoulash for dinner, Carnival Games and to top it off a hayride through the Haunted Fields. 

I thought this year's family party was the best yet. The new addition of the haunted fields was completely thrilling, even with 3 little cousins piled on top of me, one squeezing my finger  the whole time. 

Does it seem like Christmas with all the parties going on? We had a church party.  I helped with Kate's school party. Last week we went to Fremont Indian State Park for their Halloween extravaganza. We came home with about 10 pounds of candy and nightmares from the too spooky walk through the woods (teenagers with chainsaws, need I say more.)
Family Night pumpkin carving and salted buttery roasted seeds for a treat.
Let's hear it for a last Hurrah for Halloween. Now I can't wait to get outside and un-decorate!
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