Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas 2009

It has been 3 months since I have been on this blog site. I have another blog that tells what I have been doing over the last three months. A three months that I am glad is over. A three months that I have learned, grown, and received much however. A three months that, in the end, I have so much to be thankful for. It is in this three months that I was diagnosed with a squamous cell cancer, received treatment for and am now in recovery mode.

I have so many more wonderful things happening in my life though. I want to talk about them.

Many many years ago I began to realize how hard it was going to be to get everyone together on Christmas for a family celebration. I wanted all my kids and grandkids and sister and her kids to be able to get together and not have to "share" them with anyone else.

So, it has worked out that usually the Sunday before Christmas we have our Family Christmas Party. Then, on Christmas Day, when everyone needs to visit in-laws, etc., it is working out that Gramma and Grampa drop by and give presents to Grandkids, visit for about an hour, and then everyone is off to the other places they need to go. So far, so good!

Below are a few pictures from our Family Christmas Celebration gathering held on
20 December.

Don't know what it was that Dave was being congratulated for, but it looks like it was pretty good. And Mitsi, it looks like Baby "K" is beginning to make his/her presence obvious. (We are all so excited!)

Daddy Eric explaining to Ethan to be patient until he shows him how his toy works. (Get used to it Ethan!)

Danny, Ellen and Mitsi giggling about something....

If you ever find yourself in a bad mood, take a look at this pic of little Miss Lilly. Bad mood GONE!

Don't know what Dave and Lilly are talking about, but both seem very excited about it!

Beck's turn to open his present while most everyone watches.
Love it when the family gets together. Give thanks for mine every single night.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Need some help please!

One thing that will happen to you when your children grow up is that you will go places you have never gone before and learn things you never had any interest in. (Sounds like a Dr. Seuss story, doesn't it?)

I know I will leave something out, but my children have helped me become experts in soccer, baseball, football, chauffering, room mothering, dance team, PTA, volleyball, basketball, wrestling, tennis, track, ASB government, mock trial, swimming, marching band, uniform fitting, being a board member, snack stand managing and now this.

I am told this is called Water Polo - sometimes H20 Polo for short! Similar to soccer, there is a goal at each end and you get a point for each goal scored. Not similar to soccer, where a blowout is 6-2, or something like that - I witnessed a 16-2 game. Not pretty. Lots of new rules to learn but we are having fun doing so. Have also been reminded vividly how miserable working a snackstand can be.....

Have seen some very long arms make some pretty tricky, graceful shots. Hard shots, too. And right on top of the goalee. Not a fun position. I bet goalees have a lot of missing teeth.

Am amazed that no one ever complains about the silly caps they must wear, but since they must wear them I guess that's why no one complains. Maybe once I get a little more used to them they won't appear so silly looking.

Water Polo players NEVER rest. Even if you're not swimming from one end of the pool to the other, you are still treading - excuse me....egg beatering water. Even during a time out, the players don't hang on the side of the pool while the coach talks to them - they tread water while they listen.
And I have learned that it is a Speedo, not Speedos, as in "Mom, do you know where my Speedo is?" Makes no sense, because my reply would by "In your room by your pants" instead of "In your room by your pant."
Lots more to learn. Be sure and stay humble. If you don't, your kids will get you that way very quickly.
Thanks everybody. It has been quite a ride and I wouldn't have missed it for the world. Would ever so gladly do it all over again!!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Pretty Pretty Plumerias!

I know all you Idahites will snicker when I talk about how I can tell that the seasons are changing, but snicker away. There are some subltle changes here in California.

How I love our Plumerias! You know it's summer when they are in full bloom and the smell is heavenly! These blossoms will eventually fall off as cooler weather approaches and then we wait the long winter for spring and more plumerias to pop out! Even the big green leaves fall off and all we are left with is sticks.

These solid white ones with just a touch of yellow are in a pot on our front porch.

These white ones - quite similar to the ones above except with a lot more yellow - smell the best! This tree is the best one for kids to take the blooms off of to wear in their hair. Lots and lots of flowers on this one. This one sits in the back yard in a very large pot.

Look at these! I think they are called Rainbow ones, or something like that. Also in the back yard, but out close to the tangerine tree. This is the best year we've had with this tree.

Now these are really something!!
When we went to Hawaii last year we brought home two plumeria's from the swap meet. One of them withered up and died and one of them didn't. I don't even remember what color the other tree was. Trouble is, we really really wanted the dark colored burgundy one the most but had no idea which one made it so it has been a long year, wondering if it was going to bloom this year or wait another year (it didn't last year).
We were so pleased when these blossoms peeked through!

The blossoms look a little reddish here compared to their true color. They are a deep deep burgundy and sit in a pot that is on the fire pit in the back yard.

And last but not least.
We are making a few changes. The paint color and floor moulding go into the living room itself. I guess we need to re-name the room, as the "green room" doesn't fit anymore.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


I have been wanting to post for a long long time all the while realizing I have nothing terribly exciting happening to post about! So, I decided to do a Summertime post and just realized that I have it backwards! Oh well. Enjoy anyway or start at the bottom and scroll up!

Summetime always ends with the "first day of school" picture. This is what a freshman looks like. Notice the fancy, first day of school outfit he wore. He has about 6 or 7 other outfits just like it, the shirts in varying shades of browns, blacks and blues and the jeans in blues. Didn't want a fancy bag for his H20 Polo gear either. The plastic grocery bag at his feet was what he asked for. He's a purist at heart.

It was mentioned at one time that Austen was taking Japanese as his foreign language. Somehow, that turned into a wonderful FSAG where the folks on the other side of the Orange Curtain brought wonderful Japanese cuisine. Not only did they bring it all, they cooked it all too. All the rest of us had to do was enjoy, which we thouroughly did!

There were times when the menfolk were out of the pool. Can you ever guess what they found to spend their time on?

You will never see a picture of Ethan without a car in his hand. This one is unusual, because there is only ONE car. Usually there is a minimun of four that he carries.

Uncle Scott is the master of flipping anyone who wants to be flipped in the pool.

Two pretty ladies. Notice the sweet, older woman in the background. That is Mario's mom. She came to be here for Michael's wedding and stayed for a few weeks. We were lucky enough that she was in town for an FSAG.

Anela got very very comfortable in the water. When one can swim every day for as long as one wants, one learns a lot very very fast!

Dave's rock garden is doing so well! I so appreciate just walking outside and getting a treat! I never get tired of it.

Beck and Grampa always manage to have fun together. Beck has also learned that Grampa never says "no" to another ice pop - no matter HOW MANY he has already had! Loves those purple ones!

Morgan has been a pro at this for a couple of years now!

Kendall has no qualms about the slide!

What else says SUMMERTIME than a pair of flip flops, even if they are as wide as they are long! (And Beck can even run in them!)

Of course to make this a PERFECT summer there would have to be pictures posted of lots of other families too. You know who you are. Love and miss you lots!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

BBD 2009

BBD 2009 was great! We had all the essentials for a successful camping trip. Bags of trail mix, huge tub 'o' gum, personally decorated sun visors, and a wildflower centerpiece. We were in for a great five days at Barton Flats in the Angelus National Forest. (Big Bear was 26 miles further down the road.)

The end of and era.....

The camping box has served its purpose and will now go into the history books and be next years campfire fuel. Dave has come up with an idea that won't be so heavy, awkward and big. I know you're all on pins and needles, but you'll just have to wait until next year. Sorry!

Our first night in camp was very very cold. Morgan had been given this Strawberry Shortcake sleepingbag (rated to 78 degrees!) by her neighbor and was bound and determined to use it. After the first full night of shivering, she gladly traded (permanently) for the red sleeping bag that we had brought for Shadow to lay on. Shadow didn't seem to mind.

It was a very relaxing trip. We hung around camp a lot and just did whatever came up. This particular morning grampa happened to find some mini marshmallows and some marshmallow guns just lying in the back of his car. Imagine that!

We sat around and told jokes.

We found a new game and it proved to be a hit! Everyone can play and did. Mario vs. Morgan, Janet vs. Faye, Ellen vs. Danny, Scott vs. Jody, Scott vs. Austen, Scott vs. Dave, Scott vs. Morgan (Scott likes to be active!)

Mitsi started reading Twilight.
Hope she has nothing else planned for the summer.....

Austen boned up on Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince as he, Jody, Faye, Ellen, Danny, Mitsi and Mitchell would all be going to the midnight showing on opening night!

We did get some action in and went on some hikes. Mitchell was given some bad information by the camp host so we never did find the beginnings of the Santa Ana River. After consulting Mitchell's map though, we know where we went wrong and will find that river next time!

Beck found the hike to be very relaxing and not a strenuous activity at all!
I am still in awe that Jody hiked with this sleeping baby on her back for a good hour!

It was a good hike, although you probably can't tell by Austen's facial expression.

And just to prove that we really were out in the wild..............

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Fundraising (fun?) anybody?

As you all know, we had a fundraising project to get our girls to camp. We took orders and made Giant 10" Chocolate Chip Cookies for Father's Day. It was a success, and as with any project, you always learn something. Here are some of the things we learned:

It takes a lotta stuff to make cookies! And you find that once you get all your stuff over to the building that you have STILL forgotten stuff at your house that you wish you would have brought. But, being from pioneer stock, you make do.

You need three mixers going so that you can fill huge bowls with lots and lots of cookie dough (usually need to sample often for quality control!) so that lots and lots of hands can make lots and lots of cookies. (70 to be exact)

When you call your building coordinator and find out that the Spanish Ward has already reserved the kitchen for the evening that you need because they are making tamales for their camp fundraiser DO NOT BE UPSET! Believe it or not, this is a wonderful blessing in disguise. They had no problem in letting us use the ovens since they didn't need them, so we forged ahead. (Pioneer stock, remember?)
What we thought was going to be sheer disaster turned into the biggest blessing of the evening. It forced us to set up in the cultural hall and as it turned out, we had so much more room than if we would have used the kitchen. Need more counter space? No problem. Simply set up another table.

Our finished product, waiting for pick up on the Saturday morning before Father's Day. Did I mention that we had plenty of room to spread out?

And as you can see camp was great! Only two girls had to pay a little bit of something out of their pockets and that was because they didn't do the Valentine's Day fundraiser. I guess fundraisers are kind of like labor - you forget the bad parts until you go through it again and only remember the good stuff because I'm thinking about the great time the girls had at camp and what to do for next year.
Certainly doesn't slow down though, 'cause now I'm off to WalMart/Michael's/JoAnn's to get the supplies we need for tonight's Mother/Daughter Jewelry making evening. (Thank goodness for Pioneer Stock!)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Being a YW leader isn't for sissies.....

Gotta get those YW to YW camp. That means fundraisers! We made over 600 of these for Valentines Day - very successful by the way - but that's another story for another day. And since this isn't Idaho where YW camp cost all of $40.00, we needed another fundraiser because in California it costs $175.00!

One thing we did learn though is that tying a fundraiser with a holiday seemed to work very well.

So, with Father's Day approaching, we were inspired! You know those giant chocolate chip cookies you see at Mrs. Field's in the mall???

We decided to give two options of how the card would read. Happy Father's Day kind of limits it to buying one for your father only, but if we had another card that read "Thinking of You", you could buy one for your uncle, grampa, neighbor - the possibilities are endless!!
And it was a good idea, because of the 60 cards (and cookies!) we are making, 13 of them are for "Thinking of You" cards. And at $10.00 a cookie, $130.00 is nothing to sneeze at!

As anyone who has been in a leadership position will tell you, you experiment first and know of the pitfalls before taking on any project more complicated than opening exercises. So today I baked. And measured. And guessed. How many cups of chocolate chips are in an 8lb. 4 oz. bag of chocolate chips? How many cups of flour are in 5 pounds of flour? 5 pounds of sugar? (It's not the same.) How about 2 pounds of brown sugar? (If you're interested, call me.) How many cookies can you get out of doubling a batch of dough that makes a 14 inch cookie when all you want are 8-10 inch cookies?
Right size, but wrong look. After experimenting around (cookie anybody? There are 5 giant chocolate chip cookies and one dozen normal cookies in my kitchen at this very moment) I came up with this one. Hopefully we will be able to duplicate it 60 more times, making it about an inch smaller, in the church ovens this Friday night with 10 eager (or maybe not so eager) YW assisting and earning their way to camp! This is what the cookie will look like inside the card. The purchaser of the card will be able to write their own sentiment.
Of course it helps a lot if you know someone that can get cardstock that is being tossed out because the information is outdated on one side.....

Only one more slight problem. We have to share the kitchen with another ward in our building. They are making tamales on Saturday morning, which is when we were going to finish up what didn't get done on Friday night. We have a lot to do Friday night, don't we!