Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Thanksgiving 2016

This year we went to Mt Pleasant for Thanksgiving. We had a great time and no one got sick! And I didn't take enough pictures. The kids and I left Tuesday after school let out so that we could spend more time with cousins. Tyler had to work on Wednesday. He deiced to work from home because he had to wait for Levi's new computer to be shipped to our house and he had to sign for it. (Tyler ordered it in behalf of Levi to give him a Best Buy discount). Well, it began snowing on Wednesday and UPS didn't make it until 7pm. Tyler wasn't too thrilled about driving down to Mt P in the snow but he did that night anyway.

So, in attendance we had my parents, our family, Rose & Jonny, Levi and Alex and Marci and crew. We were missing Jennie/Grant who were in Montana with his family.

Thanksgiving day Tyler smoked a turkey (yes, we brought the smoker down)  that my parents provided. He also made some pumpkin pies a couple days before. I made the usual pomegranate jello salad and stuffing (without the cornbread because my Mom doesn't like that part). Tyler also brought down his fresh pressed apple cider that he made the weekend prior.

Random shot of my mom.

We all added thanks to the gratitude tree.

Kids always request the popcorn turkey. It gets less and less elaborate each year. 

Alex made the carrots out of our special looking homegrown (and delicious) carrots. Marci also made delicious rolls and 4 delicious pies (coconut cream, banana cream, pecan, and chocolate cream). My mom made mashed potatoes and gravy. Rose and Jonny made sweet potato casserole. Yum. My dad provided the Martinelli's. Am I missing anything?

We didn't do much exciting the rest of the weekend. We watched some movies, ate leftovers and just hung out. Alex and Marci left Friday morning for her family Thanksgiving and then back to Colorado on Saturday. Before he left, Alex installed a bunch of new bookshelves too. My parents finally got new flooring upstairs. They covered their once lovely concrete with "plastic" as my dad calls it (high quality laminate) with some carpet and vinyl in other rooms. They also got some roller shades for their windows. They don't need them for privacy since they don't have neighbors on three sides. But the was fading everything and the blinds help with cooling in the summers. Then they installed some attractive white Ikea bookshelves in the living room. It feels more comfy and full now.

Kids eating Gpa's post-workout smoothies.

The last day we were there (Saturday) we cut down our own Christmas tree. We drove to Spring City where the Richmond's said had a plethora of good looking trees. It was a bit snowy but mostly muddy which made it adventurous. We nearly hiked to the top of this small mountain and found a tree that we thought would work well. We cut it down with a small saw and carried it to the car. Strapped it to the suburban and drove it home. My dad helped us too. The kids also liked playing on the frozen creek on the way back. Of course, on the way down Colin was getting sucked into the mud so I offered to pick him up. And then, as my usual clumsy self, slipped and fell. Fortunately, I didn't get too dirty. Upon closer examination we wished we would have picked a fuller, larger tree and then just chopped off the bottom (because it would have been too tall for our living room) but we got a Charlie Brownish one for $10. Can't beat that. (or free...did we ever pay you back Dad?)

We had a great, short week. With Delicious food, chatting and relaxation.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Nora came

Frontier Airlines had a killer deal on flights if you travel on Tuesday or Wednesday you can fly between CO and UT for under $40. I thought of my childhood best friend Nora. I thought she needed a little TLC and time away from her girls. I invited her to come out for a quick girls trip and she agreed! It was hard for her to arrange sitters but it came together and she was able to come out for literally 24 hours.

We ate lunch at the renowned Crown Burgers downtown.

With Colin, my sidekick. 
It's got this awesome gaudy interior, for a burger joint. Love it.  
Then we went to Gourmandise (do you see a pattern? I need to take the people I love to my favorite bakery).

We ate our treats at a beautiful park below the capital. It's this little hidden gem where the actually city creek flows from.

Then we dropped Colin off for his nap and Samuel came home from school. I went to the chiropractor and convinced Nora she should start going to one too. Then we quickly found a salon up the street to get pedicures.  I know....two pedicures a month apart. I don't generally indulge that frequently but guess what? Nora had never had a professional pedicure!?! That needed to be changed.

The one taking the selfie always gets the worse angle, lol. I was laughing because Nora kept making these funny faces trying to look good. lol. 
After she met up with her nephew for dinner while I set up for YW in Excellence that night. Fed my kids hot dogs and leftovers. Then headed back to the church for the activity. Fortunately, Nora was kind enough to stay home and watch my three littles. With Samuel in YM now it's tricky when Tyler has choir on Tuesday nights, in addition to the regular Thursday nights. I have to take them with me, find a friend to watch them or sometimes just turn on a movie and let Jocelyn be in charge.

Then Nora and I stayed up way too late talking and reminiscing. I dug out my old journals and we read from them and laughed at our silliness. And marveled at how sloppy my handwriting was.

The next morning we ate all-you-can-eat french toast at Kneaders and then back to the airport.

It was a great quick trip. A nice pick-me-up. We have soooooo many memories together. We've known each other since we were about 3 years old. Here are just a few of the photos we have together.

EFY 1996. All but two gals and John Bytheway are from Arvada plus Micaela. I had forgotten that so many of us went together that year. Julianne Johnson, Elissa Malone, Ashley Hawkes, Nora Pollard, Amber & Heather France (and their cousin) and I don't remember the blond gal in front of me. Good times. 

December 23, 1993

No idea when this was taken. Love our hair. Sometime in the 1980s. 

Nora visited me at BYU my Freshman year. 

Sometime in High School.

Ward Christmas party 1997

Church Halloween party, 1993. 

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Sisters + Mom Weekend

Each year my sisters and mom get together for a weekend getaway. We switch off between Utah and Colorado so that half of us have to travel only every other year. This year it landed in late October which was lovely. And it was even more lovely because we didn't have any nursing babies coming along. Not that we don't love babies it's because we can get more fun in without them :)

We started by getting some breakfast then shopping at Saver's thrift store before meeting up with Rose. We then went to lunch at Wasatch Pub & Grill.

We did some window shopping.

Hotel shenanigans. No, we didn't pack that heavy! My mom brought some huge bags of hand me downs for us to sort through. It's like shopping for free. And she has better taste than I do. Thanks Mom!

We celebrated Rose's birthday that Friday.

We ate at her traditional sushi restaurant, Ichiban. It was yummy! It's inside this renovated church so it has cool ambiance with vaulted beamed ceilings and stained glass. And I had a migraine coming on all day so I indulged in some Dr Pepper which helped get rid of it. Stupid migraines....I am working on getting rid of those. After dinner, Jonny, who came for her birthday dinner, joined us at Gourmandise. Then back to the hotel for late night laughing and our "favorite things" gift exchange.

With the lack of children we were able to go to the temple. Marci had never been to a session at SLC temple. And we had family names which made it more special.

Annual pedicures.

Then we toured the brand new Eccles performing arts theater in SLC that will house performances such as touring Broadway shows, comedians, etc. Next door is Eva's bakery so we had some more French desserts! That night we ate at Bombay House because Jennie had never been. She's the resident Indian food expert and helped us order some new tasty dishes.

On Sunday we had everyone over for dinner. Tyler smoked some chicken (not this one) for dinner and then we watched West Side Story. Jennie wanted to see it again and Tyler and Jonny had never seen it. So we ate some chocolate cookies and watched Rome & Juliet in a modern musical film. Even the kids stay up until half way then we made them go to bed. And we watched the rest for FHE the next night.

Jennie is going to convince Grant that they need to raise chickens. Ha! No, she's not trying to strangle it. Her hand position is just funny.

It was a great weekend of no kids, food, talking, laughing, counseling, spiritual nourishment, sorta sleeping in and laughing. Good times.


This year's Halloween was a little different.....and I can't seem to NOT write a novel. Brevity is not in my character.

I try to have a theme for Halloween costumes and that didn't work out. We usually hit up a pumpkin patch but we didn't. And Samuel chose not to dress up for school now that he's in middle school. And they don't have a fun parade like elementary school kids do. Decorations were brought up from storage but took weeks for me to put up.

But we still had a lot of fun. Tyler proclaimed that Halloween is one of his least favorite holidays and pointless. Seems like he feels like that more and more with many holidays. Grinch.

The biggest reason we didn't go to a pumpkin patch is because we had our very own. We grew all of these pumpkins in our backyard. It was my goal to have a variety of pumpkins. Mainly to decorate with. Hopefully, I'll cook some of them too. I had fun decorating the porch with them all. I did not anticipate the green, warty ones would get to be so huge! I though they were going to be gourd size. Not so much. But since our actual jack-o-lantern pumpkins didn't pollinate until too late in the season, we only ended up with one large and two small orange ones. So Jocelyn chose a larger green one to carve.

Samuel has been begging for roasted pumpkin seeds since September but I loathe making them because they're so time consuming. It's exactly like making chex mix except you have to get your hands dirty and scrape out a pumpkin first. So, I avoid it. I told him he had to wait until after we carved our pumpkins before I'd make them. Sorry dude. Maybe next year it'll motivate him to do it himself.

We did go to the Rec Center for free ice skating, games and candy. Here is Colin triumphantly playing ladder ball.

We had the Stoehr's over Sunday night for pumpkin carving, chili dinner and donuts.

We did continue our tradition of making donuts. I made spudnuts again this year. They were a great texture and the kids were appalled that I put potatoes in them.  I also attempted another cake donut recipe but I was distracted and didn't measure the correct amount of sugar. So....that batch went in the trash. Then Tyler announced that he told his home teaching families he'd bring them some donuts so I needed more than the spudnut batch. So I quickly made another batch of cake since they don't need to rise. And they turned out pretty good!

We attempted homemade root beer but I didn't buy enough dry ice the day before (that stuff is expensive). And I had to buy it Saturday for our Sunday party so it nearly all evaporated. Oh well, it still tasted okay. To save money, I opted to make the bread bowls for our chili instead of buying them. Jocelyn had been begging to eat one since September (oh, the things we do for our kids stomachs). They turned out pretty well! I would make them again.

Mid-week before Halloween Culver's had a deal to buy $1.99 kids meals with kids in costumes. It motivated me to finish up their costumes. It was a dress rehearsal.

The girls school parties and parade was the Friday before Halloween. As a room parent, I was able to help out in Jocelyn's grade. I will take a mental note not to have kids decorate sugar cookies at the Valentine's party that I am in charge of because that poor teachers classroom was a mess afterwards with frosting and sprinkles smashed into the carpet.

Jocelyn saw a photo of me when I dressed up as Cleopatra and I think that's what gave her the idea to do the same. So we were going to go with a "white" costume theme. So Cecily chose to be an angel (one of the few times I didn't handmake or repurpose a was $8 practically new, can't beat that). Colin was going to be the white bear from a TV show called "The Octonauts". Then he was going to be a lion. Then he became a knight. When we borrowed a knight costume from our neighbors he became enamored. So we found some costumes pieces at the thrift store. He wouldn't stop wearing them. But I bought them to be in the dress up box. Well, on our dress rehearsal, mentioned earlier, he refused to wear the traditional lion costume (every other kid wore at this age) and wanted to wear the "dragon" (took me about 10 minutes to realize he was referring to the dragon on the breastplate, not an actual dragon). Then on Halloween night he refused to wear his black pants. He wanted blue pants (jeans). So, after a 10 minute tantrum I conceded and let him wear the jeans. Oh well, his costume cost $5 plus the white one he never wore ($5). Still a good deal. Samuel wanted to be a clown (due to the news hype about it...he does not have any fondness toward the creepy creatures). Then Jason, the chainsaw murderer or whatever he's called (with the white mask). I told him that was too scary and creepy. So, since the white them had gone away with Colin's costume, he chose to be a zombie. Easy peasy.

We do have a tradition of selling Halloween candy to a dentist. One, to help soldiers and other children out. And two, to get rid of candy fast. I found one last year that buys it for $2/pound. They then donate it to Primary Children's Hospital. (other dentists donate it to military overseas). Jocelyn was set on buying a beanie boo and donated 4 pounds, giving her $8 to spend! She was able to buy 2 with her own money. And....most of her candy is gone! Wahoo. She was determined this year to get a lot. Samuel too. They did not slow down. We trick-or-treated from about 6:45 until 9! Cecily and Colin didn't stay out that long. Samuel and Joc got about half a pillow case full. Samuel decided to keep most of his this year. He's old enough and has enough self control that I think he'll have it for several months. Unlike Cecily and Colin whom I have to limit their daily allotment.

All that stage makeup training comes in handy! lol. Samuel makes a pretty good actor too.

Trick-or-Treating buddies. Not pictured is my dad who came up again this year to go with the kids!

Samuel and his bff Ben.

And I'll end with some cute pictures of Colin painting and his "bubble" blankie.