Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Blessing Day

We headed to CO Springs for our niece's blessing.
There was a storm happening before during and after. The trees were GORGEOUS!

The traffic was terrible.
It usually takes us 1 hour to get to CO Springs. Today it took us 2 hours 15 minutes to get there! We were still able to attend her blessing (in the Bishop's office after Sacrament Meeting).

The traffic wasn't that wonderful heading back home either! It took us over 3 hours to get home! Here we are glowing in the brake lights of the millions of cars in front of us. No, John isn't sleeping, although we were going slow enough he probably could have grabbed some zzz's! (I love the feet in the back of the car!)

Thanksgiving Fun

Kelly resting after a long trip from UT to our home for Thanksgiving (getting ready to hit the shops at 11:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving!)

We played games....tons of games. We stayed up late....really late. Boy did we have fun!

We even hit the outlet mall that opened up at 11:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving. It was fun to shop with Mike and Kelly and the girls. We got home around 2:30 a.m. only to head out with John and Mike at 9:30 for some more goodies. I scored...I didn't buy much! I look forward to a simple Christmas. The last couple of years we have scaled back and it has been wonderful (although I haven't scaled back on setting up for Christmas!)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Thanksgiving Feast

Jaley made 26 place cards. Brooke and Christina ended up having the flu so couldn't make it.

I used my Great Grandma S's china, John's Grandma S's plates and the plates that John's mom gave us.

We had TONS of food...
Green Salad (Pistachio Marshmellow)
Pumpkin bread
Green Bean casserole
23 lb turkey
10 lb turkey
Mashed potatoes
Cranberry Mousse
Strawberry Jello Salad
Homemade Stuffing (John's mom made this!)
Stuffing (nothing fancy…from a box with extras added)
Pumpkin dessert
Bubbly (grape and apple cider)
Artichoke dip with pita chips
Lemon meringue pie
Key Lime pie
Chocolate something pie
Tabernacle Twister (drink with Cranberry Juice, Pinapple Juice and Ginger Ale...idea from my friend Tara A)
Mashed potatoes
Green Stuff (Broccoli Casserole)
Candied Yams
Relish Tray (with celery stuffed with pineapple and strawberry cream cheese).

TONS of left overs. Enough food for tomorrow to feed the entire gang again...we are celebrating some birthdays.

Sorry...I forgot to pull out the camera. Shame on me.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Turkey Time!

Started the brining of the turkey on Wednesday... (I have to catch up...busy busy weekend! more details to follow.)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I'm almost done

I am almost done setting up my Christmas decorations (yes, before Thanksgiving...but that is just how I am and John has given up). It has taken me longer this year to set up because I don't know where to put things because of our move to a new home.

I'm sad I don't have a place for my Christmas village...or at least all of it (displayed in my IL sun room).

I can't figure out where to display all of my nativity sets (my favorite part of Christmas decorations...especially the ones of Mary hold the Christ child).

I'll take pictures and post later.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Photo Book of Julia's musical, Charlie Brown

I finished the photo book of Julia's musical, You're A Good Man Charlie Brown (the free offer from Oprah)! Here are a couple of my favorite pages with Julia. These photos are only a few of my favorites from the over 3,500 pictures I took of their dress rehearsals and of the play. Note: I'm a digital scrapbooker and created my own pages; I didn't use their layouts because of the different effects I wanted to get with the photos on the page.

Here is the cover with the entire cast (The girl in yellow, lower right hand corner was the student director and she painted all of the back drops).

Julia is not on this page, but wanted to show you why I scrapped my own pages for the book. The templates for making the book don't allow you to blend photos together. This is a page I did of the amazing Snoopy (he was amazing...).

This is the scene about the book report on Peter Rabbit. I LOVED watching the "chorus members" (Julia was a chorus member). They were SO funny during this part of the musical. Julia and her friend Haley sat together and would copy off of each other's report, gossip, tell jokes and even fight.

This is still during the book report scene. It is the final moments of the scene when Julia and her girl friend are "fighting". I love it when Haley pulls Julia's hair and then they stand back to back not talking to each other. Haley sticks her tongue out at Julia as one final "mean" gesture. They were a RIOT!

This is the baseball scene. Julia is playing catcher. Charlie Brown is singing about how his team is up to bat and could win the game and then the Little Red Headed girl walks by and distracts him. When he sings about the Little Red Headed girl, Snoopy and Julia turn to look and see what is the big deal about this girl. It was SO SO cute! I'm glad I caught this picture. I actually took this picture on opening night. I could never catch it during the dress rehearsals.

This is the final scene of "Happiness is..."

Here are some cute photos of Julia with her friends... and her amazing choir director and THE MOST AMAZING accompanist, Mr. D. We found out after the last night of the play that he was leaving the next day to his mother's funeral. His mother passed away the week of the play. He didn't tell anyone except for 2 people. He didn't want to leave because the kids depended on him. He didn't want to tell them because he didn't want to upset them. He is AMAZING. The kids just adore him.

I can't wait to see how this turned out!!! I'll let you know!

Friday, November 21, 2008

What you've been waiting braces picture!

Ok, here she is! Julia without braces!

Now you won't see her leave the house for the next 15 years ;o)

Thursday, November 20, 2008



by Julia
(for Honor's English; the class was asked to write a poem about the warm day in November)

Warm days in November should never be put to waste.
The open and welcoming sky invites me to rest under its embrace
And listen to the silence.
The silence surrounds me with melodies never sung before.
For silence is heaven’s choir.
Its melodies capture me in each empty tone,
Only to be interrupted by thoughts.
Thoughts that drown out the glorious silence,
Filling it with unnecessary noise.
Hectic noise, and worries about tomorrow.
But I close my eyes to feel the sun kiss my face,
And listen to the silence.Save the noise for another day

My sister cracks me up

My Mom reminded all of us siblings of the Christmas Gift Giving Matrix my Dad created several years ago. She also reminded us to stay within the budget.

I couldn't remember what the budget was so I asked.

Mom said $30 per family. She then said to correct her if she was wrong. Well, that opens it up for one goofy "little" sister . . . I cracked up.

Here is the "conversation" we had on the website about this budget limit.

No, I believe it's 300...from the older sibling to the younger sibling. If it's the younger sibling to the older sibling then it's only 30. Editor's side note: Shannon IS the youngest sibling in the family.

I replied:
You must have missed the memo, Shannon. It was changed a few months ago that the shortest sibling gives $300 to the taller siblings and the tallest siblings give $.30. If height difference is more than 3 inches, the amount doubles. So, how tall are you again?

I never signed the memo, so it is void.

Not a contract. Just a memo. So now that you have been informed, it can be enforced. Retroactive to the original posting date of the matrix: Dec 2003. Better start growing taller or see if you can have someone get you that torture device from Princess Bride where they stretch you ;o) Editor's side note: Kelly and Shannon are the SHORTEST members in our they have the smallest feet. I wonder if they read the memo about the size of their feet effects the size of gift they are to receive.

Ortho appointments

We had an ortho appointment today.

The orthodontist asked if I had extra time this afternoon.

I did. So he went ahead told Julia something she has been waiting forever to hear.

He took off Julia's her surprise and HUGE delight! She looks stunning. I think I'm going to lock her in the house for the next 15 years.

Blessings Brunch with Jaley

Jaley's teachers put together a blessing brunch for the parents to attend with their student. It was a very nice event. The kids all wrote letters to their parents and were encouraged to share them with them in front of the group. The parents were given a homework assignment as well to present something about their child.
Jaley was too shy to share; she wants to give it to us at Thanksgiving. I put together a gift box with items inside that represented the gift that she is in our family.

I had a jar in the box. Jaley has a wonderful giggle. If I could bottle it up, I would. She has brought a lot of joy and laughter into our family.

I had a picture that Jaley had drawn. She is a very gifted artist. (Everyone clapped, oohed and ahhed over her piece of artwork)

I had a piano ornament to represent the gift of music she brings into our home when she plays the piano. Jaley has been teaching herself lately.

I had a Willow Tree figure of an angel holding a little boy. I told everyone that Jaley can be considered a guardian angel. She would come in frequently at night when she was younger. Some would call it sleep walking, I would call it "making sure everything was fine". 2 1/2 years ago Jaley came into my room and woke me up. That led to a chain of events that practically saved my life (premature labor and severe toxemia that resulted in the early arrival of Kendall and a long hospital stay for me).

I also had a sunflower for Jaley. I explained the meaning of the sunflower, that it stems from its namesake, the sun itself. The sunflower follows the path of the sun through the day. Due to this, the sunflower is viewed as a symbol of loyalty and constancy. Their physical resemblance to the sun has also influenced their meanings. The sunflower’s petals have been likened to bright yellow rays of sunshine, which stir up feelings of warmth and happiness. Jaley reflects many of these characteristics. She is loyal and constant. She knows what her standards are and won’t deviate from them. Just as the sunflower follows the sun, Jaley tries each day to do what is right and follow the son, Her Savior Jesus Christ.
She is a gift to our family. A dear blessing to count during the Blessings Brunch.

Salt Lake Temple; my Mom's memories

While driving to Salt Lake with my mom during our Fall Break visit, I enjoyed hearing the memories she had of Salt Lake and the temple. I asked her to write down her memories and her feelings about this wonderful place.

Here is what she shared with me:

The Salt Lake Temple holds a special place in my heart. As a young teenager, our family took a trip west in our car. That was before car air conditioners. We sat in the back seat with plastic on the floor and a block of ice to chip away at and stick our feet on to say cool. There was no car radio, so we sand some of Dad's favorites, In the Crust of the Odd Apple Pie, Let me call you Lizzy, Peanut sitting on the rail road track, In the Good Old summertime, leap frog, Barnacle bill the Sailor, (insert a name) where are you going, more commonly known as the bath tub song.. We counted trees, cars of different colors, road signs, read Burma Shave road signs, dad would tell his jokes. We visited Salt Lake City. We stayed in a motel there, and then took the tour of Temple square. I remember asking about going into that beautiful temple. It really bothered me that I couldn't go in the temple. I wanted to see it. The guide explained that not even every member of the church could go in. This puzzled and fascinated me. The next year in school, our English teacher had us write and essay about where we would want to go and what we would want to do if we only had 24 hours left to live. My entire essay was all about the Salt Lake Temple. I was drawn to it.

When we joined the church in 1970, at a Relief Society meeting, the President said to hang a picture of the temple up in each of your children's rooms. I looked in the church magazine and found an article about the Salt Lake Temple. It had a large Black and white picture that had a couple's hands clasped in front of the Salt Lake Temple. This hung in Corin's room. When she went to BYU, she met and fell in love with that handsome wonderful John. John's family lived in Dallas, where the new Dallas Temple was. Corin insisted on being married in the Salt Lake Temple. My Response to her was. "Dad and I will fly out for the wedding". Her response to me was, "NO, I want the whole family there." So we ALL went. Shannon and Kelly carried the lacy train all around the temple grounds for photo shoots; Reed declared after the wedding that this was where he wanted to be married some day. Corin's righteous insistence that all of us come proved to be a great blessing to our whole family. It was 30 years after I had first seen the Salt Lake Temple when I went though it with Corin when she received her endowments and when she was married. Each temple marriage was a unique and wonderful experience.
When we were sealed in 1974, in Manti (that was the temple district for the stake we lived in while living in Kansas), we also went to Provo, then up to Salt Lake City. While attending a Salt Lake Temple session, Elder Stephen (The missionary who taught us back in Del Rio, Texas) was in that session!

I attended General Conference with Corin and John for the100th anniversary of the Salt Lake Temple. We sat on the temple grounds on a blanket with Baby Julia!

For Shannon's 23rd birthday, we attended the temple in Salt Lake. That night she discovered she was pregnant with Kaylee.

I have had the pleasure of going to the salt Lake temple several times with Kelly.

I have had the pleasure of doing temple square tours with special members of my family. Julia, Jadey, and Corin's family.

It holds a very special place in my heart. Miracles happen there. I treasure the experience each time I go.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

She made it!

Julia is one of 4 sopranos that made the Continental League!

Congratulations Julia!!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

It's creeping in

Yep...I'm setting up for Christmas. Snowmen first. Bama's tree went up on Saturday in our dining room. It is challenging to figure out where to put everything. I knew exactly where everything went back in our old house. It is different will take some time.

Love the weather!

On the radio this morning, I heard that we are going to be 15 degrees warmer than Florida today! We are to also break the record set back in 1969 I believe. Today we are to reach at least 76 degrees! It is GORGEOUS! So hard to believe we had snow on Friday!

Friday, November 14, 2008

First Snow!

Groggy eyes popped open with amazement. Snow! That got Kerst out of bed in a flash.

He bundled up from head to toe 1 hour before it was time to leave for school. He couldn't wait to get out and play in the fluffy white stuff.

When I got up, there was just a dusting. For Kerst, it was dumping!

We headed out on foot to school, no bike today. We walked down the hill to the sidewalk. I slipped. Kerst laughed. I was wet. Thank goodness this is a dry climate. I figured I would dry off in no time.

Even though this is Kendall's 3rd First Snow, he was really experiencing it for the first time. He LOVED it!

Dad showed him the art of making and eating yellow snow...

(with Country Time Lemonade of course!)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Kerst the author

Kerst wrote a book in school.

He brought it home.

I found it. Read it. Laughed. Shared it with Julia. She died....

My sisters vacaition being happy. By Kerst

My family and I went to yutah (Utah) it was a blast for Julia.

We went to her cruches Soccer game She went on A ride with him Jence.

They hold hands to its funny cause they dont nodis (notice) me when I lauph (laugh)

I know that she dreams of him some how you just dont know

Im only letting Julia mary (marry) Jence cause he is so nice.

The End.

(Julia was relieved that he only filled the book up half way with embarrassing things....)

Thanks for the laugh Kerst!!! Can't wait to get an autographed version of this. Wonder what the sequel will be.

Julia auditions again...for the Continental League

Julia auditions for the Continental League today (a choir group of students consisting of a large region in our area). This choir allows students who are not old enough to participate in All State Choir an opportunity to participate and prepare for that experience.

Next year Julia will audition for All State Jazz and All State Choir.

Go Julia!!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Early Christmas Surprise - Julia Jenna Jaley

I had heard rumor. The information came from my sister-in-law Emily, so I knew it was the truth.

I checked it out. There would be only 750 lucky people. I could only get 2 "tickets". I had to pull a complete stranger in to help me for the third. He was a kind, goth young man; he would have frightened my kids. In fact, the employees at the store would have scared my kids! I was lucky #712, 713 and 714.

Julia, Jenna and Jaley screamed when I gave them their early Christmas present.

You had to have your numbered ticket and this wrist band in order to get to meet the actors/actresses and get their autograph on a poster. The security checked and rechecked these bands and tickets. They allowed 20 people in at a time (in numerical order). The massive crowds lined up outside with their bands and tickets. It was a beautiful day but turned quite chilly once the sun went down.People who didn't get a ticket started lining up to hear the Q&A after the autograph signing for the lucky 750 people. It was crazy inside this area!

They had a great time!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Honoring our Veterans

For the past 8 years, our old elementary school would hold a special Veteran's Celebration. Papa attended each one of these. He proudly hangs the certificates for each year of attendance at these celebrations. I remember the year he tearfully gave his appreciation to his fallen comrads and explained the love he had for this country to an auditorium of elementary school students, teachers, family members in attendance and other veterans. There were many misty eyes among the adults; they understood.

There was another year that the principal arranged for some military helicopters to fly over head and land in the parking lot.

Each year he would proudly introduce his GREAT GRANDCHILDREN. Wow, Ahhh would be heard from the adults in attendance. It is always a touching experience. Especially to hear the children stand and recite the pledge and include ONE NATION UNDER GOD. It made me proud.

We miss these celebrations with Papa now that we have moved, but I hope he knows that we are still super proud of him. Proud of ALL of our veterans. Papa P, Grandpa T., Ticklebug Gpa, Gpa M, Uncle Sean (active), Uncle Doug (active), Uncle Rod, Uncle Aaron, and..... me.

Ronald Reagan states it best when it comes to honoring our veterans, “We’re gathered today, just as we have gathered before, to remember those who served, those who fought, those still missing, and those who gave their last full measure of devotion for our country… One of those who fell wrote, shortly before his death, these words: ‘Take what they have left and what they have taught you with their dying and keep it with your own. And take one moment to embrace those gentle heroes you left behind.’ Well, today, Veterans Day, as we do every year, we take that moment to embrace the gentle heroes of Vietnam and of all our wars. We remember those who were called upon to give all a person can give, and we remember those who were prepared to make that sacrifice if it were demanded of them in the line of duty, though it never was. Most of all, we remember the devotion and gallantry with which all of them ennobled their nation as they became champions of a noble cause…

Our liberties, our values, all for which America stands is safe today because brave men and women have been ready to face the fire at freedom’s front. And we thank God for them.” —Ronald Reagan

Thank you for your service to our country!

Kendall's pet

Well, it's not really Kendall's. Kerst got this for Christmas a couple of years ago. I finally motivated myself to clean out my laundry room. During that cleaning out, I came across the remote for "the dog".

Kendall had a lot of fun taking care of it last night.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Memorial for Gma and Gpa T

This was sent to me from my Mom:

I wanted you to see this. It is at the Village Presbyterian Church ..... Steve has been working on this project for quite some time. It is in the "Chapel in the Pines" behind the church. My Dad was one of the ones who created this space. Early morning worship services were held there regularly. Tom and Anie were married in this spot. The bench was begun but not completed in time for the wedding. The plaques are the latest and final addition to the project. This is where Dad and I were married in 1967. Louise and John, Steve and Jenny....all in the main church. Tom and Anie were in the chapel in the pines.

love, mom

Grandpa's Sunrise

Driving home from a quick errand today with Julia, we saw the most amazing sunset.

I told Julia that Grandpa T would watch every sunrise and sunset from his retirement home. She remembered hearing that. I told her that Grandpa would have LOVED this sunset. It was breath taking.

Julia corrected me.

She said that Grandpa is enjoying it right now. Closeup.

That made me feel really good...what a great way to look at life.

Surrounded by our loved ones.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Home Schooling

We got on the subject of Home Schooling today. Julia said that she wants to be home schooled. She said she gets frustrated that the other students at school are more into the socializing during class time rather than being there to learn. She is a very dedicated student. She would probably do very well with home schooling with math, but how do you learn journalism, public speaking, photography, choir, etc that our HS offers? In fact, I hear we have one of the best journalism teachers in the state!

Jaley said she wanted to be home schooled too. She said she can't stand the language the kids use at the bus stop and in the classroom. She is a very sensitive young lady; I'm so glad she is.

Later that night, Kerst arrived in the kitchen with a stack of books and told me he wanted to be home schooled. He told me that I had everything he needed to learn... He then started on his "home school home work".

Cute kid.

Welcome Cousin Eleanor Nancy W.

Grandchild #33 was born to John's folks early Sunday morning, November 9 (1:50 a.m.). Eleanor Nancy (20 inches long, 6 lbs 3 oz) was born to Aaron and Sarah W.

We were able to go visit Eleanor before she was even 1 day old. She is a calm, beautiful baby. I can't wait to visit again!

Kerst loved holding his new baby cousin. He couldn't wait to share the news with his class at school.

Kendall LOVED Eleanor. He loved to kiss her, touch her little hands, head, and feet. He didn't want to stop holding her. It was so sweet!