Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Stories and Holidays

I just read a story about my Mom on my cousin Carmin's blog that I loved so much I had to share it. It's about Thanksgiving traditions and  what with us just leaving the Thanksgiving holiday I thought it very appropriate.

Carmin was telling about the pies she had made for her families feast and the meaning/stories behind them., I hope she doesn't mind me sharing her words and photo.

"The chocolate cream pie has a story too. When I was about 12, we were at Grandma Ray's house for Thanksgiving as it was our annual tradition. When it came time to serve pie, a certain chocolate cream pie turned up missing. Uncle John had drooled over his wife's, Aunt Lana's, chocolate cream pie all morning and he wasn't going to put up with it going missing. He lined up all the teenage boys on a bench, and declared that none of them would get any pie until one of them confessed to taking his chocolate cream pie. The poor fellas just sat there, none of them fessing up. Finally, word came from a back bedroom that all of the teenage girls were hiding away with the chocolate cream pie, just eating it straight from the pan. They didn't even pause to cut  it up or put it on plates--they just dug right in. By the time it was retrieved, there was nothing left but the crust. Poor, poor Uncle John. The next year Aunt Lana brought two chocolate cream pies, and so did each mother of those teenage girls. Aunt Lana started a great tradition, because now a chocolate cream pie will always be in the Thanksgiving spread."

It's always fun to hear stories told about my Mom, who is one step ahead of us all (she died 8 years ago after a fast but grueling battle with breast cancer), especially when I haven't heard them before.  Through stories like this one I learn more bits and pieces about my Mom and who she was, or is rather. Although I was fifteen when she died, I feel that I know her better now than I did then. I guess I was a typical "too cool for Mom teen" and hadn't quite reached the realization that she was a person for me to get to know and befriend, rather than just "Mom". It's not that I ever held a negative attitude towards her, I just hadn't gotten to know her as her own individual person yet. But because of the legacy that has been, and is still being created of her with shared memories from loving family members and friends, I have learned more about her than I ever knew before.

So Happy Holidays everyone, and thank you for sharing your stories.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

On My Mind

Christmaaaaaaasssss *ding*
You know that Christmas song that goes like that? I think it's on some movie, maybe the Santa Clause or something.

Anyways, Christmas has been on my mind. Yesterday and the day before I started listening to Christmas tunes nonstop on Pandora and in the car, 106.5 is the only station I know of playing nonstop Christmas music already. Thank you to them!

Normally I don't allow this until after Thanksgiving, because I LOVE Thanksgiving!

 It makes me sad that in all the stores and decor it gets skipped over. I love the feeling of gathering and coziness and warmth that comes with Thanksgiving. The autumn colors and feeling of the harvest, the pies and rolls and turkey, I love it all.
 But this year for some reason I guess I've realized I can still be excited for Thanksgiving while listening to Christmas music.

As I've been trying to focus on the real reason for the Christmas season,

I've been thinking it would help to do a service project or two to get into the holiday spirit of giving. What can honor and celebrate Christ's birth and life more than giving of ourselves for others in need? Sacrificing our time and resources to help other people is exactly what his whole life was all about.

Know of any good opportunities?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Wicked Witch Lives Here

Actually, that's not true. But in honor of my mother's Halloween birthday and the sign she put out
on our front porch every October, the saying continues.

Halloween festivities began this year with our 
annual ward trunk-or-treat party. 
In years past it was also a chili cook-off, but much to our disappointment that was ix-nayed this year.
We still had the chili, but not the pleasure of trying a few different pots of it. 
(also, whoever was supposed to heat up the chili in the two gigantic crockpots didn't start soon enough so the chili was cold! Which I'm sure wouldn't have happened if everyone brought their own special chili, but not to complain...)

This year I made a little ducky costume for Baby Alice and when Max and I were brainstorming what we could be that would match/go with her outfit, Bert and Ernie came to mind, with their little Rubber Ducky in tow! While I was gone in Idaho a few weeks before Halloween Max got busy and made us some awesome paper mache masks!

Here we are at the party!

Despite the chilly Chili (haha) the party was quite fun! We chatted with some friends and saw some awesome costumes, including a cloud (blue sweats with cotton balls stuck all over them and carrying a spray bottle) and some astronauts (white jumpsuits *(one was an old baptism jumpsuit found at D.I.)* with moon boots spray painted silver and white plastic silverware trays hung around their necks with all sorts of space-suity stickers on them).  There was also doughnut eating station - suspended from strings - that Max and I dominated at... not really, but we both finished :)

And then best of all, the trunk or treat. I loved seeing all the cutey little kids in costume shyly offering their "trick-or-treat". My favorite ensemble was a little Wizard of Oz family complete with Dorothy, Glinda, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion. They were all so Cuuuute! We tried not to freeze too much as we handed out  candies to the kiddies and told the older, double rounding kids "No Seconds".

On Halloween we hosted our own little party with my siblings. I told them all that Costumes were required.
They didn't disappoint!

From left to right, top to bottom we have:
 GI-Joe, Al from Home Improvement, Ernie and his Rubber Ducky, Steve Jobs, 
Nurse Kristin, and Katniss Eerdeen.
Our spread of treatsies. 
Rice Krispies, cookies, caramel apples (which didn't retain any caramel at all- by the end the apples were all sitting in the middle of a large, sticky, caramel pool) and wassail.
I loved how these pumpkin krispies turned out.

Alice as the rubber ducky had the best costume of the night!
Who can compete with this!

 What a little cutie pie.

Happy Birthday Mom.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Lovely Lovely Fall

A few weeks ago, back when the weather was still warm, our little family drove up to Rock Canyon to take a little hike. Although the following pictures deceivingly look like a bright, crisp, cool, autumn day, don't be fooled. The weather was actually a little too warm--we didn't make it very far up the canyon before the beating sun stopped us and we turned around and decided the hike would have to happen another day.

Even though we got no hike, we did get some BEA-utiful pictures.

Alice liked this shot. 
I think it's because those leaves are her favorite color...or maybe her Mom's favorite color...

I just love Provo in the fall.

A Punkin Patch

About a week before Halloween I convinced Max to take Alice and I to a pumpkin patch to search out our perfect carving pumpkin. Alice had a blast. And of course I dressed her up all Halloweeny so the pictures would be cute.

  She may look bored, but trust me, she was having the time of her little life.

While her and I were looking for that perfect pumpkin, Dad was off on his own searching as well.
He found it!

The perfect pumpkin.
Possible bigger than our entire apartment, but the perfect pumpkin nonetheless.

Eventually we did find another perfect pumpkin that was small enough to fit on our front porch.
I forgot to take a picture of the finished product though! 
 But this is the template I used after a brief search on the worldwide web:

It was pretty spooky! I think it scared off all the trick-or-treaters that would have come to our door.
(We only had two)

Happy Halloween!!!