Tuesday, January 9, 2018

One of the kids dropped our blender and it broke.  So we got a new one.  Just in time for a new recipe.  A cancer-killing (supposedly) smoothie.  It is made with 55% beets, 20%carrot, 20%celery, bit of radish and potato. Add some water and ice.  Because of the beets it was a beautiful red raspberry color so looked okay.  It was awful.  Dallas said the cancer would certainly go running because it wouldn't want to be in a body with that disgusting stuff in it.  We laughed and laughed as I choked it down.  Today I asked if everyone would be okay with cabbage BBQ sandwiches (where you just saute up cabbage and hit it with BBQ sauce and serve on a whole wheat bun) and scalloped potatoes for dinner.  Dallas said, "Anything, as long as it's not that cancer shake."  Ha ha

Cooking satisfying delicious meals that are also made with whole foods and plant based seems to be nearly impossible.  But it is what I strive for!  I'm glad the kids can have a sense of humor about it.

Dallas and Sam looking at my hair started mentioning the gray "wisdom hairs" as they call them.  I said to go ahead and pull some.  They were mostly all on the left side of my head for some reason.  Afterward Dallas said, "We pulled a lot, but left you enough wisdom to get by."

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Dallas cracked me up the other day...  he went to the youth New Year's dance and the next day said, "Can your head hurt from lots of dancing?"  I told him, of course, because the brain is floating in fluid encased in the skull and if you shake it around too much it's going to hurt!  Apparently this is what he did since he shakes his head around a lot.  I told him to learn some fancy footwork like Lord of the Dance to keep his head steady.  (Not really, but it cracked me up thinking about it...)

We had our neighbor Warren over for dinner on Christmas day.  I love talking to him!  Turkey dinner with all the fixin's.  My silly boy Dallas.  I found out he's been going outside at night with a light saber flashing it around in the dark, and one night Warren noticed and responded with a powerful light he has.  So it happened that a 14 year old and 60-something year old Korean war vet are flashing lights back and forth across a field in the dark of night.  Awesome.

Dallas shot up in height in the last few months and has passed me, but try finding him clothes!  He needs pants with a 28 inch waist and 32 inch height.  You won't find that in the boys section or the men's section.  Dallas is a section unto himself.  Except that it doesn't exist, and he has to wear baggy pants.

With all this growing, though, he's still his goofy wonderful self.  We were visiting friends and they asked what everyone's favorite movie was.  Without hesitation Dallas said, "Cinderella" (the one with real actors).  I couldn't tell if he was joking or serious.  Shocked, I said, "What?!  We've only seen that like twice!", to which he replied that he always watches it when we leave him home to babysit.  He was serious!  I just shook my head.  He's always a surprise and never afraid to be himself.

This girl caught something bad on her last day of preschool and spent Christmas Eve miserably sick. 
The next day she started getting better and recovered quickly.  Not so for the rest of us.  Charlie caught it next...

Us at the dinosaur museum.  Charlie was so sick and fevered.  I knew it was our only chance to do anything so we went and I mostly held him.  The kids played at a park afterwards and we had a picnic lunch and still I held him. 

HE WAS SO INCREDIBLY SICK FROM CHRISTMAS UNTIL JUST A DAY AGO.  It's been awful.  I've never seen him so bad.  High fever for 5 days, so we finally took him in and all they did is say he'd probably get better soon, so two days later we're back at the doctor again and he has an ear, eye, and sinus infection and is now on antibiotics.  He has suffered for so long... and we have hardly done anything we hoped to accomplish over the break :(   I'm glad he's finally getting better.  Slowly.  And we all got varying degrees of the sickness too.

 The sicker he got, the curlier his hair got, ha ha.

Christmas morning.  Costco had these cute matching girl/doll outfits which is what Leia is showing!

Charlie's sword.  Yesterday I saw him copying Sam with all his sword movements, even sticking the sword down the back of their shirts when not in combat.  Charlie is already a level 6 master warrior with the skills of the Force AND Earth, Fire, Water, Air martial arts.  But with this sword, he'll achieve even greater heights of combat awesomeness.
We had a great Christmas, other than being sick!

Finally got new pictures up in the living room.  In our room I'm putting up pictures through the years and have many more to nail up.  They make me happy and it protects them as they're safer here than stored in odd places. 

I forgot to mention that in December, being asked by the Stake, our ward decorated a tree and got presents for mentally challenged adults at a home.  It was a lot to ask at an already stressed-out time of year so it wasn't easy and it was communicated poorly to us (and late!) and many of us complained at having to scramble to complete this assignment.  Thankfully, it all worked out.  These people wrote down specific gifts they would like (like on a giving tree), and people in our ward took the requests one-by-one and fulfilled them and dropped them off wrapped to our mission leader.  Then a few adults and youth drove it all down to ARCA.  Pat said it was the best Christmas experience he's had in years.  Everyone felt the same.  The were just so excited.  They still believe in Santa Claus and they were jumping out of their skin excited!  I was proud of Sam because he wrapped our presents up for a lady named Barbara.  She had asked for sweat pants, and we got her a couple more things and he wrapped it all up and got to go help deliver the gifts.  These folks were so excited about the simplest things.  A Dallas Cowboys sweatshirt, a Harley Davidson motorcycle calendar.  They were lonely, and suddenly felt loved.  The boost it gave to those who helped was profoundly felt in our ward.

Sam starting to learn the $50 dollar song!!!  River Flows in You by Yiruma.  I love that song.  Sam's been so pleasant and wonderful lately.  He took me on a walk today around the hills behind our house on trails I didn't even know existed!  On Christmas Eve, however, we walked around 4 miles picking up trash along our road and he was not happy that day. But it was his contribution to earn our new kitty, and it was his turn to walk with me, and I had been noticing lots of trash, so it was the perfect storm.  We brought one big black trash bag and should have brought four!  We had to stop and ask people to donate bags so we could keep going.  Once they were full we left them tied on the side of the road and then Pat picked them up with the car later.  It was kinda bad timing since our trash was already overflowing with extra Christmas garbage and then I had all this street garbage to get rid of, ha ha.  I still need to go back and do most of the other side of the street.

I have realized that I like making nice meals and having the family all around the dinner table.  We tell jokes, we read our scriptures, usually the Book of Mormon as a family, and then we all do dinner clean together.  Due to crazy schedules in 2017 I had let this go a lot, and I don't want to anymore.  Plus then Pat can take any leftovers for lunch the next day and save money.

My friend Theresa makes these cute wooden dolls and Leia has these 8 now.  I think they're darling!
Leia's stocking loot.
Books Santa left out for us!
Twas the night before Christmas...
...eight stockings out and ready!  Wrapping presents for 6 kids is overwhelming.  Plus during the week after Christmas I'd come across gifts I'd hidden and forgot to even put out!  Trying to keep this many people straight is overwhelming.  It'd be super fun if it was my only job!
Merry, our Christmas kitty has been a fun gift.  She is terrific!

Today I finished my last thing for Christmas which was updating the addresses for sending out next years letters.  That way, it's all ready for the next year and easy as possible.  It is SO much work to send out Christmas cards, I understand why most people don't do it.  Writing a letter.  Gathering addresses.  And expensive!  But I feel like it makes a difference.  Everyday in December I go to the mailbox hoping to get a card and most often it's just bills and ads.  At Christmastime that can be extra sad. So even though it's a chore to write a letter, I know a few people who I think really appreciate it.  And since I'm doing it for them, I might as well do it for everyone!

So after I wrote the letter and Pat and I acquired the addresses, the kids helped fold, stuff, seal, write the return address, stamp, and mail them.  It really does take a team! We did about 180 cards this year (half of those being to ward members).  I may not do it next year, but at least it's all ready if I do!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Getting ready for Christmas

Going to see the gingerbread houses at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center. I loved this creative yet classic one!

When your daughter does your hair

Somehow volunteered to make little loaves of bread and bags of cookies for our 20 teachers in primary and cub scouts. 

Our foster daughter's preschool performance.  We took lots of pictures and video for her parents
Melty pearler bead creations.  My kids did this for almost a week straight.  The love it!

Christmas performances

Found one of my favorite ornaments.  Because it has a picture of my Sam.

More melty bead creations.  I got this for my brother's kids before realizing he probably doesn't own an iron or ironing board.

Papa Scott and Janis got Leia and Charlie each their own subscriptions to Highlights magazine.  Charles and Evan were doing these animal movements all over the house!

The tree would not stand straight this year

Lots of cold weather and fires to warm up.  But sadly, way too warm and no snow!

One of my favorite ornaments a coworker made for me years ago at Sutter Memorial Hospital

Christmas ornaments... my mom has given us lots of these personalized gold-colored ornaments.  She used to do it every year.  Probably stopped because there's so many of us now.  Plus I don't know if they sell them anymore.

I taught the letter "M" for preschool last week.  Micky and Minnie Mouse ornaments, marshmallows, moon, milkshakes, etc.  Fun!
There's a cookie under all that blue sugar somewhere.

More melty bead stuff

Above are the ornaments he made at primary on Sunday and at preschool today at Cassidy's house!  He even learned a whole song in sign language!
We ordered 200 Christmas cards this year and I'm still working on getting some out.  Thanks to Amazon, most of our Christmas shopping is done.  But still lots to prepare.  Today the kids used some money they had been saving to adopt a kitty.  They've been sad ever since George Washington died.  Now Martha Washington is left alone.  So we named our new kitty Merry.  Merry (Mary) and Martha.  Ha ha.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Three significant things happened in the last week.  We had our ward Christmas party, and Winter Ball, and Dallas turned 15!!!

I did food and the music/program for our ward party and thankfully it all went great!  People brought small veggie plates to put at each table for snacking, and others brought au gratin potatoes.  We provided ham, salad, rolls, and dessert.  We successfully fed 200 people and had a terrific program!  Bobbie took care of the decorations and table settings.  And so many people volunteered to perform musically and help in other ways that it turned out really fun and spiritually uplifting and just wonderful!

Our six kids were half on their own and half watched over by other ward members during the night.  Thankfully they all got fed and didn't mind helping or being neglected too much.  Sam wasn't able to watch them because he was in the program, and Dallas wasn't able to watch them because he was at the piano all night playing background Christmas music (as you can see in the above photo I snapped before the party started), so Evan bore the brunt of handling Charles, Stacy and Leia.  Poor Evan!

I am so amazed by how much Dallas has progressed in piano.  He's really good and has so much fun with his piano teacher Miss Diane.  He cracked me up by putting a Tip Jar on the piano to be funny.  (He got $3, some butter, and cough drops).  He even played for Pat and I to sing, "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"!  It was so fun!!!  (We felt the Bishop and Bishop's wife should wish everyone a Merry Christmas in a special way, but performing first, and not performing perfectly since Pat can't sing in tune, also hopefully made those to come after us feel more comfortable and have fun too). Anyways, Dal did a fantastic job.

I missed almost a full week of homeschool to organize all that, and said I couldn't do it next year because the Relief Society hopefully has enough sisters to handle it in the future, but I volunteered to help this year since we had a brand new RS presidency who were all very busy, and my husband being a fairly new bishop and never having done this before, we weren't prepared as we should be and I wanted it to go well and would rather take the stress myself than hand it off to those who are already over-burdened.  I love planning parties and menus and stuff anyway.

The music was my favorite. The primary sang with bells.  There was a beautiful father-son number on the guitar and violin "Oh Come, O Come Immanuel", a family who performed "Do You Hear What I Hear?" on piano, drums, voice and triangle, the priests all sang We Three Kings... and so many more!  All together there were about 12 musical numbers, but it was just comfortable like a family home evening.  Sam and his fellow deacons decided to so something, and they worked for hours on it and it sounded like some kind of bad rock concert with electric guitar, flute, and piano, and a bell being rung anything BUT on beat.  Imagine my surprise when, after leaving them alone to figure it out, they pulled off a beautiful version of Carol of the Bells

The final number was four of us adults singing with Bro. Whetton, the High Priest leader playing guitar.  We sang Silent Night in German, then had Bishop (Pat) read the same thing John Denver does about the origin of that song while the guitar continued, and then the congregation all joined in to sing it in English.  It was sweet.  I used a lot of poems and songs from the John Denver and The Muppets Christmas album, and people not knowing where it came from, asked me afterward, "Can I get a copy of that song?", or "Can I get a copy of that poem?" Ha ha.  I'll convert the world!

They also really seemed to like the sundaes for dessert.  I thought that was pretty nice for what was just an ice-cream sundae.  I layered vanilla ice-cream, homemade Hot Fudge, whip cream, sprinkling of crushed candy canes, and a wafer stick or cookie sticking out on the side.  Pretty elegant for a church dessert, and pretty delicious too!  The Young Women, their leaders, and our former Bishop, made them in the assembly line I set up and took them out to people on trays, and I think they enjoyed waitressing.  At least if anyone had complaints they kept it to themselves and all the feedback we had was great.  We just need better lighting for the performers.

Now, I find myself trying to catch up with the rest of my life.  Personal scriptures, Stacy, homeschool, Christmas preparations, and I haven't exercised in a couple of weeks which always makes me cranky.  Thankful that it went well though, and there seemed to me a happy and unified spirit in the ward at fast and testimony meeting the next day, which is what I prayed for most.

THEN!!!  Dallas turned 15 and we got him the class to get on the road and driving in about 3 weeks.  That's scary, but I am so looking forward to not having to drive him everywhere.  Seminary. every. morning.  Sports.  Music lessons.  Activities.  On the flip side there's a whole host of worries and expenses that go along with having a driving teenager.  We'll see what happens...

We took the kids out to eat at a restaurant (which we hardly ever do) to thank them for their patience with us during the ward Christmas party week, and we let Dallas pick.  He picked Saigon!  It's Vietnamese food.  Crunchy egg rolls rolled up in fresh lettuce, basil leaves, and cilantro dipped in a sweet and spicy fish sauce and their wonderful pho soup.  He ate so much food!  Then he wanted Chicken Sopa (like chicken enchiladas) for dinner but by the time I made it he was too sick to eat.  He caught a fever from somewhere and was sick in bed for days.  Sad birthday!

So I'll probably make chicken sopa again on Sunday and have his dessert he wanted which was ice-cream sundaes.  

He felt well enough to go to the Winter Ball with Sam a couple days later and they had a great time.   Dallas always gets compliments from people and gets the dancing started by going out first.  He always ends up with his tie around his head, and always asks as many girls to dance as possible.  Some of the girls he's grown up with all came up and sang Happy Birthday to him.  They did it while he was dancing with another girl.  On purpose.  To make it as awkward as possible.  I think he said they were mad because he told them the wrong date for his birthday or something.  Who knows.  I thought it was hilarious.  Sam ran with a pack of deacons all night and if you think that sounds scary, it is.  But they danced their brains out just like their mother taught them. Work hard. Dance hard.  That my motto.

Truthfully, if I had a motto it would be:  Always Remember Him  (In case anyone needs to know what to put on my headstone).  I've been thinking a lot about that phrase and how it encompasses everything and says everything, and I love it.

Here's some pictures of a youth activity service project Dal and Sam got to go to where they mapped a huge cemetary in Albuquerque and photographed each headstone and had it logged with its GPS coordinates.  I think it was for Find a Grave.org or something like that.  It was well organized and the youth did great work.  Pat went with them since it required computer knowledge and you know me.