Thursday, June 11, 2015

Stephanie's baby shower in California

Kim with her fantastic ice-cream cake as we sing to Stephanie.

My sister was having a baby shower for her long awaited and hoped for baby.  I planned on missing it, since if I was going to pay to fly out, I wanted to see the baby not just the shower.  Then my mom got me a ticket so I wouldn't have to miss it!!  It was awesome, since this day has been a long time in the waiting.

Since my mom instigated it, (and I'm so glad she did), I decided pay to bring my girl to come too so she could have a chance to play with her cousins Elle, Emme, and new baby Eila!  Kim and Jeremy just welcomed that sweet girl a couple months ago and I had not been able to see her yet.  Wow, they have the cutest kids.  Kim didn't even look like she'd recently had a baby.  She and Jeremy managed three kids like a pro; they are great parents.  It was really nice staying with them.  They were kind enough to put this whole party together, and it really turned out wonderful.  Did I mention it was my sister's birthday party too?!  I don't know if I've said this before, but that was the best trip back home ever.

In fact I started looking at homes in the Livermore area the morning I had to leave as I sat crying on Stephanie's couch.  I can't stand living so far away and not getting to see these girls grow up.  I love my family so much.  And now a fourth niece on the way!  I can't stand it.  I already miss everyone so much.

I found a home on 3 acres, a little run down, but big and full of green grass and trees for less than $200,000.  Then I realized it was Livermore, Maine.  Once I got the right state I found only small crummy houses for $400,000 or more.  Curse you California.  I don't know what to do.  I love where I live and feel happier than ever with my friends around me, but I've never wanted to move back home more.  It's so confusing. 

Other highlights from the weekend:

Had a most wonderful pizza for dinner and I forgot how plentiful GOOD restaurants are in my hometown.  Every tree, bush, flower, and the lawns made me so happy because they're all so beautiful.  Of course my brother lives in one of my favorite places.

Stayed up late with Jeremy and Kim making a chocolate cake and decorating; that's all I remember.  Good times.

Got back to work early the next morning finishing up the rest of the food and decorations. Kim's mom was in and out helping a lot, which I thought was really sweet.

Blew my no-sugar thing.  Absolutely killed it.  Donuts, Ice-cream cake, lemon bars, four layer chocolate cake, teriyaki chicken and sweet meatballs; not to mention Leatherby's the next day.  No regrets at all.

Leia and Elle played together pretty much the whole time.  Elle read a lot of books to Leia, and they played dolls and dress-up and ponies, and who knows what else.  Leia loves her!

Aunt Kim did Leia's hair and painted Leia's nails, and Elle painted mine.  She did a great job!  Elle does a lot of dancing and we got to see her in her costume for one of her rehearsals.

Cars started arriving.  I saw my favorite cousin Amy and my favorite Aunt Nancy!

Then I saw my favorite Aunt and Uncle, John and Paula, with favorite cousins Jay, Marcy, Spencer, and Elsie. Such adorable kiddos. 

Then all of a sudden another car opens up with my favorite Aunt Janet, and my favorite Aunt Karen surprising us all by flying in from Utah! Way to make people cry.

Then my mom showed up to the party fashionably late, and they hid to surprise her.  She's hilarious.

We had T's delicious teriyaki BBQ chicken and many other wonderful treats and stayed and talked all day.

Enjoy the pictures. 

We gave Stephanie a big box of clothes that all my kids helped pick out, and this Labor Music (joke) CD.  I first made it for a friend, and knew it had to make another appearance.

This trip was so great because I also got to catch up a bit with my roomie Sandra and find out how our old singles ward friends are doing.  I miss these friends and how comfortable we are/were together.

Gifts from my friend Ruby!
I also made time to see my best high school friend Ruby (thanks to Steph and T for letting us take over their house), and in the middle of laughing about being spies and protectors of the secret 11 herbs and spices, we talked about the things that are most important to me and I got to share with her my testimony of Jesus Christ and God's plan for us on earth.  She just lost her brother recently to suicide and it's so hard and so heartbreaking.  Luckily Steph had a Book of Mormon, so I could give it to her and mark the 40th chapter of Alma.  I hope she reads it and asks the missionaries over to help her understand it more fully.  I loved being a missionary so very much and just loved catching up and actually having time to talk to her brought back memories of when we walked the streets talking to and teaching anyone who would listen.  I love the church.  It's true!  It would be ideal if the people were perfect.  Then people wouldn't get offended and leave the church.  We try to be the best we can, but if we were perfect, we wouldn't need a Savior.  How wonderful that Heavenly Father loved us enough to send His son.  An innocent baby.

Leia's tiny ponytail flipped until it was standing up straight on top of her head.  Kim and I were busting up.

Did I mention it was also my sister's birthday this exact same day?!  I got her this shirt which she paired with that gorgeous necklace.  Kim's helping her play a party game :)

I'm so happy for Stephanie and T.  They will be wonderful parents.  Life will never be the same again, and a lot of that is because things get so much more difficult.  But its worth it.  Families are God's plan of happiness.  "Families are the Lord's workshop on earth to help us learn and live the gospel.  We come into our families with a sacred duty to help strengthen each other..."- Cheryl Esplin, General Primary Presidency

God gave us families to help us become what He wants us to be—
This is how He shares His love, for the fam’ly is of God.
1. Our Father has a family. It’s me!
It’s you, all others too: we are His children.
He sent each one of us to earth, through birth,
To live and learn here in fam’lies.
2. A father’s place is to preside, provide,
To love and teach the gospel to his children.
A father leads in fam’ly prayer to share
Their love for Father in Heaven.
3. A mother’s purpose is to care, prepare,
To nurture and to strengthen all her children.
She teaches children to obey, to pray,
To love and serve in the fam’ly.
4. I’ll love and serve my family and be
A good example to each fam’ly member.
And when I am a mom or dad, so glad,
I’ll help my fam’ly remember:
God gave us families to help us become what He wants us to be—
This is how He shares His love, for the fam’ly is of God.

Someone was asking for the chocolate cake recipe (pictured above) so here it is: (It's a yellow cake with chocolate frosting according to Steph's request.)

1 package yellow cake mix (or yellow butter cake mix)
1 cup sour cream
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup oil
4 eggs
1 small package vanilla pudding

Mix together for about 2 minutes.  Pour into greased 9x13 pan or two round pans.  Bake 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until toothpick test.  I made this recipe twice and made four 10inch cake layers stacked with chocolate frosting in between.  Chocolate frosting is just 1 cup salted butter softened, 3-4 cups powdered sugar, 1 Tbsp vanilla, 1/2 cup of cocoa powder (I didn't measure- do what you like), and then milk or cream to thin if needed.  Beat for a few minutes until fluffly and a good spreadable consistency.

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