Monday, April 8, 2013

San Diego Spring Break March 2013

It's been a while since we've taken a true family vacation and this year we thought we'd take advantage of Scott being out of work and school and head to San Diego.  With his sister Denise willing to put us up and Scott's folks so close (serving a mission in Anaheim) we thought San Diego would be the ideal location.

We could have tortured ourselves and driven the 15-16 hour drive in one shot, but decided to impose ourselves on my sweet sister Amy and her family in Provo, UT.  Since moving to Provo, Amy has barely had a month free from visitors.  The money she will save from not hosting every friend, family, or friend of the family who happens to be in Utah by moving to Louisville, Kentucky this summer should be substantial. 

We spent the night with Amy, Saturday, March 23rd, then drove to San Diego on Sunday.  Trittica Nielson and her two children Taylor and Emmiline followed (or led) us down in a high speed race to find sunshine.  We left the cold and snow and found the heat just outside of Las Vegas as we became mired in the exodus of Californians heading home from a weekend of sin and degradation.  We sat in this freeway parking lot for approximately two hours, inching forward at a snail's pace and watching the thermostat in the car creep ever higher.  Torture.

We rolled into Denise's about 8:30 pm and she graciously had dinner waiting for us.  Denise has a lovely home and her kids, though shy at first, we're sweet and welcoming.  Sarah made us a lovely card from her card making set she had just received for her birthday.  

We got the beds set up and everyone bunked down and we dreamed of sun and sand.

Trittica and I walked in the morning, then kept walking the rest of the day.  Not sure I needed the four miles in the morning with as much walking as we did the rest of the week.  

Torey Pines State Park was our first destination that morning, and it was a great way to view the ocean.  High up on cliffs covered in wild flowers with the wind whipping the hair in to our faces and the warm sun caressing our skin we could look down on the rolling waves as they crashed on to the rocks below us.  

Megan and Kimber were a bit leery as usual of climbing rocks or getting too close to the edges of things, choosing instead to keep to the middle of the path and warn everyone else of their impending doom.  Luckily, once they are forced to try something new, they usually acquiesce that it was worth it (although this would not be true of drugs, alcohol, or nefarious acts here unmentioned).  

Although Sea World was not in our plan or limited vacation budget, we did see dolphins cresting off shore.  The experience consisted of all of us straining and squinting our eyes trying to catch some random movement in an every changing sea.  Once someone caught site of said dolphin they would excitedly point just as the creature would disappear back beneath the blue.  Fortunately, we all managed at least one sighting and no one was disappointed.

We couldn't leave Torrey Pines without stopping at the beach on our way out to dip in our toes.  As typically happens, the waves were underestimated, and inevitably Kendra, wet to her bum, turns, looks at me, and shrugs her shoulder as if to say, "Well I'm wet now anyway, I might as well go all the way in."  That idea was quickly squelched and we headed back to the car and our next adventure.  Kendra tied a sweatshirt around her waist until her shorts dried.

The Mormon Battalion was our next stop after a bite to eat at a Mexican Restaurant.  We just finished eating when Grandma and Grandpa Anderson joined us.  Irene was severely under the weather, but they made the trip down just for us.  

Scott and I had been to the Mormon Battalion when we visited San Diego for an anniversary trip years before, but it had since been torn down and completely rebuilt.  The tour begins in a room with lighted photographs on the wall.  Shortly after the guide began her speech, Megan grabs the person next to her and frantically waves at the picture saying excitedly, "It moved!  The picture moved!"  

Sure enough, all the pictures began talking and clamoring and causing a commotion.  We then followed them into a campfire room, followed by a fort, and then gold panning at the end.  Great tour.  Very interactive, and the kids loved it.  Great to learn about the saints who sacrificed so much to help others make the trek to Utah.  

Here's a link if you're interested in learning more about the Mormon Battalion:

We then took a stroll through old town San Diego, browsed the shops, checked out the old houses, and tried on some fantastic hats.  We topped off a great day with yummy Chicken Parmesan a la Denise.  

That was just day 1.  I'm exhausted just telling about it!

Day two, we headed to the Maritime Museum.  We boarded the HMS Surprise, The Star of India, a Russian cold war sub, a US research sub, and an old steamer ship.  It was decided most vehemently that life aboard a sub would suck and that the other ships weren't much better.  I guess we are all land lubbers.  

Each day we got a late start so never ended up eating lunch until about 2:00 pm.  For our second day we chose Jeff's Burgers in La Jolla.  Taylor ordered the 1 pound burger.  It was huge.  We were all done long before he was, but he polished it off in the end along with a tray of fries.  Teen age boys!

While in La Jolla we visited the tide pools, didn't see much but a few sea anemones and small crabs, but still fun.  This was just a quick stop before we jumped back in the car and headed for our final destination of the day Moonlight Beach.  

By the time we got there, Brooke, Kendra, Kimber, and Emmeline were ready to run each other over trying to get to the bathroom to change.  Unfortunately, the amenities at the beach were being remodeled forcing us to use the porta-potties as changing rooms.  Not ideal, but that did not deter the kids.  Within moments they had changed and after throwing their discarded clothes in our direction, sprinted into the water.  

Having fond memories of the beach from spending some of my younger years in Hawaii, it was gratifying to see my own kids enjoying the waves, riding boogie boards, splashing each other, building sand castles with deep motes, and chasing sea gulls.  

Denise joined us with her kids for the evening, and Scott (Denise's husband) later showed up with pizza.  By the time we were ready to leave, the kids were sand covered and shivering, but all smiles as we climbed in the car.

Day 3 . . . Knott's Berry Farm.  I can't say much more than that.  Kimber was a bit trepidatious at first, but after her first plunging roller coaster ride, she was good to go.  Brooke and Kendra hung with Scott and I and were up for any ride we suggested.  They loved it all.  One of my personal favorites was the Silver Bullet.  Unfortunately, it kept going down just as we would get to it.  I had ridden it, but Kendra was adamant she ride in it.  The second time it went down just as we got to the gate (we were actually seated in the ride when they stopped it), Kendra refused to leave.  We waited at least 45 minutes, but finally got on.  She said it was totally worth it.  Even Kimber conquered her fear and rode the Supreme Scream, a ride that takes you straight up and then free fall drops you several times.  For dramatic effect she practically collapsed on the ground after the ride.  Drama Queen:)

The Nielson's left us to return home after Knott's Berry farm and we stayed another day to visit with Grandma and Grandpa Anderson in Anaheim.  We met them for lunch on Thursday and then played at the Discovery Center in Santa Ana, close by where they live.  They had a great exhibit on Archaeology with they used the Indiana Jones movies to keep kids interested.  I sure makes archaeology look more exciting than it really is.  The Santa Ana discovery center also made our little Boise discovery center look a bit pitiful.  Oh well.

We said our goodbyes Friday morning, and the neighbors across the street from Denise, the Chai family, brought clementines and bananas for our trip home.  They had previously lived in Boise and attended River Valley.  We didn't know them, but our neighbors were friends of theirs and we knew the name.  

Our trip through Las Vegas was much quicker on the way home, and we stayed at Amy's Friday and Saturday nights.  Saturday we played games and visited with Michelle's family and Kerstin came down with her friend Todd.  Sunday we enjoyed a breakfast of cinnamon rolls, deviled eggs, and bacon and a quick Easter egg hunt, then headed home.  Our trip was topped off by spending the evening at dinner with the Neilsons when we returned.  

Great family vacation, great friends, great family.  So glad we made the journey.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

"The future is as bright as your faith"

It's Sunday and my mind, at least for part of the day, has been on spiritual matters.  One of the talks in Sacrament meeting centered around a talk by President Monson titled "Be Cheerful."  The talk was given in 2009 as people were beginning to realize the economy was not getting better anytime soon, us included.  It was a dynamic and hopeful talk and though I don't want to include the whole talk, this is what registered with me and felt relevant this morning:

"It would be easy to become discouraged and cynical about the future—or even fearful of what might come—if we allowed ourselves to dwell only on that which is wrong in the world and in our lives. Today, however, I’d like us to turn our thoughts and our attitudes away from the troubles around us and to focus instead on our blessings as members of the Church. The Apostle Paul declared, “God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

I testify to you that our promised blessings are beyond measure. Though the storm clouds may gather, though the rains may pour down upon us, our knowledge of the gospel and our love of our Heavenly Father and of our Savior will comfort and sustain us and bring joy to our hearts as we walk uprightly and keep the commandments. There will be nothing in this world that can defeat us.

My beloved brothers and sisters, fear not. Be of good cheer. The future is as bright as your faith."

I find it easy to get worried about our uncertain future, but then I wonder why.  It's true that being fearful is not from God.  He wants us to do all we can and stop worrying about the rest.  The rest will sort itself out.  It may not be the way we imagine, or on our time schedule, but why be miserable while we wait.  I like that he has given us "power, love, and a sound mind."  I know we are striving to do the best we can, we are raising our children with faith and love, and keeping our covenants.  We are not perfect, but we are striving to have a perfect hope and looking forward with faith.

Other things that stood out to me today included:
  • When we criticize ourselves, we are criticizing God's creation. 
  • "Preach the Gospel at all times. When necessary, use words."  Great quote!  This is most commonly attributed to St. Francis of Assisi, but he didn't really say it.  He said something close to it, but nonetheless  it's still a great quote.
  • Continuous effort is the key to reaching our potential.
  • “There is no man living who isn't capable of doing more than he thinks he can do.” Henry Ford
  • "Do not expect to become perfect at once. If you do, you will be disappointed. Be better today than you were yesterday, and be better tomorrow than you are today. The temptations that perhaps partially overcome us today, let them not overcome us so far tomorrow. Thus continue to be a little better day by day; and do not let your life wear away without accomplishing good to others as well as to ourselves.  Each last day or each last week should be the best that we have ever experienced, that is, we should advance ourselves a little every day, in knowledge and wisdom, and in the ability to accomplish good. As we grow older we should live nearer the Lord each following day." LORENZO SNOW
This last week we had some pretty great moments:

Scott defended his thesis on Wednesday.  Titled:  "TEMPERATURE STRAIN PHASE DIAGRAM OF FERROELECTRIC BaTiO3/SrTiO3 SUPERLATTICES" you can tell that it was a riveting presentation.  My part of the presentation was to show up with cookies to sweeten them up - it must have worked because he passed. 

Going into the defense I jinxed him by asking if he had a backup thesis power point in case something didn't work right. He did have a copy on his flash drive, but that didn't help when he couldn't get the school projector to work out.  After calling maintenance, they got a new projector and with cookies in from of them, the 10+ people that showed up settled back for a 45 minute explanation of Ferroelectric properties.  I followed along as best I could and clapped appropriately at the right time, but I'm afraid I really can't say I understood much.   

Following the presentation, the rest of us left Scott to begin the arduous task of his thesis defense to his committee.  He said it was a rough start, but it got better once they got to his research portion.  Now he needs to make some modifications, resubmit the thesis for approval and then submit it to the grad college for graduation.  Sooooo close:)

On a lighter note, Megan also had a great week.  Thursday and Friday she spent at BSU going to theater workshops.  I think her favorite class was stage combat where she learned how to look like she was beating someone up.  She also went to her first formal dance.

She asked a friend of hers, Joseph Koslowski (spelling?) to go with her, and had a great time.  Her group included her good friends Savannah and Kylie, their dates, and another couple. They spent the morning hiking Table Rock and then did pictures later, a Chinese dinner at our house, the dance, and finally games at Kylie's.  A pretty full day, but she said it was her best date ever!

Scott and Brooke took pictures (Scott about 50 and Brooke over 100).  Here are a few favorites.

Finally, I have to add some pictures of Kimber's great hair:

Enough said!

I do have to say it was a bit weird having St. Patrick's Day fall on Sunday. Wearing green to church for St. Patrick's Day felt a little sacrilegious.  I'm sure St. Patrick was a great guy, but was he really any better than the rest of us, just doing the best we can?  I always take a little exception to mortal men deciding whether someone has reached sainthood or not.  I guess from our perspective, it's all just for fun.

Kendra did set a Leprechaun trap in her room, but only caught some Lucky Charms.  There were a few chairs over set in the kitchen and Lucky Charms thrown about, but no major Leprechaun destruction.  We had sort-of green waffles for breakfast (more of a puce yellow) and corned beef is on the menu for tonight.  I guess it's not any worse than the other off-religion holidays we celebrate.   

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

"March"ing on

Monday we were hoping to get a call from Sean from the airport on his way to Brazil, but no such luck.  We did get an email mid morning letting us know his flight had been pushed back from 12:30 to 3:30, but he wasn't clear on the particulars.

We never heard from him, so Tuesday morning I called the Houston mission office just to make sure he actually left.  They were very kind and complementary of Sean and indicated they had had lunch with him and put him on the 3:30 flight.  He was scheduled to fly to Atlanta, then Sao Paulo, then onto Londrina.

Tuesday afternoon we received an email from him letting us know he had made it, had been fed (most important) and was beginning to revive after the plane ride.  Some of his luggage did not make it, but he was hoping to get the rest of it today (I forgot to warn him to take a change of clothes on the plane - just in case).  Oh well, can't think of everything.

He said it is hot, muggy, and beautiful (actually gorgeous was the term he used).  He sounded happy and glad to be there.  Elder Millet from Washington will be his companion and they will be opening a mission further into the interior.

Transitioning to Megan:  her play was fantastic and she of course was amazing.  She played the narrator in "Into the Woods" and was very poised and professional.  Most nights they had one or two glitches, but we went Thursday and everything seemed pretty smooth.  I think she's glad that bit is over because she's got a pretty intense April coming up.  She will be taking two AP tests and her SAT and ACT, she begins a new play, has district speech and maybe state speech.  Crazy.  I think she's trying not to think about April.

Kimber is getting ready for pace and seems to be on top of things.  She's also trying to get her personal progress done, but it may not be finished until the end of summer.  She'd get farther if she spent a little less time on Netflix when she got home.

Brooke is loving being back in gymnastics and is close to doing her back handsprings.  Kendra is loving being back in swimming.  I'm glad they both have sports they look forward to.  Too bad it's not the same sport at the same time and place.

Scott defends his thesis today at 1:30 pm.  He sounds ready.  He previewed his presentation for us during family home evening.  The girls were all very helpful with suggestions like:  don't pace, use a pointer, make it more lively, you're mumbling, and maybe try doing it in a New York accent.  Mostly he was glad they stayed awake, asked some questions, and payed attention.

I managed to get Megan's dress hemmed and the back fixed, we found her jewelry and shoes, and still need to figure out the corsage, but she's almost ready for her big dance.  Her dance is Saturday and they will be having dinner here.  I will be making Orange Chicken, rice, and egg rolls.  Hopefully, they like Chinese.  Thank goodness for Costco.

Next week we leave for San Diego to visit Scott's sister Denise and his parents on their mission.  It will be great to see them.  We haven't even met some of Denise's children.  I can't say I'm looking forward to the long drive, but getting there will be fun.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Is it: March comes in like a Lion and goes out like a Lamb?

March certainly stormed into our lives, having us up and running from the beginning.  Not that mother nature really had anything to do with our whirlwind of activity, just the nature of our busy schedules.

Wednesday, February 27th I did a quick interview with Eagle Landscape at 10am, met Ron at the Post office at 11am to get the newspaper out, picked up the Stephersons (Byron, Donna, Henry, and Jane) at 12:30 and ran them to the airport for their New York trip, delivered newspapers until 4:30pm, went to an Eagle Chamber of Commerce Ambassador's meeting, then went home and made dinner.  Typical day.

Kate and Sara Stepherson spent Wednesday through Sunday with us and I'm sure they thought we must run a crazy household.

Thursday, February 28th, Brooke's class did their pace presentation for parents at 11am, I went to stake humanitarian days to gather information for a story I'm doing, at 4:30pm I had a ribbon cutting ceremony in Eagle, 6pm I had a Star Chamber Mixer in Star, and at 7:30 I took Trittica with me to a play called "Painting Churches" that I had free tickets for.  See . . . typical day!

The play was in a little dive called the Stagecoach theater.  They have a new marketing director and she sent invitations to the media  for a free showing.  When I met her, before the play began, things became a bit awkward as we introduced ourselves and Trittica indicated I was her "better half."  Usually I reserve that term for my spouse and I'm sure the gal thought our relationship ran pretty deep (which it does, just in a platonic way).   Trittica didn't realize anything was amiss until I mentioned it to her 1/2 way through the play. Our heads together giggling, We had a good laugh at an ill-timed moment during the play.  All 8 people in the theater gave us a look, and I'm sure it just cemented the marketing director's perception of us.  Oh well.

Friday should have been a little more laid back, but I worked in the morning, went to the temple in the afternoon, threw dinner together and proceeded to drag the kids and Scott with me to First Friday events in Eagle.  We made glass pendents at Fusions Glass Studio in Eagle, attended an art showing at Finer Frames art gallery, walked through the Eagle Historical Museum, and then drove downtown and caught the last hour of the BSU gymnastics meet.  For good measure, Scott and I stayed up until 1pm watching a movie.

Saturday dawned too bright and too early, but my day was lifted when Sean called about 8:20am with news he had received his visa.  It was so great to speak to him and you could hear the smile in his voice.  We also visited with his trainer, Elder Chollet, who informed us Sean refused to believe he had gotten his visa (as Elder Chollet had pulled that one on him before), and after he listened to the message, Sean didn't stop smiling for 2 hours.  Sean will call us again Monday, March 11 from the airport as he starts his true mission to Brazil.

Volleyball was a bust that morning - we lost all three games, but that evening we attended Eagle High School's musical, The Scarlet Pimpernel.  Great show.  Amazing costumes.  Great singing.  Well worth the money, and well worth it to hear Megan's unbridled guffaws.  She doesn't hold back a good laugh.

To finish off the weekend, Megan decided she better get her date asked for the Priest/Laurel Multi-stake dance on March 16 (just two weeks away).  She put together a candy gram and she and Taylor Nielson doorbell ditched it on Joseph's front door.  This action also put into motion our desperate search for a dress. 

After spending hours on the computer and searching consignment stores I finally did what I should have done to start with - asked all my friends on Facebook.  Within minutes we had two viable dresses and a solid lead on where to buy one.  Kimber and I went Monday to look and found two beautiful dresses.  The blue one fit well, but will need a few minor adjustments, and the red one should be able to be altered to fit - or Megan can just do a few crunches.

Joseph answered Megan by tying up the front porch in caution tape and drawing the outline of a dead body that said, "I'm dying to go to the dance with you."  First she's got to get through four days of the spring musical and then she can think about the dance.

If the rest of March is anything like the beginning - I think we will all be exhausted by the time we are done.   

Snowmobiling in McCall

I'm always looking for an excuse to take a trip.  I'm not sure what I like most:  getting away from home, seeing someplace new, hanging out with great friends, or having new experiences.  Scott's 46 birthday was the perfect opportunity to plan a trip.  I tossed around the idea of a cruise.  We have frequent flyer miles to get us to a port, time to go, and friends to go with, but the timing just wasn't right.  It also was going to cost us more than I originally thought and the ports of call didn't look very warm, bright or tropical.

Plan B was a trip to McCall.  I decided to make the trip to McCall as close to a cruise experience (minus the water) as possible.  I found a great condo (three bedrooms, three baths) for a good price and invited Byron and Donna Stepherson, and Ben and Trittica Nielson.  After making sure things were in order at home (you wouldn't think two nights away would require that much planning, but after Taylor and Emiline Nielson had a grease fire a few weeks ago when their parents were gone, I wanted to make sure my kids were well equipped with microwaveable food) we hit the road with Stephersons at about 11:00 am.

The ride to McCall is always a bit of a stomach turner with its twists and turns (perfect for simulating sea sickness) and Byron wasn't feeling great by the time we got there.  Scott was just really hungry.  We stopped by the condo to make sure everything was in order and get the heat and water heater going, then we headed to McCall's famous Pancake House for lunch.

The best and worst things about the Pancake House are its extensive menu (including all breakfast items available anytime during the day) and its large portions.  I've only eaten there once or twice, but it's always far enough apart that I forget how much food they bring you.  An hour later and completely stuffed we rolled out of the restaurant and proceeded to tour the town.  Five minutes later, the tour over, we stopped by the lake to watch folks walking their dogs and sledding out on the ice.  Byron and Scott headed down to the lake and after about 10 steps into biting, bitterly cold wind, Donna and I made a beeline for the first tourist shop.

After feigning great interest in some local art and blown glass, we warmed up and the guys returned.  The rest of the afternoon was spent playing games and hanging out at the Condo.

Nielsons arrived in time for a delicious home cooked meal of salmon, garlic potatoes, salad, fruit, and red velvet cake.  Unfortunately, we were so full from lunch (we ate at 2:30 pm) that it wasn't quite as enjoyable as it could have been.  Just like being on a cruise - way too much food and you're eating all the time.

That night, aside from other games we played, we did a round of the Newly Wed game.  Apparently some of us still need to work on our communications skills and pay a little more attention to each other, and celebrated Byron's (Feb 7) and Scott's (Feb 8) birthdays.

Saturday, we were up at the crack of dawn for our off-shore excursion.  Trittica prepared a hearty sausage breakfast casserole and beautifully arranged fruit for breakfast and we headed out for a morning of snowmobiling.

Most of our snowmobiling experiences were limited.  I had driven my Uncle's and Dad's machines.  Uncle John's had heated hand warmers, comfy seats and power, Dad's had  . . . well, they most likely would get you to and from your destination (most likely).  Byron's experience was an ear-shatteringly noisy, jarringly uncomfortable machine that they spent most of the time digging out of the snow.  Also, at least four of us have back issues and made sure to top off breakfast with ibuprofen before we left.  I was looking forward to the excursion.

The backseat in our Expedition is really great for cuddling, not so great for room.

We rented double seater machines through Cheap Thrills rentals in McCall and after getting completely suited up (boots, gloves, helmets, goggles, and snowsuits), we headed out to the trail head. After a lengthy 40 minute demonstration on how to turn the machine on, change the belt (should you burn it out), how fast you should go, where you should and should not ride, how to tow a machine, and the crazy amount of money you would owe should you disable the machine through stupidity, we were sufficiently warned and scared to veer off the trail even a fraction of an inch.

Walking to our machines we looked like a slow motion scene from a space movie where the heroes are headed to their ships to save the galaxy.  Our big bulky suits made us walk slightly bowlegged, our boots forced us to take exaggerated steps, and our helmets looked sturdy enough to take the impact of any tree that might happen to get in our way.

We and the Stephersons had great machines with hand warmers and plenty of power.  Neilsons were not so lucky - no hand warmers, stinky machine, and limited power (they may never snowmobile again).  We rode out to a hot springs and looked longingly at the pool, then got back on our frigid machines and drove another twenty + miles to a ghost town.  The town could have been really cool, but since we were limited on time (had to have the machines back by 1:30 pm) we got off our bikes, looked around, took a picture, and mounted back up for a rushed 35 mile ride back to the trail head.

Scott was a decent fellow and let me drive quite a bit.  I stayed true to the trail, occasionally taking the machine over the suggested 25 MPF.  Scott, on the other hand, figured if the snowmobile's speedometer registered up to 110, we had better let her run a bit.  He still kept it about 50 mph and for the most part stayed on the trail.  If he occasionally veered I was sure to check his course by repeatedly banging on his helmet.  Good times!  I tell myself things would have been different had I my own machine.  I picture myself off trail in plenty of powder, heading cross county and answering to no one.  Yeah right!  I'm pretty sure that girl only exists in my dreams.

Ben, Byron, and Scott - ready to mount up!

Historic Gold mining town of Warren

Scott and I 

Really boring video of the ride.  Pretty much what we saw for 70+ miles.

We powered back in just in time, returned our snow gear and hit the Pancake House again for lunch.  The amount of food we ate and the early morning departure necessitated a nap when we returned to the condo, but pretty soon we were back to playing games and visiting.  Neilson's had to head back Saturday night to get Trittica home in time for an early shift Sunday morning, so we finished up our round of 6 person hand and food and wished them a safe journey.  The rest of us played a few more rounds of Ticket to Ride and called it a night.

Maybe we played too many games:)

Sunday morning we headed back to arrive in time for church.  It was a great weekend, and definitely something to do again!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Nerf wars, modeling, slush and blood

I always get to the end of the week and am reminded of how many pictures I didn't take.

On Martin Luther King day (Monday, January 21) the Nielsons invited us to pit our mad Nerf gun skills against theirs at the church.  With obstacles in place and teams formed we did our best to annihilate the competition.   I'm pretty sure out of the twenty or so games we played, I was only on the winning team twice.  Pretty sure I was a factor in my teams' ultimate demises.

 Ah, family togetherness.

Sorry it's sideways.

Megan did not make the Nerf war because she was attending a photo shoot with a photographer friend of ours (Marit Welker).  She spent most of the day at the shoot, but was the last to get photographed and it really didn't come together for her.  She did enjoy the company during the day though.

I hate to talk about the weather, but this January has been crazy.  It's been the coldest on record, and although we typically don't have snow that sticks around - we haven't been able to get rid of the snow so far.  It rained on the snow on Wednesday night leaving a thick coating of ice over everything:  cars, parking lots, roads, kids.  Oh course the buses were late and the kids left out in the cold too long, and (despite doing a snow dance) they held school anyway.  People were stranded on hills because their cars couldn't make it up the hills on the ice, and there were a fair number of accidents throughout the day.  Of course that day I planned to go to the temple, and thought twice about it, but in the end Scott accompanied me and all was well. 

I also gave blood this week.  Usually I hydrate really well, but forgot I had scheduled the donation.  I tried drinking some before I went, but it wasn't enough.  They had a tough time finding a vein and then proceeded to poke around in my arm every few minutes or so trying to get a better flow going.  They finally got enough, but my arm was sorer than usual when I was done.  I never get nauseous, but some poor lady was lying on the floor with her feet up when I got there.  I'm grateful for a strong constitution.  

The last few days we finally got above freezing and the snow has turned to slush.  The sidewalks are impossible to walk on, and the road is a mess.  Our cars are covered in muck and we have a large pool of water forming in front of our house that is an ice rink in the mornings; however, today the sky is blue and the sun is shinning and I am once again grateful and thankful the Lord sends us light to dispel the darkness.  

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Megan's birthday, winning at Bunco, Antique Roadshow at the Welkers, and silliness at the Mortensen wedding reception.

It was deadline week for the newspaper, which makes everything a little more hectic around the house, but there were several things that made the week run smoother than I thought it would.  The first thing was taking time to plan a menu on Sunday, and get the shopping done on Monday.  Somehow having a plan for dinner with the ingredients on hand helps with my stress levels.

The second thing that helped was having a smaller newspaper this month, less content to come up with; however, I would really like more content because that would mean we had more advertising and could go with a larger paper.  That is what I will be concentrating on this year, increasing advertising and customer care and service.  We were really blessed this month with more advertising than planned.  Out of the blue I had at least three people call and place ads.  I am grateful that the Lord is working on selling advertising for us as well.  Those few extra ads may make the difference between profit and no profit this month.

Tuesday we celebrated Megan's 17th birthday.  Unfortunately, she didn't get much because we had given her a guitar for Christmas that was both Christmas and birthday present, but we did take her to Olive Garden for dinner.  Everyone loves the bread sticks at Olive Garden and I believe Kendra ended up eating six before we were done.  I also made BIG chocolate cupcakes which we stared with the Nielsons later that evening.  She also got two movie tickets for her and a friend - maybe she'll go tomorrow since they have off for Martin Luther King day, maybe she'll take a date . . . not likely.

Wednesday for mutual the girls had a combined activity called "My Sister's Closet".  They were supposed to bring clothes and accessories they were ready to get rid of to trade.  Megan and Kimber each come home with a bag of clothes they liked to add to their wardrobe.

Thursday I went early to the temple and was able to attend the 8 am session.  It has been bitter cold around here and that morning was no different - temperatures hovering around 0 degrees.  What was different was everything was frosted white . . . the trees, bushes, everything was sparkling in the sunshine.  That was different too - sunshine.  We have been grey for days and the blue sky, white frosty snow and sunshine was dazzling to see.  These pictures do not do it justice.

One Thursday a month I play Bunco with a group of ladies from the ward and neighborhood and ended up having a great night earning the most buncos and the highest points this Thursday.  We all bring something and get to take something home, and I had brought a super cute hat (not the one below).  Since I won and got to choose first, I chose my hat, although there were plenty of other nice prizes to choose from.  The downside to the whole night was walking into Bunco and slipping on the ice, smashing my knee into the sidewalk and breaking up some of the ice with my ninja kneecap move.  I also stayed late and watched a movie after Bunco and helped Cherie Winterstein make little paper mache roses for topiaries for the Mortensen wedding reception the next night.  Amy Daniels and Nicki Dille also stayed and helped, and since it was at Sarah Marsh's house - she helped too.

The hat I chose not to go with.

Friday, Megan had a speech tournament, but since it was early release from school due to finals they started the tournament early and she finished early.  This was fortunate as the Welkers invited us over for a game night.  We played mock Antique Roadshow.  Basically, two people got up, one picked an item, and the other acted as the appraiser.  The person told a story about their object, how they came to get it, and the history behind it, and the appraiser then finished the story and told how much it was worth, each one trying to make the other laugh.  There were some pretty funny stories.  Megan is always good for a funny story, and Dan Welker is quick to crack anyone up.

Saturday we were up by 7:30 am to clean the church building, then I had volleyball at 9:00 am.  I love playing with the ladies on our team (Whitney, Heather, Trittica, Sarah, Susan and me) and we had a great game, winning all three games.  The afternoon was spent getting the house spic and span and the evening at the Mortensen's daughter's wedding reception.  They had a photo booth which guests were asked to stop in at, then paste their photos in a book and write something to the couple.  Great idea!  I might have to do that for one of my kid's weddings (oh wait, I don't really want to think about that yet).  We also took a few spins on the dance floor and visited with friends.  Fun evening.  We topped it off playing dominoes (Mexican train) with Stephersons and Nielsons. I won, Scott was second.  I guess it was a pretty good game week for me.  I love being a winner!

"What a great time to be alive!  Today (Tuesday the 15th of January, 2013).  President Jeffery R. Holland spoke to the MTC.  The thing is he spoke at Thanksgiving as well.  The reason today was important was the dedication of three buildings (re-dedication).  He spoke so compellingly, but he always does.  Apparently, last time he spoke he talked of getting your act together, which was Thanksgiving.  Everyone said it was awesome, and made them a bit terrified.  This time he spoke about what a great time it is in the church, how we need to be better than the great prophets of old, and that we need to hasten the work.  Which is how it is now.  I am so happy to be alive and in the work at this time in my life. 

One thing he talked about is astonishing people.  While we don't want to knockem' out and have them be unconscious for three days like Alma, we do want them to have their own personal earthquake.  Astonish comes from the root tondra which means thunder.  Let's astonish people.  Let them see how great this work is so they know why it is important to them.

I know the Church is true, and God be with you till we meet again."

*Maybe this is why I never journaled before - I get tired just thinking about everything we do in a normal week.