Sunday, March 30, 2008

Weekend review

Weekends are just the best! It is so nice to plan a few "out of the ordainary" things and enjoy some "what we want to do" time instead of racing non stop to keep up with what everyone else wants us to do.

Friday night we had an adults night out with Cam & LaRane and Katie & Clark. I got tickets to a much-anticipated dance program at the University of Utah put on by the Odessey Dance Company. It is called "Shut Up & Dance". They perform different programs about 3 times a year. Paul & I went to their "Thriller" program last October. It was all Halloween, scary, off the beaten path, very unique and original dances. We enjoyed it so much. In the program that night was an advertisement for this Spring performance and I decided then it would be fun to come with all our adult kids so when the tickets went on sale I grabbed some up. The performance we went to was subtitled "Let It Be". All the music was from the Beatles -- original soundtracks. The dances were again very original and up beat and entertaining as well as beautifully performed. There was even one performance with the dancer dangling from above the stage from a couple of 20 foot white ribbons that she would wrap around her body in various ways and twist and twirl "a la Cirque d' Solei" (with whom she had trained for a period of time). It was incredible. Some of the dances were just silly like the routine they performed to "Will you still love me?" All the dancers came out on stage dressed like very old people with walkers and wheelchairs and canes and waddled/shuffled around to "will you still need me, will you still feed me when I'm 64!" Paul was a little offended by that one since he'll be turning 64 next week! All in all it was fun to be out together sans little ones. We're going to have to try to do this a few more times a year... it is good adult therapy.

But the highlight of the weekend was Aspen's 2nd birthday! So amazing to think that she is already 2! Wow, how time flies! She was really excited when it came to the present opening portion of the party! Most of the gifts had been put in gift bags all cute and full of tissue paper along with the present. She would just dig right in and start tossing the tissue out of her way and she even continued tossing the enclosed gifts, which were mostly clothes, just like the tissue. I'm not sure what she was expecting to find underneath it all but I don't think she was getting that the gift was the clothes. It was just funny to watch.

We had warned Katie & Clark that they might not like the present that we were going to give Aspen but you can see from the picture that she took right to it! Yes, we gave her that cute little battery-powered ATV. She climbed right on and when we showed her where to push the "GO" button she was off like a pro! She didn't really get the steering part so she mostly just drove straight into whatever she was headed for -- be it a wall, a chair or a person. I think it will be much better when she rides it OUTSIDE! Too funny! Oh well, it's that what grandparents are supposed to do : spoil the grandkids! I think we did a good job this time.
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Thursday, March 27, 2008


I've blogged about how much I enjoy reading memoirs so I thought I'd tell you about my newest obcession... documentaries. Kind of the same genre. Last Friday night Paul was working late at the office so I went to my local Blockbusters and found these 3 DVDs that looked interesting. They all turned out to be very well made with very interesting stories.

The first one I watched was the Paper Clips DVD. It is about a school in the rural South (I can't remember the name of the town right now) that began studying the Holocast and when the teacher told her students that 6 million Jews were murdered, a student wanted to know how many was 6 million. So they decided to come up with something visual to illustrate 6 million and they came up with collecting paper clips. And then as these kinds of projects sometimes do, it took on a life of it's own. I highly recommend it to you. It was informative and emotionally moving at the same time. Very worthwhile.

Next I was intrigued by the Shanghai Ghetto movie because of our upcoming trip to China. Shanghai is one of the cities that we are hoping to visit. Now, there is one little fact that I might need to mention here and that is that I must have slept through World History classes in high school and college because I am always so amazed with how much I don't know about world events like WWII or WWI or lots of other important, well known world-involving situations. Now with that said, I didn't know that Japan occupied a portion of China during WWII and Shanghai was in that occupied area. This documentary was about German refugees who escaped from Germany and entered China and lived in occupied Shanghai and how they lived and survived those years. It was very enlightening and emotionally moving. I learned a lot and it has further broaded my knowledge and understanding of those times and situations. When I go to Shanghai now I will have a different perspective than if I hadn't seen this show.

The final movie I watched is called Emmanuel's Gift. It is a very recently produced and released. It is the story of a boy who was born disabled, crippled basically, in Ghana. I forget the exact statistic of the number of terribly diabled people in that country but it is very high and these people are considered the very absolute lowest people of society -- basically worthless. This young man Emmanuel decided to ride a bicycle across the whole country of Ghana - using his ONE good leg - to increase the awareness of what disabled people can really do when given the chance and the respect. Ghana is one of the very first African countries to gain their independence a number of years ago and so they are actually considered quite a progressive country. Once again, I learned so much about Ghana, poverty, struggles of the disabled and then was totally inspired by this young man and his determination and drive and committment to making his life better but mostly trying to make all disabled peoples' lives better.

If you find yourself at the DVD store and you can't find a decent movie, I encourage you to check out any of those three movie... I feel confident you will consider watching them as time well spent -- I know I did!
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Monday, March 24, 2008

Hunting for Easter eggs

You'll be happy to know that the Easter egg hunt was a huge success this year. I even think ALL the surprises were found. The best part was that we could actually have this fun little event outside which doesn't always happen here in Utah. The in-house egg hunts just aren't quite the same. In an attempt to not overload the grandkids with too much sugar I found some extra little bonus surprises. I included some Playdoh packed in plastic eggs (too bad your kids weren't here Heidi -- I know how much you love Playdoh!), a plastic ice cream cone full of a bubble blower, another big egg with little stuffed Backyardigan characters... Pablo was the hit and then I found an egg that you submerge in a cup of water for 48 hours and a chick hatches (not sure how that one will workout but I just hope it doesn't get eaten first!). Aspen and Collin are the perfect age for this much loved tradition. They would squeal with delight everytime they found an egg. Cache wasn't quite sure what was going on but I guarantee that next year he'll be right in the middle of it all making sure he gets his fair share as well!
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Thursday, March 20, 2008

It must be Spring!

Besides the fact that the calendar says today is the first day of Spring, I took my empty flower pots back to the nursery that "magically" fills them and keeps them in their hothouse until around Mother's Day when I pick them up again and they are well on their way to being the highlight of my yard and the office also. I discovered this nursery and it's planter refilling program about 5 or 6 years ago. Every year about the middle of March I drive clear across the valley to a part of Salt Lake that I don't get to very often and return my planters, per their instructions. These planters are the only place in my yard that I have colorful annual flowers. It is always so much fun to pick up the planters and the flowers are already 6 weeks along and full and bright and beautiful. All I have to do is choose what colors I want -- they do all the rest of the work. I'll post a picture on pick up day and you'll be impressed! To be continued........
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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Service Surprise

Tonight about 8:30 pm we got a knock at our front door and when I opened it I beheld a big surprise! And it wasn't even for me!
A small group of 5 girls and women were delivering groceries they had collected from people in their ward to donate to the missionaries that are living with us! What a fun service project... something I had never even thought of but what a generous gift for these wonderful young men. I was so astonished as bags and boxes were brought in and set on the kitchen table. They had brought such a wide variety of items: bread, butter (like 5 lbs!), pancake mix, cold cereal, cake mixes, cookie mixes, egg noodles, chips, Ramen noodles, even light bulbs and toilet paper and paper towels -- just to mention some of the goodies. I guess this was a Young Women's evening service project. They had contacted the ward members earlier in the week and then gone around the neighborhood tonight and collected all the donations.

The missionaries weren't home (unfortunatly) when the girls came by. When they got home about a half hour later and I told them they'd had some visitors while they were gone, they were just blown away when they saw everything sitting there on the table... they had no idea... no one had ever done this for them before. I try to feed them an occassional meal if our schedules happen to coordinate but mostly they are on their own for buying their own food and preparing their own meals. Luckily one of the Elders loves to cook but a lot of their meals just consist of warmed up frozen foods. Maybe once or sometimes twice a week they get invited to someone's home for dinner.

One other surprise, the Young Women's leader turned out to be a good friend of mine, Diane Stewart. She didn't realize until she got into my neighborhood that she was coming to my house. I told her a couple of weeks ago that the Elders were living with us but she didn't connect the two facts of the address where they live and my telling her until just before they got here so that was a fun coincidence for both of us.

I wish I were a more thoughtful person. I'm always so impressed by people that do such simple but meaningful little acts of kindness and service. I thought I'd pass this along to you; maybe you can think of someone that could use a surprise like this!
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Sunday, March 16, 2008

My Life? What Life?

Not much going on with me these days except work, work, work. Seems like everyone needs their tax returns done! You too, I'll bet. Every year we know that these several months from January through April 15th will be grueling but then we get to this point and wonder how we are going to survive and actually get everything done that needs to be done by that ominous deadline. I don't know if we just forget from year to year but it sure seems like clients started coming in lots earlier this year and the pressure has been constant and intense. Now after having said that, please don't think I am complaining because if we weren't super, crazy busy right now we'd be in a different kind of stressful situation. So it is definately a love/hate relationship we have with this time of year!

And then of course the rest of our lives have to keep on going as well. Just because we have no extra time to pay attention to anything else, that is when it seems like every thing else decides to get our attention one way or another. In the past 2 weeks we have had constant annoying problems at our house: we have had to replace both of our water heaters, replace our kitchen faucet, had a couple of other plumbing issues (one that is still not resolved) and then last Friday night we came home to a VERY cold house and discovered that the igniter on our furnace had burned out! Whoa Nellie! Enough is enough. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that one of our employees decided to quit and his last day was last Friday.

No use dwelling on the negatives because everything seems to work out okay sooner or later. We have realized after getting the new water heaters how much hotter our showers are now and one of our clients is a wholesaler of furnace supplies and even though they are closed on Saturdays, they met us there so we could get a new igniter. Another client is a plumber and he has responded to our crisis ASAP. And best of all, on the same day that our employee gave his two week notice another qualified person contacted our office and agreed to come to work starting next Monday. So alls well that ends well... we'll just be glad when we can see the END in sight: only 30 more days... (PS: be kind to your accountant!)
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Monday, March 10, 2008

Happy Birthday Cameron!

As much as you hate to admit it, today you get to add another notch on your "birthday belt" bringing the total to 33 years old! Quite an accomplishment! You have been such a delight in our life! Seriously, how else would we have gotten to experience polywogs and cub scouts and ice hockey?!?!?!?!

We were so thrilled to have a baby boy come into our lives on March 10, 1975 at 12:44 pm. Now we were a family of 4 with a boy and a girl. Heidi was excited to have a baby brother. You were the best baby. I especially loved that you were a great sleeper. You slept all night at an early age and your naps were always atleast 3 hours long. That was really a blessing but later we discovered that trait was a little less desireable when you became a teenager and it became a challenge to get you up for school on time!

When I think of you I think of fun, fun, fun and happy, happy, happy and going, going, going: scooters, big wheels, bikes, roller blades, soccer, baseball, hockey, cub scouts, Eagle scout, hammers, nails, skateboard ramps, Rosie, Skittles, gerbils, snowboards, mountain bikes, waterboards, slalom skis, boats, fishing, camping, hiking, weeding, firewood hauling -- the list is endless. Such good times!!!

And now you have made us so proud with all you have accomplished and all you continue to accomplish and fill your life up with. You have married well, you have chosen a great career, you have wonderful children, a beautiful (organized) home and you still have time to take on new challenges like marathons and ironman triatholons. Like always, you wear me out just thinking about what you have got going on. But most of all, you are still a HUGE part of our lives and we love that and are grateful for that.

Dad and I both wish you continued joy and happiness and craziness and send you our love and best wishes for the best birthday ever!
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Friday, March 7, 2008

Quilt of the Week a work in progress. I thought I'd show you what I'm working on right now. I haven't started a new quilt for quite some time -- probably since I made the other red, white and blue quilt for the Quilts of Valor foundation last fall. By the time Thanksgiving and Christmas came and went and then January rolled around with the beginning of tax season, most of my free time was already taken up with things not of my choosing. But I have noticed that when I get overwhelmed with daily responsibilities I find myself in dire need of some stress relief and then I turn to a new quilt project. I saw this pattern in one of my quilt magazines and decided I needed a smallish wallhanging for the month of July. I purposely choose a pattern with lots of small pieces and something that I could get totally absorbed in. Since I am lucky enough to have a dedicated sewing room and no little ones living here on a regular basis, I can leave my project all spread out and available to me for any spare minutes I come up with. So far I have been working on this project for about 2 - 2 1/2 weeks. All of the blocks are being machine pieced and I intend to hand quilt this one so I expect it will take until July to finish. I love knowing that I have something fun waiting for me when I need some decompression! Stay tuned for the finished results!
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Thursday, March 6, 2008

Fun Finds

I just love to discover new little off the beaten path fooderies (not sure that is even a word) and here are my latest two finds:

A friend of mine told me about this new cupcake shop called "So Cupcakes". I'm not really sure what the name means except that it is just all about cupcakes. You have to know exactly where you are going to find it because it is in an obscure location at the back of a mostly empty office building. The shop itself is darling: very pink and frilly and it smells just heavenly as soon as you step in the door. I heard about it Friday night so I had to check it out on Saturday. I was having family and the Elders to Sunday dinner so that was my excuse for indulging. I got to the shop about 4 pm on Saturday afternoon and I was actually afraid that I was too late and that it would be already closed. Not so. The little shop was bustling. There are several tables and chairs for in-shop eating and most of those were full. The line infront of the cupcake display cabinets had about 5 people lined up. The 2 women in front of me were requesting so many cupcakes I was getting nervous there wouldn't be any left for me. Their total came to about $120! While this was going on up front, people were streaming in the door behind me. By the time it was my turn, I'll bet there were 12 or 15 more people in line. I was thrilled to be able to chose a variety of cupcakes: Chocolate Peanut Butter; Cinnamon Sugar; Carrot Cake and RED VELVET -- my favorite! They pack them up in these really substantial card board boxes that have an insert with individual holes for each cupcake so they don't roll around or tip over in transport... very thoughtful. I was pretty happy when I walked past that long line with my cute cardboard box and was all ready to treat my guests. I should have transfered them to a plastic container when I got home since I was not serving them until the next day but still they were delicious. I hope this shop can survive and thrive. I know I'll be going there again.

Then Monday evening Cam and LaRane took Paul & me out to dinner to a fun pizzeria that I have been wanting to go to for a long time. It is called Settebello and it is in downtown Salt Lake. They have an authentic wood burning stove direct from Naples, Italy and they specialize in Napolei-style pizzas -- the ones with the super thin crust and crushed tomatoes as the sauce and fresh, fresh toppings. Paul ordered a pizza with arugala and it looked more like a salad than a pizza -- he loved it! The pizzas are intended as individual servings and they are seriously about 14" in diameter. No worries, most us were able to pound them right down. They were fabulous! If you get chance you should definately treat yourself.
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Sunday, March 2, 2008

Blonde, blue eyes and matching blue sweater

Back in the fall of 2003 I started knitting. I stumbled into a lovely yarn shop in Friday Harbor, Washington and fell in love with the unique yarns. The easiest project to begin with was knitting a scarf. Once I got back home I found another very unique, delightful yarn shop called "Soul Spun" and I was hooked. As soon as I finished one scarf I could hardly wait to begin another one. I made scarves for everyone for Christmas that year. After about 12 scarves, I decided maybe I could move on to something a little more difficult so I started a sweater for Collin who was about 9 or 10 months old then. Turned out that was a bit too ambitious and I quickly learned that I should really stick to scarves.

But I wasn't totally ready to give up on this yarn obcession. I just needed to switch to a crochet hook instead of knitting needles. I have done crocheting for many years and felt quite confident in my skills. I found the cutest swester pattern and some bright, spring colorful yarns and decided to crochet a sweater for Quincy who was about 3 years old. This project turned out to be very enjoyable and I thought the sweater was very cute when I finished it. I was excited to take it to Quincy and see how it looked and fit on her. Well, she wasn't very impressed. She absolutely did not want to try it on! I tried every day we were there visiting to get her to try it on and she would just run away like I was trying to force something really terrible on her. Finally the last day I was there I talked her into putting it on just long enough for a quick photo. She accommodated me but WITH an attitude. The sweater came off immediately after the picture was snapped and I ended up bringing the sweater back home where I stashed it on the top shelf of the closet in my sewing room. (Really sweaters in Phoenix aren't very necessary especially in April).

Fast forward 4 years... I happened to notice the sweater this evening while digging out my knitting supplies for Katie (she has suddenly developed a passion for knitting and has FAR surpassed any of my pathetic knitting skills). I pulled it off the shelf and decided to see what would happen if I tried to get Aspen to wear it. Much to my delight, Aspen immediately fell for it. She put it on and started reciting all the colors... she especially likes blue! She wore it the whole evening and even went home with it on and I expect we'll still have some sweater-weather here for a while.

Note to self: Stick with quilting!

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