Wednesday, December 31, 2008

today you must NAP.

Because tonight you will NOT be sleeping at my house!
Rest up, my partying friends...
we'll be bringing in the new year with MUCH noise, chaos and mess.
It will be fun! Clean up your snow and scoot on over for 7-ish.
And for those of you who will not be able to make it, HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Please wait, I'm coming!

First the ice storm.
On to an important birthday and baptism.
Then the Christmas rush after the ice storm power outage.
Relief Society stuff scattered on top.
Intermixed with ten days of house guests (who were helpful and FUN)
and now the looming New Year's ice skating event
(which you are ALL invited to: 7 to midnite-ish bring something to share)
... please; Let me catch my breath, and I'll be posting something soon!
P.S. I'm still dribbling out our family Christmas cards... and catching up on bills.
I'll hopefully be done with that job before New Year's!
It's all good stuff. Just a lot of it at once.
I've MISSED you!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas Eve-ing to you!

We will be making a gingerbread house,
sledding on our bottoms down the snow chutes in the backyard,
trekking to 'Cherry Hill' for sledding fun,
digging out the big snow cavedrinking plenty of hot chocolate,
acting out the Nativity before dinner,
exchanging homemade gifts,
watching It's a Wonderful Life with Jimmy Stewart,
and I will be roasting my buns by the fire with this frosty snowman:
What will you be doing on this eve?

cookie Tuesday

We were busy little elves yesterday, and I must be tired.
Because here is what I dreamt about after going to bed.
I had relinquished ownership of two tree-naughty cats, and became the proud owner of two little doggies, one of them bequeathed to me by Ms. Christy, of this blog.
The dogs were Dottie and Beans.
I was so confident that the dog thing was a good idea, that I took them grocery shopping with me. (Did I think they were going to load my bags for me? Not really sure)
I shopped proudly while they were scampering about the store, and then when it was time to leave, they started to give me some resistance, and I had to wrangle the two of them into a choke-hold to get them back to the car. I woke up at that point, with a very sore shoulder (that part was sadly very real), and convinced that it was Dottie and Beans' fault.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Baptism Night in a storm

Why pictures at the church all come out with a yellow-ish hue, I haven't figure out. But here are R and E ready for the big night...It was an intimate gathering, and we were all grateful to share this special night with our birthday girl. And there's still more cake, if you happen to be in the neighborhood...
Sisters and cousins were happy together!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Happy Birthday Miss E...

Eight years old! How can it BE?!
Just yesterday, we brought you home for Christmas.
You were our best present EVER!
You captured my heart
and grew up with ease
you followed your sisters wherever you pleased
You're quick with a smile
and smart--don't forget it
you're an artist, a chef, an athlete and moreYou're thoughtful of others and quick to laugh
You love adventure

and treat each day like a new one.

You still like pink.

And you love to be hugged, kissed and to climb on my lap.
Don't you ever stop. I love you Em!

Friday, December 19, 2008

still standing

We've adorned the artificial appendage of holiday-ness.
Long may it stay in the upright position.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

insert: annoyance

Please don't think I'm feeling ungrateful. Because I'm not. I am SO thankful to be sitting in front of an electrically powered screen, in my warm, lighted house. I shrink away from feeling apathetic about that, because there are many who wish they were in my shoes. I like that it's Christmas time. There is festivity in the air. BUT. I need to pick the proverbial nit.

Annoyance is lurking about. I must tell you about a problem we are having here, and it has to do with this holiday. It makes me clench my teeth. I mutter things under my breath. I think bad thoughts. It's the issue of the Christmas tree. We, for many years, ventured happily to different wooded locations to pick a tree just right for us. The trekking, the picking, the chopping, the hauling, the whole family festival of fun. I will also reveal to you that NEVER have we had the perfect tree. Really, it has always been more of a sit-and-chuckle-at-what-we-ended-up-with kind of occasion. I know this, because the name Charlie Brown came up every year. Even when we were SURE we had scored. So a few years ago, we were nearing the $50 mark to pick a tree that was never quite as lovely as we had hoped, and it always dropped WAY too many needles for my liking, and I couldn't WAIT to get that thing down and put away.

SO, we decided to make the switch (gasp) to artificial. We shopped after the holidays, and came home with a big box. Which I happily shoved into the attic with the boxes of holiday cheer in the decoration and ornament categories. The first year we pulled it out, and set it up. It was fine. Not smelling like pine, but fine. The second year, we got it out, and it was a bit of a pain to unsquish and 'fluff,' but it was pretty okay. This year it has come out of the box, needing MUCH more fluffing and care... well it has been set-up and for 10 days now, undecorated, unlit and quite mangled.

The problem? (The whole ice storm thing wasn't a big help here) We have two VERY naughty cats. We wisely opted to set up the tree in the only room with french doors. We knew we could try to separate the ornaments from the pouncing. However. Certain members of this house forget that those doors must stay shut. Certain other four-footed furry members of this house, lurk at the corners, waiting for someone to leave that door not quite shut. And then? If we're lucky enough to catch them, they're at the top before you can blink an eye. The TOP of the tree, I mean. If it weren't MY house, I might actually find the scene quite amusing. (Get it! Go get that tree little beasty!) And those pets wrestle and wrangle that tree until it no longer resembles a nice tree of Christmas (as nice as the fake version can be). It's like the WWF of cats. VS. tree.

It has gotten to the point where I just shut the door, and now I keep walking by it, looking at the coiled up piles of lights on the carpet, the heap of deformed plastic wiry branches and the boxes of ornaments under the chair in my bedroom and occasionally wonder if we could possibly just do Christmas without the tree? (just maybe try it this once?) My children protest. But. Nobody is eager to unmess the cat tree. So last night I sent in child number one. Just spend a few minutes re-fluffing some branches. (I said) Then later on I sent in the second child. Look! (I exclaimed) See how much better it looks already? Just spend a few minutes making it look a bit better. It'll make you (really me) feel good. Then went in child #3 for her few minutes, and well, you get the picture. Hope returns. The child who said he would no longer be the light guy actually went in and strung up those pups. Tonight we have a fake pretty (non-ornamented) lit-up Christmas tree behind french doors. We hope to adorn the tree next, if we can actually have all eight people in the house at once without the power going out. Can we also hope that the doors will stay shut until at least the 26th? Stay tuned. And P.S. If your household has always wanted two cats who are very cute, tolerate being dressed up in American Girl Doll clothes, chase your toes while you're trying to sleep and are also (bonus!) hairy (all over the couches hairy) and like to attack Christmas trees, let me know. I have just the answer.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

some visuals (and a treat)

The heavy ice just brought trees and limbs cracking down all through the night and day.There are wires still down and snaking all over the roads
Look at the limbs hanging on the wires!
Since this is what we're still living everyday (minus the beautiful ice crystals now--although snow is on the way!), I thought I'd give you a glimpse into some of the wake of this storm. It's impressive. The clean-up is massive, and everyone is just trying to work together to get debris cleaned up, wires put back, and restore the power to those STILL without... It's humbling.
The newscasters are correctly reporting that there are still more residents here who are WITHOUT power, than those who have had it restored.
(And thanks to my friend Marilyn, since these pictures are from her camera)
We ran into some friends in town at the store, and they still are without power...
It was hard to feel so happy about having power back when your friends don't.
Food always helps.
Here is a MUST bake for your friends, or a holiday brunch:
I doubled this last night, and made two.
Southern Apple Cake
cream together:
1 1/2 c. canola oil
2 c. sugar
2 eggs
then add:
1 t. vanilla
1 t. salt
1 t. baking soda
2 t. baking powder
then add and mix just until combined well--
2 1/2 c. all purpose flour
1 c. chopped pecans
3 c. peeled and diced apples
mix well. Batter is thick. Put into greased bundt cake pan.
Bake at 350 for one hour.
Do the toothpick test. It will be done, but slightly moist. The pick should come out clean.
Right away while the cake is hot, mix the glaze and pour over cake in the pan.
Let sit 2-3 hours to cool and set.
Then invert the pan and either serve that day or cover and let sit on the counter til ready to serve. You can easily make this 1-2 days ahead. It aso freezes well.
melt and boil one minute
1 c. dark brown sugar
1/2 c. butter
1/4 c. milk

YUMMY! Don't skip this one!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Because after an ice storm and four days without power, you can imagine the lowlights.
I would prefer to tell you about the beauty, the creativity, the service rendered to us and to others, the togetherness and GREAT GRATITUDE we felt when the power finally came back on! Also, it's especially humbling, knowing that there are SO many who are still in the cold and the dark, and may not even get power back for Christmas. This was an amazingly devastating storm. As the frosting on the cake; the kids got their first and best Christmas present, when we logged onto cancellations dot com and found out that in our town, school will not be in session until JANUARY 5th. That's right: A three week, one day vacation. AND... because we are in an official state of emergency, I understand that we will not have to make up the missed days at the end of the year! We are grateful. Just so you know, we are the first of a VERY small handful to get power in our town. We feel blessed. The schools are being used for emergency shelters for those who cannot otherwise escape the cold and the dark.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

in the cold, cold, dark

We drove to Belmont this morning, where I could feel 'at home' asking for showers and baths for eight people... three days without power and we're doing fine. We could probably go easily for another week. But who wants to? Right now, school is cancelled until Wednesday, and we're hopeful that one of the 129 Verizon trucks we passed on the way to mom and dad's house is on their way to our neighborhood. It was an amazing sight to inspire hope and stamina. The trucks were carrying telephone poles, equipment and were of all shapes and sizes. They just streamed on by in one steady line for 35 minutes. A beautiful sight. We're headed back to the cold and dark, but may leave a few kids in Belmont tonight. I've missed blogging! I'll have some good pictures when we finally get our power back... pray for those who don't have a nice wood stove to huddle around!
over and out.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

And so the winter fun begins.

Do not wait to be invited.
The rink is up.
Our hot chocolate supply is good.
(We're waiting for it to get cold again so the water will freeze)
Pack up your skates, wear warm socks and come on over!
If your timing is right, we might even have cookies!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

the come around

So here's the happy ending to that sad story I told you about...
This week we have one VERY happy boy, who has saved, researched, test driven and purchased himself back in to the driver's seat. A SAAB. Better gas mileage, onstar and cash back after the insurance check!
Who's nice car is that?!

Personally? I like the fact that it's a stick and has a moon roof. (sun roof?) And that he said he'd share it with me, so I can be the cool mom once in a while, instead of driving my stylish race-van (the 12-passenger one).

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Cookies III

How can you be in December and not think about COOKIES constantly?
So we not only think about them, we make them.
This batch? NOT gone. (yet.)
The secret? Double the recipe and find a good hiding spot (in the back of the basement freezer) to stash away a couple of dozen.
And to my blog reading children: Don't even think about it.
Postscript: Never Mind. They've been found, consumed, digested and this batch joins the ranks of cookie batches one and two. What can I say? We make tasty cookies.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Iron will


the scary noises.

The awful smells,


Can you guess?

Let me tell you.

I visited Dr. Pain this morning.

This is the name my dad gives to the dentist. ANY dentist.

I have inherited his fondness for this particular branch of medicine.

See? There I am, all gussied up in my fabulous boots, ready for a day at the spa.

They say that looking good is half the battle, right? So with no where else to go, I fancied myself up and showed up three minutes early, talking myself right into believing this would be as good as a day at the spa.

Why did I trick myself into thinking this thought?
THIS was my only friend.

There is not much dignity in 'rinsing and spitting,' but when you have to do it in front of two other people with your mouth all numb, the dignity of this act rivals giving birth.

Seriously, I came home with a sore back, headache and the need for a nap.
I try not to do it--get myself worked up about being in 'the chair,' that is... but it's HARD. I brought a good book, but what was I thinking? Did I think there would be time to relax and enjoy holding a book in front of my face?
Silly me.
The only things in front of my face were too scary to look at.
So I kept my eyes SHUT.
The entire time.
I honestly thought I was becoming the next 'big dig' project.
Not fun.
AND, boys and girls, I will also tell you this: The whole time I was suffering, I was repeating the following mantra in my head:
"I will NEVER eat another grain of sugar. EVER!! I will brush and floss after every meal, snack and thought of a meal or a snack."
I walked out of there sure that I was going to spend the next week sipping tepid broth and avoiding anything chewy, sticky, crunchy, hot or cold. Or sweet.
And maybe even the next month.
When I got to my good friend's house to pick up Mr. M, he was eating lunch. She offered me some, but the fact that 9/10ths of my mouth was numb and malfunctioning, sort of curbed the craving.
HOWEVER. By the time I walked in the door to home, stoked the fire and fired up the computer, the need for something sugarish was BAD.
So I raided the secret stash.
there is something to be said for shoving down carbs and chocolate when you're living through post traumatic anxiety dental syndrome.
Maybe I should go find some floss.
So much for resolve.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

How to spend TONIGHT

First Presidency Christmas Devotional
Internet Broadcast
(8:00 p.m. EST)
The First Presidency Christmas Devotional
will be held on Sunday, December 7, at 6:00 p.m. mountain time,
with subsequent rebroadcasts in many areas of the world.
The devotional will feature the Mormon Tabernacle Choir
and the Orchestra at Temple Square.
Members of the First Presidency will be the speakers.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Cookies: Round Two

And once again, let it be known for the record, that these sweet treats are GONE.