Thursday, January 29, 2009

Not Quite Ready for the County Fair

So, you may remember that back in November, Grandpa Bruce visited and made bread with Bryce: It was delicious and Bryce was sold. He was anxious to relive this little slice of homemade heaven. AND, we HAD to use Grandpa's EXACT recipe, which included lecithin which, by the way, you have to get at a specialty store. So after two months of near constant nagging (yes, nagging. Bryce is a world class nagger), I finally had all the ingredients assembled. The kitchen was clean. Bryce had a day off from school so it was just the two of us. All the stars were in alignment, this was the day! This was the sorry result of our efforts. Yes, this is AFTER baking. Each one of those babies weighs at least 10 pounds. I don't even want to think about how many thigh-pounds that equates to if you were to actually eat one. AND, they didn't even SMELL or TASTE GOOD! I don't get it. We followed the directions EXACTLY. I guess there are just some secrets that only grandpas know.

I thought Bryce would be crushed or mad or both but he was actually quite philosophical about it. We had a good laugh and then spent the rest of the day thinking of alternative uses for our loaves such as building adobe houses, re-landscaping the garden, or weightlifting.

Do you think they'll rescind my membership in the Relief Society?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Proud to be an American

I've been a little slow to post in the last week, but I did want to memorialize how it felt to be an American on Tuesday, January 20, 2009. I don't care what your politics are, you'd have to be pretty hardened not to be touched by the display of absolute hope that was found in our capital last Tuesday. I was mesmerized by the whole event which I thought was dignified and joyful. It brought me to tears several times as I watched the countless masses all celebrating this momentous event in the history of our country. In the words of President Obama, "On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord." I love that it was cool to wave the American flag. I love that people flooded the capital just to say they were there. I love the smiles of optimism on the faces of each of the Obamas. I love that President Obama's candidacy and election has captured the interest of the youth. How can you not love this picture???? Or, this one???? We are so blessed to live in a land where democracy rules and power is transferred peacefully. People will disagree, and there is power in that fact. I hope that history will be kind to President Bush, I think any person who dedicates that level of service to their country deserves our respect. "...those values upon which our success depends -- hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism -- these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility -- a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation and the world; duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task. "This is the price and the promise of citizenship. "This is the source of our confidence -- the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny." --President Obama I share in the hope of our nation. Although I did not vote for him, President Obama has my respect, support, and prayers for his success. For, if he succeeds, we all will. He shoulders the weighty responsibility of all of the nearly impossible set of expectations placed upon him. "Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America." --President Obama Let us all be a part of the solution.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Chez Justin is in the House!

Jeff and I are starting to worry. In perhaps only 8 short months our firstborn will be unleashed and he will be out there on his own. Is he ready? Have we taught him enough?
So, we have instituted a crash course in life skills. You know, everything-we-should-have-been-teaching-you-over-the-last-18-years-but-didn't-seem-to-get-around-to-cuz-you-were-always-playing-football skills:
  1. Cooking--more than Easy Mac
  2. Grocery shopping--when finances dictate you must choose, please please choose the apple over the Pop Tarts!
  3. Laundry/Ironing --the laundry washing is pretty good, the laundry folding and ironing is weak
  4. Cleaning--yes, even though you're using soap every day, and even sometimes twice a day, you still do need to clean the shower, etc.
  5. Finances--how to use the ATM to deposit checks and get cash (maybe we shoulda saved that for the end:), paying bills, reconciling checkbooks
  6. Basic Car Care--yes, the "Check Engine" light is important!
  7. Job Hunting--more on that later!
  8. Public Transportation and/or Following Driving Directions

So if you'd like to come to dinner on a Monday night, our door is open. Justin will be cooking! This week he learned how to make spaghetti (with ground beef and sauce in a jar) and a caesar salad. He learned what the numbers on ground beef mean and that you must always brown the beef first before adding the sauce. He also figured out on his own that browned ground beef looks suspiciously like taco meat...."Hey! I bet you can use it for that too!" (I've told you he's bright, right?)

Jeff taught him his patented swirl move on putting the pasta into the boiling water. Originally, garlic bread was planned, but that was too overwhelming so it was just bread without garlic.

Next week I suspect we're having tacos!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Californians Visit Winter

"What We Did Over Christmas Vacation"

Lessons on driving in the snow, just in case...

Jeff's guided tour of BYU. Look at all those future missionaries, watch out world!

Games, games and more games!

Cousin Kylie helps Justin out with his challenge during one of the games. Aren't they cute? They share the same birthday!

Dave's Family Home Evening where we trekked in the snow BAREFOOT in order to give us a glimpse into the pains suffered by the pioneers. Grandpa Bruce's retelling of the pioneer stories is always so moving.
Sledding in Lindon. Dave knows this place so secret you have to quad in!
Cousins playing "Guitar Hero World Tour" at Grandma and Grandpa's....

Even Jeff, Grandma and Grandpa get into the act--everyone wants to be a star! It's a great game where our children can re-discover those classic songs from the 70's and even sing those terrific lyrics. Case in point: "Really love your peaches, want to shake your tree" (courtesy of The Joker by the Steve Miller Band). Hmmm... (?)

New Year's Eve at the McGills, great company and yummy food, and...

Fireworks! Zack blows up the gingerbread house!

Snowmobiling up Provo Canyon
And, waiting for AAA because the battery died in our Suburban. Only, we originally thought it was much more dire than just a battery because we tried to jump start it with the McGill's SUV to no avail. Apparently, their car (we later found out) also needed to have it's battery replaced. We hate saying goodbye!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Family Portrait

Ahh...there's nothing like taking a family portrait to bring out feelings of love and togetheness...
First, there are the all important wardrobe decisions.
Then, of course, a location must be scouted. We had decided the location, but it turns out the weather was TOO good that day! Can you believe it? Schedules dictated that we take the picture about 11am and the sun was too high, casting shadows and causing unsightly squinting. So, an advance scouting party located this gorgeous location which had the advantages of:
  1. snowdrifts
  2. chilling winds, and, of course, the whole reason for the move:
  3. shade

Combined, the effect was quite arctic I must say.

Here are some of my favorite faces from the day:

In the end, I'm sure you'll agree, the resulting picture was WELL worth the effort!
Tee hee...ok, here's a real one:

Pretty awesome family.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sparky's Big Utah Adventure

Sparky loves taking road trips. Our very kind sister, Michelle invited him to come with us when we went to stay with her family in Lindon, Utah over New Year's. We were a little nervous because their house is at the top of a hill. Across the street is nothing but wilderness:

OK, well, it's not really this hill, but it seems like it's this big when your dog gets out 2 hours after arriving and it's dark and snowy and he LOVES to chase the deer. That's exactly what happened when we went there for Christmas 2007 and it took all of us (11) over an hour to re-capture him. So, suffice it to say we didn't want THAT to happen again. Well, this year, sure enough, someone left the front door wide open our first night and off he went! Wearily, we put on shoes and grabbed a coat, remembering the year before when Tyler had worn shorts. I crossed the street just as Tyler spotted him on the sidewalk on the opposite side of the street. I was hoping we could corner him between the snow banks but suprisingly he walked right to me (that NEVER happens!). Turns out he'd run out and hit a car, which knocked the wind out of him and dazed him, but seemed to do no further damage--mixed blessing! He got loose twice more during our stay--once in the am and Jeff tricked him by offering him cheese (his kryptonite, but you must be close enough to him to prove you can deliver) and once while Michelle and Dave kindly took him for a walk but they didn't know you have to use a choke chain because he can back out of his collar...oops, sorry!

Believe me, by the end of our stay, whenever the front door opened, EVERYONE had adopted Bryce's standard front door technique, "HEY, WATCH OUT! GRAB SPARKY!"

He is an escape artist and that is a bother, but our other fear in taking him also had to do with the fact that Dave and Michelle have a little schnoodle, Sadie, and we were afraid Sparky would bully her. Turns out they became the best of friends! In fact, I think Sparky has a little crush! He even let her steal his bones!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Josephine Huntington

April 29, 1917 - January 5, 2009

This is my beautiful grandmother, born Sara Josephine Ebert and shown here in 1940 when she was a staff nurse at Rupert General Hospital in Rupert, Idaho and about a year before she married my grandpa, Carl Huntington.

This is my grandma and grandpa 48 years later at my wedding. I am so sad to say I don't have more in between pictures handy, but I'll work on rectifying that. My grandpa died less than two years after this photo. This is ten years later with Bryce and it is one of my favorite pictures of her. It was one of the pictures that I made into a quiet book for Bryce to bring to church when he was little.

For Thanksgiving one year, the whole Huntington family went on a weekend cruise. Grandma is in red. Her sister, my Aunt Irene is seated to her right and was her dearest friend all of her life. That was our last Thanksgiving with Irene.

This picture of my grandma was taken in 2006 right before she moved out of her home in Twentynine Palms, California after living there for nearly 50 years. It is the house where most of my memories of my Grandma Jo and Grandpa Carl live. Christmas Eve waiting for Uncle Bob and the toilet that always overflowed (it was a Christmas tradition). Always cookies in the cookie jar, a new craft project and Grandpa's garden. Watching Lawrence Welk (but Grandma and Grandpa had fallen asleep in their chairs). Grading papers for Grandpa. Braiding my Great Grandma Tillie's long hair. Picking apricots and capturing boxelder bugs (sp?). I'm sure my cousin Cathy and I eradicated the entire boxelder bug population from their yard and also the surrounding square mile. Good times.

Fortunately, she was healthy and capable until only a few months ago. She was able to move in with my Aunt Marie and Uncle Bob when she moved from her house so she was always with people who loved and amused her. We should all be so lucky. I am grateful to have been loved by her. I am grateful I was able to spend a day with her last month and see her again on Christmas Eve. I am grateful for a Heavenly Father who answers prayers. I had fasted for her yesterday that her body might release her spirit to return home. I will miss her.