Sunday, December 27, 2009

book club

I love going to book club every month. I have to admit, I haven't even been a very good reader these past 2 or 3 months, I'm having a hard time getting the books read. I really had good intentions in December. I knew it would be an especially busy month so I got the book on audio so I could listen to it as I was out and about, and still failed to get it finished. (well, I confess, I hardly got it started). Nevertheless, that is not really the point. The point is - I still love going to book club. We had our holiday meeting last week at Chris and Mason's house. Besides the book discussion, we all brought mouth-watering appetizers and desserts and we had a white elephant book exchange. Look at these amazing little penguins - olives, cream cheese and carrots. Have you ever seen anything cuter? Melanie and I tried to copy this idea for our Christmas eve dinner. We copied them, they were pretty cute, but not cute enough to post the pictures of the ones we made, so I'll post Mason's.
We also enjoyed the decorations all over this house. Perfect centerpiece, amazing Christmas village (hand-made, not purchased!) and a Christmas tree in the fish bowl.
Our book club is coming up on it's 22nd anniversary in February (although I've only been attending about 17 years). Suzanne was one of the original members and was late arriving this week. Suzanne, it's just not the same without you. I think if I ran 30 minutes late, the event would proceed as normal, but without you . . . well, it was a little weird. You are our glue.

missionary week

Although I knew this week was coming, I am now coming to grips with the fact that it has actually arrived. Not only is Brady heading out next week, but we have had several missionaries coming and going. On Wednesday, Brady's cousin Dusty arrived home from his mission in Indiana. I love this kid. Don't you just love that smile? These are the three cousins closest in age - Brady, Dusty and Landon.
Besides Dusty coming home, Kelsie is leaving. She is heading to the Florida Tallahassee Mission. She gave an incredible talk in church a couple weeks ago and came to be with Brady today and then their family was heading to Utah this afternoon. She and Brady will overlap their time in the MTC by a week or so. Brady has instructions to keep an eye out for her. She should be easy to find. Although she is short, I think her cool bright colors will be easy to spot in a sea of dark suits. Kelsie is going to be an awesome missionary.
How's this for a proud papa?
We had a great sacrament meeting today. Another young man in our ward just came home from his mission in Baltimore a couple of days ago. Daniel grew up with Brady and went through scouting with him. Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture of him today. Anyway Daniel and Brady were the speakers in our meeting today and both did an excellent job. Another young man in our ward, Codi, is also leaving for Anchorage Alaska later in January. Lots of missionaries right now.
All these missionaries coming and going are keeping Grandma and Grandpa Watkins on the road keeping up with everyone. They are so wonderfully supportive.
It was a fun time for cousins to get together. Here is Rachel, Onya and Collette. We got to see different cousins at different events through the week. I love cousin relationships. I love that our kids have such good friends in their cousins.
Here are 11 of the 35 cousins. Ben, Trevor, Shaw, Niels, Brady, Michael, Kelsie, Rachel, Roni, Roxanne and Melanie.

There was a strange phenomenon that happened right after this picture was taken. The Whipple cousins bring a certain energy level with them everywhere they go. If you've ever been around this family, you can verify this fact. The level of talking and laughing and general conversation is usually a higher volume than normal and funnier than you can imagine. When they said their goodbyes after this picture was snapped, they walked out into the parking lot and the rest of us looked around as if the party had just ended and we had no option than to quietly disperse and go our separate ways.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

overheard while unwrapping presents:

From Meloonie
From Melanizzle
From B-dizzle
To Mama-cita
To Foxy Roxie
To Blady
To Cindy Lou
To Daddy-O
Rooooooxxxxaaannnne (sung at the top of our voices)
"I really like these" "wow, . . . you sound surprised!"
Peeking into a card "I see 'Borders' "
"Wow, you wrapped this yourself?"
"I was jealous of all he people that had this. Now the jealousy is gone."
"It's the book I wanted" "What is it?" "It's a dorky book, but it's the one I wanted."
"Is this really true? Is this happening? Am I seeing Nikes?"
"And it comes with a hot Safety Vest" (roadside safety kit)
"You can always count on mom to get us underwear."
Opening a huge box: "I'm guessing a pogo stick" "a candy bar" "a rifle" "a lifesize barbie"
"Doggie candy canes for Lexie!"
Dave opened an ENORMOUS candy bar - Cynthia:"who gave that to you?" Dave: "me!"
"It's double wrapped, for good luck"
Pulling a dress out of a box with a belt cinched tight. "Is your waist really that small?"
"Jerk!" unwrapping a box that was sealed shut with yards and yards of packing tape.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

if you ask for a dove, you might get a pigeon

I haven't posted for a while and Shannon complained about it today. The problem is that most of my days have been uneventful.
For instance today I:
  • Fed breakfast to some stressed out teenagers at the end of the semester.
  • Had an e-mail argument with a school teacher.
  • Drove to the seminary building twice through the day, 3 times including class this morning. I kept forgetting papers to complete some reports to finish up the semester.
  • Filled up the gas tank in the van.
  • Caught up on some business paperwork.
  • Carpooled kids home from school.
  • Warmed up leftovers for dinner. This is the third night with the same pot of soup. I have a very tolerant family.
  • Walked with Melanie to visit a neighbor this evening.
  • Right now I'm watching the finale of "So You Think You Can Dance". So far, it's the highlight of my day.
  • Looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow.

There have been some events happening around here, though. We did have Thanksgiving, and we did give thanks.

There were three other people at our table, but I snapped a horrible picture of all three of them. And of course we watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
I painted a few Christmas windows. It was not nearly as fun as it should have been. Shannon couldn't paint with me this year. It was all utility painting . . . all alone . . . no fun, no gossiping, no catching up on family news, no laughing at crazy clients and/or people passing by. Just lonely, lonely painting. Shannon - imagine the weird silence of the dirt testing lab, and multiply that by 5 days. Don't let it happen again, k?
One client asked me for a full Christmas message "Nothing washed down. No 'happy holidays' or 'seasons greetings'. I want a full Merry Christmas and Peace on Earth! . . . with a dove!"
I don't really know what characteristics differentiate a dove and a pigeon, but there is a white bird of some sort on the door.

I did a little bit of hiking with some friends at South Mountain.
I took on some hosting duties for an evening out at the temple lights, celebrated our neice's missionary farewell, went to the temple with Dave and Brady, cheered Dave on in the Electric Light Parade, put up our tree, and sent out a few Christmas cards. All in all, it has been a good month, but it was mostly full of busy, but boring tasks - cleaning closets, collection calls, sorting tax receipts etc. I'm looking forward to the next couple of weeks still being full of busy-ness, but hopefully less boring.