Saturday, December 31, 2011

snow day

2011 in eleven pictures

1. We paid off our Mortgage.
2. Tractor restoration - lots of pieces and parts and sanding and painting and reassembling.
3. Dave turned 50!
4. A trip to New York and Boston.
5. New roof for the house and the hut.
6. I turned 50!
7. Melanie bought her first car.
8. Roxanne has a new yard at her house, although this is a picture of the middle of the process, after the cactus and rock were out, but before the sidewalk and grass were in.
9. Rachel got her bachelors degree from ASU!
10. Brady finished his mission in Iowa.
11. Through it all, we all still kind of like each other.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

overheard . . .

Text to Roxanne: The Vernons just brought us over some of their homemade salsa.

Cynthia: "Brady, can you get this next recipe started?"
Brady, reading the recipe: "You need a degree to make this! I'm not a sauteeing and whisking kind of guy. I'm more of a set the table kind of guy."
Cynthia: " . . . and yet the table is not set."
Brady: "hey, I was taking 5."
Cynthia: "Your 5 was running into about 14."
Brady: "I am still moving at the pace of the mid-west. They do everything slower there."

Rachel and Brady both tried out Mel's onion goggles: "These are sucking my eyes back into my head" Letter to Santa (just to clarify . . . kids are ages 17-25) - apology about not saving enough Muddy Buddies, and a quick explanation about the yummy, yet not so pudding-ish, figgy pudding.Christmas presents finally beginning at 11:22 a.m.
Dave: "Should we start?"

Brady, opening a shirt: "It's soft. It's huggable. People will want to hug me."

Dave, about Rachel's jewelry holder: "You can get your mom to make little clothes for it.
"Mel: "She'll make it modest." Melanie, opening CTR Jewelry: "Good job with the righteousness, Dad."

Brady: "It's an Returned Missionary daily planner."
Melanie: "That's like missionary rehab."

Random comments:

"That is a very stiff bracelet. It's like beef jerky."

Glasses, drinking straw: That would be weird for hot chocolate - it would be like 'OWWW'!
Rachel, after opening many nail products: "We're having a nail party today. Brady's going to get his nails done!

"This is how I'll become famous, Roxanne. This will be on YouTube. I'll be on 'So You Think You Can Dance'. I'll win".

Dave got everyone nerf guns. He gave the kids about 4 nerf bullets and he packed 36 each into our ammo pack!

We love being together at Christmas. Brady was home with us again after being in Iowa for 2 years. Christmas fell on Sunday so we were able to spend the morning at church with people we love. I can't imagine a nicer Christmas . . . silly-ness and all.

Friday, December 23, 2011

hooray! Look who's home!!

Party at the airport!
Lexi was even excited!
A quick stop for lunch on the way home -- the fortune cookie was already coming true.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

jeff and his new bff

Last month, Melanie got to babysit for this man:
(Wait, I should clarify that sentence. She babysat his KIDS . . . not him.) If you don't know who this is, you are not watching one of the best shows on TV. Brady used to watch Survivor when he was in middle school and got me hooked. Anyway, through a series of someone who is related to someone who is married to someone who thinks Melanie is awesome, called her to babysit while he was in town. She brought home a larger than normal wad of cash at the end of the evening, and this:It reads "Melanie - Fun talking Survivor! Thanks for teaching 'beat box' to the kids"
Melanie actually has some aspiring goals to be on TV herself. She can someday see herself is a role similar to this:(again, . . . if you don't know who this is, you are not watching nearly enough TV)

Monday, December 12, 2011

family night

Olivia: "Could you imagine this family mixed with alcohol?" We shuddered as we pondered that thought. Could our group be any funnier? no. Could the room be filled with any louder voices? no. Could there be any sillier antics? no. Gratefully, no alcohol necessary.
A party with the Whipples brings its own level of crazyness. I've got to say, as the family was gathering, saying the hellos, hugging, setting up the food table -- it was all good manners, politely catching up on recent family events, calmly sitting in the living room and chatting over the coffee table. Then the Whipples walk in (my brother and sister in law and kids and spouses and granddaughter.) The energy and sound increases to a level that I can't mathmatically calculate. First of all, they all made Christmas Sweaters. If I understand the story correctly, they sacrificed an entire night of sleep to make sweaters together until the wee hours of the morning. I wish I could have been there to witness the crazyness of that night. The sweatshirts were decorated with full size tree ornaments and garland. Awesome!
Then the stories started - about a visit to a business where all the employees were wearing pajamas (and there was a detailed description of one particular woman wearing a too small pair of pj, and the ensuing wedgie). There was mention of streaking in the snow (ahem, Ben). There was a description of poor Addy's hair that won't lay down- "if you were to gel her hair, and let it dry and poke someone with it, there would definately be a puncture wound." She is the cutest baby and her adorable little mom hardly ever gets to attend to her as there were 18 other people in the room vying for a turn with her. Through the evening, there was drawing on our heads, there were maids-a-milking, and ladies dancing (ahem, -- Ben) . There was a beautiful spread of sweets for everyone (and Melanie still managed to sell a box full of candy bars for her soccer fundraiser to all her cousins and aunts.) And this was all on a night that at least a half dozen family members were in the middle of college or high school finals. Roxanne even took an on-line test in the middle of the party with all the laughter going on in the room.
It was a simple evening. Lauri claimed it was too, but her house was too decorated and the treats too pretty to have been simple for her. check out how pretty her house is. We had some yummy treats, and exchanged a few gifts and got home before 10 pm. Except for the fact that Melanie was feeling rotten all day, and came home tonight with a fever and can't miss school tomorrow, and I am recovering from a medical procedure this morning, and Rachel is still studying for her last final tomorrow, and Dave still needs to write up some bids tonight, and Roxanne had to borrow a car to get there because hers is broken, it was still so worth putting all our troubles aside and spending a fun night with the family. We wouldn't have missed it. I LOVE THEM !!!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

happy holidays

Another season of window painting is complete. Shannon and I put in 3 long hard days. I cleared 10 days on my calendar, but somehow with today's economy, businesses don't think that a cartoon reindeer and "ho ho ho" painted on their windows are a high fiscal priority. Sadly, our children rely on business' cash flow to keep them supplied with their gifts under the Christmas tree each year. In fact, that concept has worked into our sales pitch a time or two. I'm not sure how to remedy our shrinking holiday business.
One shopping center we have painted over the years was really struggling, many businesses gone or almost out of business, except for one jewelry store that seemed to be thriving. They gave us some cash to paint something fun and festive on their neighbor's business window. They said it had been a hard year for her in business and in her personal life. I thought that was very thoughtful that small businesses look out for each other.
It's always fun to hang out with Shannon. We've been friends since our kids were babies but we don't spend enough time together during the year, so it's always fun to catch up on news and family and gossip for a few days. I'm afraid her painting skills are taking over our business. I need to work on my skills so I can keep some job security.

Friday, December 2, 2011

group of 5 - no more!!

I am finally changing the header picture on this blog. I am only changing it because we are going to have a new family picture very soon. We are a "Party of Six", but we have not been able to take a picture of the six of us for almost 2 years now and it has been HARD! We took some photos last winter for our Christmas cards but it just wasn't complete because there were only 5 of us in the photo. (By the way, thanks Heidi for the great photos, and for hiking up to this viewpoint with us! I loved the clouds that day and I always love the view of the city.) I absolutely adore these three girls, but again . . . there should be 4 kids! The last time they were together was 23 months ago:
Just a few more days until we are together again. I CAN'T WAIT!!!!
btw - about this photo. . . we bought Brady some beautiful ties, (what else do you buy a boy for Christmas 10 days before he leaves on his mission?) Then as a joke, Melanie and I searched through a local thrift store to buy the absolute ugliest tie that was available to purchase. Guess what he wore to the MTC?

the world is a stage

The girls are performing all over town this week. I love going to Rachel's college performances. We paid our dues sitting through many grade school music programs. My parents sat through all my performances and piano recitals through grade school and Jr High but sadly, I never progressed from there. I am still stuck at my 16 year old level of musicality. Rachel broke the barrier and is graduating from ASU with a music degree next month (YAY). One of the groups she has performed with this semester is a steel band. They performed out in Scottsdale this week at the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM). It's a beautiful building and there are weekly free concerts. I think I may have to head out more often. I had a good seat to hear the music, but a bad seat to see Rachel. I zoomed in at one point and you can see the top of her hair for a brief moment.

Another awesome performance was by the Young Women in our ward. They invited us to their Young Women in Excellence night. The theme was the Wizard of OZ. I wish I had my camera out all evening, it was absolutely adorable. However I did get a quick photo of Melanie, the flying monkey, apparently placing her monkey shoes on the ever protected and watched over Relief Society tablecloths (bad monkey!)Last but not least, I begged Roxanne to come sing with a group of young adults in our area for a RS program last night. She looks smart and professional even after a long day of both school and work. The rest of the weekend belongs to Dave. He completed building his float for the Electric Light Parade tomorrow night and has sat down to rest for the first time in 4 weeks tonight.
I'm looking forward to our schedules slowing down. (I can dream, can't I?)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

thanksgiving 2011

Cindi and I went hiking for a bit this morning. It was perfect weather, an hour hike, and good conversation. I don't know how she was looking so cute so early in the day. It was fun to catch up with her and her busy life. On our way back we noticed some blood on the rocks, not just in one spot but drips for about a hundred yards. Cindi innocently worried that there was an injured animal nearby and hoped it was ok. I was worried we'd see some crime scene tape.You'd think the parks would be kind of empty with everyone home making pumpkin pie, but no. By 8 a.m. every parking spot was taken with dozens of people waiting to park.
The rest of the day was spent in the kitchen. We actually all love to cook together, using every available inch of counter space. And, of course, we had the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on all morning. It's not Thanksgiving without the parade. I wonder if it would be as fun to see it in person? It would be a LOT of time, money, and cold. I think I shall continue to enjoy it on TV. I tried to get some prep work done last night, chopping and dicing, but most of the cooking was done through the morning. Our local boy scout troop cooks our turkey for us (delicious deep pit, slow cooked meat), so at least the oven in not taken up with that task. A friend on facebook today called her "before" picture, the calm before the storm. Pretty True. There is also another blog I read that began today with "If you are checking blogs on Thanksgiving you probably got a really easy assignment for dinner. Be honest, you're in charge of the olives, aren't you?" haha.
We talked through our plans for Christmas. Melanie felt a need to audibly review her Christmas wish list with us all. You can see she has us on the edge of our seats with her reading.The rest of the day was just relaxing. We went for a walk, watched Wall-e, put together a puzzle (or got it started anyway, 1000 pieces is too many pieces for one evening). I have to make a confession to Suzanne. She gave us a really cool puzzle of heart shapes found in nature. It was cool because I collect heart shaped rocks in a bowl on our front porch. Anyway, I lost the unopened puzzle approximately one day after Christmas, but never confessed. She asked me once if we had ever assembled it and I had to make up a lame excuse that we were waiting for the right puzzling mood to strike us. Anyway, I found it tucked away in a really weird place last month so tonight, we enjoyed her puzzle gift from long long ago. This is my very tardy "thank you". Hope everyone had a wonderfully fun and/or relaxing day. Happy Thanksgiving! (And , as I'm watching my girls strap on their running shoes, . . . Happy Black Friday Shopping!)

Friday, November 18, 2011

holiday random-ness

Talking about travel plans for Grandpa for the winter:
Melanie "What, are we just playing ping pong around the country with Grandpa?"

Ham Sauce at Thanksgiving - Dave: "This is good. We should make this into a cookie flavor"

Eating leftovers Thanksgiving evening - Melanie "I just had your Pumpkin Bars, Rachel. It brought back good memories of a few hours ago"

Preparing for middle of the night Black Friday Shopping - Melanie "I want to buy some Moccasins."

Kiss-mas countdown - "Melanie you tied those up faster than I ever have, and they look nicer too."
"Well, I do practice tying my shoes a lot."

los angeles

Suzanne and I took a quick roadtrip to Los Angeles last weekend. We didn't even call it a vacation - just a long weekend - because I think we both put in a 40 hour work week both before and after our trip. I have to say again that Suzanne is good to travel with. I just ask how many days will we be gone? Should I take a sweater? and when should I be waiting for you on the curb? She likes planning and I always enjoy whatever she has in mind.

We were heading to do a studio tour at Warner Brothers, but got there a little early so drove down the street to eat at Bob's Big Boy. It is the oldest Big Boy still open - serving hamburgers since 1947. Bugs Bunny greeted us at Warner Brothers. We took a 2 1/2 hour tour through acres and acres of their studio. We saw where they were taping "The Mentalist", we saw Scooby Doo's van, and one of the many many General Lees that were driven in the Dukes of Hazzard. Saturday morning we went to Santa Monica and had breakfast at a trendy little place called Huckleberry's. I had a breakfast of quinoa, butternut squash, kale and eggs. A little different than the breakfasts I fix at my house, but delicious.

We planned to go walking along the beach, but got rained out after a few minutes.We spent the afternoon in downtown L.A. in the wholesale garment and fabric district. It was cool for a while, then as Suzanne says - it kind of does an overload on your senses. There is SO MUCH TO SEE!Saturday night was a concert at the awesome Pantages Theater in Hollywood. There were lots of costumes and characters, favorites "White and Nerdy" and "Soon I'm gonna be a Jedi".

On Sunday, we found a church to attend in Pasadena. I researched to make sure we weren't attending a deaf ward or a Korean ward. (Dave and I showed up to church on vacation once with our 4 little kids and ended up in a Young Singles ward). Anyway, there should have been a note on the website that it was a toddler ward. SO MANY BABIES! Not that I mind babies, but I was surprised to find it hard to concentrate on the services for the noise in the chapel. Anyway, after the meetings, we took a little 2 mile hike up the mountain in Griffith Park to the Griffith Observatory. Beautiful views up there. Sunday night we had to dash back to the hotel to watch The Amazing Race. I have to admit, it was difficult for both of us to watch it without the convenience of TIVO. We couldn't rewind, or pause to comment.
Monday morning before we headed back to AZ, we made a quick stop at the Coroner's office. Why? (That's what Dave asked too.) There is a little gift shop in the lobby. It was fun to find out the the Coroner's dept has a sense of humor. There were t-shirts with body outlines, crime scene tape, BBQ aprons that said "We have Spare Ribs". You can even shop online: skeletons in the closet
Good things about traveling with Suzanne - 1.) Everything planned is fun and interesting. 2.) She is a quiet sleeper. I'm not used to that. If Dave slept that quiet, I would check his pulse. 3.) She likes to drive and I trust her driving.

Worrisome things about traveling with Suzanne, which I have never noticed before this trip. 1.) Terrible parking skills.
(This picture is not pulling into the spot, nor pulling out. This picture is our car, fully and completely parked in a parking space.) A particular attempt at parallel parking caused some shame! Sorry Suzanne, but now the world knows you are not perfect.