Saturday, December 29, 2012

polar express

Just to catch up on our month, we had a ward party earlier this month with a Polar Express theme. I've got to say, it was adorable! The kids all got a ticket to get on the train (although there had to be an explanation to some of the kids that we weren't actually going to be getting on an actual train). 

Sydney (in the photo below holding the adorable Oliver) headed up the committee and she was amazing. Everyone was asked to wear pajamas to the event. That, in itself was fun. The Bishop was the train conductor and punched the tickets as everyone came in.

Did you know that if you can't find any obnoxious pink bunny slippers for your husband to wear to a pajama party, you can get cheap little stuffed animals and just sew them on the tops of regular slippers, add a little fur trim and  . . . . voila!
Sydney asked me to paint a polar express train. I always like getting assignments to do before the event. Then my job is done and I can just enjoy the party. I found some cardboard panels and just guessed at the size I would need for this train so I brought home 4 panels. When I got them home, I realized they were HUGE! It ended up being 12 feet long I stood them up around the island in the kitchen and started painting around and around the kitchen. I got my walk in that day painting up and down the train panels. It ended up being a fun prop for the evening.
Then guess who got to be Santa. Yes, I am officially married to Santa Claus. Roxanne and Melanie were Santa's helpers for the evening.

There was just one unfortunate detail in the day.  Santa posed in front of the train. . . kind of like Jesus in the background. I need to refer to Carrie Underwood for the caption of this photo - "Jesus, take the Wheel" !

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

a quick weekend getaway

This little getaway was just what the doctor ordered. We have had some stresses in our lives these past months and we all needed to decompress a little. We had a very limited time to take a quick little vacation - between Roxanne's graduation, Christmas, and other various events the kids already had on their calendars after Christmas, we just had a weekend to make a dash to California. We rented a condo in Newport Beach, actually it was on the Balboa Peninsula, and we planned a weekend to do whatever we wanted to do. The first rule of this vacation is that we could all get whatever sleep we wanted and/or needed. No alarm clocks. Awesome!  We ended up walking and jogging on the beach, riding bikes down the boardwalk along the coast, shopping, surfing, taking the ferry over to Balboa Island a couple of times, watching a night-time boat parade, putting together a puzzle, addressing Christmas cards, watching movies, going to church, meeting some new friends (Jonny's family lived in the area and we had dinner with them),  a wedding reception, watched some late night fireworks on the beach, Brady decided to get sick and enjoyed the couch in the condo the whole weekend (sorry Brady), we walked around town at night and saw all the houses and boats decorated for the holidays, and we all did a little last minute Christmas shopping. It sounds busy, but all those activities divided between the 6 of us and we all got in the rest and relaxation we wanted and needed.  

"We're 10 minutes from the beach - can anyone smell the ocean yet?"
"No, I just smell vacation."
(our car has a distinct vacation smell when we go on road trips. . .  and it's not a pretty smell)

Riding on the car ferry: "I feel like Chitty Chitty Bang Bang!"

I made the mistake of calling Roxanne's boyfriend her old boyfriend's name. When we were laughing about it later, Melanie said : "Well, it's Roxanne's fault for dating someone with a similar name. You'll never have that problem when my boyfriend's name will be Fernando !"

"How do you spell Cruise?"
"Oh, I thought is was with a Z"
"No, that's more like slang"
"Oh, then I should use a Z!"

Trying on a mood ring:
"Read the card for the color of Dad's ring."
"Calm, Peaceful, Normal. Dad must be on vacation!"

In the crowded car on the way home:
"My feet are claustrophobic. There's not enough room downstairs."

In the car, after singing a round of 'Pinecones and Holly Berries'
"Why don't we hear any applause from the backseat? Wow, tough crowd!"

Sneeze  "Bless you"
Sneeze  "Bless you"
Sneeze  "Get it together! I'm not blessing you anymore!"

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

another graduate !!

Friday morning, we gathered in an intimate little ceremony with about 10,000 other guests to watch Roxanne graduate. It was the same spot where I graduated 28 years ago.  That's kind of fun. Roxanne has a sister, a mother, a grandfather, two uncles, and a boyfriend that she shares her ASU alumni status with. Her grandmother also briefly attended ASU.
Yay Sun Devils!


Both of our ASU graduates! Love these girls.
We couldn't be more proud of this girl !!

Overheard at the ceremony: 

"We should have brought cowbells to ring when Roxanne crosses the stand."
"We can just use our voices, they are kind of like cowbells."
Seeing a decorated cap and gown at the graduation ceremony,  Melanie: "Look at those feathers. She could be from Hawaii. Or it could be a dead chicken on her head."

Rachel to Melanie:  "Are you going to jazz up your cap when you graduate?"
Melanie: "Are you kidding? It will be bedazzled. or maybe peacock feathers, Oh - a disco ball on top!"
Rachel: " . . . with a little motor to make it spin and a spotlight shining on it. I think we could figure out how to get that wired with some power."

Melanie: "Mom, put your purse down. We are going to stand up when Roxanne goes across the stage."
Dave: "Roxanne's group is still seated, it's not her turn yet."
Melanie: "Wow, Dad. I've been waving to the wrong person this whole time."

Saturday, December 22, 2012

adventures at the thrift stores

Going to the thrift store is an adventure. I am always entertained at Savers. Not only are the humans interesting,  but the items for sale on the shelf are quite fascinating. Why oh why do people feel a need to donate items that clearly need to be placed in the garbage can? I assume the store makes a decision when things are donated between what is trash and what is treasure, so these items actually made it through the first sifting process. 
Here is a very sad tree. It is about 15" tall, is an ugly faded army green, and is mangled and worn. And for sale!
I'm not sure what this is, or what its purpose is, but the plastic mesh, cross stitched raccoon is a steal at $2.99
This is fascinating. It is a nativity set with Mary and the baby. Joseph has apparently gone on a walk-about. The glue that is holding the family into the stable has aged and yellowed and gives a sad Jaundice tint to the holy family.
Again with the yellowing, this snow globe has yellowed so badly, you can hardly see the snow scene. Who is not aware that some things just need to be thrown in the trash?
This seems to be in good shape, yet a bit weird. And really, would you buy something with a straw that someone else has used? Glassware and cups can be cleaned, but a bendy straw? I doubt you could properly sterilize someone else's germs out of that. Gross.
 This was once a cute little handmade christmas tree someone made for their sweet grandma. Only she could love or appreciate this. No one else should have to. It is a stack of misc fabrics stacked into a toppling tree shape with massive christmas ornaments hung from it and held up with a stack of glued together popsicle sticks. Really, grandmothers, feel free to throw things away after the appropriate time of displaying your grandchildren's crafts.
 Ok, an alligator head. Weird, but kind of cool
 An ape in a fashionable striped tee.
This was actually in good shape, but I'm not sure what is was for, or what kind of store originally sold this critter. A satanic mouse with flames whipping up the bottom of its cape.
 Another homemade craft, Santa is riding a cow. Yippee-i-o!
 Who can live without a frog prince?
The best thrift store find ever? Rachel came home from 10th grade once and said she needed a red trench coat for a skit she was in that evening, she was supposed to be 'Carmen San Diego'. After giving her a lecture about not letting me know earlier, we headed over to Savers, walked over to their coats and landed a perfect red Carmen San Diego trench coat for $12! A 99 cent straw hat and a can of spray paint completed the outfit in time for her theatrical debut that evening!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

nog-a-jogging in the rain

The 4th Annual nog-a-thon was held out in Mesa last Saturday afternoon. It is an interesting event, one I'm glad I only had to hear about and not witness in person. I'm glad they got some fun photos to share because on the surface and in these photos, it seems like a delightful event. But the details kind of made me glad I wasn't an eye witness. Apparently for each lap around the track, they had to down an 8 oz cup of egg nog. Whoever has the most laps within 35 minutes without chucking their nog wins (again, remember they have to drink a cup of eggnog with every lap) . All the runners began the race together, and the upchucking began at lap 4, the winner lasted 13 laps. Melanie and Ben both lasted 6 laps and Jonny made it 11 laps. Just so you know who is who in the photos, Roxanne's boyfriend Jonny is the full white-bearded Santa in the black shorts, my nephew Ben is in the next picture with him and Melanie, Melanie is wearing the Christmas gift, and Roxanne (a non-participant) is looking lovely in her white winter coat). Unfortunately it was raining all day. The little kids that participated were real troopers. In better weather there have been a lot more participants. Luckily these crazy kids did some fund-raising for a children's organization so it's all good in the end.  

 Yes, Melanie actually ran a mile and a half in a cardboard box!
Click here to watch the fun ! But be warned, this event is for the young adult crowd. If you are older and wiser like me, you might want to stop the video at the 1:50 mark. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012


I missed visiting with Roxanne this week. We usually see each other every week, but we've all been busy lately. I checked up with her on e-mail, and she makes me tired reading this:
How are you doing!
I'm good! I'm sooooooo busy all of the time though! Blah! :(  I can't wait until the weekend is through. Then life will get much better.
How are you surviving these last few days of school?
I'm just barely surviving. I took a test today, had three essays due yesterday, finished my internship and presentation and final evaluation last week, and just have a couple more things to go! My last final is Friday.
Are you ready for your finals?
If I'm not now, I'll never be. The past two nights I have been up until 3 am studying.
Are you still taking your GRE this weekend?
Yes. Did you know Jonny and I are taking it together?
What are you doing this Saturday night? I've had a few people in the ward ask about you and who is your new boyfriend. You'll have to bring him around sometime.
Jonny and I will be there! I already talked to him about it.  Guess where he's taking me Friday night? To Phoenix Symphony Hall to watch the Nutcracker! What a gem. We're a classy couple - going to a ballet for date night and all, haha

Roxanne is wrapping up her undergraduate studies this semester and is ready to graduate Magna Cum Laude (which she had to explain to me) from ASU! Hoo-ray! She did it in 3 1/2 years and is applying for a Masters program for next fall. This is an amazing girl. (one of many we have at this house!)
I got a text from her on Friday afternoon - "I'm done with all my finals!!!!!!  I'm a college graduate!"
This is Roxanne getting inducted into the Honors Society a couple weeks ago.

Look at this proud papa!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

random stuff

The Amazing Race ended another season this week. The finale included two super strong teams and one underdog team (as in - they couldn't dive, swim, run fast, had an injury, and  had been about a day behind the other racers for a chunk of the race ). Guess who won? The underdogs! They weren't my favorite team on the show, but it was fun and surprising to see a team come from behind and take the win.

I was at the Art store the other day and an older lady in front of me was asking the clerk "I've got the CRAZIEST question! I've got a hat I want to put a name on and I thought of stick-on letters, but I think they would fall off. Do you know any way to put a name on this hat?" (She was very dramatic and excited with her question.) The clerk suggested some fabric pens, but she didn't think she could do it herself and asked if he could paint the name on. He told her he wasn't allowed to do that. As he left to get the paint pens, she turned around and showed me her hat, which had clearly come from the dollar store, and said to me "I hope the pen won't be $4.00, I just won't pay that much". I knew it would be at least that or maybe more. Since it was an extremely simple project, and a gift she was so excited about getting done, I offered to do the lettering for her on the cap, and suggested a 99 cent Sharpie Marker. She jumped right on that offer and bought a pen, and we stepped down to the end of the counter and in about 90 seconds, she had a personalized gift for her neighbor friend. I could not believe someone would be so utterly thrilled with a simple name written with a marker on an inexpensive hat!

I read a letter that came in the mail for Melanie yesterday  "Congratulations! You have qualified and been selected to receive our Preliminary Scholarship Application."  Why in the world would you have to 'qualify' to even apply for something?

I was outside taking the dumpsters out to the curb last night and hear an owl. That is so weird to hear that in the middle of the city. I think of owls as being only out in the countryside. The other night, we were eating dinner outside and a little owl flew into our tree right behind where we were sitting. Kind of weird, but cool. The new grade school down the street had some signs up with their new mascot - the Owls. I sent Melanie a text about it. Her reply "Hahaha, 'WHOO' would choose that? I'd personally go with a sea creature, but they forgot to ask me"

Speaking of chatting with Mel, I had to tell her about our recent Stake Conference. The speaker was being filmed and broadcast on big screens to the back half of the building. So not only the speaker was on the screen, but about 4 people behind him. The people behind him consisted of the chorister and some of the youth choir, ages 12-18, all of whom are Melanie's hometown friends. One 12 year old realized he was on camera in the background and enjoyed watching himself on the monitor and was swaying back and forth. Sister Garcia, the chorister, who was also on camera, was trying so hard to get him to put his feet down out of the chair and quit dancing around without making herself look awkward on the camera too. It was kind of hilarious to watch.

A couple of funny things from Rachel's friend, Kyle, who is on his mission serving on the Island of Aruba:
"Okay, so Christmas is coming up and I am still waiting on the snow here. I have this feeling that it is not going to snow, but I will still be praying."
"The member that makes us lunch on Fridays couldn't do it this past Friday, so she did what she calls 'Junk Food Fridays'.  She is a vegetarian so we always get meatless food , but for 'Junk Food Fridays', she gives us money to go buy whatever we want - so we had Subway! "

Roxanne, Jonny and Melanie and my nephew Ben are involved in a Nog-a-thon out in Mesa this weekend. It's an annual event and although I don't know much about it, it seems to involve drinking eggnog and jogging distances that often invite the eggnog to come back up. The good side is that I believe it is a fund-raiser of some sort, so that's always good.

This weekend, Rachel is hosting a lovely Piano Recital for all her students. She does an amazing job teaching her kids and her recitals are delightful. Both kids and parents love it. I'm not sure how she keeps up with so many students along with her job at the music studio and while finishing up her last semester of her Masters Program.

Brady is spending his weekend rebuilding something on his Bronco. I don't know what he is rebuilding, but there is a huge unidentified car part on our property waiting to be installed tomorrow. He is oh so smart about his Broncos. (Yes, Broncos. I say that plural. He is not very old, but he has owned many Broncos over his short driving career)

Dave had to do a service up in Flagstaff last Friday, on the way home he got caught in a little traffic jam. He sat on the freeway for 4 hours! Traffic was stopped and backed up for 6 miles. He's kind of nosey, so he hiked down to the accident site and found out what was going on. A semi truck was across the lanes blocking all traffic. The cab was hanging over a steep drop-off on the side of the road. He sent me this text and picture: "There's a guy here who got the whole thing on video. The truck had lost its brakes and it was hitting a truck in front of it to slow down for several minutes before the steering was damaged and he went over. Driver is ok, Imagine is scared though"

That's our random life. Dave and I are just trying to keep up with everything and everyone. I am preparing food for 4 different events over the weekend, and playing the organ for one, maybe 2 events on Saturday, getting a mural painted for the ward party (an assignment which was given to me 4 weeks ago, but since I was busy, I put off until now because I thought this would be a free week, oops) and trying to keep up with our daily business work. I hope I can get it all done.
(and p.s. My black eye got a LOT worse this week before it started getting better. The little irritation under my eye is going away, but the bruising went through a vast metamorphosis and quite an array of colors in the process. Yay, that was fun.)