Saturday, November 30, 2013

Guilty as Charged

Yes, I went shopping on Black Friday. But it wasn't the same as in times gone by. Our crew didn't leave until 6. There were no lines, or crazies as far as I could tell. In fact, there seemed to be a lack of people in general. It was a nice morning to shop and snag a few great deals.

We have some theories as to why things were different. Are more people shopping online? I know it is easier and I myself have ordered plenty online this season.

Or did all the crazies go out Thursday evening? I think it is wrong for businesses to tempt people out on a holiday simply to beat out the competition by a few hours. I don't care how good a deal it is, I will NOT be shopping on Thanksgiving. But if it weeded out the truly insane, it wasn't a total loss.

So I freely admit to venturing out on Black Friday, but I am also almost finished with my Christmas shopping. Are you?

Friday, November 29, 2013

Black Friday

Apparently most people shop today. Bah!

That's what the corporations want us to do. And since there are far too many sheep parading as humans, loads of people spend their day traversing shopping shelves in search of those great “door-buster” deals that corporations spend such time and coin hammering at us during this holiday. There are even some—dare I say some who are either among or related to the readers of this blog—who even, *gasp*, campout to get some righteous Black Friday Deal.

It has become a feature of pop culture to go shopping on Black Friday. To me, it has become a ridiculous feature of a ridiculous tradition, that I love to ridicule.

But this post isn't about the misdirected monies and efforts of masses. Believe me, I could arm-chair quarterback that game all day long! No, this post is about what you do when the day after Thanksgiving isn't Black Friday.

I spent the day with family who I don't see very often.

My Dad and I spent the day swapping stories about my mission and his. Mom and I talked about extended family. This included a list of who's divorcing who, who's in prison now, for what, who's on trial, and who just got out of re-hab. Ah, the thing's that pass me by because I'm in Utah!

My girls spent a leisurely day gliding between movies, computer games, board games, playing with the dogs, playing with the cousins, and grazing on Thanksgiving leftovers.
We played music, some danced. Some cried, and everybody laughed. We talked about the great challenges our society faces, and we talked about the simple solutions that keep challenges at bay—or at least in check.

There was a loose plan to go shooting today, but we just didn't get to it between all the activities. Mostly I spent the day catching up on everything that's been blowing through the family tree; and being constantly amazed one the one hand of the excellent caliber of some of my relatives, and on the other hand of the depravity of character of some of my relatives.

In all, I enjoyed the slow pace of the day. It allowed me to really slow down and match the rhythm of my life to the rhythm of my family. It's an enjoyable exercise that should be undertaken regularly, and I dare say it should be more often.

Of course, Maleen was involved in most of this. She missed a bit though, because she took a short nap this afternoon on account of the early hour at which she go shopping with her sisters-in-law.

I'd better keep my rant to a minimum.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Turkey Day

It was really a great day. Games, food, good company, more food. It all begins around here with pie for breakfast.

The day was low-key. People trickled in and out. Friends and family. I spent some time making some dishes to share. Try this one. Very yummy, and I even made it gluten free for my new SIL.

Tyler helped Renaldo (pictured with the pie up there) fry a turkey. Look at this bird cooking away.

Three minutes per pound, I think. And very tasty. Look at this finished product.

JR does our turkey carving.

Look at the spread. Amazing.

And the people didn't look bad either.

Some kids from the branch came as well. It was a full house. Kat and I browsed the ads because we are venturing out on Black Friday tomorrow. (Yes, we are brave souls.)

We played some fun games. Jami introduced us to Wackee Six. You really have to have your wits about you to compete. And Uno Attack is always fun.

I hope your turkey day was a good one. Now for a long winter's nap.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

I Would Probably Be Happy with Peanut Butter Sandwiches

Happy Thanksgiving Eve! I will admit that this isn't my favorite holiday. The best part is getting together with family; that never gets dull. But the feasting part?? I am not much of a feaster. When I go to a restaurant, I can never finish my meal. (Tyler and I have gone to splitting a plate. We look cheap, but least we aren't wasting food.) And I don't really like to stuff myself. I like lots of small snacky size meals throughout the day. I would be happiest with a bit of turkey on a roll with a dash of cranberry dressing. Later I could dig some mashed potatoes with gravy. I'd happily take a sprinkling of salad on and off during the day. And I could finish the evening with a midnight helping of pumpkin pie. (Best eaten right before bed, curled up on the couch.)

But NO. I'm expected to eat all this stuff in one sitting. Crazy, I tell you. And don't even get me started on unlucky people who have to see two families in one day and stuff themselves twice. Ridiculous.

Family makes it all worth it though. (Although family is part of the problem. Don't you feel obliged to eat more food when someone else has gone to all that work to prepare it?) I guess I am willing to overeat once a year in the spirit of familial unity. And I do like that everyone stops to think a little more about what they are grateful for and the blessings they often take for granted.

And thank heavens for leftovers. The day after you can get to the true grazing.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Mixed Emotions

Blogging from my phone tonight, so I'm making it brief. June came home today with a medal. Her science fair project was one of twenty five that continued on to the next level of competition. If I estimated correctly, there were around 120 students participating.

Yay for June. She is very excited.

But, I'm a little sad too. Really, we have to start this whole process again? Granted, the bulk is done, but I was content to put it all behind me.

Oh well.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Gobble Gobble

Today was the day. We ignored the Christmas decorations around us and made a thankful turkey. Daisy was the genius behind the design this year. (Probably why we have a baby turkey with rainbow feathers, but it is unique.) He has some blank feathers because the Houck's were visiting family tonight, but they get to contribute later. Check him out.

Daisy kept trying to convince me it was a girl turkey, and I had to keep explaining...not possible.

We also came up with a new game tonight inspired by a game I saw at a store. (Sometimes it seems odd to be why people pay money for items they have on hand at home.) I don't remember what the game was called, so we named the game, 'Caveman Telephone.'

Everyone knows how to play telephone. Well, this game is similar without any talking. Grab some paper, and cut enough squares for each person to have a booklet with the same number of pieces as people playing. (In our case, each person had a booklet with six small pieces of paper stapled together.) I think this game works better with at least 6 people, but who knows?

Each person writes a word or words on the first page. Then everyone hands their book to the right. Each person reads the word(s), flips the page, and then draws what they read. After pictures are drawn, everyone passes their booklet to the right again. Each person looks at the picture, flips the page, and writes a word(s) for what they saw. This scenario alternates back and forth between describing a picture, or drawing what you read, passing a booklet each time. At the end, you will get your book back and see if the message was able to survive. Most of ours changed quite a bit, but we had a few that made it intact.

It was really fun! The kids were amazingly good at this game. Some of their pictures were hilarious. Even Daisy could draw well enough to play. And I love that all you need is paper, pens, a stapler, and some family members. We'll have to try this one Thanksgiving day.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Can It Be??

I kid you not. I am basically caught up. No huge posts hanging over my head. And it is not even the end of November. (What am I going to do with all these extra posts to fill?)

I did skim back through my folders to pick up any pictures that I have missed. I will probably be sad that I am using them all in one post. Most likely I will wish that I had spread them out for another week. But really, if my goal of posting every day was to catch up, then I have accomplished my mission. Huzzah!!

So, here are some fun pics that I deemed blog worthy.

Tyler snapped this picture back at the end of summer. It is soooo June.

My bathrobes are a hot commodity around here. Everyone likes to take a turn wearing them.

I have no idea why Robyn has pirate makeup on. This picture wasn't even taken close to Halloween. Hmm.

Anyway, June and Robyn have started playing violin. There will probably be more info about this when they have their first concert in December.

Yep. We still love to read together. If I start reading to one kid, most likely a few more will have settled in by the end of the story.

After the kids Halloween party, we played with the glow sticks in our room. Yes, we adults are just large children.

Ivory made these cookies at someone's house and wanted evidence of the fact. There. Evidence.

First 1000 piece puzzle we have ever done. The kids did a great job on it.

Behold... a flower in my front yard decided to bloom this month. Does it not know that it is almost winter? Or perhaps I do not know what type of plant it is. (Well, that is a given. I DON'T know what kind of plant it is.) I assumed it was a rose because there are thorns on the bush, but roses don't bloom in November, do they? Um...a little help please. Still, it is cheery to see it out there.

And finally, I came outside one day to hear Ivory chatting at me. But for the life of me, I couldn't decide where she was. Turns out she was across the street in the neighbor's tree. Really HIGH in the neighbor's tree. Like, high enough, that my mothering panic levels started to rise. I watched her pretty closely as she climbed down. And then after she was safe, I went back and took a picture. Since she wasn't still in the tree, I kindly drew her in, so you could see why my blood pressure was rising. If she had climbed any higher, the branches probably wouldn't have held her weight. Whatever, let's not think about it.

She was probably just fine. I think it is my job to see more danger in things than really exist. It comes with the territory.

With that, we are done for today. Glad you stopped by.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Frailty, Thy Name is Maleen

Maybe not so much frail, as fickle. See, I have always been one to think that Thanksgiving needs its own moment. Christmas supplies are in stores by October, and the songs start on the radio November 1st. People, there is too much of a good thing. Let well enough alone until after the turkey is digested.

Tyler had a reminder come up in his calendar that he should put Christmas lights up. In Utah it is important not to wait until the last minute because then you may be competing with snow and slick rooftops. (Unwise) So I agreed that we should get those lights up.

But somehow it put me in the Christmas mood, and I have really been considering decorating next Wednesday before Thanksgiving because if you think about the time the weekend is over, it will be December. I really don't like it when Thanksgiving weekend runs into December.

Can you tell where I am going with this??

I caved. Suddenly I was putting away all my pilgrims and turkeys and putting up Christmas trees. June was against the whole idea. She pointed out that we hadn't even done our thankful turkey yet. I knew this to be true, but I couldn't stop myself. And really, it didn't take too much convincing to get June on board. (Don't worry, we will still do the thankful turkey on Monday. It is tradition.)

After dinner we put on ornaments. The kids have their own tree and it is awesome. All the ornaments are unique and have history. I sit on the couch and hand them out and the kids go to town.

We have hand-me-downs from Grandma, plenty we bought, and lots of handmade ones.

Pearl was so good at putting ornaments on.

She was digging the whole scene. She is so little that she has forgotten Christmas. When I was putting up the stockings, she asked what all the 'boots' were for. Check out the finished product. Amazing.

We haven't found a good topper yet. All in good time. After all, it is not even December. What is the rush?

We celebrated our accomplishment with a chocolate orange. The kids flocked around Tyler like moths to a flame.

And yes, we got all our outside lights up. Please ignore the section that decided to burn out. You win lights. We aren't touching you again until Spring.

Please notice that I finally have a front window where I can put a tree. It is a wish come true. Let's see that tree from the inside.

That is my tree. Because I like to decorate too. The kids have their tree and I have mine.

So this week I am thankful that we can all be frail sometimes and change our minds. While I eat my turkey, I will be glad that I can take a nap next week instead of decorating the house.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Boys Don't Have Birthdays Here Very Often

Doug is our birthday boy today. Like any teen, he has a busy schedule ahead of him today, so we knew it would be hard to pin him down. So naturally, we woke him up at 6:30 to sing to him.

He was very chipper coming up from the dungeon at such an early hour.

But he is a pretty stellar guy.

We opted for Blackberry danish instead of cake, since it was breakfast time. (I'm all about healthy breakfasts.)

Doug means business when he blows out candles. If you scroll fast enough maybe it will look like animation?



We couldn't decide what to get for Doug, so we finally settled on a movie that describes him better than we can.

And this sign. Doug is our resident tree trimmer. (Literally, not figuratively. Well, maybe a little of both.)

The kids didn't really get it. That is probably for the best.

Sorry Kami that we didn't picture you this morning. We love you as well and you make Doug a better person, so thanks for that. Happy Birthday Douglas!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Spirit Week and Reflections

We try to get involved during spirit week at school, but sometimes the themes are not something we have on hand, or are not really picture-worthy. For instance, in the past, they have had a day where you are supposed to wear clothes with your favorite team on them. (i.e. baseball caps, jerseys) Not so much at our house.

Or this time around they had a day where you were supposed to wear boots. The kids wore boots; I didn't take any pictures.

But, I did snap a couple on crazy hair day. (I'm just proud of myself that I got their hair done before they headed out the door. They go to school so early.)

I was able to take a little more time on Daisy since she goes later. When I finished her hair, she said, "Mom, that's not crazy, it is pretty." I did two french braids in opposite directions. And she does look pretty cute.

But come's a little crazy.

The only other day I took a picture was 'Dress like a teacher' day. Robyn put her hair up and donned glasses to look like her teacher, Mrs. Pitardi. Not too bad in my estimate.

I wanted to post these spirit week pictures before discussing Reflections because it so happened that the Reflection award night fell on Crazy hair day. So when my children look a bit strange, you can know that it was all planned. (The other days when they look excuse really.)

June did enter two categories, but we haven't gotten them back, so she will get her own post. (Different schools are on different time tables.)

Oh, the theme this year was, "Believe, Dream, Inspire" (Very vague, if you ask me. But they often are.)

Robyn entered two categories as well. First was literature. She wrote this poem because she was inspired by Dr. Seuss.


You see I'm a little thing
that lives on your dresser
and makes it even messier.
Woo hoo and you clean it
and your mom takes you out for ice cream.
Yippee, Yay! All is good, all is new.

except I'm still here.

There was some controversy regarding this piece. The kids received a white ribbon for participating and a red one if their piece moved on to the next level. As you can see from this picture, Robyn got a white ribbon.

However, when I went to pick up her poem, they had photocopied her artist statement onto the front. That is fine, except that they covered up the last small line of her poem. The line that I think brings the most humor to it. Without the last line, it doesn't have the same effect, in my opinion. I asked the lady in charge if the judges had seen the original, and it turns out...they didn't. Well, it was too late now, or so I thought.

I guess it really bugged the lady in charge, who happened to be the one who covered the last line of the poem. She looked back at the voting in hopes to feel better if Robyn's piece was not a contender, but in fact, it was the runner up. So she came back to my house later and asked for Robyn's poem. She said she would send it to the next level where it could be voted on again. That was very nice of her. Robyn's poem is cute, and although it is not the most outstanding poem I have ever read, it deserved to be judged correctly.

Robyn's only response to this whole story, "But, I didn't get a red ribbon." (Ah, kids.)

The other category Robyn entered was art. I liked her piece, but I think she entered it more to enter something, than because she was believing, dreaming, or being inspired.

Ivory entered photography. She thought a lot about what to photograph. She said she is inspired by my crosstitch pieces and she wanted to take a picture of one. I eventually had her photograph her own piece that she is working on. She is so excited to be close to finishing.

Daisy also entered photography. I did not help her at all, but I think June was instrumental in getting ideas from Daisy and helping her form a concept for the picture. They did a good job. Here is Daisy's picture. She wants to be a gardener someday. (She does not get this from her mother.)

Daisy's piece is moving on the next level. Good job!

Weird. June JUST got home from school and what was she holding?

Must be kizmet. So, I'll go ahead and talk about her entries. She entered literature with this poem:

Daisy Ash at five years old

I want to change the world greatly.
Even though I am little, I know that I can become big.
I can change technology. I'll do something wonderful!
I dream about it each day. I will have a great success.
I know that I can do it, with all of my small girl heart.

Twenty years later

I have changed the world greatly.
Even though I was little, I've become a great success.
I have changed technology, and saved many peoples' lives.
I have found a cure for AIDS, and also one for cancer.
I'm a successful doctor that has changed the world greatly.

Sixty years after that

Now I'm a great-grandmother, with two daughters, seven sons,
And thirty-two grandchildren. I'm a happy retired doctor
Who has changed technology and saved many peoples' lives.
I hope that all my children, and all of my grandchildren
Will have the same dream as me, and will change the world greatly.

June Cazier

And she made this art piece:

Her trophy was for her literature piece that will move on, and the medal is for participating in art. (Ignore the red ribbon--the schools do things differently.)

Reflections is always very fun. I'm thinking about starting my own home version where I give the kids a theme and have them do something creative. I love to see them at work.