Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

It's not that I didn't want to be a cow, but SOMEONE had to take the picture!!!

The trip continues to be great fun. I am so enjoying this time with Allan. Our walks in the morning--(well his walk, my run to try and keep up,) have been great. The weather has been wonderful.

We spent Family Home Evening at the Corn Maze (I think it was in Pleasant Grove). A number of years ago, Heidi, Allan and Neal went there to celebrate Heidi's birthday. So, Heidi has been wanting to go back. First off, Heidi was so incredibly disappointed because the cow train stopped running at 7:00 and we got there right after 7:00. She was convinced her dad had stalled so he didn't have to have his knees up to his chest while riding around. He is 6' 4" so it wouldn't be terribly comfortable.

We left Orem Tuesday morning and headed up to Salt Lake. Brent wanted to take us to Hires Big H for lunch. I had been there before but Allan had not. It was as good as I remembered it. We dropped Brent off at his dorm and then headed for Elko.

Of course, no trip to Elko is ever complete without eating dinner at The Star. We had decided to split a steak. (If you've ever eaten there you know they serve their meals Basque style and there is tons of food.) It was delicious.

We are now headed to the Bay Area to visit with friends and to see 4 of my sisters and their families. It will be fun. I can't even remember the last time I saw my sisters--well, two of them I saw June 2006, but the others it has been about 3 years!!! It's funny because we are all getting older and when I saw my sister in Texas about 4 years ago, I kept looking at her thinking "My gosh, she looks so much older". Then I chuckled knowing she was probably THINKING THE EXACT SAME THING!!!

Hope all of you have a FABULOUS HALLOWEEN. I'm hoping to post Halloween pictures of my Auburn grandchildren when I see them on the weekend, but I wanted you all to enjoy this one of my little Boston grandson, G-man!!!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Our Stay in Orem

We left Bismarck around 7:30 Friday morning--I was so glad I was able to convince Allan to sleep in a little. We had a great drive. We arrived in Orem on Friday night about 9:00--we stopped in SLC and picked up Brent. It was so great to see him. It felt like it had been ages. I had been texting Heidi and Brent while we were on the road letting them know where we were.

On Saturday morning Allan wanted to go for a walk--well no way in the world was I going to let him go alone. I managed to get him to wait until 6:30 and we headed over to the track near his mom's house. I knew I couldn't keep up with him, but I also knew I didn't want him to get too far ahead of me--quite often I had to actually jog. He couldn't figure out how I was keeping up with him!!! He did very well and I was quite relieved!!! (I knew the hospital was just across the street, but kept thinking I couldn't leave him and run to the hospital--crazy how your mind works!!!)

We went off to the Distribution Center and Deseret Book. I was chuckling because I was going to pick up New Moon but didn't know where to find it and I heard these women talking about "vampire books" and I knew that must be where they were. Sure enough it was right there.

We decided to go have lunch at the restaurant where Heidi is a waitress--I have not seen her in action, so it was great.

Well later in the day when we took Heidi to Costco I asked her if she had heard about the Twilight books--oh, yeah, she knew all abut them so I got her the first and then picked up the next 2 for Christmas!!! (She's quite excited--I have been showing her everyone's blogs with all the stuff on the sidebars--you guys are all so great!!!)

On Sunday, Allan, Heidi, and I went to Church with Grandma and Gerry. (Brent had Stake Conference so he stayed up in Salt Lake.)

We had a great Sunday and I made this delicious desert (I got this recipe off of someone's blog, but I can't remember whose it was--so if it's familiar to you, please let me know, so I can say thanks!!!)

Tonight after dinner we are hoping to go to the corn maze--it should be lots of fun.
I love this time I've had with Allan. I'm so glad we have had time with his mom. I know how worried she has been about him. I know Heidi and Brent were relieved to see that their dad is doing great!!!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Gotta Love Randomness

Allan is doing great and we are on our road trip. We were hoping to hit Bismarck early enough to do a session at the temple, but we had to wait for someone to drop something off and we got out around 12:30 (Our ward has a temple trip this weekend, so Kyle will be going with the youth--of course, he was hoping we'd let him take the van by himself--yeah, right!!!!) (I'm actually writing this post in Bismarck, and we are off today to beyond Bozeman.)

I also wanted to let you all know that my Seminary kids still got the fortune cookies. I had mentioned before that because of the oil, the writing came off--but I found I didn't have that problem if the message was typed!!! They were fun--with sayings like, "You are a wonderful child of God. He will be with you ALWAYS." "Your Seminary Teacher loves you, but more importantly so does Heavenly Father" "You can truly 'scatter sunshine all along your way'--think about all whose life you will brighten" "As you read your scriptures, look for the doctrine being taught and remember to apply!!!"

Now that we will be back in Winnipeg for the Scripture Mastery Challenge of the Youth vs. the Stake--Allan and I have to be more diligent in memorizing our 25 Old Testament scriptures. (So, I know what we'll be doing in the car!!!)

Heidi was so happy when we told her we were coming--she was so worried she was going to buy a ticket to fly home this weekend!!! It'll be great to see her and Brent, and I know Allan's mom will be relieved when she sees her "little boy". So if you see a couple of old people walking around Orem--give us a wave!!! When we get to California to visit Stephen and Daphne, we will be running like crazy because the weekend we are there one grandson has a baseball tournament, a granddaughter has a soccer game, and one granddaughter is a cheerleader and there is a home football game so we'll go to that next Friday night. It seems like it's been quite awhile since I've seen my sisters, so that will be fun. I didn't get to see Wendy and Tony when Allan flew to Indiana for Tony's dad's funeral, so it will be great to have dinner with them in Reno.

Also, packed in my bags is

Blog Friend Forever Award

I feel very honored to have received this award from Nancyface. Thank you so much, my sweet blogging friend. And, I received your wonderful anniversary card. You are the best!!!


About this award: "Presented to awesome blog owners who keep their readers excited about their posts. Their blog posts are interesting and worth reading and keep their readers looking forward to each and every post."

I have the toughest time passing awards on to people because I feel like there are so many wonderful people who deserve awards. I'd like to pass it on to Gina (my very first blogging buddy), Randi, Holly, Ashley, txmommy, and pj.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

An Update

All is well at our home. I picked up Allan this morning and off we went to the Cardiologist. We were very lucky in that one artery was completely blocked (so they put in the stent) and there was some question with another. The doctor said the cardiologist was a little concerned and considered bypass surgery, but finally decided it was not necessary (thanks for all those prayers, everyone). He told Allan he could go to work on Thrusday and on Friday he could start jogging again. Allan talked to him about our taking a road trip to go and visit our family and the doctor said that was fine. So we will head to Utah, Nevada, and California. (I know Allan's mom will feel better once he sees him, and so will the kids and grandkids out west. I'll make a plane trip to Boston to see little G-man in early December)

As a sidenote, I think one of the most difficult things about writing a blog is people reading who don't know me--I'm a little sensitive right now, and I really think there may be people that thought my biggest concern over the past few days was not being able to go to China. TOTALLY NOT TRUE. Was I disappointed? Sure, I have to be honest, I was very sad. My main concern is my husband and for anyone to even question that is quite bothersome to me. I am not a very good writer (didn't need to tell you that--it's obvious), I wear my heart on my sleeve, and I'm super-sensitive. I have 7 children and I've tried to be very strong for each of them. Many of them live far away and I know how difficult it is for them to not be here, and I wanted them to not worry--maybe my blog read like I wasn't concerned or worried or whatever. (Romy, if you read this, thanks for your phone call last night. You know how much I love you and appreciate your concern and your prayers, as well as the concern of everyone in the Stake.) When I mentioned coming home from the hospital and crying, those tears were not for the trip. As I was talking to one of my daughters last night I told her one of the hardest things is I've always depended on Allan to be the one I lean on, and when he's not here for me to lean on, it's hard. I'm grateful to the Lord and so incredibly grateful that He does lift my burdens.

China will always be there--we will go one day. I am not worried about that in the least. And, even if we never have a chance to go, big deal!!!

Thanks to all of you for your love and support.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

I AM VERY GRATEFUL



This is not exactly how I ever envisioned my 25th wedding anniversary. Allan went in today for his angiogram--but it turned out he needed to have an angioplasty, since one of his arteries was blocked. So, needless to say, no trip to China. I have to admit today is the first day I have really sat here and cried. I am filled with emotions, but most of all, I'm just grateful he is o.k. He will have to stay in the hospital overnight. (I really don't think we've ever spent an anniversary apart.

I know there will be other trips. I will now go and have a piece of chocolate. I haven't been able to bring myself to have one with everything that happened last week, but I'm now ready to have one or two, or maybe even more!!!

Monday, October 22, 2007

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY

(As a preface, I am posting this today, but not sure how long we'll be at the hospital tomorrow (our anniversary is October 23rd), so I want to make sure Allan has a chance to read it today)

Dear Allan:

Hard to believe, but it has been 25 years since you and I were married. So much has happened in the short span of 25 years--many changes, many ups and downs. In that 25 years we have had 3 children, 10 grandchildren, and moved 12 times. But one thing has never changed--I have never looked back and said, "WHAT HAVE I GOTTEN MYSELF INTO???" It has been an adventure, but when you have a man like you standing by your side, you feel secure in the journey. You have taught me so much about love, respect, and commitment. You have always been such a great support to me.

I was so fortunate to marry into your family. Your parents have always shown me love, support, and encouragement. It's amazing how different we all are and I appreciate so much your telling me that your parents were not the type of people to get excited when you tell them something. (I could have easily been hurt on many occasions because they're not the type of people to jump up and down and show a great deal of emotion. I'm grateful I was warned.) I loved how you described it--"If you tell them something and they say that's nice, that means: "OH MY!!! THAT IS ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE!!!!!" One of my most cherished memories is your dad (who was very reserved and not terribly demonstrative) telling me he loved me before he died.


Our wedding day was an absolutely beautiful day. I loved being on the roof of the Oakland temple. I always want to re-enact photos--we could try this--oops, never mind, the dress wouldn't fit!!!














The blending of two families was not an easy task--actually we both have talked about how much harder it was than we anticipated. But even with all the tough times, I would do it all again in a heartbeat. I love Neal, Nancy, and Wendy (and I think they know it). I'm so grateful you adopted Stephen--he loves you so much and I'm so grateful that all of the kids and grandkids have you to emulate. (Isn't it amazing how young the kids look in the picture--of course, they were young!!!)



I appreciate so much your support and encouragement during the pregnancies of Heidi, Brent, and Kyle. I know those were not easy times for you, but you were always so great to me even when most of the time you couldn't even get near me because I couldn't even stand the smell of your soap. You were there helping with everything. Even when I spent the 2 months in the hospital with dehydration with Kyle, you came to see me each morning. I cherish the times we spent in the delivery room when each of the kids were born. Such sacred moments--especially when Richard delivered Brent. (I don't think I've ever had a more spiritual experience in the delivery room)


We had the best time at our reception--such a wonderful gathering with family and friends. I remember all of my Laurels being so excited for me. We all laughed because I remember a lesson I taught about dating and they teased me and told me, "Just don't marry a bald guy!!!" But that advice went right out the window when we started dating--they all loved you. Besides our police story when we were dating, I'll never forget your coming to Dennis and Pat's when I was there and leaving the note on my car. When we all saw you and opened the drapes you were so embarrassed you got in your car and drove away--with at least 8 pair of eyes watching you!!!





Every wedding reception I attend, I love seeing the cake, and after all these years, I still think ours was the most beautiful. It was a gift from a dear friend, Ruth W. She touched my heart when she told me she wanted to do it as a gift for us.












I'm looking forward to FOREVER

A Yummy, Sweet Award


Thank you to Tonya for this sweet award--She is such a sweet woman and it's always a delight to read her blog, which, by the way, is entitled "The Sweet Life". I love candy apples!!!

There are so many sweet bloggers out there, but I would like to pass it on to Lauren--who always makes me smile with her sweet thoughts and comments she leaves.

Friday, October 19, 2007

OUR LIFE THESE PAST COUPLE OF DAYS...

I have not wanted to take you all on the ride with us I haven't wanted to share everything, but this is what has happened. As you all know (from my previous post) on Wednesday, Allan was told by his doctor that he had had two heart attacks and his heart was damaged, so China was off. A call was made to Princess and the cruise for the 6 of us was cancelled. (Maybe I haven't said anything about who all was going: Allan, me, my 89 y.o. MIL, my SIL, another SIL and her husband.)

After all this happened on Thursday, I felt bad that my little husband had to look at my packed bags, so I began emptying them and putting things away. Thursday late morning Allan gets a phone call from his doctor--"your heart is not damaged, go ahead and go to China. We will still do the angiogram on Tuesday morning, but you should be fine to travel on Wednesday." YIKES!!! A call was made to Princess and a girl does some checking, but tells my sister-in-law it doesn't look good. About 4:30 Allan tells me, they can't do anything about it, but he decides to call and talk to someone else. I get another call at around 5:00--"pack your bags, the trip is back on." When he got home from work that night we kept checking our bookings and we were fine, but for some reason everyone else was not reinstated. Allan was worried thinking, "What if they just reinstated us???" So Friday he made several calls to Princess and finally got everything worked out. THE CRUISE IS BACK ON!!!!

We were worried about our air tickets--we had cancelled them. (The sad thing is Allan had upgrade certificates and it looked like we were going to be bumped up into First Class/Business Class (out of "toilet" class--we were #1 to be bumped!!!) At this point, we are still scheduled to leave on Wednesday (pending the results of the angiogram).

I know that most of you do not really know us. We are level-headed people. We will not take this cruise if there is ANY POSSIBILITY AT ALL THAT ALLAN WILL HAVE A PROBLEM!!!

We keep asking ourselves why is this happening like this??? Please understand we are not asking, "Why is this happening to us?" My husband is a Type-A personality, real go-getter. He very rarely stops. I think this will cause him to stop and slow down. So, all of us in the family think this was just a wake-up call for him to take it easy. (Maybe he will stop getting up at 4:30 every morning--and believe me it doesn't matter if his flight the night before gets him home at 1:00 a.m. When that alarm goes off at 4:30, he's still up!!!

So, I'm off to pack, finish my letters to Kyle, clean house, and do all the little things that are left to do to get ready.

Well, I was going to wait until after Tuesday to post this, but I decided if I respond to the comments on the previous post, knowing what I know right now, I will sound like a flake. If anything changes, I will let you know, but in the meantime, thank you all for your prayers. Allan was so touched when I told him that everyone said they were praying for us. I can't tell you what all of your kind words and support has meant to me--I would like to take each of you in my arms and give you a big hug.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A VERY SAD POST

I had a post all ready to go with a picture of my practice fortune cookies and then my husband called this afternoon, and gave me the bad news. We are not going to China. He had gone to the doctor a few months ago and after looking at his EKG the doctor was concerened about a couple of things on the EKG, so he referred him to a cardiologist. Today he had his appointment, and apparently Allan has had a couple of heart attacks (unknown to him--well, he had chest pains but didn't think they were anything to worry about.) After doing the EKG, the doctor immediately scheduled an angiogram for next week (on our anniversary). The fact that he didn't have to wait six months to have the procedure is a surprise. We will know more next week, but he has definitely told him he cannot go to China. Allan told me I could go ahead and go without him--no way in the world would I do that!!!! I felt so bad for him because I know he feels bad, but obviously all of us are more concerned about him than the trip. I must admit he is relieved that the angiogram isn't before Stake Conference, so that won't be a problem.

Allan and I have commented all day that this is like a bad dream and we both just want to wake up!!! As sad as I am, I'm grateful that we didn't go to China and have a problem there.

I was so looking forward to sending Goodmail from China, and sorry, Tori, I was so looking forward to finding you just the right magnet--it was on my list. And the funniest thing of all--I can't bring myself to have a piece of chocolate!!!

On a much lighter note, a couple of days ago I received my first Good Mail from Nancyface. The card was absolutely hysterical and had a woman on a scale with the caption: "The scariest thing about Halloween...is the amount of candy we eat before the trick-or-treaters arrive!" (Oh, Nancyface, you know me so well!!!) It also contained the cutest little scarecrow foam stickers.

And my sweet husband gave me my anniversary present early--he wanted to be sure I had contact with my blogging friends, my seminary kids, and family, so he got me this MacPro He's such a sweetheart.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Any Suggestions???

I wondered if anyone knows of any recipes (that you have actually tried or you know someone who has) for making fortune cookies. I thought it would be fun if my Seminary kids had fortune cookies for the first day I leave for my trip. (I could just go buy some at the store, but heck, what fun is that???) I want to be able to put a personalized fortune in each one. I found a recipe but I just wondered if anyone has actually ever done it???

I started working this weekend on my letters for Kyle. (I leave a letter and a gift for each day I am gone.) I used to do this when Heidi and Brent were home and I had so much fun--in fact, one year I actually videotaped a message for each day. I set up my tripod and had to keep changing my clothes so it looked like a different day. (I know I'm a little loonie) I always leave information about the place we are visiting and what tours we're on. Then at the end of the letter I ask a trivia question about where we are that day. For example, when we are visiting The Great Wall--the question might be: "How long is The Great Wall of China???" Now it will be so easy because Kyle will just have to google the info. (The gifts are usually fun little things--candy, gift certificates to McDonalds or the donut shop, socks, pencils, iTune gift cards, etc. Maybe it's just my way of relieving my guilt for being gone so long ; )

I'm getting nervous about having everything done before I leave!!! I hope I can get the bags packed correctly because we have the 9 day land portion at the start (which includes the Yangtze River cruise) and then the 16 day actual cruise. So, I have to split up my toiletries, chocolate, etc. (Of course, they do have a gift shop on the ship that sells candy, and Allan did say his mom is bringing me a box of See's Candy--yippee!!!)

This week Kyle has a volleyball game on Tuesday, I have Enrichment on Thursday, and a Stake Harvest ball on Friday. This weekend is Stake Conference, but I only have to attend the Saturday night session and Sunday morning session--I'm pretty sure I don't have a CES inservice. I am hosting a dinner on Sunday afternoon, but that should be great fun. (I'm relieved there is no volleyball tournament this weekend--Kyle had one last weekend, but at least it was at his school, so only 10 minutes away.)

Sidenote #1: I hope all of you know how much I appreciate you. It's funny how much strength you all have given me in sticking to my giving up chocolate. I could never cheat because I would have felt like I let you down. (I know it seems silly, but that's just me!!!) I've lost an additional 8 pounds, so I'm now down 12 which thrills me!!! Can you believe, this is the stash that sits in Heidi's room. It's candy for Seminary and for Halloween.

Sidenote #2: Kyle was so surprised to find out that his basketball coach (who has a full head of grey hair) is younger than I am. He got in the car and said, "Mr. R is 54 years old." I commented that he's 2 years younger than me. Kyle then said, "I know I am really surprised." I felt so good until he added, "I guess that's just because you dye your hair!!!"

Thursday, October 11, 2007

RECIPES

Since I can't make this recipe, I thought some of you might enjoying making it. I've always laughed saying when we first moved here, this was the only reason we ever got invited to people's homes, because with the invitation would come this request: "By the way, could you please bring your brownies". Enjoy.

CARAMEL BROWNIES

50 caramels (light) -- in color, not sugar free or anything
2/3 c. evaporated milk
1 pkg. German chocolate cake mix
3/4 c. melted butter
1 c. nuts (optional)
2 c. semi sweet chocolate chips

Combine: Caramels with 1/3 c. evaporated milk. Heat until melted. Set aside.

Combine: Cake mix, butter, 1/3 c. evaporated milk and nuts in a large bowl. Stir until dough holds together. Press 1/3 of the dough into a greased and floured 9 x 13
pan. Bake at 350 for 6 minutes. Sprinkle chocolate chips over "crust" and spread melted caramel mixture over chocolate chips. Crumble remaining dough over caramel layer. Bake 15 - 18 minutes. Cool, then chill for 30 minutes. Cut into bite-size bars.

(disclaimer: may be addicting!!!)


I love soup in the fall. These are a couple of my favorite recipes.

AUTUMN SOUP

1 pound ground beef (I like to use extra lean)
1 c. chopped onion
4 c. water
1 c. diced carrots
1 c. diced celery
2 t. salt
1 t. kitchen bouquet
1/4 t. pepper
1/8 t. basil
6 tomatoes*

In lage saucepan, cook and stir meat until browned. (Drain any grease) Cook and stir onions with meat until onions are tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients, except tomatoes. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 30 minutes. Add tomatoes; cover and simmer 20 minutes longer--or until vegetables are tender.

*1 can (28 ounces) tomatoes (with liquid) can be substituted for the fresh tomatoes. Reduce water to 3 cups. Stir in tomatoes after you cook the meat and add the water. Heat to biling. Reduce heat--cover and simmer 30 minutes. Stir to break tomatoes apart.

I like to cook some of those fun different shaped pastas during the different holidays--the little pumpkins in the fall, the Christmas tree ones at Christmas time. (We have a tradition of having homemade soup and rolls on Christmas Eve.)


CHICKEN SOUP--SOUTHWESTERN STYLE

This is a recipe from my friend, Cory:
1 large can (47 1/2 oz.) chicken broth (or use homemade)
1 14 oz. can crushed tomatoes, undrained
1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 pound chicken breast, cut into 1/2" chunks
1 large chopped onion
1/3 c. minced fresh parsley
1 4 oz. can chopped green chiles
1 minced garlic clove
1 t. chili powder
1 t. ground cumin
1/2 t. dried oregano
1/4 t. cayenne pepper
3 c. frozen corn, thawed

In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients, except the corn. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover and simmer for 1 hour. Add corn and cook 10 minutes longer. Top each serving with some corn chips and then sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.

Sidenote #1: I will be glad to have Allan home tonight. He got home from Utah on Monday and then Tuesday afternoon left to go to Indiana for my son-in-law, Tony's, father's funeral. I'm so glad that Allan was able to arrange it so he could be there. I would have loved to have been able to be there with everyone. I guess we can't do everything.


Sidenote #2:
We are less than 2 weeks away from our trip. I really can't remember when we actually booked the cruise, but I can't believe it is finally almost here. So often the anticipation of a trip is almost more exciting than the actual trip itself.

Monday, October 8, 2007

HAPPY CANADIAN THANKSGIVING

Today is Thanksgiving here in Canada. Obviously, I cannot let a Thanksgiving go by without writing about all the things for which I am thankful. I don't think a person can ever express gratitude too often, so if I have done this before, I really don't care. I have been richly blessed and Thanksgiving is a great time to pause and express thanks for all that I have. As I think about Elder Uchtdorf's talk on Saturday when he asked: have we not reason to rejoice? I know I do. I often wonder why I have been so blessed. I am such a sap--I watch the news and read of people with great struggles and wonder why I am so blessed.

As I listened to President Eyring yesterday talking about seeing the hand of God in our lives (and seeking to recognize it) I wondered if I pause to look for His hand often enough. I'm going to make more of an effort to do that. I want to make sure I write down those experiences when I see His hand, so my children and grandchildren know that I recognize how God is always touching my life. I was so blessed to be introduced to the Church in 1973 as a single mom. My babysitter recognized how much I needed it in my life, and although it took me a year of studying, I was baptized April 6, 1974, and am so grateful for that decision.

It is such a privilege to be a mother--as I heard Sister Beck and Elder Oaks talk about our roles as mothers (and parents in general), I wondered what I need to do differently. I don't want to get caught up in feeling guilty, but I do know there are so many areas that I can do better. (I think that's part of why we have Conference, so we can all look at what we can do to become the people God needs us to be)

Tony, my son-in-law, lost his father on Saturday. As I sat there listening to President Monson's talk about Arthur--I so wish my son-in-law could have heard it. He is not a member of the Church, and that talk was so filled with hope. I'm so grateful for the hope that the Gospel brings into our lives. I think of my 5 sisters who are not members--they think our parents are buried and will be buried forever. I have tried to help them understand. I appreciate so much the knowledge I have that we will see our parents again.

I'm grateful for great Church leaders. Obviously, President Hinckley is amazing. I will forever remember the perseverance of Elder Wirthlin. What a great example. How can I ever complain about being too tired to go visiting teacher or to fulfill any assignment. He had a talk to give, and he was not going to sit down until he gave it! After asking what quality defines us best as members of the Church, he taught us the quality that defines him. I loved when he said that Heavenly Father sees us in terms of forever.

I appreciate our local leaders as well. I appreciate all who have taught my children through the years. I have had the opportunity to serve with so many wonderful men and women who have been such great examples to me.

And, a word of thanks to all of you bloggers out there who brighten my life by your words. I did ask myself a few times while listening to Conference, whether I spend too much time reading blogs. I may have to stop and re-evaluate the amount of time I spend at the computer and not read every day.

Last, but certainly not least, I'm grateful to be a wife. Of course, it doesn't hurt to have the best and the cutest husband in the world!!! It's wonderful to know he will be home tonight. He enjoyed his time in Utah and I know Heidi and Brent had a great time with him. They were at the Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning sessions. Allan was able to have lunch on Friday with Brent and some of his former companions. Allan loved watching Brent and his companions interact--such great fun. He also enjoyed being with Heidi to celebrate her birthday. (I can't believe the Choir didn't sing Happy Birthday to her on Sunday ;)

This started as a Happy Canadian Thanksgiving post, but with the thoughts about Conference let me ask, what impressed you about Conference? It's always amazing to me how we hear what we need to hear. If we asked 20 people what they thought the overwhelming theme of conference was I'm sure we'd get various answers. In fact, we might even say, I don't even remember hearing anything about that subject.

Sidenote #1: I didn't make the brownies and guess what: Everyone survived!!! (Caramel brownie recipe will be posted this week)

Sidenote #2: I've started organizing my clothes for my upcoming trip. I decided to check the weather in the various cities we'll be visiting--good thing I did. I don't think it's going to be as cold as I thought--so I don't need as many sweaters. Yippee--sweaters take up way too much room!!! (More room for chocolate!!!)

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Halloween Tag

My daughter in law Macy tagged anyone who wanted to do this and didn't have any ideas for a post, so I thought, heck, why not. I'd like to do the same and tag anyone who thinks it might be fun. (It is!!! If you decide to do it, please leave a comment, so I can visit your blog and see what you have to say.)
I love Halloween. One of my favorite things to do is carve pumpkins--although I must admit Stephen is the expert when it comes to carving them. I do think Kyle has inherited the ability to carve, too



When I read txmommy's blog the other day, she posted a picture of one of her children in a pumpkin patch. I love pictures in pumpkin patches, like this of Jason and Kiah







or this of Heidi, Brent, and Kyle--don't you just love people who take pictures when you have to look directly INTO the sun!!!













Now, back to the tag--The questions are:

Do you think Halloween costumes for kids and teenagers are too provocative these days? I have to say I haven't seen any of the children or teenagers wearing anything too provocative here in Winnipeg. (Of course, I've seen plenty of clothing that I'm a little worried about, but not necessarily Halloween costumes)

What's the scariest movie you've ever seen?

The movie that has always scared me is Psycho--it still does today. I won't even watch it if it's on. I do remember as a young girl seeing a movie with the line, "I Saw What You Did and I Know Who You Are." It was in the days when my girlfriends and I used to crank call people. (I could do a funny post on Kyle and his friends crank calling and what happened!!! Didn't they know about caller ID) It was about a couple of girls who cranked call this man and said that and he had just murdered his wife. (I don't think we made any more crank calls after the movie.) One more would have to be Night of the Living Dead (this would be the original)


What's the first Halloween costume that you remember wearing?
The mind is not that good--Do you have any idea how long ago that was????? I do remember going as a nurse, an old lady, and a teacher. When Stephen was little we went as clowns. That was a lot of fun.


In fact, I wore that costume again, some 18 years later with Heidi and Brent.












When was the last time you dressed up for Halloween? What did you go as? I think it was for a youth activity, and what else, I used my clown costume.

(I'm adding this question): What was your children's favorite Halloween costume? I've had some great costumes for my kids. One year Brent and Kyle went as Men in Black--










One year I made Brent a costume so he could be his favorite cartoon/video game character--Mega Man.





And one year I made Kyle a spider costume which I thought turned out pretty good.



















When you were growing up, what was the weather like on Halloween night? Did you ever have to trick or treat in a heavy coat or through the snow?
I don't ever remember having to wear a jacket on Halloween when I was growing up. That's not something my kids living here in Winnipeg could ever say. We always had to do our costumes with the temperatures in mind.


SO COME ON--IF YOU'VE GOT SOME GREAT HALLOWEEN MEMORIES PUT THEM TOGETHER. IT REALLY IS FUN. THANKS FOR THE IDEA, MACY.

THANK YOU NANCY FACE

Nancy face gave me this "You Lift Me Up" award
and I appreciate it so much. I enjoy reading Nancy face's blog so much. She has to be one of the most positive people I know. I've told her before I wish she was my next door neighbor. Then again I would be worried she would try to drag me out for her early morning runs, and I know I could NEVER keep up with her.

I would like to pass the bloggy happiness on to these wonderful ladies. (I really would like to give the award to everyone who has a blog I visit--you each brighten my day.) Thanks to everyone who inspires me with your humor, your knowledge, your love of life, and your love of your families.

Calamity Jane--if you have not stopped by to view her blog, please do. You will not be disappointed. She is so inspirational; PJ always gives me a lift when I stop by and read her blog. She has a sweetness about her that is so evident in everything she writes; txmommy has such a great love for her family which is evident in all of her posts--they are so uplifting to me; and Amanda who has such a blend of humor and spirituality.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

OCTOBER CELEBRATIONS

October is a time for celebrations in our house. We have Miss Heidi turning 24 on the 7th. Oh, how I still remember the day my doctor held up this sweet little girl and said, "Look, mom, no more nausea!!!" I laugh when I remember Allan having to go back home to get the camera--obviously I wasn't in my right mind if we left the house without it!!! When they were ready to wheel me into the delivery room the doctor asked where Allan was and when I told him he went back to get the camera he said, "I sure hope he gets back in time." Fortunately, he did!!!




Here she is being silly when she and the boys took their trip to Disneyland this past summer.












On the 10th Brandon will turn 13. I am curious what it is about me with Stephen and Daphne's little ones--(The first time I held Kiah she did the same thing!!!) Maybe it's because I look so much like their dad???










I can't believe B is going to be a teenager. This is a young man with a heart of gold. I don't think he knows how easy it would be for him to wrap me around his little finger!!! Here he is in June 2006 in Hawaii. (I can't wait to go back with everyone in June 2008!!!













And, then on the 23rd, Allan and I will celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. I will still always remember our first date--at Pizza Hut with Stephen and Neal. (I guess both of us felt comfortable bringing reinforcements!!! Of course, we always laugh about how after a few minutes into the date, we wish we could have ditched them ; ) Those 3 months we spent courting were so fun. The blending of two families was not an easy task. I know it was a tough adjustment on the kids, but I think most of them would agree it was worth it. Funny thing--the other day our Stake had a marriage class being taught by Social Services. It was taught to Stake leaders so they could learn how to teach it to the Stake. Kyle thought it was so funny that we were going to a class to learn how to be married!!!

SIDENOTE #1: WE LEAVE FOR OUR CRUISE IN 3 WEEKS. It has really helped me to give up the chocolate. (Not that the pounds are falling off like I wish they would, but at least it's better than it was) As I've said, it's not self-control because if I had self-control I wouldn't have to give it up!!! The amazing part is it hasn't been as difficult as I thought it would be until I think about Sidenote #2--

SIDENOTE #2: Speaking of chocolate, I always make my specialty chocolate caramel brownies for our General Conference luncheon on Sunday, in between the morning and afternoon session. What will happen if I go without my brownies--will there be a revolt, will people ban me from eating with them, will people be upset because they didn't bring dessert thinking I would have the brownies??? I just don't know if I can make them without at least eating the dough--but WISH ME LUCK!!!

Monday, October 1, 2007

WHAT A WEEKEND

On Friday and Saturday, Kyle had another volleyball tournament. This one was at the University of Manitoba--so there were 3 games being played at once.(Unfortunately, I couldn't get close enough to take a good picture, so here's one from a previous game--Kyle has a pretty good vertical leap, and I have the fingerprints on my ceilings to prove it ; ) I couldn't believe the talent of some of the teams. We were commenting that when some of the them spiked the ball, the opposing team should have had helmets on for their protection. IT WAS AMAZING.

On Saturday, I ran over to the Church with refreshments for a baptism that I couldn't get to (because of volleyball). Every Spring our Stake R.S. has a conference in conjunction with the Relief Society Broadcast from Salt Lake. This year, besides the regular service project where we could do leper bandages, school kits, blankets, etc., we had the option of going out and serving in the community. I chose to do that. I, along with 20 or so other sisters, went to a local nursing home and helped the residents play games. It was wonderful. It was so fun to watch these ladies (along with a few men) play a game similar to bingo. They would get so excited when they won. I had such a great time with the lady, Marion, that I was helping. She offered me one of her prizes (a chocolate candy bar) and wouldn't take no for an answer--what was I to do??? (Since I couldn't eat it, I gave it away)

Then we went back to the Stake Center for dinner and then watched the Broadcast. As always, it was wonderful. It's great to be reminded of the things we need to do. When I talked to Heidi she mentioned how great it was to see the diversity of this presidency, and I have to agree--it's wonderful. We are so fortunate to have these kinds of opportunities. I am so looking forward to General Conference next weekend. I have to admit, I do wish I was going down to Utah with Allan--not only to be there for Conference, but to be able to see Brent (who has a mission reunion on Friday) and celebrate Heidi's birthday.

Speaking of Heidi, Allan used one of her paintings at Church on Sunday. This is a painting she did for Father's Day or his birthday. She asked him his favorite scripture and he said, John 4:14. She went into her room and a few hours later, came out with this (unfortunately, the camera doesn't do it justice)

Church was great today. All in all it was a pretty quiet Sabbath. Worked on a couple of Seminary lessons for this week. Talked to Miss Kiah to wish her a happy birthday. Also talked to Heidi and Brent.