Tuesday, December 30

Fondue Fun Night!

For several years now we have hosted a New Years Eve at our home. Each year we have picked a theme for the food...we have had Italian, Oriental, Casino Royal, Fried everything, Steak, appetizers, Mexican, etc.... In recent years I loved Casino Royal...we had mocktails,boy were the kids creative. So what will it be in 2009........drum roll.......
One of my favorite episodes of Everybody Loves Raymond was Fondue Fun Night hosted by Rays sister-in-law Amy. At our house you say fondue and someone says Fondue Fun Night!
For Christmas we received an electric fondue pot, at that moment I knew that our New Years Eve Party would be Fondue Fun Night.
I have scoured the Internet looking for fabo Fondue recipes....which I found several. The best sounding recipes are the dessert fondues of course. The cheese ones are fine, but I am not a big cheese eater and most of them contain wine or beer....So we will have to make some adjustments. A fun savory fondue I found is called supreme pizza fondue....it is marinara sauce with sausage, pepperoni, onions and peppers, you dip mozzarella cheese or bread into it, yum....
The fondue part is covered now what will we do for fun besides dipping things in to yummy pots of goodness?

Sunday, December 28

Resolution Planning

2009,will it be another year to fail?
Okay, so it is just days to the New Year, what will my new resolutions be? I usually don't like making resolutions for the New Year because the resolutions just remind me of my past failures at personal goal setting.
Growing up we always were goal setters and achievers ..... I now am a goal think abouter. I have a really hard time setting a goal,making a plan and sticking too it .... Something about and Elephant and obtainable is ringing in my ears...but hey, I want the whole thing now and not just an elephant hair.
So where to begin.....what do I want to accomplish this year? My mom always reminds me that the year will pass, so I might as well accomplish something.
When I asked the fam what I should resolve to do they looked at me with blank stares.....then commented that they thought I had already made enough plans for the New Year.....hellooooo these are plans, a resolution is a personal goal, accomplishment or a change you are working on.... personally.
So, should I resolve to exercise....I have failed at this numerous times, how about diet....another failure. When I wrote to Nelson this morning the idea came to me to work on ....... (this is going to sound church centerfold....which I'm not)... I felt like I needed to work on being Steadfast and Immovable in Christ, just like the VT message for January...... easy, but hard and so very churchy..... churchy isn't bad but ........ I will keep on working on resolution ideas.....

Friday, December 26

Ah, Christmas....it is over for 2008

Ahhhh....it is over...363 shopping days till next Christmas.Maybe it won't be the surprise it was this year.

We actually had a wonderful Christmas....did we do all we wanted to do...no, but that was okay. I am glad that it went off as well as it did.

The Missionary call from Nelson made my day...and my headache...you know from the suppressed tears. He sounded so good. He has jumped right in and is working hard, trying to help those they are teaching see the joy that being a member of the church can be in their lives. We talked to his Australian companion Elder Honda,who said he is sharp and know the lessons.
It will be a long,long time till mothers day....

We had a surprise gift, that kind of changed our plans but hey........ Our Surprise gift...well not really a gift, we had to buy it...but still nice..... in our driveway sits a cute blue and silver Smart Car! We ordered the thing almost 2 years ago. We were told in August that we wouldn't be seeing it until around February 2009. We picked it up on Tuesday Dec. 23, 2008. It is about 8 feet long, seats two people comfortably, and is fun to drive. It is just the car to take if you don't want to over purchase....where would you put the stuff. People stop and stare....on the freeway it is hard to change lanes because the cars next to you want to look at this tiny odd car. I first saw a Smart Car almost 10 years ago when we were in Germany....I thought it was so cute I bought a model car and brought it home. We looked into importing one for us but the price to do so was so limiting at the time.....when we got word that they were coming to the USA, Gary kept track of when and how to get one.....well, we got one. What a fun Christmas Present.


Tuesday, December 23

2 Days...... Dog and the Snow

Okay there are only two shopping days left till Christmas. I thought I was done...not, nor will I ever be if it keeps snowing like it is.....yikes!!!

My dog is cute, kind, temperamental, moody and most defiantly crazy!!!! He thinks the door to outside is a revolving door...in, out, in, out.....that is his way to control us. He hates the cold...can hardly go three feet outside to do his business, but if there is snow.....it is a different story. He can romp and play and get all covered in the white stuff....I guess that the snow is not cold to him. When he comes inside from one of his many forays into the snow his nose is always covered with snow...question,why would you bury your noes in the snow? My nose is cold almost all of the winter, and my dogs nose is cold and wet most of the time....why make it colder? Oh the life of a dog.....you sleep all day, and act like it is an imposition to move, and at night you sleep more....oh, and if it is to cold he can't go out to do his stuff, but if there is fresh snow....hello, I'm a puppy all over again....let me out!

Off to shop!!!!


Monday, December 22

The Poppel who Peeped in time

Shopping with 3 days till Christmas reminds me of the song “Twelve Days to Christmas” from the musical “She Loves Me”. We are now in a gift buying time crunch…the gifts we thought we would eventually get are gone from the stores (did you know that if you had shopped early a Wii Fit would have only cost $89.99… they are not in any store and on line the only sellers are selling them for as much as $250.00, plus rush shipping. YIKES...no Wii fit for the Call’s), the on line shopping possibilities are unaffordable due to the shipping rates… In the song the rushed shoppers are not “the people who shopped in time,” but the poppel who peeped in time,” and that is what we saw today a bunch of poppel, peeping… Today as we shopped we encountered all kinds of crazy, and we were probably the crazy to someone else. Early in our shopping rounds the crowd was pleasant and focused, we got a lot (or as Nelson tells me they say in NZ - we got heaps) done. I felt like we were going to win the gift shopping lottery and have it all completed by 1:00PM…..how wrong was I. As the day wore on more and more people turned in to crazy poppels…I mean really crazy poppels, peeping…maybe the weather had something to do with it. Anyway, has much fun as the hustle and bustle of the season is I hope I never wait this long to do the majority of my shopping ever again….after all Christmas is not a surprise.
Now for the wrapping….

Friday, December 19

A Blessed Beautiful Day

I feel like I have lost a month...I am missing the Christmas Season, one of my favorite times of the year...I am so far behind December isn't even on my radar, and today is the 19th.....ahhh! 6 days 'till Christmas?!?!

But today things have changed....
After attending Hayden's Jr. High Christmas music assembly (what a painful experience for the ears...I don't love beginning strings, or madrigal groups that sing flat. The Band was good..especially the guy on the snare drum in Sleigh Ride, and the bells in Mr. Grinch), we exited the building into a winter wonder land. It had been snowing since mid morning, and it has snowed several times in the past week (I know I have shoveled every time and boy are my arms sore), so I was not missing the snow....but coming out of the school everything was different, things looked better and felt exciting. When we arrived home a few minutes later my house was different as well, the decorations and lights looked special. The Christmas magic was in the air! Today was a day when everything fell together in a perfect rhythm....holiday music, snow, lights, family together, good holiday smells, Christmas projects being completed....it was a beautiful day, a perfect pre-Christmas Day. It reminded me of days from my childhood...the days that lasted forever and ever and the days when everything was just right.

With the perfectness of this day I didn't catch up on my list, or have time from the past month renewed to me...but I know this day was made for me. A day to fulfill a deep need inside of me, a day to find peace and be at peace with the way things are. Because of the perfectness of this day I know that I am loved and blessed by my Heavenly Father.
What a wonderful, blessed, beautiful day!


Tuesday, December 16

Christmas Dreams

Today I began to really shop for Christmas. (I know I should be done...everyone I run in to reminds me of that fact).
I would love to give my family everything, but they really don’t need it, and we all know it. So what to do to show them how much I love them? I really would like to get each family member their much hoped for dreams…….
When we were growing up my mom had us all make a Christmas Wish list. Each list was an 81/2 x 11 piece of paper, tri folded. Each column had a title—NEEDS, WANTS, DREAMS. We were then to compile a list under each category of our Christmas wishes. This list making task was met with great thought. It was a joy and easy to fill out the Dream column. In this column we would place the outrageous, the unimaginable and the most hoped for. There were cars and trips and sometimes huge sums of money and fame listed under Dreams. The hardest column to fill out was the Needs. After some pondering and much erasing, we would discover once again that we were very blessed and really needed very little....Our basic needs were more than met. That left the Want column. In this column we would list the toys and all the items we at first thought we needed, then erased and moved to the Wants…. we don’t need, but we want…a whole lot.
I have had my family fill out similar lists every Christmas and this year Jordan and Laurie did the same….the tradition continues.
I love lists, especially the three lists that make up our Christmas Wishes. These lists give me goals, directions, purposes. With this Christmas Wish list I have discovered a little bit more about my family, what they are all about in each phase of their lives and what Wants and Dreams motivate them.
As parents Gary and I have tried over the years to give an item from each column of our kids Christmas List. The Needs and Wants are easy to fulfill, but it is the Dreams that make life and the gift giving fun. Early on the gifts from our Dream Lists have been tokens---toy cars, and movie, music or books to represent the hoped for dream. Some years we have had great joy granting the dream of a much hoped for trip or money to help achieve a dream. Over the years we have tried to help each other hold on to our dreams and work toward them. The best thing about the Dream List is that as the years have passed we have seen a few of our dreams really come true….A dream is a wish you heart makes.
I have kept our families Christmas Wish lists for many years. Looking back at them brings me great joy. I love the memories of each person’s excitement, and appreciation when they have received something from the list….and I especially love the memories of helping Christmas Dreams come true.
So I am off again, with Christmas Lists in hand to try to make more Christmas Dreams come true!

Monday, December 15

Elder Call

Isn't he cute?

Elder NC in NZ

We received our first letter from NZ and it sounds as if Elder Call has jumped in with both sore feet….his bike has not caught up to his area so they are hoofing it right now. He has been assigned to Rangiora, a rural area just north of Christchurch on the South Island. They have a 60 member branch and three people in their teaching pool. His companion is Elder Honda from Australia. According to Sis. Jolliffe, the Mission President's wife, Elder Honda is wonderful and dynamic. According to NC, 'he likes American football so we should get along fine.'
His Christmas Packages from the fam and Grandma Sheri were sent to his 'flat'... hey I am already picking up the lingo....No, he didn't open them.....according to him, he is not Jordan.
All is “GREAT!"
He will call on Christmas Day!

wow! no tears from mom, all is well.

Ward Party

My Ward Party is over ….. YEAH! It turned out well, but was still more work than it should have been. As much as I claimed I hated it…I have begun planning for next year’s 3 parties, an Ice Cream Social and field games, A Fall Festival- Fair, and a Night in Bethlehem. I know all the parties will require lots of work, but just knowing what I want to do will really help me get things planned and going …hopefully early!

Thursday, December 11

ARRRGH!!!! Ward Activities

Caution this is a negative post, but it does get better at the end.

I strongly dislike one of my ward callings. (Hate is to strong of a word).
I teach singing to the nursery kids for 10 minutes on Sunday and I am the Activities Chairman. (Guess which one i dislike?)
Nursery is great, please don't ever release me! However, I don't enjoy the Activities Committee....Being the chairman means I have to work my butt off, for a two hour party, with a fifty cent per person budget, once a quarter...but that is not all, all activities have to look like five star events, and I need to delegate the responsibilities involved with each of the events to others on the committee, others who have different standards and ideas than mine.
It is the delegating that is hardest part for me. I have gotten better at delegating and letting go, at allowing others to do things their way and not trying to swoop in and save them.
"If they fail or it is not up to my standard, that is okay. I will not be embarrassed by their performance." (That is my mantra right now).
I am currently in this state because Saturday morning is our Ward Christmas Party... I have tons to do myself, and I have to worry about the others coming through. The weather people tell me it is supposed to snow Saturday morning..... so we have had to change out menu plans, and snow limits participation. I also haven't had phone calls returned and who knows if those asked to volunteer to help will show up?
I use to think that this would be a fun calling, that was until I was called as Enrichment Leader several years ago...now there is a calling that is on the same level as Activities Committee. Oh, I can see how both callings could be perceived as fun. Either calling would be perfect for someone who is organized, who works well with others, who can delegate with out regret, who likes to plan and host events. (I lack several of these qualities). Both callings would be great to do if you could 'really' pick the folks to work with, and if you had some real bucks to work with....(there is my problem, I think it takes money to make these things work out. I have money can solve all taste, and vision, but no money to spend). Either calling would be great if you didn't have to kill yourself setting it up and taking it down...aha, this is when I know I am not magical...if I were, viola, all would happen with a wave of my wand.............arrrrgh!!!!!

When I get this way I think "why don't I just quit?" Why don't I just sweetly sing Saturday morning -- "Please release me,let me go"............NO, NO, NO!
I don't quit...because who else would want this awful calling. (bad, negative answer, start over). I don't quit...because I was called by the Bishop whom I've sustained...called to serve where ever I am needed in the building up of the kingdom. --Yes, that is my correct religious response, and I will serve until I am released. -- I do believe in what I said, and I am not mocking. --So just for today let me complain a little. I know that all will be fine, maybe not up to my expectations, but fine none the less because I will look at it with my church filter glasses in place and know that any short comings will be okay, ironed out by everyone else donning their church filter glasses and of course made fine by the angels....right?
Miracles can happen!!!


Wednesday, December 10

Surprise Christmas Is Coming

In 15 days it will be Christmas Day. It comes around every year on December 25th; it is not like a surprise or anything. I have 364 days of the year to prepare for it, but for some reason this year Christmas is a surprise! SURPRISE! I have the house decorated, check; I am working on the Christmas Cards, check. But there are no gifts purchased - or even thought about, no Christmas goodies made, no thoughts on a neighbor gift, and what holiday activities do I really want to I participate in or plan for this year? SURPRISE!
Christmas is a very exciting time when you are prepared for it but, when it’s not, it’s not even a good surprise. And I usually love surprises.
So where to begin…after all, the gifts, special goodies and the activities make the season bright.
I guess will have to make a list and check it twice…just like Santa.


Nelson News: We know for sure that the Elder made it to NZ...he made a purchase which appeared on his bank statement! It is probably for his bike.boy is the Exchange rate in our favor if it was the bike.

Tuesday, December 9

Oh,Christmas Cards

Several years ago I began handcrafting Christmas greeting cards for friends and family….what an undertaking. Some years they are simple other years extravagant….and the extravagant ones usually come about because of my poor planning. Once again it is time to create the cards. I have been thinking about the process for several weeks, even months now but have not settled on a fabo idea. We had the family photo taken back before the wedding (glad Jordan followed through). I have looked at old craft books and on line. I had one idea that sounded really good but when I made the practice card it looked dumb, no personality at all.
I know that most folks no longer send greeting cards (I love those words ‘greeting cards’…think Karen Carpenter singing White Christmas. She sings it so beautifully), but I like the thought greeting cards imply… ‘I thought about you and your family’, ‘hope all is well with you and yours’, ‘all is well with us’.
No, the card is not an expensive gift but in this case it ‘is the thought that counts’…
Oh Christmas Cards!

Monday, December 8

I Hope NZ is Ready for NC

Well he is really gone...gone to New Zealand for 2 years, 2 long, long, LONG...yes long years.
While Nelson was at the MTC in Provo it was just like a practice, I figured he could get home or I could get to him if we really needed to....but NZ is so, so , SO, SO far away! If he wanted to really get home he couldn't even do it by foot! When Jordan was on his mission in St. Louis, I figured that if something really catastrophic happened that he could always walk home, after all our pioneer ancestors once walked from there to here. But Nelson is going across the ocean, to unknown territory.

So I spent the morning crying, doing my theatre work and crying. Megan thought something awful had happened when I came downstairs for lunch. My face was tear streaked and the mascara was missing from my bottom lashes....yikes what a sight. No nothing awful, a mission is wonderful, but he is going so far a way for so, so long....yes Elder Nelly will be missed.

The only really good thing that came out of today was his phone call from the Airport! I got to talk to my boy for 25 minutes! He sounded wonderful. He is so positive and excited, I couldn't put a damper on his enthusiasm, so there were no tears, just tales of what has been happening, and re assurance that we are getting his letters. He has been writing letters and sending them snail mail from the MTC, he said " it's a mystery if you are getting my letters." Gary and I took to reading between the lines...He is a child of cellphones, text messaging and e-mails, he loves to have the immediate response and info at his finger tips. Writing a letter long hand and mailing it off, then waiting for a week for a response is like putting a message in a bottle and throwing it into the ocean and hoping that someone will find it and respond. He will figure it out.... at least in NZ he will have e-mail...but still a weeks wait for answers.

Anyway...the funniest part of his phone call was him telling us that he purchased a news paper after checking in the airport, so as to discover who would be playing in what bowl games. I guess old ways die hard....I am sure the fact that he couldn't look up the info on his blackberry yesterday about did him in. He is an information junkie just like his dad.....I hope that he realizes that the only info he know will need can be found in his scriptures and on his knees.

I hope that NZ is ready for Elder NC...because he is ready to be there! ....... and I am ready for my Christmas phone call!


Friday, December 5


Friday, Friday, Friday is my favorite day….the weekend has arrived. I love Fridays for several reasons the first being the ‘Maid’ arrives. Our maid looks a lot like me, yes, she is me, however she has a distinctive outfit; orange crocs, crop jeans with flower appliqu├ęs and a t-shirt. The maid deep cleans the bathrooms, does laundry, vacuums the house, washes windows, cleans up the public areas and in general picks up after the fam. (no personal space cleaning---that is why bedrooms have doors, if I don’t like what I am seeing the door gets closed). The day I decided that it was okay to be the ‘maid’ for one day of the week, made my life and weekends a whole lot nicer. Being the ‘maid’ was better than complaining that no one was helping; complaining that the mundane have to do jobs weren’t getting done. Having the ‘maid’ come in seems to inspire everyone else to pitch in quicker and help. The ‘maid’ takes the stress off the Saturday ‘to do list’ and makes Saturday and Sunday more family, friend and fun centered…not so many tasks to be accomplished, more time for play. “Work hard, then play harder!”
Another reason I love Friday is that it is the ‘Dream’ day…the day you dream about what you are going to do on the weekend. The anticipation of what is to come is so exciting, to me almost better than the actual events of the weekend.…In your mind or dream the weekend is perfect…no unexpected interruptions, no bad weather, perfect people behaving, dressing and interacting perfectly! Even if the dream doesn’t equal the actual reality, it is nice to know that on Friday my weekend was perfect.
Friday is usually the eve of something new. On Fridays most work and school ends earlier, people’s attitudes seems to be brighter with the hope of a few change of pace days, and Friday brings the ‘maid’.
Friday is a great day!


Decorating Update...

Decorting is done...except for square wreaths, no one has them. I am going to have to make them myself or have them made. Oh the joy of the holidays. I willprobably find them everywhere next year.
Today is clean up messes an put the boxes away day.
I love Christmas decorations! They make the world look magical.


Wednesday, December 3

Where Does It All Go?

Okay, I wanted to be more creative with my Christmas decorating, but after 3 days, --Where Does It All Go? I don't want to think, anymore. I keep asking everyone what did I do last year, and they don't remember. I went and looked at the photos from the last few years and the rooms all look the same....and the I still don't know what bows to use on the family room garland. The Photos did answer some questions like, who's turn is it for Christmas Eve Breakfast?--It looks like it is Adam & Christine's turn. Who do we give gifts to this year?--The Welch's. (I think that this is the year to change the gift thing around...but that is for another day).
I also want to know where I keep all of this stuff the other 11 months of the year? I keep pulling boxes out and I can't imagine how it all fits. It must grow with the added oxygen and light. Putting away the empty boxes has been a challenge. It is like a big puzzle. Hayden thinks that the boxes that I have asked him to put away are still full, and some of them are....with stuff I don't know where to put. Gary tells me that if I don't use it, give it to J&L or to the DI. Giving it to J&L is a possibility, but it is all too cute to give away. After all I picked it out, I thought it would or it did work at some point in my decorating scheme, and what if I want to use it again....It's just like the wreaths that they made me give away last year with the unused decorations....I want them this year, I know how to use them.
Finally where does the time go? It is Dec. 3, almost the 4, 21 days to the big day and I haven't even begun to shop. The question here is what to purchase for whom. No one can tell me what they would like that is within my limited budget. If it weren't for the money, I would buy everyone, anything they could dream they would want. But if I did that ,where would it all go?
Back to the boxes and the decorating. Thursday I will be done, because I am done!!!

Tuesday, December 2

Decking The Hall!

Where’s the snow? I’m listening to my favorite Christmas tunes, decorating my house and sweating to death in an unseasonable heat wave….it should at least appear blustery and late fall like. I know that it sometimes doesn’t snow until mid December. I remember Christmases without snow…but the warmth is not making me happy. I tell you as I looked down at the trees in the gully yesterday some of the trees looked as if they thought it was spring. They were that yellow spring green with what looked like buds. CRAZY! I’ll just have to sing about the snow and look at my faux snow as I decorate.
Anyway decorating my house for Christmas doesn’t just happen. It takes days, up to a week to make things look just right. As I pull out each ornament and decoration memories of seasons past come flooding back…maybe that is why it takes so long to get it done. (Taking it down can be done in a day and a half.) This year I decided to unload one storage location at time and decorate with what I found there. The only problem with this method is that like things were not put away together… (If I do this another year I will take that into consideration.) But is has been interesting and not so back breaking. It has been fun to leave spaces for known treasures to come. This also has given me the opportunity to re-think my decorations and there placement. Maybe I’ll do it new and more interesting way this year…different isn’t always better but better is always different. So back to decorating and Dreaming of a White Christmas, or at least a cooler one.

Nelson News
Nelson leaves for NZ on the 8th. He sent us his travel plans and it will be really hard not to go to the Airport...but he is rules kind of guy so I won't. Nelson mentioned the heat in his latest letter and wanted more shorts...I hope he figures out the weather in NZ, he is a hot body.


Monday, December 1

Thanksgiving Movies

Okay, I have seen the top 5 grossing movies for Thanksgiving weekend....and I only went to one movie this weekend....the rest I saw weeks ago in screenings...ah the perks of my job.

Australia Is a good movie. If you want a Western, a WWII movie and a Romance this is the movie for you. Yes, it is very long but the length didn't bother me.
Hugh Jackman!! Hugh Jackman larger than life in this film. He is fabulous!! He comes cross strong, tough, a mans- man, romantic, and emotional. Showing the male leads emotional side is not normal for most films, but it was so touching in this movie. He was wonderful -- If this film were as big as flop as some critics think I would still see this movie just for Hugh. I think that he is fine actor and not bad to look at. Nicole Kiddman does a nice job, and directs the story along nicely. But it is Brandon who plays Nullah who is the star of, and steals this movie. Brandon is an Aborigine child who has never acted before. He is charming and lovable and has an all around depth of character that is remarkable. His depth is something uncommon to even adult actors...it is probably because he comes from such a state of innocence just like his character. Director Baz Lhurman shows his influences as a director with this movie. He is known for some bold choices in his previous work but this movie is very straight forward. Without giving anything away, my recommendation is that you see this movie, if not for the entertainment value, or the Hugh Jackman eye candy, go see it just to hear the unknown story of the Stolen Generation in Australia. The cinematography is stunning,the costumes magnificent and the emotional tug of the heart is worth it. My 17 year old nephew said he cried 3 times, I did too....oh by the way if you haven't figured out my obsession by now...Hugh Jackman is in this movie!!!!!
P.S. You will hear "Somewhere Over The Rainbow " with re-newed ears.
I'd give it a B+


Friday, November 28

Lazy Days

Don't you just love it when you really have a day off....nothing that is pressing, the house is clean, you don't have a to do list to finish, (even thought there is so much to do).
This is wonderful lazy day; We slept in, we read the whole paper, no work to be done, now we are puzzling and doing what ever we want. We ate Thanksgiving (Sunday turkey) leftovers for lunch and we will probably go to mom's for her Thanksgiving leftovers.
Ah, the sweet life....the only thing better would be sitting on warm beach or snowed in in front of a roaring fire!

Just a month till Christmas and I am not going to worry about it until tomorrow......?!?!?!?


Thursday, November 27


Dinner at the Grand America Hotel was elegant and delicious. There were so many choices. It looked like the food scene out of the "Scrooge"movie Ghost of Christmas Present section. My eyes were bigger than my stomach. I tried to taste it all...except for the desserts, they all looked very hotel/cruse buffet generic...except for the bread pudding which was fabo!!! There was the traditional turkey, prime rib, and rack of New Zealand lamb. There was a table with shrimp, crab legs, mussels and fish. They had an omelet station, and other breakfast foods. Several good vegetable dishes, and and a bread table and one with cheese and crackers. On the dessert Table was several cheese cake choices, tarts, fruit parfaits, a chocolate fountain,creeps made to order, apple pear crisp and cookies and rice crispie treats. They had the cutest kids buffet with chicken nuggets,macaroni and cheese,veggies, and lots of candy and goodies. We saw one little girl with broccoli,2 chicken nuggets and lots of candy on her plate. I think that we all ate our fill and then some. I noticed that Hayden had at least 3 plated with mashed potatoes, and 2 big pieces of cheese cake It was a very nice dinner and I would not be opposed to doing it again another year. The only thing I will miss are the leftovers and the food that I would like to taste again later.


Happy Turkey Day---more blessings

Happy Turkey Day ---Well this is a day of first, the Call family is going to dinner at the Grand America Hotel. I guess we will be well and elegantly feed, and we will be with family, so we have some of the Thanksgiving feel...but it is just not the same as dinner at home.Anyway---Pie Party was successful. We had good family, family and pie....lots of pie.

We are all so blessed, and that is what is most evident as I write my list.....
62. My Savior Jesus Christ 63. friends 64. make-up 65. wheat 66. cows
67. airplanes 68. democracy 69. the Constitution of the U.S. 70. Free speech
71. coats 72. pumpkin pie for breakfast 73. Broadway 74. Football 75. President Monson 76. Pilgrims 77. Pioneers 78. bananas 79. fireworks 80. Macy's
81. History Channel 82. Cd's 83. Movies 84. The Music of Rogers & Hammerstein 85. Missionaries 86. memories 87. Apples 88. scrapbook supplies 89. News paper advertising 90. water colors 91. carpeting 92. gold jewelry 93. sugar 94. encyclopedias 95. Temples 96. my Testimony 97. Joseph Smith 98. blood 99. medicine 100. my life.

Wow...I am so blessed... I know that there are many, many more blessings to be grateful for...i will continue this day and hopefully all others, with a grateful heart and spirit.
Happy Thanksgiving Day!

Wednesday, November 26

Pie Party

It is time once again for the Annual Cole Family Pie Party, held Thanksgiving Eve. This year the Call's are the host. We have invited a small group this year...just family. In years past the pie party was held at Mom& Dads, the crowd of people has been enormous. But times have changed...thank heavens. One year there were more people in attendance that I didn't know than those I knew. Those parities came to an end when Mom and Dad were on their mission to Scotland. We are now a much more manageable group,and we move location from year to year, just like we do for Halloween Doughnuts...it keep the hanger ons guessing where we will be. Thus keeping the tradition for our family and invited guest.
The Pie Party began because we were always too full to eat the pie after Thanksgiving Dinner. Grandpa Butters thought that it would be good to have a sampling of the pie the night before so that we could really taste and enjoy them. You can eat one slice or have a sampling of all the pies...this is called a 'oneovitch' or a Russian serving.
For tonight's party I have made the following pies: Pumpkin, Apple, Mixed Berry,& Peach. Mom has made: Banana Cream, Coconut Cream,Cherry, & French Apple,Liz is making her Chocolate Cream Pies, and a Pumpkin Cheese Cake, Angela a Chocolate Chip Pie and I think that Christine is making Carmel Apple Pie. There will be plenty of pie for all.
What a tradition!

Count Your Many Blessings

.... 26. Healthy body 27. good eyes 28. ears that hear 29. brain 30. hands 31. feet 32.legs that work 33. flowers 34. Cheerios 35. cream 36. spaghetti
37. the daily news 38. food network 39. salt 40. potatoes 41. water 42. sun
43. the Mo Tab Choir 44. scrapbooks 46. freeze 24 7 47. soap 48. snickers the candy bar 49. Snicker the dog 50. Rainbows 51. Roast Tomato Soup 52.Trees 53. Air 54. Clouds 55. Mountains 56. Snow 57. BBQ 58. Gelato 59. Elliptical Trainer 60. Puzzles 61. Scriptures

More to come...MCC

Tuesday, November 25

A Thankful Heart

I received an e-mail from Andy Andrews today-- he is the author or the "The Travelers Gift" a great book with wonderful life lessons and Decisions for Success. His e-mail was about a grateful prospective. Here is an excerpt from his e-mail;
--Did you know that if you have cash in your wallet and a jar on your dresser that collects loose change, you are considered "prosperous" by more than 90% of the world's population? If you have food in a refrigerator, clothes in addition to the ones you are wearing, and a roof over your head at night, you are more fortunate than 75% of the people in the world.Did you know that there are more than two billion people who cannot read? If you attend church without fear of arrest or harassment, you have a freedom in your life that three billion in the world do not enjoy.
If you are healthy, you are conspicuous by your vitality. Current statistics show that 1,050,000 people will die this very week.
When I take stock of my blessings, I am embarrassed by the things that bother me. If the electricity is out, I can become unhappy quickly. Rarely do I think about the months of uninterrupted service. Cable television, the gas stove, heat in the winter, air conditioning in the summer, clean sheets ... all these are things that seemingly exist in my life without any grateful acknowledgment on my part. Yet there are billions of people who will never experience any of these luxuries.
One of my friends recently talked to an exchange student from an impoverished country. As they compared and contrasted her experiences in the United States with her home, she remarked, "You Americans get to complain about the nicest things."
Wow! Is that me? Sadly, I must confess to my share of complaints ...
This Thanksgiving Day, my family will team up to meet the challenge of a grateful spirit. We will all work on a list of the things for which we are grateful. If you'd like to join us, create a numbered list for your family that reaches at least one hundred. Place the list in a heavily trafficked area like the kitchen and add to it all day long. Urge your guests to participate. How far can our families go? How quickly can our families create a lasting, grateful spirit?--

Andy is great,he has such a positive outlook on life... I feel just like him,embrssed by my complaining when I am so blessed.
I love the idea of creating a list... I guess I already had the idea yesterday. So here it goes again....my first 25
(I will list what I am thankful for without the editorializing...maybe this will help with the tears!?!?!)
1. Gary 2. Family--Jordan, Laurie, Megan, Nelson & Hayden, also Mom & Dad, Grandma Butters, The Welch's,The Cole's,The Brown's, Liz & Al, Bill & Mary,The Call's...alright if you are family I am thankful for you..you are also supportive,kind,loving and great examples.
3. Membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints 4.Nice home 5. Employment 6.Plenty of food 7. Washer & Dryer 8.Public Utilities 9. Working Autos
10. Air conditioning/central heating 11. Sundays 12. Telephones 13. clothing 14. Computers & the Internet 15. Mail 16. Chocolate 17. Diet Coke 18. Christmas 19. Four seasons 20. Grandmas Pool 21.Sunsets 22. TV 23. Movies 24. Photographs 25. The Book of Mormon
I am working on my grateful spirit.
Till tomorrow

Monday, November 24

A Week of Thanksgiving - Gary

Why does it take a day to jump start my thankful heart. I am truly thankful for so many wonder people and things all the time, I tell HF that I am thankful every day, but for some reason I don't think to vocalize it to others until this time of year.
So this week I am going to compile a list from my thankful heart...which is probably futile because I know that my list of people and things would be forever long, and I will cry thinking of my blessings because I am so emotional...but here it goes--

I am thankful for my wonderful husband Gary he is my world, he makes me a better person and my life an adventure. I can't imagine life without him so I am so glad that we are stuck together for eternity. Hugs and kisses to my one and only, my true love! Thank you for putting up with me and my hair brained ideas, my mood swings, and loving me in spite of myself.
You are the best ! ---xoxox.
(more later the tears are getting the better of me, mascara is staining my cheeks and these are happy tears).

Friday, November 21

Rise & Shout!!!

The Battle of the Blue and the Red...BYU vs. U of U.... the brothers battle....the Holy War...whatever you want to call it, it is here, the big BYU-Utah rivalry football game.

We love football at the Call home. I have been watching football with my family forever...as a little girl we would have FHE and then watch Monday night football. My dad has been a true BYU fan since before they were good and gave his loyalty gene to the Y to me. As a family we have attended football games on some level for almost 20 years. One of our favorite things we do on Sunday mornings as a family is make our picks for the NFL games to be played that day. We have had a lot of fun attending games, little league, high School, college, and one of the highlights of a family trip a few years ago was seeing the Minnesota Vikings play the St. Louis Rams. You ain't seen football until you have seen the pros play it live. They elevate the game to an art form.
As a family we have learned a lot from football that is really applicable to all areas of our lives. Just the other day when Nelson was set apart the Bishop mentioned how in football the players are asked to give their all on the field and leave nothing behind. We have used football as a goal setting lesson on more than one occasion. As the boys have played football they have learned how to be part of a team, follow a leader, be loyal, strategies, mathematical odds, physical conditioning, how to be committed, have focus and most of all how to be good sports on and off the field.
To have a winner there has to be a looser...which is an awful word...the team with the lowest score isn't always the loosing team. The loosing team in my eyes is the team, players, coaches, fans, etc... that exhibits poor sportsmanship. Sportsmanship is what makes the game a game and not a battle or war. Good sports don't belittle others, use poor language or harsh word, or cause permanent rifs between family and friends. Good sports play the game or let the game be played with honor, and to the best of the players ability. Good sports allow the competition on and off the field be all good . I would rather be heralded as a good sport whose team lost than a winner who acts like a looser.

Good luck to both teams, The Y and the U, they have both worked really hard this season. The coaches and players all should be noticed as good players of the game -- good sports. It is so exciting to see two teams from Utah in the top of the rankings! BSC games for both teams would be fab!

So to what ever the outcome--The Call's will be watching comfortably from our home Saturday afternoon, all decked out in Blue --and I am sure that Nelson will be representing the Blue the best he can at the MTC (I know he packed BYU shirts, hats etc...). And to all of my family and friends decked out in Red remember I like you, and I like to see Utah win ever time they play--- except when they play BYU---Rise & Shout!

Thursday, November 20

Movie Crazy

We have become Movie Crazy, What will be the best movie out this weekend, Disney's "Bolt"or "Twilight"? How much money will they generate in the opening weekend, will they have longevity at the box office? What movie will be number one,and can they knockout "Quantum of Solace"? Movies dominate our conversations, morning news casts, full sections of the news paper etc...So here is my two cents on the subject. I am often asked what movies I like or think will do well. Here are my picks and thoughts on some of the up coming movies for the holiday season.
"Quantum of Solace" if you haven't seen this one go see it,especially if you consider yourself a Bond fan...from mild to wild. This is a different Bond film. It literally picks up where "Casino Royal" ended. It is based on a short story by Ian Flemming. This is a revenge film so the save the world aspect is just a small element. I love Daniel Craig as Bond. He is so real, with cuts and bruises. If you love Judy Dench as M, you see her a lot in this film. I'd give this Bond an 'A-', but I am definitely a Bond fan.
"Bolt"is Disney's latest digital animated offering. It has been heavily advertised as in 3-D. When i saw it saw it in regular 2-D, in a film not digital format and it was fine...I couldn't tell how 3-D would make this film better. Anyway...it is a sweet film about a TV star Dog--Bolt. If you have seen any of the pre-views or commercials for this movie you understand that the Dog thinks that he is a real action hero dog, and that the dog gets lost in the real world. Bolts adventure to get home is highlighted by his encounters with various groups of pigeons, a cat and a hamster. The side kick animals are great. They each add so much to this very formulaic buddy cross country movie. I knew that the hamster was going to be good from the pre-views, but the pigeons were a delightful surprise. (I have loved pigeons since the "Animaniacs" cartoon series which featured a section called "The Good Fellows" a pigeon world that would do musicals and movies.) Back to "Bolt" --- It is good family movie, the kids should love it. I'd give it a 'B+'.
"Twilight" I wrote my thoughts on "Twilight" last week... see Friday Nov. 14. I only gave this film a 'B' which some of you have thought was harsh, but I still feel that if it weren't for the books fan base that this movie wouldn't have received so much attention.
Opening Wednesday Nov. 26 are "Australia","Four Christmases" & "Transporter 3". I have only seen "Four Christmases" but they all should be big movies.
"Australia" is the movie I am dying to see. I missed the screening because of our MTC commitment, but Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman and Baz Lhurman are a win,win,win combination in my book. I fell in love with Hugh as a actor after seeing him live in "The Boy From Oz" on Broadway. He is the real thing as an actor...he gets to the heart of the character and is willing to lay it all out there. This film should be pleasing to the eye as well since Jackman has been named People Magazines "Sexiest Man Alive". He is a Megan favorite and she can't figure out why it took People so long to figure that Hugh is hot.
Baz Lhurman is a great director. I loved his "Mulan Rouge" and expect this film about his homeland to as good as or better. He has a wonderful eye and usually takes a unique look at his subject. Nicole...what can I say she is not only beautiful but this Oscar winning actress is always on her game. I don't think that I have ever seen her do bad acting job. The film she was in may not have been great but she was great in it. The pre-views have looked really good.
"Four Christmases" this is not the movie from the pre-views but it is as good as the pre-views. I hate movies that show all the good bits in the pre-views. This one has held some of the best comedy bits back and definitely didn't reveal the heart of this film. Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaugh shine in this Christmas comedy and their supporting cast is also great. If you want a light movie with good laugh and feel good ending then this is the movie for your thanksgiving weekend. Because this is the only one of the three I have seen I'll give it a 'B+'.
"Transporter 3" I'm not into these type of films but if you can make three of them then there might be something of worth there. Jason Stathan reprises his role as a revenge-driven chauffeur in the sequel that is bound to be action packed.
All in all my guess about the November Holiday movies is that they will all be in the top 10 knocking out films like "HSM 3" and "Madagascar" from the top spots.
The Christmas season is hard on the film industry so I hope that these movies give us a good escape from these crazy economic times.


Wednesday, November 19

Back to Normal??? & The MTC drop off

I guess you could say that the Call family is back to normal. No more big life changes planned for the next little while. Our new normal is...two adult parents, one adult daughter, and one teen-age son living at home, with our married son and daughter living five minutes away and Nelson gone very, very, 18 hours very far away for the next two very long years.

But here is the scoop for today. The MTC drop off.

We dropped Nelson off at the MTC today... At the MTC you rip your heart out and let the Lord take it ...oh you know that it will be in the best of hands, but it is still hard sending a piece of your heart away. Nelson was so ready and excited to get going on his mission. Last evening after he was set apart we asked if he felt different and he replied "No, but I feel like I want to act/be different." What a wonderful attitude and thought. He woke up today at 6:25 AM read his scriptures etc... and got dressed as a missionary. Showed me the time on his count down clock...very depressing 3 hours 45 minutes. He wanted to get going but we had a family breakfast planned then said good-byes etc... At the MTC he was all speed ... go,go,go ... fast to the luggage drop off, wanted to get photos taken care of quickly so he could get his tags,instructions etc... He then practically ran to the chapel for the meeting. He went to sit on the end seat so he could leave quickly, but I stopped that and sat on the end myself. We had a wonderful meeting and by the time they were showing the short video "Called to Serve" he was floating off of his chair...I promise you he was floating. I put my arm around him to bring him back into his seat. We all said a quick good-bye ... just like ripping off a band-aid. We all shed a tear or two ... they were happy of course, but just knowing how much we love him and having him around, we will miss his help, humor, and attitude,so the tears. I of course told him I didn't want to let him go and hugged him tight, he probably has a mascara stain on his collar... we are so much a like and I knew I was embarrassing him so I told him I was sorry that I was crying ( I'm crying even now as I write...bitter sweet tears), and then let him go. He was second out of the door...would have been first but he grabbed a tissue.
We sent him out the door with more stuff than he will need at this time, but I practiced on Jordan (Sorry J), and I think knew better what I thought he would need. Why, because he is just like me and I know what I think I would need.
OKAY, Enough of my crying, and thinking...I have to stop this! My bra is soggy with black streaks, my mascara dripped off my face hours ago, and now I have a crying head...stuffy, stuffy, stuffy.

So life is back to normal...the new normal, the soggy normal. Well, whatever the new normal brings and is we will adjust, and survive, we re the Calls.

Saturday, November 15

Busy Day

What a busy day. As I sit here this morning doing my 'To Do' list, it looks impossible. But I have learned that the busier you are the more organized and efficient you become. So I am making my list and scheduling not only my day but the day for the family...Saturday is my day, they work for me. This is how they pay for their room and board. My family has learned the same thing I learned as a child...first you work, then you can play. Our reward tonight is dinner out and Bond, James Bond... for some of us for the second or third time at this movie, and it only opened yesterday. This is the last weekend out before Nelson leaves so we are celebrating him and the fam.
Well no more time to sort my brain. I'm off on my dead run.

***Marcie's hot holiday movie list is coming next week. I have been asked to give my opinion on upcoming films and my reviews... sometimes my reviews are skewed because I think "how much money will it make", thus the curse of being in the movie showing business.


Friday, November 14

TGIF & Twilight Review

Yeah, it is Friday! What a week, it has sailed by.
Yesterday was my grandmothers 94 birthday. We have had some discussion on whether she was 93 or 94 but looking at the genealogy confirmed 94...that is wonderful! Eulala --Granny B, is in great shape and getting better. She has had some health problems and has had a long recovery... I guess it takes longer to recover the older you get. But she is a "long liver" (what size is your liver?). She complained to me the other day that she was not going to starve to death...and she won't on our watch. She accused us of being food pushes and I told her that I learned my pushing skills from the best, her.
Well, we are even closer to Nelson's leaving. I told Jordan and Laurie this morning about knowing how much I was going to miss Nelson was killing me and Jordan said "That if that was the case he will prepare Nelson for the fact that Hayden will be missed most of all." He really knows what I mean but likes to pull my leg.
Speaking of legs...my left knee/leg is still swollen and very sore. At least it is not as bad as it was the morning of the wedding. Everyone tells me to go to the doctor, and I will when I get Nelson sent off. The pain and swelling don't seem to be going anywhere.

Movie news: We saw the trade screening of "Twilight" the much anticipated pre -thanksgiving movie. It is based on a series of books by Stephanie Myers. They have been all the rage for women, pre-teen to young married in age.
My review: It is a movie made from a book, not spectacular, but it has some outstanding elements. Most movies made from a book leave the audience disappointed because the reader didn't visualize this or that like it is portrayed in the movie. This can be hard for the movie makers and actors. If this story didn't already have a following I don't think that it would be as anticipated or would make as much money as expected. So, to the outstanding parts: The acting by Rob Pattinson who plays Edward is excellent. His Edward is very layered and complex, just what it should be. He plays the tormented vampire with great depth and feeling. You really empathise with him in not wanting Bella or anyone else to suffer like he has. --Nelson commented on how all girls want guys to be like Edward and that it is interesting that Edward doesn't want anyone to be like Edward. -- Pattinson isn't bad to look at either. I know that there was some concern by fans of the books about his casting, but I thought he was perfectly cast in this roll. Kristen Stewart as Bella also does a fine job with her roll. I however felt that the screen writers and director didn't let us see Bella in her awkwardness; physically and socially enough to warrant her actions and comments. Both Pattinson and Stewart seemed to acting from the inside out, which is what you want from actors...internalization and layers. Bravo to theses two young actors. The other good things for me were the locations....Bella's home and that of Edward were just as envisioned and the great northwest was a beautiful and smoldering backdrop for a smoldering and sensual story. I'd give it a 'B'

Have a fab weekend all,

Wednesday, November 12

Nelson Clock

Nelson Clock - 6 days 23 hours.
Nelson just told me that his count down clock is at 6 days 23 hours....in one short week I will send my second son off to serve the Lord on a 2 year mission...what a blessing, but I know how much I will miss him. Everyone tries to tell you that the second one is easier, but I was talking to a mom when she sent her 4 and final son on a mission and she told me that it gets harder. At the time Jordan had been out for one year and I knew how much I missed him, and I couldn't fathom that it could be worse....well it is, not that he is gone already, but the anticipation that his is leaving and knowing how much I am going to miss him is killing me. I have tried to not think about it,but I am a mom and so I do.
Anyway we just returned from a temple session which was wonderful as usual. I am so glad that I went into the Celestial room before Nelson so that I could get my emotions under control. I was a mess but had a wonderful confirmation that all will be well. A pleasant happy front is what he needs to see, and it is what my heart is mostly feeling...then I think and when I think the emotions bubble up...such is life.
A mission is the best thing for him and the best place for him at this time in his life .... 6 days 22 hours and 45 min......

Tuesday, November 11

Cleaning/Moving Out

With help from Megan and Nelson, Jordan's bedroom was officially moved out of and deep cleaned. We vacuumed and dusted and washed walls and blinds. What a dusty mess...I told Laurie when she was helping him move stuff prior to the wedding that I don't clean adult children's bedrooms...that is why they have doors, so I don't have to look at the mess.
I have made a plan for what is allowed in the room for storage, temporary storage etc...
In this room I would really love to have an exercise room but fear that hiding the exercise equipment behind a closed basement door ... the equipment would become bigger dust collectors than they already are. So no exercise room for now, maybe when I become a more disciplined exerciser. In the long run the room may become Nelsons bedroom when he returns, but for now....The closet in the room is going to become temporary storage for Nelsons belongings while he is gone and also a costume storage closet. We have plenty of costumes to store. Currently the costumes are taking over Megan's second closet...a second closet that every girl needs, and they are in boxes in the storage room taking up valuable food storage space. As for the rest of the room it will be temporary storage for my scrap booking stuff until the office move is made in January. I will then move all of my stuff to the loft office. My hope is that by putting the scrapbook stuff in the bedroom we will be opening up the downstairs game room to more possibilities....a home theatre, I just love to dream of the remodel and re purpose possibilities that are now available to me with the boys moving out.
Nelsons room move will happen tomorrow, all but the bed and stuff he needs for his mission. As I said Gary's office move to that room won't happen until January...we need to get past Christmas, re-paint the room and amass some money to purchase new office furniture and equipment.
I guess the change is good...or at least I am making it better for me by planning for the future.
Change,Change, Change.

Nelson clock - 1 week left....he has a count down clock set in his room to the hour we leave the house for the MTC...he is so excited!


Monday, November 10

New Beginnings

Change, Change, Change! No, I'm not singing a song, but hearing the jingle of new beginnings for the family.
On Friday November 7, 2008 our oldest son Jordan was married to the charming and beautiful Laurie. We are so happy for them and cannot wait to see where their new beginnings take them. As a family we are glad that Laurie has joined us, she will shake things up a bit but change is good....she makes Jordan a better person and the family a better family.
The other change that is upon us is Nelson will be leaving for New Zealand to serve a mission for the LDS church. We are so excited for him. A mission not only blesses the missionary and those they serve but the mission will bless us as a family... We found the blessings very welcome when Jordan served in St. Louis, MO.
Change, Change, Change, November 2008 is a new beginning for the family. We haven't been a family of 4 at home since 1989, and at that time 2 of the members were young children and the adults weren't very mature. Now we will have 3 adults -- 2 that have matured a lot, a young adult female, and a teenage boy living under one roof. Family life should be interesting.
With our two biggest guys leaving there will be more space, everyone will have a bathroom! Less laundry, I will be able to do laundry when I want not on the boys schedule, Less wear and tear on the family vehicles, yeah, more silence, fewer helping hands, a smaller grocery bill and left overs. When we were first married we had a lot of left overs because I was adjusting from cooking for 7 to 2. I changed then and can do it again.
Change is the only constant and with change comes new beginnings.
We are excited to begin again.