Friday, October 30, 2009

Oh, And By the Way, Would It Be Too Much Trouble . . .

Quite honestly, I thought the days of making a last-minute mad scramble to put together a Halloween costume were a thing of the past. I'm happy to report, NOT!

9:00 p.m. Decision made by son that he really does want a costume for . . . wait for it . . . the. very. next. morning. early.

9:05 p.m. Mooch white duct tape from neighbor

9:10 p.m. More neighbor mooching--this time red yarn

9:20 p.m. Go green by recycling a recycled shirt from D.I. which was recycled from a previous Gilligan costume (got that?)

9:30 p.m. Make pom pom with red yarn after calling a different neighbor for pom pom tutorial

9:40 p.m. Apply strips of white duct tape to red shirt

9:45 p.m. Rip off duct tape and begin again

9:55 p.m. Attach pom pom to hat/apply duct tape to hat/ rip off duct tape from hat/leave hat duct tape-free

10:05 p.m. A cane! A cane! My kingdom for a cane! Flounder around looking for any semblance of a cane!

10:15 p.m. Spy cardboard tubing of wrapping paper roll happily sitting in garbage

10:16 p.m. Light bulb switches on over my head

10:17 p.m. Flounder around looking for a stand-in for a cane's crook

10:18 -
10:25 p.m. Hmmm. Sigh. What?what?what? Hmmmmm. Brain drainage

10:26 p.m. Roll brown grocery bag into a cylinder, bend, jam end into cardboard tubing

10:30 p.m. More duct tape usage as entire cane is basically embalmed

10:40 p.m. Venture into arctic-like temperatures and commence spray painting (full disclosure: I stayed toasty warm while the menfolk were out in the arctic tundra)

11:00 p.m. We present . . .

WHERE'S CHRISTIAN WALDO? Could he be any more adorable?

Before going to bed, Christian was instructed to NOT put his socks in the laundry basket. The landfill is now their home sweet home.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

If You Can't Guess, I'm Not Going to Tell You

Okey dokey. We're going to play:

Did you figure it out?

So, do you want to hear the sad part? Dave didn't even notice his faux pas until we had returned home from spending hours (hours, I tell you!) at Christian's band competition. And sadder still? I would never have noticed had Dave not dropped down dead at my feet out of sheer mortification.

(Just FYI, AF swept all of the awards, natch.)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Line Forms to the Left

Cookie Posses No. 4 and No. 5 showed up the other day only hours apart. (Or is it No. 6 and No. 7? Uh, I don't know, I've lost track of which posses are which, all I know is that each posse has different kids in it and there are a boatload of them.) Whatever. All you need to know is that a slew of kids came over this week for some bonding time with my double oven.

Posse No. 4(?) consisted of three little girls from my neighborhood who showed up just to say howdy, but I could tell they were wanting to settle in for a long, long afternoon tete-a-tete. I was planning on making THE EASIEST(!!!) COOKIES IN THE GALAXY (recipe to follow) later that day, so when the girls came by to visit, I decided to invite them to help with the cookies because: 1) I'm a multi-tasker at heart, and 2) my day was a busy one. People to see, places to go, things to do . . . . Chat n' bake. Kill two birds with one stone, yada, yada. This particular posse hadn't ever made cookies with me before, so they were thrilled to the tips of their little ponytails for a chance to get to know my Jenn-Air. Again the multi-tasker in me came out, and I thought that we might as well do some good with these cookies, the smell of which will put you in the mood for autumn, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas all at the same time.

We thought of a family in our neighborhood who could use a little sweetness, and I put those girls to work making homemade cards to go along with the cookies. I pulled out everything scrapbooky that I could dredge up, which was a rather pitiful selection since I'm not a scrapper. Do you scrap? I don't scrap. But we still managed to cover my kitchen table from end to end with stickers, papers, glue, markers, hedge trimmers, a weed whacker, and I even think I saw a chainsaw under all of that mishmash. Thank the high heavens that I had the presence of mind to leave the glitter hidden in the cupboard. You glitter once and the glitter will continue to haunt you and yours for the next five months.

So the cards turned out adorable, the cookies delectable, and we all had a great afternoon as the girls shared the gossip about their big brothers' exploits. (Note to parents: Be aware that little girls have big mouths.) I just drank it all in.

I like that multi-tasking thing.

Pumpkin Cookies

1 box of spice cake mix
1 15 oz. can of pureed pumpkin
1 cup mini chocolate chips or raisins (or a mix)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease cookie sheets. In a large bowl, mix the dry cake mix with the pumpkin puree. Add the chocolate chips and/or raisins. Drop mounded tablespoons (or larger) of dough onto cookie sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes depending on the size of cookie. (I use a spring-loaded mini ice cream scoop which holds about two tablespoons of dough, then I bake the cookies for about 15 minutes.) The cookies will not spread.
All done. Ho hum.

Then Cookie Posse No. 5(?) decided to make the wonderfully magical Magic Bars. And magical they are! No muss, no fuss, just pour, sprinkle, pour, scatter, sprinkle, scatter, and your job is done, thank you very much. You've become a magical cookie faerie.

I think these kids loved it when I kept calling them all the magical cookie faeries. Especially that well-built kid in the blue shirt. Really. I could tell. He loved it. I could just sense it. Everything would go silent every time I said it. It was kind of like, oh, I don't know, kind of like electric volts shooting out of the blue-shirt kid's eyes. So I kept saying "magical cookie faeries" over and over. Neato.


1/2 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
6 oz. semisweet chocolate chips (I cheat and use double that)
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour melted butter into a 9x13 pan. Sprinkle graham cracker crumbs over butter. Pour sweetened condensed milk over the crumbs. Scatter with chocolate chips, sprinkle with coconut, scatter nuts (in that order). Press mixture down firmly with the palm of your hand. Bake 25 minutes. Cool. Chill in refrigerator for two hours. (You may want to score them before the refrigeration to make cutting easier.)
What did I tell ya? Magical.

Gee, I think Christian caught a glimpse of our resident ghost, Bucky, just as I snapped that first picture of Posse No. 5 (see above). He was speechless for the rest of the afternoon. All he could do was point and mutter a bit. He never really could explain that vacant look in his eyes . . .

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Fridays With Kimball!

A picture perfect fall day in our front yard.

Later on, we retired to the quietude of the basement.
Kimball tried to decide which of these very sophisticated tres chic pieces he prefers . . .

On the one hand, Kimball feels like a king while lounging in this oversized designer recliner . . .

. . . but on the other hand, he is enamored with this space effecient canary yellow compact.

Hmm. Red or yellow? Roomy or cozy? Decisions, decisions! I know! It's just too much for a baby to take! In the end, Kimball did exactly what his grandmama would do . . .

He decided to take both. Logical solution if you ask me.

Monday, October 19, 2009

How Many Skeletons Do You Have Lurking in Your Family Closet?

As you may know, funky/kooky/wacked-out videos have a way of sweeping their way through the blog-o-universe and popping up all over Facebook in just a matter of days. The video below is no different so you've probably see it before. BUT, WHOA NELLY! I really, really, really fell in love with this particular version when I saw it. I just had to share it with you because the cast is so outstanding. Frankenstein's Monster is especially beguiling, no?

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Our Hearts Are Full

Neither spoken nor written words can even begin to accurately convey the feelings of pure gratitude mixed with sorrow that we are experiencing right now after the tragic bus accident involving the American Fork High School Marching Band. We will be eternally grateful for the safety of our sweet Christian as he rode on the bus which was immediately behind the bus which crashed. The idea of "what could have happened . . . " is almost too horrific to contemplate just yet--if ever. And the sorrow we feel is a sorrow for those who are left without their friend, daughter, sister, teacher, Heather Christensen.

But I do believe in miracles.

And I do believe in guardian angels.

I do believe in a God who watches over all.

I will be thanking my Heavenly Father every single day for the life of my son.

*Below is an amateur video of the Pocatello performance--the very performance the band completed only an hour or so before the accident. In the foreground, you can see Heather Christensen on the right wearing a dark jacket watching her woodwinds do exactly what she taught them to do. (As an aside, Sean worked with Ms. Christensen as he played the bass clarinet in the marching band and in the wind symphony during his high school years.) Watch the whole show if you have a few minutes. Although the video isn't the greatest, the performance is quite moving, especially at the very end where our country's fallen solders are honored. Christian is one of the five quad drummers and is the second drummer from the left.

You can read more about the accident here.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Slap a Gold Star on My Forehead!

I think I deserve some sort of a prize. Really I do. Did you not notice that I used enormous amounts of decorum and restraint as I refused to write or even refer to that yucky "p" word in my previous post? I didn't even attempt it in a caption under the picture of circus-tent-shirt adorned Sean which could have said something along the lines of, "Whoa up! That boy has gone and got hisself some SEER-EE-USS parasites company goin' on, ya'll. Just looky at that tiny boy." Yes, I know you are grateful. You can thank me later for not ruining your breakfast with the vivid mental picture of a creepy parasite.

Yow! Who tore off my gold star? What.What did I say?

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Under the Big Top

(Click to get a really good look at this handsome, handsome boy)

Yay! Yesterday we FINALLY received a picture from Sean! Somebody cue the "Hallelujah Chorus!"

In last week's letter, Sean writes:
"Well since you asked... yes I would like to ask you to send me something vía the mail service. Can you send me 5 or 6 white shirts with the collar size 15 or 15.5? My shirts now fit me like a circus tent (gotta love his way with words) and so it would be nice to wear shirts that fit. Short sleeves and extra tall would be fine if it's not too much trouble to ask. And if you want to try to send pants, that would be nice too because I am now more or less a size 36/32 and my old pants... well they were a lot bigger. I bought some new pants here but I don't trust the Honduran stitching to last for more than three or four months. I know I ask a lot and if you can't send this stuff don't worry about it. I am just happy to read your letters, hear about the big events in your lives, and learn from your examples of righteousness. I love you all so much, and I send you all a great big abrazo . . . ."
And a great big "abrazo" back to you, Seanie!

Okay.  So, you know how you cherish even more those things that don't come in abundance or that don't come to you very often?  I have literally poured over this photo of Sean, checking out the roadside, the signage, the grass, Sean's watch, his water bottle, that unfamiliar tie, the way Sean's collar is gaping with so much extra room that a small pony could gallop right down into the front of his shirt without even leaving any hoof prints . . .
Even though it is only one photo, it is a tender mercy, nonetheless.  And I am grateful.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Fridays With Kimball!

Either Kimball is totally enamored with this toy basketball and couldn't stand to be parted from it even while he slept, or he is trying to tell me in his own unique way that napping in my little port-a-crib is like sleeping on a brick wall which, unfortunately, has the same denseness as that fruitcake which was *regifted* (it had to be) to us by our neighbors last Christmas. By the by, Dave is being TOTALLY overly dramatic about that chipped tooth, if you ask me.

Kimball and his basketball head cushion instantly reminded me of my big sister who, whenever she got a new pair of shoes, would go to bed with them on her feet. Or sometimes she would put them right next to her head on the pillow so the new shoes could be instantly viewed the next morning. Thank goodness she finally outgrew that. (I think the stiletto-poke-in-the-eye incident last May was what finally cured her.)

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Let the Competitions Begin!

Show season has begun for the incredibly awesome American Fork Marching Band, and they are up to their old tricks of completely sweeping the competitions once again. (Sometimes I feel kind of bad for the other schools who march their little hearts out only to be walking back to their buses with their clarinets dragging on the ground behind them after another loss to AF. Truly I do.) Christian's band totally dominated their first competition of the year by not only winning first place overall, but by taking all caption awards which include: "Outstanding Music," "Outstanding Visual," "Outstanding Color Guard," and "Outstanding Percussion." But it certainly comes at a price. So there. While a lot of Christian's friends are busy doing important stuff like playing "The Beatles: Rock Band" and such, he is stomping away with 40 pounds of drums strapped to his chest for hours and hours and hours and hours in rehearsal every single week with a determination to do his best and make his mama proud. And I am. Way. Good on ya, Christian!

Check out the band as they appear in my s-h-a-k-y video attempt to give you just a taste of their show paying tribute to the WWII vets. The show, called "The Greatest Generation," incorporates part of the ballad from "Band of Brothers" during the third movement (and no, that's definitely not the part you'll see and hear in the video below), and you can see that the color guard girls are dressed as Rosie the Riveter. Every band member wears a dog tag around his/her neck bearing the name of a relative or someone they hold dear who served in the armed forces during WWII. Christian's name tag reads, "Joseph Ricks," the brother of my mom. Uncle Joe was killed while serving his country in the war at the tender age of 20.

The video below coincidentally shows the same portion of the show that we see in the video above and was shot while the band played their music again in the parking lot without marching, as is their tradition after a competition. This gives you a better look at Christian in action but not much better due to the late afternoon sun shooting pointy arrows directly in my retinas causing them to be totally toasted. I just aimed my little digital camera in his general direction and let 'er rip. Air bags, anyone? So sorry about that. BUT NEVER FEAR! You've gotta know that I will be putting up another video of one of the next competitions (if not all . . . ), don't you?! Uh, yeah. Nobody ever said that you have to watch, you know.