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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Greatest Snow On Earth

Utah has some of the best snow on earth and I was fortunate to grow up in Utah where I learned to ski as a young kiddie. My dad taught me how to snow plow with a rope tied around my waist and starting in the 3rd grade every Thursday we got out of school early and were bussed up to Sundance for ski school. In high school I had season passes to Park City and Snowbird skied at least 10 times a season for a few years. During college I turned in my skis for a snowboard and did that for several years until I got married when it all came to screeching halt. Skiing was expensive and Chris, who grew up in Dallas, didn't particularly love it and so skiing for the most part got booted off any kind priority list. Years passed, babies came and we moved to California. All of which took skiing right out of the picture. Skiing was for the most part a thing of the past until I decided last year that I would teach my kids to ski just like my dad did all those years ago. It was rough the first couple of times, but I was determined to get in a couple of days of skiing this year while in Utah for Christmas. We went twice as a family and Thomas and I went for a third time along with some of my siblings and their kids. I loved it and Thomas loved it, Chris and Kate not so much. But I was so happy to be up on the slopes even if I had some resistance from a couple of the members of my family. On our first day skiing I mentioned to Chris that we needed to replenish some of our stuff so we didn't have to rent skis or borrow any equipment like goggles and masks. He didn't think it was necessary because vacationing in Utah every winter wasn't exactly on his 'want to do' list. I was a little sadden by this and realized I was probably unrealistic to think we would ski every winter. But then a few days later Chris got me these as a gift.

Ummmm...I'm hoping this means there will be a lot more skiing in my future after all.

Izzy, Me, Todd, Scott, Taylor, Emma, McKay, Austin, Jessica and Chandler (Solitude, December 21st)
Me and Thomas at Park City. It was 0 degrees and so to ensure a good day with little complaning it was crucial that no skin was exposed. Thomas was a fast learner and and was easily keeping up with me by the third run. We had a great time.

It was so cold that day but we still stopped for an ice cold cherry diet coke with a splash of lime from Sonic. Yummm.
Tiff preferred to keep her gear on while she drank her ice cold soda. Good thing there are holes in the face mask.
Me and my sis Tiffany.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Simple Offering

I apologize for the length of this blog but the details are well deserved.

It all started with the willingness to make a few batches of carmels for the sisters in my ward. After all I did make a perfect batch last year, which might I add, was the first time I ventured to the land of candy making and so I was happy to share with others my new cooking ability. The ingredients were dropped off at my house on Tuesday and at approximately 3pm the cooking began. I had to make 3 batches but I had only two big pots and two candy thermometer so the third batch would have to wait it's turn. I will speed up the story a bit here and say that due to my trying to do too much at one time (every woman/mother can relate) and some confusion with the misprinted thermometer (Look closely at the numbers... 150, 175, 200, 225, 220.... am I crazy or are the numbers not in order.)

I awoke the next morning to 3 cookie sheets full of sucker hard candy. The other girls from the Presidency were coming over at nine and there were no chewy carmels to wrap. So I called my President and told her I was going to remake them. (Really what else was I going to say.) Four hours worth of effort wasted! Needless to say I was frustrated. The day's to do list was already full and certainly didn't contain 3 more hours of cooking.

After a quick run to the grocery store I was back to square one. I did find an extra candy thermometer and a big pot and began remaking 3 batches of carmels. In the mean time my pres called and asked if she could run some errands for me. I was a little embarrassed because I don't like to ask for help (another one of my problems). I asked her to pick up my Christmas card photos from Ritz Camera and some worms for the pet lizard. (He hadn't eaten in about 5 days, so that particular errand was urgent.)
I was busy concentrating on the number 244 (the firm ball temperature), when my pres dropped off my items. I left the stove for just a minute to put the worms in the refrigerator and to my disbelief there were no worms in the container! I then immediately checked the pictures to find more disappointment. Ritz had copied too many of the WRONG picture. AHHHHHHH. A few not so nice word slipped under my breath and I quickly returned to the carmels which were now at the critical boiling point. I gave the first batch one last stir and pour it out onto the cookie sheet. The chewy carmel goo spilled out onto the cookie sheet along with the brown specks I picked up from the bottom. I said a few more naughty words under my breath I was on to the next two batches which turned out perfect. Or so I thought.
OK this is where my "can't just let it go" syndrome comes in because I actually ran to the store to remake the batch that had a few 'little too brown' specks in it. While at the store I ran through all the ingredients in my head and realized that I had not added the vanilla to any of the last three batches I had made that morning! (The vanilla goes in at the end just before you pour it out onto the cookie sheet.) Once again the not so nice words spilled from my mouth only loader this time and I called my sister in tears who convinced my to wait and taste the carmels before thinking all was lost. Maybe it was an optional ingredient.
Before I returned home I ran into Ritz to see if they could fix my problem in a timely manor. They could and they did. Only this time when I viewed the pictures they all had a white line running through the middle of them. "What the crap!" I shouted. I dragged my now very hungry two year old and my whining 5 year old back into Ritz only to be told they could fix the problem but it wouldn't be until later that day. The Christmas cards were defiantly not going out that day. I hurried home put my ingredients into the refrigerator and grabbed Jack a slice of bread for lunch when I noticed an unopened can of sweetened condensed milk on the counter. That meant only one thing; one of my batches was not only missing the vanilla but also the can of sweetened condensed milk! The worst of it was I didn't know exactly which one it was but I knew it was not the batch with the specks.
I literately ran to Kate's program with a frazzled brain and puffy red eyes. (By the way when I pulled up to the school I had forgotten Jack's shoes, his nose was running and he happened to find a green marker in the car and used his hands and face as the canvas.) I sat down pulled out my camera took a few pictures of my adorable Kate when the battery died on my camera. She noticed I wasn't taking photos and quickly held up her hand and gave me the 'take my picture' signal with her hand. And so the good my mom that I am I held up my camera and pretended to be taking pictures.
We hurried home (forgot to bring home the gift she made me at school) and began making the 7th batch of carmels. That's right, the 7th batch! I figured out the batch that was missing the the sweetened condensed milk because it was harder than the others so that batch was ruined and I was relieved when I discovered the missing vanilla didn't make a significant difference in the delicious taste of the carmel and that the batch with the few darker brown specks didn't look so bad after all and would hardly be noticed. And finally by the 7th go around I had made a perfect batch of carmels.

HALLELUJAH! There was still several hours wrapping, bagging and tagging but after 15 hours spread out over three days, yes you heard me 15 hours, the carmels were finally out of my my house.

By the way Ritz got me the right photos the next day, I eventually finished my Christmas cards and my President kindly dropped off a new container of worms for our lizard.

We don't get a lot of rain in Carlsbad but during those three days it not only rained, it poured.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

"Say Cheese"

I tell myself every year that my Christmas cards will be done and ready to be mailed out by November 1 and every year that deadline of November 1 slips deep into December until I'm in a mad rush to pull it all together in time for the cards to make it out before Christmas. One stress surrounding the cards has always been about getting a picture you find worthy enough to justify the postage. I'm really not asking much. After all a camera can take a good shot in less than a second. But coordinating that less than a second with 2 adults and 3 rambunctious kids seems nearly impossible. Our photo sessions usually go something like this. "Thomas stop touching your sister", "Kate just look into the camera", "Jack put your hands down", "Thomas please just smile, "Kate sit up", "Chris, just a few more shots I promise", "Jack look at the camera", "Thomas, don't make me ask you again", "Jack Pleasssssssssssssse just look at the camera!" It's enough to make my head spin and if I'm lucky one or two viable pictures will emerge from the hundreds.

Here are a few that didn't make the cut for the Christmas card but perfectly demonstrate the struggle.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Grey's Craze

I have never been one to watch a lot of TV. I rarely get into a show that I look forward to watching week after week. My tivo list consists of Nova, Frontline, Oprah and America's Next Top Model. I know it's quite the line up. I really don't think I've been missing out on much. But a couple of weeks ago my curiosity about the craze that surrounds the hugely popular show Grey's Anatomy got to me so I had Chris put seasons 1 as our next Netflix pick. Needless to say I NOW KNOW WHY there's a craze. I've looked forward to watching an episode or two every night this week! I'm a little late jumping on the bandwagon but so far I like the ride.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Can't Get Into It

I can't quite get into the whole Christmas thing this year. I don't know, maybe it has something to do with fact that it's 70 degrees outside which means it could be any time of the year here. The thought alone of pulling out all my bins of decorations was exhausting. Half of them never made it out. I don't even want to go shopping. Now that's something unheard of. This is the time of year I actually have the excuse to shop. I should be stressed with all that's left to do but I'm not and instead I'm stressed about not being stressed! Maybe I should return to drinking my long lost friend, Diet Coke. That should charge me up a bit. Or maybe I should just remind myself that all the extras don't really matter, things will get done as they always do, and who really cares if you bought the gift the night before Christmas, at least you got it.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Up To No Good

Yesterday while I was busy at my sewing machine creating wonderful little gifts for Christmas, Jack was in my bathroom doing a little creating of his own.

I told him although he was demonstrating great creativity by painting what looks to be a beard all over his face, lip stick is used just by mommies and is applied only to the lips. He looked at me and gave me one of these...

"Oh ya, what are you going to do about it mom?"-Jack
I hurried him to the bathroom while the mess was contained to his face and instructed him to start washing!
He got a bit frustrated when he couldn't put his whole face in the water.

"Ahhhh. It's not coming off."-Jack
Aaaaa that would be because you smeared Max Factor's PERMANENT lip stick all over your face. Serves ya right kiddo.