Saturday, December 16, 2017

The Temple

Happy Three Month Anniversary!

This week our Relief Society lesson was on the temple; was yours? December is a very busy month, and it can be quite stressful, but so can life in general. In fact, the days leading up to a wedding can be even more stressful than those leading up to Christmas. However, taking the time to go to the temple puts everything into perspective and brings peace into our lives.

I know your lives are busy. I know that you have much to do. But I make you a promise that if you will go to the House of the Lord, you will be blessed; life will be better for you. Now, please, please, my beloved brethren and sisters, avail yourselves of the great opportunity to go to the Lord’s house and thereby partake of all of the marvelous blessings that are yours to be received there. -- President Gordon B. Hinckley

The wedding day was special and beautiful, but so was the day before, when we accompanied Michelle to the temple so she could receive her endowment. The experience lived up to my expectation, and I hope it lived up to hers.

Provo City Center Temple

Afterwards we had our traditional dinner with the bride and groom and both sets of parents.

Nice Restaurant

Delicious Food

I highly recommend this tradition to those of you who still have weddings to look forward to in your future. It's a wonderful opportunity to get to know your future in-laws, people who will be a part of your family for many years to come. In fact, may I just go on record here as saying the parents of our children's spouses are some of the best people in the entire world. We greatly appreciate all that they do for our individual family members. We've found that gathering for baby blessings (which is usually the time when we see them again) is something we look forward to greatly because it means we'll have a chance to visit with them as well as meet a precious new grandchild.

We love all of our new in-laws, which are really new friends. I'm sure you'll agree they're wonderful people!

Friday, December 15, 2017

Newborn Kits

February 2010
Several years ago we had a Relief Society service project where we assembled hygiene and newborn kits (about 24 of each) to send to the humanitarian arm of the church. It doesn't look like they still accept these types of donations, but it's a fond memory for me. And just in case you want to try something similar on your own, here's the list of what was included:
  • 4 single thick cloth diapers, 100% cotton (approximately 25x27 inches, no pre-fold or disposable diapers)
  • 4 diaper safety pins
  • 1 pair booties or baby socks
  • 2 bars of soap, 3.2-5 ounces each (Ivory or other non-allergenic brand)
  • 1 receiving blanket, 36x36 – 45x45 inches (single layer fleece, or double layer flannel, hemmed and top-stitched to prevent shifting)
  • 1 layette gown (no footed sleepers, buttons, zippers or strings - newborn to 6 months, cotton knit)
At the time of this service project we were expecting our first grandchild. I wanted to have a sample before the meeting, so I made a layette gown for him, using this pattern.

June 2010
Doing so reminded me of the little gowns his dad had used in the first months of life. I don't know if baby boys still use gowns, but it's become a tradition to make them for our granddaughters. Here's the latest, for granddaughter #6 expected any day now.

Because these are actually quite simple to make, I made another one this month for a local friend's new baby, along with a couple of embellished onesies. I like thinking about my friends and family members as I make gifts for them, and I'm grateful when I can do so. I hope they find the gifts meaningful, but even if they don't, I enjoy making them.

Every time I sew I'm reminded of one of the few Christmas gifts I remember from my childhood - a six-week sewing course at Sear's the year I was ten. Experience gifts really are the best.

There's been some time between starting the post and actually publishing it, so baby Lynelle is here! I'm looking forward to making many more gifts for this precious little girl, and I'm sure her other grandmother is as well, as evidenced by this beautiful pink afghan.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

A Tale of Two Parties

This past weekend both our ward Christmas party and Wayne's work party were held. Because they were on the same day and at the same time, we ended up attending the work party. We would have preferred being at the other where we knew everyone. However, I was able to help with the decorations and food, so at least we knew a bit about how the ward party would look. The person in charge of decorations likes to go all out! I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.

This year the work party was held at Mar-a-Lago, which is the club on Palm Beach Island owned by Donald Trump. He and Bill Koch (the owner of the company Wayne works for) are long-time friends. Anyway, the event started with appetizers and drinks around the pool, followed with dinner in the ballroom. It was a bit chilly outside (we had our "winter" weather arrive that day) but not too bad.

Instead of ham and potato casserole and salad and rolls and pie (what was served in the church building), we had "fancy" food that needed a written explanation so we'd know what we were eating. Of course, it was all very delicious.

Because President Trump was actually in town (which meant that we had to go through security to even get on the property), and because he and Bill Koch are friends, everyone suspected the president might come to the party (as he had in previous years when the party was held at Mar-a-Lago). And he did. It was actually pretty cool, and Wayne's excited that one of his co-workers got a great picture of him standing three feet away from the President of the United States. This wasn't a political event, so President Trump just walked in, spent about five minutes talking to Bill and other people at the head table, and then walked out. He didn't address the goup. However, the route was such that he walked right behind our seats, and he even patted Wayne on the shoulder. So, now we have something to talk about when we've exhausted all other subjects.

I don't mind participating in these fancy events once a year or so, but I'd really rather prefer relaxing in my own home. However you decide to celebrate the social part of this holiday, I hope you have a fantastic time.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Gingerbread House

Happy Birthday, David!

I haven't been very good about remembering birthdays this year, but I remembered this one. I even remembered a couple of days in advance which allowed me to realize that my plan to share this year's gingerbread house in honor of his special day wasn't a new idea. It's what I did a few years ago.

I did find a couple of new pictures, though, in addition to this year's creation above.

For those who are interested, many, many years ago my mom sent me a Pampered Chef gingerbread house mold. It makes creating gingerbread houses much easier, since you don't have to roll out and cut the dough. However, it's still a process, so it doesn't happen that often, but I really enjoyed making one this year, so maybe it will be more frequent in the future. We'll see!

Who says gingerbread houses need to be limited to December?

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thanksgiving 2017

Just like last year, we were able to drive to my parents for Thanksgiving and we had a wonderful time.

Relaxing in the living room

Little kids don't believe in sitting still.

Preparing the green bean casserole.

Mashing potatoes.

Delicious feast!

Someone needed to test all of the pie varieties.

I was impressed, not necessarily with the piano playing (give her time), but definitely with the singing, particularly "I am a Child of God."

This little girl was pretty pleased with herself when she commandeered Great-Grandfather's chair.

After our traditional hike on Friday morning, we helped Holly with her Christmas cards. As usual, she was pretty happy about that. 

Can't forget the traditional ice cream date with Grandpa!

I really do enjoy Christmas decorations, but I discovered that it's possible to go too far overboard. I wonder how much this hotel has to pay to store their decorations when it's not the Christmas season.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

A Bridal Shower

Happy Two Month Anniversary H&M!

Time for another wedding post; this one will be about the bridal shower, which was kindly and thoughtfully hosted by Michelle's sister-in-law (the one with the house in Utah). Thanks, Elizabeth!!

By the Wednesday before the wedding, family had started gathering, which included the nieces from Atlanta. They were pretty excited to see Aunt Michelle again, and maybe even more excited for the chance to have a party.

The party food and decorations were simple and lovely.

Guess who had dibs on the cupcakes with M&Ms?
Michelle's good friend (whom she met when they were roommates at Helaman Halls) was in charge of the game, which involved bubblegum and trivia questions to help us learn more about the engagement story. It, too, was simple and fun. Thanks, Lexi!

Of course, the most important part of the evening, at least for me, was being able to meet wonderful new ladies, including Hayden's mother and aunt, all of whom love Michelle and just wanted to wish her well in this wonderful new adventure.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Saturdays and Holidays in October

Our September Saturdays were quite eventful, and I'll get to posting about them soon (hopefully), but our October Saturdays were quite busy and productive as well. It was nice to have Jeff and his family join us for some of them, and here are the stories for those of you who couldn't be there!

October 7 - Jonathan Dickinson State Park - The activity for this visit was to rent a canoe and spend some time on the river. We had a wonderful time - see here.

Columbus Day - Cypress Creek - Yes, October is still rainy season, but we thought this hike was far enough from water sources that we wouldn't be sloshing through water. We thought wrong. Read all about it here. However, it was a fairly short hike, and it was a gorgeous day, so afterwards we spent time at our neighborhood pool, and then tried out a new restaurant at the mall - Joe and Ray's Table. It was interesting, but we probably won't go back.

I enjoyed the Lamb Gyro Plate, but Wayne's Beef Burger was a bit undercooked. The traditional Egyptian cookies reminded me of Russian Teacakes or Mexican Wedding Cakes or Snowballs; they're known by many different names.

October 14 - Stake Conference - Once again we were responsible for the stake choir and once again we were pleased with the results. We have awesome members in our stake who are willing to go the extra mile. And we enjoyed our traditional Panera dinner between sessions on Saturday.

October 21- Service Project - One last "Mormon Helping Hands" project to help with Hurricane Irma cleanup. Wayne was surprised to find one of his Boy Scouts from 25 years ago also helping with this "multi-ward across stake boundaries" service project. Grant and his growing family are doing great. What a small world!

October 28 - Rainy Day - It was supposed to be a rainy day, so we postponed our scheduled trip to Lantana Beach. However, after breakfast it wasn't actually raining which meant we could work in the yard for a couple of hours. Thanks, Jeff, for helping us remove the stump! Once the rain came we moved indoors, trying a new recipe while watching BYU football on tv. It was nice that they decided to win that game!

Halloween - Celebrating our typical traditions meant we attended the ward Fall Festival and passed out candy to trick-or-treaters. You can read all about this year's activities here.