Today Vidangel, our favorite (and only) online movie filtering company complied with an injunction that they suspend all filtering. We are so sad. We are also hoping that this is not the death of Vidangel but just a temporary condition while they proceed with the lawsuit. I don’t know how they would possibly win against 4 Hollywood studios (including Disney), but we are hoping. It has been nice to be able to expand our movie watching choices over these last few years. Now we probably won’t be watching any PG-13 movies or any movies from the 80’s, just like before Vidangel came along. I guess I’ll go back to watching BBC period films and just be content with that…
What a wonderful weekend this has been! I love, love, love it when Christmas is on a Sunday. I love attending church and being able to take the Sacrament. It being Christmas, and the Sabbath day allows me to to think of the Savior at his birth and his death and his life anew. Some Christmas traditions that I love? For more than a hundred years, our church congregation has met together on Christmas Eve for a nativity, for no more than an hour and exchanged Christmas wishes. Part of the tradition is for each child to receive a brown paper bag with an orange, some peanuts in their shell, an old fashioned chocolate, some hard candy and taffy. During the many years of this tradition there were years of hardship, most particularly during the depression, when this bag of treats was the only gift some children received.
Another tradition that we enjoy is our Christmas Eve meal. Grant and I go on a date a few days before and select dips, appetizers, chips, crackers, cheeses, pickles and olives. It is an easy and tasty meal with virtually no dishes. Wait! Did I forget the little smokies? Yes, this year we had little smokies. The sauce called for beer. I bought my first can of beer. We let all the kids smell it. They were all disgusted. So much so that some of them didn’t want to eat the little smokies. I’m glad of it. I think I would have been a little worried if they thought it smelled good.
Christmas morning was fun. Anna got two little girl rats and is so excited to finally have her own pets! All of our children have gotten a pet when they turned 6, except Anna. Sam got his snake. Lizzie, a lovebird that was exchanged for a kitten when we developed allergies to the bird. William got Hugo, the dog. The problem is all of those pets and Charlie and Kevin the cat are still living! We are pretty maxed out when it comes to pets. We thought rats were a good option.
Other gifts? Lizzie got a ton of clothes. Sam wanted a new long board. William got a go pro type camera. I got date coupons from my romantic husband and Grant got an authentic Lincoln costume. We had Mom, Brian and Rebecca here for present opening. Later this evening we went to visit my Dad and Sheri. I missed my sisters and brothers who were not here but it was nice to be around family.
The funniest part of the day was at about 9 am. After we had opened presents we were having breakfast and Anna was not being very nice. When Lizzie told her to stop Anna said, “I don’t have to be nice, I already got all of my presents from Santa.” Lizzie replied, “Yes, well, he is watching to see how you act now for next year’s presents.” Anna smugly exclaimed, “He isn’t watching me! He is sleeping right now!” Only Anna would realize the loophole in the whole naughty and nice = presents scheme. So, as I head off to bed I wish one and all, a Merry Christmas!
Get the rusty cogs turning…dust off the blogging skills…
I’m back! I used to love, even crave the time I had to write. It is amazing how easily we get out of the habit of things. (I’m wondering how it is so easy to get out of the habit of doing good things but so hard to kick the habit of bad things – like sugar) So, here I am. I have so much I could write about. In August I started a pretty regular freelance job doing design. I like the people I work with, and the challenge. The money is nice too. I enjoy the positive feedback and the flexibility of working from home. What I don’t like having other people’s projects hanging over me though when I have enough of my own waiting to be done!!!
The kids are doing well in school. Sam thinks he may have pulled his first 4.0 ever and is pretty excited about it. He is also 6’1″ and still growing (He might be MOST excited about that!). He is having an incredible cross country season as the undefeated champion. Now he is trying to compete against himself to beat his own time. Anna decided to keep going with Irish dance and is loving it though she wishes she could do other kinds of dance as well as Irish. She is also playing soccer and really likes that. Her games are most entertaining. As for school, after a rocky beginning in first grade with a teacher she didn’t really like she seems to be settled in and content (if not resigned). Sadly, the teacher looks a little like Mrs. Van Frank, my evil 6th grade teacher who asked my mom in a parent teacher conference, “How can you stand to be her mother?” Anna’s teacher may look like my evil teacher but that is where the similarity ends. She is actually very nice. Lizzie is blossoming in to such an amazing girl with wonderful talents and an astonishing desire for good. She is trying not to be so exclusive with her group of friends. She also has quite a flair for satirical cartooning which I hope to put some of her samples up soon. William is thriving in his club soccer league but realized that maybe raw talent isn’t enough since he isn’t the only hotshot on the team this year like he has been in the past. He is loving school and enjoying his musical pursuits in piano and violin. His epilepsy seems to be somewhat under control. He has about one seizure a month while he is sleeping. We are feeling pretty lucky.
Grant was released from his calling as bishop of our church congregation on September 4th. We have enjoyed a little more time together and although I think he misses the sweet associations he had with ward members and other priesthood leaders, I think he feels like the heavy burden of responsibility that he has carried these past 5 1/2 years has been lifted. I enjoy sitting with him at church again and having him around on Sunday since he is no longer in meetings all day! Things at the school are going well too. We acquired the land (27 acres) through generous donations for the eventual expansion that will include a separate high school building, performing arts center and sports complex. We are all excited for that and wish it could be done now!
I’m not really done. I wanted to record a wonderful talk I read today entitled “Forgiving Oneself” by Elder Chad Richardson. I found it while doing a little study on forgiveness. Read it here. This is my favorite part:
“We must keep sin in its proper perspective. Satan would convince us that we are defined by our sins… He would convince someone who has stolen that he is and always will be a thief.
The Savior, in contrast, would have us understand that we have sins that need to be cleansed, but we are much more than those stains. If I spill ketchup on my shirt, I have a stain. Perhaps it is right in front where everyone can see it. But while I have a stain, I am not the stain. I need to recognize that there is a good deal of my shirt that is clean and white. I believe that God sees the white shirt—the goodness in His children—and offers, through Christ, to remove the stains. If we obsess about the stain, however, it will become who we are in our minds and then in our actions.”
Yesterday was Fathers Day. My dad and Sheri came over for dinner. I felt so grateful to have my father and my wonderful husband together at dinner to celebrate their sacrifice and love. Anna said the blessing before we ate. She said some typical things, “Thank you for this day, please bless the food, help us to have a nice time together etc” and then she paused and suddenly she said to God, her Heavenly Father, “Happy Father’s Day!” I am certain that God, the creator of the universe, the Father of us all, heard this little girl and was smiling down upon her. I felt it.
Some recent happenings:
Anna decided to quit Irish Dance. She admitted that she just did it because Lizzie does and that she wants to try her own thing. Tina, her teacher and the owner of the dance studio sent this sweet e-mail in response to the news:
That is a huge bummer, but tell that girl I will be waiting for her when she decides Irish is the cooolest! Tell her that younger sisters usually get way better than their older sisters!:) All the best!
William tried out for a couple of club soccer teams for the first time. He made both teams and decided to play for Utah Surf. His main motivation is to play more often. He would play every day if he could. He loves it so much. Two weeks ago he was at BYU soccer camp that went from 8-noon every day. They played in 90 degree weather. After playing for four hours one day he had more practice with his new team. I asked him if he was too tired to go. He looked at me with incredulity and said, “No way! I could never play too much soccer!”
Conversation tonight between Lizzie and me:
Lizzie: I would never marry a dentist
Me: Why not? They make a ton of money and have great hours.
Lizzie:It doesn’t matter. It’s like marrying a terrorist.
At Christmastime, I sent out this really nice postcard to our friends and family telling them all about our blog. I had been writing so often, finding great joy and contentment in the process of recording our life and gathering things that make me happy in one place! I had BIG PLANS!!! Then, I think because I told everybody about the blog, I started to feel like it had to be something really special. Something clever and unique. It became too big and no longer just for me but for other people. Well, no more. This blog is for me. It is for my little family and if someone happens to stumble across it and find something good then, well, great!
So, for my records here is a list of happenings from the last few months during my writing sabbatical (not in chronological order – but in order of when the memory comes back to me):
Last month, Grant and I celebrated our 17th anniversary by going to The Chateaux in Deer Valley overnight. It was so romantic. Grant surprised me by bringing our “Love Book”. It is a blank book I made when I was taking bookbinding. We have been writing love letters to each other for the past 17 years. We took turns reading entries to each other. It was such a wonderful idea and so nice to hear the entries in our voices. Another romantic thing he did: Before I put on my socks in the morning, he warmed them one by one in front of the fire. I didn’t realize warm socks on a snowy morning could be such a luxury! I loved his thoughtfulness. I also loved the night before sitting in the hot tub together as the snow came down on us! It was so beautiful. And peaceful. Oh, and did I mention the food? We went to an Italian restaurant in Park City called Grappa that, while over-priced, was delicious. It was one of those places that had an explosion of new flavors. We ate marinated grapes! And I never knew that oyster mushrooms tasted like turkey!On Easter night, William had a seizure. Then over the space of a few weeks he had six more, all at night. It was a scary time. …
On Monday Grant and I are hosting a farewell open house for some friends who are moving to the East Coast. We had this conversation:
Me: So, I think I’m just going to make a few simple things for the party like brownies and cookies, you know, out of a box, instead of asking people to bring potluck snacks to share. It’ll be really low key and easy. What do you think?
Grant: I think that sounds like a GREAT idea!
So, after a bit of time on Pinterest, here is the quick and easy menu I came up with for the party:
Samoa sheet cake
Chocolate chip cookies
Key lime bars
Samosa bites (This idea is my sister, Al’s fault. Since she mentioned that she made some last weekend, I haven’t been able to get them out of my head!)
Carrot cake muffins
Grant’s homemade popcorn
Rice pudding with some toppings
You know, simple, easy, low key. Time to reign myself in a little…
This weekend we said goodbye to our goats, Chester, Friendy and Caramel. After five years it was time to allow them to move on to greener pastures. They have gone to live at HillShrine Farm where hopefully they will enjoy a bigger place to roam, more regular feeding than distracted teenagers can give them, and a lot more attention as it is open to the public as a petting farm on Saturdays. Grant is the saddest to see them go as we will now have to figure out what to do with all of our weeds and lawn clippings. I am excited to plant pumpkins in their pen which is probably the most fertile spot on the planet. Or maybe the droppings are too fresh and the plants will just burn up? Either way, it will be a fun experiment. And it will be nice not to nag kids to feed/water anymore. At any rate, it was a good five years. Wait…I’m not being completely honest here. Truthfully, I couldn’t stand them. They were annoying, stubborn, crafty, menaces to the neighborhood. They ate everything in site, chewed through fences, escaped at every possible opportunity, ate Anna’s hair and dresses every time she came near them and they were even miserable failures as fainting goats! They hardly ever fainted!!!
Needless to say, I shed no tears at their parting.
I would like to try this idea for storing butter: Food Storage Butter
Reminder: One of the reviewers said to shake the bottle after the lid seals to combine the separated butter.