Saturday, December 26, 2009

Greeting Cards Have All Been Sent. Kind of.

#2 Christmas Miracle....

I did Christmas cards.

Hard to believe, I know.

The part that will be easy to believe is that I finished them at 4:00 on Christmas Eve. So for the lucky 3 that had them mailed before Christmas you should feel honored that I have your address memorized. For the rest of you that I still love and adore. Here is the card.Here is what it looked like on the back except it was a cool font with different colors and a little Christmas Tree that matched the Merry Christmas. Just picture it will ya?

Merry Christmas!
It has been another fun-filled, peaceful and perfect year here at our home. Dave and I feel blessed to have such a blissful marriage. The children excel at everything they do and surpass all of our lofty expectations.

Who am I kidding? Our home is filled with 5 rowdy boys who do excel at noise-making and surpass all of our expectations of creating dirty laundry. We have had a lot of fun along the way. The boys continue to amaze, challenge, delight and occasionally frustrate us. We are grateful for the joys that come even amidst the trials. Many of our joys this year came from our associations with you, our friends and family! We are grateful to our Savior, whose birth we celebrate, who made it possible for these relationships to continue into the eternities!
Happy Holidays and Love to you all!

Now don't be surprised if one of these days I look up your addresses and actually get your card in the mail but in the meantime please know that you were thought of fondly during this Christmas season and for most of you all throughout the year. You are loved!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

My Thanksgiving Turkey

We had a multi-generational Thanksgiving. My Grandparents and one of my Great-Aunts with her kids, my mother and her sisters and kids and spouses, and my siblings, spouses and kids. All in all about 50 mouths to feed. We couldn't fit in a house. We went to a church which turned out great because there is a room right off the kitchen where we set up tables and chairs and Tricia decorated. Dinner was delicious. Especially the stuffing and pies and rolls and salads and potatoes and the beans and turkey and even the yams if memory serves.
My turkey came a bit later. You see we played Family Feud. I did a survey earlier that afternoon where everyone had to answer a few basic questions. Questions like "Name your favorite dish that Grandma Carter makes".
Or "What is Grandpa's favorite swear word?" I tallied the results and we divided everyone up into teams.
Team Grandpa
Team Grandma
I got their attention and we began the game. I forgot the buzzer so we just had to raise our hands. 50 people surveyed
top 4 answers on the board
Name Grandma's favorite dish.Mitch!
Potato Salad!
Number 2 answer!
And then it went to the team.
Everything going pretty smoothly other than the fact my brothers are all way too competitive! Then we do some actual Family Feud questions. yada yada yada. And then THE question. That will go down in family infamy. Ironically enough Grandpa was the one to be up front to earn the right to answer. OK.
50 people surveyed.
top 4 answers on the board.
What is Grandpa's favorite swear word! Grandpa!
"Hells Bells"!
#1 answer!
92% of the votes
Does your team want to pass or play?
They want to play.
Although nobody wants to play.
Here is Renee trying to get Grandpa to tell her more swear words and he can't think of any. "Rowena, What else do I say?" They want to whisper their answers. The other words were Dam (yep, it was spelled wrong.) Hell and Heck.

So I give everyone a few clues and then there is only one left. Heck. Because it really isn't a swear word at all.
I tell the team that.
I try to help them and the lightbulb comes on for the team and then comes the moment where I made Thanksgiving history.

My Aunt Carrie is my mom's younger sister. She is mentally handicapped. She is having a great time playing this game. It is her turn. Without thinking I ask her "Carrie. What is Grandpa's favorite swear word?"

I think nothing of it. I turn my back to reveal the answer that I feel sure she will get. I have given hints. The team has basically got the answer.

Then Carrie in all her innocence says loudly in her deep voice "SH*$!

Picture it.
Big family.
17 innocent kids under the age of 14 all of whom think stupid is a swear word.
In a church.
Sweetest Grandparents.
Innocent Aunt.
Oh my stars people.
What have I done?

So Mom tells us the game is over and fires me from ever being in charge of games again. The laughter dies down and yet I know this will go on to be a Thanksgiving memory for the ages!

Nice going Kelli. Hell's Bells girl! What were you thinking?!

PS Thanks Alli for the pics!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Tis the Season

I love Christmas music! I love to listen to Christmas music. (but only after Thanksgiving!) I think "Breath of Heaven" is my favorite today. I love to debate with my argumentative brother-in-law about "Mary, Did You Know?" He says of course she knew. I think she only knew some of what her son would do not all of it. What say ye?Even more than listening to it I love to sing it! I think it stems back to the good ole' Viewmont Madrigal days when we had a singing gig almost every day between Thanksgiving and Christmas. We started with singing at the Tabernacle for the "Lighting of Temple Square" night and did everything from big concerts and mall visits to ward programs and family Christmas parties. I bet if I had to I could still sing the parts and do the choreography for "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus"! Teddy bear kick line and all!

Last night I was able to go to a Messiah sing in where my mom's choir was performing. It was absolutely thrilling to sing those songs again. It was also fun to also attend a concert for my mom after she attended hundreds for her children through the years. I think she probably had the Hallelujah Chorus memorized just from hearing it soooo many times! I love the story about Handel where he was given the compliment that his "Messiah" was "noble entertainment" He replied "I should be sorry if I only entertained them; I wished to make them better."
Last year I was able to go to the Mormon Tabernacle concert with Brian Stokes Mitchell and Edward Herrmann. When Edward Herrmann told the story behind "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" and then the choir sang it. Oh my heart. I was was crying so hard I was almost sobbing. It was a healing cry however. Filled with memories of my dad my heart was aching and the music helped wash away some of the sad and hurt and fill it with hope and peace. Music can do that.

So don't be shocked when you pass by me in my car and I have the music blaring to Harry Connick singing "Happy Ho Ho Ho to You" or good ole Karen Carpenter or the Bare Naked Ladies. It will pass soon enough. So what is your current must listen to Christmas song. I really wanna know.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Anyone who knows me knows that all the fashion genes in my family went to my other siblings. I am thinking of 2 in particular. Any guesses?

My cousin, Courtney, has always been one of the most fashionable gals around and now I find out that she has been hiding a talent at actual fashion design! I could be angry that somehow her cousin gene also more than likely stripped me of any possibility of being fashionable but I am not angry I am thrilled!
I went and checked out her new blog and found out that her fashion idols are Audrey Hepburn, whom I love and adore, and Jackie Kennedy who was an impeccable dresser. I love how Courtney describes her idea of great design "simple, modest and timeless". Wonderful.

So Courtney was persuaded to enter a contest and her entry made the top 15! So now if you would like you can go and vote for her dress! Just go to Shabby Apple and make a comment and mention #14. If you are anything like me you might get a little sick to your stomach though as you see how many fashionistas there are and realize that you totally got ripped off.

Now if you will excuse me I am going to go get out of my sweats and t-shirt.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Real Story!

Every time I put my camera down Joe picks it up and starts snapping pictures. I am amazed when I go to download my photos how many shots he gets in before I catch him and take it away. I was going through my last download and getting ready to delete them when I realized that these were Joe's life. He took pictures of things he loves from his point of view. So without further introduction. Here is Joe's life. October-ish 2009.

First up. Joe loves Tricia. Here she is at the orthodontist. He could take pictures of models. He really knows how to get their best side. Joe loves his mom and his brother Alex. Here he has captured us during homework reading time! Showing the world exactly how tired I am by this time each day. Not to mention how very tan my legs are by the END of the summer! Good grief. This is Joe looking for his buddy Aaron at a Court of Honor. He found him. Poor Joe is going to have to sit through a lot of these! At least at some point he will be able to see over the chairs. Here is a picture of Joe's favorite blanket in Joe's favorite runway/hall. Also since we are down at his level I found that he has been using his bookshelf as a coloring book! Here is Joe's view of my quilt stand which doubles as a clothes holder. From his point of view you can actually see the quilt! Here is the kichen table looking into the kitchen. If I was a mother who stressed enriching my sons life at every opportunity I would hang pictures under the bar! But here you see how I enrich my sons life. Looney Toones. Extremely close up! He can run any DVD player though! Talented kid. Last but not least you will see his photo collection of his favorite thing in this world. Cars. Notice how carefully he arranges them in the best possible lighting. The logos are placed just so albeit out of focus. This kid has a knack. Does anyone know of a career where you can make money taking blurry pictures of hundreds of cars? Besides NASCAR? Well there you have it. Joe's life as seen through his stolen camera lens!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Completely Random.

I have officially received the 2 comments that my blog is boring and I am lazy so it must be time for a new post.

I was thinking about a famous family story about one of my brothers. This brother came home from work one night and found his cute young wife who had been at home all day with 3 young kids ready for some adult conversation.

So he listened for a minute and realized that she hadn't paused long enough for him to comment yet. He decided that it would be "fun" to see how long she would talk without him actually saying a word. If memory serves (and it often doesn't these days) I think he let her go on for about 15 minutes. Then he told her about his experiment. She reacted.

Needless to say it is now a famous family story. Even she laughs about it now. She is a good sport.

I have entire random conversations inside my head. My husband often wonders why I can't come to bed until I am beyond tired. I have tried to go to bed earlier but I lay there and toss and turn. Dave will ask what is wrong and I always have the same problem.

My mind won't stop.

One night I decided to share this phenomenon with Dave. (You are welcome, Love.)

I gave him a running commentary.

Is that a light on downstairs? I wonder if Aaron turned off his light. I hope he did his reading. I really need to find a good series for him. Jenn suggested a good one. It is her birthday this week. I gotta call her. Remember when she forgot to call me. So funny. Of all people. I can't believe she and Nate text about the Office and Glee every Friday. I want to get the sheet music for "Don't Stop Believin" I miss singing. Shoot I missed choir practice again. Julie is going to think I am a huge flake. I feel so bad her kids were so sick. I wish I could have helped. Did you know Jonathan only had 9 kids in his class one day this week? Josh can never miss a day of 8th grade again. That was a nightmare! Did I have that much homework when I was in High School? I was really lucky to have such a great high school experience. I hope Josh has some good friends in High School. We need a bigger house. Thanks for getting the brakes fixed. How much did you charge? I need to work for Sandra this week. I need to get the order out and update Sandy's website. Did I put that invoice in the mail? I am mailing Christmas cards this year. We have family pictures on Saturday. We need some new coordinating outfits. How are we going to get the kids to cooperate? We should have got all of them a haircut. I wish I had lost 80 lbs instead of just 30. Exercise would help. It was fun to go with Mom to lunch on Friday. I wish you liked fish. You need to take the boys fishing with Mitch. I think there is a Merit Badge for fishing. I wonder who they will put in as scoutmaster? I love my young women. I wish the boys were old enough for some of them. I hope my daughter-in-laws won't hate me! I need to update my blog. Tricia told me I was boring. Did I get her for Christmas? No wait I got Alli. We need to make our list. Alex said he wanted a cell phone. Shoot, I forgot to call about Visiting Teaching. Mine are coming tomorrow. I need to clean up the living room. Did the boys put their backpacks away? Their companions are going to hate me! No matter how many times I remind them they "forget". Do you think Aaron turned off his light? I'm going to check.

It all makes perfect sense. I just wish I could find the off switch.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Dear Fadil #2

Who is FADIL?
She is my Future Adorable Daughter in Law!
This is a continuation of the letter that I will be writing for the next 12-22 years.

Dear Fadil,

I was wondering if you could possible get this letter to your mother. I would greatly appreciate it. Especially since you may not even be born yet. Thanks. MIL

Dear MOB (Mother of the Bride),

Thanks for taking the time to read this. I know you are busy educating your beautiful daughter but I wondered since we are going to be sharing grandkids if we could just open up a dialogue.

First of all please know that you have my eternal gratitude for raising my beloved DIL. We will love and adore her!

So my request for the month is this....

Please dress your daughter modestly. From day one. If you could possibly dress her with long sleeves and long pants all the time that would be great. I am trying to bring back the whole "ankles are never to be seen" and also introduce the new "elbows are too tantalizing" fashion scene.

Ok that may be extreme but if you could stick to the no strapless, spaghetti strap, backless, short, skanky, bikini, midriff, skin showing clothes. Please. Don't blame the fashion of the day. Don't tell me you can't find a modest prom dress. Just do it. You will never regret it.

You see I am trying to teach your future son-in-law to respect women and to think clean thoughts. If you could make it a bit easier on him that would be great. If this is too much of a challenge for you then please know that I will be forced to tell my son that either you or your daughter is a lady of the night.

WHAT? I am so just kidding. Kind of.

So that is all I wanted to say for now. Modesty. It can't be that hard. In return I will not get you this hat to wear at my family shower.
Thanks Fadil for letting me chat with your mom! Tune in next week when I have some advice for your cousins! Love you! MIL

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Fall Recess

Warning: this is a long post. Here is the summary. I like fall. We went on a trip. Josh got braces. Thanks for reading. You may go back to your lives now citizens. (name that movie) good grief I can't even summarize briefly.

love fall in Utah!

I love the unpredictableness of the weather. It makes me laugh having the kids ask what they should wear that day. I love to tell them "I have no idea!" I love when they go to school in shorts and a sweatshirt. It looks awesome. We have a lot of fashion sense around here you know.

I also love how the weather causes a lot of whining and complaining. And this isn't coming from my kids.

I also love how the mountains light on fire with the bright reds, oranges and yellows as the leaves change! It is gorgeous!

I love how my electric bill drops so dramatically! I love having the windows open and burrowing into the blankets at night as the temperature plummets!

I love, love, love General Conference! It inspires me to renew my faith, have courage and get the laundry folded. In that order.

I also love FALL RECESS! This year we scheduled our fall break around Josh's Orthodontist appointment in Richfield Utah. Two of my sister, Tricia's kids were also getting braces so her family came along! The appointment was for Monday so of course we left on Thursday.

We drove down and stopped at Cove Fort.
It was amazing to be taken back to the time of stagecoaches, the Pony Express and the telegraph. It was also a good reminder of how easy my life really is.... I don't have 20-30 guests to cook for every night for one thing! The tour was fascinating although Joe got restless and ran outside to pout. After that we headed to St. George. We stayed at my uncles and aunts home which was absolutely wonderful! First of all it brought back fantastic memories of my childhood and family trips to visit cousins. Second of all it was wonderful to have a back yard to send the kids to play and run instead of being cooped up in a hotel room. Grant and Stephanie were so kind to let us borrow their home.
We slept that night and got up bright and early to head to Zions National Park! We had an absolutely delightful day hiking in this amazing place. Here we are at one of the falls. See the blurry lines on the right of the picture? Water falling.
Here we are at another fall. Water. Falling from Rocks. How beautiful is that? Hiking. With 10 kids. How fun it sounds. Until. You bring a 3 year old who bounces towards sharp drop offs oblivious to the fact that his mothers stomach has plummeted to her toes and her muscles have frozen in fear. At that point I realize I should have stayed at the gift shop. We wanted to hike to the top of Angel's Landing but Joe was ready for a rest (not to mention his mom is terrified of heights). So I sent everyone off and took Joe to get his blanket. We went to the gift shop, got a drink, went on another hike and rode the tour trams up the canyon hoping Joe would fall asleep. In the meantime this group hiked and climbed and hiked and hiked and climbed. Here is what I heard about Angels Landing while listening to the guide on the tram.
"After going through Refrigerator Canyon you will have to hike up 21 switchbacks called Walter's Wiggles."
Wow, I remember doing those last time I was here. So grateful I have Joe as an excuse not to do that again. Later I was told by the hikers that they are still KILLER. "Then after you get to Scout Overlook you have to climb up the spine of the mountain." This is the part where I can taste bile in my throat. "The trail is very dangerous and not recommended for young children or those afraid of heights."
What about a 6 year old whose mother is afraid of heights? Is that worse?
I could feel my hysteria intensifying. "There are places where the path is 3 feet wide and on both sides there is a drop off of 1200 feet"
3 feet! 3 feet! That is only 36 inches! MY BABIES!
1200 feet! I can't even comprehend what that looks like but just the sound of it makes me dizzy! The National Park Services let people do this? Where is the complaint desk? (I am now putting my head between my knees and praying earnestly)
"The views you see once you reach the tops are among the most spectacular in the world"
So not worth it. It would have been a better idea for us all to stay at the bottom and send 1 sacrificial person to go take pictures!

"When you are at the top please stay away from the edges and keep an eye on children. Please no horseplay"
I am sure that my sister will make sure that my kids are safe and Dave is there also to encourage Aaron who is so scared of heights he was crying AT THE BOTTOM. I am sure they will be wise!

Et tu Aaron? "There is also a chance while you are the top that you may see a California Condor from the Grand Canyon Project. "
WHAT? That bird is big enough to carry my boy off the mountain! But really, I wonder what the odds are of them actually seeing one? (pretty good apparently. Just ask Alex who saw it first and announced to everyone "Here's another chain, and a bird" said with a New York accent)

Needless to say when they got down from there 3+ hour hike I was exhausted from my ordeal! It was also dark so we loaded onto the tram and we headed home.
We picked up dinner at the In-N-Out in St. George! So tired that we didn't appreciate it near enough. We fell right to sleep.
The next morning we got ready and watched a bit of conference while Dave and Brandon went and ran errands.
Who run errands while on vacation? These boys. Gotta get the oil changed. Have to replace my cell phone. Need to pick up a smaller climbing harness. Gotta deliver a picture to Deseret Book for Sandra. Oh wait that one was me.
So eventually we made our way to Snow Canyon.
Can I just tell you that Snow Canyon has more memories for me of Spring Break during my college years... rapelling, spelunking, hiking, playing steal the flag, bbq's, the narrows, trips to the hospital. My goodness those were good times!
So we went to Snow Canyon and went spelunking first! It was so fun. I may be terrified of being at the tops of the mountains but I have no problem burrowing down deep into the Earth. Apparently though "Someone" is a bit scared of closed in places. So much so that he chose to stay with the sleeping Joe.
What are we going to do when Joe is grown up and we no longer have him for an excuse?
So after a bit of a hike we clambered down into the cave.We found a little opening that lead to another cavern. To get there you had to take off your backpack, lay down on your stomach and crawl through. Here is Brandon making his way through. Aaron who hates heights also is at home under the ground. In this second cavern there was another skinny little hole that some of the kids managed to get through that led to a tiny cavern underneath us. Here is Aaron who managed to squeeze through many tiny areas. Here he is saying howdy from underneath the rock where I was sitting. I enjoyed taking these pictures knowing that Dave would get a little sick looking at them later! Payback! We had a great time but we took too long because by the time we got back to the car we had no time to go climbing. We rushed back to let Dave, Josh, Brandon and Jacob go to Priesthood Conference.
The next day we got up, packed up and cleaned up. We decided to drive back through Zions and go through the tunnel and head up to Richfield that way. The drive was gorgeous! Here is a formation that my great, great, great, great, great grandkids will see as a full arch someday! Here is one of the "windows" in the tunnel. Amazing. Here is the goofball family that we followed or led for a few fun filled days! When we got to the hotel in Richfield we split up. The men took 6 kids home with them and Tricia and I stayed with the soon to be Metal-mouths and Joe.
Here is Josh in the most flattering picture that could ever be taken of a child!
And the final result!
So there you have it! Our fine fall trip. Great times. Not facing fears. Beautiful world.