November 29, 2008

Family Togetherness

Tymon and I invited both of our families over for Thanksgiving this year. We had just under 30 people over and pulled tables and chairs from where ever we could. It was so nice to just stay here and not go anywhere. For years, we've been doing double duty on holidays visiting both families. This year, we finally have a large enough house to host. It's so nice to be able to do that. Tymon's brother Lyndon from Calgary came down with his girlfriend Karen. An amazing thing is that her mom and stepdad live in Lake Stevens. The parents also came over for dinner so that Lyndon and Karen didn't have double duty, too.






It was a great dinner complete with my mom's potato rolls, which melt in your mouth. Jovana and I did the turkey. I wasn't too scared as I did do one a few years ago. I'm not an expert, though and thought this bird looked great. I didn't get a meat thermometer, however so I didn't know if it was done. My parents don't really use them and usually "shake hands" with the turkey leg and judge by the smoothness of the shake to determine if it's done. Well, they weren't able to shake very easily and informed me that the turkey was on his belly instead of his back. Nobody will notice, right? Well, Tymon's brother offered to carve it up and then he immediately noticed that it was upside-down. Hmmm, I guess I'll need to go to turkey school before next Thanksgiving comes around.





So while we're dishing up the fabulous turkey, my mom turns to me and asks about the stuffing...uh, you mean the stuffing I forgot to make? Yeah, that's the one. Then when we were eating my dad said that he should've brought the cranberry sauce. Oh boy! I'd already made some previously and had it in my freezer...waiting for Thanksgiving to come around. And while I'm coming out with the missing items...we didn't have any pie, either. My sister in law loves to make desserts and so she brought some fabulous cookies and amazing cupcakes (angel food and devil's food). I was going to bake a pie, but I didn't. And you know what? We all survived without these items and even lost a couple of pounds just thinking about what we didn't eat. ha ha ha.



After dinner and socializing, we took the kids to my parents and then saw Twilight. I liked much of it. There were some parts that I didn't expect ... nothing major. It's just that I didn't imagine Jacob as having long flowing black hair. Okay, I know that he's Indian and that in the book he had long hair...it's just that I didn't see him as that in my head. I don't think that Bella and Edward's relationship seemed justified in the movie. There were several scenes of them NOT getting along and then all of a sudden they are totally in love with each other. Stephenie Meyer is SO good at characterization that I love all of the characters in her books. I don't think the director did a very good job on that part of the movie. I'm somewhat biased here though. I'd like to hear from anyone who HAS NOT read the book and HAS seen the movie. I think that opinion would be more fair.

November 26, 2008

Back Online!






We got internet today! Yea! Here are some more photos from our Las Vegas trip. It seems like so long ago...but really it was only 3 weeks ago. On our last day there, we went to the Stratosphere hotel and went on rides they have at the top of thier tower.






This one is on a huge arm that moves from the platform out through the guard railing and then hangs over the side above the city. Then it spins you around and lifts you up so that you have to look down. Talk about high thrills and craziness. Here is Jovana and my brother on it. At the top of the tower is this beauty. The Big Shot ride shoots you up in the air and then drops you. My toes get tingly just thinking about it. I didn't think I had height issues...but apparently, I do. In fact, I now have a little ledge above my front door that I put some garland on the other day and my toes got that same tingly feeling. I had to talk myself through it...I am not afraid of heights...I am not afraid of heights...it's only an 8 or 9 foot drop...I'm not afraid of heights...I'd be okay if I fell. What is this? I've got the same feeling for a small ledge as I do for this insane ride at the Stratosphere.





Here are Jocelyn and I with JC and some scheduling programmers that we met at the convention.



Kristal, her son Ethan, JC, Jocelyn and I at Kristal's house in St. George, Utah.











November 20, 2008

Yea! New House! Boo! Library Internet...

It's unnerving using the library's internet and the timer is counting down. I feel so rushed. But we should be getting our internet hooked up next Wednesday. Yea!

The upside to not having internet in our new home is that I have a lot more time to enjoy its spaciousness (and unpack). So when I say spacious, I mean spacious. We've got a great bedroom with a great bathroom and spa tub, which we've taken advantage of every day since we moved in. We've got a family room, kitchen dining room, formal dining room, living room, and play room and only one table/chair set and one chair and a rocker in the family room. So, the spaciousness of it all really hits you! I suppose it'll seem smaller as we add furniture and pictures on the walls. We don't have any window coverings either...and the best part about that is seeing the forest in our back yard and feeling like we're camping (except we're warm and cozy in our beds). On Sunday night, I looked out the window as I was laying in bed and it was clear so I saw the stars. It was so cool.

November 12, 2008

Happy Birthday Jovana!

Jovana's family sent this flower arrangement for her birthday. She LOVED it and was touched that they arranged this surprise. We had a little surprise for Jovana, too. Here she is finding some thin movie tickets at the bottom of this large bag. We'll be going to see Twilight next week, so maybe Jovana will want to come and bring a friend.

We went to dinner at Red Robin and invited Cece, one of Jovana's friends.

One of the greatest treats when going out to dinner on your birthday is that you get a free dessert. Of course, everyone in the restaurant knows it's your special day and they gather around and sing to you, too. There were several birthday celebrations at Red Robin tonight. With each one, the boys began to clap with the waiters and waitresses. It was great fun.





November 10, 2008

Our New Home

Today everything was finalized for our new home. Tymon and I thought we'd sign papers today, but last week we found out that the loan had to fund today and so it created a bit of a sticky mess last week since I've been planning to be out of town since August. I actually had to take time out from one of the speakers at my convention to meet a specialized mortgage closing agent/notary to sign all of the documents. I didn't know that services like that even existed. They do, though. And it's a good thing because I didn't need to cancel flights/hotel rooms/rental car and still got most of the information and classes that I wanted.

This is the house as of last month. Unfortunately, the front yard still isn't in, the hardwood floors need their final coat of finish and gloss and there are a few fixtures left to attach. But the home is mostly done. What's really weird is that we don't even have keys to the house. We just know the code for the garage door opener. Our builder is out of town but will be back tomorrow and then I think all will get finished. We move on Saturday. Yeah!

Goodbye Old Couch

We got this loveseat and it's matching couch for free just over 6 years ago. I have been grateful for its usefulness and have also anticipated the day we would send it on to a new home. I didn't want to take it to our new house. If it came, it would never leave. My dear sweet husband found it a new home while I was in Las Vegas. I couldn't be more pleased. Craigslist.org is one of the most wonderful sites I know. Where else could you sell a couch set that you got for free for $50? And the purchaser counted herself lucky at that amazing price. We also sold our humongous computer desk on Craigslist, too. Now I feel bad about dumping our old queen sized bed when the city had a free trash/dump day a few months ago. I'm sure we could have gotten something for it and not had to haul it away. For now, we have a tv, pictures on the wall and our beanbags in our living room. We sit them and dream of new furniture.

November 9, 2008

Viva Las Vegas



On Wednesday, my brother JC, Jovana, Jocelyn and I flew to Las Vegas so that we could attend a convention for The Driving School Association of the Americas. It was our first time attending such a meeting and we came away with many ideas to try out in our business. It was great to see what's going on in the national scene and we're planning to attend the conventions every year. They take place in November and next time it'll be held in Florida. Oh, the beauty of warm weather and sunshine when it's raining at home! I also really want to go to Rhode Island and go through a training course that one of the presenters teaches. I think there are many things that would improve my driving and knowledge base, but there aren't any programs in our region that I know about that can do this. (Tymon and I checked out some of our competition a couple of years ago by going through one of their advanced driving courses but came away disappointed that we didn't learn anything more advanced than what we were already teaching in our school.)
In taking Jovana to Las Vegas, the plan was to have her do whatever sightseeing she wanted to do while we were in our meetings. I felt a little bad about just abandoning her, but did give her my cell phone so that we could communicate with her using my brother's phone. Before we left, I decided to contact Tymon's cousin, Carmell, who lives in Las Vegas. Carmell had time to spend with Jovana and as it turns out, they spent two days together. Both Carmell and Jovana had a great time together and now Carmell wants her to come and live with her. If I'd known that she'd try to take our exchange student away from us, I never would have called her up! ha ha ha.



A favorite memory of the trip was the phone call we made to Jovana on Friday evening. We called her when we were finished with our meetings and found out that she was babysitting Carmell's kids while Carmell and her husband went out to dinner with some friends. To be fair, Carmell invited Jovana to join them but she preferred to stay home with the kids. How ironic! Jovana comes from a small family with one sister and comes to the United States to live with a family that has many children. Then she goes for a vacation and hangs out with another family that has even more kids than we do and she LIKES it! Not pictured above is Emily, the oldest child and regular babysitter.Jocelyn was overall very quiet on this trip and only cried when she was tired. I had her in a baby wrap most of the time and I think that she really liked being so close and snuggled to me all of the time. Some of the men at the conference didn't notice her for a while. One woman had to do a double take when she first saw me as Jocelyn's head was sticking out of the wrap. The lady thought that I was wearing a very riske shirt and went overboard on a boob job (like many other women in Vegas). Just picture a very large HAIRY chest on a woman...the thought is just creepy.


Here's Jocelyn and I at the Freemont Experience. We found a great place there that had steak and eggs for $3.99. It tasted great, the portions were big and filling and the best part was the price. And Jovana in our hotel room. I really liked the old style of the furniture. We also drove up to St. George, Utah while were were there and visited with my sister and also one of my former mission companions. The trip was way too short (just a couple of hours) but good, too. Unfortunately, it was all done at dark so Jovana never got to see the beautiful red rock or canyons. Of course, she can always look at others' photos and know that she was there, too :o).

A New Gift

We have been packing up a lot of stuff lately getting prepared for our move and have found quite a few things that we didn't remember existed. We have a memory card in our old camera that we have taken some photos on and have let Graeden play with and take all of the photos he wants. This photo of Evan looking at his finger is one that Graeden captured. I love it.
Evan really could sleep anywhere. One day he was playing with this little couch and fell asleep while trying to crawl over it. ha ha ha.

When Frieda Foxton turned 101 this summer, we visited her and brought her some cherries. I remember when I was a little girl, I thought that Frieda was really old. She always brought banana chips to church for the children. I would look for her in the foyer and the box she kept these delicious morsels in. Time flies and no one stops aging. Now my perspective has changed and 60 or 70 doesn't seem as old as it used to, especially now that my parents are in that generation.
I'm grateful for these "new" photos of Evan. They remind me of some of the humorous times and great outings we had. When Evan died, most of my memories of him were pushed to the background as my mind was consumed with losing him.


November 2, 2008

Visiting Evan's Grave

We visited Evan's grave this afternoon and took him some presents. When we went to the pumpkin patch last week we picked out a little pumpkin for Evan. I chose to bring a Snickers candy bar because I love Evan's laugh and he loved everything sweet. The bunny came from a girl I visit teach. I know that Evan's not there and that someone throw all the presents away when they get gross but I still want to give him things and pretend that he's just busy right now and can't come home. I'm looking forward to the time when his stone is made and we won't have to find the cut out marks in the grass to know where his body is laid to rest. It's especially hard to find with the leaves falling off the trees. Hopefully, the headstone can be done for Christmas.


 
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