Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Savannah's baptism --our road warrior trip to Yakima Wahington



My niece got baptized this month in Washington. Luckily the kids had a Friday off of school, so we decided to drive over on Friday for the Saturday service. We enjoyed some great family time, worshiped together Sunday, and drove everyone back on Monday. One Monday missed of school wasn't too big a deal, but I will tell you, that long of a drive with both legs so close together was a bit challenging. I had to eat 3 pounds of baby bell peppers to get home without dozing off.

My sisters and I made cupcakes for refreshments --which was really satisfying. Those kids flocked like buzzards around that table.




Of course the best part was being with so much family at once.
Our little baptism girl was really nervous about the actual baptism. New things are not her favorite. However she performed a musical number with her mother at the service without a tremor in her voice. Not a new thing, so she was just fine, and she ended up being fine for the baptism too.




So nice to see my Aunt and Uncle there too. They live in Washington, but are still quite a ways away from my sister's family.

Three little sisters.
Washington had its usual gorgeous mountains, but in the Yakima valley where we were, it was still wintry brown. However, we did sneak away Saturday afternoon for a little walk in Cowiche Canyon, and that place was spectacular as always. 
 I sometimes think it can't be prettier in the summer than it is in fall and winter.
 The shrubs  and seed pods have so much color.





 Along with a truly impressive collection of mosses and lichens growing on dark volcanic rock.
We hurried back to help with dinner.
Back at Kira's the cousins had a blast all playing together.


The only sad thing was going our separate ways when the weekend was over.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Christmas and New Year whirlwind! Cookies, hiking, catering, babysitting.....

 I had a very full December, so I started on neighbor gifts right away. Even so, it took a couple of weeks to get through my list. I watched more Hallmark Christmas movies than I like to admit, and memorized the playlist on my holiday Pandora station. It was awesome. I love doing those cookies. I get  a little stressed out sometimes, but love it.

 We had a couple of beautiful storms in December. I risked my foot and went hiking one day up Mapleton canyon. I packed Trader Joe's truffles from my mom for energy (oh my gosh yum --first time I tried them!), and ate snow off the trees for water. I wore the wrong shoes though, and my feet got super cold before I got done. I learned my lesson for next time! 



 My poor Fluffy! This is my borrowed cat. We give him lots of loving whenever he comes over to visit from my neighbors. I felt so bad for him this day though. Jeff is allergic so we never let him inside. It looks like the willow bush is giving him a bit of shelter...

 Hobble Creek canyon is just like a picture postcard when it snows --complete with little church steeples. 

 I got a mini catering job in December. My friend's daughter got married, and she needed help with the hot chocolate bar at the reception. I dipped 250 wooden spoons after stamping them! A lot of friends kicked in with help on getting the stamps together since I have never stamped anything before.

 The chocolate bar turned out kind of cute, with chalkboard trays and barn wood all through it.


 We found tiny marshmallows at Orson Gygi.

 I mixed up a white hot chocolate with Ghirradelli white chocolate, milk, extra cream, and extra vanilla. So yum.




 The three days before Christmas eve, I was able to help out some friends watching their little tiny girls. I have to admit, I was a little tired by the third day --I'm not used to being a little kid mom anymore like I thought I could be --but they were so so fun and worth it! Those little tiny voices! We called the younger one "eep eep" while she was here because that was how she asked for things. 



 We made cookies, went to the library, the animal museum, pet store, the grocery store --everything was new and fascinating to them. It made everything magical to me!

 They left Christmas Eve, and we went to my brother Gavin's house that night for dinner and our nativity play. I had some mildly uncooperative teenagers this year....
 Mary refusing to wear her headdress, Joseph in a Santa hat...
 Gav's kids were fun though :)

 Christmas morning I was too excited to sleep, and was up by 6:30. I turned on my Christmas village, the tree, and Christmas carols, and waited and waited....
 Finally the kids got up to open their presents,



 and as a bonus it was an extra white white Christmas! It must have snowed two feet of snow through the night. Our friend Monte came to plow our driveway for a Christmas present. 
 Just as Jeff went out to thank him, a whole flock of geese flew overhead.
 Christmas day everyone came over here for dinner. My food assignment consisted of almost all produce ---and I was so frazzled, I forgot all about it. I just put off dealing with it and put it off, until it was late Christmas eve and nothing was open. My sweet sweet neighbors all lent me what I needed. A true Christmas miracle for me. What are the odds that there are 5 ripe avocados in the neighborhood Christmas eve? I was so grateful.

 Brenda and I took advantage of that Christmas storm and broke our snowshoes out for the first time this season the next day. We were limited on time, but were able to go quite a ways up the right fork of Hobble Creek canyon. This side is blocked off to traffic in the winter. It was just lovely. We took Brenda's dog Gabby, and every few feet she would hear a bird or a squirrel and point point point!

 For our "Annual New Year's Gala Event" (a tradition in my family since I was a teenager), my parents brought over a goofy movie from the 60's "The Russians are Coming!" We made homemade pizzas using my sourdough starter for the first time, and only set off our fire alarm twice...  The worst thing about that? You have to open the windows and doors to get the smoke out, so all the neighbors could hear it (I imagined). While we watched the movie (it was hilarious), we worked on gingerbread houses. I made these earlier in the day using burnt sugar syrup to construct, so they were ready to decorate.
 Tia's
 Mine and mom's
 Jeff's --that I did for him.
 Kai's

 Ari's.  My dad did one too, and Tia did our extra one, but we didn't get individual shots of them.
 Jeff was the man of the hour --taking our T.V. off the wall in the other room, and setting it up in our family room for our party. I know it looks like it, but he didn't watch the movie through the telescope.

Extra gala this year. and smoky. Extra smoky too.