Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Temple Square 2009

Temple Square was beautiful on Tuesday night as the snow was falling. This is the first time we have gone since we moved here, which is really sad. Last year we tried but after by the time we found a parking space on the same Saturday night as a Jazz game and a performance at the Conference Center we were too late and they had started turning out the lights.

We went for Chinese food, which we haven't had for a really long time, and then up to the temple. The manger scene was really beautiful and touching. It is very fitting that because Christ was born, died, and then rose from the dead, we can be sealed to our families in the temple.

If you didn't hear it here is the story from President Monson's talk at the First Presidency Christmas Devotional. I love it.

Many years ago I read of an experience at Christmastime which took place when thousands of weary travelers were stranded in the congested Atlanta, Georgia, airport. An ice storm had seriously delayed air travel as these people were trying to get wherever they most wanted to be for Christmas—most likely home.

It happened in December of 1970. As the midnight hour tolled, unhappy passengers clustered around ticket counters, conferring anxiously with agents whose cheerfulness had long since evaporated. They, too, wanted to be home. A few people managed to doze in uncomfortable seats. Others gathered at the newsstands to thumb silently through paperback books.

If there was a common bond among this diverse throng, it was loneliness—pervasive, inescapable, suffocating loneliness. But airport decorum required that each traveler maintain his invisible barrier against all the others. Better to be lonely than to be involved, which inevitably meant listening to the complaints of gloomy and disheartened fellow travelers.

The fact of the matter was that there were more passengers than there were available seats on any of the planes. When an occasional plane managed to break out, more travelers stayed behind than made it aboard. The words “Standby,” “Reservation confirmed,” and “First-class passenger” settled priorities and bespoke money, power, influence, foresight—or the lack thereof.

Gate 67 in Atlanta was a microcosm of the whole cavernous airport. Scarcely more than a glassed-in cubicle, it was jammed with travelers hoping to fly to New Orleans, Dallas, and points west. Except for the fortunate few traveling in pairs, there was little conversation at Gate 67. A salesman stared absently into space, as if resigned. A young mother cradled an infant in her arms, gently rocking in a vain effort to soothe the soft whimpering.

Then there was a man in a finely tailored grey flannel suit who somehow seemed impervious to the collective suffering. There was a certain indifference about his manner. He was absorbed in paperwork—figuring the year-end corporate profits, perhaps. A nerve-frayed traveler sitting nearby, observing this busy man, might have identified him as an Ebenezer Scrooge.

Suddenly, the relative silence was broken by a commotion. A young man in military uniform, no more than 19 years old, was in animated conversation with the desk agent. The boy held a low-priority ticket. He pleaded with the agent to help him get to New Orleans so that he could take the bus to the obscure Louisiana village he called home.

The agent wearily told him the prospects were poor for the next 24 hours, maybe longer. The boy grew frantic. Immediately after Christmas his unit was to be sent to Vietnam—where at that time war was raging—and if he didn’t make this flight, he might never again spend Christmas at home. Even the businessman looked up from his cryptic computations to show a guarded interest. The agent clearly was moved, even a bit embarrassed. But he could only offer sympathy—not hope. The boy stood at the departure desk, casting anxious looks around the crowded room as if seeking just one friendly face.

Finally the agent announced that the flight was ready for boarding. The travelers, who had been waiting long hours, heaved themselves up, gathered their belongings, and shuffled down the small corridor to the waiting aircraft: twenty, thirty, a hundred—until there were no more seats. The agent turned to the frantic young soldier and shrugged.

Inexplicably, the businessman had lingered behind. Now he stepped forward. “I have a confirmed ticket,” he quietly told the agent. “I’d like to give my seat to this young man.” The agent stared incredulously; then he motioned to the soldier. Unable to speak, tears streaming down his face, the boy in olive drab shook hands with the man in the gray flannel suit, who simply murmured, “Good luck. Have a fine Christmas. Good luck.”

As the plane door closed and the engines began their rising whine, the businessman turned away, clutching his briefcase, and trudged toward the all-night restaurant.

No more than a few among the thousands stranded there at the Atlanta airport witnessed the drama at Gate 67. But for those who did, the sullenness, the frustration, the hostility—all dissolved into a glow. That act of love and kindness between strangers had brought the spirit of Christmas into their hearts.

The lights of the departing plane blinked, starlike, as the craft moved off into the darkness. The infant slept silently now in the lap of the young mother. Perhaps another flight would be leaving before many more hours. But those who witnessed the interchange were less impatient. The glow lingered, gently and pervasively, in that small glass and plastic stable at Gate 67.2

My brothers and sisters, finding the real joy of the season comes not in the hurrying and the scurrying to get more done or in the purchasing of obligatory gifts. Real joy comes as we show the love and compassion inspired by the Savior of the World, who said, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these ... ye have done it unto me.”3

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Baking

My kitchen yesterday

Took around 25 plates of good stuff to people around the ward. Friends, neighbors, Visiting and Home Teaching people, and Peter's counselors in the Sunday School Presidency. Peter had all the plates strategically ordered in the car for maximum efficiency during our deliveries.

Kids loved it and all helped out tons. John rolled every one of those Mexican Wedding Cakes in powdered sugar and peeled off all the Hershey kiss wrappers and stuck them on the cookies. Rebecca unwrapped endless sticks of butter and diligently stirred the toffee. Sarah rolled cookies, manned the timer, and fetched ingredients from the basement. Nathaniel sampled everything to make sure it was all edible (and brought along friends to sample too) and Peter guarded it all from the dog while I showered.

There is this kid who lives across the street from us, the Bishops son. So cute and so sweet. He is four I think and plays with John a lot. Every single time he comes over he tells me he is hungry. I'm always doing something and just say, "Go look and see what you want." He walks away, "Oh-tay" and then comes back to give me his order. That kid can eat like no other. I never had one of those--my kids never ate at that age. So when he saw the bake-o-rama yesterday he looked at me as I frosted sugar cookies--"What you doin'?"
Code for are you going to give me some or what?!

Christmas Sewing

This is my sewing area in the basement during Christmas. I don't know why but I just love to sew at Christmas. People might think it is stressful, but for me it is just so much fun and I thrive on it! Gets those creative juices flowing. Have I mentioned how I love Christmas?

I made up this pattern for my friend Shawn who has been utterly sweet to me this year (and recently gave me the most decadent brownie recipe ever.) Her father was Dutch and she has all these Dutch traditions during Christmas--thus the tulips, windmills and Dutch wooden shoes. I thought it came out very cute. I can't tell if the wooden shoes actually look like shoes or just large mustaches. I only had to buy the border fabric-- all others were remnants from my stash.
I love red and white quilts. Heck, I love red and white anything!

Made these table runners for Linda and Penny after I saw the state of affairs Peter's mother Penny's table was in. Another project where I was kind of making it up as I went along. Sometimes I just cannot find a pattern I like so I improvise.
Now I want a table runner too.

This is a baby doll blanket I made for my two youngest nieces.
Just remnants leftover from other projects. I love cheap and super-cute Christmas presents.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Every year I watch for the chocolate covered Oreos they come out with at Christmas. This year they didn't seem to have them anywhere. Then I was at Target the other day, having already looked at the holiday treat section with no luck, when I saw them up by one of the checkout stands with a big sign saying "limited time only!" Throw away the calorie counter-- I bought myself 2 boxes. White chocolate are my favorite.

On the way home we are all eating them in the car when this headache starts coming on. By the time we get home I have to lie down. It's a migraine, which I've managed to forgo for quite a while now. The nausea sets in and all I can think about is those chocolate covered cookies and what in the heck they probably put in that white stuff in the middle of Oreos and how the chocolate coating is probably made out of some weird and very long list of ingredients and swearing I will not do this to myself again.

I know I will probably never be able to eat those things again. Just thinking about them makes me feel sick now. Very sad because I loved those things and was so excited to find them. Then yesterday a little boy in my primary class brings me over a treat for Christmas and guess what? White chocolate covered Oreos!
Now tell me, what are the chances?!
Gave them to Sarah.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Never a dull moment with John around!

Tonight as we are watching the First Presidency Christmas Devotional
I go in to see what John is doing.
He's naked.
In the sink.

Yesterday this is what John was doing when I got up in the morning.

And this is what he was wearing when I got up on Friday.
At least I was grateful to see him in clothes.

Sunday morning

Woke up this morning to this

So I measured it and we got at least 7 1/2 inches last night

Decided to take a family picture out in the backyard right after church
and it was really cold so we only got three chances.
We all agreed this was the best--which is not saying much.
I thought I looked cute today too...
I feel like my bosoms look unseemingly large in every picture of me lately. With all the boob jobs going on around here in Utah I've gotta say I don't get it. I think it just makes women look heavier. The last time a friend of mine got one I thought she had just gained weight.
A lot of weight.
I think the most beautiful women in the world are quite flat-chested--like Audrey Hepburn.
Guess I'm not going to look like her anytime soon. Oh well.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Traditional Monday Nite after Thanksgiving

The tree is up--watch the electric gauge whirl! The kids are already bouncing off the walls. This year we had to do some major rearranging because I simply must have the tree in front of the bay window facing the street. The piano, a table, two couches, and some really crusty fish stick remains later--waala!
A while back I was so surprised to find some bubble lights at a yard sale I was helping with. I bought them with memories of the ones we used to have as kids. They are so cool! Our tree is such a hodgepodge. I couldn't help but think as we were decorating how Martha Stewart would hang her head in shame.
John had ants in his pants wanting to get the train up last night but we were too tired--Peter put it together first thing this morning.

I love Christmas.


The best reason to visit is a new baby.
Meet Daniel, Megan's baby.
(We still can't believe Meggie Baby even has a baby, or is married, or any such thing.)

He makes the most noise of any baby any of us have ever heard! Not crying, just baby noises--constantly! It is like he is in a perceptual adventure in his sleep and according to Megan and Paul has been doing this since almost the moment he waas born. Fluttering eyes, smiling, humming, stretching, grumbling, squeaking--this baby is remembering something I think.
He is almost never silent.
I asked Megan how she sleeps through it all.
She says they get used to it, but she looks pretty tired to me!
I love new baby smell--it's the best.
We missed him before we even left--sniff...

Animals and Quilting

Daniel Joseph Eizenzimmer's quilt

Festival of the Trees Quilt
(to be auctioned for Primary Children's Hospital)

As you can see here Charlie wants to get in on everything, including my pictures. He was very unhappy we left him behind when we left for Thanksgiving and I felt bad.
Charlie is my most constant friend. He is the first one up waiting for me in the morning. He lays down against the shower door waiting for me to get out. Then he watches me blow dry my hair because he likes it when I turn the dryer in his direction.
At night we don't let him sleep in our room because he shakes his head around too much, but we can always hear him scratch at the door, just once, before he plops down against the door to wait out the night.
He can hardly contain himself when he sees me putting on my running shoes.
Maybe this is why I often get along better with animals than people? Good excuse anyway.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

New Moon

So here is Shawn and Michelle doing the door prizes. Things like Edward clocks and other souvenirs that said things like "I heart men who sparkle."
Note Michelle's temporary neck and face tattoos.
I was super impressed with their enthusiasm and planning. They made it really fun.

I took this picture of Nathaniel and turns out he really is a vampire.
All the men present got a box of Junior Mints just for being manly enough to show up.
You go Nathaniel!!

Lily had a stats exam and a blind date the following day. I'd haven't heard how those went yet.

The best part of the night was our VIP passes. I passed through the hoards of people waiting in line fighting the urge to say, "Ummmm..excuse me, VIP coming through."

Now for the truth. (Don't read this is you are a fan.
Truly, I have more friends than not that love, love, love these books.)

My expectations were not high, but New Moon was possibly the worst, most poorly acted, pathetically scripted movie I've ever seen. Lily and I shook with silent laughter until we cried, which kind of made me feel bad because the girl next to me was actually crying. Our favorite parts were the floating images Bella would see of Edward. When the wolf first appeared it felt awfully reminiscent of the scene in "The Neverending Story." We were all wondering when this movie was going to be over. Of course, to be fair, sitting in the front row wrenching our necks and backs (not to mention our pride) was getting a little old too.

I gotta say I liked the first one quite a bit more. Maybe because of the whole new romance experience. Funny thing is Lily, Sarah, Nathaniel and I went to that one together too, and Lily wasn't even living here then.

Let's face it, Jake's ripped bod was the only redeeming quality. Every time we saw his shirtless self Lily and I would say, "Well, hello there."

Now I can say I've been to a midnight premiere. I think once in my life is going to be more than sufficient for me. And I was also happy to come home and climb into bed with my own very pale man.
Plus, BONUS, he's warm.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Twilight Saga

Two friends in my ward rented out a theater for New Moon tonight. I called to ask one of them yesterday, "By the way, when is the movie at?" 12 AM??!!
I guess I was the only one who hadn't clued in to the fact that it actually comes out for the first time tomorrow at 12:01. Sarah doesn't know we're going. I'm waking her up in 1/2 an hour. She doesn't know it but she won't be going to school tomorrow. I can only imagine her disappointment. It might as well be Christmas.
They are having a big party with door prizes and everything. As I have shared before I'm not a fan of the books but I enjoyed the last movie well enough. (With the exception of the referral to the Spider Monkey comment--was that bad or what?) I thought if nothing else it would be a really fun experience for Nathaniel and Sarah. Lily is going with and we are all going to go to IHOP after. Looking forward to Jake's rippling muscles--I hear we'll see a lot of them.

Lily says her favorite line is, "You're my own personal brand of heroine."
Gotta love pathetic woman fantasy.

Rebecca turns 9

Rebecca's birthday was on the 13th. We did the cowgirl theme because as everyone knows that is her future aspiration in life. She came home from school to brand new genuine cowgirl boots.
We played shoot the pop cans with the dart gun, taffy pulling, decorated sugar cookie sheriff stars, and the a massive scavenger hunt. My favorite thing is to make the kids run up and down the stairs--basement, upstairs, basement, main floor, garage, upstairs, basement...They had 18 places they had to go and it ended up in John's closet where I put cowgirl bags I made with fabric tied with rafia and a sheriff badge (very cute and easy). One kid just gave up and sat on the couch waiting for them to find the prize. Then they went outside and found Rebecca's new bike.

Of course John was mad all day that it wasn't his birthday. Sometimes I dread him getting a birthday invitation because he throws a fit of envy every time.

By the way, remind me again why I always insist on cleaning house before the party?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Bridal Veil Falls

A few weeks back we finally went to Bridal Veil Falls. It was cold and started to rain, but here is a picture of the kids having the time of their lives.

And could someone identify this little guy? We caught him and let him go after we all got to examine him. He's not a mouse--maybe a mole? He had a flat little tail.


If I'm making chocolate pudding and you ask me for some I'll probably give it to you.
But only if I can feed you myself.

Annie came

Did I mention that "Annie" was my favorite movie when I was a kid?
I never knew how soon it would be I would actually have one of my own--

Rebecca was Annie for Halloween. I did the hair and found the dress at DI for $10.
I thought she was a slam dunk.

the man of my life

Ever go downstairs to your husband's home office and wonder about the person you married?

Me neither.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Visit to my hairdresser

Got my hair colored and trimmed. I have to go pretty red because it always fades quite a bit.
I've actually stayed with the same hairdresser since moving here, which is pretty good for me because I'm not so loyal that way--like hairdresser cheating or something. But Lacey has been really good and BONUS only two minutes from my house.
Plus she always tells me I'm "darling" when I'm done so that helps too:)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Yuuki and Nathaniel

Sarah got this cute pic of them sleeping in the car

Nathaniel and Yuuki really hit it off. Nathaniel drug him along everywhere. They went down to play basketball at the park, fed him American candy until he was pretty well done with it, played video games, and forced him onto rides he wasn't interested in riding at the amusement park just to watch him panic. Sweet teenage humor.
Yuuki had never been on a trampoline, a wake board, or skates before. He was very timid with the tramp testing it out with his foot. Nathaniel even put him on the jumping stilts. He did surprisingly well holding onto the fence for balance.

I kept having to tell Nathaniel not to knock on Yuuki's door because the poor kid was exhausted. The students just go go go and never get a chance to recover from jet lag before they are off again for Japan. Yuuki would go to sleep almost instantly when he got into the car.

Several had swine flu before they left Utah and many more got it before they went to Disneyland. Out of 260 boys 70 of them ended up with swine flu-like symptoms before they left. Apparently they brought it with them somehow--maybe on the planes or something. They said nothing like this has ever happened before in all the years they have been doing this. Thankfully Yuuki didn't get it. We recently got this email from him:

Dear Mitchell Familly
Thank you very much for hosting me.
The time which I had with you was very fun.
This experiece is my best treasure.
If I have a chance,I want to stay in America for a longer time.
Because Japan is wonderful country if you have opportunity to come to Japan,please contact me.
I'm looking forward to seeing you someday!
Today is Nathaniel's birthday!
Happy birthday to Nathaniel!!
It will be a wonderful year for you!!
Your sincerely,


Took these pictures a couple of weeks ago. All my good intentions of getting better pics of fall this year failed, but at least I got ones of the house.
Fall goes so fast!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Hair again--gone tomorrow

Chopped my hair off again. Can't decide whether I like it or not. Sometimes I like it and sometimes I forget I cut it all off and shock myself as I walk by the mirror.
It really is quite short. When my hairdresser Lacey was cutting it I was thinking "hmmmm...she just keeps on cutting."
But I figured she had a vision in mind and I don't have a whole lot to lose anyway as you can see here-- (of course I also look somewhat exhausted/bored out of my mind as well...)

(sometime before)

My dainty feet

Nathaniel feet, no polish--Mom feet, pink polish:)

I have big feet, which only got bigger when I had my kids. Size eleven. They look like boats compared to normal feet.
However, my son's feet make them look almost small, or at least normal (though from this picture still very, very white)

We went to buy him roller blades for his birthday and had to order them online because Big 5 doesn't carry rollerblades in size thirteen.

My 13 year old son (14 tomorrow) wears a size 13 shoe and is now taller than his dad. I swear to you I just bought him shoes in size 12 no more than two or three months ago.
His friend Cameron says he's a "manchild."
I thought that was a good way of putting it.


Our exchange student has now come and gone. It was fun and the kids absolutely loved it. A lot of work though driving him here and there. We took him for American hamburgers--he inhaled them. He ate pizza, Mexican food, spaghetti (his favorite) and tried pumpkin custard. Our friends hosted a birthday dinner for him on Sunday. Took him to the mall where he didn't find anything but then we stopped at Wal Mart where he bought $300+ worth of Yugio(sp?) cards, which are apparently a lot cheaper here in the US. Peter and Lily took the kids and Yuuki to Lagoon to ride on all the roller coasters and Nathaniel said the best part was listening to him scream. Sunday we went to Temple Square.

I think one of the fun parts was teaching him to play card games like 5 Crowns and Skip-O. But the best was carving pumpkins, something he had never done. He was hesitant to pull out pumpkin guts but got really into the whole process of carving. We mistakenly bought pumpkins this year that were as hard as rocks! Yuuki's was the worst! We had to pound in a screw driver just to get some some of the cuts started. It was like sawing wood! Poor Yuuki must think we are all crazy Americans. They don't have Halloween in Japan.

Nathaniel showed him off to all his friends and they came over and asked him a bunch of questions. It was very cute. He spoke very limited English. Half the time we weren't even sure if we had really understood each other and then we ended up speaking broken English to every one else out of habit.

The only bummer was getting him up every morning. We set two alarms for him but he would just sleep right through them. We would stand outside his door and knock and yell his name and once Nathaniel just went in and turned on the light. The first night he slept on top of the blanket because he didn't get that he was supposed to pull them back. He didn't know how to use the shower and was puzzled by the automatic doors on our van. He also insisted on washing his clothes every night, even though he had plenty to go three or more days.

The last morning he had to be out the door by 6:15am to catch their bus to Salt Lake Airport and we were all pushing him to move. It was totally futile. We didn't even get him to emerge from his room until 6:05. I was ready to tear my hair out worrying he would be late, but Peter drove to BYU in good time and got him on the bus at the last minute. No tears this time, thank goodness, though I know he was not looking forward to going home. Too much fun!