Monday, October 31, 2011

A Trick and A Great Treat

For Halloween, we had decided to hand out candy at Ethan and Cameo's house, since NO ONE ever comes to our house. We had it all planned. Then, Nathan walked in the front door from his plumbing job. We were eating Chili in a Pumpkin. He had mail, but no large white envelope from Salt Lake City...aka Mission Call. We continued eating, and then, he pulled something out of his coat. Yep, you got it...THE envelope. Jessica came over right away, but Nate had decided to open it at Ethan and Cam's, since Doran and Amber would be there, and we could phone the others that were working/living away. Time went by ... Nate and Jessica dressed as nerd twins...we waited and handed out candy, both theirs and ours...Cam came home from work...we waited...handed out candy...ate candy. Finally, with Ethan working waaaay late, we decided 8:00 pm would be the hour. Those ten minutes crawled by...literally. We used the phones we had, knowing that Morgan was just finishing up with horses, we called Allison in Vegas, Kayty at Party City, and Ethan on his way home from work...almost all there. He opened the large envelope and read a letter from President Thomas S. Monson, calling him to the South Korea Daejeon Mission! Total. Surprise. Mom's guess: Ohio Nate's only request: not Texas...still haven't figured that one out. He reports to the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah on February 22, 2012. He will learn Korean there, for three months and is scheduled to arrive in Daejeon in early May.
Elder Rice and his big white envelope

Nate and Jessica were Geek Twins for Halloween and went trick or treating in  Ethan and Cameo's neighborhood while we waited for them to arrive home from their jobs. 

Tracker, as a Cowboy Football Player, Suzzy, Nate and Jessica, Lexi as a Cheerleader, and Cameo as a nurse wait...

We called Morgan and then Grandma and Nano. Nate is so very excited. Now for the accumulation of white shirts, suits, shoes, etc. to last him two years. 

Funny thing. He is truly not a fan of rice. (the only Rice boy that has that distaste). In Daejeon...lots and lots of rice for Elder Rice.     

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Pictures and Memories

You can either be a photographer, or have fun, at least, it works that way for me. I had not seen my grandkiddos (that's what we decided they should be called now, since none of them are truly babies) in months. I asked if I could come up to see their primary program. I begged Dee to let me go, and he rented me a car (a cute red Mazda 6...I looked adorable driving it, but, again, you either have fun or take pics...and I had fun driving that car!) I drove, by myself, constantly saying in my mind, "I can do hard things", though, in that car, it wasn't very hard. Four and a half hours seemed easy, compared to the 10 hours we drove a couple of weeks ago. Here is my four days, in fun memories, and in pictures.

First,the arrival. I drove up to their apartment and parked. I surprised Allison, because she wasn't expecting me in a cute red car, I am just sure! I walked up to sweet Joshy, riding his bike. He clammed up, though Allison assured me he had been talking about Grammy earlier. It didn't take long for that sweet stare to turn to a slight grin. He showed me the "spookies" as he called them (Halloween decorations) on a nearby apartment. No pic, but oh, so cute when the corners of his mouth turn up.

Their apartment, adorable, as usual. Paperplate ghosts hanging from the ceiling. Halloween decorations, lights in the window. Their home, though small for five people, just oozed Halloween! It is amazing what she does in a few months: bedrooms switched, which was an awesome idea. Joshy gave me the tour. Mike brought Adam and Grace home from school and I greeted the happiest kindergartener who was having the best day ever. Grace finds every day the best day ever! Oh, how wonderful the world would be if we all saw it through the eyes of happy, sweet Grace! She had five green squares on her calendar, so she got to pick a surprise. Her's: a pair of glasses with yellow bloodshot bulging eyes. What a treasure. She also received a medal for being super. Adam was so grown up. I swear, he grows six inches every time I see him. He's a mature 3rd grader, but still gives a great hug!!!

That night, Grammy got to babysit. Of course NO PICS. I am a responsible babysitter. We watched "Phineus and Ferb", just two shows. We had pizza for dinner. We talked. We read. I even got them bathed...Love it when a sweet almost two year old finds such joy in jumping and landing with a huge splash. Wet Grammy was icing on the cake for him. I even had their teeth brushed (quite a production: "Upper left: 1 2 3 4 5 6..." (Apparently, I was supposed to go to 10" ) AND sleeping when Allison and Mike got home from an awesome Bellagio Hotel Fall display! (That is a miracle. I am responsible, but rarely do I abide bed time rules!)

Saturday morning was Primary Program practice at the church. I was in charge of Joshy. Too. Fun. We hugged soft stuffed kitties. We walked outside around the building. We put stickers on Grammy, and the bench. We walked outside around the building. We pulled cushions off the foyer couch and made a train to push on the floor. We walked outside around the building. He threw rocks in the trickle of water in the gutter. We walked outside around the building. We turned the lights on and off and on and off. We walked outside around the building. I fear for them today, when they go to church. Grammy has done some BIG corrupting.

Afternoon, they worked on Halloween projects they didn't have time for during the week. I watched, and took pictures.

We ate a snack. Then they dressed up in their totally awesome costumes. It was too warm for Joshy to be Clifford, the Big Red Dog, but Gracie was "Emily Elizabeth" his owner...and Allison put together this whole costume with Thrift Shopping, some dye, and lots of great creativity. Adam was beneficiary of this creative Mom and sewing skills too as he became "Ash".
Adam and Grace saved their allowance and used it to purchase tickets. Here, Adam bowls.

Gracie used some of her many tickets for this petting zoo. She tried to feed the lamb , goat, and rabbit, but they were sooooo full from many "feeders".

Joshy was thrilled, as long as the animals made NO eye contact .

Joshy got this black balloon. I swear, that boy LOVED that balloon. It lasted the whole time I was there. 

Each went in the "bouncy spider house" but my flash was more on the netting than on the kiddos. 

Joshy won some fruit snacks, and was very adamant that he eat some. 

Adam and his friends visit the fortune teller. One boy was so excited to find out he would someday be a pirate. Adam is going to be a hotel owner, and Gracie will have her own pet shop someday.

Here is what Gracie won at her cake walk. She even sent one cookie home for Aunt sweet. AND she gave me a ticket to go on my first cake walk!

Adam won these, which we ended up decorating the next to follow. 

Grilled Cheese Sandwich dinner, baths, toothbrushing (the ten count was discovered when Mommy did it correctly) scripture reading, stories, and bed...though when Grammy is there, Mommy and Daddy are so understanding!

Sunday, few pics, again. I was living and having a Gracie "best day ever". Highlights: watching Adam and Grace say their parts in the Primary Program: Hooray Gracie for saying "created" instead of "made". And Adam's talk about his baptism and choosing to listen to the Holy Ghost: superb, watching them sing and sign, "If I Listen With My Heart", watching them sing with every ounce of conviction in their souls, "Praise to the man who communed with Jehovah! Jesus annointed that prophet and seer. Blessed to open the last Dispensation. Kings shall extol him and nations revere. Hail to the prophet ascended to heaven. Traitor and tyrants now fight him in vain. Mingling with gods he can plan for his brethren. Death cannot conquer the hero again." Tears. Streaming. (I still have that memory: cute blonde curly hair with pink and orange striped sweater. Spiked hair, light blue polo shirt. Four brilliant bright eyes. Fervent singing. Never to forget.) Allison's talk, since she is the President of primary, summing all her loving, leading, and absolutely perfect way. Joshy entertaining the rows behind us, trying to throw his socks. Daddy is soooo fast on the reaction. We only lost the Jesus picture ring into the lap of the sweet couple behind us. Me helping "Nana" with the nursery class Joshy is in. Oh, that sweet wonderful woman who LOVES to be called to serve in the nursery. After playing with toys, snacks of fishy crackers, mandarin oranges, pineapple, string cheese, and water, they clean up, and she has class. Typically, a lesson in nursery is a quick 5 or 10 minute lesson, with a coloring activity to follow. It is nice. But this sweet wonderful lady puts a lace tablecloth on the table, vases of streamer sticks and big stuffed flowers. The kids help. They read a scripture, "Jesus said, Love One Another". Joshy took his star and climbed on a chair to magnet it to the board while we all sang, "I am like a star shining brightly, shining for the whole world to see. I can do and say happy things each day, for I know Heavenly Father loves me!" tears now. tears then. Those six angels each took their turn, praised for saying the prayer, for reading the scripture, for holding a picture, and we sang the song for each and every one. They looked at the picture of Jesus washing the disciples feet. They washed each others feet. (Josh wasn't too sure about Isaac washing his feet, though) They swang the streamers to music. They held their blossoms. That lesson lasted 30 minutes. They knew Jesus loved them and wanted them to love one another. 15 months to three years. In that room, Nana and her daughter helped them know Jesus loves them. Nana, I know Heavenly Father was smiling then, as I am sure he does every week when He sees that nursery. A bit of heaven. Home after church, they created their holders for the traditional "dinner in a pumpkin"
Joshy is not a fan of Grammy photography when he first wakes up. 

Sweet Grace ready for church. 

Scraping out the sugar pumpkins to ready for dinner. 

Off to Stake Conference Childrens choir practice for Adam. Again, Grammy is losing what little makeup she had left on when, on the left side of the choir loft, about the third row up, a sweet angelic boy in a blue shirt sang,

"If the Savior stood beside me, would I do the things I do?
Would I think of His commandments and try harder to be true?
Would I follow His example? Would I live more righteously,
If I could see the Savior standing nigh, watching over me?

If the Savior stood beside me, would I say the things I say?
Would my words be true and kind if He were never far away?
Would I try to share the gospel? Would I speak more reverently
If I could see the Savior standing nigh, watching over me?

If the Savior stood beside me, would my thoughts be clean and pure?
Would His presence give me strength and hope, and courage to endure?
Would His counsel guide my actions? Would I choose more worthily
If I could see the Savior standing nigh, watching over me?

He is always near me, though I do not see Him there
And because He loves me dearly, I am in His watchful care
So I'll be the kind of person that I know I'd like to be
If I could see the Savior standing nigh, watching over me. "

We returned home to yummy, awesome "dinner in a pumpkin"and  cookie decorating.
Gracie made our pumpkin dinner more "jack o lanterny"

We read scriptures, made blanket burritos, and went to bed, though Joshy took a bit to stay in his bed...he is quite the athlete when it comes to climbing out of bed, plus, Grammy did her share of riling him up with burrito blanket play, and more ball rolling/bouncing.

Monday morning: breakfast, Adam to school, playing with Gracie, digging with Joshy,
Gracie with her birthday scooter. 

Only Grammy lets her granddaughter jump in puddles in her  jammies while on a walk. 

Joshy loves to stand on his porch and throw the basketball out in the parking lot and then bring it back. This boy LOVES balls!!!

Gracie wrote "Grammy" on the sidewalk in chalk. Then, she invented a game, or scavenger hunt, with chalk drawings, that we played over and over. 

and finally home.

My "Grammy Battery" was recharged, and I keep remembering: funny stories, sitting on the couch on a Sunday afternoon and reading book after book, sitting on the kitchen floor and throwing balls at the cupboard door so they bounce back, learning about the millions of lego people, snuggling close, vacuuming oreo ice cream sandwiches off the primary rug (second in nastiness only to popcorn!...who knew something soooo yummy could be soooo messy), my first cake walk, making peanut butter and honey sandwiches, singing, laughing, driving with two monkeys in my back seat (I swear I heard a jungle back there, but I only saw two sweet children. odd???) Thank you Mike and Allison, for your wonderful, welcome home, and for your patient and loving way. No worries to be had here. Your home is a heavenly training ground!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Deer Hunt

While I was traveling to Vegas, Dee and Nate had their own adventure: a deer hunt. This was one of the years' goals for them. Nate was waiting for his LDS church mission call, and, once called, you can leave at any time. So the headed up to the ranch owned by Cameo's Aunt Bobbie and uncle. They got some shots off the first day. They stayed the night, hunted again, returned home for Sunday and work for a few days, and then headed back to try again. Seems the deer became very smart...and outsmarted the hunters. They did have an awesome time, though, and that's what's the BEST part of any trip. 

Friday, October 7, 2011

Thistle Spider Tutorial

I do not at all take credit for this idea. I saw it, last year, on another blog. I looked for thistles as I saw in Arizona. No luck. My hubby left for a business trip to Ohio ON Halloween. When he came back, he brought me four such thistles. So excited. Too late for Halloween 2010, but they faithfully sat on a shelf over my workbench, in the coffee cups from the Hampton Inn, waiting for this year. He took some seeds that spilled out and even attempted to garden these thistles. Nope. They knew it was Arizona and would not grow. So, I was going to use those four, and try to be happy. Kind and wonderful guy that he is, he was even going to use a free flight he had, fly back to Ohio, and bring me a suitcase full. That was the plan.

We went for a church conference in Utah. We were touring the sites, and decided to go to Antelope Island. On the way, on the corner of Antelope Road, and whatever (don't remember) there were four vacant fields. My sweet son noticed something. "Mom...aren't those your spider thistles?" Eureka! They were. We pulled over, got out, and started to pick. Hubby then told us they were stickery, and he had hurt his fingers trying the get the four he brought me last year. Ain't he the sweetest guy ever??? So, instead of continuing the pain, we drove a block to a WalMart, got scissors, and returned to cut...and cut...till the scissors broke. Two bags full. Plenty. So, here are my instructions, but they are, as I said, not originally mine. I did it my way, after I saw the awesome arachnids.
Ain't they stinkin' cute!

Materials list:
Thistle pods...they came in many sizes...and all turn out awesome
Black spray paint...This stuff is the cheapo WalMart 97cent a can stuff. One can painted 14, and part of another 10
Fuzzy Sticks...Got these at WalMart too...for 97 cents...though I was looking for pipe cleaners. I learned that "pipe cleaners" are no longer the politically correct name. So, fuzzy sticks it is.
Wiggle Eyes... Got a package at Dollar Tree for a buck. I used the smallest, and they might be a little large for your taste, but I liked them.
Glue...I am not a total fan of hot glue (it always peels off) so I wanted Tacky Glue, but someone in my household evidently wanted it more. All I had was Elmers Wood Glue. That worked.

First, paint. These little buggers soak up paint, with each side, front, back, nooks and crannies. I let a coat dry, and then turned them to another vantage point. I did try for total coverage, but there are lots of nooks and crannies. I did like it, though, when some of the "faces" had lighter and darker tints. Also, the first batch, I trimmed the stem portion quite a bit, so there would be no "nose". Last batch, I changed my mind. The varying snout lengths give them a sort of cuteness.

The last one is only painted on one side...
Next comes the assembly. I put two dots of glue on the face, and added the two eyes.

Then, I cut the fuzzy sticks. Now, this is another place you can vary your look. I cut each stick into three me. But, with some of my bigger pods, I should have done half. Anyway, after dipping the fuzzy stick tip in glue, shove into the body at a location that resembles one of a real spider, about 2/3 of the total distance on the side.  I made eight legs for each. I then let them dry overnight in this upright position.

In the morning, after checking for dryness, I bent the leg at a good location and made them stand on their own. I also spread the legs out a bit, so they would be nearly even, front to back.

That's it.

Now, who could resist this???
Allison, you will receive a kit, with pods already painted and the elements to put these guys together,in the mail,  so add it to your schedule...though remember, they are kind of pokey, and littlest angel may very well empty another toothpaste tube onto the bathroom floor while you are otherwise occupied..