Tuesday, April 27, 2010

You Are All Invited to This:

...my darling daughter Melissa Rae Anderson's graduation from Utah Valley University. Her major is in Business Marketing. She is obviously much smarter than her mother! She didn't want a "fancy" invitation and thus requested her dad to draw her likeness in doodle form. We loved how it turned out.

So, if you're going to be in the area this Friday...stop by!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Oh how I love...

The REAL Reason Kids Like to Come to Visit Me...

The dog of all dogs.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Saturday, April 10, 2010

A Book From My Top Ten

I've written this post in my head for about two months now. This is one of those books that, once read, sticks with you. I read "The Glass Castle" a couple of years ago. Then read her second book "Half Broke Horses" earlier this year. Then, I was in between books with nothing to read. I picked up "The Glass Castle" and reread it. (which I never do)
Reading this book again blew me away. If you haven't read it, I'm not sure we can still be friends (J/K). Here is the Amazon book review:
"Jeannette Walls's father always called her "Mountain Goat" and there's perhaps no more apt nickname for a girl who navigated a sheer and towering cliff of childhood both daily and stoically. In The Glass Castle, Walls chronicles her upbringing at the hands of eccentric, nomadic parents--Rose Mary, her frustrated-artist mother, and Rex, her brilliant, alcoholic father. To call the elder Walls's childrearing style laissez faire would be putting it mildly. As Rose Mary and Rex, motivated by whims and paranoia, uprooted their kids time and again, the youngsters (Walls, her brother and two sisters) were left largely to their own devices. But while Rex and Rose Mary firmly believed children learned best from their own mistakes, they themselves never seemed to do so, repeating the same disastrous patterns that eventually landed them on the streets. Walls describes in fascinating detail what it was to be a child in this family, from the embarrassing (wearing shoes held together with safety pins; using markers to color her skin in an effort to camouflage holes in her pants) to the horrific (being told, after a creepy uncle pleasured himself in close proximity, that sexual assault is a crime of perception; and being pimped by her father at a bar). Though Walls has well earned the right to complain, at no point does she play the victim. In fact, Walls' removed, nonjudgmental stance is initially startling, since many of the circumstances she describes could be categorized as abusive (and unquestioningly neglectful). But on the contrary, Walls respects her parents' knack for making hardships feel like adventures, and her love for them--despite their overwhelming self-absorption--resonates from cover to cover."
I simply can't throw this book away even though it is tattered.
My darling dogs got ahold of it. Apparently they loved it too!

The author

I could go on and on with my own review, but suffice it to say that I loved it and my life was changed by the story. I am more thankful for the things I have and thankful to the parents I was blessed to be raised by.

I love this video. Jeannette's mother is actually in it and it made the whole story come full circle.

I was thrilled when Jeannette Walls came out with a second book. She calls it a "novel" because there was no way for her to check her facts. Otherwise, it could be called a memoir. It is an oral history that her mother and grandmother told her about Lily Casey. She was a crazy, strong, independent lady. I will be reading this book again as well. Here is Jeannette talking about the book. I just love her voice.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

I'm 91% Successful and 9% a Failure!

On April 4, 2009 I set one of my famous "goals" (Melissa mocks me for all of the goals I set...I'll admit, I DO use the word "goal" a lot...oh well!). My goal was to write a blog for every family birthday. I knew I couldn't write one for every.single.family.member. So, I set parameters. My children (in-laws, grandchildren), brothers and sisters and in-laws, nieces and nephews (no in-laws or children...sorry, I'm good but not THAT good).

I had no idea how many family members I have. Holy cow! I ended up creating 49 (FORTY-NINE!!!) birthday blog posts about my family members. I can honestly say that I know so much more than I did. It was fun to look for pictures and drum up my memories of family members. I loved every moment. Seriously.

So, back to my title! I did have failure...9% failure...I missed 5 of my family members. It wasn't on purpose, I promise. It was an oversight. Of the five I missed, I looked back at my calendar and I had not put them on the master calendar. MY BAD. And I DO feel badly about missing them. So........here they are. I hope that Doyle, Brandon, David, Cameron, and Brenton will forgive me. I love you just the same. I just messed up. So, here you go:

I could NOT find pictures of Brenton and his family (I'm sure he must go by Brent by now but he'll always be "Brenton" to me). These were all I could find. His wife's name is Tami (like me) and he has four gorgeous daughters. He is Rhonda's second oldest son. I should probably call him Dr. Loose since he is an optometrist and all. Brenton lived with my parents for a summer. I remember him beginning his monthly fast the evening before so that he would be able to fast for a full 24 hours. I honestly think of his example every month.

MAY 26:
This is Cameron. He is Rhonda's third oldest son. He is married to Jodie. I met Jodie in Vancouver when we went to Darin's wedding (many years ago) when she and Cam were still dating. They have three children (?). The one in the picture is Carter. I remember my mother going on and on and on about how smart Carter was. He was obviously a favorite. My fondest memory of Cam is the day at my mom's when we were playing with the fake arrow! (I really need to find those pictures) During that same activity, Cam took a mattress (YES! a mattress) and tied it around his body. He then covered it with a bedspread and tied it around his waist. He looked like a large woman sumo wrestler. Good times!


This is Brandon. He is my sister Donna's second to youngest child. As you can see, he has a little family of his own now. He is married to Tia. They have a cute little girl and a cute little boy. I haven't seen Brandon for quite a while. He did come to Erika's wedding reception. I miss him.


So...here's Doyle Talbot! He is my sister Donna's husband. Wow! I have many, many memories of Doyle. I spent almost every summer with my sister between the time I was five and 15. Of course, Doyle was a big part of that summer. Looking back, I wonder what he thought of his sister-in-law invading his house every summer. My most prominent memory of Doyle is that he worked SOOOO hard on his farm. He would go out early every morning and come home late at night. He was a great big brother for me.


This guy has a very special spot in my heart. He is a gentle giant of a man. His name is David Talbot and he is my sister Donna's second oldest child and oldest son. He is married to Tansy and has two girls and a boy who looks just like he did as a child. As I mentioned before, I spent a lot of time in the Talbot household during my younger years. David was one of my very favorites. Just ask him about our 'WHEEEEE rides". One of my favorite stories about David is when he came up to Canada with his family. He was only about four years old. We were visiting my Uncle Chet who is quite the character. We were having a family prayer (probably on the food) and David was asked to pray. In the middle of his prayer, he used his thumb to point to Uncle Chet (I was peeking) and said "...and bless that me and him (pointing) will have a good wrastle later". I love that kid.

Monday, April 5, 2010

A Couple More Activities...

I couldn't let Easter Sunday pass by without dying Easter eggs.
Everyone did at least three.
They were all so excited.
So fun!

After the Leavitt's came back from the conference session, we whipped up some baked ham (from OUR family Easter dinner) sandwiches. We got the eggs colored. Then, for dessert...MORE FOOD!! I fried up the leftover pizza dough and we ate scones with a great deal of butter and honey on it and, of course, with sprinkled icing sugar.

for breakfast, it was everyone's favorite: LUCKY CHARMS! As I was organizing everyone's bowls, spoons, and cups, Parker said "Aunt Tami. Do you know what I sometimes have in my cup at breakfast? Milk." Well, that's one way to get what you want!

So, before they all left, we made a trip to my prize closet (like a prize box, only bigger)
And...through the magic of me, Aunt Tami chose the 'perfect' going-away treasure.

Okay! Now I'm done with this weekend. I'm pretty sure you got the idea of how much I enjoyed myself!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Cheating On My Grandchildren!

I have had a GREAT weekend. My nephew, Chad (Bruce's son), and his family made the long trek from Lethbridge, Alberta CANADA to General Conference. It is their Spring Break. It is visits like this that remind me why we live in this house that is way too big for us.

I've decided that I have a tradition that I never, ever planned. When there are children in my kitchen, I simply MUST make cupcakes with them. Remember this post? So, when four children came into my house yesterday, the Kitchen Aide made it's way to the countertop and the cocoa came out of the cupboard. Here are some awesome pictures of the event.

Kelci and Jaidyn helping to make the cupcakes. These two are a lot older (10 and 12) than my grandchildren, and it was hard for me to turn over the control of the cupcake making. It was good for me to learn!

Here we are sharing our cupcakes with our next visitors.
Top: There's Brookelyn (who said to me: "Your bum is big!" HA!) She had chocolate EVERYWHERE!
Then, there's Brant's twins Aiden and Ezra. Next to them is little Brookelynn again.
Bottom: Kelsey, Riley, Jaidyn, Rachel, and Kelci.
Then, there's the cupcake I dropped.

I love the top picture. There's Chad (Bruce's son), me, Brant (Brian's son), and Jodi (Donna's daughter). There may or may not have been some bum pinching going on. (Wait! Why isn't Adrianne in this picture??? She was there! Shoot!)

There's Samantha and Kelsey (Adrianne's daughters). There's Gabriel (Brant's son) and then the girls being silly.

Oh...there's Adrianne!
Here are the beauties: Adrianne (Brian's daughter), Shannon (Chad's wife), and Jodi (Donna's daughter). If you look closely, you will see Jodi's newborn baby, Ryker! He was so, so, so sweet. Even if he did do a gigantic projectile vomit in the middle of the kitchen!

Every single child who goes into our basement, LOVES the jogging trampoline and gigantic love sac. Much fun was had by all.
Here's Dylan (Jodi's son who made the statement "This is a lot more fun than I thought it would be!" which made me feel really good!), Brookelyn (Chad's), and Brant's twins again, Aiden and Ezra.

And finally...here are the four children staying with us this weekend. I have absolutely loved every minute of them being here. I'll be sad when they leave tomorrow.
Kelci, Brookelyn, Jaidyn, and Parker Leavitt.
Other things we ate:
Homemade pizza (I totally over estimated how much dough to make. I quadrupled the recipe and it raised over and over in my fridge.)
Fresh pineapple
Cadbury eggs
Scrambled eggs with melted cheese
Apples and banana
Spiral baked ham
Mashed potatoes and gravy
String beans
Strawberry Shortcake
Fresh rolls
Scones (I had to use up the rest of that dough somehow!)

**Those who were here but not pictured: Terry, Melissa, Ariel (Brant's wife), and Alycia (Jodi's daughter). I don't know how we missed them.

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