Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Thankful for So Many Things

Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday, one of my favorites. This year was the first year that I was away from my parents, and so I wanted to have a turkey dinner at our place--to both keep me busy and start our own holiday traditions. I'm so glad we were able to host it, and that all our nearby family was able to join us . . . even though I don't remember a whole lot of that night! The Sunday before the big day I came down with a bad cold that quickly turned into a sinus infection. I had laryngitis off and on, and was just generally miserable. We went to the store and got me some cold medicine that alternately knocked me out at night, and had me hocked up on amphetamines during the day. Randy was so wonderful and helped me out Thanksgiving day by hefting the turkey out of the brine (we bought a serious 24 pounder), and following my directions to make a jello salad treat. He also was an angel to help me clean our house before everyone arrived. Mandy and Joe came a little early to help and hang out, and Mandy helped me do some cleaning and then kept me company while I was high on all the cold medicine. But in spite of the fact that I felt like my head was floating somewhere close to the ceiling, the turkey was delicious! I was nervous, never having cooked a turkey before, but the cooking magazine that my sisters-in-law gave me for my bridal shower gift paid off. I followed its recipe for a brine and was very happy with the resulting bird. I was thankful for a dinner that I managed not to ruin, for the family I had to share it with, for our home that was large enough and comfortable enough to host our family in, and for all the blessings God has given Randy and me this year. The blessing of being together is something we are thankful for every day.
Now that Thanksgiving is over, we are looking forward to Christmas. We have our little Christmas tree up and lighting our front room. We also have all of Joe and Mandy's earthly belongings! They are in the process of moving, and had a few days' gap between their old place and new, so we are helping them store everything. We were glad to be able to help them out, and to have enough room in our house to do it comfortably. We are looking forward to seeing both our families over the Christmas holiday, and to meeting our new little nephew Henry!

Monday, November 19, 2007

A Real, Live, Actual Living Room!

Gradually our little home is coming together, mostly through the generosity of various family members. Mandi's grandparents donated their old sectional to the Randy and Alicia cause, and Friday night we went and picked it up (thanks to Matt's truck he lent us). And because Joe and Mandy are moving to a smaller, furnished place, we inherited their coffee table that they inherited from Matt and Joy. Who knows, maybe someday Ashley will get it next! Everything looks really nice, and it has been wonderful to have an actual living room to use. It came just in time too . . . the second councilor in the bishopbrick came to visit Saturday morning to extend us callings. So now we are both ward missionaries, and I am the ward's "language" missionary. There are actually a pair of Spanish Sisters in the area working with a man from Mexico, so it looks like I'll get to be a part of some discussions soon. Another ward missionary sister and I are working with his wife this week who wants to be baptized but has to wait a bit, so we study with her while her husband hears the lessons.
This past month has been a bit stressful while Randy has started a new job and I tried to work out a health-insurance nightmare. But things are finally looking up. Randy has started to really get the hang of his sales work, and thinks that this job is for him after all. I was not so successful with the insurance thing--turns out I'm completely uninsurable. But after a lot of praying, we know that everything will work out and eventually we'll find a solution to that as well. So now we're just looking forward to Thanksgiving, a favorite holiday of mine and my mom's. We have this enormous table so we decided to host a dinner here, for whatever family wants to brave my first attempt at a turkey dinner. But luckily I am armed with a cooking magazine my sisters-in-law gave me for a bridal shower present, I have some secret family recipes of my mom's, and various people have offered help. So, wish me luck! Hopefully I won't drop the turkey as it comes out of the oven or anything.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Birthday Bonanza!

Yesterday we celebrated Joy and Mandy's birthday. (It was Julia's birthday too but we couldn't make it to DC for a party). Being so far from home, it is fun to have lot of family still around to celebrate occasions with. Randy helped me decorate the house while I cooked chocolate peanut butter birthday cake and spinach artichoke dip. Randy was a great help and I was pleasantly surprised at his ability to tastefully hang balloons and birthday banners. I think the two favorite gifts that were given last night were from the boys. Joe gave Joy a toy gladiator--this little action figure with costume accessories that didn't fit and ridiculous looking muscles. We're pretty sure he wanted to play with it himself . . . The second greatest gift was also to Joy, this time from Randy. At the dollar store he picked up a "Latin Hits" cd with watered down covers of "hits" such as "La Bamba." It was telling that not one, but two tracks were about tequila. In any case, we had some laughs, ate rich food, and were able to spend some time together.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Eneman to the rescue!

While visiting Lance and Mandi last Sunday, Mandi brought out a box of stuffed toys to show us. Apparently Lance had done some work for Fleet, a company best known for its enema products. Someone in the company thought it would be good for morale (or else has a really sick sense of humor) and made a Fleet mascot--complete with beanie toys, Christmas ornaments, and--get this--golf club covers. All shaped like the little guy on the right. Ethan and Sydney love the little guy, and call him carrot head (can you imagine trying to explain what an enema is to a five-year old?). I was laughing so hard that I started crying. For any of you frequent enema customors, apparently Fleet has some kind of frequent buyer program where if you buy enough enemas you get the golf-club cover. I have a hard time imagining the poor soul who really would buy enough of their product to qualify, and then be proud enough to want to display the fact on the golf course. In any case, it gave me a good laugh. :)

Friday, November 2, 2007

Settling In

I have always been a proud Oregonian. I love the trees, the ocean that is 40 minutes from my house, and the mountains/lakes that are also 40 minutes from my house. I love Oregon college football (Go Ducks) and the Seattle Mariners. I love the hippies, the health food stores, the Starbucks or fill-in-the-blank coffee shop on every corner. I love downtown Portland, and all the cultural experiences available there. I love the water, the fog, the way it smells after it rains. I like the cultural diversity, and of course my family. Living in Utah on and off for the past nine years has been a big adjustment to me. There are mountains here, but they aren't the white, volcanic snow-capped ones (Mt. Hood, Jefferson, Adams) that I am used to seeing off in the misty distance. The Mountain West conference is boring to me, and I still haven't been able to get used to the taste of the water. But since we've moved to Orem, we have felt more at home here. I think getting out of the middle of college-central made a big difference: each year the freshman look younger and seem to act more annoying. And each year the traffic crisis gets more out of control. So yesterday, we finally went down to the DMV and got the Utah plates. It was a little sad to let go of my Oregon identity labeling my car, but it was time. I just really hope that we don't turn into "Utah drivers"!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Haunted Critters

Randy and I were looking forward to our first Halloween as a married couple, mostly because we are in a family ward where there are cute little ones who come trick-or-treating. Instead of doing the traditional trick-or-treating though, our ward participated in a tri-ward trunk-or-treat at our ward building. This created a little more concentrated, but a lot safer version for the kids, and we still got to see all the cute costumes. Joe and Mandy joined us for the night--Joe and Randy opting for the "I'm too cool/grown up/not fun" non-costume approach (I got Randy some toy handcuffs and a gun, and he wore his state trooper hat) but Mandy and I were still all about the costumes. I was a woodland fairy, with leaves and tissue-paper wings, and Mandy was a very cute witch. And we both had furry props, who are our little kiddies for now. Max was a very funny, very cute pumpkin, and Che was my little miniature woodland fairy friend. The pets in costumes made us very popular with the little kids, and by the end of the night Max and Che had some new friends.