Tuesday, December 31, 2013

December Days

December and the old year are quickly coming to a close.
2013 has taken these two down very different paths than the ones they anticipated.
Travis, too, has had a significant let-down, but my kids are OK and generally happy and I couldn't be more proud of who they are and who they are striving to become.
Travis built a roaring fire on Christmas Eve.
Evidently he is the master pyrotechnician at all scout campouts.
The kids insisted on roasting marshmallows. They had a tough time keeping a comfortable distance from the white-hot flames.
Christmas morning we woke the kids up around 8:00 am, texted Grandma S. to come on over, ate homemade popovers, and opened presents. In the afternoon we ventured to Grandma W's and visited with lots of aunts, uncles, and cousins.
(Grandma W.)
(Mark and Susan)
(Heather and Kellie)
Smiles for 2013 and smiles for the new year to come!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Dear Rachel (#19)

Dear Rachel,

It is now officially winter, but we've had snow on the ground for weeks.
During the day the sun's radiation usually burns the snow completely off the drive way and creates impressive icicles on our eaves that have pulled down the top row of our Christmas lights.
Our fall birthdays are now complete. The gifts you sent the kids were so thoughtful and perfect. Travis opted for cake bites from The Sweet Tooth Fairy for his "birthday cake". The red velvet ones are his favorite.
I can hardly believe your "little" brother is now 18!
Abby's eyes . . . typical. For HER birthday, she chose her usual--your dad's homemade rice pudding.
The church Christmas party landed on Abby's birthday this year AND she had a soccer game so we partied all day.
It seems that no matter how old you get, if crayons and paper are placed in front of you, doodling must occur. Abby drew a man with a mustache
while Travis drew a floating car.
They were both so thrilled with their artwork that when the party was over, they dismantled the "tablecloth" and taped their creations to our refrigerator. It's been a while since we've had kid art on our fridge.
It's hard to believe that it has been almost a year since I was called as our Stake Young Women's President. Did I ever introduce you to these amazing women I get to work with?
We will really miss having you and David here for Christmas this year. At least, we'll get to see you this summer. For now, enjoy this snowy view of home from our front yard.
 We love you LOTS and LOTS. Merry Christmas!


Friday, December 13, 2013

Thanksgiving Weekend

I am resigned to the fact that we are destined for nontraditional Thanksgivings for the next few years. Last year I vowed that we wouldn't "mess with tradition", but as it turned out, once again things were a bit different at our house. This year Abby had a tournament in San Diego with her club soccer team over Thanksgiving break so Brian drove her and a carload of females to Southern California where they spent the weekend.
Abby is #27.
Travis, Kellie, and I stayed home and enjoyed our family--both out-of-towners and local BYU students.
Suzanna, Stewart, Grandma Stoker, Isabelle, Kirk, Seth, Emmeline, Kellie, Travis, Beverly, Quinn, Haley, & Renee
Grandma Stoker hosted Thanksgiving dinner at her home this year.
Kirk's son, Seth
Renee's daughter, Haley
Kirk's daughter, Emmeline
Suzanna, my cousin Jennilyn's daughter
Kirk's daughter, Quinn, with her Aunt Renee
We took the kids to Temple Square to see the Christmas lights. (The quality of my photos goes way down when taken in the dark with a phone. Ignore the glowing eyes.)
Cousins Haley and Travis
Proof I was part of the festivities
Renee and Haley
Haley with Isabelle and Travis with Quinn
We convinced Kirk and his family (along with Haley) to have a picture taken with Santa and some elves.
We missed Brian, Abby, Rachel & David, and Charlene's family, but I am truly THANKFUL for THESE loved ones who traveled to Utah to see me.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Atlanta, Georgia

A few weeks ago I traveled to Atlanta to see Rachel and David. It was so nice to visit their home for more than just a few hours and to truly get a feel for what their life is like there.
My first night we walked several blocks to The High Museum of Art where they were having an exhibition of Caldecott Medal winner Jerry Pinkney's work. Since Rachel and I both share a love of children's picture books, this was a fun surprise.
Museums are fabulous places of discovery. Being the crocheter that I am this unique chair designed by Marcel Wanders especially caught my eye. It is made of "crocheted fiber and epoxy resin".
This piece intrigued me as well.
But, this clock was one of the most fascinating pieces. A sign posted by the work explains, "Maarten Baas playfully captures the passage of time with his Analog Digital clock, a twelve hour DVD that runs on a loop. . .Only by looking closely at the numerals from the red LCD (liquid crystal display) does one observe that they were actually painted in and out by the designer in real time." We were completely mesmerized by the "ticking" screen. (It's available as a mobile app too.)
Rachel and David live in Midtown so they are within walking distance of many iconic Atlanta sites.
The Fox Theatre being one.
Also, The Varsity--the World's Largest Drive-in Restaurant.
Do you see the Coca-Cola headquarters in the background?
David is a graduate student at Georgia Tech in Biomedical Engineering. Saturday morning of my visit we walked the few blocks from their apartment to campus. It was Homecoming weekend and the Yellow Jacket fans were already tailgating. I enjoyed walking through the Greek Area where the fraternities and sororities were showing their pride.
One fraternity even had a pig roast.
The best part of the morning, however, was when Rachel and David took me to Sublime Doughnuts on the other side of campus. Oh my, oh my, oh my.
I consumed several of their fabulous donuts. The fresh strawberry 'n' cream donut was especially heavenly.
I am so grateful my Uncle and Aunt (Harold and Barbara) live in Atlanta as well as my cousin, Diana, and her husband, Omar. Rachel and David are in good hands.