Monday, January 17, 2011

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

Tonight we had a special guest over for dinner: Sarah's boyfriend Chris!  They've been dating since early November and recently they officially became "an item."

As Sarah's family, we met Chris back in December.  He usually attends church with us each Sunday, as well as attending meetings in his own ward.  However, he'd never been to our home before, so we decided it was time to have him over.

We had a wonderful dinner, featuring one of Ed's signature dishes, beef stroganoff.  After the meal, Chris joined us for family home evening before he and Sarah went off to attend the singles' family home evening activity. 

A bouquet of roses and lilies Chris gave Sarah just before Christmas.

Even though Sarah is twenty-one, she's still my little girl.  It feels so strange to see her sitting there with a man's arm around her, a man who's calling her "honey."  Yet I'm also thrilled to see her so happy.  And to see how happy Chris is to be with her.

After Chris and Sarah went on their way, Ed, Dylan, and I set to work on building a gingerbread house.  It was one of our gifts from Jeff and Dana's family at Saturday's belated Christmas party. 

No, it's not great art, but it was fun and I think it turned out to be pretty homey.  Now Dylan can't wait to eat it up!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Christmas in January

Sarah spends quality time with her Aunt Dana!

Due to a big snowstorm and the illness of four family members, we were unable to hold our annual family Christmas party during the actual Christmas season.  We had to postpone it for two weeks, but we finally got (almost) everyone together yesterday to visit and eat and share gifts.

The bad news is, due to work schedules and other factors, not everyone could make it this weekend.  They were sorely missed!  We'll definitely plan better next year.

For now, we hope you'll enjoy these candid shots of the family who were here!

Ed and our nephew Burke (this is my last shot of Ed with his beard; he shaved it off this morning!)

Grandpa Myron and Grandma Kathy (my dad and step-mom):
they were good enough to lend their home for the party.

Elyssa and Mariah with their mom, Karla (my sister)

Emma, Elsie, and Callie with their mom, Dana (my sister-in-law)

My niece Genevieve with her husband Scott and two of their three kids,
baby Max and big sister Brooke (middle sibling Jaycee was playing elsewhere).

Sarah helps baby Max work on his walking skills!

Mariah and her snowman share a moment!

Haley and Hayden made a Mini-Me!

Elyssa's husband Ross (followed by Julien) works on a GIANT snowman...

...but his plan is foiled when the snowman's body breaks in half.
He is consoled by Addison, Gabby, and Brinley.

Time for the gift exchange!  Jeff and Dana's family goes first.  Pictured, from left to right:
Elsie, Emma, Dana, Callie, Jeff (my brother), Haley, and Hayden.

My niece Amber and her 1-year-old son Ian

Addison and Jaycee wait while Karla opens her gift.

Scott and Genevieve's family goes next.  Left-to-right:
Sarah, Brooke, Scott, Genevieve, Jaycee, and Gabby.

Callie Jayne loves her princess wand!  She magically turns 4 in just a few days.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Zone Conference

6 Jan 2011: Elder Jacob Carter and Elder Jeff Reed in Ukiah, CA.

On Thursday, Elder Carter and his companion, Elder Reed, attended a zone conference of the Santa Rosa, Eureka, and Ukiah Zones in Ukiah, California.  Elders Carter and Reed are currently assigned to the Ukiah Zone.  Sister Bunker, the mission president's wife, put these pictures on her Santa Rosa Missionary blog.  I'm so happy she is a blogger!  It's great to see my son on there and know he is happy and healthy.

All the missionaries of the Ukiah Zone!  Elders Carter and Reed are in the back on the right.

Of the zone conference, Sister Bunker wrote: "It was wonderful to spend the day with all of these fantastic Elders and Sisters. They keep me going! I love serving with them. Here's to 2011...a year full of change and growth and faith and charity and happiness!"

Friday, January 7, 2011

Date Night

Ed takes our picture tonight at Moose Henri's.

Ed and I don't go out often enough, just the two of us.  I believe a weekly night out as a couple is a healthy thing for a husband and wife to do.  We just never seem to find the time.  Or we get busy and forget.  Or we're just too tired.  I doubt we go out alone together more than once a month.  Probably less often.  We've decided we need to work on that.

Tonight, though, the opportunity to go out presented itself and we took it! Two teachers I've known for nearly 20 years are in a band called Fat Chance. They play many types of music, but they specialize in the blues. I heard they were performing at Moose Henri's, a bar and grill near our house tonight, so I invited Ed to go enjoy them with me. Usually I avoid bars like the plague, but my husband loves listening to live bands, and he has a particular fondness for jazz and the blues. It seemed like a perfect date night!
Blues band Fat Chance performs at Moose Henri's.

It was fun!  Many of my fellow teachers and school administrators showed up to watch the band.  Steve Knudsen (second from left) was one of Dylan's teachers last semester.  Everett Peterson (third from left) teaches at the elementary, and his wife Judy is a high school English teacher just down the hall from my classroom.  I was a little worried about the atmosphere, but Moose Henri's felt more like a little hole-in-the-wall restaurant than a bar, and since the state legislature banned cigarettes in all public buildings, it wasn't even smoky. 

Originally we thought we might have dinner there, too, but in the end we left and had dinner at the China Wok Buffet instead.  That's one of the first places the kids and I took Ed when we met him, so it has good memories attached to it. 

First date night of 2011: accomplished!  So, where shall we go next week?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

A New Year's Day Crisis, or Two

3 Apr 2004: 14-year-old Sarah with 2-year-old Cocoa Puff

This isn't the way to begin a brand new year.  Our morning started out badly first thing, when Sarah went out to feed her rabbits and found that Cocoa Puff had died in the night.  Sarah was understandably upset.  It's always hard to lose a beloved pet. 

However, Cocoa had a full life. She would have been 9 years old come February, and that's a good, long life for a little bunny. Back in 2003 and 2004, Cocoa was Sarah's best show rabbit because she was so calm and patient, easy to pose for the judges.

20 Apr 2009: Sarah and Cocoa 5 years later

Cocoa was always a big hit with little children who came to our house, too. Her sweet temper, coupled with the qualities that made her such a good show rabbit, made her gentle and still while being held tightly by tiny, eager hands.

12 June 2009: Cocoa Puff with our great-niece Analyce

Cocoa is survived by her sister, Likki Nikki (short for Licorice Nicole), the last of our rabbits.  Cocoa had begun to seem frail over the past few months, but our bad-tempered Likki still seems hale and hearty.

We received almost 2 feet of snow between Wednesday evening and Friday afternoon, and then last night the temperature dropped to the lowest point I've seen in my 21 winters here: 13 degrees below zero!  No doubt the extreme cold contributed to Cocoa's demise.  The cold certainly created our second crisis of the day. 

After returning from shoveling a neighbor's snow, Dylan found this outside faucet spraying water into the air.  He tried to turn it off, but no luck.  Water was also gushing from under the house and saturating the ground along the foundation.

From there, the water ran under the snow and flooded the trail from the porch to the gate.  By the time I took this picture it had begun to soak in, but the water was several inches deep when Ed and I came home from shopping.  Dylan had called and summoned us home, panicked and unsure what to do.

On the other side of the saturated wall is Dylan's bedroom, and we found that corner of his room filling up with a rapidly expanding pool of water about 2 inches deep.  While Dylan unplugged all his electronic equipment, Ed quickly located the water switch-off valve and shut down the water to our entire house, which stopped the flood.  Dylan was dispatched to his room with a bucket and an armful of towels.  Now he has 3 fans blowing on the carpet in an attempt to dry it out as quickly as possible.

Probably the pipe leading to that faucet on the outside wall became frozen and burst during the night (a not-too-uncommon occurance in our area), but the water only began to leak when the temperature rose this afternoon and the ice began to thaw.  After exploring our insurance options, Ed decided it will be more cost effective to repair the pipes himself tomorrow.  Meanwhile, we get to live without water for the next 20 hours or so.  Groan...

And it's only the first day of 2011!  I hope this isn't a foreshadowing of the type of year we have ahead of us!  Maybe it just means we got all the bad stuff out of the way, and the rest of the year will be smooth sailing!