Sunday, October 31, 2010

More Halloween Fun

It’s been such a busy week that we finally carved the pumpkins this morning.  (We’re also always hoping that if we leave the pumpkin carving till the last minute the pumpkins won’t be covered in mold by Halloween!!!)

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Here are our finished jack-o-lanterns.  (Today jack-o-lanterns, tomorrow pumpkin muffins!)

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Tonight we had dinner in a darkened house by jack-o-lantern light.  Spooky fun!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Halloween, Courtesy of Goodwill

As the little kids started telling me what they wanted to be this year for Halloween, I could feel my blood pressure start to rise.  Each costume idea sounded like it would be a significant sewing project.  And while I love to sew, I do not love to sew costumes.  (Or home-dec, fyi!)

I decided that I would go looking for costume parts at our local Goodwill.  I was thrilled with what I found there, and the sewing required ended up being relatively minimal.

Without further ado I present our Halloween, courtesy of Goodwill!

Rachel wanted to be an elf archer from Lord of the Rings.  I offered a green cape but she declined (whew!) and told me she wanted a green shirt and green pants, and would use Jared’s bow to complete her costume. 

We had green pants left from Jason’s costume last year, so I cut those up and made them into pants using an easy PJ pant pattern.  I bought a green tshirt at Goodwill and cut it in zigs and zags.  She was thrilled.  Well, she was thrilled until everyone at church asked her if she was Robin Hood!

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Jenna wanted to be a spy.  With black everything.  I thought I could probably find what she wanted at Goodwill, but I really hit the jackpot.  I found a pair of black leather pants!  Who buys their 10 year old black leather pants???  I was very happy to plunk down my $2.59 for them!  I also bought her a black turtleneck.  When I realized that I had forgotten that she needed a black hat I panicked.  But then I got creative and cut the sleeve off of one of Russ’s old black tshirts and pulled it together at the top.  It was just great!

October 2010 156 (I am not sure what made her think that spies wear blue flip-flops instead of black shoes…)

As you have already guessed, Jared’s costume was the most involved.  As he described to me what it would involve and I looked at pictures, I could see myself buying copious amounts of yellow fabric and doing lots of sewing.  I was not thrilled; but he was so excited about his costume I didn’t want to say no!

Well, once again Goodwill came through for me.  And to the unknown woman who once wore yellow capris made of a parachute type fabric, I will be forever in your debt.  Seriously, your sacrifice was not in vain.

Once I had the capris I found a matching men’s dress shirt, and a nice silk orange shirt.  Now that you’re dying of curiosity, here is the finished product.

Avatar, the Last Airbender!  (the tv version)

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Jared’s costume was a total hit—I’d say it was one of the best at our ward’s trunk or treat.  Everyone was amazed that we’d let him shave his head and impressed that we had painted it!  It was awesome.

I’m just glad that it’s all over till next year.  (Except for the Goodwill part…I’ve sort of become attached to Goodwill!)

October 2010 151 Rachel, Jenna, and Jared with their friend Olivia

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Bottom Line

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can of shaving cream: $1.37


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pink razors: $2.38


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getting to be bald for Halloween: priceless


(So sorry…the day was so much more chaotic than I expected.  I promise to get to the Halloween pics tomorrow!)

What on Earth???

Ok, I know it's not as good as a regular blog post.  And hopefully this afternoon I'll have time for one of those--the Halloween costume blog post!  But until then, check this out.  Has to be one of the strangest things I've ever (and I mean EVER) read!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Mother I’ve Become (part 2)

Last spring I blogged here about realizing that I have relaxed, mellowed, and developed different priorities over my years of mothering. 

This month we’ve had another experience that proves this is true.

About a month ago, Jared asked if he could shave his head for his Halloween costume.  I immediately said yes.

“You said YES????” you ask.

Yep, I did.  Because all I could think was what this would mean to Jared—both now and down the road.  It means that we take his costume idea (to be revealed later this week) seriously.  It means that we trust him to make some of his own decisions.  And hopefully one day when he’s older, he’ll remember this year.  And he’ll say, “I can’t believe my parents let me shave my head bald—that was so cool!”

Hair comes and goes.  I know for a fact it will grow back.  I’ll miss his pretty blonde hair, but I’ll be enjoying what this moment means to him.

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Today we’re off to buy some shaving cream so that we can get that last little bit of hair off.  Stay tuned for his awesome costume!!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Turning Away

In Third Nephi, in the 26th verse of the 20th chapter, it says,

The Father…sent me to bless you in turning away every one of you from his iniquities…

Recently this verse caught my eye, and I read it more carefully. 

Here was the Savior, telling the Nephites that one of his purposes was to bless them by turning them away from their iniquities.

I had to think this through for a little bit.  What did it mean to be turned away from my iniquities?  What experiences in my life caused this to happen? 

I realized that I could think of two general types of experiences that might cause me to be turned from my iniquities. 

The first type were the experience like Sunday School today.  A really great and inspiring lesson from Isaiah that caused me to really think deeply and helped me feel the spirit.  A lesson that made me want to turn away from my iniquities and move myself closer to my Heavenly Father and his Son.

I like those kind of experiences.  I like thinking that one of the Savior’s purposes is to help me have those moments of inspiration.

The other type of experience wasn’t quite so pleasant to think about.  These experiences were generally uncomfortable, resulting in me seeing myself and my weaknesses more clearly.  These were experiences that I felt a need to repent after; experiences that left me wishing that I was better or wiser or more patient.  Experiences that made me want to turn away from my iniquities.

I was startled, sitting there.  The idea that Christ was blessing me by turning me away from my iniquities was and is a total paradigm shift.  I have always hated having something happen that shows me (or anyone else!) my faults and weaknesses.  I would never have considered that these uncomfortable experiences are actually learning experiences meant to bless my live by showing me where work is needed.

Maybe next time I’ve done something stupid, instead of just feeling frustrated with myself I will be able to give thanks for the information I’ve just received, and ask for help in improving in that aspect of my life.  That could be a real blessing.

 

*************

 

Good thing I’d had this inspiration, because President Monson’s talk at the Relief Society broadcast showed me plenty of areas that could use improvement in my life…

Tonight, however, I have in mind the charity that manifests itself when we are tolerant of others and lenient toward their actions, the kind of charity that forgives, the kind of charity that is patient.

I have in mind the charity that impels us to be sympathetic, compassionate, and merciful, not only in times of sickness and affliction and distress but also in times of weakness or error on the part of others.

There is a serious need for the charity that gives attention to those who are unnoticed, hope to those who are discouraged, aid to those who are afflicted. True charity is love in action. The need for charity is everywhere.

Needed is the charity which refuses to find satisfaction in hearing or in repeating the reports of misfortunes that come to others, unless by so doing, the unfortunate one may be benefited. The American educator and politician Horace Mann once said, “To pity distress is but human; to relieve it is godlike.”11

Charity is having patience with someone who has let us down. It is resisting the impulse to become offended easily. It is accepting weaknesses and shortcomings. It is accepting people as they truly are. It is looking beyond physical appearances to attributes that will not dim through time. It is resisting the impulse to categorize others.

I can tell already that his talk will bless me in some uncomfortable ways!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Escape #3: the mountains

Warning: zillions of photos ahead!

Part 1: The Campout

The reason for our trip to the mountains was a group camping trip.  Some smart person realized that Asheville was halfway between Durham and Katie’s new home in Atlanta, and so a plan was hatched.

A lovely plan it was.

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Everyone arrived after dark, which made setting up camp quite an adventure.  As did the signs on the bathroom warning that black bears had recently been seen in the campground!

We had been told that each campsite could hold two cars and two tents, but this was a bit of an exaggeration.  Our big tent (Russ calls it the Taj Mahal) was far too big for any of the flat spots on our campsite.  Russ ended up setting it up on the parking pad.

Which meant that he and Doug had to park this close.  (Sometimes I think men are a little crazy.)

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It got very cold and we FROZE Friday night.  Russ and I have these great sleeping bags that we really love.  We love them because they are 40 years old.  They have flannel on the inside and canvas on the outside, and they don’t make all of those little rustling sleeping bag noises that modern bags make.  (Yes, I already know I have noise issues!)  Anyway, we stole these bags from his parents and we have loved them.

Until this night.

When it got down to 40 degrees,

and one of the zippers was broken.

We huddled together (and remember—we’re not snuggle sleepers!) so tightly that we both had leg cramps, and we were still cold.  Halfway through the night Russ got up and got a tshirt and wrapped it around his head to stop heat loss.  And the next day we tossed the sleeping bags in the dumpster. 

Bye-bye quite sleeping bags, I loved you.  But a sleeping bag without a zipper is good for no one!

Saturday morning was nice and chilly.  Everyone was happy to gather around the fire

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and roast biscuits on hot dog cookers.  Everyone thought Russ was awesome for coming up with this idea.  I already knew he was awesome.

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Herman the dog was a big hit, especially while he was lying nicely on the ground for everyone to pet.

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I’m not sure what McKenzie thought of the camping experience,

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but I am pretty sure Miles wasn’t too impressed.

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The boys, on the other hand, were thrilled that so much dirt was available,

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and that no one seemed to notice their preoccupation with the gameboy.

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After breakfast was finally over we decided it was time for a group hike to the lake.

But first, stick races in the river.

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And people in the river. (Including Marley, who had no fear!)

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The lake was lovely.

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Now—it was October, it had been 40 degrees the night before, and it wasn’t super hot.  But did that stop the kids from heading right to the swimming part of the lake?

It did not.

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Jared was in the water first,

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but pretty soon all of the kids were in the water.

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Including Marley, who handled the frigid water like a champ,

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and wore my jacket until we were back at camp.

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Back at camp some kids played around the fire,

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the girls did girl stuff,

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and the moms hid behind some of the cars and talked.  Russ called it Relief Society.  Whatever you call it, it was awesome.  (It would have been more awesome if I could have eaten some of Kathleen’s yummy looking trail mix!)

We decided that the group campout was such a success that we will make it an annual tradition…the Columbus Weekend campout.

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After a full day of camping happiness, Russ took down our tent and packed everything up.  We left the campsite so sadly, though we know that the sleeping bags we left behind were appreciated.  Then we were off to:

 

Part 2:  The Baby Brother

When I was 16, my mom had a baby.  Baby #10, to be exact.  I thought that was just the coolest thing she ever could have done, and until I left for college I was Jeremy’s second mother.

We were so excited when Jeremy, his lovely wife Maria, and their cute little girl Addie moved back to North Carolina last year.  We decided that we would have to cut short the camping trip so that we could spend time with them.

And spend time we did.  It may have been short, but it was packed with fun.  We had dinner, played Pit until we were hoarse from all the shouting, and then we put the kids to bed.  After we put the kids to bed we adults played games until we couldn’t hold our eyes open.

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That night Russ and I got to test Jeremy’s big deluxe air mattress to see if it had a hole in it, which was a really special experience.  Imagine waking up doing an inverted downward dog.  Cause that’s seriously what happened.  And it was not comfortable.

In the morning we got ready for church super fast, so that we could go on a little outing before church.  You see, Jeremy and Maria live on the side of a mountain.  (Literally.  Like you’re afraid of your brakes fail on the way down the driveway, you will be launched out over the great state of North Carolina.  I have no idea how he got a moving van down there!  But I digress.)

Just a mile from their house is a spot known as “Jump Off Rock.”  Now I am not sure why this is called Jump Off Rock.  Did people ever jump off?  I think it would be foolish.  I personally would have called it “Please do not jump off, son, Rock.”  Obviously no one asked me. 

(And obviously it has been a really long week in my world and I’m getting a little slap happy.  I will try to re-focus on the blog post at hand.)

So, Jump Off Rock.

What a view!  On a clear day it’s possible to see Georgia, South Carolina, and Tennessee all from Jump Off Rock.

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The view was incredible.

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We were sad that we were in our church clothes and couldn’t stay and hike around.  We took some pictures and headed to church.

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Here I am in some of the new clothes that I bought at Hamricks…too bad I clash so much with the lovely fall foliage! 

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We loved going to church in Hendersonville.  My parents moved there when I was graduating from high school, so there are many people there I love to see.   After sacrament meeting was over we said our goodbyes and took some pictures with Jeremy, Maria, and Addie.

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One last hug!

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Part 3: Happy Birthday, Grandma

On Friday night as we were camping I realized for the first time that it was October 8th, my mom’s birthday.  She would have been 70 years old this year.

I can’t imagine my mom as a 70 year old, but I’d like to think that she would have been still making me crazy, still saying insane things, and still capable of making people feel more loved than anyone else I’ve ever known.

It was fitting that the last thing we did before we got back on the interstate was stop by her grave.  It’s been a while since we’ve been there, and while it’s not a place of great comfort to me, I wanted to go.  Next time we’ll make sure we have flowers!

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And that is the end of it.  Escape #3 was a great escape.  My week of escapes was amazing and exhausting.  It took me a full week to recover, but I’m sure happy about all of the experiences we had!