Friday, August 31, 2007

What my "Wildelife" is made of....

I'm including a picture with this post in an effort to share the moment, but truthfully, it'll never do it justice! I do recommend clicking on it to enlarge it and enjoy the detail just once. Dale and I went out tonight. Not coincidentally it's our 16th anniversary. That is, it's been 16 years since we started what has so far culminated in events like tonight. The kids called a couple of times wondering when we would return. The last time, Cheyenne called and just said, "Mom, we need you." We came home soon thereafter. It was after 10 when we arrived and they should have been in bed. Instead, Cheyenne met us at the door, dressed up in a skirt from the costume box. She led us to our room where she had us dress in bathrobes, jewelry, and even a small plastic tiara for me. Daniel was wearing a lab coat and had a makeshift sword. They told us we were the king and queen while they were the prince and princess. Then they led us to the throne room, watched over by two fierce guard dogs (look closely toward the bottom of the picture). There were chairs with candy and lots of lights. There were LED lights taped to the fan, smaller ones placed around, and even a strobe light (not on in this pic). For fun we had the plasma ball (the glass ball that seems to have lightning trapped inside). They brought us a drink and encouraged us to enjoy. And we did!

Most people's lives aren't like ours. Some other families never get these moments. Our kids are a constant source of creativity and invention. Last night we had an ugly night with crying and yelling between them. Tonight, memories of a castle with a throne room took center stage. Two nights ago the center of attention was a microscope and a slide. Daniel and I made the slide by taking a razor blade and scraping a mosquito (which he had earlier smashed with a shoe) from the inside of the car window. He wanted to see the bug parts and the human blood. It was fascinating! Like I said, most people's lives aren't like ours.

I'm so thankful for kids who show me so much. It must've killed them to wait for us tonight. They couldn't wait to share their creation. I'm so glad they were patient. I'm so glad I married a man who was willing to play along and then to take a picture with a 30 second exposure. I'm sorry you weren't here to enjoy the moment, but we'll savor it for you.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Sunrise, Sunset......

...swiftly fly the years. It's a little hard for me to believe that my little preemie Daniel just started junior high!!! That's not to say that I wasn't a little excited to have the kids return to school and give our lives a little more of a schedule. They both started their respective schools last week.

Daniel began 7th grade with a mixture of excitement and trepidation. That's fair. So far, so good. He hasn't been locked in a locker yet, and he seems to be gaining a better handle each day on the 8 different classes he has. I think he will too, but I know I'm going to enjoy the classes he has. He has lots of interesting teachers and subjects. Today he told us a detailed account of the story of Frankenstein. That was right after we read "The Tell-Tale Heart" by Edgar Allan Poe. Hmmm.....

Cheyenne is just happy to finally be back in school. She really never grasped the concept of summer vacation. She wanted to go back all summer. She is now in 2nd grade and is back in class with her same teacher and many of the same students. One of the biggest highlights, though, is the "baby" bus that comes to pick her up each day. She runs from our porch to the bus, climbs on, then high-fives her classmates as she walks to her seat. She really is growing up.

The bottom line is that the last week has brought about the annual mixture of emotions that I try to sort out and figure out. I'm happy to see them go back; I instantly feel too busy to enjoy the time. I'm thrilled to see them growing and progressing, but I shed a few tears occasionally when I think of the cute memories passing by. I'm glad for the changes, but I still know that if it's Fall already then I have to be prepared any day to get up and find it's Winter. Arghh! But, alas, there's nothing I can do about any of this beyond enjoying each day for what it is. I hope you enjoy yours!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

I did it!

So, I did it, I successfully pulled off the wedding cake for Katie Bowser's wedding. I recognize that there are wedding cake makers who do this all the time so I'm sure it's not quite as exciting to them, but I was excited. It even looked like the picture of what she wanted! The best part of it was that it tasted good and people ate it.

This picture makes it look like a miniature little thing, but the bottom tier was 14" and the others were 12", 10", 8", and 6". Just to put it in perspective, I made a total of 16 batches of cake from scratch, 6 batches of raspberry filling, and 8 or 9 batches of buttercream frosting. Then I added 8 pounds of white chocolate fondant and a couple of pounds of white chocolate. It was an artery clogger! But just to make sure it wasn't too professional, I took the extra cakes (because we needed more than what was in the formal cake) in to the kitchen on a plate with a Tupperware bowl turned upside down over one and a piece of plywood covered with foil as a base for the other one. I guess I can't own all the cool equipment!

The excitement for me was in the thrill of the hunt. That is, I was very stressed throughout the process, but there is a thrill in taking on a task and doing it. I read a lot, I practiced, I bought some cool equipment, and I succeeded in the challenge. There's something fun about that!

Lastly, I want to use this forum to thank my sisters and all of my fabulous friends who helped me along the way. Thanks for helping in so many ways and for cheering for me at every stage. Thanks to all of you who called today to see how it went. Your support was such a treat!

Now, let's see, my next oldest niece is only 12 so maybe it'll be a while till I do this again. You'll just have to watch my Wildelife to see!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Of brain surgery.....

This morning before church, I picked up my scriptures to read a little. Out of the front a few papers fell out. One of them was the funeral program for my good friend Celia Horne whose funeral was exactly one year ago today. She died due to complications from brain surgery. She was 42 years old. I think of her frequently. I often ask her for help in my daily life since I figure she's got a greater perspective these days. I miss her a lot.

I've thought a lot about brain surgery this week. The husband of another of my best friends was diagnosed this last week with an inoperable brain tumor. They plan to do surgery soon to go in and get some of the tumor to do a biopsy. Then they'll decide what kind of chemotherapy and/or radiation to do. I've been sad all week. It's so surreal some days to think how easily a family's life can be completely upended.

Evan is the fourth person in our neighborhood to have brain surgery. Counting Celia, I'm up to five friends I know personally who have had or will have an operation on their brains. That seems like a large number to me. Maybe if you're reading this, you should stop being my friend!

Seriously, it does seem like a high number. Now I just have to hope and pray for my friend as he faces this. I have to be in tune to my friend's needs and try to help her and the kids. It's going to be a long haul no matter what happens. And it's times like these that I have to really turn to a loving Heavenly Father and plead for peace. I trust that he understands more than I do. He doesn't want to bring us pain, but I know he's got a greater perspective and somehow it will all be all right. At a minimum, he'll for sure provide peace. I have another friend who has suffered an unbelievable number of things in her life. Someone once asked her how she can believe in God after all she's been through. Her response was simply, "After all I've been through, how can I get through a day without believing in God." I'm with her -- and may that God bless Evan.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

We've still got it!!!!

I'm going to post a picture here today at the risk of anger from my sister. I hesitated for a bit about whether or not I should include the picture, but then I decided that if I were 43 years and 51 weeks old and could still do this so beautifully, I'd want the world to see. Cathy, I think you're awesome!!!!! I wouldn't want her to be alone, however, so I've also posted a picture of me literally bouncing off the walls, trampoline included. Oh, and I guess I should say, I'm 41 years and 41 weeks old. As you can tell, she and I took our kids to a place the other day that is a giant warehouse full of trampolines. You can jump from one to the other, play basketball on them, bounce off the walls, etc. We intended to just watch, but apparently, we've still got it, so we joined them!

I'm glad I'm healthy enough to jump. I'm so happy I have a sister who will jump with me. Life is good!!!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Cakes, cakes, cakes

I'm not sure if I should blame my niece Romney or thank her, but I'm currently preparing to make my third wedding cake in as many years. This assignment (for my husband's boss' daughter) has been a little more daunting because it's so big and involves skills I have not previously used. I've been reading a ton, both from books and the internet, and I decided to take my first cake decorating class ever! I knew they weren't teaching all the skills I'd need, but I also knew I was bound to learn a thing or two. It was kind of fun! I chalked it up to a self-improvement kind of class because I love to learn new things.

Throughout my life, I've made mostly "fun" cakes. I've done a vacuum cleaner, a pizza, a shopping mall, and Aladdin's castle, but I'd never done "pretty" cakes with flowers and such. So, yesterday I did my first "pretty" cake. I first made 43 roses of different sizes out of fondant, then assembled the cake. It was a feeling of satisfaction.

Today, I disassembled the cake and redid it in the style of the wedding cake I'll be doing then had a tasting party. Again, I learned a lot. The wedding is in 2 weeks. I'm sure my husband and my blog will be among the first to see if I'm able to apply the new skills. Of course, there will also be a couple hundred of his boss' closest friends! Arghhh! Thanks, Romney!!