Wednesday, November 28, 2007

An Annual Christmas Miracle

Today was Day One of the public viewing of the annual Festival of Trees for Primary Children's Medical Center in Salt Lake City. I've attended multiple times in the past, but I've never been more involved than this year. What an amazing event!

Several months ago, my sisters suggested doing a tree to donate to the event in honor of my niece Heather's sweet conjoined daughters who passed away shortly after birth earlier this year. And so it began. We met to decide what to do (thank goodness they have good ideas and thank goodness for Jessica who can improve on those ideas). We chose a pink tree for the girls. We met to go shopping for the supplies. We found beautiful white and clear ornaments. We met to actually decorate the tree (it takes a long time to put ornaments on then wire each item to the tree!) Cathy and Colleen met to take it to the exhibit hall. We were discovering what a time and money-consuming process this act of love could be. None of those meetings included Jessica's time shopping for the tree or Heather's time making the beautiful quilt to give. Then today we met to go and act as Hostesses at the festival itself. There we stood for four hours, guarding our little section of the room to make sure no wayward children crossed the roped-off barrier or that no mean-spirited soul made off with any thing of value. Mostly we just got to chat with each other and an occasional passerby who was looking at the trees.

In the course of those four hours, I had a lot of time to stand and think about what we were a part of. I'm including a picture in here looking toward one half of the hall. There was another equal half the other direction. There I was in the midst of a miracle happening all around me. For weeks and months now, hundreds of other little groups did what we did with our little tree, then it all came together. Hundreds of trees were decorated and donated as gifts of love. Hundreds of people showed up last night and paid extraordinary prices for those trees so the money could "go to the kids" at the hospital. Hundreds of volunteers like us stood there today and will do it again tomorrow and the next day. Hundreds more will wrap those trees up and deliver them to their purchasers this weekend. There were crafts and treats and performers. There are untold numbers of people and untold dollars being given purely out of love and kindness. I've heard that this event raised between 1.5 and 2 million dollars last year. Wow! That's a pretty great way to start the Christmas season. I think I'll do it again next year!

Cornucopia of Gratitude

Now that Thanksgiving has passed and November is nearly over, I want to share our family's cornucopia of gratitude. I'm sure it will not surprise any of you, but this is Daniel's creation, set out for our family to recognize our blessings. He created the cornucopia, posted it on the door to the sunroom, and made tons of small fruits, vegetables, etc. to fill it. Each night at dinner we would write something for which we are thankful. What a great reminder. I know it made me particularly thankful for Daniel and the rest of our family, for our countless blessings, and for simple things that often slip our minds. If you want some real insight into us, you'll enjoy such entries as 'rainbow sandals, honey butter, our big red ball, and French bread.' Whether it's real or in your head, may you each enjoy a full cornucopia of gratitude this season!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

My nonconformist recital performer

For anyone who may not know, there is a law decreed that says if you are a piano student who is performing in a recital, you are to make all efforts possible to not make any eye contact with the audience. You should look at your feet on the way up, look at your hands or the piano while performing, regain focus on your feet as you bow, then remain that way as you return to your seat. Cheyenne didn't get the memo. The adoration of her fans was enough to make her break all the rules. This video doesn't completely capture the cute nuances of her grin spreading across her face, but it was really fun. It was a highlight! Enjoy!!

Oh, and Daniel did play at this recital as well. He played a jazzy duet of Jingle Bells, then he played the Billy Joel song "Root Beer Rag." The song is almost 5 minutes long, so we won't be downloading that video, but he will gladly play it for you in person should you so desire! He looked at his feet.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

First Annual Wilde Harvest Open House - for those who missed it

Click to enlarge the photo and take a peek at the spread laid out for the first annual open house. Kudos to my sweet Dale for all of his hard, hard work to make enough homemade bread for an army! It is said that man cannot live by bread alone. I'd suggest that man can live, however, by bread with some cold cuts, cheese, and spreads!

We had a great time! We are thankful to our friends who came to share with us. We are so grateful for a bounteous harvest every year. We are grateful for the talents we have to turn that harvest into things that are delicious and varied for us to eat. May you each enjoy a bounteous harvest and Thanksgiving season. We'll see you next year at the Second Annual event!

Meet the new Wildelife...

Well, we did it. We finally succumbed to the pressure of our offspring to bring a little more "Wildelife" to our fold. Thanks to KSL classifieds (my new favorite site, I might add), we now have a new member of our family. Meet Jackson. Much like Cheyenne, he came to our family with a name already. That's okay, though, 'cause it's still a city in Wyoming, so that works, and it prevented us from going with the obvious choice of Adolf - based solely on appearances!

He's about a year and a half old and came from another family's loving home. Alas, that does not mean he has shed his "kitten" ways of jumping where he shouldn't and peeing where he shouldn't, but we are further ahead than with a brand new one. After years of having very old cats, though, we'd forgotten how frisky and playful the younger ones are! He's been a lot of fun.

For whatever reason, I have received the honor of being the favorite family member. In the accompanying picture, he had joined me around the neck for a little one-on-one time! No one else was home, but I managed to get a fairly decent photo of myself anyway! He stayed there on my neck for 20 minutes or so, even when I moved around. I clearly am the chosen one!

My baby was baptized

Having your children baptized at the age of 8 can certainly be viewed as a rite of passage. When it's your baby that's making that passage, it's a little hard to take! It's even more surprising when I realize that when Cathy's twins are baptized at the beginning of December, that means all the grandchildren on Mom's side are that old. Wow.

Anyway, Cheyenne looked as beautiful as ever. She is and always has been a little light that was sent to our family, but that spreads her light everywhere she goes. She is a joy. Her baptism was a special service just for her. It was a small gathering of our family and a few friends to wish her well and share the moment. For Daniel, it was a chance to spread his wings and play the piano to accompany people singing - he'd never done that before. I couldn't have been prouder of them both.

It made me feel such gratitude for so many things. Thanks to my family for being so loving and supportive, especially to my kids. Thanks to those who made it possible for us to have Cheyenne to begin with - what a blessing! Thanks to Heavenly Father for helping me see that He and Jesus Christ love us and want us to be happy. I hope I'll always be able to act like someone who knows that!

Can't Forget Halloween

I'm a little slow getting to it, but how can I not show the fun of Halloween. I'll be sad someday when we're past the point of Halloween being a fun night. But for now, we're just enjoying it. For Daniel, he and his friends enjoyed a fun party together. He and his best friend dressed as stick people. These pictures give you some idea of how it looked, but the real fun was best seen as they walked and moved outside in the dark. I was amazed at how fun some glow sticks and packing tape could be!

For Cheyenne, it was the year of the skunk -- and the candy! She was a die hard, from the school costume parade and party right up to the haul she received trick or treating. Grandma Witzke was at our house Halloween night. When Cheyenne rang our door to trick or treat, Grandma asked her to do a trick. She thought for a couple seconds, then raised her skunk tail and made a spraying sound! I love that girl!!!