Monday, November 30, 2009

Seeya Thanksgiving! Hello Christmas!

Mckenzli's blessing day

Jason and his cuz Stephanie and her new little one Sophie

Adam checking our Mckenzli

This is my cousin Crystal who I hadn't seen in about 9 years. Can you tell we are related? Turns out she lives by my in-laws. Thank you facebook for getting us together!

Cool trailer we had to take a picture of!

Awesome cookies a neighbor made- got to remember these for next year!

Touring the chocolate factory with cousins who won't look at the camera!

The big pool we saw

Random leg stretching at the rest stops

Monday, November 9, 2009

When did November get here?

Hello Friends! I am having a lot of fun lately being super organized and busy! We have finally hit that streak where we are all moved in, the house is decorated, we have friends, are settled into schools, activities, and clubs.....the streak where we usually have to move! But no we are still planning on staying here! Jason is having enough adventure by himself and I am running the whole family thing. But no complaints, I said many times over the years I would give anything to see Jason happy and loving his job and that wish has finally been granted. Even though he is a little road weary he is really loving it. Since my last post he has been to Edmonton Canada, Fairfax Virginia, New Deli and Mumbai India, and Manila Philippines. He gets back from that last one Wednesday. So while he is gone I have tried to be a good mom and make good memories for the kids instead of lonely ones. Jason was home for Halloween though! I was in charge of the church Trunk or Treat and it went great if I do say so myself! Adam and Alex went as Napoleon and Kip Dynamite. Sadly I didn't get a picture of Kat who went as a Fairy, it was all very rush rush that day! Jason and I reprised Nacho and Encarnation and our family won the best family costume award. By the time actually Halloween rolled around we went to a freidns for a party and trick or treating. The kids had a blast but I was done by 9. The haul wasn't as big as last year but that is probably good since Jason and I are trying to watch what we eat. The dogs also got to dress up as Yoda and a witch. I think everyone agrees it was a good Halloween. But the next day Jason flew off to India. In the meantime I have been volenteering for my friend as a face paint model. Here I am in one of her posters for Halloween-I also discovered this little product that is so easy I could make and eat them every day! I am still doing my ToastMasters stuff and presented speech number 3. It didn't get as high praises but I still got my blue ribbon! The evaluator said I have natural skills they just have to be honed. Like I am a good storyteller but I need to develop other speaking methods. If only I could teach him a Sunday School Lesson! You all can judge for yourself- here is the speech I gave last week-

Looking at me today you would never guess I was raised by Hippies. Tonight I want to entertain you with a story about my heritage and hopefully inspire you to define one of your own.

Some people have a linage that is easy to see by the color of their skin or the religion they practice. Sometimes I get jealous that I am just a plain old white American. But when my mother rolls her eyes I am reminded of what a rich heritage she has given to me.

A long time ago in the 70’s my mother and her family moved to Virginia. She was in high school and her sisters were college age. Their names were Linda Lorene and Lori. My mother is Lori. She worked at the local mall, where she met my father. In fact that year all the sisters met their husbands, and they weren’t just anybody, their names where Tom, Dick and Harry.

Well these fellows became like brothers as they were initiated into my mother’s family. It came as no surprise that when the chips were down they decided to find a solution together. It was a recession, much like today, there was violence in the world and gas prices were high. My father who had a bachelor’s degree couldn’t find a good job. Everyone was trying to make ends meet. So they decided they had to take action. For a series of 6 months the men would meet together and send the women away for a weekend and try to find a plan to support our families and be self reliant.

Finally they found their answer; there was a job opportunity for Harry in Ohio. The plan was to buy some land together and live in common until everyone was back on their feet at which time we would subdivide the land and build our own houses. The plan was set in motion and we all moved to Ohio. Linda, Lorene, and Lori, Tom, Dick, and Harry, Grandma and Grandpa, and 5 grandkids.

For the next 5 years we grew our own vegetables, we had a dairy cow, we raised pigs and goats. We also grew in size often taking in others that needed a place to stay. At the peak there were 22 people living in a house with 4 bedrooms, one bathroom, and an extra toilet in the basement. olliho

And my favorite story from all the many, many, stories of this time is one where my uncles and father were set to paint the farmhouse. The cheapest paint at the store was pumpkin orange. The spent the day painting that ridiculous color on the tallest side of the house. And just as they were finishing a storm rolled in and washed all that paint away. Tom Dick and Harry sat down, I’m sure laughing and crying at the same time, picked up a guitar and wrote a song about our farm. That song is the same song we sing every year at our reunion. Now the posterity of my grandmother is around 100 people. We all know the song, we all know the story, we all know the lesson about how family comes first and when we are discouraged we sing about the harder times.

My family has a heritage of wanderers, and adventures. I wish it was a box I could check on a census form, but I carry it with me and I will pass it on to my children and it is my most valuable possession.

I apologize if I exaggerated anything!! I had to leave out the spiritual side that is a huge part of that heritage because of my audience but it still made a great story. As for the Heritage I am creating for my own kids, I love being in the States adn making traditions for every holiday. This year my brain told me to make a Thanksgiving tree. Now this is near treason beacause every November 1st since we have been married we have decorated for Christmas. (secretly that is, we don't brag about it) because Jason loves Chritmas above all other holidays. Even his own birthday! But when the cat is away Mommy is in charge! We went to Micheals Craft shop and they had all of their fall and Thanksgiving stuff at 80% off! So we got about 20 bucks worth and put our fake Christmas tree together and decorated it. Here it is: Then we made our own ornaments about what we are thankful for:
Alex didn't hesitate. He said he was grateful for Santa, Food, and Money. Amazing. Jason has seen the pictures and he is saying that he thinks it's great. I am counting on him being too tired from Jet Lag to take it down when he gets back! We have missed him but not so much as today when Luke, our dog, cut his leg and had to go to the Emergency Vet. It was just so hard to get the dog in the car with the kids, drive 40 minutes into town, drag him and the kids in and everything in the rain. All that while we were dressed for church, (it happened right before we were about to leave). We did make it to church half way through. The kids were mumbling but I told them how much I needed the Spiritual food to get through the week. I am so glad we went. Here is our sweetie now wearing his cone of shame: So that is November for now. Stay tuned though- we are driving to Arizona for Thanksgiving, I will be doing one more speech, Adam will be competing for Destination Imagination club at school, and I have another church activity to plan! Not a moment to spare and I love it!