Friday, December 25, 2009

As Close to a Holiday Family Photo as We're Going to Get

Merry Christmas to you!

quirky 1209

Thanks for caring enough about our wacky-but-really-pretty-average lives to keep clicking over here time after time after time.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Christmas Eve Bedtime Story - part two

(If you're lost, you might want to read this entry before you continue here.)

And now, for the rest of (and my favorite part of) our story . . .

After Samuel left, the people pretty much stayed doing all the same things that they had been doing. The people that had decided to do the right things kept doing the right things, and the people who had chosen wickedness continued being wicked.

A few years had passed, and the prophet Nephi (who had taught all the people who had decided to change when Samuel was around) got kind of old. So, he passed all the records on to his son (whose name was also Nephi--kind of like Nephi Jr., you know?), and Nephi (Jr.) became a prophet like his father had been.

Anyway, as a few years passed, there started to be some interesting things happening in the land. There were miracles and signs, and some of the things that Samuel had told them about started to come true.

This made the righteous Nephites so happy and full of hope, but the wicked Nephites still didn't believe. In fact, they went to the righteous Nephites and made fun of them, telling them that it had already been five years, and since the day and the night and the day with no darkness hadn't happened, that it was all proof that Samuel didn't know what he was talking about.

Now, no one likes to be made fun of, and as the wicked people teased the righteous people, the righteous people started to get kind of sad and worried. They wondered if maybe Samuel had been mistaken or confused, or if they had somehow missed the sign.

But, even though they were sad, they still believed. In fact, they tried even harder to choose the right than before. AND they kept watching for the day and the night and the day with no darkness. In their hearts they just KNEW that the sign would come, and that they just needed to be patient and have faith.

So, that is what they did.

Well, what happened next was really awful. The wicked people decided that they had had enough of the righteous people and their hoping, and they decided to do something really really bad.

They looked at the calendar and chose a day--a day of destroying.

They went to the righteous Nephites and showed them the calendar. They pointed to the day of destroying and said that if the sign had not happened by that day, then every single person who had believed in and waited for the sign would be killed.

Can you believe that? Sooo terrible!

Well, when Nephi the prophet heard about this, and saw how wicked those people had become, he was really really sad and upset. He was worried for his friends and all the people who had chosen to follow Heavenly Father, and he couldn't believe that the wicked people could be so wicked.

He tried to think of something that he could do to help, and then he realized what the best thing he could do would be.

Nephi went off where he could be alone, and he knelt down, and he prayed to Heavenly Father. He prayed and prayed and prayed. You know how sometimes we pray for a little while, and then we can't think of anything more to say, or our knees start hurting, or we get thirsty, and so we stop praying?

Well, that's not how Nephi did it. He prayed all day long.

He prayed for his friends and his family and all the righteous people, all the people who were going to be killed if the sign wasn't given. He asked the Lord to bless them and protect them and help them. He asked the Lord to show them His love. He asked the Lord for a lot of things, and he told the Lord that he was grateful for all the blessings that he already had. He prayed and prayed and prayed.

And then, the most amazing thing happened.

After he had done all that praying, the voice of the Lord came to him! It was amazing! It was a miracle! It was an answer to Nephi's prayer.

And, what do you think the Lord said?

Well, I'll tell you.

He said,

"Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world, to show unto the world that I will fulfill all that which I caused to be spoken by the mouth of my holy prophets."

Nephi was amazed, and so happy and filled with joy! To think that The Lord had spoken to him, and told him that He was going to be born in Bethlehem on the very next day! And then, he realized that this meant that none of the righteous people would be killed, because the sign would come before the day of destroying came. Another miracle!

And that's just how it happened.

That night, it didn't get dark at all, even though the sun went down.

The righteous Nephites were saved.

No one was killed.

And far away, across the sea, on the other side of the world, a little baby was born in a stable.

And years later, that little baby grew up, and he lived a perfect life.

He taught us how to live
He taught us how to pray
He gave us a perfect example to follow

And then, he paid for all the sins of every person who ever had lived or ever would live. He made it so we could live with Him, and with His Father.

Remember how he saved those righteous Nephites?

quirky 1209
He saved us too.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Christmas Eve Bedtime Story - part one

Okay--so I know I said that I wouldn't be back, but I changed my mind. Things like that happen sometimes.

I've decided to paraphrase a favorite Christmas Story. Those who are familiar with the Book of Mormon will also be familiar with this story. Those who aren't, and would like to read the story as it is contained in scripture (rather than as it is interpreted by me), please feel more than free to go here, here, here, and here.

And now, for our story:

Once upon a time, thousands of years ago, before your grandfather's grandfather's grandfather was even born or thought of, there lived two groups of people in the land. There were the Nephites, a tribe of people who had chosen to live lives of wickedness, sin, and evil, and the Lamanites, a tribe of people who had chosen to follow all the commandments of God as best they could.

One day, one of the Lamanites left his tribe and traveled over to where the Nephites were. His name was Samuel, and he wanted to teach the Nephites more about Heavenly Father and His commandments. Unfortunately, the Nephites didn't like what Samuel was teaching them, and so they kicked him out of their city.

Samuel was discouraged and sad about this, so he turned around and started the journey back to his own land. But, just as he started traveling, he heard the voice of the Lord speaking to him!

The Lord told Samuel that he needed to go back to the Nephites, and teach them some more. The Lord said that He would tell Samuel what he needed to say, and that Samuel should listen to his heart and he would know what to do and what to teach.

So, Samuel turned around and went back to the Nephite land.

The only problem was, this time the Nephites saw Samuel coming. The didn't want to listen to Samuel any more, and so they locked up the gates of the city, and they wouldn't let Samuel in.

Now, a lot of people would have given up at this point, but NOT our Samuel!!

No Way!!

Samuel found a way to climb up on the wall that surrounded the city, and he started to preach and teach all the things that the Lord put into his heart.

  • He told them that they needed to change their ways or they would be destroyed.
  • He told them that anyone who would repent and come back to the Lord would be forgiven and blessed.
  • He told them that they were too selfish, and that they needed to share their treasures instead of hiding them and trying to keep them for themselves.
  • He told them that they needed to listen to the prophets instead of hurting them and kicking them out of their cities.
  • He told them that it wasn't too late to change, but that they'd better do it quick, because if they didn't, they would lose everything.
And then, Samuel told them the very best thing of all.

He told them that in five years the Son of God would come to earth to save them if they would believe in Him. But, there was a catch. See, the Son of God (who would also be called Jesus) was going to be born far far away, all the way across the sea, in Bethlehem.

Now, this was before there were airplanes or big fancy ships or telephones or television, or any of those things. So, if Jesus was going to be born on the other side of the world, how were the Nephites going to know it?

Samuel told them about a sign that Heavenly Father would give them. He said that there would come a time when there were two days, and a night in between them, but for all that time it would still be light, as light as it is in the daytime, so it would be like there was no night at all. AND, there would also be a new star, one that no one would have ever seen before.

Samuel told them all about this, and about other miracles that would happen too, and he said that when those things happened that the people would know that Jesus Christ was being born far away.

Samuel talked about many more things to the people, and as he talked, some of the people believed him. They felt in their hearts that what Samuel taught was true and they wanted to change.

So, because they couldn't get to Samuel (because he was standing on that wall, remember?), they went to another good good man, a man who was actually a prophet, a man named Nephi.

When they got to Nephi, they told him that they wanted to change and not be wicked anymore. Nephi taught them the right way, and they were baptized, and started living the commandments and making good righteous choices.

But, there were many of the people who heard Samuel and did NOT believe what he was saying. They got really angry at Samuel. They got so angry at Samuel that they went and got their arrows and stones and they tried with all their might to hit Samuel and even kill him while he was standing on that wall.

Now these Nephites were pretty good and hunting and killing, and so it must have been pretty scary for Samuel to be on that wall, while all the arrows and stones were coming up at him.

But, that's when a miracle occurred. Heavenly Father's Spirit protected Samuel, so that none of the arrows or the stones hit him, and he was kept safe on the wall, still teaching and preaching to them.

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Now, when some of the Nephites (who were the best at shooting in all the land) saw that even their best shots didn't hit Samuel, they decided that maybe Samuel was telling the truth. So they listened to him more, and they started to believe the things he said.

The more they believed, the more they wanted to change. Finally, these people went to see Nephi too, and they were baptized and started living righteous lives.

But . . . ,

Most of the Nephites still didn't believe Samuel, and when they figured out that they weren't going to be able to hit him with their arrows and stones, they decided to go up on the wall and get him. Then they were going to tie him up, and hurt him, maybe even kill him.

It didn't work though. See, the Lord was still protecting Samuel, and so as the evil men came up to get him, Samuel was able to jump off the wall without hurting himself, and he went back to his own land, and started teaching his own people.

Samuel was never heard of or seen again in all the land of the Nephites.

To Be Continued . . . (check back tomorrow)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

those groovin' shoulders are my favorite

Heather's adopted grandparents brought over this really cool toy today. Heather was too shy to do much about it while they were within sight, but as you can see here, it didn't take her very long at all to warm right up.

This will probably be my last post for a few days (well except for the Christmas Day family picture post, which you definitely won't want to miss), So be sure to enjoy the holidays, won't you?

Monday, December 21, 2009

from elf to angel in 365 short days

As you may remember, I have a love/hate relationship with Christmas Cards.

Briefly, I love to get them, but I don't love the stress that I sometimes feel about getting them ready and sent out.

If you want the full rambling explanation of how I feel and what I've done about it, feel free to click on the word "remember" above. (If you do that, you'll be rewarded with some of the most adorable Heather pictures I've ever taken, but I don't mean to pressure you or anything).

But if you're not up for rambling at the moment, feel free to peruse this year's Christmas pics, and know that Eric, Heather, and I wish you a very joyous Christmas and all the happiness that the New Year can hold.

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(Oh, and if the dress looks familiar, it's because you've already seen it. I'm telling you, that not-to-fancy dress just keeps giving and giving!)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A New York State of Mind

A few days ago, I was indulging in a rare treat, and sitting in the living room, back up against the couch, listening to Christmas music on the CD player, and becoming nearly totally immersed in this book.

Heather roamed around the downstairs, realizing pretty quickly that rather than try to get my attention by crawling in my lap, this would be an ideal time to get into the pots and pans, the cupboard under the sink, the Christmas presents under the tree, and the tuna cans in the pantry, all of which she did with reckless abandon and without hearing anything more than a half-hearted "Heather, I wish you wouldn't do that" from her distracted mother.

But all good things must come to an end, and so, with about 80 pages left in the book, I resigned myself to my maternal duties, changed a rather fragrant diaper, put Her Little Highness down for her nap, and set about straightening up the tornado rooms that my inattentiveness had allowed. (It was soooo worth it).

As I was picking things up, I noticed something kind of fun. I had recently received a package of about six books that I had ordered off of, which (for those of you who don't know) is a really great place to find cheap books, especially if you don't mind not being the first owner of said books. One of the books was "A Purpose Driven Life" by Rick Warren. In her adventuring, Heather had found this book on the stairs (where it was waiting to get a ride up to the bookshelves in our bedroom), taken off the dust jacket, and carried it around for awhile before depositing it unceremoniously on the floor. As she did that two ticket stubs fell out of the pages. Two ticket stubs that I found as I was cleaning the room.

The tickets are dated Thursday, October 28, 2004, and are for a performance that was part of the Grand Opening Festival of the Frederick P. Rose Hall on Broadway and 60th Street in New York City. The name of the show was Let Freedom Swing, and the seats were on the right Mezzanine, Row BX14, seats 3 & 4. They cost $85 each, and it looks like they were paid for with a Visa.

It was a fun little treat to see those tickets. I was taken back to the few times I've been in New York City, the shows I've seen there, the experiences I've had there, the memories I've made there.

  • How I ice-skated with Heidi in Rockefeller Center, passing that big golden statue again and again as we whirled around in circles in our rented skates and Utah-purchased black coats.
  • How I went to church one Sunday morning, while Tayneshia and some of her friends went off in search of knock-off designer purses. After the meetings I went to a park across the street from the church building and called my boyfriend (his name was Eric Cantwell) to tell him that I missed him. Only I hadn't taken into account the time difference between New York and Cache Valley, and I caught him right as he was in the middle of a meeting with the leadership of our singles ward. We both got a fair amount of teasing over all of that.
  • How Jeri and I saw Les Miserables on Broadway when we were nannies, and we wanted to get a picture of us under the Broadway sign, and so we asked someone to take one for us, but they obviously didn't understand what the purpose of the picture was, because when the film was developed, we had a great picture of the two of us, standing next to a signpost, but the sign was cut off.

And then, after I'd relived as many memories as I was inclined to do, I started thinking about the people who had those tickets. Had they gone early, and taken the book along with them so they'd have something to read while they passed the time? Were they young and in love? Were they old and satisfied with their lives? Were they mother and daughter? Were they two nannies, enjoying a rare and expensive show as a present from their employers?

I'll never know. Kind of fun to think about though, huh?

And that's what I have for today.

quirky 12-09

Happy Thursday,

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Have no fear, Jay


That's how long my chocolate fast lasted.

But, I am doing a little better with the whole moderation thing.

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

the more things change, the more they, well you get the idea

Here's a story from my past:

Long story short, one of my very most favorite great-uncles played a trick on me and two of my cousins when we were camping many years ago. The trick was heavily influenced by our love of, and fascination with, that most interesting of all fluids . . .


ong story long, you can skip to the end of the post, where I've printed the story in its entirety, more for my own personal family history than for any other reason.)

Interestingly enough, as these photos of my niece demonstrate, this fascination and love is alive and well in the next generation.

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Good times.

The Story of Uncle Scott and the Pine Gum
-written by Charlotte Corry, July 2001

I was probably somewhere between the ages of ten and fourteen years old, and I was at the Corry reunion again. I spent most of my time at these reunions hanging around with two cousins my age, Julie, and Michelle. We would roam all around the camp, pretending we were this or that, and having a great time. One thing that particularly interested us were the many pine trees in the camp. We would get little cups, and go around taking the sap from the tree trunks and adding it to our cups.

At some point, Uncle Scott noticed us, and told us he could teach us how to make chewing gum out of the pine sap. We were all ears, and all eyes, as he demonstrated. First he took a goodly amount of pine sap, put it in a water-filled container, and boiled it over the fire for a little while. Then (and he did this extremely quickly), he took the sap out of the container, popped it in his mouth, chewed it furiously, and the next thing we knew, he was pulling a string of white gum out of his mouth--gum that looked very much like the kind you would buy at any convenience store.

Well, we were VERY excited! We immediately went out to gather the cleanest pine sap that we could find. We came back, and Uncle Scott supervised us as we boiled it in water, just as he had. When he finally said that it was ready, Michelle and I popped it in our mouths (Julie had braces at the time, and so wasn’t able to join us in this part), and began to chew furiously, wondering how long it would be until we had white spearmint-flavored gum as well. The pine gum was AWFUL--at least as awful as you might expect pine gum to be. It stuck to our teeth, and ingrained its flavor into our tongue, and still we chewed and chewed, checking every minute or so to see if it was changing its properties. To our dismay, the gum stayed the same dirty yellow color, with the same piney-awful flavor. Had we not seen Uncle Scott’s performance earlier, we surely would have started to doubt--but we couldn’t deny that we had SEEN this method work, less than an hour previous.

I don’t remember how long Uncle Scott let us carry on in this matter--it seems like it was quite a long time, but finally, he pulled us aside, and told us of his secret. He had hidden a little piece of Wrigley’s Spearmint gum in a corner of his cheek, and exchanged that for the pine sap during his little demonstration. Of course, our gum would NEVER turn to spearmint gum, any more than his had.

Upon hearing this, Michelle and I immediately spit out the pine gum, and tried to do whatever we could to get the taste out of our mouths (nothing worked, and I had the unpleasant sensation of pine gum in my mouth for several more days). Julie, who had originally felt very disappointed that she hadn’t been able to chew the gum with us, spent a fair amount of time giving us good-natured ribbing about the whole situation. And Uncle Scott? He just laughed and laughed. In later years, whenever he and I would start to reminisce about past reunions and past experiences, I would throw that one up at him, and tease him about what a mean trick that was to play on three trusting nieces. He would get a mischievous smile on his face, and begin to laugh until (often) tears would come out of his eyes as he would describe those little girls, chewing and chewing that nasty gum.

Friday, December 11, 2009

the magic of peppy tunes

So, it's been pretty cold here. This morning, I woke up and the temperature was -4 degrees. But, to make things worse, as I swung my legs over the side of the bed, my calves screamed in protest and I thought I might die. That's because yesterday, instead of braving the zero-degree weather with my little ipod, I chose to spend twenty quality minutes (still with the ipod) climbing up and down the bottom two stairs of our staircase.

That might have been a mistake.

Who knew that twenty minutes of unusual exercise could wreak so much havoc?

quirky 12-09
In other news, I've determined that my addiction to chocolate has gone just a little bit too far, and I'm going on a temporary chocolate fast just to see if I can get things a little bit back in line. So far I've made it nearly fourteen hours. I'm hoping to make it twenty-four, and then we'll just see how far I go from there. A month or more would be nice, but we're taking it a day at a time here.

One more random observation, and then that will do it for this post. Do any of you find that listening to music makes all the difference in the world, or is that just me?

Yesterday morning as Heather was eating her breakfast (and as I was supposed to be eating my breakfast but wasn't getting around to it yet), I looked at our sink, our floor, our counters, and the breakfast nook table and nearly started crying because it just all looked so messy. Fortunately, I remembered that I had some peppy tunes loaded on the computer, and so I turned them on and got to work. Within (I'm not kidding) three songs (so 15 minutes max) the dishwasher was loaded, the sink was scrubbed, the counters were wiped, the kitchen floor was swept, and I'd even been able to "spot-mop" the problem areas on our floor, which, when you have a kitchen as small as ours, once you've cleaned up about three spots, you've almost cleaned the whole floor. Just one of the benefits of living in close-ish quarters.

(Sorry about that run-on sentence. Mr. Bonzo, beware!)

Best of all, rather than being in a martyred-overworked-wife-and-mother mood, I was in a really good mood.

Isn't it nice when it works out that way?

[that image of chocolate deliciousness can be found here]

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

He thinks he looks like an alien . . .

. . . but I think he looks like a really fun guy.

quirky 12-09

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Yes, I'm still posting photos from our Christmas-tree-harvesting trip. I can't help myself. There were too many fun ones.

Life continues to be good for us. I'm working on a duet to sing as part of our Ward Christmas Program on the 20th of December. The song is called "Angels Carol" by John Rutter. The music is beautiful, AND to make it even better, the other half of my duet sings beautifully and is a dream to work with. Merry Christmas to me!

And that's what I have for today.

Monday, December 07, 2009

fifteen years


Fifteen years ago today I returned from my mission.

I suppose that should make me feel old, but it doesn't all that much.

However, if you would have told me back in 1994 that in fifteen years I'd just barely be done being a newlywed, and that I'd have one child, a 15-month old?

I would have freaked out.

On the other hand, if you would have told me back in 1994 that in fifteen years I'd have true love, an adorable daughter, a great, flexible job, awesome in-laws, as many opportunities to sing as I could manage, and more friends and happy memories than I would ever be able to count?

I would have danced with joy.

♥ ♥

In other news, the Christmas tree is up, the decorations (as many as I decided to take out of the box anyway) are out, much of our Christmas shopping is done, and tamale-making is on tap for this weekend, IF I can find a sale on pork roast this week. I threw away all the sale circulars though, so that might be a little problematic.

Saturday Eric and I went on a date (but we took Heather along) to do a little bit of Christmas shopping. We had a few nephews to buy for and while I feel quite confident in shouldering the niece gifts, I always turn the nephew gifts over to Uncle Eric. We had a great time together, and were able to pick up some fun things. Christmas is going to be fun this year.

I'm afraid this entry isn't as thought-filled or well-written as some of what I've posted here in the past, but I'm out of time, and this is what I have. But here: To reward you for reading the whole post, I'll give you another picture. Even better, I'll give you what is probably the very best picture of my lustrous chestnut tresses that has ever been taken. Pay no attention to that loud, obnoxious, striped skirt, and focus your attention on those locks. It's times like this that I think I might have missed my calling in life.

I should have been a Pantene model.

You know I'm kidding, right? You KNOW I don't really think I should be or should have been a model of any kind right? You KNOW that while I'm narcissistic enough to maintain a blog and hope that people will read it, I'm really not THIS narcissistic, right?


Wednesday, December 02, 2009

For Tasha

My school-teaching, hopeful-authoring, mother-of-three-kids-ing cousin has been on a quest to cook and serve easy and healthy meals to her family.

I made this yesterday at 4:00, when I remembered that:

  1. I didn't have anything for dinner
  2. we overspent our grocery budget last month
  3. we had a Ziploc bag halfway full of turkey in our fridge (thanks, mom)
  4. my mom had made a similar meal the day after Thanksgiving and it was delicious.

We ate it last night with a few slices of the homemade bread that I'd made the day before (recipe here), and it was mmm, mmm, deee-licious.

(Well, Eric and I ate it. Her Little Highness pushed pieces of turkey, beans and corn around on her high chair tray until overcome with boredom (two minutes later), she started dropping them on the floor. At that point I took over and attempted to force some of it into her mouth, which (as usual) didn't go well. So, we resorted to the old standby of cheddar cheese squares, cheerios, and half of a jar of Gerber strained squash.)

I was going to just e-mail the recipe to Tasha, but I thought some of you might like it too. So, here you go:

Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey Soup (Crock Pot friendly)
-Barbara Corry, modified by me

Cooked Turkey Meat (however many leftover pieces you want to use (cooked chicken would probably work just fine here as well))
1 can corn (drained)
1 can green beans (drained)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1-2 cups chicken or turkey broth (I just used water and chicken bouillon cubes)
1 small can mushrooms (drained)
1 bay leaf

Put the broth and chicken soup in the crock pot and whisk until not lumpy. Add all the other ingredients and cook on high for one to two hours (or low for as many hours as you want). (can also be made on the stovetop, just don't cook it so long.)

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The picture has nothing to do with this post, but when I couldn't find any turkey soup pictures that I liked at wikimedia commons, I clicked on the "random image" link, and after three tries, this is what came up. I thought it was kind of fun, so here it is.

(Hey, no complaining. We get what we get, and we don't throw a fit!)

You can see this image for yourself, and find out all kinds of interesting details about it

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Livin' the Dream

I promise that there will be a real post or two coming up here soon (once I dig out from Thanksgiving and gear up for Christmas, and catch up on laundry, and mop our kitchen floor), but in the meantime, I was downloading some pictures today and I found this.

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I love my life.

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