Saturday, December 24, 2011

Holiday Season, Part One

Let's start with the annual traditions...  

gingerbread-house-making at Gma K's
(my brother is missing, but we get the added bonus of extra special friends!):

Mia and Dad took their                            Me, our sweet Su, and our respective g.b. houses:
decorating very seriously:

Next tradition...
non-Relief Society craft day with R girls:

Our results were reminiscent of Cinderella, because, with Su as the exception,
 not one of the felt slippers we each made fit our chubby feet!

 Trimming the tree:

Our Santa experiences get better by a few degrees each year.  
No wailing like last time...just a little apprehension.
 (This guy also had a genuine Santa beard. Surely that helps!).

 Mia has entered the glamour phase.  
She anxiously awaits Sunday dress-up time and I revel in her photo-shoot cooperation!

I finally made a stocking for Mia.  Up to this point, overflowing stockings from grandmas have sufficed.

Here I am singing my heart out at our stake Christmas production/extravaganza.  This program was intense!
 And one of the more awkward moments of our lives...posing in a live nativity for the same production 
(live, that is, except for the red-headed doll I was holding.  We were, obviously, aiming for authenticity).
My sister, Arianna, is at13 years old one of the youngest members of our city's Youth Symphony.  They are incredible so I thought it was a good idea to record some of their Carol of the Bells...until my Mom gestured to me that filming is not allowed.  Therefore, the song abruptly ends just as it's getting good!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Mia's Top 10

Maple Leaf Rag:
Showing her sweet Great-Gma R how to get her groove on.  We all could use a few tips from Mia.  
She knows how to dance and can effortlessly move in ways that I can't even dream up
It is obviously an inherent gift.

Some more dancing-  a variation on tap:

Whipping up some "Reduced Guilt" brownies from TJ's:  
Mia is a fabulous kitchen helper.

She is rather possessive of her grandpa.  
When cousins get within a certain proximity,  Mia gets ready to stake out territory.

On the very day she was scheduled for her flu shot,  Mia woke up with a fever, wouldn't eat, and just wanted to be still-- an oddity because she has an immune system of steel, can always eat, is ON the move at all times, but most of all, because the illness lasted for approximately 4 hours.  The moment Dad walked in the door from work, Mia shed her resting apparatus and was ready for dinner.  
It was strange.  What type of illness does this?  
And I have to admit-as crummy as it feels to watch one's baby suffer through sickness, 
I was in raptures over her snuggliness. 

Mia likes her Dad.

Dancing again:

Mia gets so much hair time of her own that she is quick to dish it out.  
She usually implores, very sweetly, "Mommy, I will fix you, okaaay?" 

Izzy spends most of her time lately as a surprisingly tolerant body pillow.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Giving of Thanks, 2011

We all know that to express gratitude for the relationships 
& cushy blessings we have is usually a giant understatement, 
so I will let it just continue to be obvious that I have the BEST family in the world and I'm glad.  
I like where I live, what I know, what I have, what I've learned, it's nice to be healthy.  
Really, I'm grateful for these things every day, so is it okay that on Thanksgiving, although I revel in the former, for me it's all about...

...the food?
I collect recipes weeks in advance and dream about them all the while feeling especially grateful for access to a huge variety of relatively inexpensive ingredients.

Here is our traditional spread at Gma K's-  the 1/3 times a year the china & silver are put to work 
(do people still put these things on their wedding registries?  
It is a treat to eat off of fancy dinnerware, but incredibly useless the rest of the time):

 Variation on sides this year (in addition to the usual...):

Curried Brussels Sprouts       Coriander Cauliflower                 Sweet Potatoes in a Buttery-Lime Syrup

This is my favorite cranberry relish (with green apple and orange). 
We have it every year, but I never get sick of looking at it:

The regular pies were around, but my mom makes the best trifle and it tops them all!
(She always does everything from scratch, including the butterscotch pudding 
which I am certain would include a dollop of scrambled eggs if I made it myself)-
This one:  Gingerbread & Pumpkin Creme!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

One (type of) Graduation Down...A Lot More to Go

Last night was David's graduation from Fire Academy, something he's been doing in a volunteer capacity during all his spare time lately.  He loves it, so it has been worth the sacrifice of having him away and super busy to see how excited he gets about this stuff (And how could he not?  Cutting apart cars with really powerful tools, playing with fire, squirting stuff with giant hoses, oh...and saving people's lives...  it's like a bunch of little boys on steroids). 

Dad got to show off his engine to Mia.  She was pretty excited about an up-close-and-personal fire truck!   

Here is the big solemn fire-fighting oath-taking moment:

...and here is further evidence of my "little boy in grown-up body" theory:

Saturday, November 5, 2011

D.J.H.'s 80th

This guy had a birthday last weekend.

His birthday is worth celebrating because in addition to all the big stuff he's done as air force veteran, PhD earner, Stanford graduate, world-renowned plant geneticist, etc., etc., 
and the big service he's rendered as bishop, stake president, area authority, missionary, etc., etc., 
he also happens to be my grandpa.

Since it was a mile-marker, a party was planned unbeknownst to him 
and he didn't get to have a say toward the invites...

So, the whole family was in on it which made preparations really fun--  I never thought I'd stay in a hotel while visiting Rexburg with all the connections we have there, but because of the nature of the trip, Mia had access to a pool and a lot of live entertainment.  Here she is taking a lap with Gma K:

With favorite Heinz cousin, Eli, while grown ups are party prepping...

...and trying desperately to attract Eli's skinny chicken with a handful of corn. 

Here is our fall spread with Gpa's favorite cupcakes- applesauce with caramel and carrot with cream cheese-for the open house.  Many of the grandkids had a part in table laying which made for a fun time.

It took some sneaking around to keep the whole event (and the entire family's presence!) a secret from Grandpa.  Gma was of course in on it and turned out to be a world-class fibber!  
He didn't suspect a thing which made for a fabulous reaction when a  happy-birthday-singing entourage swarmed him in the church parking lot.

The party made for an ideal Halloween costume venue.  Here is Mia's oh-so-exciting get-up.  I needed to make something quick & easy  that could travel and she would keep in place, so her options were limited to something with ears.  She chose a mouse, and had a great time practicing her squeek in the mirror!

We were lucky enough to get two for the price of one during our super short Idaho jaunt!
 My sweet Gma & Gpa Harmon made an appearance at the open house to check on us and I am SO glad!

The trip was a success and I am so grateful that I get to claim D. J. Heinz as mine!  
Happy, happy 80th Birthday!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy (Alfred Hitchcockesque) Halloween

Here are the creepiest things I've seen all year, and both sightings happened to be within the two weeks before Halloween and within two miles from our current abode. 
Maybe, maybe not...  
Either way, just applaud my attempt to be spooky.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Mia's Top 10

hanging around at our Discovery Park on a crisp fall day... 

helping Gpa R test out his new bike-  she could sense the gravity of the occasion...

practicing her usual gymnastics...

presenting an autumnal find...

Mia's favorite mode of transportation down Gma R's basement staircase...

showing mom's old Wonder Horse who's boss--  
this horse has miraculously endured three households of toddlers, 
and somehow made its way back to it's original owner

It went like this:
"Make this face, Dad, for the closest upper-lip shave... Here, just let me do it."  

late-night addictions--oh, treacherous web of Sesame Street play lists!

My dear friend, Carol, gifted this sweet collector's doll to Mia a while ago (accompanied by all the books, outfits, and accessories that anyone could imagine).  I had been holding out until I felt Mia was a little older and would appreciate her more, but Mia spotted my stash and I gave in to her curiosity.  
The doll's name is supposed to be Keisha, but Mia insists that "No, Mommy, it's 'Sheesha!'" So far our nice and gentle doll sessions have lasted three minutes, on average, before a pant-leg gets stuck on a still-shod foot, and Mia gets aggressive.  
The subsequent pre-tantrum shriek is "Sheesha's" night-night cue.  

Here is a gentle moment:

...and here is an even sweeter one, which I am pleased to report, 
so makes up for anything of the opposite nature!