Friday, December 31, 2010

Siblings...the Best Friends You are ALWAYS Stuck With

I thought I would do a little entry about each of my siblings, including the one that chose to be with us (I think he is crazy...). My mom always told us that friends come and go, but siblings are always there--so we might as well be best friends. As children, we weren't sure this was ever going to happen. But thanks to my mom's diligence, and maturity on our parts, its true! :) I always smile whenever I think of times I had with my siblings growing up. I love them!!

Here we are when we were little.
This is about 1994. We went on a little trip to Oakland Temple and took this picture in the Visitor's Center there.

Things I love about this picture:
- Erin's face--you'd think she'd be happy about  being with her siblings...obviously not.
- Steven's fanny pack. Classic. And the fact that it looks like he is holding a power tool. I'm pretty sure he's not, but that is what it looks like. :)
- Caitlin's outfit. So chic!
- The fact that I look like I have no hair. I actually had hair almost down to my knees. Really. It's just braided--as usual.

I want to say a little something about each of my siblings.

STEVEN: I love my brother. He is the only one I have, and I love him for it. He put up with a lot of things because he only had sisters. I admire him for his humility and intelligence. He pretty much is brilliant and has a lot to offer.
      Cute story: Steven prayed for years that he would have a little brother. When my mom announced we were going to have a little brother or sister--Steven (he was 5-ish) was ecstatic! Then at the doctor's appointment, the doctor asked him what gender he wanted his sibling to be. He said he had been praying for a little brother and was sure he was going to get one. Then the doctor asked what would happen if it is a girl. He responded, rather despondently, "We will name her Erin and we'll love her anyway." We got a little sister. :) And you know what? He loves her more than Caitlin or me. :)

CAITLIN: Cait is the spitfire in our family. For being so tiny, she has a lot of personality and fire. She is very creative and so smart and clever. I admire her immensely. She always takes my ideas and does them better and faster. I'm jealous--in a good way. And someday (hopefully sooner rather than later) her and Nick are going to make me an Aunt. For that, I love them tons! :)

NICK: Nick is such a great brother-in-law. He has been such a part of our family for so long that I can't hardly remember him not being around. He is a great husband for Caitlin. He is so patient, loving, and kind to my sister. I couldn't have asked for more. I think Caitlin is better because of him. I also really like how willing he is to serve those around him. Whenever I've asked for his help, he has always helped willingly and promptly. I have great respect for him.

ERIN: I'm pretty sure Erin is the genius in our family. She has such great ambitions in life and I have such high hopes for her. She is also the nice one in the family. I'm pretty sure I've never met someone that knows her that hasn't said, "I love Erin!" She is so kind & loving to everyone. While the rest of us are extremely sarcastic and obnoxious--Erin isn't. I don't know how that happened, but she is a great example to me and I hope that I become like her.

Here is a more recent picture of us. It's one of my favorites. Its from our family vacation to Disneyland in 2008. YAY!

I love when we all get together. We always end up laughing till someone has an asthma attack--usually Steven! :) Maybe that isn't a good thing, but that is when we know we are having a fabulous time.

Our family motto: "The family that laughs together, stays together." If that is true, then pretty sure we're going to be together FOR-EV-VER!

***Ok, my mom made the following corrections to this post. Because she is THE mom, I do what I am told :) :

1. The picture of the kids with the statue of Christ is actually in SLC, not Oakland.  (Remember that on the Oakland trip we had Ashley, not Erin with us.) 
2.  When Steven "announced" about Erin, it was at the ultrasound when we actually found out it was a girl (about 10 days before she was born), and not with the doctor.  The tech was asking me if I wanted to know, and he just happened to be with me at the appointment.  When she said that it was a girl, he was absolutely crushed for about 2 seconds, and then he steeled himself (physically, really, it was visible!), and made his "announcement", "Her name will be Erin, and I will love her anyway."  (A much more personal announcement, rather than a family slogan!)***

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Some of My Favorite Things...(Food Edition).

So I already struggled today to figure out what I was going to post. Then I started thinking about what I wanted to eat as my dinner tomorrow night. Then I thought of making creamy enchiladas. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm!! My mouth is drooling thinking about it. :) So I thought I could post something about some of my favorite foods.

So here are a few of my favorites:

- Chicken Pillows (Crescent rolls stuffed with chicken, cream cheese, and diced green chilies)
- Mom's Lasagna (You don't even have to pre-cook the noodles!)
- Creamy Enchiladas
- French Toast with Nana's homemade bread!
- Crepes! (Fav combo: strawberries and nutella!)
- Homemade Oreos.

I made oreos tonight, and I thought I'd share the recipe. Here goes!

Homemade Oreos (courtesy of Nicole Esau)

1 box Devil's Food Cake Mix
2 eggs
2/3 cup shortening

Frosting (Wilton's Buttercream Icing):
1 cup solid vegetable shortening 
1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
1 teaspoon clear butter flavoring
4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar (approximately 1 lb.)
2 tablespoons water (sometimes more to thin it out) 
Makes: About 3 cups of icing. (I usually make a half recipe for 1 box of cake)
Optional: Replace butter flavoring with peppermint, cut down on vanilla flavoring. Flavor to taste. I like a lot. Tint with green food coloring.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Mix the cookie ingredients all together until well blended. Then roll into approximately 1 inch balls.
Bake for 8 minutes. Do not cook longer. Otherwise they dry out too much.
They look like this when they are done. mmmmmm!!!

Cool the cookies completely. Once cool, put icing in between two cookies, and enjoy!!
I usually get 2 dozen cookies.

This is the finished result. With mint frosting. SO YUMMY!! Enjoy!
Now I am going to eat one. YEAH ME!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I Love to See the Temple!!

 Sacramento Temple
I love going to the Temple. My roommates and I went to do baptisms tonight. It was perfect--as usual. Whenever I drive up & see it for the first time, it always takes my breath away. It doesn't matter that I go just every month--it still does it. I immediately feel at peace. No matter what is going on or how many things I have to do--going to the temple is always the right thing to do--no matter the timing.

Tonight was great. There were so many people there! Not just Young Single Adults, but families with real adults and children (I refuse to acknowledge that I am a "real" adult). It was awesome. There were at least 40 people there--standing room only. I loved it.

But the best part of going to the temple for me--so far--has always been when I walk out of the temple after I finish. I love that feeling. So fresh and clean. Everything is always so beautiful!

I first discovered this when I moved to Rexburg and my roommates & I would go to the Idaho Falls Temple. YSA baptisms were either a 5 or 6 am. That meant leaving at 4:30am. It was always dark when we'd get there & by the time we would be leaving, the sun would be up, the air would be crisp (sometimes much more than crisp! Like -30F crisp--for real--I saw and felt that), and you could see the waterfalls across the street. It was always a perfect way to start the day.

I love going and serving. Knowing that I'm helping people that lived and breathed, but now aren't able to physically do the ordinances themselves makes me feel so wonderful & helpful.

One of my favorite things to do is to take my own family names to the temple. It makes it so much more special. I highly recommend it!! I don't know what it is, but doing family names is so wonderful. Maybe because you are making them permanently a part of your family.

For example, I spent considerable time tracking down some of my 4th great-grandparents, Thomas and Anastasia. I learned that they immigrated from Ireland to Prince Edward Island (PEI), Canada and then to the United States. I learned a lot about their time in PEI--what life was like for them. Then I found their birth dates! I was able to have their temple work done. I want to say it was magical--but it wasn't, it was incredibly spiritual. I was baptized and confirmed for Anastasia and a friend did it for Thomas. I always feel the Spirit in the Temple, but it was nothing compared to when I have done family names. To me, my family names aren't just names, they are people that lived and breathed and are literally a part of me. Their blood is in me. I am a part of them as they are with me. It feels so much more real and meaningful. This has also translated to when I am doing it for other people. They are real too. I try to think about them and what their life was like and who they were. It makes it more special.

Ok, this post turned out to be much longer than I thought--but I LOVE the Temple!! And I can't wait to have more opportunities to serve there!! 

Another "Finally"... My Santa Advent Calendar!!

This is the advent calendar I handmade & yes that is all hand stitched together-with sequins and beads and lots of different colors of threads. Man, it took FOREVER (a couple of months) to finish--that is with working on it everyday for at least an hour or two. And I finished December 27. Just in time year. LOL. At least I won't have to do it again--ever again. :)

P.S. I did not make the sign above, it is my roommate's, and I think she bought it.

I've Finally Decided!

Yeah for me! I've finally decided what I want to do with my blog. It's taken me awhile, but I'm excited.

So I've been thinking that one of my goals for 2011 is to be better about keeping a journal. But I've always had a hard time with it because I don't have the patience to hand write everything out. And then I saw a scrapbook calendar--to scrapbook a single picture every day of the year. I thought that would be a fun idea--but scrapbooking it would get time consuming and actually cost money (which I am trying to avoid since I have to buy a new car soon).

Then I remembered that I have this sweet phone (Droid X--and yes--I am obsessed with it!) that will let me take pictures and post them to a blog! P.E.R.F.E.C.T.!! (That and my co-worker said it was a cool thing to do...)

So this is my plan. Everyday, I'm going upload a picture and a little entry about what it is about. Now I'm pretty sure I going to get bored of this in July (or April, or even February), but I really want to have 365 entries by next January 1st. We'll see how I do. :)

Now I just have to figure out how to get my phone to do what I want it to...