Well folks (assuming there's anybody out there) echoo....echo, echooo! I've been doing some long and hard thinking about the use of my time and some changes that need to happen and I've decided to bag the blogging for now. It's been a real fun experience, but I think I'm going to go with a different format. For my own enjoyment, and that of my family's, I'm going to stick with photo albums...I figure better to get 'er done, than to have photos lying in stacks 'n' heaps waiting for the day when I'll have the time to scrapbook them. As for keeping my friends and family current, I haven't decided on a format yet, but I'm considering uploading photos to a free host site, or just using facebook. I'll make one final post once I decide which of the two I'm going to go with. Hope you and yours have a fantastic Christmas!
It's official folks...Ree Drummond has one hot-selling cookbook and she's bringing her book signing tour to the big city ( if you want to see if she'll be in your area check out her tour info. here). I started following her website about 3 months ago when I happened upon it by chance...I know, I know. I'm always a little slow to see the smoke and find out what's going on. Anyhoo, I've been begging Jonathan for a night in the city planned around her book signing tour (Dec. 12 NYC), and he finally relented. So me and Jonathan are going to go check her and Marlboro Man out. I'm VERY excited!! I have only ever met 3 legitimate Ranch/Farmer women in my life, and they all have left their mark. Today for Macy's birthday (more to come on that) we went riding at The Ridge Equestrian Center with some of her friends. When Anne (stable owner) approached us for our first meeting, I was just tickled. In my own fantasy world when I'm not dreaming of building that shared secret garden between my backyard and Elke's, I'm dreaming instead of being a stylish country girl with a little Texas kick and a little New England sophistication. Anne seemed every bit the fantasy incarnate. She looked like she stepped right out of a J. Crew catalog (or was it Brooks Brothers) but her speech and demeanor were charming and carefree. I met a little girl there, about 9, who had just started riding. I told her that was always my dream as a little girl and I hoped she was having a ball. So maybe someday between Connecticut and Washington somewhere in the vast expanse of the great United States of America where hard work and a good idea can really get you places, I'll have that little piece of space big enough for two horses and a dream fulfilled. Until then I'm gonna soak it up vicariously through Ree and her fresh midwestern take on things.
While in D.C. with Mike, we couldn't pass up the opportunity to visit the grounds of the gorgeous temple there, and have yet another opportunity to let the girls feel the "specialness" of temples. It was a choice experience made all the better because we availed ourselves of the opportunity to have Mike as our guide while he was still residing there.
My little Man, he truly is adroolable!
Hard to see, but it is always a favorite for the girls to get up close and personal with the Christus whenever we are in visitor's centers that have them. I love the teaching and bearing of testimony opportunities that such occasions present.
Which brings me to the aptly named title of this post. The timing of our trip coincided with a special exhibit of images taken with the Hubble Telescope, called "Heavenly Majesty." I have included snapshots of a couple of the GORGEOUS photos on exhibit.
Each photo was accompanied by a brief explanation of the subject and a scripture that corresponded with it.
The images were breathtaking, and likely some of the finest available that illuminate man's mind on the expanse of space. We really had a great time seeing so much and spending Mike's last days before he officially became an expatriate! Thanks for hosting us uncle Mike!
I'm working on a post with pictures, but in the meantime I'd rather just get down in writing what we've been up to, as I always seem so FAR behind with this blogging hobby.
After D.C. with my brother Mike, which was in early September, we were supposed to return again the following weekend for the 9/11 March on the capitol. We had our hotel booked at a Kimpton boutique hotel through priceline, and were all set to go. The morning of I awakened to a sick little girl, who threw up not once, but twice in a matter of fifteen minutes. Afraid she may have contracted the swine flu, I immediately called Jonathan and he fanagled (sp?) a cancellation due to sickness with priceline. I think we were charged a minimal fee. Phew!
In the following month we went apple picking at March's apple orchards and picked THE most delicious pecks of cortland and macoun apples. They were so fabulous I was inspired to learn to preserve my own food and go farm picking more often. The stars must have aligned in my favor, or providence simply was smiling down on me, because two weeks after our farm excursion the Relief Society (women's service organization at church) had already scheduled a bagel making and applesauce preparing/canning mini enrichment evening. I got to learn a delicious recipe from a very talented and admirable woman at church (mother of nine, fit as a fiddle, nurse extraordinaire) and mingle with friends. I haven't tried the recipe yet, but I'm eager to roll my sleeves up and try my hand at it.
I spent a lonely and hectic General Conference (semi-annual worldwide meeting where church members are instructed by prophets and apostles) while Jonathan had his 2nd annual Cope Brothers reunion. I'm so glad he enjoys the company of his brothers, and they enjoy him, and that they've all decided to enjoy each other's company on a different weekend from now on! Hence forth, we have decided to reserve this special weekend to be spent as a family, teaching our children the importance and significance of the event, discussing topics shared and feelings felt, and establishing our own traditions pertaining to this sacred event.
Immediately following General Conference weekend, we had a quick and wonderful trip to Vermont for the fall foliage. It was a magnificent display of color, and I learned visually the definition of a bucolic life. Vermont is absolutely wonderful...imagine the vivid imagery of Anne of Green Gables come to life! If you're a romantic and an idealist, you MUST see Vermont in the Fall. We stayed at a FANTASTIC slopeside condo in the Green Mountains. The name of the resort was Sugarbush and the accomodations DID NOT disappoint. My favorite realtor of all time once said, " You get what you pay for, and you'll NEVER regret paying for quality." I have really come to appreciate how true that is. The lovely trip provided some much needed R&R, and while there, we enjoyed a side trip to Ben & Jerry's for some ice cream, and a visit to Sharon, VT., birthplace of the prophet Joseph Smith.
The next weekend the girls did a splendid job reciting their respective parts, which they both memorized, for the annual ward primary sacrament program. It is always such a special time to hear the developing testimonies of the the children in both song and word. We were so proud of both of them for facing their fear of public speaking (something they inherited from me) and doing their very best!
And finally, this past weekend we had the Fall Festival at Kennedy's school. It was a nice opportunity to meet some of Kennedy's classmates' families and enjoy some fun times with the girls. Max pooped out on us only fifteen minutes into the evening (which we suspected might happen), so Jonathan and he returned home, while the girls and I stayed at the school for the evening's activities. We had a great time! I also have recently begun volunteering in Kennedy's class on a monthly basis thanks to a wonderful high school friend who has agreed to babysit for me during that time. It has been a blessing to be able to see some of what goes on in Kennedy's class firsthand and become better acquainted with her classmates and Teacher.
So you see, if my agenda would just stop slamming me with action items, I might find the time to detail these activities individually, accompanied by pictures. For now, this wordy monologue will have to do...
You'll excuse me, please, for not having a picture for this post; who wants to look at pictures of someone else's piles of dirty laundry anyway...
About two times a year I have this convergence of cold weather clothing and warm weather clothing in the laundry room. I feel like I'm drowning in dirty clothes. It is always such a relief to get past that point where the weather won't commit, and FINALLY pack away last seasons clothes for another year. I'm experiencing that drowning sensation currently, and have been carefully selecting summer's items to pack away, that will no longer be worn despite the days when the temperature suddenly spikes.
My whole house can be in disarray ( as it has been the case pretty much since Max arrived), but in this one area, if I can have control and keep up, I retain my sanity.
Piles of clean smelling, and LOOKING, folded laundry are somehow therapeutic to me, even more so when they are deposited in their respective homes until such time as they are called upon again. I used to try and do all my laundry on a certain day, and then hold off until the next week. But somehow, as the days have progressed and the laundry has piled more quickly, I find the machine is constantly in use.
Which brings me to my next point. Cloth diapering. I've read so many blogs that are a bit OVERLY enthusiastic about cloth diapers, that understate the truth, and extoll its virtues to the extreme. So I'm going to try and be moderate in my examination and report on my experiences thus far. So by now you're wondering if I'm really doing it or not: I am. But that doesn't necessarily mean you should, or that I believe everyone else should and those who don't are earth haters.
It has been almost two weeks since I've used a disposable diaper. While my purpose for looking into CD's was motivated by preparedness, I did intend to actually use them, thus justifying the expense and hopefully saving some money to boot. But the waters regarding the virtues of cloth diapers are quite muddy. Some claims and analysis: 1). It is more environmentally friendly. I suppose that's subjective, depending on how many you buy, where you purchase them from, how often you launder, and HOW you carryout that laundering process. Most cloth diapers recommend special detergents to keep them clean and absorbent. They also require A LOT of time to dry (70 min. on HIGH in the dryer) or up to 2 days on your drying rack. And they're not immortal; eventually they die and need to be replaced. Thankfully, this wasn't my reason for trying.
2). You save SO much money. Well that depends on how old your baby is when you start, how many children you'll still be having that you will pass your CD's on to, how many you purchase, what type(s) you buy, and how enticed you are by all the extras available in the CD world, i.e. wetbags, inserts, liners, snappis, etc. If you have a reasonable amount of self control, I think you probably do save money. If you buy every new thing that hits the market, I think you don't. As I said, muddy water.
3). It's better for your babies bum. Well word has it that disposables are filled with an array of toxic chemicals that lend them their absorbent properties and fresh scent. I really take these claims with a grain of salt. While I do think it's a good idea to try and get back to basics and simplify, I don't think the gov't and the diaper manufacturers are covering some grand conspiracy to profit at all costs despite the risks to the rising generation. I've never been one for conspiracy theories anyway.
4). So now we come full circle with the preparedness side of Cd'ing; one point, I rarely see mentioned, and the only point I think that really merits some serious consideration. While the other merits are debateable, this one stands to reason. IF you could suddenly no longer rely on your regularly scheduled trips to Target, Costco, or the likes, you COULD continue to maintain some semblance of hygience and cleanliness in your home by having a stash of cloth diapers to rely on. This gives me peace of mind, and the resolve to continue. I guess I should mention here that I DO plan to have more babies too. So I find it infinitely more manageable and reasonable to stash a supply of cloth diapers than to try and have boxes and boxes of disposables in all the various sizes.
Next time I post I'll discuss how I launder them, and the convenience factor.
I hate that I am never able to capture in picture beautiful architechture. Maybe someday I'll be able to afford a camera that can do better justice...
In any case, this is a portion of the ceiling in the Library of Congress. You really must go, I'll leave it at that. We were going to see a first edition copy of the Book of Mormon, but we were visiting on Memorial Day, and that portion of the library was closed for the holiday.
Uncle Mike and Max...they like each other a little bit...
We snagged a fellow tourist to take this picture of all of us inside the Library of Congress.
Arlington Cemetery was a solemn and hallowed place.
It was raining, not a torrential downpour, but pretty steady, but we stayed long enough to see the changing of the guard anyway. Amazing: a beautiful and noble tribute that this scene is carried on day in day out around the clock to remind us of the tomb of the unknown soldier and the countless lives lost in battle who were never identified.
While memorials and speeches are always nice, the NICEST thing I think we can do to honor all these men and women who "died to make us free" is to live worthy of that freedom. May we always REMEMBER to do so, and may we always REMEMBER the cost of that freedom.