Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter with Grandma

Ed, Crystal and I, as well as my niece, Abby, went to church with my mother today. They had a nice Easter service, with some great music from the Primary, as well as a very good women's group. They did a different arrangement of the same song our choir sang last week--Beautiful Savior. Afterwards, Brittany and John joined us for dinner at Grandma's. I got a picture of her sitting down with the newspaper here, but she got very little rest after preparing dinner for this large group!
 In an effort to see how much we could really pack away for Easter, we then moved over to my sister, Annette's house for dessert. Her grand-daughter Austenne, in the foreground seemed to have an eating disorder. She has more chocolate on the outside of her mouth than the inside! I forgot what it was like having young children.
We love meeting in Annette's beautiful sun room. We're going to miss it when she and her husband, Kent go on their mission. They're currently waiting for their call to see where they'll be serving.

Tomorrow we fly back to Baltimore. I wish it were as easy as this scooter ride. Dave, Annette's son-in-law, and his son Andrew enjoyed a scooter ride home after dinner. I thought they looked cute, but didn't realize I was also capturing the beautiful backdrop of Maple Mountain behind Annette's home. Don't be fooled by the snow on the mountain! Spring has arrived in Utah! I hope it is also there in Maryland when we get home!


Saturday, March 30, 2013

The New Mr. and Mrs. Stevens

My nephew, Eli got married today. When I saw the light shining down on him and his new bride, Lacy, I thought it must be a good omen for a long and happy life together!

I remember my sister Barbara and her husband, Kent as newly-weds thirty years ago and it was like it was yesterday. Where did the time go? Their daughter, Abby and my mother are in this picture with them. Only Isaac is missing, as he is serving as a missionary in Hong Kong.

Even the venue they picked (the Memorial House) was sentimental, as my brother, Jon had his reception there 10 years ago. We enjoyed hearing their vows, which were so thoughtful and loving.

We enjoyed visiting with family over dinner. Even Nikki took a break from her picture taking to join us briefly. She's off for 6 weeks in Europe in a few weeks to take pictures. It's a rough life, but someone has to do it!

I always enjoy my cousin's wife, Arlene, here with my sister, Annette. Arlene is aunt to the groom as well as cousin-in-law to my sister. I had to include here as she is a faithful reader of my blog!

My sister, Barbara, now has a married son, but look, we have two new projects to work on! We each had an eligible daughter at the wedding, neither one of which fought for the bridal bouquet at the end of the day!

However, there was a happy ending, as the bride and groom were picked up by a horse and carriage and whisked off to their hotel at the end of the day! We hope they live happily ever after!

Pre-Wedding Pastime

Crystal flew in last night from Colorado and spent the night at the Nuttall's house with us. It has been fun hearing about what she does in her new job in the hospital lab. She impresses us with her big words and medical terms. It sounds very interesting.

We briefly considered having cold pizza for breakfast this morning, but then wisely decided to get wild and go out for French toast at Magelby's Fresh.

You wonder how they can afford to give you a nice serving like this, complete with a slice of bacon for only $5.19. This is one of the things that makes eating out in Utah so much fun.

Brittany and John drove up to Salt Lake City with us, where we ate at their favorite Tibetan restaurant. I especially liked the lentil soup there. It was good enough to sell your birthright for!
Because we still had plenty of time left we decided to go over and see the fancy new City Creek Mall across from the temple. It is an outdoor mall with a retractable roof that can enclose the entire mall in the winter. I thought that was a great way to get the best of both worlds. It was a nice day, and the roof was open today.

We also enjoyed walking around temple square a bit. You can see from the beautiful blue sky behind the temple that Eli and Lacy couldn't have picked a more picture perfect day for their wedding!

Pool and Pizza

There are so many people here for Eli's wedding that Ed and I and Crystal ended up homeless last night. We were fortunate that the Nuttalls offered us the use of their house for a few days. It is fun to stay here and see their beautiful artifacts they've gathered from living all over the world. Joan got to try out their grand piano that is hundreds of years old. We all gathered together for pizza and a pool party last night.

My niece and nephew, Bobo and Naji couldn't wait to get in the pool! They have a full sized lap pool in the basement.

I enjoyed some quality hot tub time with my sisters, Annette, Barbara and Joan. We missed you, Verlene!

And after we got shriveled up, there was plenty of room to just sit around and enjoy one another's company! Thank you, Nuttalls for giving us such a beautiful gathering place on Eli's wedding eve!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Fun With Grandma

Grandma and I started the day out with a little shopping, my new favorite thing to do in Utah. I did not come home disappointed.

We spent the afternoon in the Family History Center, where Grandma is starting to work once a week. There was a lot we didn't know, but happily, we went to a training seminar this evening that answered most of our questions! I'm pretty excited to start uploading pictures and source documents. This is really going to help me be more organized in my research!

 We had dinner at the Pizza Factory in Spanish Fork. They make me so happy because they have zucchini and summer squash cut in slices skinny enough that they look like spaghetti. You can have a big plate of it and convince yourself you're eating low calorie. We might have believed it if we hadn't enjoyed the twisted bread sticks so much! Eating out in Utah comes in a very close second to shopping!

Eli's Gone, Hold Your Hearts Girls!

My nephew, Eli, is getting married this weekend. He and his fiancee, Lacy, were nice enough to invite me to dinner last night.They made Pad Thai, which was delicious!
Brittany and John picked me up at the airport and joined us for dinner. Before dinner we fit just right in Eli's love sack. 
Barbara and Kent (parents of the groom) heard there was a party going on and drove out a day early from Denver. I was so impressed that Eli and Lacy were able to have us all over just a few days before their wedding. Eli has always bragged (and I mean REALLY bragged) about how easy it would be for him to put a wedding together. We always rolled our eyes when he went on about how people seem to make it harder than it is. But he and Lacy were so relaxed and gracious last night. I hate to admit it, but in this case Eli might be right!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Where Is Spring?

Now that spring has sprung we're ready for beautiful weather! But where is it? We woke up to about four inches of snow Monday! That's more than we've had all year. Because we live in Maryland, school was also cancelled.

Coda enjoyed playing in it for a minute. She was then just as happy to go back in the house and shake it off. She only likes being outside in the snow when we're out there with her.

I had intended to post pictures of daffodils today.... Maybe next week.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Sofa, So Good

We got a new sofa for the living room today. We thought we were taking a little risk with the red color, but it turned out nice. We also moved the chairs out of the foyer to the living room and put them in front of the window. They have a lighter, cleaner look and they are also very comfortable.

Our new foyer has one of the end chairs from the dining room. We only use those chairs on Thanksgiving and Christmas, and it will look very nice next to the table the rest of the year.

The old love seat (pictured here) has found a new home at my friend Barb's house. The wing chair went to the basement, and the bass is now in the dining room. I also swapped the rug with our bedroom rug. With the new changes we've increased the seating in the room from three people to five. Now we can have the home teachers visit us there!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Long Time No See!

Ed's friend Joe dropped by Sunday afternoon. They hadn't seen each other for 33 years! Joe lives in California, and dropped by while he was in the Baltimore area. They had a lot of catching up to do. They knew each other through 4 years of college and shared a house with two others the last two years. It is amazing that those four men (boys, really) shopped together and split the costs of dinners. They had a system where the first two to come home cooked the dinner and the second two cleaned up! That has to be a very unique and unusual situation for college guys! They also were able to re-live the glory of capturing the Intramural B-League basketball championship, playing on a team with the guys in the downstairs apartment. Good times!

Joe was nice to try to help Amanda learn more about her dad in the early years. It was fun for me to meet him, because I've heard plenty of stories about him over the years. It made us want to follow up with more of Ed's college group. Maybe we could go to his 35 year reunion next year! RPI (in Troy, New York) is an easy ride for us now, being a mere 350 miles from our home!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Beautiful Day on Maryland's Eastern Shore

Spring might not be here yet, but we had a beautiful day yesterday. Look at how blue the sky was in Salisbury, where we attended church. We were glad they had an 11 a.m. service, as we wanted to get a little extra sleep. The switch to daylight savings time is a killer every year.

We had lunch at the Golden Corral, which was a big hit with Amanda because of the cotton candy. It was a big hit with me because of the coconut macaroons, which I dipped in chocolate! I had to go back for a second one, as it was so good!

Ed had taken some pictures of the bell choir on Saturday, and I thought I'd post this video of Gloria Hodie, our first song. You can't see us, as we're five rows back directly in front of Ed. If you try to imagine it you can see Mickey's hair. She's the third from the end (right of the aisle). Listening to the bells makes me wonder who thinks of these ideas, and how do they get their friends to join them? Either way, it was a good idea, and we're having fun playing handbells!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Ocean City and Shelbyville

I had just enough time to take a peak at the famed boardwalk in Ocean city today. It was quite pretty and I can imagine it in the summer teeming with vacationers. It made me glad I saw it in the off season.

Ed and Amanda joined the members of our bell choir for lunch. The were surprised to find out it was a good 3 hour drive from home. It seems like they should have built it closer!

We practiced most of the day for the  mass bell choir concert. We had a small audience, consisting of family members who came along on the trip to keep us company. This is the Sykesville bell ringers.

To finish off the night we drove into Deleware to see Debra's (Ed's Administrative Assistant) new beach house. It was so nice, and then, to sweeten the deal they even made us dinner! We loved it.

Debra and Jim had done such a great job at remodeling and updating the house with cute colors and unique fans, They even added on this entire room. It made me wish i had another house just so I could have the chance to decorate it from scratch.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Ringing Chimes in Ocean City

My bell choir is participating in a big festival this weekend, which gave me the opportunity to see the famous Ocean City on Maryland's Eastern Shore. We got a great hotel with a room that has a balcony facing the beach. The ocean is beautiful but very cold and formidable looking!

The Sheppards gave me a lift down with them, and we enjoyed going out to dinner together before our first practice.

Our fearless leader, Linda, had everything set up for us when we got here. There are a lot of bell choirs participating, and they have all practiced just as hard as we have, so the sound is pretty incredible.

There are also some nice vendors, and I have picked up a few momentos of the trip. Ed will have to wait till tomorrow when he and Amanda join me to see what he bought me!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

A Cushioned Life

Who knew there was such a thing as a floor cushion? I found them on the internet, and they are the perfect thing to sit on while I'm practicing my guitar and sitting on the hearth by the fireplace. They're nice and poofy and keep my keister from getting cold while sitting on the tiles. They're so comfortable that I believe they will keep me practicing longer, as well!

While it was much easier to buy cushions ready-made, I found I had to make my own cushions to fit specific places. Coda got a new cushion for the mud room this week. It's just right for her bench. She can take a little nap on it while she waits for us to come home.

And since I was in a cushion making mood I just kept going. I made two cushions for the arch benches in the basement. They were much more difficult, complete with piping around the outside edges, but they turned out great.

I stuffed them with foam, wrapped in a layer of batting, so they are nice and full. I used a pretty upholstery fabric, and they look great, framing both sides of the couch. Come on over and have a seat!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

What a Difference a Day Makes!

The daffodils are just about to bloom here. Suzanne and I enjoyed seeing this harbinger of spring when we were out on the fire road with the dogs on Monday.

And today it snowed! It was our biggest snowfall of the season. I think we have about 3 inches, but it is melting fast! They had predicted up to a foot, but it was too warm and we ended up getting a rain snow mix. Hopefully it will keep those daffodils fresh for us when we get over to see them again next week!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Harper Finds a Bone

Suzanne and I took the dogs for a walk this morning. Harper was thrilled to find a deer bone (complete with hoof and hair). She stopped to chew it along the way, and brought it all the way home to my yard. Suzanne refused to let her bring it home with her in the car. I thought maybe she was a mean dog mother, but something smelled bad really (think skunk), and I wouldn't have wanted that smell in my car either!

More Missionaries!

We had the sister missionaries to dinner Wednesday night. I say 'we' loosely, as Ed was out of town and Amanda was working. Sister Brand, on the right, is the first sister missionary in our ward to be under 21 years old. Sister Crawford has been out somewhat longer, but I think most of the sisters in Baltimore are training now with so many new sisters entering the mission field. As a result of the lower age limit for missionaries, the Baltimore mission will double in the next few months. Our ward is going to get a set of Elders as well! That can only be good for the growth of the church in Carroll County!