Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Oregon - the Twilight Tour

So, with a Twilight fan in the family (Noelle) the trip to Oregon would not be complete without a tour of a few of the sets where Twilight was filmed.

No, we were not in Forks, WA. We were in St Helens, a cute little town that apparently caught the eye of the people in charge of finding cute picturesque little towns to film movies in. The people there are very friendly, and have only been benefiting from the extra tourism that the movie brings in. (Every Twilight fan knows all the locations, at least, every teenager-type fan does!)

Charlie's house (Bella's dad)
We hiked up a hill to this house, cuz that's what the map told us to do, and we already knew what the sign on the tree said -
(This Is a Private Residence. You are welcome to take pictures, but Please do not come into the yard or peek in the windows.)
Lo and behold, as I glanced at the house, I noticed (from across the street!!!) that the homeowner was sitting at his/her computer in the front room. I was SO embarrassed!
But Noelle didn't even notice, so we took a quick picture, and left. Sorry to invade your privacy, homeowner!

Location of the Restaurant

Mural where Bella was confronted by scary group of guys...

Shop where Bella and her friends tried on prom dresses and where the director left her chair
The actual director's chair

Funny story about our trip - My mom told me that she had been to St Helen's before, knew right where it was. And I believed her. So we were driving along Highway 30, just chatting away, having a good old time
(well, at least after Tanner threw up - he was carsick from the winding road. But he fell asleep after we got on the less winding highway).
Pretty soon, my mom said that she didn't think that we were in the right place. So she turned on the GPS, and it said 21 miles. Wow, we didn't think it would be this far! But then the number of miles kept getting bigger
not smaller,
so we stopped and asked at a gas station to find out where the heck we were.
The guy said that we were almost there - yeah, if we were driving from Alaska, and not Portland!
We had overshot that little tiny town by 30 miles!
But it's all good. You know that we were having a great time talking if we just blew by our destination!
Good memories . . .

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Oregon: More Fun and Photos

So, I have been very, very sloooooow about posting about our Oregon trip.
And, I thought that doing it in installments might be a little more interesting (?) than just a whole slew of photos.
After we went to the Portland Rose Garden, we continued on another 30 miles or so to my parent's home. They live in a neighborhood that has refurbished the original old-fashioned schoolhouse into a clubhouse/great place for family reunions.

(Side story here - We were there at the Schoolhouse for a family New Years Eve party a few years ago. All good, clean, Mormon fun.
Then a couple of my brothers and their kids decided that it would be fun to set off pop-bottle rockets - you know, the kind where you use a 2 liter plastic soda bottle. Havin' a great time, until THE COPS SHOWED UP! I think my mom & dad were going to die, they were so embarrassed. They raised good kids, no trouble with the law (other than traffic tickets, mostly mine) until they were about 40 years old! Luckily, the officer recognized it as a silly prank, not a bomb scare that the neighbors were reporting. And I might add that this was only a couple of years after 9/11, and everyone was very jittery!)
Saturday, we went to the farmer's market (sorry, no pics, but it was fun!) and then we packed up and went to the coast.
This is the normal weather for the Oregon coast, so we were not surprised.

This was also the only picture we got of the coast, probably because Rachel was the photographer, and she had her friend, Dan, along.

Tillamook Cheese Factory gift shop
This is Dan. He really is all boy, but sometimes a cute girl will make a boy do some silly stuff . . . he was just being a good sport, I think.

Has the best ice cream in the whole wide world - double scoops so we could try more than one flavor . . .


After church, we went to the Portland Temple

My mom & dad, enjoying the beautiful flowers

Tanner's lovin' the water!

Noelle, taking some pictures around the temple

My mommy. Isn't she cute! Love her!

I love my daddy

I will post more later . . .

Friday, June 26, 2009

On Our Way to Oregon!

Last week, Rachel, Noelle, Tanner, and I went to Oregon to take Rachel to EFY (Especially For Youth, an LDS week-long activity). We had a plan visit my parents while we were there . . .

In the gorge . . . you know you are getting close to Portland when you pass the John Day Dam.

Sooo close, but I needed a quick power nap before driving through the city-

So while I slept, Tanner and the other kids played at a really nice little park that we had never been to before.

Portland Rose Garden

Noelle and a flower that's almost as pretty as she is!

Rachel took these gorgeous photos of these gorgeous roses-

Tanner running around. When is that child ever still? (never!)

LOVES LOVES LOVES the fountain
More later . . .

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Letter From My Son, the Missionary

My son, Chad is currently serving a mission for the LDS church, in Rancagua, Chile. He has served almost 17 months of his two-year mission.

Yesterday, got this letter from him that I thought I would share with you . .

Hey what’s up? I had a good week.

Something happened this week, a little much, but it’s cool.

My shoes broke. The inside broke though from all the walking, and they were left unusable, so I started wearing my shoes that are only supposed to be for meetings. They are really good shoes, but as a missionary, you always want to have 2 pairs, one for the street, and the other for church and meetings. Especially in Chile.

Then one day it started pouring down rain. We stopped by to visit Brother Pastenes, an older guy in the ward that can’t leave his house. The first thing he did is look down at my nice, non-waterproof, wet shoes, and almost obligates me to borrow his nicest and best pair of shoes, perfect for missionaries that walk all day, and completely waterproof.

The next day the bishop noticed that I had borrowed shoes, so I told him that I just borrowed them until my shoes dried. When the bishop found out that I didn’t have an extra pair, the next day he came up with the idea to fast for the missionary work in the area, and use the money to buy me shoes. Obviously when he handed me the money for the shoes, I tried to tell him to use it for the missionary fund of the church, but he wanted me to have it. And apparently half the ward joined in on it and told me that they wanted to do it to show their love for the missionaries.

Teaching on the Street
I am still shocked. It just seems like too much to accept, but they did it out of charity. So now every time I get tired, and my head sags a bit, I can see the shoes that they gave me and I remember the sacrifice they made and I start to work harder.

It’s just crazy to me that they would do something like that - for me. I don’t think you guys need to worry too much about me. The Chilean people are extremely loving, and go out way of their way to help and protect us.

They are always telling us that it is what my mom would like to see, that her son is being well taken care of.

Love, Chad

You'd better believe that I had tears streaming down my cheeks after I read this.
And I didn't even know that he needed new shoes.

Pictures! Finally, after none at all for SIX months!

Daily Schedule

New Comp, First Comp, and Elder Chad Carey
Chad and a Chilean Family
No wonder his shoes wore out!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A Celebration of Life

As I mentioned in my previous post, some of my kids and I spent a week and a half in Oregon, visiting with my parents, so that Rachel could attended EFY.
I will be posting pictures and stories about our trip, but first I want to write about our friend Chris . . .
As my mom, Noelle, Rachel, her friend Dan, and I were returning from the Tillamook coast, I got a text from my husband. I glanced at it, and immediately pulled the car over.
It said "Chris Mitchell was killed in a motorcycle accident today".
It is hard to describe the overwhelming feeling that I had when I read that. If you have ever suddenly lost a dear friend or family member, you know exactly the thoughts that were facing through my mind.
When I had composed myself enough to continue driving, the rain began falling. Torrential. I was so in shock, I felt like those were the tears that I should be shedding, but couldn't.
All I could think of was that I needed to get home.
Chris and Laura Mitchell have been our friends for years, and Chris was my husband's best friend. I know the pain, shock, and sadness that my husband must have been feeling when he got that terrible news. Chris was the first friend that Mark had made in the move back to his home state of Idaho almost 16 years ago. They immediately connected in their first phone conversation, the one in which he had called the Elder's Quorum President for ask for some help to unload our moving truck, and Chris just happened to be that person.
When I talked to Mark shortly after getting the news, it was clear without much discussion that he wanted me to stay in Oregon, because the thought of worrying about me making that 14 hour round trip twice, was worse than missing me for those days. So I stayed.
Yesterday was his memorial service. I had been dreading this day all week, knowing how hard it was going to be to say goodbye. But Chris and his family, including his extended family, are different. Special. Even in the face of this sudden tragedy, they remembered our plan of salvation, that we will see him again in the next life. And so they decided that the focus would be on celebrating his life, and not mourning our loss.
And celebrate we all did! Each individual in the congregation knew that they would shed some tears that day, but most were tears of laughter. The stories, the memories that the speakers shared - his brother, a friend, a former bishop, and my husband-his best friend and current bishop, shared were full of loving memories of the wonderful husband, father, son, uncle, cousin, and friend that he was. He lived life to the fullest, loved his friends and family with all his heart, and was one of the most giving people you could ever know.
And the Mitchell family welcomed a new grandchild born in this week of grief. We gathered later at their home, so that the large extended family and friends that had traveled so far to be there could also celebrate this new life. My husband had the privilege of standing in for his best friend and giving that grandchild Chris' name and a blessing.
I found myself moving from beyond the compassion I felt for the grief of his wife and children, and being torn apart by knowing how much my husband was hurting, to recognizing and realizing how much I am going to miss him. He was my friend, too, and I will miss his laugh, his stories, and his friendship.
We love you, James Christian Nielsen Mitchell!
. . . till we meet again!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Good Morning!

I am out of town, visiting my parents in Oregon. Having a great time and not spending much of it in front of the computer.

I will post pictures of my adventures when I get back!

(By posting this, I feel accountable to actually do so . . . )

See ya next week-

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Oldest Book on the Shelf

When I was young, my dad really encouraged me to read. My mom, too. And I am sure that a time or two they wished that I had never learned to love to read so much, because it was almost to the point that reading was the only thing that I wanted to do. We didn't have a TV during about 10 years of my childhood, and looking back, they were probably the best years of my life. I read everything that I could get my hands on. I would even read a book propped-up while I was doing the dishes. (not recommended!)

One of my favorite memories is of when I was still in grade school, my grandma made us this huge 36 gallon-sized bag full of caramel popcorn to eat during Christmas Break. Every chance I got, in between chores - which my parents thankfully made sure my brothers and I all had plenty of - I would go and get a big bowl full of this delicious treat, find my current favorite book, and go curl up on my bed and read to my heart's content. One of my favorite books ever is Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. My dad gave this book to me when I was about 11 years old, I think. If you have seen the movie you know that the playing time is about 3 hours. Long movie. If you have never seen an original copy of the book, like mine is, let me tell you, it is a very long book.

Without going and getting the book out of my 16 year-old daughter's room (she is currently reading it, and loves it, too) I want to say it is about 800 pages long, tiny print, single spaced with double columns on each page. I don't think I have ever seen another book laid out quite the same way.

This is the oldest book that I own, printed in 1936.

No, wait! The oldest book I own is a hymn book, printed around 1889. However, I have not owned it for nearly as long.
But that's a whole 'nuther story.

What's the oldest book that you own?

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Who Wanted the Fruit Pizza Recipe?

Not too long ago, I posted this picture:

It is theee most delicious dessert you can imagine! I had a few requests for the recipe, so here ya go!

Fruit Pizza

Start with-

Snickerdoodle Cookie Crust

1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup margarine, slightly softened
2 large eggs
2 3/4 cups all purpose white flour
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Mix the sugar, margarine, and eggs in large bowl. Blend together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt, and stir into wet mixture. Take all the dough out of the bowl and press evenly onto cookie sheet. Bake for approx 10-12 minutes; but only until center is barely cooked. Let it cool completely.

Mix together:

1 8 oz package cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup whipped topping

Beat mixture together until smooth. Spread over the cooled cookie dough. Then go crazy with fruit slices of your choice! Strawberries, kiwi, bananas, pineapple, mandarin oranges, and huckleberries are our favorite combos. But if you don't have huckleberries, blueberries or grapes are good substitutes.


And - let me know if you made this and how it turned out! I would love to hear if you modified it in any way to make it different/better.


Thursday, June 4, 2009

Thanks So Much, Everyone! PLUS - What Crazy Thing Is Going On Around Here Now??

First, I got a lot of good advice on getting the ink out of my skirt (the post is below, just before this one). Thanks for all those who shared their tips!

The hairspray got about 90% of the stain out, which is what I suspected would happen.
I have still yet to try the Lava Soap advice (don't have any, haven't remembered to buy it!).
I will let you know if that takes the darn ink out!

And so. . .

About this crazy thing . . .
Who in their right mind would build a house that would force a cheap do-it-yourself-er like me to do crazy stunts like this, in order to keep her home clean and freshly painted?
(Don't make fun of my outfit. I am painting here, you know)
This is way way scary up here, I have to tell you. But I really, really, really wanted new paint on my walls.
My beautiful daughter and silly photographer, aka Rachel (Apparently, crazy runs in the family)
Oh! And the walls? They really look beautiful, too :~D

Monday, June 1, 2009

My Son, the Amazing Artist!

Today, during Sacrament meeting, my 5-year-old Tanner got busy doing artwork during the opening announcements. My husband got up to present missionary plaques to the two sets of couple missionaries that had just returned home. He was making some funny comments, and I was very distracted from what my son was drawing on my lap.

Here is the picture that he was very busy with.
I was just happy that he was doing something that didn't involve my saying "Shush!" or "Stop Talking!" every 20 seconds.

The presentation took several minutes, so he was able to fill pretty much the whole entire paper.

(we won't try to analyze what the picture is all about. He is a little Boy, after all . . . )

Pretty much all the way out to the edges . . .

Especially in the upper half of the right-hand side. All the way to the edge.

And Beyond



Past the edge!

And all the way onto my cream skirt!

Right in the middle of the front!

(Of course I was wearing my favorite light colored skirt!)

Oh. My. Goodness.

I looked at the ink, and then at him, and he looked at me, and at my skirt, and back at me. I have never seen him look so scared before.

I just looked at him, I am sure with the meanest face EVER, since he still looked totally petrified!

So, what could I do?

We were in the middle of the chapel, singing the sacrament hymn by now.

I am sure the spirit must have been with me when I just started grinning at him.

Yep. Grinning!

What a relieved little face!

He grinned right back, and we snickered (reverently) together through the rest of the hymn.

I sure do love that little guy . . .

We won't mention how during the last two hours after we left the chapel, I just either sat with a Sunbeam on my lap, or kept moving and never stood still while I was doing my duties in Primary . . . just a blur so that no one would notice my creatively adorned skirt!

(any tried and true methods for getting ink out of 62% Polyester / 34% Rayon / 4% Lycra?

Didn't think so)