Wednesday, October 10, 2012

October 2012 Conference Weekend

Sorry about my little rant in that last post. I have such a love/hate relationship with technology. And fashion. Here's my other rant about the current trend toward moms feeling the pressure to be "sexy." (Can't tell you how sick I am of that word. Everything from architecture to food can now be labeled sexy . . .)

This past weekend was a really good one. Following Rachael's 5th birthday on Thursday and Friday (it's never a one day affair at our house--especially if your birthday lands on a weekday), we had a houseful of people on Saturday. I love that. On Saturday morning, Brandon's parents were here from California and they brought Brent and his girl Camille up from BYU with them. (I have no idea if she likes me calling her "his girl"--it's so possessive--but it makes me smile every time I write it because they fit so well together.) They watched the first session of General Conference with us and then we all had lunch together, including Will's friend who came over shortly after it ended:
(Not the greatest picture of Kate . . .)

The girls over at Best Bites won me (and everyone else) over with their amazing Tortellini Sausage Soup recipe that I had ready for lunch. Camille was kind of sick when they arrived, but she reported that it miraculously cured her by afternoon. (Just sayin'. You really should make this soup.) The Best Bites girls have done what I have wanted someone to do for a very long time. They've created a seasonal cookbook (Savoring the Seasons) that not only includes produce in season and various holiday kitchen crafts, but super family friendly, delicious food. (Not suggesting it's all good for the waistline, but it's all delish.) This could be my favorite cook book to date. Go get it!

I got Rachael a "real" tea set for her birthday--something I meant to get Elizabeth for a long time--and guess who couldn't stop playing with it? Yes, Elizabeth! If she didn't ask me once, she asked me about 50 times when I would make some real tea so she could put on a "real" tea party. The boys were her targets, and for whatever reason they were happy to oblige. (Will's friend has FIVE younger brothers--just like Brandon--so maybe he thought this would be his one shot at a tea party . . .)
After watching the second session of conference (again, best talk ever found here) some of my favorite people came over! (Maybe I should explain here that General Conference happens twice a year, is broadcast from the Conference Center in Salt Lake to members of our church all over the world, and includes four 2 hour general "sessions"((2 on Saturday, 2 on Sunday)) as well as a session specifically for the women and also the men. It's a lot of church in one weekend, but if you ask any active LDS person they will tell you it's one of their favorite weekends. Many people have special traditions built around it, families gather, eat special food, enjoy the uplifting messages, talk about them afterward--it's great! It also doesn't hurt that you get to watch church from the comfort of your living room. Everybody loves that.) A small handful of the girls I used to teach at church in California when they were 14-15 years old are now freshmen at BYU and they came to dinner that night. So fun! It turned out to be Jenny's 18th birthday (I wish they would have told me in advance!), so we pulled out the remains of Rachael's celebrations and had a moment:
(Elizabeth took this one so I could be included . . .)
After feeding them more of the magic soup and this meat as an open faced sandwich on toasted sourdough bread with provolone cheese (divine), we made my favorite pumpkin bread recipe together (go heavy on the spices) so I could send them all home with huge pumpkin muffins. There's just something about fall and people in my home that makes me want to be in the kitchen! I love it! And you know those college freshmen loved it. Their appreciation bordering worship made the time and effort totally worth it. The other fun thing about having these girls over that night was their irrepressible excitement over the announcement made at conference that morning that young women could now serve missions as early as 19. (Young men can now go at 19. Previously, young women had to be 21 and young men, 19.) Since all of them are within a year of turning 19 and all of them are seriously considering a mission, they couldn't stop talking about it. As a former missionary myself, I think it's a fabulous idea!
The house was quiet on Sunday other than listening to conference with our little family, and then we finally did something I've been wanting to do since we moved into this house: walk the dry creek bed at the bottom of our property. It was a perfect afternoon to do it--warm sun, slightly cool air, and the leaves turning:

It turned out to be a beautiful little trail, and the kids liked crossing over and under the various bridges people had constructed behind their own properties as well as the storm drains we ran into here and there. We stopped and took a break inside this one:
I think Elizabeth counted 13 bridges. We'd like to build one at the bottom of our property someday as well:

It was fun peeking into the backyards of various homes. Each one had a different flavor:

Back up in the hood:
You can't tell from these pictures, but this hawk had a big rodent of some kind in his talons:

Deer munching away on the backyard across the way from us:
We feel pretty lucky to live so close to nature. Huge owls perch on our house at night, and other beautiful birds are always flying around right outside our windows. Of course, we also have more voles  in our un-landscaped backyard than we'd like (or "vowels" as Rachael likes to say), and spiders galore in the house, but it seems a small price to pay. We really do love it here!

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