Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Remember Christmas 2017?

Christmas is such a magical time of year. It draws us closer to the Savior and to each other. In spite of being busier and more distracted than ever, we have increased capacity to feel deeply and poignantly. And, it's thrilling to see it through the eyes of a child.

I thought it would be fun to let the little kids help me place the trees and people around the Christmas village and wow did they ever do a good job. Calvin was so focused and careful with setting up every single tree and person, that I left everything in the middle of the living room floor exactly the way he arranged it, until a couple of days before Christmas, and then I moved some things under the tree.

The "Light the World" campaign the church did for 2017 was genius. Whoever thought of using vending machines is a genius. It had the power to connect our effort to contribute money toward helping those in great need, and then actually see a packet drop down into the bottom of the vending machines that said "ONE CHICKEN" or another tangible item. I did a presentation about it at the conference center, and went over to the Joseph Smith building first and chatted with a missionary who informed me that we weren't actually buying a chicken, but the amount of money we were giving would go directly to purchase something (possibly a chicken) to help those in need. I was a little disappointed. I wanted an actual chicken registered in my name.

This picture was on my camera roll when I downloaded everything from my phone and it's kinda funny. Like I mentioned earlier I have to do a "resource" presentation to my Monday shift every sniggle week. That's a lot to come up with. So what I've been doing is thinking of all the different buildings and sites we see when we're standing on the roof of the conference center and then using one every week as the focus of my 4-minute ditty. People always ask me "What's that building? (pictured here) and I am never sure what it is. So, one day I stopped by the recommend area and asked the elderly gentlemen at the desk what that building was and they had no idea what I was talking about! So I went out and took a picture with my phone and went back in and showed it to them and said "THIS!" And they still weren't sure! I'm pretty sure it's a chapel that's hardly ever used.That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

We also got to go enjoy the lights at Temple Square with Tony and his family. Isn't it awesome that we all have cameras on our phones? When I worked at Valley, 25 years ago before this explosion of technology, one of the 20-somethings who worked part-time for us would rhapsodize about hiring a personal photographer to follow her and her family around and document their life. Now we have it. We're our own personal photographers.

Reagan must have been off being her own personal photographer in this photo!

There we go, all nine in one frame!

There are lots of places to see Christmas lights, but none quite like having the Temple in the middle of everything. Such a peaceful, yet vibrant feeling everywhere.

Tony's arm makes the perfect length selfie-stick.

A December robin.Thanks for sticking around.

It was awesome to watch the stage being built for the Tabernacle Choir's Christmas concert. I saw the side panels pictured here with the four circles in them and wondered what it was going to end up being. Turns out it was representing a SHIP! The whole stage was turned into a SHIP!

I went online to try to get tickets but didn't get any. I also tried to get a couple tickets to Hamilton last month (for Tony, I've never listened to the music myself) but wasn't successful at that either. I'm not a conspiracy theorist per se but sometimes I feel like there are strings being pulled behind the computer when tens of thousands of us jump on at the same time to try to win the virtual lottery for a ticket (but my conspiracy theories have one interest now, after reading a biography of Lyndon Johnson oh my GOSH I think he actually may have conspired to have Kennedy killed!).

But lo and behold I have someone who pulled strings! Denny scored three tickets from her friend who sings in the choir (and her friend said she doesn't give tickets to people if they ask for them, she only gives tickets to people if they DON'T ask!). So thanks for NOT asking, Denny! (It helped that the lady owed Denny a huge favor ) And thanks for not being able to go Joey! And thanks for picking ME Denies!

Here's Lou when we picked her up from the airport from Rexburg and on her way to fly home for Christmas and go on their cruise. It's been so great to be able to see her more frequently since she's out West! We sure love her tons!!

Whenever I take a picture of food I always think of Forrest. He liked Emeril Legasse and got to eat in his restaurant in Las Vegas and I will always remember his pictures and excitement.
This is a picture of a sublime seafood salad I got to eat for the second time, at Willow Creek Country Club. See the little net over the fresh lemon? WHO KNEW? It's to keep the seeds from coming out when you squeeze the fresh lemon juice!

We were guests of our friends Rich and Shari Gibbons (they are the South Jordan equivalent of the in we try to know someone lots richer than we are!). Pictured here: The Allens (Rich and Shari's new neighbors who I don't know very well); Rich and Shari; the Sweats; Roger and Marcie Halterman.

Happy Christmas Eve 2017!

I'm so glad Tony remembered that I love to turn off the lights for a minute and just have candlelight. I'd forgotten all about that! But I DID remember to have macaroni and cheese :-)

And we let the candles burn right down to the nubbins.

For the tenth year in a row, Jane was a sheep.

Angels from the realms of glory and a King waiting in the wings of the hallway.

King Calvin presenting frankincense in a stately, mature manner....................

 .....much more dignified than the unrighteous dominion as a shepherd exhibited when he was two...........

 ...................or his smoldering shepherd from a few years ago :-) (with good old Jane playing the part of a sheep.....).

.............although this year King Calvin did tire toward the end..............

Truman was a "free-range" shepherd in 2017.

And then he got a horse for Christmas. He loves horses.

Lauren got Heinz 57 sauce, keeping the tradition alive. And Reagan must have really liked whatever she just opened!

I really kinda love this picture! A few years ago I helped with the RS Christmas party and made matching scarves for all the ladies who sang (but obviously didn't let them keep them ha!).

Tony channeling his inner Hugh Jackman?

Music and Christmas.......and FYI, looking toward our family reunion this summer!!!  I'm seriously considering renting a recording studio when everyone is here the first week in July and cutting some Sweat grandkid tracks.  Seriously! I talked to a dude and told him his website looked the least scary of any of them I found doing a google search. He was very proud of that.
Then on Christmas day our tradition is to drive to Springville and see their presents and eat Cindy's home made Cinnamon rolls...............

.... and this year oh my gosh they were in matching PJ's!

And finally, to close out 2017, I zipped out to Sagewood on New Year's Eve. Mom and dad were good sports about wearing the party hats (although it's almost like the employees at Sagewood are dealing with pre-school kids and handing them birthday hats, you know?). Mom and dad are naturally so dignified. But, hey, it brought a smile to my mom's face over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over....every time she looked into a mirror and she'd see the hat it made her laugh.

And yes, we called it good at 9:00 p.m. on New Year's Eve! At least I didn't iron this year. I did for a couple of years. And LIKED it! Love, Mom

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Thanksgiving 2017

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, although the older I get the more I appreciate all of  them. So, I say "thank you" to whoever made them all up! (Although sometimes I think we should celebrate Christmas every OTHER year..... but that would be horrible, so never mind).

We continue to have frequent visits from robins. This proud guy struck a pose just long enough for me to grab my camera and take his picture next to my little robin statue.

Even Dennis acknowledged that it was beyond "interesting" to observe the flood of robins hanging out around our house ever since Wyatt passed away. A very real and tender way for Wyatt to let us know he is connected with us.

We had "PEOPLE" come visit us for Thanksgiving! Elise Julia, cool coed came for a visit, taking the long bus ride from Rexburg to the Salt Lake.

She sleeps in the "red room." 

Glamor shots down by the Jordan River.

It's interesting to look at this photo and realize how much further along Dennis has come with his recovery from his bypass surgery even in the short time since Thanksgiving.

Here is Elise watching "The Sound of Music" while putting napkins into the homemade napkin rings the grandkids made a few years ago. I keep them in a silver box that has a magnet catch on the lid and I love it. They're made out of construction paper and I treat them like jewels. Watching "The Sound of Music" on Thanksgiving is a cherished tradition that began when Elise was a little girl and she watched it for the first time with me at Thanksgiving. I'll never forget watching her react at the end of the movie when the Von Trapp family is called from the back stage wings to receive their trophy .....but they don't come out...........................and they don't come out..........(because they're ESCAPING!). Elise was probably nine years old, and was purely perplexed about why they weren't appearing, and then to her astonishment she realized they were escaping! The look of surprise and glee that spread across her face was priceless!

Another tradition is that any spare granddaughters help me peel potatoes. I even have four potato peelers for those times I have multiple potato-peeling granddaughters on hand!

And happy day -  Amy,Dave, Jack, Macy and Carly traveled to Utah from Colorado for Thanksgiving! And Tony and all nine of our Springville Sweats joined us too! Hip Hip Hooray! Amy's family ate "first" Thanksgiving dinner with the Huish side, and Tony's family ate "first" Thanksgiving dinner with the Bohman side, and we had "second" Thanksgiving dinner at our house at 4:00 in the afternoon.  

Elise brought her guitar, and Reagan brought hers when the Springville Sweats arrived, and those girls make beautiful music together!
These three little girls (Vivian, Macy and Carly) are watching "The Sound of Music" - learning the customs and ways of the older generation so they can carry on the tradition!

My sister Julie and her husband Tom were also in town for Thanksgiving. They stayed with my sister Denise, and also came to visit mom and dad and help out with their care. They live in Vancouver, Washington. Julie tries to come down at least twice a year (often over Conference weekend). Tom remembers when Vivi was a little girl and we spent an afternoon with them on the Oregon Coast.

Julie brought this framed stitchery piece when they drove up from Vancouver. It was made by Grandpa Hiatt's mother Julia Roundy Hiatt probably 70 years ago. I always loved looking at it when it hung in my childhood home and Julie mentioned she had it stored at her home and would be happy to bring it to me. Oh I love having it in our bedroom!

Thanksgiving 2017 will always be remembered for springlike weather! We all took a walk to the ponds and Carly got to see her favorite thing - DUCKS! Jack, Macy, Carly, Vivi and Truman had a good time walking, talking and scootering together.

What a crop! Macy Claire, Truman George, Jack David, Vivian Mae, Calvin J and Carly June!

Calvin highly miffed because of something or other. His body language is IDENTICAL to his daddy's when he was a little boy. We have a picture of Tony from 40 years ago at Mirror Lake that mirrors this one to a "T"!

My Mousemas with Tru-Tru!

And with Car-Car!

Dennis and I decided to treat everyone to an afternoon at a fun indoor play palace. It was a great place and we had a blast. It wasn't very busy and there was lots and lots to do. I had a dream of everyone lining up these go-carts along the back and then doing, like, synchonized swimming drills together. I never could get it off the ground though.

Reagan playing Piano tiles. I loved watching everyone do this. I was surprisingly inept. I thought I would crush this game since I can still type 135 wpm on a 1-minute type test which I do randomly every six months or so just to make sure I'm still on my game or when I'm reaaalllly bored. I guess my reflexes know they're on Medicare.

And oh my gosh, it was hilarious watching Elise and Lauren play this simulated Jeep Safari! I did it too and it was seriously exhilerating! Almost like the Disneyland ride, what's it called? Soarin' over California!!

Great-Grandpa Hiatt turned 93 years old on November 28th and we celebrated a couple of days early while everyone was still here. Emma looks so grown up in this photo! I think it's an optical illusion that she looks so much taller than Eli and Jack because she and Eli are the same age! Elise and I went to Zurcher's and bought some party stuff. I've never been at a party where people put up the fun moustaches and lips and it was pretty cute!

We had the party in a group room at Sagewood, the assisted living center where where grandma and grandpa live.

Grandpa's t-shirt says "Straight OUTTA 1924! And a couple of those red helium balloons stayed afloat in the basement of my house for over a month! 

The Hiatts: Barbie Goochers Nan Hiatt Sweat, age 65; Julie Jewel Box Anne Hiatt Higgins, age 63; Denise Denies Geritol Influence Ellen Hiatt Haynie age 58. Shirley Anderson Hiatt, age 88; Richard Gordon Hiatt age 93!

Some great-grandchild love! Great-Grandpa is smitten by Carly's big brown eyes.

Yup, it was a wild party! We had a movie theme since that's grandpa's passion.

Julie and Tom and Denny came to the conference center and I took one of my favorite shots that I like to take of families - the artsy silhouette.

And to close out this Thanksgiving post, here's a segue into Christmas. It's so fun to serve at the conference center during Christmas because the lights on Temple Square come on at 5:00 p.m. which is quittin' time for me and my shift of part-time missionaries, and it's such a beautiful way to walk to the TRAX station.

Remember Christmas 2017?

Christmas is such a magical time of year. It draws us closer to the Savior and to each other. In spite of being busier and more distracted...