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Thursday, November 15, 2012

thursday thoughts: A Month in Review

Just over a month ago I was privileged to attend a celebration of the life of my friend's mother (who has battled brain tumors for nine years).  She is a beautiful woman.  Her smile and hugs are an indelible part of my memory. Thanks, Teri, for sharing her and being my friend all these years.  
(Photo by Trent Nelson)
After spending a cozy night at my brother's house I enjoyed freezing my tail off at a BYU football game the next day.  I treated myself to a hot dog and extra long maple bar, hoping to warm up a bit. The Cougar Tail (no pun intended) may not have warmed me up but it took my mind off the cold for a while. Yummm! (No comment, Clark--who witnessed me tear the bag apart and lick the frosting.) I had the best chauffeurs too.  It just so happened that my Blackfoot neighbors were going down to attend the same game.  They managed to get me to and from Utah in one piece.  
Then, Sunday we had our first visitors.  Our Orem neighbors, the Goates, stopped by on their way to and from Yellowstone National Park. (There is an open invitation to all who might have the same inclinations...good food and comfortable sleeping arrangements...and most importantly, good company!)  It was good to see them and catch up on the latest in our old stomping grounds.
It didn't take long for the snows to come.  Hyrum takes advantage of it no matter how deep.
Our next big event was a Czech meal at Ben's missionary trainer's house--the McCalls.  His wife is Czech chef extraordinaire.  She asked me ahead of time to find out what we'd like to eat.  I just happened to tell her my all time favorite, albeit one of the most difficult dishes to make.  The picture above doesn't capture how amazing it actually was to the taste buds.  It's svickova na smetane--roast beef, dumplings with vegetable cream sauce, topped with cranberry sauce.  I think I may have to adopt this for future Thanksgivings it's that GOOD!  (I'm hoping to post a link to her recipe blog soon.)
Here is Ben with Walter McCall, both obviously full from dinner. Oh, and I didn't mention that after filling up on dinner Marketa served up ovocne knedliky (fruit dumplings) for dessert.  Let me just say that I was sick with pleasure.  (Fruit dumplings satisfy as a meal all by themselves, so you can imagine how full we were.  Don't hesitate to request this Czech dessert during your stay here at the Pack Motel.)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

wednesday whimsy: Welcoming Back the Packs and Autumn

"Welcome BackPacks!"  Hee, hee! So fitting for our name.  And yes we are back in Idaho, in case you haven't heard. 
 If you wondered if Idaho was advanced enough to have a corn maze, well they are and they do--the Wild Adventure Corn Maze...it's even in Blackfoot!
Here are the before and after shots of the kids painting their pumpkins: 



Don't mistake the arms for a moustache.





 WELCOME TO AUTUMN! 
I thought I would also include the letter my oldest three kids recently wrote to their Grandma:

Yes our house is big enough.  I like having my own room.
I like school because I have a nice teacher.  I have eight new friends.  One lives down the street from me.  One I played with the first time we lived in Blackfoot, but we didn't know until she came to my birthday party.
I like the swing the best.  Yeah sure, you can come see us!  ~Kayla

Our house is too big, I hate doing chores round here.  I love the swings though, and I enjoy having a horse behind our back yard.  School isn't wonderful, but what can one expect?  It's SCHOOL!! :)  I have some friends, but I still miss Orem.  I also get to take Ballet, and it's fine, but it has been a while, so my skills are a bit rusty.  Come and see us when ever you want.  ~Ally

huge enough that no one can find you even if your in the room next to it. great for reading. out side is fine the swings are great. tramp should go in the ground though. seminary and school are fine the seminary is my fav. a couple friends. we did a mountain man rondevous. with weapons it was fine we also won archery. sure come up that would be great bye.  ~Benji



Sunday, September 30, 2012

sunday summary: UnPACKing and Kayla's 11th Birthday

We have a great backyard...the swing stands over ten feet high.  The kids love to play helicopter by winding their two, and even three, swings together. 
 Luckily the kids could play outside while I unpacked.  (Unfortunately they packed by the size of the book so we had to reorganize every book in Ben's study.)
 Ben and I couldn't stay away from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir concert (even though we had to pay to get in this time).  No matter where I go, the choir makes me feel like I'm home.
 This is my good Orem neighbor, Rob Rowberry, who sings in the choir with his wife, and through his generosity provided tickets for us to go to the concerts in Salt Lake.  I'll miss going so often.  Even more, I'll miss the opportunity to sing with them.
 Kayla turned 11!  She got the chance to eat our traditional birthday breakfast in her new bedroom.  Daddy made her favorite, German Pancakes! It's not often that they get their favorite when I'm awake (especially since I'm not a morning person).
I've been impressed how quickly the kids have been able to make friends. Here are the friends Kayla invited to her party. 
 Kayla has become our cookie baker. She is very thorough and likes to ensure that she doesn't miss any of the ingredients.  My favorite is getting to snack on the cookies as we bake together.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, KAYLA!!!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The End of one Chapter and The Beginning of a new Chapter

Before leaving Orem I finished performing in the Scera Shell play--Fiddler on the Roof. (Thanks to the support of my family and friends.) It was fun to be on the stage again (reminiscent of 22 years ago doing Oklahoma).  I performed with the same director, Jerry Elison, who has been with the Scera 27 years.  
It was a beautiful production.  I love it's message of courageous living even through the worst of times, knowing that God's in charge and will never forsake those that choose to follow him.  It really was a dream come true!
We said our goodbyes to our friends and family.  We will miss everyone!
 (Luckily Ally was able to cram in a birthday celebration.)
We took a slight detour to Southern Utah for some R&R and to spend time with Grandpa Moss and Grandma Judy.
On the way home we stopped in Brigham City to see the temple open house, a quaint but magnificent structure.
This is our new abode--home sweet home.  So far it's exceeded our expectations.  The kids spent the first week "card" boarding down our staircase.  The last week or so they have turned our swings into a carnival ride.
Hyrum hit a new milestone in all the chaos.  He's going to Kindergarten.  He even gets to ride the bus. (He turned 5 at the beginning of August.)
Thanks for visiting our blog!  We hope you visit often to keep in touch. 

Friday, August 31, 2012

Ally turns TEENAGER

[Backdated for chronological purposes.]
Her party was a smashing success with the paper-designed fashion show.
 She's looking just a bit happy over all of the awesome presents she received.
 Ally and her best friend
 I loved finding her reading her scriptures on her own for her Personal Progress goals.  She's determined to finish the whole program before too long.  Go Ally!
 Her friends kidnapped her and took her to breakfast as one last hoorah before she left. 
 One of the cards she designed to give to each of her friends as her last hoorah for them! (She'd probably take orders if you like homemade, one-of-a-kind cards. Just don't tell her I referred you.)
 We can't believe you're thirTEEN! 
Happy Birthday, ALLY!!!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

High Five for Hyrum

[I'm back-dating this post so that it falls in the right place chronologically.] 
Since life got a little crazy when we decided to move, I was grateful to my neighbors for hosting Hyrum's 5th Birthday party. (They've been amazing neighbors.)  Hyrum requested a heart shaped cake with sprinkles, so that's what he got.  

 Nate grilled up tasty hamburgers and hot dogs.
Darlene dished up all of the other goodies.
 Tyler and Alyssa helping the birthday boy celebrate.
 Ally and McKenna, looking cute.
 What is it?
 Yay!
 Thanks Kayla!
 I can't wait to go fiiiisheeeeng.
Happy Birthday, Hyrum!