31 December 2009

Bring It On

Glad I'm not there, but it looks cool, huh? :)

So, the end of 2009 brings not only the end of another year, but the end of yet another decade in my life. Hard to believe that the last end of a decade was actually the end of a Century as well! Holy crap, has it really been 10 years? But I still remember what I was doing this day, 10 years ago!

Not terribly exciting, though. I was in the first few months of my mission in Switzerland. So, as you can imagine, New Year's Eve as a missionary isn't too crazy, but our ward was having a party to bring in the New Year, fire works and everything! Dang, those Mormon Swiss really know how to party! And of course there was excellent food, as always (the chocolate is just for the tourists...and me).

And who remembers the Y2K scare? Um, yeah, that was embarrassing, wasn't it. Not much came out of that except the realization that mass media has the ability to put fear into the hearts of men. And to that I say, "No one expects a Spanish Inquisition!" (all hale Monte Python)

So, tonight we celebrate J's 10th birthday (that was really yesterday, but because of visitation schedules he is ours today and the rest of the weekend...) at Chuck-E-Cheese with an insane amount of other people, I'm sure, then let the kids watch the East Coast version of Rock'n New Year's Eve (because it's over at 10pm) and all go to bed happy. Then we'll wake up to a new year, more new snow and a warm breakfast. Maybe I'll trick them and cook oatmeal :)

Good Bye, 2009. You will be a great memory but I look forward with great anticipation!! xoxox

29 December 2009

Merry Christmas to All...2009

And now it's on to a New Year!

I'm sitting here, on my couch, on a snowy, lazy day, watching the girls color and paint and draw. Hot chocolate anyone?

So, instead of thinking what to do for dinner, because we've been snacking all day, I wanted to put our year down in review so that I may have better records in order to make better choices next year.

In January, we found ourselves in a fun little apartment on campus with a spectacular view of the Salt Lake valley. I enjoyed living so close to work and the children enjoyed the close play area. We had lots of mingling and really enjoyed our University Ward.

The summer was a fun adventure. We took the family to Yellowstone and the children were such troopers with all the trails and hikes. It was beautiful to see the vegetation growing back after the fire 20 years ago. We also had a fun camping trip to Redfish Lake with Nannie and Grandpa Bartschi in August. We love visiting there and have fun going back every summer

D needed to take a break with school, so since he wasn't going to school, we had to move away from our spectacular view. It was a sad day :) But we found the coziest apartment in American Fork, just around the corner from D's parents. It has been so great being so close to family again. We've really missed it and have realized the blessings of family.

With all the moving around, I haven't been able to get the girls back into piano or other activities. And now that I no longer have a piano (you're welcome, my Sister), we are either looking at obtaining a keyboard or maybe something else entirely. I asked E the other day if she'd like to take violin lessons. Sure, she's up to anything until it comes down to practice time. We'll see how it goes. I still haven't decided.

J is still gaining in Karate skills and goes every week with his mom and other half-sister. He's showing greater confidence and enjoys showing his moves and skills with his sisters, all of them :) He is in 4th grade this year and is also a great reader and mathematician, not to mention helper, dishwasher and vacuumer. Of course, when he comes for our visits the children all play and bicker like regular brother and sisters, but he's an enjoyable part of our family.

E has been enjoying school and making friends. Every day she has another story from the playground. Good heavens, if I recorded them all, what a fantastically silly book that would be! She's become quite an artist as well. Her portraits are amazingly accurate. She can even portray emotions on the faces of her subjects! We'll need to get a full sized portfolio soon to keep track of all her pieces. She's in 2nd grade now and doing well. She's our social butterfly, and a butterfly is her favorite image/decoration as well.

L turned 3 over the summer but I didn't feel she was ready for pre-school as of September. Now, almost January, she's starting to show more coordination with her scribbling and drawing. She loves to copy E, but was able to put together a recognizable face (circle, eyes, nose and mouth) all in the right general places! I was so excited and called my mother to brag! Even just today she drew a simple flower with petals. It's amazing how quickly the little ones progress! One day they are scribbling and the next? Making faces and connecting squares! She loves anything Princess or Barbie and to dress up and dance. She also loves to sing along to songs on the radio. She's also a great helper and loves to be with her brother and sister. Good thing for D she's still takes a nap, occasionally.

D's health has been okay this year. His cancer is still staying away, but he found a few other things wrong with his liver, Hemochromatosis mainly. Between that and trying to control his blood sugar, he's been pretty tired. But now that he's managing them both better, we hope to both pick things up this next year.

I'm still working in the Neuro Operating Room and loving it, or just loving the people I work with. Either way, it works out for a good work week. I've also been called to be the Beehive Advisor in our new ward. This is my first experience in YW since I left. It's been great so far, and so much fun! Also, in my minimal spare time I've taken up knitting (a baby blanket, scarves and hats for the kids, now working on a scarf for myself) and it's been so fun to be creative with my hands while commuting! Most of my knitting time is on the train to and from work. I really do enjoy that 45 minutes up to the hospital, all to myself and my ipod, on the train three times a week.

We had a wonderful Christmas, even being able to spend a part of it up in Idaho with my family for a few days. Those days in Idaho always go by too fast and we never get as much done as we want to do! I sure do miss seeing them often. Nevertheless, with a trip to Temple Square and special FHE events, we were able to have many conversations about the true meaning of Christmas. We are so grateful to have those meanings and explanations in our lives, as well as the knowledge that our Savior lives, loves us, and wants us to be happy in the knowledge of the Gospel. May you all enjoy everything a New Year has to offer, and here's wishing we find even more happiness (and a plane ticket to Hawaii) in the months to come!!

Love, the Peay Family

18 December 2009

Where do we go from here?

And so we are coming up to the ending of another year gone by...gone by way too fast, if you ask me. Seriously, I remember being younger and hearing older people say the cliche's of "Time goes too fast...blah, blah, blah" and thinking, You have GOT to be kidding me!! Day after dreaded day of school, homework, studying...I couldn't wait to escape it all! But escape it to what? Getting a job? Starting relationships? Having children? Cleaning the house and laundry? Really?

What? No more Summer Vacation? Not even a Spring Break?

Now you're telling me I have to use Vacation Time for that?

deep cleansing breath.......and exhale! Okay, so sorry. That is all encroaching on an entirely different topic than what I was wanting to reference :)

Ya know what? I'll just go with it. I have another two weeks to talk about looking back and new ideas for next year. Plus, an idea just hit me so maybe by writing it down in cyberspace, I'll be able to have some new grasp on some of the "whys" of life :)

Rachel's Assessment To the Passing of Time:

I plan

Yup, that's it...I'm a planner, very little risk-taker (actually, one time I did take a risk and even with all my after-planning, it blew up in my face), but I can plan the begeezes out of anything. I credit that to my Dad and genetics (and OCD), and also to general schooling starting very young. We all remember homework, studying, social activities, fitting it all together. We are trained to plan, plan for today, tomorrow, money, the unexpected, emergencies (even though being 'prepared for children' seem like an oxymoron).

So, as I age and life starts happening, I start planning: planning for college, planning for a mission, planning on finishing college, planning a wedding, planning income, planning for the baby, planning to finish college before baby gets too big, planning for vacations, planning for baby's future, planning for a house...

Then that gets broken down into the daily/weekly/monthly activities that need planning :) A vicious cycle, from which I cannot brake the bands...and yet, it seems our lives would fall apart with out some sort of planning and balance and structure (ie: budgets, schedules, traffic lights).

So here I sit, just talked with D about going to Moab for the kid's Spring Break next April and we aren't even through Christmas yet! But we have to make reservations! :) And now I'm trying to figuring out the fine line between being organized and missing the whole life experience!

So it's finding the balance between organizing life and being able to enjoy the organization...organize, then enjoy the event before moving on!

This is simply written down for my personal visual imprint. Everyone enjoys and lives their lives the way they see fit. I am simply trying to tell myself to slow down, organize tomorrow but enjoy today before it's all just a memory. Maybe that will be my theme for next year...

14 December 2009

To Tell or Not To Tell

...and so begins the Holiday Season, stores become transformed into Holiday Wonder-Shopping-Lands and the center of the Mall becomes a child's magical toy fantasy! Who wouldn't want to believe in the Magical Guy (aka Santa Clause) after seeing all that? Not to mention the stories...

Over the last month or so, I've been trying to get out of the kids their most wanted desire to have under the tree on Christmas morning. Of course the 3-year old wants everything she sees, so I have to remind her what it is she really wants (and what I already have for her). Now she's saying it regularly and wants to go back and remind Santa. E has changed her mind a few times too, so I waited to make sure she had decided. Then I found the perfect basic art easel that will give her hours of drawing pleasure and yards of paper. Luckily she's sticking with that for now. She may need a gentle reminder, too, though. :)

Now, J, our 10 year old son, as far as I can tell, still wants to believe...but I think he may be catching on. The other night the children were looking at the presents under the tree, finding theirs, rearranging...then began a verbal Christmas Wish List from J and E. I didn't want them to get their hopes too high, so I jumped in. "Listen, guys. It's been a rough year for everyone with money and jobs. Santa will only be giving each child one gift, and with so many children in the world, let's not be greedy, okay?" I was hoping that would be a good enough excuse to move their thoughts to other things...

J looks confused at me, "I thought Santa's bag was magic."

Who wants cookies!!

11 December 2009

She's going to add WHAT to the salad???

I enjoy food. Okay, I enjoy GOOD food. I would never venture to Food Critique aspirations (or Bizarre Foods either!), but I am open for new food experiences. I have expanded my palate as I've grown older and have tired some pretty exciting things over the last 10 years (Alpaca, cow tongue, cow heart, cow intestines, different kinds of calamari). However, when I was younger, my idea of a salad was pretty basic: iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, maybe carrots, I'd pick out the onions if there were any -- ALL of it smothered in Ranch dressing!

My mother got us to first eat salad with what we called "Vinegar-Oil Salad," a scrumptious mixture of tomatoes, shredded cheese, chopped celery and diced avocado mixed with apple cider vinegar, oil, s/p, garlic and onion salts -- all tossed together with (she used) shredded iceberg lettuce, and we'd scramble over the bits left in the bowl after the lettuce was gone. Still a family favorite but all us kids have added to it our own twists.

But my Mama taught me to be respectful to others and if you were eating at someone else's house, to eat what you were offered. How she enforced this I have no recollection; maybe I'm just naturally polite :) So, one time on my mission, my companion and I (Hi, Sarah!) were with an investigator in her tiny apartment. We had to catch a train, but this lady wanted to make us something fast to eat before we left (bless her heart).

She has me cutting lettuce and Sarah cutting up fruit (strawberries, nectarines, kiwi) while she's making a vinegar dressing. Then, much to my surprise, she tossed it all together!! Fruit and lettuce?? What?? She kept saying over and over, "Lettuce is just water. You need something filling (pointing to the fruit)." And I'm thinking sarcastically, I know we're in a hurry, but do we really need to toss it all together?

With my first bite ever of fruit, romaine lettuce and vinaigrette, my vegetable life has never been the same! Wow! What have I been missing?!? If you've never tried a kiwi or nectarine or strawberry in a vinaigrette salad, you really need, no - have - to try it! This coming from a Ranch lover. :)

Expand your taste buds...your mouth will thank them!
Just leave the lobster and crab in their tanks for me :) Hey, I have to draw the line somewhere!

08 December 2009

I'm really embarrassed..

...and have to admit that what I am going to share with you is sad for me but also so darn cute I couldn't help but laugh! Then, I ran right over to them and hugged them...then we made a cake :) I hope to never hear that again.

Overheard while the children were playing and I was doing something in the kitchen...

E - Let's play house
All - Okay!
E - I'm the Mom and Jordan is the Dad. L, you can be the baby.
Some time passes...
L - Mom?
E - I'm busy
J - Don't say that!
E - Why?
J - Because that's what I'm supposed to say!

Lesson Learned
but wasn't that still funny?? :)

05 December 2009

When she called...

...I realized it had been months since I'd talked with my own Grandmother! Wow, how does that happen? We even work in the same hospital :) different days, though, but still! That's no excuse. Sorry, Grandma :)

We chatted for a bit, and she made me realize that there may be a few other people who check up on this blog, just for kicks and giggles. So, even though I feel in a rut, I need to write something before time gets too far away from me and before I know it, it's Christmas!

I've been taking pictures with the intent of using this or that picture in a post...but I haven't gotten around to it yet. I keep waiting for life to slow down...but it hasn't yet. I think, "After this then I will be able to..." or "Just get through this next week and things will..."

Yeah, No. And that's the hard part. We can't just wait around for stuff; at least I can't. I just keep going and going and doing and washing and cooking and cleaning and putting things back together...and wake up and do it all over again

Except, today I put off doing laundry and took E with me to go to a Holiday Boutique and bought myself some extra Christmas presents :) (Thanks Lori, Brook and Lina!!). Then she and I went to lunch where I made her try dipping her bread in the roasted garlic and olive oil deliciousness, and guess what? Much to her surprise, she loved it! Imagine that. Next, we went to find the perfect present for L and to find a few things for our bare tree. We made out like bandits! All the presents under the tree are driving the kids nuts! I'm considering putting them all away so they aren't tempted to unwrap them!

But there is something comforting about seeing the lit Christmas tree, even sparsely decorated, with presents underneath. It's almost like I can look at that and know things are okay. We are okay. We have food in our cupboards and in our fridge, the furnace is blowing, no one is coughing today, and the children will have something to open on Christmas. That means a lot considering the last few years. Two years ago, some generous people gave us presents, things we couldn't even give ourselves. Not that this year is extravagant by any means, but it's a good thing the kids are still young and we can get away with small gifts still!! :)

So, I guess, until life slows down, my camera will fill up with pictures :) and I'll relish times like tonight when, after I put the girls in bed, I turn on music instead of the TV and relax in the quiet and the soothing lights that are Christmas.