Showing posts with label Thanksgiving. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Thanksgiving. Show all posts

Monday, November 21, 2016

Would You Like to Come for Dinner - Keeping up the (non) Tradition

       The primary had their program yesterday and only one practice.  I didn't understand as it feels so late in the year.  I don't recall there being a primary program this late in the year - not with any of the wards I've been in - including this one.  Last year we had more practice and performed on October 18. 

       This is the first year that Jenna wasn't on the stage as she is no longer in primary.  But as I looked out in the audience, I could see her singing along, and it really made me smile.  I'd have to honestly say that it was my favorite part about having the primary program.  I think the children did quite well for only one practice.

       Growing up, my favorite thing about Thanksgiving was spending it with a different group of people than the year prior as I mentioned here The smallest Thanksgivings I can remember included only 5 or 6 people.  Those were: one year with just my family.  My second Thanksgiving in the mission field: our landlady, her son and his wife, and my companion and me.  And my last Thanksgiving with mom mentioned here

       Three of mom's children and their families were able to meet on the Saturday before Thanksgiving.  There were just over 20 of us gathered in a room between the kitchen and the cultural hall of my brother's ward.  My mom felt overwhelmed by the tremendous amount of people that were gathered there.  Roland, Jaime and I had only played one game one game and could sense mom's desire to leave.  The theater may not have been as crowded.  We had taken her to see the movie: Brave.  She seemed to enjoy herself as she no longer reacted to a possible crowd of people, but had lost herself in the movie. She said she liked it.

       The most people that I've ever had Thanksgiving with was just over 30.  Peggy Bird lived across the street from my mom.  Her Thanksgiving philosophy was the more people, the better.  It was held in a room by the kitchen of the ward building where her son attended Church.  That was a lot of people.   Several years later, Peggy invited my mom and her children to spend Thanksgiving at her house.  That year all of her married children had committed to spending the holidays with the in-laws, which would have made for a much smaller table otherwise. 

       Last year we drove to McMinnville to spend the holidays with Beth and Graham.  It was a nice to see them again, and of course, the meal was superb.  But the drive was long - not as long as if we'd gone back to Utah.  I think my oldest daughter-in-law was quite miffed that we didn't.  It just hasn't been practical or realistic for us to go back for just a few hours and then have to turn around and return as Roland works on the Friday after Thanksgiving.  I suppose he could ask for it off, but still.

       We had invited Annett's family to break bread with us this year, but as we never got a commitment and Nora is upset with us and doesn't even want Annett talking to Jenna at school, it was down to just Jenna, Roland and I. Jenna suggested we go to Home Town Buffet and would be okay with that, though I suspect she would like to have the association of others.  She missed her brothers and cousins tremendously. So we thought we'd try our hand at the community dinner here  in town.

       Yesterday we had two offers for Thanksgiving.  The first one from Roland's cinema buddy.  I had his daughter in sunbeams last year and his nephew this year.  And so we will be having our Thanksgiving dinner with all of their family.  And perhaps next year we can have dinner with the other family that asked after we had already accepted the other.  It will be good to spend Thanksgiving with two of three of Young Women leaders and help Jenna to feel more comfortable about going to Young Women's rather than primary.


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Holidays are the Hardest - Missing Traditions

Pie Making

         I can’t find a reference to mom’s traditional pie making event. I suppose it could have started with her children.  I do recall having assisted with pies at least once in my childhood.  Kayla says she remembers a time when it was just her and Corey that did it with mom.  I don’t think I ever viewed it as an actual tradition until Ellen and Kimball were small.

            My mom made a huge assortment of pies on the Wednesday before  Thanksgiving each year.  The grandkids looked forward to assisting with rolling out the dough and filling the pie with whatever they chose. 
            We’d have apple pie, banana cream pies, coconut cream, chocolate cream, cherry, lemon meringue and of course, pumpkin.  More pies were added to the dinner each time new grandkids were added to the family.

            I don’t remember how often my boys had made pies with grandma.  At least twice – and they have fond memories.  And I have pictures of some of the pie making events.  Jaime may have been a baby when some of these were taken.  Neither Jenna nor I recall her ever having had the opportunity to assist with rolling out the dough or wearing an apron.

            It wasn’t long after Jenna was born when mom announced her last year for her annual pie making event.  Each year after that we ate pies that had been made in the bakery department of various stores.

            My boys had just recently commented on how much fun they had had making pies – and then Kayla had posted a message in facebook about the yesteryear tradition.  I got overly sentimental and cried for nearly a half hour.

            I miss the family that I grew up with. I miss so many traditions that we shared at one time.

 Hand Made Nativity

            When I was growing up, I loved “Dip n Drape” dolls.  I remember going with mom to look at pattarns and material for the project.  We settled on a nativity set as it was closed to the holidays.  I remember buying Styrofoam balls and cones and craft sticks and following directions.  I was in high school at the time.

            It was a good first project.  We had it on display just once a year – usually on top of the piano – where the entire thing fit nicely.  And many of the flaws were overlooked – like one wiseman who had the appearance of having a “stuck-up” personality.  And one wiseman who’s arms were heavier than his body – and was giving a present to lean on so that he did not appear as though he was trying to do push-ups.  And the baby Jesus became a permanent part of what Mary held in her arms – though it probably looked like she was dropping him.

            I had intended on making a manger – so that it would appear that she was placing him in.  I had intended to make camels and sheep – though realistically the seven pieces I had took up quite a bit of room both on display and then in storage.

            It boggles my mind that the set has been around since I was in high school – making it roughly thirty-five years old now.  Mom hadn’t taken it out the last few years that she lived at home.  And I took it back before we sold her house. 

Growing up, I never thought of our house as huge.  It was an average sized house.  It had three bedrooms, two baths, living room, kitchen and unfinished basement.

            Over the years my parents put in the money to have half of the basement finished and added a back room addition to the house.  The house included five bedrooms, three bathrooms, kitchen, living room, family room, game room, dining room, laundry room, storage room – not to mention it had an attic. 

            I’ve lived in two houses since I’ve been married.  The two houses combined did not have as much space as the house I grew up in.  So of course there is not nearly as much storage room

         I had put the nativity up last year.  I had to put the wisemen on a different area than the other four pieces.  Roland had suggested that I part with it last year.  I just didn’t have the heart to throw it away – though many of the dolls were beheaded.  I had planned on making it one more round.

We have even less room for it to be displayed than we had last year.  Plus I’ve been cleaning out my shed and either throwing out or donating a lot.  (12 yard bags and counting) but I still couldn’t bring myself to throw it out. 

         I knew if I donated the dolls to the thrift store, the majority (if not all) would get thrown away, and so I put it in the classifieds and someone picked it up less than an hour after I had posted for free.  She didn’t seem to mind the fact that many of the dolls needed to be repaired.   I hope it works for her and that it may be around for a few more years at least.  


Christmas Lights

I remember one year going with my sibs and mom to temple square.  It was Christmas night and the weather was really quite awesome.  We had gone downtown to see the lights.

This year the November was nice weather overall.  Cold, but bearable.  Excpet the last day.  It was cold and bleak and actual typical of so many November days that I can remember – although the last few years have seemed to make an exception.

            I was surprised at how warm the weather seemed yesterday – well, in comparison to Sunday.  Jenna and I started out with a beautiful morning.  I had dressed in layers, but had taken the top layer off as I headed back home.

            I had dressed in layers while picking her up.  I had stripped both layers down while waiting for school to end.  Both Jenna and I carried our coats to the bus stop.  But by the time we reached the crossover, we both had our coats back on.  It cools down quite drastically once the earth rotates away from the sun.

            Roland had given me a camera for Christmas last year – only he had given it to me before Thanksgiving so that I could take pictures and get a feel for it before Christmsa.  It was a nice camera.  A red Nikon which I liked a lot – that is until pushing the power button no longer did anything.  

It had died before Roland and I had taken to Jenna to Disneyland at the end of August.  I hadn’t had the camera an entire year.  That was truly upsetting.  

            I was hoping the battery was the problem, but I had the battery tested in addition to another working battery put in my camera.  I was told my best bet was to send it into the manufacturer – which I did.  I never heard back from them.

            The other night he produced another camera meant for Christmas.  This time a Sony W830 – which may take me a while to figure out.  I’ve had Sonys before, and I like them, but they have all died as well.  And I don’t expect this one will last much longer than the Nikon – though I welcome the opportunity to be proven wrong.

            I told Jenna that we should go downtown to see the lights.  December started out with quite pleasant weather and I though since it was so nice that we should go last night. I suggested to Roland that we go see the lights for family home evening.    I would have just taken Jenna on the train if he had not wanted to go. 

            Downtown was crowded with patrons who had come to see the lights and take pictures.  I really don’t have the hang of my camera.  It will be a while.  I did get a few okay pictures – among a bunch of duds.  Thank heaven for Photoshop, huh?

Friday, November 29, 2013

A Hodge-Podge of Family

Our future daughter-in-law has two brothers who are still living.  One lives in Texas where his wife is from.  The other lives in a posh neighborhood at the south and east end of the valley.

Yesterday we went to the posh neighborhood to meet Jeanie’s family and to have Thanksgiving dinner.  Biff had asked us to bring rice pudding – which to be honest with you - I have never had as part of a Thanksgiving dinner before.  Roland tried a new recipe (which was really very good by the way) and I found a container to put it in.

I must admit that I felt out of place offering this pathetic container as we entered their fancy kitchen and saw dozens of dishes that seemed to make the rice pudding even smaller – shrinking with each passing minute until I felt like what we had contributed to the meal had only a cup of runny rice.


Jenna played with boys (Jeanie's nephews) while Roland and I visited with various family members.  Not only was there family from Jeanie’s side of the family, but her sister-in-laws as well.  Half siblings, stepsiblings, in-laws, and in-laws of in-laws; we became known as Biff’s parents and sister.

I think Biff, Jeanie and her parents were the last to arrive at the house.  I really hit it off with Jeanie’s mom.  Sweet lady.  She reminded me a lot of Rochelle’s mom (Rochelle being my first daughter-in-law) and Roland said the same thing. Jeanie’s mother does seem to be in better health than both of my daughters-in-law's mothers.  She also seems to be in better health than Jeanie.  I don’t know why, but Jeanie always seems to have aged with each time I see her.

As usual I didn't have room for dessert.  And there were several to choose from. Fortunately Jeanie had made up an extra plate of pumpkin rolls for us to take home.  Her sister-in-law and I visited in front of the tree that never goes up before Thanksgiving, but it's new and was insentive to get her three children to clean the house.

Everybody was scattered.  I counted fourteen adults and four children.  Jenna was playing with Jeanie's niece just before we left.  I don't know that she was ready to go. We had both wanted to play games, but Roland didn't want us to overstay our welcome. 

We drove around some neighborhoods surrounding Jenna's schools to check out what houses were up for sale.  We didn't see a lot for Jenna was getting car sick.  Poor kid always seems to take ill during the Thanksgiving holiday.  After we returned home, Roland insisted that she go and lay down.  We finished the night with watching holiday movies. I finally had dessert.  It is so good.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Yesterday's Turkey Dinner

          I started this blog on New Years of this year.  I was faithful to write every single day – or almost every day.  But when school ended, so did my once-a-day posts.  My focus had to be on Jenna.  And when school started back up, mom’s memory had deteriorated and so I seemingly started spending more time with her (especially when Corey had gone back to Las Vegas – where he is now registered as a permanent resident in the state of Nevada) and so I still haven’t gotten back to one a day. Perhaps I never will.

          Kayla and her two children met Jenna and me at my mom’s on the Thursday of Thanksgiving.  I had gone because it was my day and we had already celebrated Thanksgiving dinner with the family on the Saturday prior.  Kayla brought her kids because Bill wanted to clean the carpets.

          They had left the house about 1:00 to return home to make dishes for their Thanksgiving dinner with one of Bill’s sisters (the one who lives in Utah) and baby brother. 
          Roland was planning on doing dinner at 3:00 – but time got away from him, I guess.  I boiled potatoes and mashed them.  They were ready at two.  I don’t think I started the gravy until 3:00. 

          At 3:30 Jenna and “Grandma” and I got into the car and drove to my house for dinner.
          Mom seemed to enjoy Thursdays dinner more than the dinner we had on Saturday.  For one thing she was a lot more alert.  For another thing, dinner on Thursday was quite small.  Only five of us.  We had turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, biscuits and rolls, and green beans.  Ice cream for dessert. 
          After we had finished eating, Roland wanted to play spades.  I don’t know if my mom has even played spades before.  And explaining games to her is a chore as it is.  But we went with it.  Explaining the rules every time we dealt. 
          Randy and Carrie had dropped by.  I was surprised to see them.  They had come to see mom.  And Roland decided it would be fun to play spades in teams.  Randy said he wanted to play by himself – and so Roland decided that he would give him grandma’s handicap and would appear that he was playing by himself.
          She had bid three tricks at one time when Randy had nothing in his hand.  She probably could have taken them if she had thrown out her lowest spade rather than her highest. 
          When we were down to two cards Kevin leaned across the table and said, “Grandma, I thought you said you had three” (referring to the tricks)

          “I did.  And now I only have two” (referring to the cards left in her hand) everybody at the table (except for Randy and my mom) started laughing. And then mom smiled as the rest of us were laughing.  And Randy stared ahead in unbelief.

          After a few more rounds, Biff volunteered to take grandma home (as I don’t drive at night – otherwise I would have gone)

          It was actually not a good night for Randy (card wise) and actually a better night for me than usual.  When Randy announced that he and Carrie had to go, Biff and I were certain that the only reason why he left was because he was losing.  We both figured if he hadn’t gone so far down into the hole, he would have continued playing.

          Today I will take Jenna with me to Bill and Kayla’s where we will hang for most of the day.  Roland has some work ahead of him that will be accomplished easier if Jenna’s not around.  Plus I would really like to play games with them. 

          Jenna has a possible hair appointment.  I will call at 1:30 to verify.  If not, we will just stay longer with Bill and Kayla.  And if Roland finishes with what he needs to accomplish, maybe Bill and Kayla will come here for some more games afterwards (if I remember to take Roland’s turkey to their house for lunch, that alone could bring Bill back for more)

          I’m grateful that mom had a good day yesterday.  I’m happy to hear that Corey had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  I missed him.  But I’m happy for the opportunities that he has right now to get on with his life in Las Vegas.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Being Grateful

On January 3rd I created a post called “What I’m Grateful for A-Z” There have been oodles of posts on facebook by a number of people expressing gratitude on a daily basis.  I put these in alphabetical order as well.  Some are the same as my answers given three days after I created this post.  I admire so many of the statements given:


“I can’t always choose what happens to me, but I can always choose how I’m going to react to it”

“A great sacrifice was made and a divine price was paid.”

“I’m thankful for all the veterans in my life and for all those who have served and continue to serve this great country.”

“passion for our freedoms”


“this also goes for choice in elementary and secondary schools”

“the ability to learn”


“I am thankful for a living prophet to lead, guide, and direct me”


“It may not be the best, but I am grateful I’m not a slave to bad health”


“I’m grateful for a husband who works as hard as he does to support our family”

“It has saved our bacon this year”

Labor of others to ease the burdens of our everyday lives:

“Thanks to all of the garbage collectors who pick up my garbage weekly”

“the opportunity to donate blood . . . giving the gift of life is an awesome feeling”

Library and Books:

“for without we’d be very poor!”

“Thank you, Benjamin Franklin, for providing a system for us to check out books”


“Music is an impact on so many different levels”

Opportunity to vote:

“I am thankful that I live in a country where I can freely vote J It is a gift”

“women who fought to give us the right to vote and exercise that right”

Positive Attitudes:

“I need to adapt that pleasantness into my own life”


“I am thankful for the help and support my Heavenly Father provides on that journey”


“My house may be small, but at least I’m not homeless”

“Even when I complain that I have to clean it, at least I have one to clean”

Spouse, family, friends and reasons why


“It makes me a stronger person because I choose to face my trial and do something about it!”

“. . . the ability to get things done”

Material things:

 “ . . . Let’s just be honest.  This world is a much better place because of chocolate”

Nail Clippers, Snow blowers, telephones


"Snow", "Awesome Fall"

"Wonderful sunshine"

“Grateful for the seasons. I think we've experienced all 4 in the last week....”


Art, Hugs, Laughter, Loyalty


Modern Medicine and Technology
Being prepared
Peace and Quiet Sight, Sleep

Another post:

“Just sayin' - I love reading everyone's gratitude posts! Makes me smile”

And the one that got me smiling earlier in the month:

That the elections are over!”

And at this time I am very grateful to be able to compact all of my memories in a space more reliable and even smaller than my brain.
I’m grateful for photos and written words that Jenna and Kayla’s children may be able to know the same grandma that Patrick’s children had the opportunity of knowing.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Untraditional Thanksgiving

The thing I enjoyed most about Thanksgiving was that each year was spent with a different group of people than the year before – not always.  For the most part our Thanksgiving dinners were intimate.  10 -12 people.  Nothing overwhelming like the 30+ number that my neighbor from across the street likes to have.  The more, the merrier – or so is her opinion.  I prefer less people.

          Sometimes we would enjoy the Thanksgiving holidays with various neighbors.  Sometimes extended family.  Sometimes just us.  Each one different.  Each one with positive memories.

          I recall one year spending it with a couple who had two children.  I think mom and dad had only three at the time.  The movie, The Jazz Singer (the version with Neal Diamond as Jess Robin), had just gone to the dollar theatre.  It was part of a double feature.  The other movie was Scrooge.  Our neighbor, Mary, LOVED the Jazz Singer and I still love the musical Scrooge. 

         So after our dinner we went to the theatre to see both movies.  I believe it was the only time I had ever gone to the movies on Thanksgiving Day.

          Mom’s neighbor from across the street LOVES Thanksgiving.  Her idea of a perfect Thanksgiving is having dinner with OODLES of people.  30, 50 – though not always an overwhelming amount, I think it is the norm.  We’ve probably had dinner with their family at least five times during my life time. And it hasn’t always been with all of the same people.

          I remember having Thanksgiving dinner with my dad’s family one time.  We had gone to my aunt’s apartment.  We usually didn’t spend Thanksgiving as all of us.  My dad’s brother spent the holidays with my aunt’s family.  But there was that at least that one time.  It was a long time before Corey or Kayla.

          After Patrick got married, they would often alternate holidays – spending every other Thanksgiving with her family and then Christmas with ours and vise-versa.  One year when they’d gone out of town, we asked my dad’s sister and her family to come spend Thanksgiving with us.  The year my dad passed away, we drove out of state with Patrick and Sunny to spend the holidays with her family.

          The thing I love the most about Thanksgiving is we get to spend it with a new group of people pretty much every year.  It may seem nontraditional to do it that way.  But it’s truly what I enjoy most about Thanksgiving.

          This year we had Thanksgiving dinner (lunch) the Saturday prior to Thanksgiving.  We held it at the Church building that Patrick and Sunny attend.  Sunny had decorated the table so nicely.  18 chairs had been set up and each family contributed to the meal. Kayla made her first sweet potato pie ever.  Corey really missed out with that one.

 Each of us had also brought games to play.  My family ended up playing only one.  My mom was becoming more and more restless and Roland and I took her and Jenna to the movies.  It was nice to hear my mom enjoying the movie.  I thought she’d nod off but she didn’t. 

We missed Corey this year, but I am grateful that he has the opportunity to spend the holidays with his honey (for a change).  I am grateful for our non-traditional Thanksgivings.  And I am grateful for my families and for Sunny who seems to hold us all together.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

What I'm Grateful for A-Z

My brother added to his Blog a Thanksgiving list in alphabetical order.  He adapted it from somebody else’s Blog – and now I am doing the same.

A       Agency        I am grateful for the opportunity to make choices. And for the freedoms that others have (and continue still) sacrificed so that I may enjoy my freedoms.

B        Brothers      I have always been closer to the younger one of the two – but both have been examples to me.  Both are active in Church.  One currently serves in the bishopric while the other will never have a calling – yet he serves in another capacity.  Each are on a quite a different journey.  Both remind me of my dad.

C       camera        I have always been grateful for the opportunity to preserve memories through photos and film

D       dad             what a great example of gratitude and prayer, humility and quiet strength – not just mine but the way my husband is to all children

E        Education    I received a fairly decent education in my youth.  Now there are charter schools, dual immersion programs, smart boards and the Internet – none of which exsisted when I was a youth.  I am grateful for the opportunities that my daughter has and will have at furthering her education.

F        foundations   I am grateful for the solidness of many friendships and my faith and religion and for the organization of things in my life

G       God             A knowledge of deity.  Being able to feel His presence.  All good things come from God.  G for goodness as well

H       Hospitality     I’m grateful to others for their assistance and also when I am in a position to help others.

I         imagination and invention – sometimes I think they work hand in hand. 

J        my daughter’s name starts with J.  I have enjoyed watching her grow – making discoveries, listening to her sing.  She truly is a miracle in our lives.  That is a post in itself.
K       knowledge   I’m grateful for the opportunities we have to learn and the availability for research and materials right at our fingertips.

L        light            It helps me see and find things – both physically and metaphorically

M       Music          I enjoy all kinds really, Christmas, children’s, contemporary Christian.  I enjoy vocals and instrumentals alike.  The world gets too quiet when there is no music

N       nurturing    I praise those that are able to provide guidance for those around them – to cater to individual needs without taking away from another.

O       Organization         I like knowing I can go to any ward (a geographical boundary for the Church) I will learn the same message and lessons and unity. 

P        paper          that’s where thoughts start – what my artistic daughter draws on.  Something more personal than the computer provides.  Homework, notes, letters, instruction . . .  ideas (for me) start out on paper

Q       quilt            I have a good friend who made a quilt for my husband and me over ten years ago – actually he’s made a number of quilts for children and grandchildren . . . quilts have a metaphorical meaning, too.  Patching pieces together – the fabric of our lives

R       my husband’s name starts with an R.  He shares many personality traits with my mother.  But he is a one of a kind gem like my dad was.  He’s extraverted – whereas dad and my brothers are introverted.  But they are all gems.

S        Sacrifice      I am grateful for those who are willing to give up something to benefit someone else.  I am grateful to those who came before me (pioneers) who risked so much to give us a better future.

T        teachers      educators by profession as well as those who are fine examples or are just blessed with the eloquence of words that help me understand or give my daughter their time

U       Understanding      I don’t always understand the explanations – but I am grateful when I do and I am grateful for the times that we can work things out through our understanding

V       Vacations    I used to travel with my family during the summer.  We most often went to Yellowstone or Disneyland.  I’ve not had many vacations with my current family for financial reasons. Vacations are just memories for me now.

W       written words       so many gifted authors and bloggers and shared life experiences and entertainment too.  I enjoy reading and I have always loved to write.

X       X marks the spot  I’m grateful for untangible treasures like knowledge, faith, wisdom, service . . . my husband and I are NOT blessed with financial treasures.  But we are rich in so many other ways.

Y       youth          I love rediscovering things through their eyes. I love their honesty and simplicity.

Z        Zion            or at least the idea of Zion