Sunday, June 2

Our Christmas Miracle

(Found this li'l gem in the unpublished "drafts." I tried adding to it, but kept crashing the server any time I added another photo.  For this and other reasons, I have decided to leave the and would like to announce the construction of...a new blog.  New look, new thoughts, new photos even! Suggestions for a new title will also be considered (just leave them in the comments section).  Please enjoy this last blog entry that ironically couldn't have been tied to more chaos than the frenzy which started it all.  And check back some time soon for the link to my next collection of glimpses into the absolutely riveting life of the Ashley family!)

While getting to Utah was nothing short of a nightmare, we made it - a true Christmas miracle. Truly. Once there, what fun - what joy - what bliss.  And that was just when we ate!  It's too too fun to go back "home" and be with the whole fam damily.  Maybe subconsciously that's why I don't want to ever move back.  Then it wouldn't be such a fun, celebrated event?  Who knows.  All I know is that there was much laughter and merrymaking - NO caroling, per request of Abigail - but good times had all around.  Here are some of our memories:

- We enjoyed 4 star accommodations during our stay with Natalie and Nate (and Avery)

Darn cutest pregnant - girl ever.

       \  Patrick and Grandpa playing elf

- Uncle Michael was definitely a fan favorite, whether getting into "The Wheels On the Bus" with the nieces or doing his due dilligence as the taquito tester

Only because our smiles wouldn't have been so big, (okay - really we just couldn't wait for the Prime Rib which was deeelicious) we took our Christmas Eve photo post-dinner. 

Christmas morning!

And with much food, family and fun, Christmas ended with visions of fluffy purple clover blossoms dancing through Abby's head.


Abby, as we drove by a forested area: "Whoa! I just saw like 18 - I mean, a whole colony of reindeer!"  Ellie: "What's a colony?"  Abby: "It's a big group - and I saw a whole colony of reindeer!"  Ellie: "Oh - wow!  So, that means I have a colony in my class at school!  And our family is a colony!"

Ellie, in response to one of Adam's jokes: "Go out of town!"

Abby, guessing what "M" country Uncle Nick got called to on a mission: "Manhattan?"

Abby: "Mom, something's wrong with my throat and I can't really talk right and I need you to be easy on me when you talk..." Ellie, interjecting in the background: "Whatever."  Abby, continuing: "Because I have the hiccups and if you say something really funny I might, well, I might hiccup - so don't say something too funny, just a little bit funny - because if I hiccup, I might interrupt something important that someone is saying."

Ellie, after helping Patrick into the house: "Mom, the baby was productly happy after I helped him."

Abby: "Ellie, did you know that Obama-" Ellie: "-is going to win?" Abby: "well, he already won. And now that he's President again, he is going to make a law to go to school on Saturdays instead of Fridays." Me: "Oh, really?" Abby: "Yeah, my friends at school said that and he told them."

Abby: "I just got my words mixed up and forgot what I was saying - 'cause I was born in New Jersey and lived in so many different states."

Abby: "Mom, did any of your siblings EVER make eggs all by themselves without help from an adult???"

Abby: "Mom, I have a special talent that Heavenly Father gave only to me.  I can make myself go blind. I have two visions - two ways of sight.  I can see blurry with my eyes and clear.  When people talk meanly to me - like you, sometimes - I just look at them with blurry eyes."

Ellie, while the girls watched Barishnikov's The Nutcracker: "He's only wearing tights, Mom. That's so inappropriate."  Me: "That's what men wear when doing ballet.  If they're dancing it's not inappropriate.  That way you can see their legs bend and kick and do the dance steps." Abby: "So, just if they're dancing it's not inappropriate. If they walk around, not doing their part, that's inappropriate."  Me: "Well, they can't very well roll around the stage, now can they? Girls. Wearing tights to perform a ballet is not inappropriate."  Abby: "They could roll around if they wanted to. I'm just saying."

Sunday, January 6

Winter Wonderland

Heavenly bliss.  That's how I feel about snow.  Utah snow.  Snow that falls in either giant fluffy puffs or delicate, glittery single flakes. Snow that is then followed - usually within 3 days, and sometimes immediately - by glorious sunshine.  Snow that you want to be in.

So, we decided to take full advantage of all that wintery western goodness and played during our trip.  Hard.  Sledding, snow shoeing, and ice skating (which we drove to do...through the snow).  We had hoped to ski, but didn't want to have too perfect a trip.  It was hard enough convincing the girls - and myself - to get back on that plane to leave Utah snow for...Buffalo snow.  (I did return with a renewed desire to make the most of our Buffalo ice crystals that lay in not-usually-inviting sheets of whitish-gray in the backyard...we shall see.)  Also, for the record - a shout out to a most enjoyable snow sport that does not get its fair share of recognition: snowshoeing!! After almost 34 years - 32 of which were lived in places where I could have experienced the sport but didn't - I finally tried it.  I found myself wondering the entire time why on earth I had waited this long.  Anyway, Here's a glimpse of our wintry fun:


Abby: "Mom hasn't washed her feet in days and days and that's why they're pitch dark."  Ellie: "Yeah - just pinch of black."

Abby: "Mom, at my birthday party, we're going to have a water balloon toss where we stand on the concreek, ok?"

Me, to Abby as we worked on painting our new "birthday plate": "Did you know that when I was growing up, my family had a red plate that we used on special occasions?"  Abby: "Wow.  Was red the traditional color of your family?"

Abby, as we walked out of the 7th store on our second day of searching for just the right craft items for her "arts and crafts" birthday party: "Mom, can I have my eighth birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese?"

Ellie, singing to her stuffed animals: "Hush little baby, don't say a word.  Mommy's gonna buy you a rocking bird."

Abby, upon coming in to see Patrick sitting in the box I suggested was his new car: "Come on Ellie!  Let's be backseat drivers!"

Ellie, while rubbing two sticks together: "Dad, is this how you make fire?"  Adam: "Yeah, but you won't be able to because I can't even do it."  Ellie: "Yeah, only a strong man can do it."  Adam: "I'm strong!"  Ellie: "Well, a stronger man."

Ellie: "When can we get plane tickets to go to Utah?"  Me: "Well, we need to save our money so we can have enough to buy tickets."  Ellie: "Mom, why don't you just get cash back?"

Me, during our FHE lesson: "So, girls, why do you think it's important to be compassionate?"  Ellie:  "Because you need to be constertionate."

Ellie, singing (quite loudly): "I love money! You love money! Money money money, I wish it were mine! Money, money, oh how I love money! Money money money I wish you were mine!"

Abby, while organizing my spices: "All the McMormons are going on the top row, ok?"