Thursday, January 31, 2008

Hello from Adam

Adam was really missing all his friends from Indiana. So, I'm letting him borrow my blog today so that he can say hello. The rest is a message from Adam.

Tyler, Isaac,Adam, and Alex Odell,

I miss you all and I love you. I'm coming to visit in a couple of months so I hope I can have a playdate at Isaac's with all of you. I have a couple friends in Maryland but I still really miss you guys. I'm a CTR 5 now in primary. I learned a new word called "Self-Control" in my karate class. Karate is really fun. I saw the "Spirit of St. Louis" airplane in Washington D.C. That was so cool I did that! I went on the Metro to go to the Space Museum. I liked how fast it went. I liked the tunnels it went through. I loved the art museum. I loved the painting of the Japanese bridge. I loved getting presents from Grandpa Palmer in Louisiana. I saw an Alligator ranch. I saw the turtles poke their heads out in the pond by Grandma and Grandpa's apartment. I'm having fun here, but I'll be glad to play with my friends again in Indiana.


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The last 10 days have been eventful between sick boys and trips to Washington D.C. and St. Michaels, Maryland. On Martin Luther King day, we ventured out to Washington D.C. as a family. We had such a blast, but no pictures to prove it. I was able to finally get to the temple. What a beautiful temple D.C. is! It's probably one of the most stunning in my opinion. I'm so grateful for temples and for eternal families. Spending time inside gave me the spiritual rejuvenation I needed.

After the temple, we drove to the Metro Station and road the Metro into Downtown D.C. The boys loved riding the train. One thing you ought to know if you're traveling with your family, all of the Smithsonian museums are free! It's an awesome city to visit with your whole family. We went first to the Aero and Space Museum, then to the Art Museum and then to the National archives. All of which were free. The space museum was cool because it had many famous aircraft such as, the space module that landed on the moon, The Spirit of St. Louis that Charles Limburgh flew, and the Wright Brothers first airplane that legitimately flew. It's a huge museum, well worth the exhorbant fee of $0's. We then when to the Smithsonian art museum where we saw several paintings that Adam was interested in seeing. He's sort of in an art history phase right now. He's becoming quite proficient specifically in recognizing works by Monet, VanGogh, and Renoir. We saw Monet's Japanese Footbridge, and several of VanGogh's including his selfportrait and Roses. Such a wonderful addition to our day! It was also kind of fun that at the museum, we ran into an old friend that was in our Married Student ward in Provo over 4 years ago. Crazy how you end up meeting up with people again!
(Monet's Japanese Footbridge)

The National Archives were a neat experience. Just to see the actual documents that this country is founded upon, was such a humbling experience. We saw the Constitution, Declaration of Independance, and the Bill of rights. There were other documents that are there inluding a letter that Abraham Lincoln wrote when the Amendment was made to abolish slavery. I'm so grateful to live in a free country. We will never truly understand the amount of sacrafice that went into making this country great. In a few weeks we hope to go to Philly where Independance hall is.

This last saturday, we went to visit Rob's Great Uncle Lyle and Great Aunt Dorothy Feisel whom he never remembers actually meeting. They live about 1 hr. 35 min. south in St. Michael's, Maryland. They were so great! We look forward to visiting again soon.

Here's a picture of my handsome boys back to church after two Sundays out from being sick. Adam kept saying that he wanted to wear his white shirt so he could be like a missionary. It matches his new missionary haircut. Which, by the way, was extremely traumatic for him and me to accomplish! After this last one, I'm about ready to give up cutting my boys hair and just take them to a professional!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Building a Legacy of Love

This is one of my big accomplishments for the year 2007. I made a quilt for my Mother and Father In-law titled, "Building a Legacy of Love". I couldn't post it sooner because I didn't want to give their Christmas present away. It was a combined gift from all their children so everyone helped with picking out pictures and getting a company to print them out. I could not have down it without all their help! My inlaws are in the center as shown above with the scripted lables above and below their picture. Then all four of their children's temple weddings and mission pictures are surrounding them. Above and below are the grandchildren. Then surrounding the perimeter are pictures throughout the years starting with a darling picture of my inlaws gazing into each others eyes the night of prom. My husband and his siblings picked pictures of their growing up years that were meaningful to them. It was actually quite a project because I didn't have a pattern. I found a design that I liked on the internet that would work well with the size of pictures we wanted to use. But I only had access to the pictures. Most of the really difficult work was in doing the math and figuring out all the dimensions. I am NOT a mathematically minded person so it took much trial and error to get it right. All of the individual 3 1/2 X5" and 5X7" squares had a 1/2 inch border of a different fabric. So I had to cut out literally over 600 1" strips in addition to all the squares. The quilt is just a few inches shy of a King. This is my very first quilt so I was very pleased with the outcome. I love my inlaws so much and am so grateful they gave me their amazing son! I would do it all over again I love them so much! Actually, typically after a big project, I pack up my supplies and do not visit that particular creative outlet for a very long time. However, this time, I'm actually kind of addicted and am getting ideas together for quilts for my kids.

I was so pleased to learn that my In-laws loved it so much that they put it on their bed right away. The picture below shows how well the quilt goes with her existing pillows and color scheme(that was intentional).

(This is kind of coming across as a bit of a bragging session, sorry!)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Happy Birthday Lincoln

This is a bit overdue. Still catching up from all the holiday adventures and craziness. While we were in Louisiana, our little baby boy turned 2! He's not really a baby anymore. I think back almost three years ago when he wasn't even a thought. He was actually quite a surprise in the sense that he came to our family much sooner than expected. How grateful I am for the Lord's timing! I can't imagine our little family with out this little ray of sunshine. He is my mama's boy, my little snuggler with the dimple in his cheek. I love you my little boy Lincoln!

Lincoln made pretty short order of the cake with a little help from his brother!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Dilemma of the week

What do you do when you have six bananas going to waste because you forgot they were there and you don't want to just throw them in the garbage?

Did someone say, "Make banana bread"?

Well that's interesting, because that's exactly what I did!

But then what do you do when you have 3 wonderful loaves of yummy banana bread permiating the house but you have major weight loss goals to meet?

Do you eat it all up really fast so that it's out of the house no longer a temptation? Then run to the gym and run for two hours straight hoping that you'll burn all those thousands of bad calories you just consumed?

Or, do you exercise self control and eat a little at a time in moderation and give a loaf to a friend?

Can anyone guess what I did?......

Monday, January 14, 2008

More Highlights from Louisiana

Okay, I know it took me almost a month to post our Christmas! As a result, you may be getting alot all at once! Boy, I really need a better routine for this. It seems that everytime I sit down to post Lincoln is turning off the computer from out from under me! Oh well! Here are a few more details of our Louisiana trip:

Insta-Gator Ranch-

The day after Christmas, we enjoyed a visit to the Insta-Gator Ranch where we did everything but eat alligator. The boys were a tad nervous at first but warmed up to it throughout the presentation. At the end, upon Adam's request, we couldn't go home without bringing home an Alligator "family" from the gift shop. In Adam's terms, "An Alligator family is a Mommy a Daddy and little babies." (Complete with hand motions too hard to describe). He was pretty intent that the mommy should be an albino alligator.


Here are a few interesting pictures that have to do with Katrina. The picture below shows how deep the water was on this particular building. They say that 80% of New Orleans was under water. We watched a documentary called "When the Levies Broke" which was pretty humbling. The devastation on the area was so immense. Two years later we could still see so much debri laying around and many homes just hanging by a thread.
This next picture shows how many of the homes are built that are right on the water. Most of these homes were completely shattered by the storm into one huge pile of debris. This particular home we think is a rebuild after Katrina (Why someone would want to rebuild on the water after Katrina is beyond me! Now that's loyalty!). The windows are boarded up for Hurricane season.

We spent a day in the French Quarter of Louisiana. It was just delightful. Here is an example of the beautiful architecture to be found there. Just a cute old house. Evidently, the French Quarter was not flooded at all when the Levies broke. There is some controversy as to whether the levy was actually strategically dynamited so the flooding would miss the French Quarter. Has not been proven.

This decrepid old section of building, is what we would like to think was the birth place of Jazz. It is the Preservation Hall where the Preservation Hall band plays and has played for a LONG time. Kind of in an interesting part of the quarter though. We recommend that if you visit New Orleans to steer clear of Bourbon street. You just might see a naked lady!

Rob and I have decided that we would like to go back just us two some day. There are so many wonderful art galleries and antique shops that would make anyone drool. More street performers than we've ever seen. And they were actually quite good. We got a free showing to some excellent Jazz, Saxophone, Gospel, and even an instrument called a hammered Dulcimer. (See picture)

We ate at "Napolean's house" an old Mayor's Mansion that was said to be opened up as a refuge to Napolean. The food was scrumptious and very affordable. The culture of New Orlean's is really quite unique.

We enjoyed a ride on the trolley for the boys entertainment, then finished our day with a trip to Cafe' De Monde at the French market for some delectable Begniet's. Begniet's are like fritters or scones just drenched in powdered sugar. They were so good that I was craving them for days after we got home so I looked up a recipe online and made a huge batch of them. I'd have to say that even Shawny would have been impressed. (for those of you who don't know my friend Shawny, I revere her as the baker of pastries extraordinare!) They turned out great and SO yummy!

(Don't my parents look so cute in their missionary tags? if you can see them.)

Some other Louisiana cuisine that we tried were Satsumas (sort of a mix between and orange and a tangerine but even better!), and Cajun boiled peanuts (very different, but yummy just the same). We didn't try red beans and rice until we got home.

Some other things we enjoyed were a trip to the Bishop's storehouse in Slidell, LA where my parents work as employment specialists. They are doing amazing work there. I'm so proud of them! If you want to read a cool story about the Storehouse and it's role during Katrina, you can find it in a fairly recent Ensign. (not sure which one). It's prety amazing to see how the church's focus on preparedness really comes through in a crisis. It's really amazing the extent of help the church gave.

We also enjoyed a trip to the Stennis Space Center in Missisippi across the border. This is NASA's largest test launch site. We got to try freeze-dried Astronaut Neopolitan ice cream. I'm here to tell you that it just isn't quite the same. A good reason why I'm not an astronaut.

Probably my most memorable moments though were watching my boys bond with their Grandma and Grandpa, spending time with my brother Joel and his totally awesome wife Marie, and my walk/run's with my Dad early in the morning. I'm so glad families are forever!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Christmas in Louisiana

Christmas is always such a wonderful time of year when we remember our Savior Jesus Christ and his gift to the world. It is a time of expressing love and spreading joy to others. This Christmas was such a joy and one we will always remember. We had the opportunity to visit my parents in Louisiana on their mission during the Holiday Season. We made many memories and had total blast. Here are a few highlights from the trip;

Christmas Eve-
As we were driving to Louisiana, we got a call from my Dad saying that the clubhouse at their apartment complex didn't put the tree up like they had said they would. Since my parents are on their mission, they are staying in a tiny one bedroom apartment. Thus, Christmas Eve and Christmas day were spent in the club house. Worried that my kids would be devastated not to have a Christmas tree, they offered to go and get one last minute. I urged them not to and we agreed on no tree. I didn't want any more of their precious mission money wasted when we would live just fine without a tree. My brother Joel and his wife Marie came up with the great idea to build a tree out of poster paper. It was a brilliant idea! The boys loved it and it was the most beautiful tree I will remember for a long time.The boys had a blast coloring ornaments and taping them to the tree. My mom made a star out of a paper plate and tinfoil. I made a chain out of wrapping paper. Here are the results.

Christmas Day was just perfect! The boys slept in, I got a shower (finally after two days on the road), and we finally got around to meandering down to the clubhouse around 10:30 am to open presents. It was actually a little weird that the boys weren't going crazy bugging us to get to the clubhouse. They knew that that was where Santa was coming, but anyway, it was weird but nice. We just figured we'd let them lead the way. I think we went a little overboard this year but it was fun anyway. Rob and I really put alot of effort into really getting to know our kids to get the perfect gifts. It was our first year where our kids are old enough to really get what is going on. I was so touched by Adam who reminded us all that Christmas is about Jesus being born. He is such a sweet tender boy and took just as much interest in what others were getting as himself. In fact, both the boys took so long opening their presents that we didn't finish until well after lunch! They'd open a gift and look at it, play with it for a long time before being interested in anything else. This provided a nice laid back atmosphere where the adults could enjoy gift exchanges while the kids played. I especially loved it when Lincoln would open something and say in surprise, "What?!". I was reminded of how precious these years are and how fast they are flying by.