Thursday, November 27, 2008

Top Ten Again (I'm a poet!)

OK, to follow up my SC Top Ten list, I need to do a "Top Ten Things I Love About Oklahoma". Since it's the end of Thanksgiving Day, this seems like a good time to do it!

Top 10 Things I Love About Oklahoma (in no particular order, of course)

1. My Neighbors.
I have come to the conclusion that it is absolutely necessary for you to have surrogate family if you can't live near your own. The Waddell Family has become that for us. We had Thanksgiving Dinner together today, and they aren't near any of their family either. We share cars, food, recipes, backyard toys, and clothing. How grateful I am to have them, and I'd be a lot lonelier here without Amber. I may be homesick, but at least I'm not lonely AND homesick.

2. Parks. Everywhere I go in Edmond I see a park. I love being outside and playing with the kids, and I love that I live within walking distance of 2 parks. Edmond also keeps their parks in pretty good shape, which is an added bonus.

3. Wind. It's a good thing that I love the wind, because otherwise I would be miserable. There are many days where the wind is a brisk 10-15 mph, not counting the gusts. And I've seen a number of days where the wind is closer to 20-30 mph. One day the wind was blowing so hard on the way to school in the morning that it tipped Kelsey over on her bike!

4. Cable. This may seem kind of funny, but we never had the option for cable in our house in SC because they didn't run any lines down our street until about a month before we moved. And even if we had, we wouldn't have gotten it because it's just expensive. The local cable company here does bundles of internet, phone, and cable that are less than what I was paying for my phone and internet in SC through AT&T. Nice.

5. Ben's Career. I am not criticizing Ben's other jobs, which we have always been good and a blessing when we needed them. But I am so grateful to have him in his career. It means that our life has moved out of the "someday" phase and into our "this is our life" phase. And it's a good life.

6. The Church. It may seem trite, but I will never forget the first Sunday I walked into church in Edmond. It was just after one of the most difficult weeks I can remember having, and I was living in a hotel with my husband and children, which included my 6-week old son. I walked into the church, found the Bishop in his office and sat down and cried. Bishops just do that to me, I guess. Actually, I really just felt like I was home. And I was, in a way. I was with the people that were going to be my surrogate family in Oklahoma. We have a good, strong ward and I'm grateful to be a part of it.

7. The Library. The Metropolitan Library here is fabulous. When Ben first went with the girls, he came back and I asked him how he liked it. He wasn't very impressed because he said there weren't many science fiction books on the shelves (which is what he mostly reads). The next time he went he asked the librarian if there were any more. Her response was, "Have you looked in the science fiction section?" There's a whole SECTION of just sci-fi! Not only is our library large and has a great selection, but we can borrow from the other large libraries in the Oklahoma City area. Nice. And there's some great programs for children, too, like Music With Susan. Kelsey LOVES it!

8. Braum's. Braum's is like nothing I've ever seen before. It's part fast-food restaurant, part ice cream parlor, and part market. The burgers are great, but the ice cream... you can get a single-scoop waffle cone for $1.25! That's cheap! And it's not McDonald's ice cream, either - it's like Baskin Robbins. There's also a small market that's priced higher than I'd pay for stuff, but they have everything from meat to produce to dairy to cereals.

9. The City of Edmond. The Lord really blessed us by helping us land in Edmond of all places in the OKC metro area. It feels like a small town in some ways, and really is very quaint. We live about a mile from downtown and by the university, so there's artwork all over, great sidewalks to get to the library, post office, whatever I need.

10. Mullets. We had been in Edmond about a week, and were driving down the street and saw a teenage guy on a bike with frizzy brown hair cut into a huge mullet. It made me feel like I was back in the south. It just seems like I can't be THAT far from home if I see a mullet... But really it just tells me that the people in Oklahoma are made of the same stuff that the people in the south are - and you'd better not get sassy with either one you're liable to bite off more than you can chew!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Top Ten Week

This morning I was thinking about the "bloggers-block" I have had recently and it hit me: I'm a little homesick. Don't get me wrong - I love Edmond, the friends I have made here, the things we are doing, and I am content with my life overall. But boy, do I miss my friends and family in South Carolina. Especially my family. As Thanksgiving and Christmas draw ever-closer, I have realized that there's just no substitute for being near our extended family and that makes me homesick. So I'm going to go a little backwards on the usual "I am thankful for" theme. I am going to write about what I miss the most about being in South Carolina, and never fully expressed my gratitude for while I had it. But before I begin, please don't get the idea that I'm sitting at my computer being depressed, because I'm not. This is my way of reminiscing about "good times" and smiling over them again.

The Top 10 Things I Miss About South Carolina
(in no particular order)

1. Family Babysitters. I don't miss these babysitters because they were free - I miss them because my kids got to spend time with their grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins one-on-one without having a lot of others around.

2. Sunday Nights at the Noni & Papa's house. Almost every Sunday evening we would go to Ben's parents' house for dinner. This was often the funnest night of my week. Dinner wasn't just for family, but often included some special friends as well. We'd hang out, socialize, and sometimes even play games. I miss the conversation, laughter, and sometimes I even miss being the butt of a good joke.

3. My Dogs. When we moved we had to find new homes for our 2 dogs, Precious and Gus. I miss my dogs. Gus is an adorable dog that looks like a lab but has really short legs. We used to go on runs together, and he always had the sweetest temperament - except with other dogs. Poor guy was the only male dog on our street, and kept picking fights with the other girl-dogs. I think he was just flirting. Precious is a toy poodle, and when she'd get groomed, she would come home with cute bows in her ears. If I ever sat down for a minute, she'd come get on my lap. And she slept in our bed, under the covers by our feet. When we first got her Ben worried that she'd suffocate under there, but that's where she was most cozy!

4. Scrabble Dates with Trish. I am not obsessed with Scrabble. I just love it and I love to play it. And it was wonderful having someone to play with who enjoys it as much as I do. My kids would stay home with Ben and I could go to Trish's house and have adult conversation and pretend that my life didn't revolve around laundry, housework, homeschooling, and kids.

5. Crews Family Dinners. I have to make a distinction between the meals I'd have with my in-laws and the meals I'd have with my own family. My husband is fond of telling people that I can hold multiple conversations at the same time with my sisters. These dinners were often a little crazy, and sometimes crowded, but they were home.

6. Making music with Sophia. Whether in Sacrament meeting or her living room, Sophia is one of those special people who embrace music with a passion that is all-encompassing. When I sing with Sophia, it is so easy to just let myself go and pour my heart out when I sing.

7. My two Moms. I am one of the fortunate ones who not only has a great mother, but a great mother-in-law, too! Both of these choice women are not only my "mom", but also among my best friends.

8. Visits with Becky. Although I miss several of my friends very much, Becky and I have been friends since 8th grade. We'd get together several times a year either in Summerville, Lugoff, or half-way between. I loved driving the back roads across the state and then spending the day with her shopping or dining or just walking around. And she's my "Thai buddy". Ben just won't try it, no matter how much I ask.

9. My house. Yes, I miss my house. I miss the fact that I owned the place that I lived, and everything was in pretty good shape. I miss the fact that it is relatively new and there were no major problems, like wood rot on the roof or, junky shelving in the kitchen cabinets or an AC unit that spews dust into the air like Mount Vesuvius. I miss the walls that were (partly) painted and the mural that Dorothy did for Connor. And I miss all my kitchen drawer space.

10. Ward Dinners. You know, there's just something about southern cooking. And if there was a ward dinner at church you'd know that there was going to be some mac 'n cheese, lasagna, fried chicken, rolls, and a bunch of desserts made with Cool Whip or chocolate - manna of the gods. And it would be an effort not to overeat. I just don't think you can find those kind of church dinners anywhere else.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Hello (hello!)

I think Kristi's given me her writer's block, so while I'm perusing my memories to come up with another great blog post, here's a cute video from the night of our Halloween party. Valerie and her daughter came and showed their great talent. I'm just amazed that this 15-month-old knows all the right places to sing the echo! Isn't she just so cute?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Morning Chuckles

Today I walked the girls to school as usual. It's just under 50 degrees, so it's a bit chilly. On the way home, Kelsey is sniffling her nose and says, "Mom, it's melting!"
"The stuff in my nose, it's melting in the cold!"

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Lights, Camera, Action!

This past week was one of a lot of videos and pictures. Here are a few we wanted to share!

Last Friday was a school holiday, so the kids and I went with my neighbor and her kids back to Hafer Park for a picnic and fun day. The above picture was taken in this beautiful old tree near one of the playgrounds. While we were eating lunch by the duck pond, Olivia asked if she could help feed Kenneth, who is about 11 months old. Soon Kelsey got in on the action, and the result was one of the funniest things I have ever seen. He was in hog heaven... so we took a video!

As we walked around the duck pond, Amber decided to go rolling down the hill with the kids. Here's another video...

And to be fair, here's the video of me. Amber talked me into it, and it is a STEEP hill!

Then on Saturday on the way home from grocery shopping in the morning I passed the local Festival Marketplace. I heard music playing and noticed a big sign for the Wild West Fest going on. It was supposed to be from 11am-5pm, so around 3:30 the kids and I went to see what was going on. It was almost deserted, and many of the vendors were packing up and going home. However, the band was still playing so we went to listen for a while. Kelsey got bit by the dancing bug and decided to "let loose". This video is just a small part of her performance. If you watch nothing else on this post, this is the one to see!

Then on Monday my neighbor was over for a little while with her kids, and Kenneth was holding on to the back of Connor's swing and it was just the perfect pose for another picture!

And finally, this morning before school Olivia propped Connor up on my pillows and took a couple pictures. This was the cutest one.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Fall Fun

Fall means 2 things: Halloween and changing leaves. We finally got both! Last Friday night we had a small Halloween party at our house with some friends. And wonder of wonders: Ben agreed to dress up in a costume! Here's a few pics from the night. I'd have more, but Ben was assigned to camera duty.

Ben as "The Road"

Anita as "Blackmail"
(In the background you can see my neighbor, Amber, as a polygamist.)

Connor as a bumblebee!

Olivia as a traffic light with her two friends: Hannah Montana (Tabitha) and the cheerleader (Sydney).

Okay, Kelsey was actually a Christmas tree again this year, but we didn't get any good pictures of her in costume. However, Ben did get this fabulous one of her with some fake vampire teeth. Frightening, isn't it?

So that was our Halloween. The next day (Saturday) we spent some time at Hafer Park. This is probably the biggest city park in Edmond, and we got some more great pictures I just HAVE to share!

There was this huge cement rock-climbing wall at the park, and Ben helped Kelsey to climb it to about our eye-level. Then we told her to hang on so we could get a picture. Her look of distress was just adorable! She's telling us she can't hold on any more.

And of course, Ben had to have a go at the rock-climbing wall...

...and Olivia... I had a go, too, but I didn't get very far and there weren't any pictures of it.

And there was this great picture of Connor sucking on Ben's shoulder!

And last, but not least: me and the kids at the duck pond. Aren't the colors amazing!?