Roast Beast

Monday, December 15, 2014

In the 4th installment of our Christmas play list we bring to you ROAST BEAST!

Just like a perfect roast, which begins its journey seared in a hot pan, dark and crisp so starts our holiday season.  Next the meat is roasted slowly on low in a warm oven. For our little family here in the Northwest, the closer to Christmas Day the more things slow down as we enjoy peaceful nights at home, together, in front of a slow fire, gazing at the lights of our Christmas tree.

We hope that this holiday brings you peaceful quiet nights with those you love!

Kenneth, Wendy and Awsumb

"I think the most likely reason of all may have been that his heart was two sizes too small."
1.       "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" - Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
2.       "Naughty Naughty Children (Better Start Actin' Nice)" - Grace Potter & The Nocturnals
3.       "Joel the Lump of Coal" - The Killers

"All the Who girls and boys would wake bright and early.  They'd rush for their toys.  And then!  Oh, the noise!"
4.       "Lonely Christmas Eve" - Ben Folds
5.       "Making Christmas" - Rise Against
6.       "His Favorite Christmas Story" - Capital Lights

"He took every present! … And he stuffed them in bags.  Then the Grinch, very nimbly, stuffed all the bags, one by one, up the chimbley!"
7.       "[Everybody's Waitin' For] Man with the Bag" - Brian Setzer Orchestra
8.       “Best Christmas Ever" - Julian Moon

"Cindy Lou Who... stared at the Grinch and said, "Santy Claus, why, why are you taking our Christmas tree?  WHY?"
9.       "Where Are You Christmas?" - Faith Hill
10.   "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" - Bright Eyes
11.   "Someday at Christmas" - Little & Ashley

"Every Who down in Who-Ville, the tall and the small, was singing!   Without any presents at all!"
12.   "Welcome Christmas" - cast of Glee
13.  "That's Christmas to Me - Pentatonix


Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!

Friday, November 21, 2014

If you have ever been to board game night at our house, you know that the first thing Kenneth does is tell everyone that "Wendy's plays ruthlless, so don't trade, ally or listen to her..". and if you have a question or need clarification on rules to ask him. OK, so I don't mind him being the rules guy, who wants to read those booklets to figure out how to get a new game started. And yes, he is always a fair judge... but he does he realy have to give up my dumb blonde persona before we even get started? After all these years I have decided this is part of his strategy because he knows he is easily distracted by conversation and doesn't usually win against me!

A few years ago Kenneth was really excited about a new game titled Pandemic. The object of the game is to cure disease before pandemic breaks out. Players work together to build research centers and find a cure. This is an everyone wins or everyone looses type of thing. From the getgo I just hated this game. Although you aren't supposed to play your cards face up and reveal your assests, players end up hinting with more than obvious clues to their fellow players. And by that time it's sort of just a going through the motions type of thing.

I guess I am just not a teamplayer... I want a winner! And that winner better be me! I just couldn't figure out why people loved this game. My own brother, on a visit during the years he lived in Africa, loved it. The first printing sold out and it was impossible to get a copy. I hated this game so much I almost snuck it in my brother's luggage and sent it with him back to Africa! Though Kenneth begs all the time to play Pandemic, to this day we haven't broken the game out again.

Kenneth came across this cartoon...

Sums up my feeling exactly! I play to win! Winner takes all.... Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!

I realized it may be because of my dislike for Pandemic that I have been avoiding learning a new game Kenneth bought ages ago, Agricola. In recent months and years the new games stack up. I don't know why I am so resistant to them. I guess because I know I can beat him at every game we already own.  I really owe Kenneth and apology and a game night!

What new games have you played recently?  What games can you not stand to play?

Things I think about...

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

I have always suffered from allergies and at first I loved 
Puffs tissues when they came out because it was so soft.  And more recently do you ever notice how all Kleenex is all soft nowadays?  Sometimes do you feel like it isn't absorbent?  Doesn't that defeat the purpose And have you ever noticed the backside is scratchy?  Why is that?


Busy Bee

Working on some of the last few posts... I just can't seem to sit down and work at my desk unless the room is clean and well... I keep just finding more projects to do as  try to clean this office up!

Hardy Boys at The Cubs!

Kenneth, Greg and Awsumb at Wrigley Field

Kenneth really hoped to go to one last Cub's game with his father last year when he was diagnosed with cancer.  We checked schedules and talked about plans.  But Duane was anxious to start treatment. By the end of the season Kenneth started saying "maybe next spring" though we both realized that he probably wouldn't make it past Christmas.  After Duane's passing Kenneth's focus changed to going to a Cub's game and creating new father and son memories with his own son, Awsumb.

Soo when we started making plans to go to Omaha to spend time with Shirley and her parents, just like Duane would do whenever possible, Kenneth tacked on plans for us to catch a game.  The whole trip was so last minute.  And Kenneth didn't even finalize any kind of Chicago plans until a week before we were supposed to fly out.  When called to check in with his mother he was surprised to learn she was already in Omaha.  And that she had driven out with Greg and her sister Cindy.  Kenneth then told his mother of his plans to spend a few days in Chicago and invited Greg to come along with us.  Awsumb was very excited about sharing and making memories with Uncle Greg.

The drive through Iowa was uneventful.  And much longer than expected.  We stopped at the Amana Colonies which are nothing more than a tourist stop these days.  After a late dinner we finally checked into our hotel.

Saturday morning we all woke up early and took the L to Wrigley Field.  It was windy and the weather was threatening us with thunderstorms.  We spent an hour or so checking out the shops and vendors and were among the first few people in line when the stadium opened.  Wrigley is such an amazing stadium. Mostly because although the team never wins the stadium is filled for each game.  And without all the jumbotrons and modern screens the fan experience if focused more on the game.  We had OK seats on the left field down the 3rd baseline.  I think Kenneth and I have sat in that same section before. It's hard to buy tickets to a stadium you aren't totally familiar with.  Because the stands are deeper and lower as apposed to steep, if you sit on a front aisle it's often hard to see over all the people walking by.  But it was OK and everyone was just excited to be at the game.

As we were walking over to get Awsumb his "First Time at The Cubs" certificate he was invited to stand in the "kids corral"  right on the field!  Apparently often the Cubs will come over and sign a few balls to kids in that area.  The morning had been raining so their was no on field practice.  But a few of the Braves players came over and Awsumb scored a few autographs and a photo.  By the time the game started it was a beautiful blue sky day!  Although still super hot and muggy!

Greg and Awsumb found the new Cubs Mascot, Clark

Awsumb's first Chicago Dog!  He loved it!

After the game Awsumb scurried over to the dugout in hopes of catching a ball or scoring some autographs.  The security guard passed out official sunflower seeds from the dugout to the kids that were waiting.

Finally we shopped around the outside of the stadium and that night all slept snug in our little beds!

The next day we started even earlier. The boys woke up to find the Cubs Fairy (A.K.A. Wendy) had left them matching Cubs shirts.  Another quick trip on the L. in time to be among the first kids in the stadium to score an Etch-A-Sketch give away.  Awsumb was first in line at the main gate!  We also wanted to be part of the first 1000 kids to get a bracelet reserving a spot to run the bases after the game.  The usher from the day before remembered Awsumb and invited him again into the "kids corral."  Ernie Banks (an old time Cub player) came over to give the kids come instruction.  Just before he left the lady with him took Awsumb's marker so he could sign his ball and then he turned away to move onto the next group of media waiting for him.  So close to an autographed ball!  But fun anyway.

rigley Field is celebrating 100 years so each home stand they celebrate a different decade and wear throw back uniforms.  This weekend was the 60's.  Love those stripes! So fun to make it to Wrigley during the anniversary!  And before the proposed improvements to add a big screen and other such modern expectations of major league fields.

This time we sat on the first base line.  Not too many rows above the Braves dugout. Perfect seats!  And we even had shade for most of the game, which was great because I am pretty much turn into a lobster in any amount of direct sunlight.  After a super exciting game the Braves won (no surprise).

Both games the seat next to us was left empty.  For such a full stadium it was something to take note and everyone commented that Duane was present with us.

(insert Awsumb running bases video)

Awsumb and Greg went over to line up for the kids run the bases event.  Awsumb was among the last of the kids in line so we waited quite a while for him to come out.  Always the considerate boy he is, he got a slow start making sure not to knock over any of the little kids.  But he picked it up for the end!  Awsumb is so anxious to be grown up.  He has always been 3 going on 30.  But sometimes it's good to still be considered a little kid. How fun to get to participate in the kids run the bases event!

After another long day we went back to the hotel for dinner and the Kenneth taught Greg and Awsumb a new card game.  I surprised the boys with some ice cream sundaes while they were playing and took some time to myself.

Magnificent Mile 

Monday morning the boys decided they were too exhausted to do much of anything.  Going to a movie sounded like a fun idea so after breakfast the boys headed to the theater while I packed us up.  Our flights didn't leave until later that evening so we drove through Chicago and ended up at the Field Museum and Alder Planetarium.  Kenneth and I had scoped it out before as an idea to spend the day there before the boys decided on a movie.  We decided not to do a run through since it was so late in the day at this point and had lunch at the cafeteria and took pictures of the Chicago Cityscape.  Awsumb and I always bring his little pocket kite alone with us on these sorts of adventures and had fun trying to get it in the air. The windy city wasn't so windy that day!

(Kite and Chicago pictures)

We had such an enjoyable trip to visit Kenneth's Grandparents and are thankful to Shirley for making this happen.  Spending time with Greg was an added bonus.  Awsumb has a special connection with Greg and we were happy to include him as part of our little family for the weekend.

At the airport we said our goodbyes and after delays with both flights we all made it home safe and sound.  Us to Seattle, Greg to SLC.


Wallace Family of Omaha

Last week we had the pleasure of visiting Kenneth's Wallace Grandparents in Omaha.  Years ago we used to catch up with them whenever we were in Utah at the same time. In recent years they have not been well enough for travel.  Shirley has been visiting them often and asked us to plan a trip soon as she would be going out again to accompany her mother to the doctor. My suggestion was October as summers are so short here in Seattle and traveling during the summer is shame when it's finally warm and sunny and great weather for being outdoors.  Instead we made last minute plans to fly out to Omaha within just a few short weeks.

Omaha, Nebraska is so much more green than I thought.  Sprawling suburbs much like Utah with wide roads and large parking lots and landscaping around businesses (no shortage of land here) and tons of trees!  I guess I always imagined all of Nebraska to be the color of golden wheat.  We arrived in Omaha earlier than we thought and stopped by to say hello to everyone at the Wallace Family home before we checked into our hotel.  Shirley had driven from Utah along with Greg and her sister Cindy.   Grandpa and Grandma have a sweet little home in a quiet neighborhood. Grandpa has cultivated the entire back, sides and even some of the front lawn in to a garden, which he cares for all day long every day.  Very impressive! 

Wednesday we all went out for a nice lunch.  The boys got to work on some heavy lifting projects Shirley had been saving for them.

Thursday morning Shirley took Grandma to her doctor appointment.  Afterwards she and Greg joined us on a visit to LDS Winter Quarters where the pioneers fleeing from Nauvoo stopped for two winters.  For 15 years Grandpa and Grandma Wallace were caretakers of the property around the cemetery where a modern LDS temple has since been built.

That afternoon Shirley's brother Sam joined us for dinner.  Grandpa Wallace and Shirley prepared Grandma's famous steak and gravy for the occasion.

The day before Kenneth and Greg realized there was a Triple-A stadium in town, home of the Storm Chases (Kansas City Royals) and that the Ohio Cubs (Chicago Cubs) were in town.  We dismissed the idea of catching a game.  But on our way back to the hotel Kenneth decided the game was probably only and inning or two in and we should just go for it.

The stadium is truly one of those 'field of dreams"' in the middle of cornfields outside of town.  While walking up to the gate it was obvious we had picked a busy night as it was $2 beer night.  The stadium was packed.  Someone must have heard us talking about where we needed to go to get tickets and a young man at the gate gave us 3 free tickets just a couple rows over the dugout.  A pretty fun little field. Kenneth caught a flip up from one of the Cubs players as they ran into the dugout after the inning. Triple-A baseball is always a lot of fun.  From the "second inning snack boy" who served cheese-it's and sunflower seeds to the players on the field to the mascot races... very cute, family fun entertainment.  Throughout the game the announcer played music and the crowd got excited waving their hats to "stir up the storm." 

Friday we said goodbye to Shirley, Cindy and Grandma and Grandpa Wallace and we Greg and his belongings in our rental car for the next leg of our journey....

Father's Name

Sunday, June 15, 2014

A bit of a somber Father's Day this year...

Father’s Family Name

You got it from your father
It was all he had to give
So it's yours to use and cherish
For as long as you may live

If you lost the watch he gave you
It can always be replaced;
But a black mark on your name
Can never be erased

It was clean the day you took it
And a worthy name to bear
When he got it from his father
There was no dishonor there

So make sure you guard it wisely
After all is said and done
You'll be glad the name is spotless
When you give it to your son

Maybe Next Year?

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Awsumb was excited to play two teams this season.  Majors Braves and 50/70 Cubs.  It was exhausting and who would have ever thought we would think something was too much baseball.  This sure came close.  Awsumb had a lot of success on the 50/70 team and was excited to play with old friends and teammates on the Braves.

 When Awsumb was just a toddler in the afternoons he would sometimes ask to watch baseball. He didn't really watch much kids TV after a few morning shows so the afternoon request was always granted. In the afternoons the games that we often found to watch were Braves games.  Awsumb would get so excited pointing out the A's on their hats and say, "My team Mommy! My team!"  Then he would watch closely and as the pitch was thrown he would yell to the batter, "SWING!"  My brother Brian and his wife reside in Atlanta.  Awsumb was very excited to play for the braves as his Little League Majors team.

This past year Little League introduced a new level, 50/70.  Our league convinced Kenneth to get out league started in this level and coach a team this year.  As the league uniform coordinator I set aside some Cubs uniforms for the new team.  It was slow going and a bit of a bad news bears years as we had so many double rostered kids and just putting a team together every game was a lot of work.  But you have to start somewhere.  Hopefully all the kinks are worked out and next year will be pretty good!  Awsumb and Kenneth were excited to play and coach the cubs in honor of Duane's passing.

I didn't get many pictures this season as I was recovering from emergency surgery I had at the beginning of April.  But here are a few...
(coming soon...)

 I'm ready to play today!
Look at me, I can be
-John Forgerty

Rye Bread?

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

I have always had very vivid dreams.  Recently I dreamed we were packing up after one of Awsumb's little league games.  It was snowing!  He was separated from us and as I started walking around trying to find him I realized we were at my high school campus.  A moment later someone says to me, "You're the graduation speaker and you've been asked to speak on rye bread" and pushes me on stage.  While walking up to the stage I came up with this...

Apparently your high school theme this year has been 'Rye Bread.'  I don't know much about rye bread, except that I guess it's used to make Reuben sandwiches. Actually I am not even sure what makes up a Reuben, but I think it's pastrami, mustard, sauerkraut on rye bread.   I am not even sure I like Reuben sandwiches, but they always sound good.  At any typical sandwich shop you would order one,  it's probably oversized and over priced.  So it's probably best to share it with someone. 

And that's pretty much how life works.  You're not going to like everything in life.  But you might enjoy it anyway if you find someone to share it with.

Yes, I totally gave this speech in my sleep!  Woke up and thought, they that's not a bad thought...

Anyone want to split a Reuben?

Urban Survival Kit Project

Sunday, May 25, 2014

While recovering from my surgery I felt pretty helpless. I have never had a broken bone, surgical procedure, even a cavity that needed filling.  So you can imagine how uncomfortable with was to have staples. I was afraid to sit on the couch because I didn't know if I could get OFF the couch!  And even after the staples were removed I was just wiped out. I wasn't up for much. I walked just about every day.  Really, really slowly.  That first week Kenneth took me to a different store every night just to walk around.  And after that I was up and around the neighborhood.    I had my set backs and over did things trying to drive 4 weeks post op.  But I tried my best to take it easy.

At home I was distracted, yet couldn't do anything. It was a weird feeling.  I didn't even watch a movie for the entire first month I was home, because I just couldn't focus on anything.  I was frigidity.  And because the surgery was not planned, I came home to a pretty chaotic house. So being on strict orders not to lift, vacuum, etc. I felt trapped.  Then it came to me.  The emergency kits in the coat closet were so outdated.

Awsumb's was more a 'go bag' in case of emergency. Packed with clothing and more comfort items if he had to spend the night away..  I used to update but had not in some time.  He had clothes from when he was 8 in there!  I dove in deep and I guess it alleviated some of the helpless feelings i had about my current situation.

Also remember, I went to the ER with only a chapstick.  NO bag, nothing ready to go. And of course Kenneth brought and odd assortment of items. I had wanted to build a better go bag for Kenneth and I after the last time we I had to quickly pack a bag in the cold dark house when we left our home during a major windstorm and power outage.  That's when I learned that what you really want packed and ready to go in an emergency bag is more personal and comfort items.  This frees your time to gather or take care of more important things around your home.  And chances are it won't be as much life or death circumstances that you will need such items.You are more likely to need a bag for an overnight stay at a hospital, a friends house or to gather local community center, school or church during  local emergency disaster type situation.  And in the very worst of times you sure aren't going to want any poor quality, dollar store type survival item.

I have kept 72 hours kits in our cars for years. Basic stuff like water, food, space blankets, etc. But after so many years they become depleted and I had not gone through them in a while.  They were pretty decimated.  Which is good, it meant the items I had in them were useful! I always kept extra thing like socks and comfort items.  I can't tell you how many times having toilet paper, towels and other items ready to go came in handy over the years when out and about.

I got to work reorganizing what we already had going on and what I decided would be idea.  I found lots of you tube videos of people who packed Urban Survival Kits and this is what I came up with...

72 Hours Car Kits - Backpacks, one for each vehicle.  Water, food,shelter, tools and beyond the basics include socks, gloves, rain jacket, personal items.

Child GO Bag - Backpack - not to heavy, mostly comfort items.  A change of clothes, a new toys, book.  A letter from parents and a family photos.  A few snacks.

Adult Go Bag - Carry On Bag including toiletries and personal items, change of clothes including socks and underwear.  Personal papers and documents and a "Grab List" (more on that in an upcoming blog)

72 Food and Water - I used a roll on sized suitcase that has a funny large rigid handle on it and so it's often taken from us when we use it as a carryon when we fly.  It's perfect to store 72 hours of quick and easy food and water. It can be rolled along behind us, thrown in a vehicle, etc.

Survival Tool Kit - A duffle bag full of light weight basic tools and survival items to start fire, build a shelter, etc.  This bag is also easy to throw in the car and convenient for everyday car camping or a long road trip.

Check back for additional blogs with more specifics including lists and photos of items included in each bag.