I had to use the word crazy in the title of this post. It just fit! We had a wild and wonderful Thankgiving week with a total of 23 people all running around having a fun family fest! We had aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, siblings and in-laws together under one roof (mine!) and it couldn't have been more fun. Besides eating non-stop, some of us went to zumba, some ran the 5k Robinson Turkey Trot, some cheered them on, some rode bikes, some hot-tubbed, some watched movies, some worked on a 10 hour Young Women's sewing project, some saw New Moon, some sat around and talked, some went fishing, some paddled around in the paddle boat, some played with the 4 dogs, some made what seemed like dozens of trips to Walmart, some shopped Black Friday, some got up early to run, some slept in, and ALL of us had a great time. The kids made marshmallow towers and chocolate lolly pops and candy necklaces. Then the moms all made dentist appointments. :) The kids also wrote and produced a wonderful Thanksgiving pagent including costumes and song. It was so great! What a talented bunch of actors we have! We fought over the 5 pumpkin pies, 4 chocolate pies, 2 apple pies, brownies, chocolate cake, pumpkin cake and dozens of cookies. We had two turkeys: one oven cooked to perfection and one deep fried, also to perfection! But the highlight of the week was Joe's cousin Caroline who made a surprise announcement. After scriptures and prayers one night she said she wanted to read something to us. She pulled out a large envelope and told us that she recieved her mission call 5 weeks earlier and had waited to open it so we could all be there. We were completely shocked. No one had any idea that this was coming except her parents. She opened it up and we could not believe where she was called. Leeds, England!! Just an hour or two away from where Joe's sister Suzanne lives with her family. It was an amazing and wonderful event. And the absolute highlight of the week. So now we are just left with a few stragglers who will be departing in the next day or two. Then back to crickets for the next eleven months until the next Family Fest Turkey Day. Who knows? Maybe by then Landon will have an announcement? :)
I have the most amazing friends. I don't have a lot of them because I am really picky. But the ones I have are AMAZING. They are inspiring, talented, uplifting, witty, smart, motivating and fun. I have my friend, Jennifer, who teaches yoga and zumba between Shakespearean productions and intellectual pursuits. There is sweet, cheerful Monica who has taught me everything from toll painting to jewelry making and a hundred other creative things over the 25 years that we have been friends. There is amazing Ali who makes movies and does body building all while flipping houses and day trading on the side. There is kind, funny Amy who is as quick witted as it gets as well as compassionate and sensitive and service oriented. Always thinking of others. I have Angela who has a degree in art history, a masters in business and teaches statistics at IU while also raising money for charity as well as raising a little boy. I have amazing friends. I love my friends! I was so blessed this year to have been able to spend one on one time with each of them. Jennifer and I went to Spain for two weeks and had a total blast. Jennifer, Amy and I went a cruise to Mexico for a week. Amy came to see me here in Robinson. So did Monica. I got to go to Arizona early this summer and visit them as well. Last weekend I was privileged to spend a few days with Ali at the Heartland Film Festival. Her first short film was chosen to show there (and ENORMOUS HONOR!) and she was kind enough to get me a directors pass so that I could hobnob with all the directors and producers there. I met Michael W. Smith (my husband's and son's favorite singer) as well as other high power and talented people. While there I ran into an old high school friend who now produces films. He was there at the festival showing his latest film starring Mira Sorvino. Oh yeah. Big leagues. We saw some great films (and some not so great) and had such a wonderful weekend. I thank Ali for allowing me to share it with her. I really do have amazing, inspiring friends and I have had a wonderful year because of them. So, thank you, amazing friends.
Sophie will turn 11 on Tuesday. For her birthday she wanted a hot pink ipod. I think she is officially a tweener! We got her the ipod with a cake to match. I had to take close ups of the cake because the details were so great! She had a sleepover last night with her best buddies. Then this morning we went to the local airstrip where they were giving free airplane rides to kids. I was able to talk my way onto the plane even though I'm just slightly over the age of 17. Anyone who knows me isn't surprised by that little detail. I also talked the pilot into flying over my house so I could get some cool aerial shots of my neighborhood. It was really fun. Sophie's friend, Annie, had never been on a plane so that made it extra special. I'm also including a totally unrelated picture of a wall in my basement. I made this cork board and put all my favorite travel pictures on it. In the center is a beautiful graphic that my friend Amy gave me that says, "Love One Another" with a map of the world on it. On the sides are some handmade wall hangings from Vietnam. If you want to read the comments I wrote on the aerial shots you will want to click on the picture to enlarge it.
Most of the summer I've been gearing up for the day when Landon would pull out of the driveway, wave goodbye and head west to BYU. I've been crying about it for a year. So when it finally happened at 4:00am on Saturday morning, I was surprised to find that I wasn't even sad! He has wanted this for so long, how could I be anything but happy for him? I KNOW that he wasn't a bit sad to be leaving me! I spent the last 6 months trying to cram every bit of wisdom and forgotten lessons down his throat. Every day I thought of yet another life lesson that he needed before he went out on his own. There was the Eagle Scout award to finish, the Duty to God award to earn, the independent study Trig class he needed to finish. The packing to do, the applications and forms and scholarship info needing to be processed. I was honestly every teenage boy's worst nightmare. But he got it all done. Eagle Scout..check. Duty to God...check. Entrance to college...check. Scholarship...check. Some of these things may have been done at the last possible second, but he did them. And I take FULL CREDIT! So now he is gone. I have shed only a few tears. Mostly I'm just so proud of him and happy that this chapter of his life has finally begun. I just try as hard as I can to not think about the chapter of my life that has just ended. His Hands by Annalise Kunzelman His hands Are my brother's hands; The Lord's hands, Doing the Lords's work. Like Dad's hands They are strong, Powerful. They help, and Work, and Play with Friends and with Me. I see them writing Essays, Beautiful compositions, And arrangements. Creating something Of his own. They move, talk, And explain things To me. Using signs and gestures. His hands Are music hands; Pounding, flying, Beating, tapping Always, all the time. Soon, his hands Will be leaving hands. They will wave in the air, "Good-bye!" And go away To somewhere new. But for now His hands are here. His hands Are my brother's hands.
Why is it that I just can't seem to pull off writing on my blog more than about once a month? Could it be my excruciatingly, painfully slow internet speed? Or the fact that I have nothing interesting to write? Or maybe I'm so busy cutting grass and pulling weeds that I can't seem to find the time? Hmmm. Maybe all of the above. And since only about three people even look at my blog I guess no one is really disappointed. But I was hoping that this would turn into a great way to keep a family history since I haven't written in my journal since 1997 and haven't put together a scrapbook since my kids learned to talk. Bummer. It's just not gonna happen. Oh well. Once a month is better than nothing. So on to the latest... My good friend Amy and her three kids came all the way to Robinson just to visit me. Amazing! I can count on ONE HAND how many friends have come to visit me here in the last 7 years. Actually, I think I can count them on one finger! It was so much fun to be with them. They are fun, smart, wonderful people who are a pleasure to be around. We had a great time just hanging out, swimming, taking pictures and spending some time in St. Louis seeing the sights. Thank you, Demkes, for visiting me. It meant the world.