Monday, December 31, 2007

Celebrating a Good Life

The Friday before Christmas my dear and beloved Grandpa Thaine Taylor passed away, just a few weeks before his 100th birthday. He was in the same room at home in which he was born when he closed his eyes for the last time on this earth. My parents were with him and explained what a bitter-sweet, emotionally spiritual moment it was. This is a wedding photo of my grandparents in 1927. He has been without my Granny for 5 years and is finally able to be with her again. He was the last surviving child of the 14 born to his parents, so I'm sure there has been a great reunion happening in heaven.

Here he is with Seth just back in September. What a legacy he has given all of us!

The funeral was the following Friday, and all of my siblings (sans spouses and kids) and cousins came to participate. All nine of us grandchildren took a few minutes at the funeral to relate our thoughts and memories of our grandpa. Here are a few snippets of my comments I wanted to share:

I will someday tell my children who won’t get to know their great-grandpa the way I have that he was a respectful, diligent, humble working man who was free of judgement and lived the best life he knew how. Whenever people of all walks of life have come to visit him, he always had a witty anecdote, words of encouragement or bit of farmer’s wisdom to pass along. Through my sadness is a happiness in knowing that he has received his reward for the life he lived. It has been said that when we are born to this earth, heaven cries and the earth rejoices. We should live so that when we leave this life, the earth cries and heaven rejoices. We cry now because we have lost our Grandpa, but heaven is surely rejoicing at his homecoming.

Quite a posterity! 2 children, 9 grandchildren, 19 great-grandchildren

"Chappell" kids Darrell, me, Terilyn, Gerilyn

Christmas fun!

Christmas this year was in Utah, and what a whirlwind tour we had! We traveled to Summit and Parowan first to visit Matt's grandparents and introduce them for the first time to Seth. They thought he was pretty OK! We went to a Christmas party at the church in Summit and here is Seth's first encounter with Santa.

Most times he'll happily go to just about anyone. On the plane ride, the flight attendant took him to the back of the plane and walked up and down the aisles without a peep. But put him on the lap of a scary red guy with white a fluffy, white beard and he loses it. Maybe he'll warm up to the big guy later.

I like this little picture of Seth sitting in a cute wooden high chair that's been used by his Grandma Diane and just about everyone else in the family.

Here are other random photos during the rest of our stay with my parents in Loa.

No peeking!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Friday, December 7, 2007

Walkin' in a Winter Wonderland

Last weekend Matt and I took the "Snow Train" to Leavenworth for our anniversary. Friday I took Seth down to stay with my sister Gerilyn in Tacoma, and Matt and I went to a nice dinner in Seattle and stayed in a hotel before catching an early train the next morning. It was a beautiful ride and the best part is that we didn't have to drive ourselves over Stevens Pass. Folk singers, accordian players and magicians entertained their way through the train cars. The closer we came to Leavenworth, the more snow we encountered. It's a beautiful little Bavarian town, quite touristy this time of year, but we didn't mind the crowds. It snowed the whole day and it got heavier later in the day. The smell of burning wood stoves, roasting chestnuts and cider meant Christmas is around the corner, and it made everyone a little more cheerful and celebratory.

We shopped and walked the streets admiring the Christmas displays and hospitality of this little town. At 4:30 every Saturday in December there is a tree lighting ceremony in the town square. To our pleasant surprise, there was a prayer by a local pastor and we all sang "Silent Night." What a nice surprise to have some "Christ" in Christmas at a civic event (not something you would experience in Seattle). We all counted down together and then all the lights came on in the town square and all the shops turned theirs on as well. What a magical sight!

That was the first time we've been away from Seth overnight, and we missed him terribly, so we kept getting out the camera to gush and coo over our little cutie. Last year's family photos were taken when Seth was just 2 1/2 months old, and here we are holding him on the special Christmas stool.
(photo courtesy of the Teeples)
Now here he is this year sitting up all by his big self "helping" us decorate the untangle the lights and decorate the tree.
This is such a bad video we took on our little digital camera (we have the longer better version on the camcorder), but this is what we looked at on our trip whenever we wanted to see our little guy in action. I think the flashing lights were making the autofocus feature do some strange things. Still, I love this short clip and cannot count how many times I've watched it!

Here's just one last random photo. Seth loves bath time and gets a kick out of lying on his back surrounded by bubbles. He seems to have fun hearing his voice with his ears under the water. It's obvious by the round tummy that we had just finished dinner!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

So thankful

This Thanksgiving we have extra reason to be thankful because five years ago today we were married! Of course we weren't married on Thanksgiving, but it's fun every few years to share our anniversary with such a fitting holiday. Here we are exiting the Manti Temple and first presenting ourselves to the world as Mr. and Mrs. Orton. So young, happy and full of optimism for our life ahead.

Today we're not quite as young, still happy and even more optimistic of what is to come. We've both added some meat on our bones (me moreso than Matt) but have gained so much more than that, namely some unforgettable experiences and our own little 25-pound "turkey". :-) Five years doesn't seem like that long because it's gone by so quickly, but we've got our pockets full of fun and life-changing moments to keep adding to.

Being the sweet husband he is, Matt had a dozen of assorted long stem roses waiting for me when I walked in the door from work yesterday. We celebrated by having Thanksgiving dinner with Matt's aunt and uncle in Issaquah followed by pie and games with Jen's sis Gerilyn and family in Bothell.

Oh, and I couldn't end without another photo of our little turkey himself.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

It's all fun and games until...

...Seth gets a fat lip. Our little Dare Devil has figured out how to climb up the stairs. Problem is getting down. Someone gave us a stair gate, but it doesn't work with the kind of railing we have, so until we get one that does, we are keeping an eye on the miniature Evel Knievel. This morning Matt was playing with him on the stairs, making sure he didn't do a nose dive and somehow he bonked himself and I think bit his upper lip because it was bleeding. He was understandably upset but was ready to play again after a little cuddle time with Mom. And it hasn't deterred him from returning to the scene of the accident...he still loves those stairs! You can see the battle wound only slightly here, and by the end of the day it just looked like a Botox injection.

Seth is a good shopper! We went to our neighborhood produce market today to get some fresh goodies for Thanksgiving dinner. We love having all the local fresh produce within walking distance of home.

Seth's daycare has an annual silent auction in December, and the parents donate items to raise money. I made this Christmas table runner that I hope will brighten someone's table and help make some money for new programs and equipment for the kids.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Happiness is...a full pantry

This weekend I finished the last of the season's food preservation. There are few things as rewarding as hearing the *plink* of a bottle top sealing, and then looking no further than our pantry shelves for good things in shiny bottles to eat!

Here's our bounty of bottles from this year: tomatoes, pears, orange-spiced pear butter, cherry almond glaze, and most recently I tried a new applesauce recipe that is super yummy so I'm sharing the recipe. You roast it in the oven, so there's no peeling, stirring or hovering over the pot to prevent it from sticking and burning. I usually buy unsweetened applesauce, but this recipe calls for a little brown sugar. I followed the recipe amounts except for the apples. I used a lasagne pan, which is larger than the 9x13 in the recipe, and I loaded it up to the top, so I figure I tripled the amount of apples so the sweetness is very minimal. I also used Golden Delicious apples since I had a 25-pound box. They are sweeter than the varieties the recipe calls for so they need less sugar anyway. Next time I might throw in a few Jonagolds to give it a nice rosy color. I love using my hand-crank food mill, which I don't get to do often. Anyway, here's the recipe:

Roasted Applesauce

1/4 c. water
6 TB packed light brown sugar
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
Pinch of coarse salt
2 TB unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3 pounds small assorted apples, such as Gala, McIntosh or Fuji
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine water, sugar, lemon juice and salt in a 9x13 baking dish. Scatter butter pieces over mixture and tope with apples. Cover with foil and roast until apples are very soft, 30 to 40 minutes. Working in batches, pass apple mixture through the medium disk of a food mill and into a bowl.

If you're stopping here, add cinnamon and other desired spices and serve warm, at room temperature or chilled. Applesauce can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days. I hot packed the applesauce into quart jars and processed them for 20 minutes in a boiling water bath.

Happy Harvest everyone!

Friday, November 2, 2007

There's a new sheriff in town (aka Halloween 2007)

Another festive and fun Halloween has come and gone. Even though it is technically Seth's 2nd Halloween, it's more like his first since last year he was 5 weeks old on Halloween, his costume was an orange pumpkin t-shirt and he slept through the whole thing. This year he was a cowboy, complete with a vest, chaps (both made by his mama) and a fancy deputy sheriff badge. We had a hat for him, but 1) he doesn't like things on his head and 2) it was too big anyway. We went to a fun party last Friday hosted by some friends where this photo was taken by Jason.

Cortney, Carrie, Jenni and Rachel thought of everything and really put on a spread, as you can seen in this photo.

We couldn't come up with a trusty steed for Seth to ride, so we put him on his school bus and called it good. It was all the same to him!

Here's our friendly skeleton I fashioned out of milk jugs. Next time we'll liven him up with a red beating heart or a glow stick in his hand.

We didn't take Seth out trick-or-treating this year, but I took him into work in the afternoon where he got lots of "awwww"s and some candy. He thought it was great fun that the doorbell kept ringing every 5 minutes to reveal all manner of cute, scary, creepy and funny costumes. We kept a tally and had 117 trick-or-treaters this year...give or take 5 or 10 - we were ambushed a couple of times and lost count in all the mayhem. We ran out of candy and started giving out whatever we could find...granola bars, bags of chips, etc. We thought about breaking into the food storage, but we didn't think a bag of dry pinto beans would go over too well with the kids!

Next year will likely be the one for Seth to venture out with Dad to wrangle up some goodies for himself, but for this year, we had our Halloween fill. We hope all of you did as well!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Get some while it lasts!

Sunshine, that is. It is such a beautiful day today that we spent much of it outside. We went for a walk up to the park before heading to the grocery store for a few things. As predicted, Seth fell asleep in the stroller on the way back and settled into blissful sleep in his crib when we got home.

I took the opportunity to do some yard work since daylight is precious this time of year. It's been awhile since I got out and played in the dirt, so I almost forgot how much I love the smell of it. I cleaned up some leaves, trimmed off the peonies, lilies and hydrangeas and I gave the herbs a haircut. I came in the house smelling of a mixture of sage, lemon thyme, oregano and mint...yum! So things are pretty much ready to hybernate for the winter. The last thing I did was plant 120 tulip and crocus bulbs - we're in for a treat next spring!

I was tagged for the "6-things-you-may-not-know-about-me" game. Most of my family and some friends may already know some of these, but here goes anyway:

1. I don't have any cavities. It's probably a combination of genetics and those cute little pink flouride pills we used to chew when I was a kid. Consequently, I'm a "teeth person"...that is, teeth are one of the first things I notice about a person. Show me those pearly whites!

2. I was in the Tournament of Roses Parade in 1991 as a senior in high school. No, I wasn't parade royalty, contrary to popular belief, but I was in the Wyoming High School All-State Marching Band. The Wyoming centennial was the year before, so our band performed all around the state during the summer with the culminating event being the big 9-mile march down Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena. We wore white pants, red and blue tops and white cowboy hats, and we called ourselves the marching Pepsi cans. I played piccolo, and every now and then I find myself humming "The Magnificent Seven" or "Ghostrider."

3. I'm a bit of a grammar, punctuation and spelling snob. Not that I'm immune to committing sins of the English language, but I cringe when I see apostrophes used incorrectly, or I want to slip in a comma when I spot a compound sentence without one. There is a cafe by my office and it advertises "sandwiche's" and "pastrie's". Ugh! If you're with me on this, read the book Eats, Shoots and Leaves. You'll love it. Before I went to kindergarten, I used to take the TV guide and color in every "a" in the whole thing...then move to the "b" and so on. I was in tears when I came home from my first day of kindergarten because I didn't have any homework. I wanted to be just like my big brother and sisters!

4. I won 6th place in the state 4-H Fashion Review for modeling a dress I made to wear at my sister's wedding. Although now most times I wish the "What Not to Wear" people would stage an intervention, I did know how to "work it," as they say! I was in 4-H for 9 years and learned so much that prepared me for life. We didn't have animals so I participated in the gardening, sewing, cooking and other myriads of domestic fields. I know, marching band and 4-H??? There's not much else to do in we have fun our own way!

5. I'm a closet country music fan. It mostly comes out in the summer. Maybe because of Independence Day, baseball season and family reunions, but I almost feel more patriotic when I listen to it.

6. I love college football - it's my favorite sport to watch. The day Matt and I were married was the Friday before Thanksgiving. The next day was the big BYU vs. U of U football game and we were going to be in Salt Lake, so I asked Matt if we would be able to go. We ended up not going, but the moment I asked the question, Matt knew he'd found the girl of his dreams!

If you're reading this, TAG YOU'RE IT!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Trigger Happy

I've probably taken over 100 photos in the last month, hence the title of today's blog. Most of the photos are random and unrelated to each other. Seth loves to smile and show off his teeth (Matt calls them "rat teeth"). The other day he was playing with his toys in the family room while I was fixing lunch, and suddenly I heard my exercise tape playing. He pulled himself up from lying on the floor to standing. He's a bit of a late bloomer, but he's growing and healthy - and it could have something to do with him landing in the 10th percentile for height and 90th percentile for head size!

Drop and give me 10! Seth loves to get up on his hands and tippee toes. An impressive yoga plank pose!

"Seth and the Giant Zucchini" - sequel to "James and the Giant Peach". This is one of the "vegetables of our labors" this summer.

Our little guy turned one on September 26th. He only had one nap that day so was sleepy during dinner. We sang a fast-forward "Happy Birthday" and he devoured handfuls of his Superman cupcake while fighting to keep his eyes open. After a warm bath, new jammies and a bedtime book, he was out for the night. What could be better? We had a birthday party at the park the following Saturday for him and his friend Adalyn who was born the day after he was. Thank you Carrie for the beautiful photos that captured the best moments! My friend Rosario made the cute cake.

His new toy bus - Our toy bin runneth over!

This is my favorite photo from his birthday party. At first it looks like Seth is crying, but we're actually sharing a good laugh. It is funny, intimate, tender and it shows Mom really soaking in the moment with her little boy.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Here we are!

We're finally jumping into the deep end of the blogging swimming pool. This is fun for us and a great way to document the happenings of our family with loved ones near and far. I'm going to keep playing with this and adding new posts and features. Hope you'll all visit our site from time to time and leave some comments. Love to you all.