Thursday, December 27, 2012

There's no place like home...

I had "happy feet" this entire Christmas season!

 Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!!

 Over the river and through the woods, the cousins they all came!
(Sorry Trev and Tyler--awkward!)

 For the annual talent show....which actually featured some very fine talent!

 Now we don our gay apparel, falalalalalalalala!

 Hearts knit together as one!

 Sugar and spice and everything nice...with a little puppy dog tail

 Just be'cuz!

We are family!

The fam continues to just keep growing!

'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house....

All the creatures were stirring...and dogs were everywhere!

The stocking were hung (or at least laying about)! While Andy and the gang kept their eyes on Santa Tracker! Finally when he landed in Wisconsin, right before midnight, we all made a dash and turned out the light! 
Zac was all worried we might sleep in, but Andy made sure were ready to begin! 

This was the last shot before I laid my camera down and now I realize how much I missed!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Deck the Halls

"Tis the season of shopping, wrapping, eating, running, decorating, eating, making a list, eating, checking it twice, cleaning, company and eating a little more. There wasn't a lot of picture taking going on--sorry Jessica.  I did want to let everyone know I am thinking of all of you and wishing you the happiest holiday!

No matter how busy, I do find myself stopping for a few minutes each day to watch the birdfeeder (although, somedays I feel horrible when I realize I am chumming dinner for the cat!)

These are ladies who understand most what it takes to make an "Ussery" Christmas because we all inherited the same "falalala" gene!
 We did get to rest one evening, at the beautiful Riverwoods in Provo, with my Mom as we celebrated her birthday dinner. The moon on the breast of the new fallen snow gave a luster of midday to all of us below!

Cathy, how did I miss noticing your cute purse that night--love it!

Did I mention eating!! La Jolla Grill--a new favorite!

And our annual Derby Girl lunch was another Christmas memory! Lots of food, fun and generosity as everyone donated to Andy's Friends Clubhouse--thank you, thank you ladies!

Cheryl always has a "creative" Christmas house from the gingerbread Christmas card, to the lego Christmas village to the Food Bank Christmas tree--you never know what is around the next corner-thanks for being the "hostess with the mostess" this year!

 Charlotte, one the Derby Girls--third generation--was the hit of the party!


And Jessica and Rissy got to attend through the miracle of cyberspace--not exactly the same as being there but still a miracle!

Watch out Charlotte--you probably inherited the Christmas gene too! It makes you smile in red.

Draper Park is all all lit up "like a Christmas tree" and has provided a lot of smiles and even one romantic walk with my sweetheart this year!

Besides the birds, this Christmas cactus, a fresh tree and my poinsettias are the part of Christmas that make me slow down, just for a moment and "smell the pines!"

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.....a yeah, we will be up all night...good luck my fellow "ladies of the evening!"

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A Little Bite of the Big Apple!

 We were fortunate enough to take a weekend trip to New York City over Thanksgiving weekend.  It was a mellow trip in light of the difficult week before, but it also provided a chance to be together as a family--as a mother, I have always enjoyed having my family "confined" together in a small space--for a short time anyway.

My previous visits to NYC have been during the summer months--it is a whole new, unique experience to be there in the cold, but especially during the festivities of the holidays! We missed the lighting of the tree at Rockefeller Center by a day, but we got to enjoy the unlit tree anyway.

It was a weekend of window shopping which was an experience in and of itself. So ladies, cropped pants, bright shoes and the need to lose twenty pounds seems to be the style of the season. And once again--didn't see any "butt bling" in the fashion capital of the U.S.

Not that fashion was a big issue, because all we cared about was a hat, gloves, scarf and warm coat--the city that never sleeps at night is still very, very cold!

Everywhere you looked the decorations were bright, cheery and lit up the skies!

Even the building were "alive" with good cheer!

My sister, Cathy, gave me the heads up on going to Bryant Park for their over-the-top delicious, to die for Belgian Waffles--we discovered the hot chocolate on our own. For a few minutes I felt like I had stepped into my Christmas village. The music, the decorations, the cold and the cheer were magical!

From "magical" we walked ten blocks south to the "miracle on 34th Street"--Macys! It is huge! I guess that is why it is the  "world's largest department store"! The very old escalators were fascinating--Jake had a little shopping overkill--oh well, future accommodating husband in training!

And the windows...oh the windows...I felt like a little girl again!

The sheets alone cost $600--didn't even try to figure out what the entire ensemble was worth.  I took a picture to help me remember what I would buy if I ever found myself "bedridden!"

Date Night--they have been few and far between the past couple months so when we do find ourselves in the same town we really, really appreciate it!

We all got to to celebrate Jacob's 15th birthday--he got to choose where we ate--but Katelyn helped guide him! 

Katelyn was our guide as she filled us in on who was who, who was singing what and which classic records she also owned!

No trip to New York is complete without a trip down the Great White Way! Steve and I saw "Evita" with Ricky Martin. We had great seats very close to the front--I always love it when you know the words to all the songs!

We also spent the big bucks and went to "The Book of Mormon" it was raunchy, irreverent and had a very sweet story. I am glad we saw it. It did what Matt Stone and Trey Parker, the creators of South Park do best--hits you right between the eyes with truth wrapped up in some very funny lines. There is a reason is has remained so popular, because it speaks to everyone who has ever "believed," no matter what the religion. Not to mention incredible music and dancing.

Katelyn and Jake saw Spiderman. Sitting in the front row, Jacob said he got spit on by Spiderman during the show--he called it "sitting in the splash zone!"

It was slightly unsettling to hear that a man was killed in this very station on this very train just a few days after we were there. Always, always stand behind the yellow line!

As always, my favorite part of visiting any city is our "walk-about!" Just walking with no where to go, wandering in and out of shops, seeing where people actually live, checking out the dog-walkers, eating in small out of the way crepe shops, watching kids play on school grounds, watching students at NYU and pretending for a few minutes that I am just another New Yorker--although I am afraid my Nikon around my neck gives me away!

Last, I will repost what I said on FaceBook,  "I posted last week how I am a "mountain girl" and that is where I find my center. Well I married a "city guy" who often reminds me that he finds his inspiration in concrete and steel. He gets the same rush from the hustle and bustle of urban life that I get from pine trees and starry nights. Skyscraping buildings keep him looking heavenward. This week standing at "Ground Zero," at the 9/11 memorial, I totally got it! It was a reminder of all things sacred--birth, death, rebirth, and the peace that can follow tragedy. What an inspired place of healing!"

After a challenging week, I found myself very reflective. I have felt a tie to this part of New York ever since my first visit there shortly after 9/11 when the gaping hole and gaping wound in the soul of our country was still fresh. Ten years later, the city is healing. There is a feeling of peace in this place of so much heartache. I was so touched by the design of the memorial, it is certainly a place where art transcends the tragedy.

Standing in a very long line to get into the memorial I was amazed by the gathering of so many different people from so many different places all bonded together by this experience--it is so important that we occasionally travel, spread our wings and fly above our provincial lives to see that we are still all americans, all sharing in this american experience, all desiring peace--especially after this divisive election season.

Like the Phoenix Bird-a beautiful, new building is rising from the ashes. Seeing this was worth the whole trip!