Monday, January 19, 2009


As you all know, Annie has been up here going to BYU and because of that we are blessed. Not only do I get to spend every Sunday with her but we also have arranged to have a "girls night out" with all the cousins and Bon and me once a month. I am really excited about that. Anyway, one Sunday while she was here she told me that she and some other family members were going to do the Biggest Loser contest and asked me if I wanted to join in on the fun. My first response was, What? you think I need to lose weight? (ha ha) and then reality hit and I jumped on the chance. Angela is heading it up and there are about 35 of us in the running for the big jackpot at the end. Mitch is doing it with me and we have been having fun playing racketball together and exercising and eating better. Chad joins in on the racketball games too. (ask him who wins?) Well, I stick to the plan like clockwork. Mitch however, whose nickname is Munch, does not. He snacks whenever he gets the chance. I will be laying in bed and all of a sudden get a big whiff of chocolate. "Honey, are you eating something?" "Noooo" (more chocolate smell) Okay.,.,., so the bottom line is this. We weigh in and I am pretty darn excited that I have lost 3 pounds in the first week. That was awesome for me. Mitch gets on the scale and he lost 4 pounds. How does that happen? I don't get it. Anyway, we are going for the gold together and there will be no BEFORE pictures but I will be sure and put up the after shots! Wish us luck

Where did all the Time go?

This has been a heck of a couple of months. This December was not our typical Christmas time of year where we sing carols and go to holiday shows, have friends over for dinner and concerts. This Christmas was spent trying to get through the sadness of losing my dear brother to his battle with cancer and planning for his funeral. It was tough. As much as I am going to miss him, this cancer was no fun and Kelly was in a lot of pain. We were grateful that our Heavenly Father decided to end his suffering and brought him back home. Kelly passed away on the 15th of December and we held his funeral on the 19th. It was good to see all of our family members and friends that ventured out in the middle of the biggest snow storm of the year. I miss you brother, not a day goes by.

Mitch and I did our first day of Christmas shopping on the 22nd. The stores were packed. Pretty sure I don't want to have to go through that again! In any case, we got the things we needed, and not so much the things everyone wanted, and it was maybe one of the best Christmas' ever. I felt the spirit of the entire thing and it made it one that I will remember forever.

Grandma Critchfield (mom) came and spent the night with us on Christmas Eve, as she always does, and got up early to open presents. It is always a bonus when she is there with us. She makes me laugh. Chad also spent the night with us. This was his first time overnight since he moved out last July. It was just like old times with him there.

Chad has been complaining for months now that he hasn't had a girlfriend. We decided to get him something that would help relieve his lonliness during the long winter months...a girlfriend pillow. I personally thought it was quite hilarious but Chad didn't quite find the humor in it.

Kylie has become the resident Guitar Hero Master around here. Whenever a new victim comes over she "lures" them in. I warn you now! Beware. She has gotten really good at it and it is fun to watch her move those tiny little fingers up and down the neck of the guitar. Of course she got the new one for Christmas this year...

I honestly can not remember a single time that I have taken a picture of Mitch at Christmas that he has not had his eyes closed. It really has become quite the tradition. This one however is a bit more peculiar. If you were unware, Mitch is perhaps the biggest New England Patriots fan there ever was or perhaps will be. On game days he has to wear his Tom Brady (quarterback) Jersey and his "gameday" hat. He has calanders, mugs, shirts, stickers, decals for his truck, license plate holder, you name it and he probably has it. Anyway, I found something that he didn't have, and got it for him for Christmas. It was a wooden box and on top was engraved the symbol of the Patriots and inside was a hand made pen. HE was pretty excited and the picture kind of shows it...sorry honey.

I love being warm. Which is kind of ironic because of the fact that I love the snow. It just isn't Christmas around here with there being a snow storm and we were blessed with a doosey. Anyway, back to the warm part. I kind of have this foot fetish where I love to have warm snuggly slippers. I have owned perhaps 6 really great pairs of slippers in my lifetime, 5 of which have mysteriously disappeared. It didn't really occur to me what was happening to them until one day when I asked Kylie if I could borrow some perfume and went into her room and the closet....were ALL of my slippers. Every one of them. Now don't get me wrong. I don't mind sharing, however, if you have ever seen Kylie wear a pair of shoes...lets just say....they are not long for this world. So when Kylie asked me what I wanted for Christmas, all I told her was slippers. Nice, warm, fuzzy slippers. She came through for me. I was so excited for my new slippers.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

What I'm Thankful For...

It has been awhile since I have posted but I figured I just needed to sit down and update a little. We decided that since Kelly was unable to travel anywhere for Thanksgiving we would all come to him. It was the first time in quite awhile that we were all here together. (Unfortunately Kelly wasn't feeling well enough to come to Mom's for dinner so we all took turns and went and saw him) It really was a lot of fun to get together and just unwind for a bit. The cousins had a lot of fun teasing and laughing at each other. They really know how to have a good time. They had us all laughing the entire day.

Grandma was nice enough to let us have dinner at her house but only if we brought all the food and did all the clean up...hmmm...sounds like my kinda hostess gift!

Bob and Tracy came up from Arizona and Bill and Nancy came down from Idaho. Even though Kelly and Bonnie couldn't be there with us, we did get to have Kimber and Jen.

Bob and Tracy flew into town on Wednesday to surprise Annie, who is up here going to BYU and she was totally shocked. She just stood there in the restaurant with her mouth open for about 30 seconds and I am not exaggerating. I wish I would have had my camera but she might have caught on that something was up if I was wandering around town with her with a camera around my neck. We went and saw Twilight that night, which by the way I loved.

The next day was turkey day and along with that come the famous TURKEY BOWL. The young men in our neighborhood play football against the leaders every Thanksgiving morning. It always starts out as a "Friendly" game of flag football but it inevitably ends up going to a not so "friendly" game of tackle. The young men used to win quite frequently when Chad was on the team but now since he is on the men's team, the men are winning. Chad thinks that might have something to do with him. (Chad always thinks good things happen because of him) Chris came and played with them this year. It was fun to go and watch them both play together. With Chris on the line and Chad making catches, how could they lose?

It was a great weekend except for the fact the Bob ended up getting the flu Thursday night and was in bed until Saturday when they had to check out to go to the airport. Thanks Bob for exposing us all to the flu...let's see....what are we thankful for? Actually we all felt really bad for him and are glad that he is feeling much better and didn't "chuke" on the plane. (up chuck and puke all rolled into one) Here are some pics from the weekend! I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving too. Wished we all could have been together, now that would be a party!

The cousins...

The girls

We all got a little tire of waiting for the food right Annie?

Once it got there, we all got a little excited

Bill and Bob sharing a moment

It has been quite awhile since Bill and Nancy have come down together and it was great to have them there.

What am I really thankful for? My Family!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Kelly Update

I have been getting lots of phone calls and emails from family and friends asking about Kelly and how he is doing. I thought this might be the easiest and quickest way to get the word out to all of you who have shown love and concern.
For those of you who don't know, Kelly was diagnosed with stage 4 esophageal cancer last May and his prognosis was not very promising. The cancer had metastasised into his lower back on his first lumbar region. He has been fighting long and hard these past few months with all sorts of different treatments, all with promising outcomes.
Unfortunately he is not doing so well at the present time. He has been in a lot of pain and it seems as if the cancer has spread. The pain is no longer just in his back but has also gone down into his hips and both legs down to his knees. We are very greatful at this time that he is not having difficulty swallowing. Luckily we have some pain specialists who come into the home and have made him as comfortable as possible, which is hard to do considering the amount of pain he is constantly in. He is fighting hard and all of your prayers and faith I know would be greatly appreciated by him and his family. Thank you all for your constant love and concern.
He has taught me the meaning of faith and what it means to never give up. I love you Kelly.

The Things You Learn About Your Friends...

We had the
opportunity tonight to go with some friends to the "Farley Family Reunion." For those of you who don't know, it is a one man show and he portrays all of the characters that you might see at your own family reunion. It really was quite funny and you would be surprised at how many people that you actually think you recognize. Curt and Kathy Lowe invited us and Ryan and Cassie Farley, no relation to the play (although some of the people in the audience might have been related to them lol)

We went out to eat first at this new restaraunt called Paradise Bakery and Deli in American Fork. None of us had ever been so it was a new experience for all. The food was actually really good and their cookies were to die for. While we were waiting in line, they brought around a sample bowl of the cookies and the chocolate ones were pretty amazing. Of course most of us only got one sample because Cassie kept making me steal them out of the bowl for her when the server wasn't looking. We finished up dinner and headed for the play.

Well we got there about 40 minutes early so we decided to kill some time in the car chatting. I have decided that this could be a dangerous situation. The more time you have, the more things you learn about your friends that you had no idea. It really can be quite enlightening. For instance...

I learned that it is Curt's birthday in 3 weeks and he is turning a REALLY BIG number. Happy birthday Curt.
I also learned that Kathy and Curt have a friend by the name of Harry Orchid and you never know when he might show up.
I learned from Cassie that you should never brush your teeth with anti itch cream because it makes your tongue swell up and go numb. (thanks for the tip Cassie)
We finally killed enough time and went into the theater. As we entered we had to make nametags for ourselves just like you were at a real family reunion. Everybody's last name had to be Farley since that was the name of the play. It wasn't a problem for Ryan and Cassie but the rest of us made up our own names. Mitch was Charlie Farley (which by the way is Ryan and Cassie's son's name) and I became Frannie Farley.
We got to our seats and as I looked around, I swear that there must have been actors in the audience because there were some really weird looking people there. The lady sitting behind us must have thought that the show was the funniest thing she ever saw because she laughed so hard at every comment that she would put herself into coughing fits. Along with her was the woman who must have had a bit of a cold because I honestly have never heard anyone blow their nose for so long and so loud. The guy in front of us, whose name must have been Bubba, had this thick ol mop of hair on his head that he shook into Kathy's popcorn. She actually had to change seats because she couldn't see around his head.
The evening ended with lots of laughs and friendships made stronger...thanks for the night guys, it was one I won't forget.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Susie Homemaker? I think not

There is something about the fall season that makes me feel like Betty Crocker or Martha Stewart. I am not sure if it is the crisper air or the smells of people using their fireplaces but there is something in the air. It seems like wherever I drive there are fruit and vegetable stands with cars stopped along the way buying produce. I decided to stop. That I think was my first mistake. It is kinda like going grocery shopping when you are hungry. The damage had been done. I bought 2 lugs (what is a lug anyway?) of tomatoes. One regular and one roma. I was actually feeling pretty good about the whole thing. On the way home however, it hit me. What the crap? What am I going to do with 2 lugs of tomatoes? I know...salsa., stewed tomatoes and spaghetti sauce.

I got home and pulled out the dust covered canning jars. (not joking the dates on the lids were 1997) I loaded up the dishwasher, had Mitch run to the store and buy lids, got the rest of the ingriedients out of my garden...that's right I have a garden... and got started.

I went into my recipe drawer and found "The Best Salsa Ever" recipe. Hmmmm sounded easy enough. It did however occur to me that I was going to need some help and what better bonding moment between mother and daughter than canning together right? I got Kylie out of her sleeping stupor and made her come and help. She was a great sport and let me take pictures along the way.

To be fair, I did let her choose what her task would be. She had the option of slicing and dicing the jalapenos and anaheim chilies or chopping the onions. She chose the onions because I have this handy dandy onion chopper from Pampered Chef. I am sure she thought "quick and easy" and then she could escape. LOL nope. She had to chop 9 onions and it turns out it wasn't so easy. Not only were they the strongest smelling onions I have ever come in contact with, they imediately burned everyone's eyes that came into the kitchen. I honestly have not ever been around that strong of onions before.

It didn't take long to discover that we couldn't work in the kitchen without opening the windows and turning on the fan. It really was quite funny. Mitch came home with the lids and imediately his eyes started to water. He had to go into the bathroom and rinse his eyes.

Here is Kylie trying to get the smell of the onions to waft under the bathroom door while Mitch is rinsing his eyes.

Well after 6 hours of cutting and chopping and "cooking down" and stirring every 15 minutes for 3 hours, we finally got our harvest bounty. With the help of Mitch, Kylie had escaped hours ago, we got the salsa poured into the jars and waited for the seal to pop. Which by the way I never heard cause no one told me that when you cold pack, the entire bottle has to cool down before they completely pop. THAT would have been a good tip to put into the recipe.

We finished, cleaned up and I looked around and I still had a lug of regular tomatoes. I thought to myself, tomorrow I am going to make the stewed tomatoes and spaghetti sauce. I went downstairs into the storage room to get more jars so I could stick them into the dishwasher to prepare for my adventure in the morning and found 2 cases of store bought stewed tomatoes, 2 cases of spaghetti sauce from the cannery and 2 cases of salsa from the cannery. I muttered something under my breath, (can't seem to remember what it was) and stomped back upstairs. The lug of tomatoes went to Angela.

I got 15 jars of salsa after 6 hours and burned retinas...

Pretty sure whatever was in the air is gone...can't smell it anymore cause my house still smells like onions.

Halloween...not so much fun anymore...

I love the holidays. It all starts for me on October 1. Out come the boxes of decorations, I throw out the old and replace with the new. Tombstones, ghosts, grim reapers and so on. We eat dinner out of pumpkins, Chad and his friends sit on the roof and chuck candy at the trick or treaters and scare them to death. We decide on costumes and get the necessary items to make them perfect. Ahhh the fun of the holiday... Not so much anymore. What happened? Could it possibly be that I no longer have little kids? No costumes, they have their own parties and lives to attend to. I didn't even get dinner out of my pumpkin this year cause I was reffing the state volleyball games. (who scheduled that over Halloween?)

I did get to see Grant, Angela and Victoria however.
They were so cute in their scarecrow family costumes. (Thanks for driving all the way here!)
Still waiting for the other two grandchildren halloween pics...(hint hint Heather)

I think my biggest gripe however has to be the jerk that invented "trunk-or-treat". What happened to going door to door and getting as much loot as possible? Taking your mom's favorite pillow case and dragging it down the sidewalk cause it was so full of candy? I remember my brother Kelly and me dumping our haul on the family room floor and trading for our favorite candy and both walking away with a grin thinking that we totally ripped the other one off. NOW? they walk around the parking lot and get their candy. Please. I only had 4 knocks on the door from trick or treaters and they were teenagers...hmmm not quite the same. Even though Chris, Chad and Kylie are not home anymore to make my Halloween experience complete, I did find some old pictures of them at Halloween. I suppose it will have to do for now. *sigh*