Sunday, July 26, 2009

So at water aerobics class on Thursday I am jogging around creating a vortex with the 2 other class members when Joy (the white-haired grandmotherly member of the class) says to me "I can tell you got a professional haircut"
"All your hairs are the same length"
"Thank You?"

Thursday night Kim asked me to paint her toenails and fingernails
First we pedicured her toenails and painted them before moving on to her fingernails. As I went to trim her fingernails she asked "Will you teach me how to do this?"
How do you teach a blind person how to clip their fingernails? I was at a loss for words mostly.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Recuperation week

Wow, two weeks in a row!
This week was a beautiful recuperation week from the reunion hoopla. Sad to say goodbye to family members, but great to reacquaint with my bed, work, and ward. Last Sunday I spent the day with Rosey up in Salt Lake and visited my Grandpa Conway who was in the hospital. We had a great chat with him and I was amazed to see how sharp his mind still is. He had a "to do" list for Rose to take care of his garden and other odds and ends. We read Elder Ballard's talk from this last conference to Grandpa and had a great laugh over the initial story Elder ballard told of the Edsel car. We asked Grandpa what an Edsel was before we read the next line of the talk "if you don't know what an Edsel is, ask your Grandpa." Roger and Melanie came by and we had a great chat with them. As we were leaving and discussing Grandpa's move to a rehab place, Roger mentioned that Uncle Alan was put in as a Bishop that day, so we wouldn't be able to come up until Monday. Oh great! He will be a great bishop, were my thoughts.
Sunday night I called my Relief Society President about visiting teaching stuff and she told me about the change in our Bishopric that day, then she said " I think it's your uncle" WHAT!!! Sure enough, Uncle Alan was my new singles ward Bishop! I was so excited, but also very sad to have missed the meeting and the chance to thank and say farewell to my previous bishopric whom I loved very much!
Monday morning I took Ren and his family to the airport with a hopeful thought of seeing them in January for the OSU MFA audition. Monday afternoon I had lunch at Guru's with Angie, one of my dance professors from UVU and my very dear friend. The bit about our conversation that stood out to me was about relationships and the temple covenants we make as latter-day saints. I felt like I was able to shed truthful light on the importance of those covenants within the broad plan to be like God.
Tuesday I spent the day with Taylor Hall wile his family was at Lagoon for the company party. We met my family at the zoo for the afternoon and I got in free for pushing Taylor in his wheelchair! It was so fun to be there with all the kiddos and extend the family time a bit longer!
Wednesday was my serious recuperation day with Yoga in the morning followed by a 3 hour nap, mmmm yummy! That night I helped Kim and David make their collages from the reunion. I was mostly willing, but we had a great time! It was so fun to go through magazines and explain the pictures and words for them and let them decide what to include. They got a repetitive kick out of the words created when we would cut out a letter to use it for the collage. Words like "ideo" and "reative"
Thursday I went to the afternoon water aerobics class at the Provo Rec Center. I am in to swimming laps and water aerobics these days as a fantastic means of gentle exercise to keep my body in shape in the off dancing season, I have reconnected to the fish within! After water aerobics I took Joe and Stu's kids to the Bean Museum. We ran into Matt and April in the play room area, so fun! It was so fun to watch the kids get excited about the animals and have an outing with them. The reunion was great, but it is outings such as these when I really get to bond with the kids. I also appreciated this outing as another drop of oil in my motherhood lamp! I will love and enjoy motherhood more than I think I will.
Friday I spent the day with the Halls. I took Taylor swimming at the AF pool and just had a ball with him. He noticeably perks up when he gets in the water. It was so fun! I also ran into my friend Kari Jo from school and it was really refreshing to see her and reconnect to that part of my life again. Friday night I went up to the Tabernacle Choir Pioneer Celebration Concert with my Aunt Annette and Uncle Gordon, cousin Beth and brother Aaron. It was fantastic!! It was celebrating 80 years of the Music and Spoken Word broadcast, so it was filled with the history of the broadcast, pioneer stories, and permeated with personal testimonies and experiences of how this boradcast has made a difference in the lives of many. My favorite part was the video footage of children playing while the choir sang "I feel my Savior's Love". It reaffirmed my testimony of how central the Family is to the plan of Happiness.
Saturday I spent the morning visiting with Jessy and Kyle who were in my ward a couple of years ago. Jessy and I were roommates and tehy are headed off to medical school tomorrow. It was really great to visit and catch up before saying goodbye. We visited for longer than I anticipated and I could have stayed there all day, but I was off to a bridal shower for Alyssa Merrell. Alyssa and I were in the same ward during our YW years. It is amazing how time flies by, but occasionally stops to let you take in the view. I saw people I haven't seen for years, now with babies, boyfriends, and big bucks. Sometimes I wonder if I will ever catch up, until I remember that I am very happy where I am at and know that I am in my perfect journey. Saturday night I tended Robyn and Taylor while the rest went to West Side Story. I love hanging out with Robyn, I felt like I followed her around like a little sister excited to play whatever games she picked out.
I got home last night excited to take a luxurious shower and prepare my lesson when Rose called about 12:15 to tell me about her great dating weekend. Nothing is better than midnight chats with sisters, especially when it involves boys:)
Today at Church I got to hug my aunt and uncle and officially meet my new bishopric. They all carry the mantle and seem perfect for their callings.
Today was my day to teach Sunday School and I learn something new everytime I teach. Today it was: capturing the essence of the lesson and focusing on one main principle is more effective than covering miles of ground.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Ruby Reunion 2009!

Wow! You know that idea about blogging more often? Well...

This past week my immediate family gathered for a family reunion in honor of my parents 40th Wedding anniversary on July 11th and of course the 4th that connotes a plethera of family traditions for us. The traditional gift that goes with 40 years of marriage is the ruby stone, so this event was affectionately known as the "Ruby Reunion!" Our goals to Reconnect, Unify, Be together, and Yak alot summarize our purposes for gathering for the first time in 5 years. Everyone was there, all 51 of us!!
We stayed at my uncle's cabin up above Sundance. It was a great location away from civilization, but close enough to Macey's. Dialogue for this event has been flooding my inbox since January and everything turned out great! Here is a brief synopsis of what we did.
Monday (July 6, my birthday)
-Birthday Dogpile
My wakeup call was a customized dogpile with added members and many birthday wished!
-Orientation from the parents
-Games in "the meadow"
-Pirate Ship
The spatious back deck was designated as the Pirate Ship, complete with a fantastic sail made out of a fitted sheet slipped on to a wooden cross and tied with rope to the banister. My nephew Rowan has been planning this and came prepared with a treasure chest, knives, canons, bandannas, and flag... it was wicked awesome!!
-worked on collages*
*This is our family history, everyone makes a collage of magazine cutout words and pictures about them.
-Italian dinner night
My family sang to me and my mom presented her gift. I asked for an iPod for my birthday and I got one... made out of marzipan!
-FHE: Ashton Family Jeopardy!
So fun! We brainstormed about Phil's fettishes, family ancestors, sang 1776 quotations, and filled out the birthdays for everyone in teams.

Tuesday 7
-Hike up to Stewart Falls, we paused periodically to read and discuss pioneer stories. We even crossed the Sweet Water river on the backs of our "rescuers" across the designated patch of trail.
-Tortilla demo: how to make spinach tortillas
I was frantically running around preparing for the talent show
-Talent Show Part I (Rose and I were the MCs with bejeweled outfits and flowers)
Lots of piano solos and some really great skits and songs
-Latino Dinner
-Talent Show Part II
Rose and I did the comedy piece from my last concert which was a Q&A... in fully hooded purple tye-dye unitards. Deep and cosmic questions were answered with Modern Dance, Rose was the announcer and I was the dancer. My feet got colder and colder as our turn approached and I finally whispered to Rosey "I can't do it". I was so hesitant to perform not knowing how my family would respond to this piece. But she urged until I said I would do it without the costumes. So we stood up to go and my brother who knew about the costumes saw we weren't in them and shouted that we MUST use the costumes. I finally consented and we rushed to put them on.
I was so relieved to hear the laughter fill the room as Rose went out, then me and we went through the whole piece.
Throughout the week many referred back to some of my responses, so I know that their cosmic questions were in fact answered in that Q&A session! :) The best was my nephew Dallin (12) "your performance actually GAVE me questions... like, who likes to watch this kind of dancing anyway..." yes I love being a Modern Dancer!
I also played the part of Kathy in "The sign on Rosie's Door" reading, was a backup singer to Simon's solo "One Last Kiss" from Bye Bye Birdie, and the marshmallow girl for Ren's "Chubby Bunny" contest only the words were "Ruby Reunion". My brother Joe won with 10 big marshmallows stuffed in his mouth and a clear vocalized "Ruby Reunion".
The only downer for this location is the limited bedrooms and oodles of couples with kids. So I slept up in the master bedroom with Jules and Joe and their families (9), Riss, Rose, & Brinn on the floor and marg and Nate on the bed, a total of 14 people. The whole floor was bedding for bodies.

Wednesday 8
-Family Pictures!
Nate is a photographer and patiently took pictures all morning of individual families and groups of sisters and kids. When my parents arrived we walked to our spot and set up. While Nate setup, Rose and I distracted the kids. We sang all the songs we knew with giant actions and animated faces. It worked!! we had happy children for the group shot!
-Star Wars Birthday Bash (I cochaired this event with Doug)
We had 2 groups rotating through "I had a little Jawa", musical chairs for seating ont he Millenial Falcon, relay races to test their ability to use The Force, and the Jedi Training Camp (an obstacle course outside complete with dueling Darth Vador). Doug rented a Darth and Obi costume for him and Carl. The kids were a bit freaked when he first came out, but once he took off his mask they thought it was pretty cool. At the end we smashed a Darth Vador pinata that my mom has been making all month and went inside to decorate Yoda cupcakes and sing!
-Phew!! All my official responsibilities were complete: talent show, Latino dinner, and birthday bash... so I just sat on the couch and chatted for a couple of hours.
-Family Pictures in Ruby Red shirts
We quickly went out for good light and took family pics in our Ruby Red t-shirts that Rose and I ironed on logos for on Sunday
-Russian Dinner night
I anticipated this night to be disgusting, but it turned out to be almost my favorite and totally delish!
-Family Council
In the past this has been the dreaded bucket of worms that we discuss the elephants in the room. But my parents planned it with the kids in mind and simply officiated our family mission statement "KFB" (Keep the Faith Brother/Babies) and talked about when it started with my oldest brother Ren on his mission. Each family got a glass brick with vinyl letters "KFB" and ribbon to tie around it to display at home.
A few of us went on a walk that night and Sean called Christina so we walked up ahead of her on the way back. Love special phone calls... hmmm

Thursday 9
-Princess Pamper Party
All the little nieces have been waiting for this all week and were good sports during the Star Wars stuff because they knew this was coming.
We (all the girls) dressed up, painted nails, read Princess and the Pea, decorated crowns, went on a princess scavenger hunt for bracelets, barrettes, and hugs and kisses from the king (Grandpa), and were escorted to the ball by their handsome princes (dads and brothers in Burger King crowns) They were even announced by a royal trumpeter (Rowan) with a ding-a-ling and their royal names (Cathleen). They all danced at the ball and had a glorious time!
-Water Play
We played with water balloons, a kiddie pool, a big blow-up slide with water, water guns, and a slip'n slide. The kids enjoyed it fast before the real water war began between the team on the deck and everyone else. It turned into pots, pans and bowls of water launched across the banister. No one left dry, unless you were holding a baby or a camera on the side.
-Group bathtime
6 little girls in the jetted tub upstairs, doesn't get more fun than that. Then the boys turn, I wasn't invited to that party.
-Chinese Dinner night
-Family Treasure Hunt and game night
What family gets excited about doing a treasure hunt together? We did these all the time growing up. "Pirates are always going around looking for buried treasure, but they didn't realize the treasure was the happy memories they were making along the way." (something like that)
-Game Night
Played Barnyard Rummy and caught everyone on the final hand. I was the only one down with one card left. Half-way around the circle, Brinn discarded a Rummy and I called it!
-Worked more on my collage

Friday 10
-Temple trip to Provo Temple
Early morning session with baptisms afterward. We took a group of 85 family names to baptize and confirm. This was my first time doing family names and it was a special event to be there with my older brothers and participate in the ordinances with them.
-Family Fair
The long windy garage tunnel was filled with games: shooting out a candle w/ a water gun, shaving a balloon without popping it, guessing how many raisins in a jar, knocking down milk jugs with a tennis ball, balloon animals, putting the bean in the cup on your head with chopsticks, and hoola hooping. Then we went upstairs for doughnuts on a string and parachute play. Some of the kids climbed into the parachute to be tossed up in the air,and some had to hold someone else's hand in the parachute to feel okay, it was so cute!
-Family Movie Night
We watched "The Muppet Musicians of Bremen" a family favorite for the kids. I hadn't seen it for years, so it was fun to finally connect the beloved lines my brothers frequently quote in conversations to the scenes in the film. Like: "What the clunge is this?"
Then we watched "The Court Jester" with Danny Kaye, another beloved Ashton must see film if you ever want to belong to this family. However, most of us worked on our quilt blocks. Our gift to our parents this year for their anniversary is a quilt block from everyone sewn into some sort of pillowcase or wall hanging. We each drew something significant about us on our square with fabric markers.

Saturday 11
-Closing Devotional
Each of the kids got a "kinder-egg" from Europe. These eggs have a chocolate shell with a little toy inside connecting back to our theme of treasure, rubies, pirates, etc.
-Cleaned up
-Adult Dinner
All adults 18 and up went to the iBuffet by Movies 8 and then to Stu and Lisa's for an evaluation of the Ruby Reunion. Joe told "Goldirocks" story (his 3 Bears story in an Asian accent) it is hysterical!!
The overall word was that it was a great success and can't wait for the next one in 3-4 years! All our goals were met, the cousins know each other, our testimonies are renewed, and everyone enjoyed the time together.