Wednesday, December 21, 2011

It's Beginning to Feel A Lot Like Christmas!

I love the week before Christmas. 

My mom came to town last week to spend some time with Marisa and her family.  We got together for a family Christmas Party.  We drove down to Colorado Springs and shared a wonderful night together.  My mom said that she wanted to be there when the kids opened their gifts from my parents, so we had a little Pre-Christmas party.  It was such a fun and magical night. We were showered with amazing gifts and as usual were completely spoiled by my parents.

{It should be said that my parents are the most giving people I have ever met.  They have the most charitable hearts and their willingness to give...and an example that I hope I can some day emulate}. 

Thank you Mom for a delightful night and for reminding me how much we adore you!!  Here are some highlights of our Pre-Christmas party.


Last night we did a cousin sleepover.  Marisa and I met half way and spent our usual 1.5 minutes together in a parking lot.  So much for living close!!!!

The kids had a lot of fun and we made one of my favorite Christmas treats, Christmas Corn Flake Wreaths.  My mom used to make these with us when I was a kid and the taste brings back so many memories. 

The recipe is pretty much Rice Krispy Treats with Corn Flakes, but here is the recipe:

Christmas Wreath Treats
1/3 cup butter
1 package miniature marshmallows
1 teaspoon green food coloring
6 cups Corn Flakes cereal
Red Hot candies or Red Candies

1.  Melt butter in large saucepan over low heat.  Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted.  Remove from heat and add food coloring.
2.  Add Corn Flakes.  Stir until well coated.
3.  Spoon approximately 1/4 cup onto waxed paper.   (Spray hands with cooking spray if needed). As the cereal cools, quickly shape into wreaths.  Press the Red Hots into place. 

Super easy and delicious!!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Little Trip to California

Last month, Romney and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary with a trip to California.  Romney had to attend an event in Dana Point at the Ritz Carlton, so we decided to leave a few days early and make a trip out of it.

Nan and Dwight came to stay with our kids while we were gone.  (I hate leaving my kids, especially when it involves a flight out of state, but Romney and I were in much need of some time together without the usual distractions, so we did our best to enjoy every last second.)  The kids had a blast and the trip was wonderful.

Before Romney's conference, we spent a few days in La Jolla.  The weather was too chilly to really enjoy, but we wandered the charming streets, ate plenty of delicious food and even saw a movie.  We spent some quality time with Romney's brother John and his wife Jodie and their 4 darling kids.  We also took some time to visit my dad's sister Kristy and her daughter Kim.

We spent one evening in San Diego.  It was really fun walking around the Gas Lantern District.  One of our favorite things we saw was the Padres Baseball Stadium, PETCO Park.  It was truly breathtaking.  It sits right in the middle of the city and an open park area in outfield allows people to walk right up and look into the baseball field.  We both loved it.

That night we ate a yummy seafood dinner at The Fish Market.  The restaurant sits right on the water and we had a nice view of the Navy Warship USS Vinson.  To commemorate Veteran's Day, Michigan State University and North Carolina basketball teams played a game on the flight deck.  (This was also the ship that took Osama bin Laden's body to sea for burial).  President Obama was watching the game so secret service was everywhere. It was cool.

View of the ship from our table.


The last few days of our trip were spent at the Ritz Carlton in Dana Point.  It was a spectacular resort that sits on top of a cliff overlooking the ocean.  It was really fun.  We walked on the beach at sunset and sunrise and mostly just enjoyed the amazing view.

Romney stayed busy with his meetings and I decided to stay busy in my own way.  I grabbed a great book, an ice bucket full of ice and a liter of Diet Coke.  I sat outside read for hours...yep, for hours...while enjoying this view.  Although it was way too chilly for my bones, I loved every second of it.

 It was a really fun trip and a perfect way to celebrate 15 years!! 

We came home to this happy site!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Holidays are Here!

My computer crashed a few months ago.  It is very dumb.  I am sorry that I have been so terrible about updating.  The idea of posting from my phone or the iPad is not as easy as it should be.  Please forgive.

A lot has been happening.  I love this time of year.  As we pulled out our tree and gently hung the decorations, my heart began to swell.  I feel so fortunate to be surrounded by my family and have constant reminders of how precious life is.  My kids are maturing and it is becoming more meaningful each year to share the sacred events of Christmas with them.

I feel blessed.

Our family kicked off the holiday season with my sister Marisa and her family.  The historic "The Broadmoor" hotel in Colorado Springs holds its annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  We attended the festive event with the Bentleys.  This was our third year doing it together.  It is quickly becoming a favorite Colorado tradition.

The setting is spectacular.  The hotel is surrounded by the beautiful mountains and the hotel grounds are breathtaking.  The crowd at the Broadmoor tends to be a little more fancy and "uppity" than we are used to, but we just do our best to blend in with all the fur coats and oversized diamond rings.  

The lights are amazing and Santa always makes a perfectly timed appearance.  It is a perfect way to welcome in the holidays.

The tree is up, the music is playing, the shopping is nearly done (yep!) and I can barely wait for the kids to get out of school!!  My goal is to be wrapped and ready by the weekend.  Bring it!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Halloween Treats

I LOVE HALLOWEEN!  Why exactly I am not sure.  Every once in a while I drive around and see the creepy decorations splattered all over people's yards and I wonder how we got here.  Decorations like: dead bodies, skeletons, death, ghosts, guts, brains, bloody weapons, headstones, graves, creepiness.  Every once in a while, I can't help but think that Halloween is the strangest thing ever.

Nonetheless...I love it.

Tonight Romney and I have been invited to an adult only Costume Party.  I have been asked to bring a dessert of some kind.  Instead of resorting to my usual browies or chocolate chip cookies, I decided to make it a little more fun and have decided to make Eyeball Cakebites.  I have never made cake bites before....this should be interesting.

I found a website full of darling and creative Halloween Treats.  The site is  (There are recipes and instructions for each of these treats on that site).

Here are a few of my favorites:

Forked Eyeball Cake Pops

String Cheese Fingers with Green Pepper Fingernails
Carrot Fingers

Apple Mouth Bites

Skeleton Gingerbread Cookies

Happy Halloweening!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Legacy

Helen Shuman Heaton
A few years ago, after my dear grandma Helen passed away, I knew that her life story had to be preserved.  I felt an overwhelming urgency to get it written down.  She led a remarkable life.  She grew up during the Depression in a remote part of Georgia surrounded by her loving siblings and family.  She had countless inspiring experiences that shaped her into the remarkable woman she was.

Over the course of her adult life, she started and stopped several journals.  For the most part, she wrote in spiral notebooks, carefully using up each line and margin.  (Clearly a reflection of her belief that nothing should ever be wasted).  The journals were hard to follow because most of the pages had been torn out and the order was completely mixed up.  Furthermore, her big curly handwriting made it seem at times, like I was reading and transcribing an ancient script.

I poured and scoured over her writings for months.  I studied pictures and faces in every photo.  It was an exhausting yet exhilarating experience to see it all come together.  I am grateful that her posterity can now turn through the pages of her book to catch a glimpse of who she was and the legacy she left behind.

(She has been on my mind.  Fall was her favorite season).

The Passing of Mary May Murdoch "Wee Granny"

 A few weeks ago, Nan sent us a copy of a compilation of stories and life histories of her mother's living family members.  The book is over 600 pages and is filled with stories and experiences that describe where and how the Murdoch relatives have ended up.  It took four years to compile.

One of the stories is about a lady named Mary May Murdoch.  Because of her tiny 4'7" frame, she was also known as "Wee Granny."  She died crossing the plains with the Martin Handcart Company.  Her last words were to be told to her son John who had left months earlier with the Saints.  She said, "Tell John I died with my face towards Zion."  A remarkable story.  Click here for a touching tribute to her. 

For the book, Nan, Dwight, Romney and each of Romney's siblings took the challenge to write their own life story.  It is a treasure to have this written down.  Their stories describe some life changing experiences that have helped shape them into the remarkable people they are.  I am confident that these stories will be read over and over for years to come.


The importance of history has been weighing on my mind.  I have just finished reading the new Relief Society manual called, "Daughters of My Kingdom."  It too, is a collection of stories that describe the history of the Relief Society program.

A lot of emphasis has been placed on this manual from the church leadership.  The General Relief Society Board has stressed that "Relief Society sisters have a glorious heritage and the manual will be an important resource for preserving that heritage." 


So, what is it about a history that is so valuable?

I have come to the conclusion that understanding our history and the legacy will give us the courage to be better.  Learning our history will help to define us.  Learning our history, changes our perspective of our self worth.  I firmly believe that until we recognize where we come from...where we will end up is unsure.

A friend of mine sent me a link to an amazing music video.  Click here to see it.  It is an inspiring song by Hillary Weeks.  (Grab a Kleenex).  It is a tearjerker, but the message is basically that our past experiences and history changes our perspective on life.  It allows us to see things from a different view.  Furthermore, it is clear that if you know where you've come from, it will give you the strength to face the uncertainty of your future.

Our histories shape us.  We all have valuable lessons to be learned from the past.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A Miracle

Yesterday we decided to bust out and take advantage of living in a beautiful place in the mountains.  We loaded the car and much to the kids dismay, we drove to Estes National Park.  The weather was absolutely beautiful and the temperature was in the mid 70's.  I tried to be the mom that talks up the excitement about what we were about to experience, but I'll be honest, I don't think one other person was looking forward to a nice hike in the mountains.

(When did I become the outdoorsy one of the bunch??)

We ended up having a nice time and I would post pictures, but my laptop is broken and since I don't want to download our family photos on Romney's work laptop, I will save the pics and details of our day for a later post.

The drive home was unreal and my stomach still drops as I think about all that could have gone wrong.  We miraculouslyavoided a deadly car accident.  It is truly a miracle that we drove away from scene with our car and family intact. 

On the drive home, the traffic was steady on the 2-lane canyon road.  I carefully drove down and tried not to pay too much attention to the steep cliff on my right  As we carefully made our way down the winding road, I noticed that the huge semi-truck behind me was getting really close to my bumper.  I was a little concerned.  Suddenly the truck got really close to us and then swerved left into the lane with on-coming traffic.  Then the truck swerved back into our land then and we heard this huge scraping sound.  

I turned around and saw the truck was scraping along the steel barrier that separated the road from the cliff.  Smoke was billowing out from the tires.  Fortunately, there was a pull-off spot right in front of me.  I somehow made my way into the pull-off spot and watched the truck slam into the steel barrier.  I was sure that the truck was going to roll off the cliff.  Smoke was everywhere.

Romney got out of the car and ran to see if the driver was hurt.  The truck was literally hanging off the cliff.  We learned that driver’s quick and careful reaction saved my family. 
His brakes went out and he swerved into the barrier with the hopes that it would slow him down.  He said, “I knew that you had a family in that van and I did not want to hit you”.  He was literally willing to sacrifice his life by possibly toppling over the cliff in order to avoid ramming into us.
We got several pictures and my stomach still turns as I think about all that could have gone wrong. It was quite humbling to realize that we had been protected.
We were part of a miracle.  I still can’t believe it.
Romney and I profusely thanked the driver.  I even hugged him as we left the scene.


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Hi, I'm Alecia...

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that our church would be participating in wide reaching media blitz in several cities, including Denver. The media effort is simply to clarify misconceptions and basically improve the overall public image of our church.  As the spotlight has been thrust on our church in recent weeks due to the controversial remarks made by a pastor of different faith, I realize how important this media effort truly is.

At the media blitz meeting, those in attendance were challenged to go to and not only familiarize ourselves with the site, but also create a personal profile.

My family loves this site.  We love the short videos and we watch them all the time.  The idea however, of having a profile about myself made me feel a little uncomfortable.  I was a little reluctant...but then I I mentioned here, as long as there is a conversation going on about my church, I would like to be a part of it.

So, I did it.  Feel free to take a peek.

Tonight a friend sent me a link to this cool video about Brandon Flowers, the lead singer for "The Killers."  He is a Mormon and he also wants to be a part of the conversation.  Here is a link to his "I am a Mormon" profile.

To my friends and family...I would like to challenge you to do the same thing.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A First & A Last

Yesterday was a first for Sophie.  Her first field trip.  First bus ride.  First.

Yesterday was a last for me.  Last Kindergarten field trip.  Last kid I'll experience freaking out with excitement to ride a bus.  Last.

(Sorry, I am feeling a little sentimental that I am "graduating" to a new phase of motherhood.  A wonderful and still enriching phase, but a different stage nonetheless).

Despite my nostalgia, yesterday was so great.  Sophie's class got to go to a local pumpkin patch for a day on the farm.  It was so fun and we had so much fun together.

We rode on a hayride pulled by a tractor, picked our own pumpkins right off the vine, played in a corn maze and pet some fidgety goats.

We ended our date at Chick Fil A with some other moms who are also "graduating" with their last kindergartener.  So fun.


It was a perfect day.

I am finally feeling better.  My back is healing.  I found out that I tore a muscle in my back.  I have had to literally stop all activity, but I am getting stronger everyday.  I feel that it is a great sign that I am no longer aware when the next 4-6 hours has arrived for another round of ibuprofen.

So...I guess I am not a granny afterall...well, at least I was thinking that until last night.  Sophie and I were watching TV and a lady in her late 60's/early 70's came on the screen. Sophie told me that I kind of look like her.  I asked her, "Really?"  She replied, "Yeah mom, your skin is getting all wrinkly like hers."


Thanks for that Sophie!! The joy of motherhood......

(I guess my years of perfectly bronzed skin is catching up with me???)

Monday, September 26, 2011

A Whirlwind Trip to Utah

I got to go to Salt Lake City for the least I think I was there...?  It went by so fast.  I arrived late Friday afternoon, drove to Logan on Friday night for my cousin's  Saturday wedding, raced
back to SLC for the evening reception and then flew home Sunday.

Whew, that was kind of a blur.

The leaves were starting to change.  It was a beautiful weekend.  This view of Mt. Olympus always takes my breath away.

My cousin Riley got married.  He has waited a long time to meet this amazing girl Georgann.  I knew that I had to be there to celebrate.  Thank you Romney for taking over all the craziness of our family's schedule, so I could leave and thoroughly enjoy a little break.

My parents look pretty freaking amazing.  I am hopeful that I age as well as they do.
My darling parents with my Dad's aunt Lucy.  She was my late Grandma Margie's dear sister.  My grandma passed away from cancer in 1994.  We realized that if she were still alive, she would be 91.  All grandparents on both sides of my family have passed away and at events like the past two weddings, we realize how much they are still sorely missed.


My dad grew up in Logan, Utah surrounded by grandparents, aunts, uncles and dozens of cousins.  I have countless memories of him recounting the stories of his childhood and the sweet experiences he had that seemed to be taken right out of the movie "A Christmas Story."  Sometimes I picture him as Ralphie.

One of the most retold stories of his youth was when he rescued a childhood friend who slipped and fell into the fast moving canal.  My dad was five years old and his friend Paul was 4.  Paul slipped into the canal and thanks to my dad's quick instincts, he ran and got help.  Paul's lifeless body was pulled out several blocks away, but the ambulance was able to resuscitate him.  My dad was labeled a hero and his story was even mentioned in the Salt Lake Newspaper.

I was so looking forward to being in Logan with him so that we could take pictures in front of these "famous" places.

The place where "Paul Fell in the Water."

This was his elementary school.
After a pleasant afternoon in Logan, and a few hours getting a peek at my sister Kara's new life in Ogden, we all sped to Salt Lake City for the reception and enjoyed a perfect evening with family and good food.

Kara, Savanna, Alecia and Christian

The weekend was great.  Even though I am still quite gimpy with my "old lady" back pains, we jam packed a lot into those few days.  We ate plenty of delicious food and I got my fill of perfectly blended Diet Coke refills with pellet ice.  YUM!!

Plus, I am reminded again not only how much I adore my family, but also how blessed I am to come home to my own.  I am blessed.
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