Suflaces and Mission Friends again, YES!

We had another dinner party. I have never thought of them like that before, for a few reasons. 1. I am not very good at them. They are always more like potlucks than dinner parties. As hostess I will generally make the main dish, but still, it is never a meal with 4 courses. 2. I get really silly and stressed out about them. It is never until all my guests are seated and eating that I can finally relax. I am always worried about there not being enough food, but we always have extra. 3. I just want my friends over all the time. Even though I always get a little stressed when a group comes over, I am never happier than when I am surrounded by my dear friends.

We had a great group this time:
Lorena Baboci. A wonderful girl I met on my mission. She was a member of the 2nd Branch in Tirana where I spent 9 months of my mission. It was so exciting to see her, and she seemed to be doing so well.
Lorena is making her Suflace. A Greek flat bread, salse kosi, pork, tomato, lettuce, lemon slices, and of course, french fries, with more salse kosi on top. Yum!This is how they make the pork for suflaces in Albania, we just bake it at home, but I think that ours is pretty close to the real thing.

Bruna, or Remington Brundage Richards was with us at our home for the first time too. It was so wonderful to be with her. She and I and Smallie were together in 2nd branch for several months together in fact:

Here is Smallie, Me, Bruna and Lorena at girls camp in Albania.

Oh that wig. We had some good times in that wig.
We mostly had good times all of the time.

This was a good morning. I was just talking about this morning with Smallie.

I know Krysta was SO excited to see her. She was talking about it all day. Krysta and Bruna were MTC companions and were back together again in the country after only three short months there. They were companions when I first met them, so I always think of them that way…together.
I have other pictures that weren’t taken at girls camp, but the other one I have of the two of them might get me in big trouble…hehehe.
As you can tell, I didn’t take this picture (there I am in the back ground). I stole it from Krysta, but I couldn’t help it. It is so awesome! Don’t kill me!

The thing is that these days we never seem to get together. So when we do it is somewhat of a special occasion. Here we are first as missionaries:
Here on activity day: Smallie, Switzy, Kuqi, Bruna, Uendi, Harrison, Me, Bardha and Koxi, not letting anyone touch her because she was sweating.

Here at district conference. Uendi, Switzy, Bruna, Koxi, Bardha, Smallie, Kuqi, Harrison, Me.

And here we are now, well some of us anyway : unable to look at the camera, except me of course. I mean, how could they, Karen was there!
ah there we go:

I love these girls. I am so blessed to have such good friends. Poor Karl and Zac. They were quite bored all night.

Pizza, Pizza.

Karl and I are always trying to make things interesting as far as food goes. We have our staple meals: Teriyaki Chicken, Pasta Night!, Salmon and Rice, Flying Dutchmen, Home Made Chicken Noodle Soup, etc. Last week I went to an awesome Relief Society “Cooking and Baking Night” (Shout out to Jess!) where we learned to make home made pizza. It was so easy that I knew Karl and I would have a blast making our favorite pizzas together.

We assembled all required ingredients for our favorite Pizza, Pizza’s.


Fresh tomato, put on cold, Olives for me, NOT Karl, Spicy green Peppers, Pineapple, my favorite.

Really for Karl it was MUSHROOMS! A whole bowl full.

We went all out, even getting real Wal-mart brand Pizza Sauce.


It had been a really long day, and the thought of a pineapple, double cheese pizza was the only thing that was sustaining me.

Pineapple….

Something our readers might not know about Karl and I is that we have both worked at Domino’s. I worked at the Rexbrug Location my Freshman year of collage, for 9 months! Karl worked there twice! Once in Brawley, and then again when he first moved to Rexburg, at the same place, with the same boss, as me!
Needless to say, we both thought we knew everything there was to know about pizza making.

Mine of course was the best. I mean look at it!

This is Karl’s before he put his last layer of Cheese on…not as good as mine.

We even decided to make Domino’s style cheesy bread. I looks just like the real thing.


Ahhh, look at the goodness. It wasn’t the same as pizza from the restaurant, but it was pretty good.

I would have to say that my pizza was the best.

Karl would to disagree.

His was pretty good too. The trick is to put the tomato on after you bake it!

Apple Sauce!

So one of my goals in since conference is to get more active in ward activities. I am a member of the enrichment committee so I attend as many of those activities as I have been able. Yet I feel like I need to do more. So, I have become a “yes” woman. When I read about the apple sauce activity in Relief Society, I signed up and paid right away.

I had no IDEA what I was signing up for.

The e-mail I received on Friday afternoon said that it would take 3-4 hours. Yikes. I had tones of other things to do that morning, so I decided that I could commit at least two hours. I got there and it was immediately clear that we would be there for many more hours than that.

The process began by cutting many many apples into pieces. I mean many, many.

These were huge buckets.
Then they boiled them until the were soft. This took…time.

Then they are moved to this crazy contraption that takes the boiled apples and mushes them.

It somehow know how to get the seeds and the skins out of the way too. I want one.

Then began the canning process.

Once we got them full of sauce we would bring them to this:

Boiling them full seals the jars and kills the germs, I think.

Hundreds of jars. Seriously. I did only stay my committed two hours but a friend from the ward told me that the group was there at least 8, if not more! By the end of my two hours, I was sweaty as sticky all over. My eyelids were sticking to my face and my fingers were sticking together. My back hurt from leaning over and I hated apples. I admire those people who stayed THE WHOLE TIME! You guys are awesome.

It cost $1.25 per jar. I was at Walmart the other day, I saw jars twice this size for…$1.29. Is it OK that I am OK with just buying my own sauce from now on?

The Day our Car Died

This blog could also be entitled: The 5k that Wasn’t. You see on this day, Monday October 13 (ooohhh) Karl and I were signed up to participate in my companies “5k Pumpkin Run!” It is an event that they do every year. The winners could get an I pod shuffle, and tons of other prizes. Karl and I were determined not only to participate, but to win some crap. We went to the Di, bought ridiculous running out fits and glasses, funny running sox and hats. We were excited.

I got into my car to go and pick Karl up for the event and … my car wouldn’t start. So we spent the next few hours buying a battery, call my dad, and trying to get the battery installed into the car. We missed the pumpkin run…bummer. But the experience was a funny one.

First let me introduce you to Hondie:

Isn’t she beautiful? She was a gift from my mom and dad for our wedding. One of two cars. (woo woo, our parents love us.) We could scarcely afford the insurance on one car let alone two, so we gave the Mercury Mystique to Caitlin for Christmas…but that is so another story, in which I think Zack got the short end of the stick.

Hondie is a Civic, of the ’98 edition. She is loosing a little of her paint…
The old girl has nearly 150, 000 miles on her…and still running strong! 3 of her 4 windows are in working order, and the ac works…sort of. Other than these minor problems which old cars have, we have no complaints. She has been having trouble starting in the mornings recently so this trouble with the battery was a long time coming. That afternoon coming out of work I opened the hood and this is what I found…
This is actually better looking that what I found. This is after a few treatments of Baking Soda and warm water. When I first opened the hood, it was cover in a blue fuzz…my battery had lost all of it’s acidity. I knew this because one of my co-workers who had had tons of problems with batteries before recognized the color. (tender mercy of the lord that she was there! She saved my life, got me jumped so I could get to the store and get a new battery. Thanks Amanda!)
We got the car and the new battery home, so we thought, “OK, lets just get this sucker our, and get the new one put in.” Getting the old battery our turned out to be a challenge because the metal on the bolt was so corroded that we couldn’t get it off.
Karl tried every tool in Krysta and Zac’s set to try and get the thing off, with no avail. Karl kept saying under his breath, “if only I had a vice grip.” Finally we saw a guy in our parking lot working on his motorcycle and we figured he my have the tool we need. His name was Caleb and he did have the tool that we needed and went a step father and came over and tried to get the bolt off himself.
Which, after a few failed attempts and lots of pulling, he was able to do. Karl stood back and said, ” I feel demasculated, having some other guy come and work on my car.” I knew that if he had had the proper tools he could have done it. (thanks so much Caleb!) We pulled the battery out.


Yikes.
We cleaned out the area around the battery including all of the battery cables, and everything that had battery acid residue spread all over it.


Then several hours after we had started…we did it! We had our brand new battery in our beloved Hondie! There she is, good as new. No more having to be pushed down the street to get a start in the morning! Yea!

So as a recap of “thank you”s. Thanks Amanda my co-worker for giving me a jump at work so I could get to Wal Mart to buy a new battery! Thanks Dad for listening to me whine about having to buy a new one and helping me get what I needed. Thank you Emily for letting us use your baking soda to clean all off our battery and cables. Thanks Krysta and Zac for letting us use your tools. Thank you Caleb for helping us get the old bolt off, and then giving us a new one that wasn’t all corroded. Then of course, I have to thank my wonderful husband Karl, for letting me freak out a little and being patient with me through the whole thing. You are all the best. Really I feel so blessed to be surrounded by such wonderful and giving people.

The Piano Extravaganza!!!!

Saturday October 11, 2008

3:23 am
I wake up to go to the bathroom. I come back to bed and realize that Costco in Orem finally got a shipment of the Behringer Concert electric pianos. I have called this warehouse almost everyday for the past 3 weeks. Yesterday they gave me a tip. The Lehi warehouse had received a shipment. That was at 10am. I called at 1:30 pm and they had already sold out of the piano. I was totally bummed. So as I sat in bed thinking about all of this, I got more and more anxious.

6:30 am
It had been over three hours, I couldn’t sleep. I got up to watch TV. Only infomercials.

7:30 am
Karl woke up because of the TV. He was really confused about my anxiety.

8:00 am
I knew that if we didn’t get there early someone else would get the piano before me. I knew it.

As we left the there was a little snow, and Karl was freezing. I think that he was over reacting.

These pictures pretty much sum up our emotions as we drove to Costco. I was really excited and kind of nervous, and Karl…was driving.

8:15am
We arrived at Costco

It was really cold. And when we got there, the parking lot was not exactly full.

The line that I had anticipated, was non existent.

8:45 am
Karl started to complain about his ears getting too cold. He wrapped his scarf around his ears and realized that it looked like a turban.
He started to become concerned that a lone car parked outside of a business with a man in a turban inside might look a little suspicious.

My spirits remained high. I was the only one there and I was going to get my piano.

9:00am
The first set of gates to Costco opened. I ran over and waited. Karl followed me over. As we sat among the electric shopping carts Karl started messing with the buttons. He pushed a button on the handle of one of the carts and sent it crashing into the wall. There was a surprisingly loud BAG. A few seconds later a man in a tie with a badge that read , Bill, General Manager, stood outside looking at us. He asked, “what are you waiting for?” Karl quickly answered in a monotone voice, “Piano.” “Which piano,” he replied. I answered, “number 305 698, Behringer Concert Electric Piano.” He smiled and said, “Why don’t you do me a favor and come inside and get warm while you wait.”

9:15am
We were in! Ahead of the non-existent piano buyers line. No one else was inside before opening.
I was SO excited. Karl was just glad to not be freezing anymore. We waited at the food court and talked about how excited we were to be there.

This is Karl’s, “I didn’t have a choice” face.

9:25 am
Five minutes until opening. They let me grab a flatbed. By this time I was really warm in all of my winter clothing.

9:31am
I got my piano!!!!



9:40 am
Karl needed a churro. He couldn’t pass that Costco concession stand with out getting something.


9:45am
We got to the car. The piano was TOO BIG!!! Karl used his scarf to confirm what our eyes told us. There was no way that piano was going to fit into our tiny Honda.

9:50am
We had no choice. We had to unpack the piano, in the Costco parking lot, to get it into our car.

9:55 am
While trying to lift the piano into the car, the Styrofoam that was holding up the biggest piece of the piano collapsed under the weight and smashed Karl’s poor arm. Not good.
10:10 am
After several failed attempts and lots of maneuvering we were left with an empty box, and…

A car full of piano bits.
We had to use all the space in the tiny little Japanese car to its greatest capacity.

There was just enough room left to fit in a chubby red headed girl.

10:25am
We got the piano home. Safe and sound. We got all the pieces out, and put it all together. Karl was in his element. It took no time.

11:00 am
Mr. and Mrs. Karl Hite, have their first Piano!


The Pumpkin Patch

Ahhh, Spanish fork Utah in the fall! Tuesday afternoon was beautiful. Karl, Me, Leah and Branny headed out to the pumkin patch. We arrived and were greeted by this lovely red head…

Her name was Emily (but doesn’t she look exactly like Smallie??!!) She handed each of us a pair of garden clippers.
“3 dollars for the big ones, 2 dollars for the small ones, on anything you can pick. ” And we were off! All of us bolted into the huge field of pumpkins. As we ran into the field an old lady sitting on a hay bale yelled after us, “NO smashing pumpkins!” It was like a romp back to my childhood. I started last and by the time I caught up to the group Karl and Branny had already found the most enormous pumpkins in the field.
These, of course were our first selections…and we had run to the far end of the field, and they were so heavy, we had to leave these monster pumpkins behind us, for the time being.

There were little pumpkins in bunches all over the place. Looking down, walking gingerly trying not to smash any of them was a challenge. As the paths became less defined and the vines more entangled, it was sometimes impossible to miss these little guys. You would hear a crunch under your foot and grimace at the sound.
Branny and Leah search far and wide for the best pumpkins. Their diligance was rewarded when branny found this:

Emily the pumpkin seller/ Smallie look alike, was actually shocked at this one. She had never seen one like this before.

Leah and Branny really liked this one.

These little ones were 3 for a dollar. I of course got a bunch. My favorite one is the white one. It looked just like a pac man ghost. Karl thought that it was hidious.

We drove over to our pumpkins on the far end of the field and loaded up our selections.
It was a great afternoon! Really the only way to buy pumpkins.
I mean look at us…don’t we look happy?

October Fest!!!!

Hooray! It is October! My dear friend Shena Switzer loves October. So last year at conference time we decided to have an “October fest.” Yes I know that it is a German beer festival. We drank Martinelli’s
Lots of people come into town at conference time. Some of the visitors included some of Karl’s old mission Randy Maroo, and Tyler Calderwood.

Karl really enjoyed seeing them and I really enjoyed listening to them as they told their crazy mission stories.

I love General Conference. Karl and I are LDS. (That is members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.) Twice every year we have a general conference where the leaders of the church come gather together and teach about the doctrines of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I love conference time because it is always a time of making new goals and re newel of old ones. A time of learning and a time of gathering together with friends and loved ones.

This year was no exception. Here we are in the morning. Zac, Krysta, Ren, Shena, and Smallie.

Shena and Sarah, looking very serious. It was so wonderful to be with them.

Of course Karen was there, and all of us childless women were in love, and totally distracted by her.
Look at that face. What could we do, really??

Karl and I were in the kitchen all day…looking great in our awesome aprons that my mom made us. I am usually not really into matching, but this was pretty cool. We made “spudnuts” for breakfast. Samllie and I had our first spudnuts on a cold day in December or January while serving as missionaries in Albania together. Sister Lenhart invited us over and made this amazing treat for us. It is basically a donut, but made with potato’s. They are soft, and delicious.

Karl was our fry cook today. He did a great job!

Ooohh. So good.

We didn’t have a brush to put our glaze on, so Smallie used her fingers. There was no problem with that.

This one looks like the cheat, on homestarrunner.com. It’s a miracle!

We also made chicken noodle soup! Another recipe I learned on my mission. Homemade noodles! Yes, this is a mountain of homemade noodles. It was amazing.

We made two big pots full of carrots, celery, onion, chicken and of course, homemade noodles.Here is the group by the after noon. Krysta, Smallie, Nate, Linsay, Karl, Switzy, and Zac.

Buy the end of conference, Karl had found alternative uses for his apron pocket.

As the afternoon session finished we packed up the eating train and headed out to our bishops house with Krysta, Zac and Ren, (who just moved into our ward, woo woo!) For more food.
They have an beautiful home. It was very comfortable and well decorated. Everyone in the ward was there. One piece made me laugh and I ask my Bishop about this little guy.

Yes this is a stuffed badger. I asked Bishop Engleheart if he hunted him. The answer was “No! That guy was road kill! My son and I were on our way home from deer hunting and we found him in the road. I took him to my taxidermist before I even got home.” Hilarious! I love our Bishop.

We ate BBQ pork sandwiches and beans and one more bacon, lima bean, dish that I don’t remember the name of. It was all really good. We really enjoyed it.
So did Emily and Micheal Dixon. (Friends of ours in the Ward.) Sorry Micheal, I took this picture at the two, instead of the three. You still look great!

Living my Dreams Through Ren

As I thought what I would post about….I couldn’t think of anything interesting to write about. It has been a really long week of work and school for Karl and me. I get up at 5:30, get ready, read scriptures with Karl, spend my day at work with crazy adolescents that HATE me. Then I get home and if we have enough time/energy we go to the gym, or don’t and feel horrible about ourselves. We eat, do homework, sit around feeling exhausted, just to pass out around 10, just to start it over the next day. Not that life isn’t happy; it is! It is just a little full right now. I was all but decided not to post anything this week when at 10:30 last night there she was; Karen. Krysta and Zac were over. We were watching Speed Racer and loving it. It is a super-fast, super color saturated thing of awesomeness. Karen was everywhere. She has just recently learned to crawl, and has become a little speed racer herself. She scooted from one place in the room to another. Eventually Karl started to drink some water from a bottle, and Ren was interested. She loves water, and she wanted some. Karl and I spent the next half hour cracking up as Ren attempted to drink from the bottle. She did pretty well, but both she and I were soaking wet when the bottle was empty and since I didn’t have any baby cloths in the house to change her into, I found a small shirt from my mission:

It was hilarious! She just scooted around looking adorable all night. I found my story!

There is nothing like having an infant wear your smallest shirt to make you realize how big you are ; ). Her mom just tied a rubber band to the back of this elegant ball gown. This picture took me an especially long time to get. Ren love to play and she kept trying to come over to me as I came around her to take a picture of her back. We spent several minutes running In circles until I finally got this one.
Then she got distracted by the mirror. She loved to laugh at my expression in the mirror, and touch the baby on the other side of the glass.

Really the shirt was enormous on her, and for a while, she and I forgot all about the movie.

I mean look at that face! She is getting so big. Karl and I were agreeing that every time we see her she seems bigger and more aware. Her hair is getting so long and her one tooth is sticking out at last! Yes I am living my dream of having a baby through my friends. Zac and Krysta are great parents. I hope I can been as cool as them someday.

Stella and Enri Got Married!

Finally, Enri and Stela got married. These two have been together since I was a missionary! I remember when they were still in the “we are hiding it” weird Albanian dating phase. Stella look SO beautiful.

Yeah, Karl and I are cute, but not as hot as Stella and Enri!

The Risto’s were one of the strongest families I met in Albania. They did nothing be serve and love. They meant so much to me, but missionaries come and go. I didn’t know if they would remember me. I stayed friends with Stella and Enri at BYU-I, but I hadn’t heard from Brother or sister Risto since I left Albania.

To my surprise as I walk over to the large group congregated out side of the temple, Motra Risto, smiled big and said, “Motra Pipkin! How wonderful it is that you came!” And it was.

Here is President Risto, Motra Hunt, Motra Risto, Elder Hunt, and in the back…one missionaries that baptized them…Cameron Sessions!
For those of you who don’t know who Cameron Sessions is, let me enlighten you:

When my dad was a kid, his best friend was Jim Sessions; Cameron’s Uncle. When I was growing up, my family spent their summers in Modesto CA because of Pipkin Trucking’s migrant nature. Several of the Sessions families lived in the area. Including Jim’s family, and Cameron’s family. We attended the same ward and even spent time each other houses for BBQ’s. I had even had a little summer fling at the age of 13 with Cameron’s little brother Paul.

So you can imagine my surprise when as a missionary in Albania I saw a picture of Cameron hanging on the Risto’s wall. When we all met up at the wedding, it wasn’t me, but Sister Risto who told Cameron the story. What a small Mormon world!
Stella’s older brother, Dionis and Ina also just got married. So mom and dad Risto had two children get married within 3 days of each other. Here they are with Betty and John Hunt.

This is everybody. Their whole family sealed in the temple, and both of their children married in the temple…to ALBANIANS! Yes! Really, it is a miracle. This could be an Albanian first.
The Hunts were there. They Served in 2nd branch while they were in Albania. I spent 9 months of my mission in that branch and we spent about the same time frame in the country. They were wonderful to members and missionaries alike. Everyone loved them, including me.
Karl was going a little bonkers so luckily President Hunt was there to keep him entertained. The specifics of their conversation is probably not appropriate for this blog. 😉

Poor John, had surgery this summer. Karl called it his robo boot. It includes everything from metal plates to a cadaver bone…they call it “Bob’s bone.” I love the Hunts!
I also met up with my wonderful mission president and his wife. They scolded me for not talking to them much at their homecoming, but thanked me so much for coming. They too, and wonderful people who blessed Albania.

I was all smiles, and Karl was just ready to leave. I will get my come-up-ence. He has a mission reunion in a month.

Fun with Cousins and Horses

It was a Wednesday or Thursday evening, and grandma called. She asked if Karl could come and help grandpa move hay for the horses. Karl LOVES manual labor so he jumped at the opportunity to flex his muscles. Grandma mentioned that Nate and Branny were coming too and I said, “I can help too grandma.” She said I could go as a cheerleader if I wanted to. Which totally ticked me off for two reasons: One, just because I am a girl doesn’t mean I can’t do this kind of work and Two: I know I am at least stronger than Nate! (love ya cousin!)

The day came and Branny, Karl, Nate, and I met up with Grandpa at the mouth of Provo Canyon and headed off with a trailor full of hay to the place were the horses are kept.
Branny was the only one who had been before, so Grandpa put him in charge; calling him the foerman. Barnny had little intrest in this role, but did his best to get everything set up the way grandpa liked it.
We started…there were 105 bails and we were 6 young adults. (Brian and his friend…Craig I think, met us out there.)
Karl personally unloaded 2/3 of the entire trailor before he took a break. He was so awesome!

Here are Brian and Nate busy at work.

As we were nearing the end, we made a few realizations:

1. Even if you don’t have hay fever, hay makes you sneeze…a lot.

2. No matter what you do, sweat, dirt and hay are not a good mixture.

Grandma was proably right…being a cheerlead would probably been more fun. Although I really did enjoy getting in there. Next time I am wearing long sleves and gloves…yikes.

DINNER AT SPAGETTI FACTORY
A few days later, we were all together again. In lieu of our first sunday dinner, grandma decided to get all the cousins together. Every one was there.

Cam, who is living in Salt lake came. It was really good to see him. He seems to be doing really great.

Of Course the newly weds were there!
Leah did a great job at her first big extended family gathering.
Lisa was in town from Canada. We found out it is a big mistake to even hit that she may be Candian. Karl asked her, “So are the cousins with the blog from Canada?” Lisa was like, “What?!” Karl replied, “You live in Canada and have a blog right?” For some reason this made her mader, and I found myself apologizing, for him and not understanding why. There must have been some misunderstanding. As we left Karl waved bye, and Lisa called out, “you go home.” So Lisa, what did you think that Karl said?

Then of course Kelsea and Nate Rock were there. I can’t beleive that Kelsea is in college. She spent most of the dinner trying to read her anthropology homework. She looks so good.

Heather, Janson, and Mike were there. I haven’t seen Jason for YEARS, and he looked really good. We finally me Mike! Grandma love him and is always gushing about how great these two are. We unfortunatly didn’t get to talk very much, but by all accounts grandma was spot on.

It was at this point that my camera batteries died. Jared and Diana were there, and they both, again looked really good. Randy and Dannette were there. I spent most of the evening talking to them. I had never met Dannette either. She had spent some time at Ricks, and so of couse we mostly talked about my beloved Rexburg. It was great. Grandma and Grandpa sat at the head of the table, seeming to just enjoy watching thier family interact with eachother.

It was a great evening!