Thursday, November 22, 2012

Elder Daniel Plautz Leaves for His Mission!

We had to say good-bye to Daniel yesterday.  He left for the Missionary Training Center in Buenos Aires, Argentina.  He'll be there for about 8-9 weeks and then depart for Montevideo, Uruguay, where he will serve as a full time missionary for two years.  I'm going to miss this boy!!!

He called this morning to let us know he arrived safely.  He said that he doesn't understand anything anyone is saying!  Hilarious.  That will change soon!

We are so excited for him.  His preparation days are on Wednesdays, so that is the day that he will email us.  Can't wait to hear how his first days went!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Poor lonely blog! or.....What We Did Last Summer

So, I know that it has been 6 months since there has been any action on this, the family blog. I know this, because my Blogger dashboard reminded me while I was updating the Cake Dreams blog in preparation for the termination of the Cake Dreams website. (only a few more days and the business website will be gone)

.....I digress....

So, what has been going on since the excitement of new baby blessings? Well, the first thing I can think of is the trip that Douglas, Daniel, Benjamin and I took to the Midwest at the end of June last year.  Our travels took us to Fishers, Indiana; Highland, Indiana; Pontiac, Illinois; and Nauvoo, Illinois.

INDIANA - Camille and Josh's Wedding
This was a fabulous, albeit, very fast trip. We left on a Wednesday morning and drove all day long arriving around 9:00 p.m. in Fishers, Indiana. This is a suburb of Indianapolis and it is where my sister Ruth Ellen and her family have lived for many years. The occasion of our visit was for the wedding of their first daughter, Camille. Also, I was bringing the wedding cake.

Well, that's not entirely accurate. We did bring the cake, but not assembled. On Monday and Tuesday of that week, I baked all the layers of cake for this three tier square cake that would serve 150 guests. I wrapped the cake layers in several layers of plastic wrap, and let them freeze overnight so they would be nicely chilled by the time I needed to work with them. I also tinted all the fondant a lovely shade of the classic "Tiffany Blue" that has become so popular with brides in the last few years. Also made ahead of time, was the large white bow that would adorn the top tier of the cake.

The goal was to keep the cake cold and undamaged for the 13 hour trip. Douglas "invented" a small refrigerator out of two layers of sturdy corrugated cardboard. I wish now that I had taken a photo. It had a door, and notches for the shelves created by the cake pans. It also had a place for the dry ice to keep everything nice and cold for a full 24 hours.

It was a masterpiece! It worked fabulously! No damage, the larger tiers were actually still a little frozen. Mad props to my super husband.

The hotel where the reception would be held allowed me to use their kitchen to prepare the cake on Thursday. I spent about four hours filling and assembling the layers and giving them a nice crumb coat of delicious buttercream icing.

On Friday morning, I went back and covered the cake in the fondant, and stacked the tiers, and add the white ribbon bands.

The wedding was in a quaint park that was adjacent to a small lake. They had their ceremony at the gazebo. It was a lovely ceremony and Camille was a beautiful bride.

We had crazy delicious food at the reception. It was catered by the restaurant where Camille's husband, Josh works. If I remember correctly, this is where they met.

It was fabulous to spend time with Ruth Ellen and Tad and their family. I wish we could see each other so much more often. I actually had seen Ruthie more in the year before because of the funerals for dad and then mom.

We got to meet Orrin, Carson's new husband. They were married the month before out in Utah, but sadly due to a massive wedding cake schedule planned long before their engagement, and my unfortunate leg injury from when I fell during a wedding cake delivery just two weeks before, I was unable to go their wedding and make their wedding cake for them. I really wish I could have. Maybe I can do an anniversary cake for them some day!!!

Back home to Highland, Indiana
On Saturday afternoon we left my sister's house and journeyed about three hours to Doug and my hometown of Highland, Indiana.  Doug's mom still lives in the house where he grew up.  We spent the evening with Grandma Plautz and got to visit with his sister, Alexis and her son Tom, who were in town for a graduation.  It was really great to visit with them.  We had a delicious dinner together.

After dinner, we went to the Veteran's of War memorial park.  It starts with the the first wars of our nation, and tile by tile it chronicles the events of every war, and the events leading up to the wars and significant events in between.  There were wonderful full size displays created associated with each war, starting with World War I.  There was recorded audio describing the events.

We spent the night at the Plautz home, and went to church the next morning to the Griffith Ward, which is the ward I grew up in. (although the name was originally the South Shore Ward until the late 70's)

After that we got on the road to Illinois.  We stopped for lunch in the little town of Braidwood, Illinois which is just off the interstate and ate the  best place ever!!! It was called: Bill and Bob's Good Table Restaurant.  There was so much great food for a great price.  Doug had the best French Dip sandwich he ever had in his entire life.  I concur that it was FABULOUS!!!

When I looked at the map, I saw that not too far off our path was the quaint little town of Pontiac, Illinois.  This is the town where my mother was born, and where she spent most of her growing up years.  I just couldn't NOT stop there.  So, without too much convincing, my family agreed that we should go see the town.  I don't have too many memories of going there as a child, as I was quite young the last times mom and dad took us there to visit family.

I do have vivid memories of  park that is located in Pontiac.  It is one of a very few parks that have "Swinging Bridges".  I Googled what I knew about the park and found directions on my phone's mapping system.  On the way there, we drove down the streets where my mom used to live, but I didn't know the address to see the actual houses.  We arrived at Chautauqua Park and walked around the entire park.  It was a spectacularly beautiful day.  We walked both bridges, where my husband and boys took great delight in rocking the bridge enough to scare me.  Such fun they had!!!

NAUVOO, the beautiful!!
Late Sunday evening we arrived in a very sleepy Nauvoo.  NOTHING was open.  We were SO hungry, and there isn't even a McDonalds in town.  So, we had to drive down the banks of the Mississippi River and cross over into Iowa to Keokuk to get to a Wendy's for dinner.  Problem was, it was one of the worst lightning storms I have ever seen.  It was awesome on the one hand, to see the river light up so bright in the dark of night.  Yet, it was frightening as well.  It rained so hard that by the time we were done eating, the police had to direct us off the main road due to flooding.  Problem is, WE DON'T KNOW THE ROADS beyond what the GPS told us.  With the rain, there was no reception for us to be rerouted.  We used my masterful navigation skills and returned to the road and home to our little Motel Nauvoo for the night.

We spend a marvelous day on Monday seeing the sights. We took the wagon tour first to get our bearings of where everything was in town.  Then we ventured out on our own.  It happened to be the anniversary of the Martydom of the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum.  There was a special commemoration in Carthage that we attended.  Much to our surprise, we saw Brennan Volpe and his wife there.  Small world.

After the program, we went inside the jail for the guided tour.  Douglas has never been there.  It was a marvelous experience to go again, and I enjoyed living the experience with Doug.

That night we went to the outdoor stage and saw BYU's Vocal Point perform.  They are an a capella group of about 15 guys who are just amazing and so fun to watch.

The next day Douglas and I attended the Nauvoo temple and participated in an endowment session.  I cannot even express to you the feelings that I had in that sacred edifice. I will never forget it.

The rest of the day we did the "walking" tour of all the homes and shops and walked the Trail of Tears. It was really touching to get to the point where we, like the saints of the day, turned back and saw the temple on the hill in the distance.  This is the view my ancestors had and wrote about.  In that moment, I really  understood it more completely.

As a side note, we ate at at Grandpa John's Buffet for breakfast each morning.  I gotta say, it was FABULOUS!!!!  No, I mean really!!!   Douglas just said that he would go back to Nauvoo just for the food there.
My only regret is that we were not able to do this kind of vacation when all of our children were younger.  It is great to make memories as a family.

We left around 5:00 p.m. and drove all night to get home by Wednesday at noon.  Doug was incredible, but I was really nervous through the mountains of West Virginia as his sleepiness was really showing.

It was a fabulous adventure and I will never forget the great time I had with these members of my family.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

We raced for the cure (again)

Hi family & friends,

Click here to see pictures and a summary from our family's 2011 Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure excursion.  (The link takes you to my blog.)

It was great times!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

add another, and now there are FIVE!!!

Last night, Wednesday, March 23, 2011, at 8:43 p.m. our family welcomed another member of the Erik and Elizabeth Lewis family.  We have another grandson!  He is healthy and beautiful.  He weighed 9 pounds 3 ounces and is 22 inches long.  As of this writing, a name had not yet been given, but it shouldn't be long now.

Baby Boy Lewis


Monday, March 21, 2011

...and babies make FOUR (grandchildren, that is)

The Plautz family is incredibly pleased to introduce the two newest members of the family.  Max and Maggie Plautz were born just after 3:00 a.m. on Sunday, March 20th, 2011.  Mary had been in the hospital since early Wednesday morning as the little twins were trying very much to make an early arrival. Fortunately, they decided to stay inside for a few more days to help their little tiny bodies grow a few days stronger.  They made it to exactly 33 weeks and are doing very well.  They are both breathing on their own! Words cannot express how incredibly happy we are for Christian and Mary and for the safe arrival of their two new beautiful babies.

First born was Maggie, she weighed 3 pounds and 12 ounces.

A few minutes later Max was born, he weighed 4 pounds 2 ounces.

 Here is a photo of Maggie in her isolet; she is approximately 17 hours old.  She was so alert and soooo cute.

Here is a photo of Max in his isolet.  You can see how small he is as compared to Chris' (Grandma Cunningham) hand.  So adorable.  He grabbed a hold and held tight on to Grandpa Plautz' finger. They both have really blonde hair.

Here are two short videos.  The first is Maggie, the second, Max.

So, now Doug and I have four grandchildren, with one more little grandson coming within the next few days.  Elizabeth is due tomorrow (or Wednesday, depending on the calculator)  We will keep you posted once her little baby arrives.

Our family is truly blessed.  Thanks be to heaven.